Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Neutral Hug Shawl

Remember the Hobby Lobby Incident? I've used up four more skeins of yarn from that pile. 

Yarn: Yarn Bee, Alpine Authentic (Neutral)  

I used the cast on and increases from the Gramma's Hug pattern, but left out the lace bits and ended it with a wide border of k2p2 ribbing. Ribbing at the bottom of shawls may be my new favorite thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What I'm Working On

Last week, I showed you the newly started Krampus cross stitch piece and shawl. Krampus is stitched and propped up on the fireplace. I'm a full skein and several pattern repeats into the shawl. 

Now the question is how much of this I can get finished by December 31...or if I want to start something entirely new....

Monday, December 10, 2018

I Want a Hundred Year Old Greenhouse

I do understand that there are lots and lots of reasons why I can't have an old glass greenhouse, but let me dream for a little bit. Because the one we visited yesterday was GORGEOUS...

It was the annual Christmas open house at Deepwood and Bush House and all four kids and I thought it would be fun to go.  Back in 2016, we missed the greenhouse. I remembered that it was there, from the days I used to walk through the park almost every day with the stroller, but I had it confused in my head with the ones over at Deepwood...and those were locked. 

Look at all of the succulents (and also look at how I manage to avoid figuring out the plural of cactus)...

There's not much room to maneuver between the wide tables. If I had a greenhouse like this one, I'd want a cozy spot to sit in. Not a realistic dream, since I can't manage to keep plants alive. The hens and chicks in the ladle are still hanging in there and I hope I can get them through the winter. Whatever it is that I put in the wishing well planter has been thoroughly trimmed by the chickens. I don't think that one is my fault and I did move it out of their reach once I figured out where all of the trailing bits had gone. 

I've also killed way too many house plants over the years to even consider wanting a separate structure to keep them in. But that won't stop me from loving the idea.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Krampus is Coming!

This is my favorite (and so far my only) new Christmas decoration of the year. I just need to dig out a little hoop to put him in.

Pattern from PyroDog Pins on etsy 

There are a lot of colors in this little project, and a lot more tiny little half-stitches, but the finished effect was definitely worth the little bit of extra effort. 

Saturday, December 08, 2018

What to Do When Your Baby Grabs a Bite of Poinsettia

This is a repeat of a blog post from a few years ago, mostly because it contains one of my most exciting Christmas shopping memories. Since I wrote this, I've started carrying rat poison (also knows as prescription blood thinners) around in my purse. I'm so glad my kids are all old enough to understand the concept of fatal internal bleeding.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my supervisor at work told me a very sad story about the little neighbor girl who drank bleach. Have I ever mentioned that I was always paranoid about keeping the bleach and drain cleaner completely inaccessible to my kids? Nasty cleaning supplies, vitamins, medication...all of that stuff was where they couldn't get at it. I didn't know about the button batteries until after my kids were old enough to know better than to swallow them or I'd have been afraid of those too.

It was the weird little things that gave me trouble. I mean, who gets mad and deliberately swallows his older sister's tooth? Who eats a glue stick? Or tries to suck the ink out of an empty printer cartridge?

And why would anyone take a swig from the bottle of food coloring?! (Not to mention, who got it down from where I had it hidden?)

The nice man at poison control actually laughed at me and suggested I take pictures to blackmail my child with once he's older. I was pretty sure that it was harmless, but wanted to be prepared with real answers when Daddy got home and I had to explain the dark green teeth.

There are also the things that you can't believe they got their hands on. I was Christmas shopping with my youngest in my arms, digging through my purse and standing in the checkout line. With that awful speed that only toddlers headed straight for trouble have, my son reached right over my shoulder, grabbed a fistful of petals from a poinsettia display I hadn't even noticed, and stuffed them into his mouth.

That scared me. It was too early to call the doctor's office and I was in an absolute panic, imagining my little baby in the emergency room getting his stomach pumped. Called the emergency line for our HMO and used up all of our cell phone minutes for the month waiting on hold -- and they had me call poison control. It turns out that poinsettias aren't as deadly as we've all been warned they are.

