Tuesday, January 31, 2017

{Thrift Shop Temptations} I Went Back

All week, I kept thinking about those stitchery kits. They were gone when I stopped by again on the way to coding camp, but I did find these two. The one with the barn was pretty -- and came with an extra tacky frame -- but it wasn't priced. I wound up buying the sunset because, of all the stitchery kits I've seen over the past two weeks, this one has colors most likely to be found in nature. And the needle wasn't rusted to the fabric. 

The stitchery kits were gone, but the crepe maker was still there and it had been marked down to half price. That outlet for testing small appliances, the one I've  used in the past for sewing machines...it's okay to plug in the crepe maker and see if it gets hot, right? There aren't any directions, but between the recipe on the dipping pan and some pictures on the box, I'm hoping I can figure it out. 

Just look at the sewing chair I found, complete with storage under the seat. 

With that Bicentennial print, it would go with the lamp we found a few months back. Just not at my house.  I hope the right buyer finds it.

The nifty chair was sitting next to this sewing stool. I was almost tempted, but I have no idea where I'd put it. I will not go back for it next week. The price was right and I'm sure it's already found a good home.

Besides, I spent my thrifting budget for the week on a crepe maker!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Goose on the Loose

Back when we were all excited about making cheddar bow ties, I read a post by someone who was using green for the background. The idea was so appealing that I bought some solid  fabric with the intention of making a second quilt. 

Then I saw the Goose on the Loose block at Alamasa Quilter. It's supposed to be part of a sampler, but I'm picturing an entire quilt made from this block. 

Goose on the Loose

I've been cutting the center pieces from the same strips I'm using for my scrappy sixteen-patch. If I stick with the measurements I've got planned, it will take five hundred of them. Sounds hard, but I've already got at least a hundred pressed and trimmed. With the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers, they're not bad at all. It also helps that I don't panic if I lose a point here and there.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Estate Sale Zippers, Buttons, and Food Coloring

One of these days, I'll have enough pictures of amazing estate sale couches for a whole post of them. I had to see this one in person, too. Way out of my price range, completely unsuited for my life, but gosh it's pretty! The ad also showed four different treadle sewing machines, which I thought was promising. 

The furniture and sewing machines were way too pricey (not that I'm in the market for either) but I did come home with all of this. Zippers and buttons and two replacements for my broken 6x24" ruler. And food coloring for science projects. It doesn't seem like I should use estate sale food coloring for actual food.

Want to see me sort through it all?

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 1/4 yard
Fabric used year to date: 1/2 yard
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 0
Net used for 2017: 1/2 yard

Yarn used this Week:  0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 700 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 0 yards
Net used for 2017: 700 yards

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Why it Takes Four Hours to Watch a 58 Minute Video...

Sometimes it takes us four hours to watch a fifty-eight minute video. And sometimes that's the best possible way to watch one.

On Thursday, my youngest son saw a picture of a stained glass window and wanted to know why when he saw that type of window it was always in a church so I did my best to explain how the windows were used to explain the stories of the Bible back in the days when most people couldn't read. And then we found a documentary because I can only rattle off so much art history without looking things up and, although I know exactly where to find the stained glass explanations in our packaged curriculum, I thought a video would be better.

It was. In addition to learning why the windows are there, we got to see reproduction glass being made and learn about the restoration process and how much of it involves fixing earlier "fixes."  Along the way, we paused the movie to  discuss Gutenberg and how stained glass was around long before oil paints and whether or not they should be taking the windows apart and putting them back together or they should leave them the way they were and looked at pictures of the Sistine Chapel before and after its restoration. And that's what I love best about homeschooling. We have time to explore rabbit trails and stop to look things up.

Today we're talking about Mitochondrial Eve. I'll definitely need a documentary to explain that one!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/27/17}

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, January 26, 2017


Back in November, I sewed together a bunch of 1 1/2" strips. The plan was to use the resulting fabric for a new tote bag. I layered it with batting and quilted straight lines about a third of an inch apart and then ran it through the washer and dryer so that it would have that crinkly quality that I love about heavily quilted scrap quilts.

