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.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Plan for This Week

The plan for this week is to work on existing projects that don't require a lot of focus or counting -- the new black shawl, the Woodsie socks, and another not-so-secret bauble.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Stitch Maynia

There's this fun thing called Stitch Maynia, and a Facebook group that goes along with it. The idea is that you start fifteen new projects in the first fifteen days of May...or a new project for every day of the entire month...or work monogamously on one project the whole time. Every stitcher sets their own rules and it's been a lot of fun to watch over the past month.

I'm a slow stitcher and love huge projects and don't have a lot of extra time right now, so it seemed like a bad idea for me to actually participate. What I did do was make a list of things I'm excited to start and then prune it down to thirty. That meant crossing some off, but I wound up with a list of the thirty patterns and kits I'm most excited about.

And then later that day I stopped by Goodwill and bought a new-to-me kit that immediately went to the top of the list.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Out in the Yard

I moved my busted up ceramic squirrels to a different tree because their previous home is about to become firewood. 

Grandma's ladle of succulents is still thriving and even has a few more plants than it did when I rescued it from her garden before the house sold.

And the birdcage my son made years ago with his great-grandfather is slowly growing more and more rustic.

I also got a new-to-me phone with a much better camera that I'm learning how to use...

Friday, May 25, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/25/18}

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 24, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Mother's Day Thrifting

My daughter wanted to take me out to lunch for Mother's Day and, through a wonderful series of events, we got to to go up to Portland and spend the entire day all by ourselves digging around in the outlet bins and wandering through Ikea and playing with fancy bath bombs at Lush. We'd planned to stay out all day, because it was a special occasion, and I wound up getting home even later than intended. 

It was a very long, very fun day.

Have I told you that I'm fascinated with toy sewing machines? I was really tempted to bring this one home because it was in its original box with all of the wonderful vintage graphics and completely unrealistic promises of things its young owner would make. Not that I think the girl pictured couldn't make them...I'm just wondering if it could happen with this machine.  

Mattel Sew Perfect Sewing Machine

It was that Sew Perfect Cassette that made me put it back, which is stupid because I wasn't going to sew with it anyway....but if it didn't have the cassette it wouldn't look like a sewing machine...
Mattel Sew Perfect Sewing Machine Original Box
I love this little painted stove (for decoration, not the potential carbon monoxide poisoning) but the price was sky high.

They also had half a dozen Bicentennial coin banks, still in their original cardboard boxes. Maybe someone finally gave up on their potential value as collectibles? I wound up with a coonskin cap for one of the boys (after calling home to confirm that he really did want to wear a real dead raccoon on his head) and a vintage craft book.

The Goodwill Outlet is unpredictable, but the Portland locations are always better then the Salem one. If you're not familiar with the bins, most items are priced by the pound. The first twenty-five pounds are two-something each. More than that is a dollar twenty nine, so on a good day, you wind up in an odd limbo where buying more stuff costs you less. That stupid limbo is where I wind up making bad decisions.

But before we get to those, let me show you what there was to be tempted by. This was my second vintage margarine tub of the day (guessing they came from the same old lady) and I was tickled pink that it actually had the tight yarn curls still inside. My Instagram feed makes me want things like this, but my daughter talked me out of it and  that's probably for the best.

There were stitches to be saved, but I didn't grab this one.

Or this one, which was the first dumb decision of the day. At the last minute, we had to add five pounds to save eight dollars. It's not my taste, but I could have picked it up for free and handed it over to a friend who resells things like this.

This one did come home with me because  it's needlepoint and pretty and I'm not making that mistake again. It's not in the back of my car, though, so I'm hoping it got mixed in with my daughter's haul and not stolen from our cart.

There was also a gorgeous cross stitched tablecloth with red dragons that my daughter happily snatched up to re-purpose as a birdcage cover. And another little toy sewing machine....which I could have thrown into our money saving limbo but didn't because I'd forgotten about it by then.

If you think you might want it, put it in your cart then and there -- and remember to take it out again if you don't need the extra pounds! I should know this by now.

I want to save all of the antique baby pictures and this one was only seven dollars, but the frame was made from some sort of pressed material and absolutely crumbling at the edges and she'd take up a ton of wall space.... but those eyes!

These three did follow me home because they were little and inexpensive and completely and totally captured my imagination. The cabin and campfire absolutely need to live in my old farmhouse with me. The mountains might...or I might need to reuse their frame for a reproduction sampler.

We also bought a whole lot of clothes, but I'm assuming you don't care to see my new-to-me Hawaii t-shirts.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wailea Shawl

I am completely and totally smitten with my Wailea Shawl...

 Pattern: Wailea Shawl
Yarn: Knitpicks Hawthorne, Forest Park 

This is the first complex shawl I've knit in a while, and the first one that I couldn't get away without blocking. (For my non-knitting readers, blocking is when you get the finished shawl wet and then stretch it out so that the stitches are more defined. It's what transformed that shapeless lump I've been showing you for the last few weeks into an actual shawl.)

