Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beware of Owls!

I wanted something quick  and fun to knit, so I cast on the free Owl Ornaments pattern from Ravelry. Very quick, very fun, and there are a bunch of different options, so I may knit another one or two for our Christmas tree.  A scrap of Red Heart Supersaver and two buttons from Grandma....I think finding two matching white buttons without spreading out the entire contents of the jar was the hardest part of the whole project!

The city of Salem has installed angry owl warning signs in Bush Park because an owl was attacking joggers. Makes me glad that our little friend just knocked on the dining room window at night. (He has, happily, stopped doing that. I was afraid the poor little guy was going to knock himself silly!)

This post is linked to Finish it Up Friday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

{Yarn Along} Leftover Socks

With all of the socks I've been knitting over the past couple of years, I've got plenty of leftover bits of yarn. Not enough of any one colorway for an adult pair...and I don't have any little feet to knit for... But these two looked like they'd play decently together. 

That's the leftover yarn from my Mellow Stripe Socks and my Lemon Drop Socks. I thought it would be the yellow that pulled the two yarns together, but it's actually the green that makes it look like I didn't grab two skeins at complete random. They're not matchy-matchy perfect, but they work.

Antiques Swap by Barbara Allan is the first Trash 'n' Treasures Mystery I've read and it was so much fun that I've already got the first two books in the series sitting here and ready to read. The murder mystery is intriguing and kept me guessing, but it's Brandy and her mom and their writing style that kept me turning pages. Because they're writing the book and making sure that the reader knows exactly how to get caught up. If they refer to a previous event, they let you know which book it happened in. So even though I jumped in with the tenth book, I wasn't feeling lost, just eager to backtrack and read the rest of the series.

When a man inherits a house from a cousin and finds a dead rat under the refrigerator with a note in its mouth, that sets him off following a creepy game of puzzles and hidden clues, wondering the whole time whether his cousin set it all up before his suicide, or if there's something more sinister going on. Mortom by Erik Therme pulled in in quickly and kept me reading, but it's just an average thriller.

For more pretty knitting projects to drool over, check out On the Needles at Patchwork Times.

  Disclosure - The publishers provided me with ARCs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

This is Why We Save Things

I am so glad that I don't come from a family of minimalists, people who throw away everything that doesn't have a definite immediate purpose. If we were like that, I wouldn't have had the fun of dressing Teenage Daughter up in her great-grandmother's wedding dress. 

Just look at that kick pleat!

I wish we could have taken this picture last year, or the year before, so that Grandma could have seen her, but I didn't know the dress existed until Mom pulled it out of a drawer and then happened to glance at the picture hanging on the wall. (Now that I do know it exists, I'm halfway convinced I would have worn it for my own wedding!)

We also took pictures of Alex in my mother's wedding dress. (She says it's too short for me to post pictures of, and I suppose I should be a good mom and honor her wishes, but think Daphne from Scooby Doo in that pale mint that would make a perfect dress for Queen Elsa. It is the cutest thing ever on my eighteen-year-old, even if I can't figure out how that was appropriate for a church wedding.)  And in the near future, I want to  get out my own dress and take pictures of her in that one, too.

Because who has pictures in her mother's, grandmother's and great-grandmother's wedding dresses?

This post is linked to Share Your Cup,

Monday, April 27, 2015

Procrastination and Wheel Spokes

I love this kitten and her bicycle and I really want her in my Garden Party Quilt, but something about those wheel spokes was intimidating. I got the black part of the tires partially done, then it sat untouched for almost a month.

I can't abandon the whole project over a few wheel spokes, can I? But I couldn't convince myself to work on it, not even fifteen minutes at a time. For the moment, I'm ignoring the wheels and working on the cat. Maybe if I get everything else done, I'll be able to force myself to finish the wheels and chain.

Either that, or I'm going to start another block!

This post is linked to Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Day at the Quilt Show

Mom and I spent Thursday at the quilt show in Rickreall. Except for Sisters, I haven't been to a quilt show in years. The last time I made it to this one was in 2009 -- and when I wrote about it, I said that my quilt show days were probably numbered

This year, I left the kids at home -- one of the perks of having a responsible older teenager. While she's still living at home, I'm going to enjoy the stolen moments of freedom.