I spent hours on the piecing and even more hours on the quilting. I love the results I got. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the original plan and now I keep second-guessing myself. I know the approximate dimensions I want and that I want boxed corners and a lining. What I don't know is if I want a zipper across the top....or a zippered pocket inside....

This isn't the first time I've had a project completely worked out in my head and then forgotten the original plan.  And even though I'm pretty sure I've figured out what that plan was, I think I want to make some changes.

Do you take notes? Or wing it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

{Guest Post} Shibori: the Art of Japanese Indigo Tie-Dying by Larissa Reinhart

Shibori: the Art of Japanese Indigo Tie-Dying by Larissa Reinhart

I wanted to do a post about Japanese crafts, but you know what? There are so many, I had  to narrow it down to one. Crafts are so popular over here. Kids begin learning origami in preschool. There’s a plethora to choose from, from felting to amigurumi (crocheted animals) to kimono cloth dolls. I’m living in Nagoya where there are three huge traditional craft industries: glass making, pottery, and shibori: indigo tie-dying.

I thought I’d talk about Shibori because my artist heroine in the Cherry Tucker mystery series loves to DIY her clothing and accessories, from using puff paint to bedazzling to tie-dying. I think she’d get a kick out of Japanese tie-dying because it’s an amazing art form and still handcrafted today.

The little town of Arimatsu has been enveloped within the city of Nagoya but still retained a lot of traditional buildings. It was settled in the 1600s and part of the famous Tokaido road, linking Kyoto to Edo, the old and new capitols during the Shogun era. Arimatsu became famous for selling their dye-art towels to travelers and they’re still making fabrics for everything from kimonos to scarves today.

Shibori are traditionally dyed with indigo and still handcrafted. The various patterns come from different tying including: embroidery, pleating, looped binding, pole wrapping, rolled, and tying with thread (or a combination of these).

When my family visited Arimatsu, we let our daughters take a Shibori class. As you can see in the picture, there’s an ink that washes out showing the pattern they’ll use.

For the flower’s leaves, they were taught a simple running stitch: one thread per leaf that’s pulled tight, looped, and tied. This is called Nui Shibori.

The dots on the outside were pulled up, looped and tied with cotton thread, Kaneko Shibori. The Shibori craftsman can do this so well, it creates a tiny stippling effect.

To try this at home, you could use dressmaker’s chalk or a cloth pen to create your own pattern on white cotton cloth. Try the running stitch or the Kaneko-style tying.

Use one white cotton thread per shape.

Knot the end as you would normally for a running stitch and after stitching around the pattern(s), pull the thread until the material bunches. Wrap your thread tightly at the base three times, then wrap up to the top of the bunch (you’ll see in the picture it creates a kind of long, skinny spindle). Wrap the thread twice tightly at the top, then wrap back around to the base and twice more around the base. To knot, extend your middle and wring finger from the hand holding the cloth. Wrap the thread under and over the two fingers and then through. Pull tightly and do this once more.

For the dot effect, pinch and pull up a piece of material and follow the same pattern above: wrap three times at the bottom, around to the top, twice at the top, back to the base, twice around the base, and make the knots.

Remember to pull tightly as possible when doing this! Follow normal dying techniques using whatever dye you like.

Thanks for having me on, Michelle! It’s fun to share this traditional craft with your readers.

A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery and Maizie Albright Star Detective series. The sixth mystery, A Composition in Murder, releases November 15th and the Maizie Albright mystery debut, 15 Minutes, on January 24, 2017. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, now live in Nagoya, Japan, but they still call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode.
Visit her website and join her newsletter for more book news at http://smarturl.it/larissanewsletter and feel free to friend her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Social Media Links:

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#10days #findthewoman #getthejob #doNOTfallinlove

"Child star and hilarious hot mess Maizie Albright trades Hollywood for the backwoods of Georgia and pure delight ensues. Maizie’s my new favorite escape from reality.” 
— Gretchen Archer, USA Today bestselling author of the Davis Way Crime Caper series


When ex-teen star Maizie Albright returns to her Southern hometown of Black Pine, Georgia, she hoped to rid herself of Hollywood tabloid and reality show hell for a new career as a private investigator. Instead, Hollyweird follows her home. Maizie’s costar crushing, but now for her gumshoe boss. Her stage-monster mother still demands screen time. Her latest rival wants her kicked off the set, preferably back to a California prison.

