Sunday, September 30, 2018

Staying Home

It's a good thing I like staying home. On our way home from the pumpkin patch a week ago, something in the road destroyed one of the tires. We were slowing to stop at a red light, which I guess is one of the best ways to have a tire blow out, and we had both a spare and a jack, and the tire is under warranty and has enough tread that we don't have to replace multiple tires.

Of course those tires are out of production and they have to order a replacement from Tennessee. I think he said that would take six or seven business days, but I'm not really holding my breath and watching the calendar. There's no place I urgently have to be right now -- and if there was, I could work it out by driving my husband to work and taking the pickup for the day.

I've got floss and fabric and yarn and needles and stacks of books. Right now, I'm working to finish a quilt for the church group. The boys have their own projects -- and two of them have nasty colds, so keeping them here at the house isn't the worst idea.

We're fine until the tire comes.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

I Was Looking for Skull Quilts

I was looking on Pinterest for skull quilts and found a gorgeous one, which it turned out was adapted from a free cross stitch pattern. I can just barely wrap my head around how the quilter made that work...but wow it looks hard!

So I cross-stitched a skull instead, which also looked kind of hard but wasn't.

I haven't decided yet if I'll put it in a hoop or combine it with some Halloween fabric for a project bag or what. Stitching it was a fun way to spend a couple of afternoons and I'm happy with it.

I did find a couple of quilts --

The Pixelated Skull Quilt Pattern from Daydreams of Quilts is probably what I'm looking for.
This flowered sugar skull uses a fun applique technique that I'd like to try.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/28/18}

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, September 27, 2018

{Estate Sale Temptations} Old Kitchens

This estate sale was in a little community with steep hills and lots of blind curves. I really don't like the estate sale parking challenge, especially not in that area...and my Honda Odyssey definitely isn't the right car for playing that game. I got lucky and found a safe spot to leave the car, then we walked down the long driveway to the house.

There are lots of time capsule houses in this neck of  the woods, but most of them aren't the gorgeous kind that they feature on the home decor blogs.  I find myself hoping that whoever lived there liked their house the way it was. And I'm fully aware that some of the flooring and wallpaper in my own house is just as old and just as questionable.

One of  these days, I'm going to wind up with a slide projector. I don't know why, but they tempt me.

This rag doll's embroidered eyes were protruding on stalks and her head isn't at all head shaped...

I did like these old Christmas decorations and they were dirt cheap, but they were also cracked and threatening to crumble.

We did wind up buying a box of Nintendo Video Game Preservers for a quarter, because my oldest son is into vintage game systems and everything that comes along with them. It might've been one of the newest things in the house and I'm wondering how it got there.

Here's a glimpse of a time capsule kitchen from another house we visited that same day. I love how the counter trim matches the wallpaper.

And I was entertained by how this collection stamp escalates from thanking the customer for their business to increasingly dire warnings.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tension and Decisions

Maybe I'm not the kind of knitter who can do Frankensocks? It wasn't working with the three colors I showed you last time...or I don't think it was working. I'm definitely overthinking the whole process! 

There wasn't enough of the mostly brown yarn to make more than a single decent stripe or a couple of narrow stripes in each sock. I know I've probably got other yarn scraps that will work, but I want to knit not hunt for yarns that might not exist.

Then I remembered that someone (apologies for not remembering who it was) had made gorgeous pairs by alternating rows from two skeins of self-striping sock yarns. Instead of doing what she did, I'm alternating stripes of four or five rows...which isn't giving me those gorgeous Frankensocks I coveted, but it is making a perfectly acceptable pair of socks. As long as I've got the tension right where I'm changing yarns.

Is this process supposed to be so stressful? Maybe I should just go chop up fabric into one inch squares and sew them together. That doesn't make me nearly this nervous.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

{I've Been Reading} Otter of Death

Otter of Death by Betty Webb

When a zookeeper doing an annual otter count discovers one of her favorite animals clutching a smart phone instead of a rock, she hopes to return it to its human owner. Instead, she finds pictures of a murder. I jumped into the Gunn Zoo series with the fifth book -- because how could I not want to read it after seeing that cover art? -- and I'm absolutely going to go back to the beginning and read Anteater of Death. There's obviously a lot of backstory that I missed by skipping the previous four books, but it was easy enough to figure out what I needed to know about Teddy and her circle of friends and family. The mystery is complex and kept me guessing. I also enjoyed getting a glimpse into Teddy's life, with lots of time spent at the zoo interacting with the animals and at the harbor where she lives on an old boat.