The quilts were gorgeous. I've got a stronger urge than ever to make Calendula Patterdrip's Cottage, but I really can't justify starting another witch quilt, or Crabapple Hill quilt, until I at least finish stitching the blocks for Hocuspocusville

And I came home with some fabric. This panel is from the Princess on a Pea Around the World collection by Denyse Klette and I just can't get over the colors. 

Look at the lanterns!

And the mason jar full of fireflies....

I'm not sure how I'm going to turn this one into a quilt. This panel, which has six old sewing machines all surrounded by wonderful notions and sewing goodies knows exactly what it wants to be when it gets sewn together.

Weekly Stash Report 

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 2 1/2 yards
Added this Week: 5 yards
Added Year to Date: 41 yards
Net Added for 2015: 38 1/2 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 400 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 2800 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 2065 yards
Net Used for 2015:  735 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cabin Lessons: A Nail-by-Nail Tale

I enjoy reading memoirs because I usually seem to learn something interesting. Cabin Lessons: A Nail-by-Nail Tale: Building Our Dream Cottage from 2x4s, Blisters, and Love by Spike Carlsen taught me about vacation homes near the Great Lakes, building codes, and small cabin design. Even though I never plan on building a vacation cabin or relocating to that part of the country, I found it all interesting. The author's enthusiasm is contagious. His love for his wife and their shared passion for Oma Tupa, Oma Lupa (the name they choose for their home away from home) is contagious.

Disclosure - The publisher provided me with an ARC.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/24/15}

Sheila from Sew Cook and Travel took four messed up Pineapple Blossom blocks and made them into the center of this baby quilt. Can you believe that something this cute was an accident?

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, April 23, 2015

Yarn Over Cable Socks

This is another pair that will be going to Teenage Daughter because, even though I knew better, I didn't increase for the leg. That stitch pattern isn't really a cable, but it's enough to pull in the fabric and make it too tight for my leg. 

I really like the yarn (I think it's Opal, but the label was long gone by the time I cast on)  and its extra-subtle striping. The stitch pattern hides in those striped a bit, but it's a lot more fun to look at than plain stockinette. It was just challenging enough to keep things interesting, but not so hard to keep track of that I can't do it in a room full of talking family members.

This post is linked to Finish it up Friday.

Thrift Store (almost) Temptations...

Teenage Daughter needs the perfect pair of shoes for a costume, so we've been stopping at all of the thrift stores. Three pairs of shoes and a glorious coat full length black coat later, she's still looking.

Did you realize that the Goodwill Outlet sells shoes by the pound, and that there are plenty of cute pairs to be found if you're a size 8 1/2?

While my girl tried on shoes, I wandered and tried not to look at anything I'd want to buy for myself.

I could see myself rescuing this poor baby. It was in such sad shape, missing all of the knobs and buttons, but it was only ten bucks and I've never seen anything like it at the bins. Someone who isn't me will find it and do something wonderful, I'm sure. And one of these days, Hubby and I will decide what to do with the old radio we've got out in the barn.

I've never  seen a bar like this at the bins -- or anyplace else for that matter. My father's parents had a bar down in their basement, with a mirror and shelves. As a kid, it's existence baffled me. Now, it baffles me even more and I wish there were pictures.

This one was only fifteen bucks -- and that's a turntable and an 8-track tape player hidden in the back. I've got faith that someone will rescue it and do something Pinterest worthy.

If you know what these bars were actually called, please let me go. I'm trying to find pictures of something like the one Grandma and Grandpa had, but I must be using the wrong terminology.

This post is linked to Fabulous Friday, Treasure Hunt Thursday, Share Your Cup

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

{Yarn Along} My Constant Companion

My Constant Companion, a bag from the book Knitter's Stash, was one of the first knitting patterns I fell in love with. Later, I saw a shop sample somewhere and fell even more head-over-heels....And then I made a whole bunch of other things and forgot about it. This week, I finally cast on. I don't have enough yarn to do it as written, so I scaled it down a bit and have my fingers crossed.

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy is one of those creepy books about a family who moves to an isolated small town, hoping for a better life. The wife is struggling with her own emotions. The oldest boy spends hours wandering through the forest that surrounds the mansion that his parents are working to convert into an inn. And the father is working on a book based in part on the historical documents he found in the basement.  Those are a whole bunch of familiar elements, but in this book they all work, without sounding like every other book I've read about a family moving to a small town where the traditions are just a little strange.