By entangling herself in a missing person's case, she must reprise her most famous role. The job will demand a performance of a lifetime. But this time, the stakes are real and may prove deadly.

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Our New Schedule

I didn't plan it that way, but the boys are now taking two classes a week. There was a computer coding class that had already filled up twenty minutes after it was announced. We were on the waiting list, but I'd completely forgotten about it by the time I signed them up for Swim N Gym...at least until the 9pm email letting me know that there was space for my son and class started the following day. It's more extra running around than I'd planned on, but it's only a few weeks and between the two classes our route takes me past all of my favorite thrift shops. That'll work! 

Once your know how the shop is laid out, it really doesn't take long to poke your head in and see if there's anything exciting. (Unless you're shopping for clothes, which I'm not this week.) 

Pinterest is full of amazing dollhouses in old clock cases and this would be the absolute perfect clock for someone who knew what they were doing. Seventy-five bucks is, in my mind, too much to risk on a clock that might or might not work, so I was safe from temptation.

Vintage crewel kits for ninety-nine cents? Those were a lot more tempting. I talked myself out of it with a combination of "You've got too many other things you're not making progress on right now." and "Maybe those colors are just a little too vintage..." What really convinced me was looking at the back and seeing how badly the needles were rusted to the fabric.

I also convinced myself not to buy the fourteen  colors of polymer clay for two dollars. Because, as much as I want to play with it, I haven't made time to use the clay I've got already. And the colors weren't really appropriate for dollhouse food.

Has anyone got one of these? I really, really want to make crepes! But eight bucks seemed high for a thrift shop crepe maker. Maybe yellow tags will be marked down next week.... The more I look at this picture the more I think about those frozen ham and Swiss cheese crepe TV dinners I used to love and whether or not I could come up with my own version of them...

Teenage Son gets the credit for finding this magazine rack. It's the last thing I need, but I'm sure it would be the perfect touch for someone's knitting corner! I hope the right person stumbles across it.

What I did wind up buying were these three quilt patterns. I love those antique toy horses and the little cottages... and what if I want to make a Paul Bunyan quilt someday?

Did you find anything irresistible this week?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Be My Neighbor - Another Two Blocks

I've decided that this is the house where the creepy old lady lives... Some of the blocks don't inspire stories, but this one definitely does! I like that little attic room. 

Eight blocks down, eight more to go!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekly Stash Report -- Still Sewing

Every single day since my last post, I've done some sewing! Or at least some cutting and pressing.

Some days all I can carve out time for is cutting strips that I'd already cut for my project into half square triangles or rectangles, or pressing and trimming half square triangle units and flying geese. It feels like I'm cheating, but those are tasks that have to be done eventually and they're going to take just as much time no matter when I do them. Thirty minutes is thirty minutes, right?

I just need to make sure that I'm doing enough of the hard work (pulling out fabric and pressing and cutting it) to keep me supplied with stuff to do on the days I don't have the time to make a mess.

While I'm digging through the stash, I'm looking for the fabric to make this adorable little quilt:

I'm totally in love with that radio and telephone and tape dispenser!

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 1/4 yard
Fabric used year to date: 1/2 yard
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 0
Net used for 2017: 1/2 yard

Yarn used this Week:  400  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 700 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 0 yards
Net used for 2017: 700 yards

Saturday, January 21, 2017

{Yarn Along} Winter Night Socks

I'm doing my Yarn Along post a few days early this week, since I'll have a guest post from author Larissa Reinhart on Wednesday. She'll be showing you how to do Japanese tie-dye and there's a giveaway too, so make sure to check back then. 