The Dogfather by Sparkle Abbey

It's always fun to spend time with the characters of the Pampered Pets mystery series. This book, it's Melinda's turn and when one of the owners of a high end handbag shop located next to her own pet boutique is murdered, her former fiance is a suspect. I've read all but two of the titles in this series and  enjoyed them all. I was a little disappointed that the ongoing feud between Melinda and her cousin, Caro, didn't play a part in this book.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

This Year's Corn Maze

Yup, it's my almost annual post about how I like the idea of corn mazes more than I like actually trying to find my way out of one.... 

This year's maze was actually the best ever. The corn was swaying over our heads and my middle son and I were just about the only ones in there. Now and then we could hear cars or the tractor that pulls the hay ride, so we at least knew that we were close to one of the outer edges...but we never did  find the exit. By the time we'd accidentally looped back to the entrance I was just ready for it to be over.

I did find the exit to the Dark Maze for the first time in I don't know how many years...on my own because my sons had already left me behind in the darkness. And I found it before they did, so I think I should get some kind of bonus points for that achievement. Usually we try a few times and I wind up going out one of the emergency exits. 

The kids did all of the things and I did a lot of the things and I also did a lot of parent watching and knitting. It's kind of a toss up -- if you go on the first weekend of the year, it's a lot less crowded and thre aren't any lines, but there are also a lot fewer interesting people to watch.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Getting Ready for the October Stitch Alongs

I am SO excited about these two cross-stitch projects! 

Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow is a chart I got last Christmas. I really want to stitch it, especially after seeing everyone else's pictures and a shop sample -- but it's HUGE. Each section is about the size of the Home is Where the Horror Is sampler I just finished.

The Hedgehog piece is from The Hobby Lobby Incident, part one. I didn't know when I was going to stitch it, but I'm a sucker for realistic hedgies and all of the mushrooms and greenery make it even better.

Finding out that there are upcoming stitch alongs for both projects suddenly has me motivated!
Both stitch alongs start on October first. Info for the Hedgehog SAL is in this video. You can use any hedgehog design for that one. Details for the Hawk Run Hollow SAL are in this Instagram post.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Little Girl With Cosmos and my Constantly Changing Plans

The last time I posted about this project, my plan was to finish the flowers and basket and then slog through the whites and almost whites of her dress. After that, I was going to slog through the whites and almost whites on the curtains and quilt of A Little Girl's Fancy.

Then I spent an evening stitching on her dress and realized that those whites aren't that bad. They're a lot less fiddly then the color changes on the flowers, and definitely less of a hassle than figuring out those missing blades of grass.

It's all good as long as I'm making progress, right?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/21/18}

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, September 20, 2018

{Estate Sale Temptations} 3,000 Books

Is it bad that my reaction after visiting this sale was "I've got more books than that!"  At least I think I do. I definitely had more books than that before we moved and I got rid of several SUV loads...and I've added more in the decade since then. But I'm not counting them....and I seriously doubt this family counted theirs. 

It wasn't really the number of books, it was the quality. The listing said that it was the home of a former teacher, but the children's books were pretty junky and definitely overpriced. Compared to that house that had an entire room full of cookbooks, this one was pretty dismal. The house itself was gorgeous, but the books were old and shabby.

There was some vintage crewel...

The texture on that jar of spices and on the cinnamon sticks was fantastic and the price was absolutely reasonable.

They didn't seem to need to come home with me, so I left them for someone else. But they were fun to look at. I did look in every corner to make sure that whoever stitched these didn't leave any supplies behind.

It's not like I needed to buy more books...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Home is Where the Horror Is

Late one night in April, thewitchystitcher posted a snippet of a cross stitch pattern on Instagram and asked which iconic horror house it was. I saw her post just as I was getting ready to head to bed for the night and made a wild guess .... and I won the pattern!

I meant to start stitching it immediately, but other projects happened and time got away from me. This has been so much fun to stitch. I didn't grid my fabric because, even though I should've learned from my mistakes with Whoo's There?, I wanted to get started right away. The borders meet up perfectly. The house is a row too short because I goofed on the window placement...but you wouldn't know that without comparing it to the chart.

