Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Little Stitching on the Roof

It's been a long time since I pulled out A Little Girl's Fancy. I've been stitching on the baubles, and a little bit on Girl With Cosmos. 

Mostly, I've been knitting. 

The back stitching on this half of the roof went quickly, but it was late and I was tired. And a little progress is better than no progress, right?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

{Books and Yarn} Providence

I've got new socks on my needles and they're working up quickly. The plan was to cast on a new shawl, but that requires choices and at least a bit of concentration and I can do socks on auto pilot so this is happening until I can plunge into the shawl. I'm not going to complain about that. 

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

After being completely pulled in by You and Hidden Bodies, I couldn't wait to read the new book by Caroline Kepnes. This is nothing like her first two books and there was a moment when the story jumped narrators and I completely lost track of what was going on...but once I figured it out again I was completely and totally hooked. Jon is kidnapped and comes back four years later, with no memory of the time that he was gone. The only thing he knows is that he's completely changed and can't step back into his own life, no matter how badly he wants to fix things.

Oh, and if you want more of Joe from the first two books, there's an adaptation coming out on Lifetime in September. After watching the trailer, I'm pretty sure I'll be knitting or stitching along to this one.

A Passion for Haunted Fashion by Rose Pressey

This series always makes me smile. Cookie Chanel makes her living selling vintage clothing,  which often brings her into contact with the former owners of those clothes -- especially if they've died of unnatural causes. This time, Cookie is in the basement of a local theater, looking for 1950s dresses to costume a production of Cat on a Hot Tin roof when she picks up a new ghost. One of the actors in the play has been stabbed to death and her best friend is a suspect, so Cookie once again finds herself with two mysteries to solve.

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Hobby Lobby Incident of 2018

I'm not sure who to credit, but when the cross-stitch kits went on clearance, someone on one of my stitching groups dubbed it the "Hobby Lobby Incident of 2018." I bought my share of kits and I've been pretty much banning myself from Hobby Lobby for the past couple of months to avoid further temptation. I did pop in once to confirm that they cleared most of their cross stitch stuff...and that they had brought in better, more tempting stuff. 

And now yarn is 75% off... 

If my math is right, that's $534.24 worth of gorgeous yarn that's going to become shawls ...except we all know that I never in a million years would have bought it all for full price, no matter how pretty the yarn is or how giddy the yarn fumes got me. I spent a quarter of that. Less than yarn was going for at that estate sale a few weeks ago, or what the thrift shops around here would charge... And did I mention that it's brand new, straight from the craft store, in colors I actually chose on purpose?

Yesterday, I stopped at Joann's to look for one thing. Apparently it's been a while -- the whole store has been rearranged. And the yarn prices I head in my head while I was figuring out my Hobby Lobby splurge must've been from a few years back. When did the prices shoot up that high?

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Wishing Well and Grandma's Plants

Will you cross your fingers for me? I do not have a green thumb, but I really want to keep these alive. I've got a complicated relationship with this stupid planter. When I was growing up, Mom kept one just like it in the kitchen.

I hated that thing with the kind of irrational passion that only pre-teens can summon up...and I have no idea why. Maybe it was because every antique mall I set foot in during that time period had at least one and it made no sense that they were worth so much money. Or because it's kind of ugly. I'm now at that stage of life where I have a whole different appreciation for vintage-ugly.

It's been a family joke for years that I'm going to be the one to inherit the wishing well...then my youngest son fell in love with one at an estate he's its future owner.

Except we found one for a buck at an estate sale. The chain is broken and the ceramic is chipped and I'm sure it was worth less than the dollar I spent, but now it's mine. I wanted to plant some succulents in it and I've got a strawberry plant full of something we rescued from Grandma's garden before the house sold, so now some of those are in the well.

(Did you know that there's a matching cookie jar? I really kind of want one of those...)

I'm still stressing a bit over the ladle.  I've pruned away the dead leaves twice, and kept it alive through one winter at my house.

There are more plants in it today than there were when it first came to live with me, but I'm still not sure if there's dirt under that moss.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Farm Fresh Eggs

Finding chickens on Craigslist has been an interesting process. Some of the ads are very, very vague. "Free chicken" is not nearly enough information. Is that live, egg-laying chickens, or pieces that are breaded and ready for the oven?

A couple of days ago, I saw an ad that listed how many chickens there were, what town they were in, and what breeds they were....and the guy answered my call...and he didn't want to weirdly screen me to make sure that I'd provide a proper home for his flock... (I totally will, but I'm not inviting a stranger to come look at my property to see if it's suitable for his chickens.)

Wednesday night, the boys and I headed out into the boonies -- not the same ones we live in -- to pick up chickens. We had to do it in the evening so they'd be in the coop and although I've been to that town before, I've never driven there from here.