The Lie by C. L. Taylor tells the story of Jane Hughes, a woman who works at an animal sanctuary and of Emma Woolfe, a young woman on a dream vacation with her best friends. Jane and Emma are the same woman and this is the story of how she survived that nightmarish trip, which took the lives of two other women, and became Jane. The chapters alternate between the retreat in Nepal and Jane's life in the present where she's just become aware that someone knows her secret. I enjoyed the book, but I was hoping for more. The most chilling scene had nothing to do with either storyline.

For more pretty knitting projects to drool over, check out On the Needles at Patchwork Times.

  Disclosure - The publishers provided me with ARCs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Question For My Left-Handed Readers

I'm left-handed. These days, I don't think about it much. Or didn't, until we realized that our youngest son is also left-handed. Then I started to notice the comments that I get when I write something in public -- and to wonder how on Earth complete strangers can think it's appropriate to say things along the lines of "Oh, you're left handed!  That's weird." Someone actually told me last year that I write "like a dyslexic Hebrew."  How did that even come out of his mouth?  

I cut with right-handed scissors because in public school classrooms, that's all that was ever available. (My mother bought a left-handed pair every year and labeled them, but they were never in the communal scissors rack.) Not having to always have a special pair has made life easier for me. And it kept me from getting fired from a job after my new employer saw me writing with my left hand and decided that I wouldn't be able to use her tools. 

I knit the standard way and use my rotary cutter in whichever hand is in the best position to make the cut. 

I'm hoping my son will be able to to do the same.

So if you're left-handed, I'm curious -- how do you do things? I just read a library book about raising a left-handed child and if I wasn't left-handed myself, it would have terrified me. Who knew that there were so many specialized tools and appliances? 

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Toys for Mommy

I've had this striped sheet in my stash for a while now. The original plan when it was given to me was to applique some dish towels for our own travel trailer. That thin blue and white stripe reminds me of the corrugated sides of some trailers.  But camping wasn't in our forseeable future, so I lost enthusiasm for that project.

Then I saw this little car and trailer pattern in Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love. I can just picture a striped trailer with a little red station wagon. The instructions are confusing me a bit, especially when it comes to the optional contrast fabric and things aren't spelled out, but I should be clever enough to figure them out, right?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Because I'll Be Knitting More Socks

I spent my birthday money on books and sock yarn and I've been haunting our post office box ever since, waiting for this to show up.  I've never ordered a yarn from Knitpicks that I didn't love one it got here, but I really wanted to hold this stuff in my hands. It's Stroll Tonal and it's gorgeous, just what I need to show off some of these intricate patterns I've been drooling over. 

I've got pretty yarn and I've got books full of lace socks and lace shawls and my knitting future is looking very happy.

Weekly Stash Report 

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 2 1/2 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 36 yards
Net Added for 2015: 33 1/2 yards

Yarn Used this Week:  0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 2400 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 1400 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 2065 yards
Net Used for 2015:  335 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Doodling -- This Time With Fabric and Thread

Fabric and thread looks much nicer than notebook paper and ballpoint pen, doesn't it? 

I think my next hurdle -- or the one beyond getting my curves and corners and shapes right -- will be adjusting my speed so I don't get these microscopic stitches.

Style Me Vintage: Home

Style Me Vintage: Home by Keeley Harris is a decade by decade guide to period home furnishings. I didn't realize at first that it was originally published in the United Kingdom, so some of the trends and styles are a bit different from what I'm familiar with.

Our house was build in 1920 and, while I'm not trying to make it what it was back then (I'm not even sure which rooms are original and which were added on later), I've been trying to get a feel for what it originally might have been and what it was through the years between then and now. This book gave me lots of great ideas.

Disclosure - the publisher provided me with an ARC.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/17/15}

Look at the adorable baby quilt that Terri from UFOs & UBIs made for her grand-niece from dressmaking scraps and bits of lace and trim. I'm seriously loving the lace between the blocks.

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, April 16, 2015

Felted Shampoo Bar

For the past couple of weeks, Teenage Daughter has been using a fancy shampoo bar she bought at Lush. So far she's liking it, but the bar has started to crumble a bit and she was looking for the best way  to make it last as long as possible.

One of the first projects I made after I started this blog was a felted bar of soap. For that one, I think I used roving, but it was easier to send her out to the sewing room to find me anything that would felt.

"Anything" turned out to be some black Lopi. (I think she was being careful not to pick anything important.

I slid my current project to the center of its long circular needle and used the end to make a garter stitch rectangle just big enough to encase the shampoo bar. I suppose I could have moved the tips to a shorter cable, but that didn't occur to me until I was typing this.