The frame is only temporary. I put the finished piece over Ironwork Gate so I can display it until Halloween. I like the way it looks, but you don't give up a thrifted frame that perfectly fits a full coverage piece. Not for one that doesn't require such specific measurements.

You can find the pattern on Meg's Etsy shop, along with a bunch of other horror inspired designs. I've already purchased Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake and plan on getting Your Future is in Your Hands

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

{I've Been Reading} Royally Dead

Royally Dead Greta McKennan

Historical seamstress Daria Dembrowski is enjoying her booth at the local Highland Games. She's never sewed a kilt, but she's busy selling stuffed versions of the Loch Ness Monster and bow ties in traditional tartan and hoping to attract some new customers who want custom clothing. Then one of the competitors winds up dead...because this is a cozy mystery and there's got to be a murder to solve.

And that's where this one was different from most of the cozies I've been reading lately. We get a chance to meet the victim while he's still alive and to see exactly who might want him dead and why. There are a few strong suspects and they've all got motives that make a lot of sense. Even the one who I was sure definitely didn't do it had me a bit nervous by the end of the book. All of the subplots tie together.

I've read all three books in  the series and look forward to spending more hours reading about Daria and her friends.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with ARCs.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Purple Socks and Green Socks

I've got two pairs of socks in progress, a pair that I have to focus on and a pair I can knit with my eyes closed.

The green is kind of ugly, but well suited for Wizard of Oz inspired socks. And the purple is so pretty I'm afraid that I'm going to regret not using it for something lacey or cabled or otherwise fancy.

There will always be more gorgeous sock yarn to play with, even if I somehow manage to knit up all that I already have. Please remind me of that.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Last Bits of Confetti

It was feeling like the end of this project was close...then I started in on these last little unfilled area of stitching and realized how crazy it's going to make me. 

I love landscapes and buildings with a ton of different floss colors. They're absolutely worth the time and effort. But finding these blank squares on the chart to figure out what color they should be is hard. I've got to find something I can identify and then count across and down and hope for the best. Because sometimes what the chart says should be in that spot is already stitched right next to the empty spot. And sometimes I can't manage to find the spot I need.

Did I mention that I stitched the bush next to the door before I started this blog?  On future projects, I'm not going to leave little blank spaces. Or I'm at least going to mark them on the chart with my highlighter.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Jane Greenoff Treasures in Cross Stitch

I picked up Jane Greenoff Treasures in Cross Stitch a few months ago at that estate sale that had ten bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool. They had thousands and thousands of cookbooks...and one cross stitch book.

I bought it for the Adam and Eve alphabet sampler...

And this house with the gorgeous weeping willows. I definitely want to stitch those...without the pointy little trees that look like they came from another pattern entirely.

The book is full of spot samplers and other old-fashioned pieces. If you want to see it all, take a look at my video flip through --

Friday, September 14, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/14/18}

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, September 13, 2018

Halfway Home Shawl

Can we all just agree that taking flattering pictures of large shawls, especially asymmetrical ones, is difficult? This one has fantastic texture and looks much better in real life. 

The pattern is Halfway Home and it's free on the Universal Yarns website. There's a simple lace panel that you can knit from memory once you're past the increases that form the shawl's point and the rest is garter stitch. 

I could happily knit a lot more of these mostly garter stitch shawls. They're perfect for working on in the evening while the family watches television. (Anyone got a Hulu or Netflix recommendation for us once we're done with the original Lost in Space?) 

This is definitely a stash-dived project. I had three skeins of Red Heart Designer Sport that I bought at a Michael's clearance sale back in 2008. There must've been a plan for it at the time, but whatever that might've been was long forgotten....along with the yarn itself. That was tucked into one of the darkest corners of my stash. 

But it made the best shawl! I'd planned on donating this one, but now I'm having second thoughts and feeling guilty about that...even though I know there will be lots more shawls to donate and to keep. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Some Days There's Next to Nothing

I thought we'd hit the thrift stores yesterday and get pictures for a couple of Temptations posts but nope. Seems like no one is donating anything interesting. 

Adult Daughter was desperate for chairs to go with her kitchen table, but pronounced these "fugly." I think they've got serious potential if they were cleaned up and reupholstered, but I'm not in the market for chairs right now. 

This little boy is definitely intense. Too intense for my walls!