The Winter Night socks are done.  I still wish they had the spectacular contrast that the Fall Night pair did. Other than that,  they're socks, I'll wear 'em, and they kept my fingers busy for a couple of weeks. Which was their intended purpose.

Not every pair is going to be my favorite.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

The house at One Folgate Street is an unusual property. The application for renting it is even more unusual, starting with the request to list every item you find essential to your life. Most applicants don't make it through the grueling application process, but Emma and Jane, two women who live in the house at different times, are both determined to make One Folgate Street their home.  That application is only the beginning. Life as a tenant comes with an incredibly restrictive set of rules. The idea of minimalism has always made me a bit uncomfortable and this book takes it, and the issue of privacy, to scary new levels.  I really loved this one. It alternates between two characters living in the same house at different times and once or twice I lost track of who was when...but in this case I think that was a deliberate move on the author's part. I definitely didn't see the ending coming. If you're looking for a domestic thriller that's a little bit different from all of the others, give this one a shot. You won't regret it!

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copies by the publisher. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to Patchwork Times, Yarn Along, Crazy Mom Quilts , Wrap up Friday  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/20/17}

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, January 19, 2017

Walls and a Floor and a Hutch

Look what I did! 

This kit has a million little parts and pieces, but that means that if I really mess one up, the room will probably be okay without it, right? As long as it's not the piano. That's the best part of the whole room.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

{Yarn Along} A Mystery Skein of Opal

Opal Sock Yarn

I've been wondering what this skein of sock yarn would do when I finally got around to casting on. The label was intact, but I couldn't figure out which part of it would give me the information I needed, beyond the fact that it's Opal. If I'm remembering right, this is one of the skeins I picked up for a buck at an estate sale back in 2009. If it's not from that estate sale, it's from the box my great-aunt gave to me and Teenage Daughter about the time we were moving down here. Either way, it's been in my stash for a long time and I'm happy to be knitting it up.

Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding

Bailey Carpenter has always been confident and determined. Until that night when, crouched in the bushes to gather  incriminating evidence against a deadbeat dad, she is brutally attacked from behind.  After her physical wounds begin to heal, she can barely bring herself to leave her condo. Every man she comes into contact with is a potential suspect. The police have no physical evidence and are making no progress towards finding her rapist. She lives in constant fear, barely to separate nightmares from the actual events of her day. As her condition deteriorates, her half-sister and niece move in with her. Watching Bailey unravel and lose control of her own life  is sad and unsettling. Her reality-television niece is way too curious about the attack and watches 1000 Ways to Die constantly. (I saw two minutes of that show once and apparently just the mention of it is still enough to make me uncomfortable.) Someone is Watching is one of the most intense thrillers I've read in a long time, and one of the gloomiest, but it's also one of the best, especially the ending.

Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz.

When a client's fiance is found electrocuted in his home laboratory, Maggie is determined to help the professor clear his name. There's no shortage of suspects or motives -- a lot of people are after Lincoln Sinclair's property and whoever was responsible for the murder doesn't seem likely to stop with only one victim. I absolutely loved the first Maggie McDonald mystery, but this book is missing the strong focus on Maggie's family that drew me to the series in the first place.

Disclosure -- I got Someone is Watching from the library. I was provided with an advance review copy of Scheduled to Death by the publisher. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to Patchwork Times, Yarn Along, Crazy Mom Quilts , Wrap up Friday  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Wrong Schoolhouse Block

I've had this block pinned up over my sewing machine since I made it in August. I was just playing with fabric at the time and didn't really plan to make the entire quilt. So I'd been thinking about finishing it into a little zipper bag, then telling myself I'd  regret that if I decided to go ahead with the full quilt...

I can always make another block if I change my mind, but I don't expect that to happen. It turns out that the block I've been wanting to make wasn't incredibly easy. What I made was the wrong block...