If you even think your child might've gotten into something, give them a call. They've added an app and an online search function since the last time I needed their services, which might also be useful. I'm convinced that they have information about everything (Including ink cartridges...did you know that those have antifreeze in them?) They'll tell you what symptoms to watch out for. Or if, God forbid, you need to head to the emergency room.

Every single time I've called they've told me it was going to be just fine.


 Note -- if this seems like a lot of calls for one Mom to have made to poison control, please keep in mind that it was spread over four kids and more than twenty years!

Friday, December 07, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/7/18}

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, December 06, 2018

{Museum a Month} Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Portland Attractions Marketing Alliance attraction for November was the Oregon Coast Aquarium, so our family headed for the coast. We'd been looking forward to this one all year. 

Over the years, we've been to the aquarium plenty of  times. My husband and I went to see Keiko, the whale from Free Willie, while he was there. The kids and I slept in the Passages of the Deep tubes one night, with sharks swimming over and below us. (For the record, I don't recommend trying that with an infant, a toddler, and two school age children. They had fun. I survived the night.)

And there have been trips just to see the seals and sea lions and sharks and jelly fish.

The current exhibit is Secrets of Shipwrecks.

We enjoy our occasional visits to the aquarium, but admission for a large family isn't inexpensive. The nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center is free (with a suggested donation) and although it's not nearly as large, it does have a touch pool and the octopus is always better than the one at the big aquarium. (Although I just checked the octocam and they don't have one on display right now)

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

I'll be Reading Soon...

Actually, I have been reading a very good cozy mystery set on the coast, but there hasn't been a lot of time for that over the past few days...mostly because I've been stitching on hedgehogs and a fun new holiday project.

But now I definitely will be reading a lot faster. Larissa Reinhart has a new Maize Albright book out!  I've been waiting anxiously for this ever since I read the last line of the previous book. 

Have I told you how much I love pre-ordering Kindle titles? You buy the book in advance and as soon as it's released it pops up on your device. Your purchase is covered by their pre-order price guarantee, so you'll get the lowest price available between the time you order the book and the time that it's released.

There's also a new shawl there in the background, one that I've been wanting to start for absolutely years now. I hope the lace pattern starts to make more sense soon because as of right now it's confusing the heck out of me.

I'll let you know how the books are -- and whether I read them right away or keep knitting and stitching a bit longer first!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

New Projects for December

I meant to write this post Sunday night, but all of that bin diving at the Goodwill Outlets kept me out late and by the time I got home I just wanted to crawl into bed.

So instead of telling you that I'm going to start a new Christmas cross-stitch project and a new shawl, I'll show you what I accomplished Monday night...

The plan for the week is to keep working on these.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Thrift Shops Without Temptations?

On Sunday, my daughter and I headed up to the Goodwill outlets in Portland. We both had plans to take pictures and film video, but neither of us actually followed through on it. There really wasn't much of anything that was blog-worthy. 

The first stop of the day was Value Village, because someone on a facebook thrifting group had posted a Barbie Mountain Ski Cabin that she didn't buy because it smelled so bad...and I wanted to see if it was still there just in case her "too musty" was something I could live it. I trusted her judgement, but I really wanted to see the thing in person. It was gone, but I found some vintage jigsaw puzzles to admire. I love them for their boxes, but so far I've been able to resist the temptation to bring one home. 

Is it a bad sign that I can recognize the local thrift shops by the shelves in the background of online photos?

Our main destination was the bins. We went through every bin in both of the Portland locations -- and then stopped at the Salem bins on our way back home. There wasn't much to take pictures of, but we found enough practical stuff to fill the trunk of her new car.

I didn't save any stitches. This quilt might have had potential if someone wanted to separate the top from the batting and backing and mend torn seams before re-quilting it. That someone wasn't going to be me.

I couldn't figure out what was going on with this one. My best guess is that it was pieced from wool and then run through the washer and dryer many many times over the years.  The resulting texture was not pleasant.

This empty box from 1971 had dated graphics, but I can totally see someone buying a similar product for their kids today. How can something so dated also be so current?

Depending on how you look at it, we had an extremely successful trip...or one that was kind of a bust.  We didn't find any great stitchy or vintage stuff, but I did get some warm, cheap, new-to-me sweaters and have a great time with my daughter.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Still Stitching the Hedgehogs

If it wasn't for the Hedgehog SAL, I doubt I would have started this project yet. It's absolutely adorable, but so are a lot of other things in my stash. 