Now we've got eleven more chickens in the coop and I'm checking out Jo's recipes that use eggs so I can figure out the best way to enjoy the gorgeous brown and green eggs they're laying.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Shadowy Stripes Shawl

Here's my eighth shawl of  the year, Shadowy Stripes...

 Yarn: Loops and Threads Madrid, Slate  
No Pattern

Back in November I bought some sale yarn at Michaels that looked like it would make fun shawls. One skein became Hufflepuff Lace  and another became this shawl. I think I'm done knitting from big 350 yard skeins for now because they're so awkward to deal with. The yarn wanted to slither off in big tangly loops.

This skein had three knots in it, so I didn't even get the advantage of not weaving in more than two ends. (For non-knitters, when I say a skein had "knots" it means that the yarn was broken and then knotted back together during the manufacturing project. It's not uncommon to find a knot in a skein, but three in the same skein is a lot.) Between the knots and the splitty yarn, this wasn't a very fun knit.

I do love those subtle black stripes.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/15/18}

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, June 14, 2018

Not Planning Our Summer

My social media feeds are filled with posts about how to schedule summer for your kids and what to put on the summer bucket list and how much fun it is to sit down with the calendar and the schedule for the local library...

None of that is happening at my house. I don't plan summer activities beyond making sure everyone has a swim suit that fits and there's some sunscreen on hand.  Unless we're using the time share, we don't even schedule our real vacations much beyond knowing which days my husband has off from work. I pick up a fresh set of AAA Travel Guides and we decide which direction to head on the highway.

So I'm not planning out summer for the kids, not even a week in advance. Maybe this is a homeschooling thing -- this is the chunk of the year where I'm not supposed to have to keep track of everything. We do what we do. Last summer, that meant bowling and/or playing in the river pretty much every day.

There's this fantastic program, Kids Bowl Free, that gives kids eighteen and under two free games per day at the local bowling alley. If we're going out for the day, we stop to bowl. (Our local bowling alley isn't on the site this year, maybe because they're charging a dollar for shoe rental and not following the official rules? It's still a phenomenal deal.)

I haven't checked out the swimming hole yet to see how fast the water is running and how cold it is. Over the course of the next few weeks, it'll slow down and warm up. Or the weather will get hot and we won't care. By September, it'll be like this again...

Don't get me wrong -- my kids do lots of things. They just don't rely on me to coordinate them all. I'll be swinging by the Dollar Tree on a regular basis to get balloons for paper mache and to the craft store for hot glue sticks.  Those aren't summer things, those are just life with a pack of creative kids.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Leftover Sock Yarn

I'm awful when it comes to using up leftover sock yarn, to the point where it usually winds up in a tangled mess at the bottom of my knitting bag and gets thrown away.  I know I should use it and I've seen enough pictures of frankensocks to know that I can mix and match and still come up with something pretty...but I'm playing it safe with these.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Drapes or a Dress?

Our schedule is almost back to normal and predictable this week...or as normal and predictable as it gets at my house. I've got time to pick up my big projects (while I avoid making a decision about the Summer of Salem SAL) 

Do I want to stitch a while dress, or white drapes

Monday, June 11, 2018

{I've Been Cooking} Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings

I've been having fun with my vintage recipe card much fun I wound up buying two more sets from different decades and companies.

One of the recipes that we all liked was the Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings. I made my modified version for the third time Sunday night

Instead of the broiler-fryer chicken that the card calls for, I buy a rotisserie chicken from Costco. It's less expensive that way and means I don't have to deal with cutting up a raw chicken. Remove all of the meat from the bones and cut it into bite size pieces. Place in frying pan and sprinkle with reasonable amounts of black pepper and garlic salt, and a lot of paprika. (Paprika is my favorite spice and I probably use too much -- you can adjust yours accordingly. The original recipe calls for one teaspoon.) Stir together the spices and chicken and cook over medium heat until heated through.

Stir in one family size can cream of condensed chicken soup and one can of milk. Cover and simmer until about thirty minutes before dinner time. I'm a big fan of recipes that let me do most of the work earlier in the afternoon and let it simmer for an hour or hour and a half.

For the dumplings, combine two cups Bisquick and 2/3 cups milk. Place spoonfuls of dough onto the simmering chicken mixture. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes, then replace lid and simmer for another ten minutes.

Full disclosure here -- I don't know the difference between Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings and Chicken and Dumplings and I'm not sure I'm excited enough to care. This third time, I added canned green beans, corn, and carrots. Is that allowed?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Plans for the Week

I crossed most of the items off of last week's list, but that's because I picked things I was pretty darn sure I'd make progress on. Is that cheating? 