To make the house quilt I want, I'll have to play with templates. But I can do that. Someday. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Most Challenging Part of the Project...

Look! There are almost twice as many blocks as there were the last time I showed you my progress...

Originally, my plan was to make this a 60" square lap quilt, but I'm having fun and I definitely have the scraps to make it bigger and having a queen or larger quilt for our bed would be a good thing.

I can quilt it on the long arm, so that's not a major obstacle. But even in the temporarily empty bedroom, I'm not going to have space to lay it out once it gets much bigger. I can rearrange the few pieces of furniture, but that'll only gain a little space and sooner or later Teenage Son is going to get around to moving his stuff.

Would it be a bad idea to piece the smaller blocks into nine-patches to make it easier to deal with? Or will take make me unhappy with the way the colors ultimately land?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weekly Stash Report

I've kept the table around my sewing machine cleared off and done my thirty minutes of sewing all but two days so far this month. .

The first day I missed was my husband's day off. No guilt about that one at all.

The second...well, that was my fault. I'd planned on getting my thirty minutes in before the kids and I left the house for the first Swim N Gym session, but I got myself distracted worrying about road conditions and the fact that I was about to meet a bunch of new people in my bathing suit. It's policy that kids who haven't passed the deep water swim test have to have a parent in the pool with them until they do, so I got to stand around holding my breath that they'd get their magic blue wrist bands. Both passed (apparently the criteria is more along the lines of "don't drown" than actually doing the strokes perfectly), so I get to keep my clothes on for the next nine weeks.  And their technique is already improving, which is why we're at the pool in the first place.  I should have had time to sew when we got home, but there was another complication at the pharmacy. I've spent more three hours there in the past two weeks, waiting for prescriptions that should have been filled and waiting. (It's the insurance company and doctor's office at fault, so changing pharmacies wouldn't fix the problem.) By the time we finally got home, I had just enough minutes left in my afternoon to get dinner thrown together.

Twelve days out of fourteen, though? That's more sewing than I've done in ages. I don't have any fabric usage to report (that thimble project bag didn't use enough to count), but I'm making progress on bigger things.

Did you see that the Row By Row theme for 2017 has been announced? It's Row By Row on the Go. There's a quilt layout on their site that I really like, using six vertical and six horizontal rows. I thnk that may be the motivation I need to pull out all of the patterns we collected last summer and make some decisions.  There's also a pillow sham using one row. I'm thinking either the quilt or the sham would be perfect for the bed in the trailer. Have the rest of your been making more progress than I am?

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yard
Fabric used year to date: 1/4 yard
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 0
Net used for 2017: 1/4 yard

Yarn used this Week:  0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 300 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 0 yards
Net used for 2017: 300 yards

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Let's Go Camping! (Or at Least Make Cute Toys and Pretend We're Camping)

I've had Let's Go Camping! by Kate Bruning in my Amazon cart since before Christmas. The only thing holding me back is that I still haven't learned to crochet. 

After finding the book at the local library and looking through all of the projects I'm now convinced that this is one of those books I should buy right now. The projects are absolutely adorable. I've already got lots of scraps of yarn...and a crochet hook or two...and some Playmobil  people that may or may not still have their heads and limbs.

Did I mention that the projects are sized for Playmobil people?!

I'm in love with quilted campers and crocheted campers and embroidered campers... Basically all of the cute little campers. This one flips open and is completely furnished.

The little lake play mat would have been my favorite childhood toy. I can't tell you how much time my sister and I spent using either the step of the sunken living room or the division between the hallway carpet and family room carpet as the difference between "island" and "land." (That's how you play with the Barbie boat and van and have the whole thing make sense.)

The canal boat is also fully furnished and has a wood stove with little orange flames. And life preservers! There are so many cute accessories here. I don't have any little people to make them for, but I'd be happy enough to have them for myself.

I found the author's blog, Greedy for Colour, and now I'm happily following. It has all kinds of cute tutorials that don't look too intimidating.


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