I started stitching because of the stitch along, then I kept stitching because I fell in love with the wool/acrylic blend threads. The colors and coverage are fantastic, and they're wrapped on numbered cards so there's no guessing at all while one to use where. I may have said that before, but I'm still not quite used to it.

Now I'm wondering why this particular stitch along has been keeping me so motivated, unlike all of the other quilt alongs and knit alongs and stitch alongs I've been sure I'd keep up with...

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Dude Crafts

It looked like Dude Crafts by Mike Warren might be a good choice for my sons. Obviously  I'm not the intended audience for this book, but it's not suitable for my eighteen year old either.

A handful of the projects are neat. I could see making rings out of quarters, or a branding iron out of old bicycle spokes. And (in theory at least) I guess it's nice to know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich on a car muffler or heat lasagna in the dish washer. The instructions for making a metal forge out of a busted microwave don't seem to be in the book, which is probably a good thing.

Most of the projects are things we've seen before, either on Pinterest or in old craft books. Like soaking yarn in glue and wrapping it around a balloon. Or using hair scrunchies and suction cups to hold bottles to the shower wall.

Then there's the alcohol, the main reason this book disappointed me so much. Seven of the fifty projects involve booze -- and that's not counting the ones that just use the empty bottles. I'm all for hacking up old baby dolls to use in craft projects, but making one into a flask and wearing it in a tummy pack? Nope.

I'll continue my search for a project book that will appeal to my boys.

The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {11/30/18}

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, November 29, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} More Things I Want but Don't Need

When is the last time you saw one of these? For me it was in elementary school music class, when they brought them out once a year. 

I kind of wanted it. My youngest son definitely wanted it...but even at forty percent off, it wasn't cheap. We have no practical use for an autoharp and there are definitely better ways to spend fifty bucks.

I do hope that the person who does really want or need one of these things finds this one.

My middle son wanted this --

We found two of them last week, but neither one was cheap, never mind the fact that he doesn't have anything to play on it or really understand what it is.  Last year, I found one at St. Vinnie's for five bucks and has to talk myself out of bringing it home. Apparently I was wrong and should have bought it.

We also didn't buy the five foot square oil painting of a white cat. Even though he had birthday money and really really really thought it was the most awesome thing ever.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

{I've Been Reading} Midsummer Mayhem

Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate

Pru Parke is thrilled, and maybe a little intimidated, to find herself in charge of the grounds of a private estate. The regular gardener quit in a huff after losing patience with the Shakesperean troupe that will be putting on A Midsummer Night's Dream on the grounds. At first, Pru's enthusiasm is over having access to the gorgeous gardens that have always been concealed behind locked gates, but she quickly gets caught up in the excitement of the upcoming production...and then in a murder investigation after one of the performers is found dead. 

I've enjoyed all of the Potting Shed mysteries, including this one. The mystery kept me guessing and not knowing a single thing about A Midsummer Night's Dream didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book at all.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

New Starts Before the End of the Year?

I want to start another new shawl....and another pair of plain socks...and maybe this pattern I just purchased and downloaded off of etsy. I absolutely want to stitch it, the question is just whether or not I need to start right this second. 

A few of my stitchy friends are planning to spend 2019 stitching only on they're starting a whole bunch of new things before the first of January. I guess that's the same logic as stocking up on fabric or yarn before deciding to work on projects from stash.

I've decided that I like having multiple projects on my needles and Q-snaps, so I'm starting new projects. But I also like finishing things before the end of the year, so I'm making myself a little bit crazy.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Can You See the Deer?

They actually look more like deer in the photograph than they did while I was stitching them, and I'm sure they'll be even clearer once I get the space around them filled in and do the back-stitching. 

Out in the real world, the deer are suddenly everywhere. My oldest son was out yelling for the barn cat yesterday and apparently two of them were standing in the yard looking at him like he'd lost his mind. We drove down to Safeway for some ice cream and one was running across the cross walk. I know we live in the country and that's where the deer are, but they're usually not on main street dodging heavy traffic.