It's not the most photogenic project, but it'll do the job and my child is happy.

This post is linked to Tatertots and Jello, Finish it Up Friday, I Heart Naptime,

Estate Sale Temptations

One of the things I love about estate sales is the chance to re-buy lost bits of my childhood.....or the neat toys that friends had and that you always secretly envied. At this sale, I had my choice of the Fisher Price Tudor House, the Airport, the Parking Garage, the same barn I had as a kid, and Main Street.

I still haven't outgrown the original Little People, but resisting the temptation was easy enough.

The price made put this 50s era toy box in the "fun to look at but not for me" category. I'd never seen one like it, so I came home and Googled. It's made by Pearl Wick, the same company that made the wonderful old hamper in Teenage Daughter's room. (Thanks to Pinterest for helping me figure that out!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

{Guest Post} Quickie Bookmarks by Amanda Lee

Today I'm happy to have a guest post by Gayle Trent/Amanda Lee, author of Wicked Stitch, the latest book in the Embroidery Mystery Series. 

For most small-business owners in Tallulah Falls, the upcoming Renaissance Faire is a wonderful way to promote their specialty shops. For Marcy’s nemesis, Nellie, and her sister, Clara, it’s an opportunity to finally put Marcy and her shop, the Seven-Year Stitch, out of business. Apparently the sisters like to make grudges a family affair and have set up competing booths right next to Marcy’s at the Ren Faire.

When Clara is discovered dead in her own booth—strangled by the scarf she had almost finished knitting—Marcy becomes the prime suspect. Now she has to do whatever it takes to keep her reputation from unraveling—and get to the bottom of a most deadly yarn....

This is the second book I've read in the series and I was intrigued to see more of the conflict between Marcy and Nellie. (I'm going to have to go get the first book to  find out how it all started!) The Renaissance Faire provides an interesting backdrop to the murder and investigation, with lots of interest potential suspects wandering around. I'll definitely be reading more of the Embroidery Mysteries. 

Quickie Bookmarks
by Amanda Lee

Ooops! Your event (book signing, birthday party, school event) is tomorrow, and you haven’t got any takeaways. Run by your local craft store and get some bookmarks with a clear window at the top. The bookmarks I used open, so you can put your sticker or photograph between the two sides of the bookmark. 

Since I write the embroidery mystery series, I could have theoretically made some small cross-stitch or blackwork project (in keeping with the Renaissance Faire theme of Wicked Stitch) and secured that in place and made some really snazzy bookmarks. But, alas, we don’t have time. Stitching—even small projects—generally takes a bit more planning and time, and this post is for those times when you’ve forgotten something at the last minute. Not that I’ve ever done that, mind you. Not that I’ve ever gone by the grocery store on the way to drop the kiddies off at school because I forgot that the school bake sale or the party or the “snack” (since they’re only allowed so many “parties” per year) was that day! 

But, just in case something like that does ever happen to one of us, here is a quick and easy craft to help save the day.

So you have your bookmarks—check. Now we need full-sized (8 ½ x 11) white sticker pages. You can get these at the grocery store or at an office supply store. Then insert the photo you’d like to use on your bookmark. This can be a little tricky. The bookmark packaging will tell you the size of the opening, but then you have to make sure your photo is neither too big nor too small. I wound up making mine a bit larger than I should have, but I decided I’d rather sacrifice the author name and have the title and the rest of the book cover big enough for people to see it clearly. Besides, if I’m an author and am giving you a bookmark featuring a book, it’s a safe bet that I wrote the book.

Finally, use another sheet of the full-size sticker paper to make a tag line for the bookmark. Look at all that prime real estate in the almost-finished photo above just going to waste! I added the tag line: Murderers can be crafty! And I finished up with my website address. Now anyone with one of these bookmarks can get a general idea what the book is about and where to find more information about it online.

If the event for which you need a bookmark is a school book fair or a child’s birthday party, simply tailor your design to suit the occasion. 

Happy crafting!

Gayle Trent (writing as Amanda Lee) writes the embroidery mystery series. Gayle/Amanda lives in Virginia when she’s not inhabiting the fictional world of Tallulah Falls. You can  find her online at 

This post is part of the author's blog tour with Great Escapes Book Tours and there's a giveaway for copies of Wicked Stitch that you can enter by heading over to the Rafflecopter Giveaway.


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