This week, I want to:

-- pick a project for the Summer of Salem SAL and pull the floss (It was going to be this one, but now I'm wavering)
-- pull together the projects I was working on before I set it all aside
-- cast on new shawl
-- wind yarn for new socks from a skein into a ball

Saturday, June 09, 2018

More Playing and Experimenting with Floss

Thursday was our monthly stitching group up at Acorns and Threads in Portland. Most of the regulars had other things going on and couldn't make it, but I'd already planned my day so I went ahead and drove up and spent a few hours working on my second Not Very Top Secret X-Stitch Christmas Bauble (one of these times I'll get that name right!) while surrounded by gorgeous floss. 

I like this one better than the first one I stitched from the same pattern.  The colors were more fun and I also like the pattern that it created.  Instead of spiraling my way around the orange peel sections, I alternated back and forth with up and down. 

I have more variegated floss in my stash and more ideas for how to play with it, but I still haven't decided whether I want to spend the time on a  third..or fourth...bauble. They're time consuming, but they're also a lot of fun.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/8/18}

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, June 07, 2018

Woodsie Socks

I love it when my sock yarn matches up with what's going on in my life. This pair, knit in Patons Kroy, is just perfect for right now!

And it never hurts when there's a perfect place to take pictures of my new project. I thought this fallen tree was going to be gone last week, but it got a  reprieve. Eventually, it'll be firewood but not quite yet.  It gives me a perfect view of my busted up ceramic squirrels from the kitchen window. Anything that brings me a smile while I'm doing dishes is a good thing.

The yarn has wide stripes of color. I'm usually not a fan of  that, but there's some vague patterning here to break it up and keep it interesting.

I almost wore them to the Enchanted Forest with the kids yesterday, but it was going to be warm and I decided to wear sandals instead of sneakers. My sons are at the perfect age for this! Five years ago the youngest two were, in their own minds, too old for all of this fairy tale stuff...and I was a little cranky about that because I don't ever plan on outgrowing this place.

The witch always has been and  always will be my favorite. You walk in through her mouth and climb up stairs past scenes from Snow White, then slide down through her hair at the back.

If you're little and scrawny enough, you can also stick your hands out through the openings in her eyeballs. I don't know if she's got a particularly good paint job  this year or if she's always looked this amazing.

For months, the boys have been asking me if we could go this summer. That was before they found out that Ghost Adventures had filmed an episode there that will be airing in a few weeks. (I personally think the Enchanted Forest is probably about as haunted as the Clown Motel.)

At this age, they can appreciate that a man actually made this place with concrete and paint and a whole lot of imagination.

Lately, I catch myself looking at the trees, hoping to catch a glimpse of the haunted house as we drive down the interstate. When I was a kid, you could see a corner of the building, but that view is blocked now. Either I'm getting older or the lighting is better or the displays aren't as good as they used to be, but the boys doubled back to look at something they missed and left me standing alone in a hallway of the haunted house, under the hole in the ceiling where what used to be a hang holding a knife has been replaced by a man holding and axe and looking down, and I was just fine with it.

My pair of Woodsie socks is always going to be tied up in my memories with the Enchanted Forest because, even though I didn't wear them there, I was knitting on them while we planned the trip and finished them the night before we went.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} It's That Table Again

I've told you the saga of the table Grandma bought us when we first got married, and its evil twin that came along nineteen years later. We've been thinking about replacing the replacement for a while now, but it's not going to be with the third incarnation -- especially not for six hundred dollars.

Seriously, this is a bad table design. The top is super heavy and not well attached and after years of being leaned on by toddlers working on projects, it will gradually loosen until  you don't have a table anymore.

The dinette set didn't tempt me, but the fancy Monopoly board did. If I had a place to permanently display it (and if it wasn't fifty bucks) I would've had a harder time resisting.

While we were at Hobby Lobby earlier that day, one of my sons asked if he could have a dollhouse kit for his birthday so he could try building it. I have a kit that another homeschool mom gave me a while back. Someone had started building it then it looks like they took it apart. I was thinking of letting my son try it (even though I know it's probably beyond his abilities -- and mine.)

Was finding this a sign? That kit is identical to my own dollhouse....and the half finished kit.

And a new addition to our list of "things we've never seen for sale in a thrift shop." It's not nearly old enough to be tempting.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

{Books and Yarn} Smoke Get in Your Eyes

The picture shows the subtle grey and black stripes and the lace and garter stitch texture...but it doesn't show how huge and unwieldy that skein of yarn is. Not having a bunch of ends to weave in once the shawl is done will be a nice perk, but wrestling with the yarn while I knit may cancel that out. 