You'd think that with all of the cougar sightings in town -- and all of the talk about how they're going to eat our pets and children -- that there wouldn't be any deer left.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Salt and Pepper Socks

Look -- another pair of socks! Now that the weather has started getting colder, I'm really appreciating the fact that I've knit myself more warm wool socks than any reasonable human being needs. 

Yarn: Drops Fabel, Salt and Pepper 

I really like this yarn. They're the same shades of black white and grey as another pair I knit at the beginning of the year, but the pattern is a lot more random. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {11/23/18}

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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Taking Time to Look at the Pictures

I had some time to kill on Monday and I also needed a new shovel for the fireplace, so we wandered through the thrift shops. I should have measured Stonehearth Hutch before leaving the house so I could try to find it a frame. Because I hadn't done that and didn't have the slightest idea what size I need, I looked at stuff that was already framed.

This one has to have a story, because that's a heck of a frame for a jigsaw puzzle.  

This one briefly tempted me. It also had friends that included a windmill and (I think) a corkscrew. But I decided that I didn't love it enough to give up  any wall space in the sewing room.

Buying this and taking out the picture to keep the frame would be wrong...wouldn't it?

My limited wall space made this easy to resist. 

If I could remember how to do latch hook this unopened kit probably would have come home with me. It's just fantastically awful and I kind of love it. 

There were even needlework kits. Too bad the girls with hoops had been opened and most of the contents were gone. The pear and houses were like new, but I didn't really see myself stitching either. 

I'm going to have more time to kill later this week, so I'm going to take measurements and see what size frame I actually do need.

Monday, November 19, 2018

{This Week's List} Getting Through the Holiday

I crossed every item off of last week's list! It was a very short list, but I'm still taking credit for getting it all done. 

I'll work on the shawl and the socks and the stitching this week, but my schedule is going to be crazier than usual and I'm not making a list.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Although "slow" isn't the best word to describe this project. My progress is so much quicker than I expected it to be. 

I love love love all of this greenery! In just a couple of weeks of stitching, I've stitched my way through a quarter of the chart. Now I've got another big project competing for my attention and I want to spend every waking hour on both.

Did I mention that stitching is fun?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Ever Heard of Black Salve?

Homeschooling the boys leads me down a lot of online rabbit holes and the one we fell into this week was downright scary. It started with a Youtube thumbnail warning that black salve was killing people.

What? We used black salve all the time when I was a kid, for scrapes and splinters. The main ingredient is iodine. I watched the video and it turns out that there are completely different things being called "black salve." There's the one I grew up with and there's one containing escharotic agents, which burn away the tissue they comes into contact with.

I don't have medical training and I'm not offering any kind of medical advice. (But seriously, if you have a mole that you think is cancerous you probably should have it looked at before you burn it off!) I just wanted to bring this to your attention in case someone you know is talking about black salve. It might be a good idea to find out which kind before you reach the conclusion that it's safe or dangerous.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {11/16/18}

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, November 15, 2018

The Dimensions Stitch Along

If you've been reading my blog for long, you know that I have a love/hate relationship with needlework kits. I love collecting them, especially if they're dirt cheap at a thrift shop or estate sale. I love planning to stitch them. But when it comes to sorting the floss and actually getting started, my fears kick in. What if I use the wrong color? What if I run out of floss? What if I mess it up? 

Those fears aren't completely far fetched. I've used the wrong floss...and run out of floss...and messed up at least three kits so badly that I had to abandon them. I've also improved my stitching and learned some new tricks since then. I'm better at checking colors and counting my stitches and cotton floss can be substituted easily enough. 

My friend Amy (you can find her on Instagram or Youtube)  loves these Dimensions Gold Collections kits as much as I do, so we're motivating each other to get some of the kits in our stash started and finished. 

Want to join us? Any Dimensions kit counts. You can start something new or pick up an old project. Just share your pictures on Instagram with the #dimensionssal hashtag. Or if you're not on Instagram, you're welcome to send pictures to me and I'll share them here. 