The pattern is free from the Crystal Palace Yarns website and was an absolute dream to follow. As much as I prefer charted patterns, this shawl made dealing with the written instructions worth it.

The yarn is Knitpicks Hawthorne in Forest Park. I used two skeins and added an extra ten rows of the bottom lace pattern so as little as possible would go to waste.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Smart Bees and Dumb Bees

I hadn't realized how much I missed having bees to watch. I'd also forgotten how much I tend to worry about the bugs. The day after Hubby installed them into their hives, I left the house early in the morning. There wasn't a bee to be seen, which had me worried for half the day. I swear the other hives used to get an earlier start.

One hive seems to have lots of bees coming and going. The other doesn't. I didn't realize what was going on until Hubby pointed it out. The bees in the less busy looking hive are zipping in and out of their entrance.  The bees who look like they're being more productive are milling around trying to figure out how to get back inside...or maybe there's a purpose to their dawdling, but it sure looks like they don't know where to go.

A post shared by Michelle Marr (@romantictangle) on

I'd love to sit outside and knit by the hive, but I've been warned that bees don't like wool. Standing close enough to the hive to take this picture was probably enough recklessness for one day.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Dollhouse Roof

I haven't had a lot of stitching time over the past week, but I did manage to get the roof started. The dollhouse is going much more quickly than I expected, but after that there's the quilt...and the curtains...with all of their shading of white and near white. Those will take time.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Purse or Project Bag?

For way too long, I was carrying a purse that I hated. I can't tell you when or why I switched to that particular purse, or what I was using in the months before that, but Grandma's black purse was a bad choice. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with it as a purse, but for me it wasn't functional. I kept telling myself to move my stuff into another bag --I've got plenty of them-- and donate the black one to the thrift shop. It's a brand name and maybe someone who isn't me will like it better. 

I think I was waiting until I'd sewed the perfect bag to replace my worn out circus bag,  which wasn't happening. I still need to sew myself something for travelling this summer -- the goals of a long strap, a secure zipper, and the lightest purse possible still apply -- but for running around town I've suddenly got the perfect bag. 

I bought it by accident at the Goodwill Outlet when my daughter and I went up there a few months ago. We were looking at bags and I put this one in the cart to think about, then got distracted by quilt shop fabric hiding in a bin full of baby clothes and didn't realize I'd bought it until we got out to the car and divided up our stuff.

This was the best accidental purchase! It's got three different outside pockets for my keys and phone. The top zips completely shut so nothing will fall out when it gets tossed into the car...

And look what I can carry in it....

My planner, my 11" Q-snaps, my knitting, my wallet. I very rarely haul all of this around with me unless I'm going up to my stitching group, but on a day to day basis I'm no longer carrying the black purse and my Nancy Drew bag.

Aren't cheap thrift store purses the absolute best? Or is that just me?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Robert Capes Creative Needlepoint Flip Through

If you've been following my recent posts, you'll know that I'm absolutely hooked on vintage crewel kits and some of the newer embroidery pieces in my Instagram feed. There's gorgeous stuff out there and I want to learn how to do it.

I picked up a copy of Robert Capes Creative Needlepoint - inspirational ideas and techniques for creating original designs at the thrift shop last week. I don't think it's actually intended to be a pattern book, but I love the way it's set up. Most of the projects are reproduced as numbered line drawings, like a paint-by-number. Then there are several pages of text, explaining what stitches and techniques were used in each of those numbered spaces. That's a lot more instruction than comes with my thrifted crewel kits!

I haven't read it from cover to cover yet, but definitely will.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/18/18}

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 17, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} The Video Games from 1982

Another thing to add to the list of things I've never seen at a thrift shop before -- a fancy leather cover "For Your TV Guide" 

I can vividly imagine the family room that might have spent years in. It's got a woodstove and cedar shakes on one wall. And it might be in the same house that had these...

I always love fireplaces with cooking going on, and the kerosene lamp and clock made it even better. They were molded plastic and had depth to them and I'm lucky something else distracted me or they might've followed me home.

When I was about ten, we had an Intellivision. Everyone else I knew had an Atari, but my parents owned an appliance store and Intellivision was what they sold because it was, in someone's opinion, better. My early childhood gaming days were spent playing games no one's ever heard of and when I was in my early twenties I got rid of the console because Super Nintendo had just come out and no one was ever going to play games like these again.

So of course I went on to have three sons who are all super into retro gaming and I've been kicking myself ever since. I hadn't thought of these particular games in years, but as soon as I saw the Night Stalker box I could hear those flapping bats. With a dozen games it seemed like there had to be a console, so we searched the entire store until we found it.

I suppose it's a good thing they wanted eighty bucks, because that was way out of my budget for something that might or might not work.