I've been going back and forth about whether to write here about Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. The title alone is going to let you know if you want to read this one (and if you want to skip it, you can also skip the rest of this post without fear of missing anything about quilts or yarn or happy crafty stuff.) I probably would have shied away from the book myself if I hadn't already watched almost every video on the author's YouTube channel, Ask a Mortician. Most of it isn't as gruesome as you'd think...and the video titles usually warn you about the ones you might want to skip.

As for the book, it was entertaining and thought provoking. It turns out that a lot of what I'd always heard about what you can and can't do regarding a funeral is just plain wrong, at least in California where the author runs her funeral home. I'm not planning to move, but I'm definitely going to do more fact checking here where I live. Not that I plan on dying soon, but I've got some strong feelings about funerals.

There are parts of the book that are going to stick with me for a long time, but they're not nearly as awful as some of the stuff I heard back in my answering service days when I was dispatching removal crews. (Apparently if something really bad happens at 2am, the only one to tell about it is your answering service.) I highly recommend this one, unless you don't want to read about death and the funeral industry.

Monday, June 04, 2018

This Week's List

We have a ton of stuff going on this week that isn't fabric or yarn or floss related, but that would make for a boring list. So here's the fun stuff....

-- finish rainbow bauble
-- finish Woodsie socks
-- cast on leftover pink socks
-- start Summer of Salem Project
-- work on black shawl

Sunday, June 03, 2018

{Museum a Month} Thompson's Mills State Heritage Site

There were factories before there was electricity. You probably knew that already, but I wanted the kids to see how water could actually power the equipment. As soon as I came up with the idea of visiting a different museum every month and started making a list of destinations, I put Thomson's Flouring Mills and the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill high on the list.

Last week, the whole family went to the Thompson's Mills State Heritage Site and took the guided tour. We visited years ago, but all three boys were too young to remember and back then we did the self-guided tour which doesn't cover nearly as much of the mill. 

The volunteer who guided us through the mill was obviously passionate about her job. Here, the boys got to turn the gears by hand to see how the system worked. She also showed us the clips used to repair broken belts...which are an older version the same type my husband uses at work. 

It's amazing how many things tie together. We also learned about water rights in Oregon and watched swallows scoop mud from the riverbank and carry it up to their nests in the eaves. I can even tie this in with quilting because the mill packaged their flour in those print sacks we all love so much...

After the demand for flour dropped after the first World War, the mill shifted its production to animal feed. Then it was used to generate electricity.  What's on display now is  a combination of equipment from both eras.

The self-guided tour we took years ago didn't let us down into the basement and we didn't get to see the water rush through and start turning the gears, which is pretty impressive.

I absolutely recommend this state park if you're in Oregon or travelling through. Admission, including the guided tour, is free. 

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Looking Back

Ten Years Ago...

I'd just finished knitting Fancy Fulness and rediscovered the book Making Things, which I had checked out from the library over and over as a little kid. A few weeks ago, I found my very own copy at the thrift store.

Five Years Ago...

I wrote the tutorials for Carrie and Sid. I was scolding myself for not finishing the quilt with the seals. (Since then, I've finished the top but not quilted it.) I was still making blocks for my Cheddar Bowties quilt, which didn't get finished until a year later.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/1/18}

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, May 31, 2018

{Estate Sale Temptations} Sometimes the Best Part is the House

Isn't this little place adorable? 

I love this kitchen, but I'd have multiple concussions from those slanting boards.

They had two sewing machine tables, both missing the machines. Three different people checked while I was in the room.

And this, which the boys and I both loved, but forty dollars is too much for a disintegrating hunk of elk and even if it had been cheap, where exactly would we put it?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Picnic Socks

Yarn: Drops Fabel, Picnic

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

{I've Been Reading} I Know What You Bid Last Summer

I Know What You Bid Last Summer by Sherry Harris

Sarah Winston has her hands full between a sports equipment swap and the yard sale of a client who, instead of understanding how these things usually work, wants hers to be an absolute event. Then  Sarah is attacked and the school superintendent is found dead in the gymnasium.... There's a lot going on in the latest Garage Sale Mystery and Sherry Harris manages to tie it all together with a satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed this one.

The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder

After an embarrassing stint on a reality baking show, Hope Early is through with reality television and has been making her living as a food blogger. When a local woman is found murdered and her sister becomes a suspect, Hope adds sleuthing to her list of daily activities. I love cooking shows and  was hoping the book would tell us more about Hope's experiences on one, but it seems that she's left that part of her life least in this book. They kept calling her, so maybe it'll be an element in a future title. The glimpses into Hope's life were interesting, but I didn't find myself pulled into the mystery.

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


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