I started All is Calm this morning and made a lot of progress. Everything I've stitched so far is half-stitches so I'm making fast progress, even if threading my needle with four strands of floss is a challenge. They're also all blended colors. But I'm absolutely loving it so far! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Bit at a Time, it Adds Up

I haven't been doing a whole lot of knitting over the past couple of weeks, but a bit at a time it's added up. Most of my progress on the Oz socks came while we were watching a documentary on Howard Hughes that I think left us knowing less than we did  before we watched it. The progress on the Salt and Pepper socks crept up on me. They'd been coming together sooooo slowly...and now the end is in sight!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

{I've Been Reading} The Skeleton Makes a Friend

The Family Skeleton mystery series by Leigh Perry keeps getting better and better! You'd think that it might get hard to find believable new ways to get a living skeleton out into the world where he can help his best friend solve murders, but the author keeps making it happen.  In The Skeleton Makes a Friend, the rustic lakeside cabin that Georgia has rented while she's working at a college summer program is the perfect place for her daughter, Madison, and her skeleton friend, Sid, to enjoy the sun. If someone happens to wander by while they're swimming he can just sink to the bottom of the lake until the coast is clear.

Things get more complicated when a teenage girl comes to the cabin looking for Sid, who she met through an online game. A member of their group has gone missing and she wants Sid's help finding him, but of course it's impossible for him to meet up with her in real life. So Georgia helps her in person while Sid helps online. I loved this one. It kept me guessing until the very end.

Seances are for Suckers by Tamara Berry is the first in a new series and I immediately liked the heroine, Eleanor Wilde. She removes troublesome spirits and manifestations from the homes of her clients by putting on a supernatural (and also completely bogus) show while also quietly removing the source of the disturbance. Usually it's mice in the walls. Holding fake seances isn't the most honest work, but she's doing what she has to to provide her sister with needed medical care.

Nicholas Hartford approaches her to deal with a ghost at his family's ancestral estate, knowing full well that Eleanor's abilities are no more real than Xavier, the family ghost. His mother, on the other hand, believes in both. Eleanor is completely willing to do her thing for the ridiculous amount of cash that Nicholas is willing to pay, but there's something sinister happening at the estate and someone doesn't want her to succeed.

I highly recommend this one, especially if you enjoyed The White Magic Five and Dime series by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with ARCs. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

{This Week's List} Stitch Alongs

I did get the floss sorted out for All is Calm. Whoever designed that kit and divided the colors into bundles did an amazing job. It was very easy to figure out which floss was which color and I didn't even have to rely on the DMC conversions and chart. The fabric is almost completely gridded and I'm ready to start stitching on Thursday. 

I got the heel on the Return to Oz socks done.  That project is just fiddly enough to keep me from doing it on auto-pilot.

And there's still no new shawl. I don't know why I'm so resistant to casting one on, but I keep telling myself I'll make a decision about yarn and a pattern and then keep putting it off. Even though I got stuff done, this week's list is a lot like last week's list.

-- figure out where I put the second skein of Salt and Pepper Fabel
-- start a new shawl
-- start stitching All is Calm

Saturday, November 10, 2018

{Estate Sale Tempatations} Cornhuskers

You know how sometimes you find a thing and it needs to come live with you even though you don't know why? This box is one of those things.

I found it at an estate sale that had advertised itself as a lifetime collection of craft supplies.  Or something like that. It's been a while and I don't remember the exact phrasing, but the ad definitely over-promised. They didn't have much and it was one of those sales where almost nothing is priced.

But I had to ask about this box...and you can tell by the fact that I'm posting pictures I took in my own yard that it came home with me. The lady wanted two dollars and she had to tell me the story behind it. 

Of course if there's a story I need to hear it. The box was painted by her partner's mother, whose husband had made the box. To me that didn't sound like much of a story, but to the person running the estate sale, it was important...enough so that I'll probably write it on a card and tape it to the bottom of the box.  It's made of heavy plywood and the hinges need some TLC. It's also the shiniest tole painted thing I've ever stumbled across. Not that I've ever seen tole painting sealed behind a high gloss coat. 

There are corn husk people on all four sides, from the Cornhusker pattern books by Bonnie Seaman. Three of them look like corn husk dolls, but the lady with the sunk has an unsettlingly human nose. She's probably the reason I bought the box. 

There's also the fact that we had a painting from the same pattern book hanging in the upstairs hallway when I was growing up. And the fact that the handle on top is a lot like the door pulls in our kitchen were. Not an exact match, but close enough to make me feel nostalgic. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {11/9/18}

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.


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