I looked it up when we got home. Night Stalker has bats, but they don't make noise. The flapping bats are in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and it's probably a good thing they didn't have that one, because it might've been too much temptation to resist.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Black Shawl

Casting on new projects is supposed to be fun, right? After so many weeks working on my last shawl, I've been kind of at a loss. I knew what I wanted to start next, but it's going to be a busy couple of weeks without much time to focus on charts and intricate patterns and nothing in my queue looks simple. 

So I'm  casting on for a shawl just like the one I made my daughter back in January. It looks like this yarn might stripe. If it does, I'll switch the garter stitch and lace pattern when the color changes. If it doesn't, I'll figure out a new plan. 

And next time I'll remember to start a new project before finishing what I'm currently working on. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Not Very Secret Christmas Baubles

There was Anchor variegated floss in that box I found last week... and Audrey was talking about how she used variegated floss to stitch a bauble for Mr. XStitch's (Not Very) Top Secret Xmas Xstitch Bauble Project... and bandwagons can be fun to jump onto....

So I stitched a bauble. I'm not fond of the colors, but this will be one of hundreds and I'm telling myself that it'll be like a scrap quilt where sometimes the ugly blocks make the prettier ones look even better.

I stitched the contrasting center portion first, then the outline of the circle. After that, I could pick up the project and work on it whenever I had time to add a few stitches. I worked each orange peel shaped bit from the outside in, which made the colors kind of swirl. There's a different plan for the next one...and the way my schedule looks this week, there definitely should be a next one!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bee Day

Remember how we spent our week scrambling to get the hives ready and then I found out the night before I was supposed to pick them up that the bees themselves wren't ready? I got lucky. 

These are nucs. We've always bought our bees in packages, which are a completely different thing. You can see those in this post. I've ridden with four kids and five hives worth of bees in the back of the minivan with no problem...and I told the guy we were going to drive the van and he said that there wouldn't be a problem.

See those little cardboard holes? The bees were already chewing their way out when we loaded them into the truck. Twenty or so bees in the covered bed of a pickup isn't a crisis. Twenty or so bees in the van would have been a lot more dramatic.

We got both nucs installed into the hives without any trouble or stings, even though I was standing way too close and not wearing a bee suit, but bee day can never go easily. One hive has two queens and two definitely aren't better than one. They'll fight to the death (that's how bees work) and hopefully they don't both die.

Maybe there's no such thing as a drama free hive?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Summer Sock Knitting

My main knitting focus is still on the shawls, so I'm not doing the quarterly sock yarn samplers right now. I filled up my little vintage train case in February and, over the course of three months I knit two pairs from that yarn.  

Summer is just around the corner and I know I'm going to want something easy to knit in the car and at the bowling alley and by the river... so I did some sorting and digging and planning and now my little case is so full I have to lean on it to fasten the clasps.  

There's some stuff here that was always intended for car knitting, and some partial skeins for contrasting heels and toes, and no real plan at all. I'll pull from it whenever I'm ready to cast on a new pair. Depending on how that goes, there may or may not be before and after pictures.

I honestly don't expect to make much of a dent before fall because I've got shawls planned.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

I Think I Know What to Make For Dinner

A few weeks ago, the boys and I were at the thrift shop and I was irresistibly drawn to this plastic box of recipe cards. It's the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library (published in 1971) and I am smitten. 

I've been in a complete and total rut when it comes to dinner ideas. Years and years ago, my husband suggested opening the cookbook at random and picking a recipe to make for dinner. Now that I've reminded him of that and started actually doing it, he might be regretting the idea.

Instead of choosing at random, which would not end well, I went through the box and picked half a dozen things that looked like they had potential.

So far, we've had Salmon Noodles Romanoff, which were mediocre at best, Chicken Fricassee With Dumplings, which was pretty darn good with the substitution of a Costco rotisserie chicken, and Oven Porcupines, which kind of bewildered my husband and sons. I got some validation at an estate sale a few days later when Hubby opened and old cookbook and the first recipe he turned to was for Oven Porcupines. They're a legitimate thing!

The Toasty Cheese Bake was awful. Imagine French toast with hamburger and cheddar cheese layered in. Its a bit worse than it sounds. My oldest son has a plan for making it into something tasty. I'll let you know if that works out.

For five bucks, this thing was a great investment. I saw an identical one at a garage sale last weekend for a dollar, but I'm not beating myself up over that. I also saw just the cards in a bag at Goodwill for the same amount I paid. Despite the prices I just saw on Etsy and Amazon,  these are out there and they're inexpensive.

I love that there's no coconut oil, or kale, or quinoa... These meals call for stuff I've got in my kitchen and the ones I've chosen so far have been surprisingly inexpensive to make.

And I love that this thing was doing Pinteret before Pinterest was a thing. Look....there's knitting in this one!

At that estate sale I posted about a couple of days ago, I found a different boxed set of cards, The McCalls Great American Recipe Card Collection, and a huge armload of recipe books and I think I pulled a muscle hauling them down the street to the car.

My future looks like it's going to be filled with fun dinner time experiments. If you had one of these sets, are there any recommendations of  things to try or avoid?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/11/18}

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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