I was almost tempted by these, but I'm about 99% sure I've already got the chart for Miss Hathaway's Garden in my stash and if I somehow don't, there are half a dozen other Marty Bell designs I'd rather stitch first. And I've recently bought a bunch of rag doll patterns that I'm in no hurry to make so I don't need a pre-printed kit.

There was an old gal at Value Village buying all of the yarn. She had two carts full, so I hope it was an amazing haul. Their yarn usually isn't cheap and from what I could see she was buying a lot of craft store acrylic. And knitting looms, so there was obviously a plan for it.

At the next store I found nine skeins of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, all in a gorgeous shade of pink. I can sort of vaguely almost picture the shawl I want to knit from it.

And my son found these...

I don't know what it is that my thirteen-year-old likes so much about these Rose Tea figurines, but he likes them. He claimed the one that was in a little display cabinet I found at an estate sale earlier this year and then we found another at an estate sale for fifty cents.

Someone must have had a big collection and donated them all to the thrift shop...which had divided them up into five or six plastic bags. We bought two of the bags so I'm now twelve dollars poorer and have a very happy kid.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

{I've Been Reading} There are Sequels!

I've told you before that one of my absolute favorite things about Amazon Kindle is the ability to have a book available to read as soon as I've got it into my head that I want to read it. (As long as the book's been published. Counting down to publication dates is still a problem.)  I do try to be more sensible about my book purchases than I used to be, but if I know I want to start reading right away, I order.

That's what happened a few days ago when I realized that there was a sequel to Follow Me Back by A. V. Geiger, that YA thriller I was gushing about last spring. As soon as I knew  that  Tell Me No Lies existed, I wanted to read it. (The plan was actually to reread the first book and go get the second at the library, but I couldn't wait and buying the Kindle edition cost less than gas for an extra trip into town. Plus, I could read most of the book in the time that the driving would've taken.)

Follow Me Back left its readers with an idea of what might have happened, and Tell Me No Lies picks up and continues Eric and Tessa's story in the same  format of fragmented police interviews and chapters that alternate between the two main characters. There's a lot of waiting to see what will happen and a lot of suspense that kept me turning the pages. It's a YA thriller, heavily rooted in social media and obsessive stalkers and I'm not saying that I believe for an instant any of this could happen. But it's sure a fun read!

It turns out that there's also a sequel to Adrift by Micki Browning. I'll be ordering that one as soon as I know I'll have time to sit down and read it.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The End is Near

I'd definitely like this piece better if it didn't have that big wreath and the decorated Christmas tree....and the time to decide things like that was long ago.  Like the wreath or not, I'm in too deeply to quit stitching now!  

I did some of the backstitching on two chimneys and a window and the difference is amazing. It's hard to get the bricks in the right place because the stitches are supposed to fall between the threads of the fabric (Why would the designer do that on a project that doesn't have any fractional stitches?) so I'm just letting them fall wherever they look okay.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


I  thought I'd use the leftover sock yarn from this pair, along with the solid brown that was left over from the last pair and might have originally been left over from my Owlie socks to make a third (or fourth) pair. 

There was definitely enough for anklets... except I don't love wearing anklets so now I'm pulling other leftovers to see what might coordinate into a pair of Frankensocks. 

I think I'm worried too much about making the colors coordinate. But it's a fine line between "That could work" and "That's totally and completely an inappropriate yarn choice!"

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Apple for the Teacher

Here's another project I made from Knitted Baskets by Nola Heibreder and Linda Pietz. 

Pattern: Apple for the Teacher, in the book Knitted Baskets
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver 

The book says the finished size is  four inches wide and four inches high, so my gauge must have been way off on this one, although I can't imagine how I could have knitted it much tighter. I don't do gauge swatches on little projects like this and I'd just made another basket with two strands of worsted weight, so I used the same set of needles.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/7/18}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, September 06, 2018


I keep drooling over mantlescapes on blogs and Pinterest. Some of them are absolutely gorgeous and we all know that I love vintage why don't I have one of my own? 

I've got the perfect mantel for it. This hundred year old fireplace dominates the house and I couldn't love it more. 

I didn't have the stuff to make a summery display, but fall is here and I'm in my element. I've already got ideas for winter.

Ignore the oil lamp. I washed it to get off a heavy layer of dust, which took off the soot and left it looking new and straight out of the box. And it's been too hot to burn the lamp just to add some patina and cover up that shine.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

My First Scary Socks of 2018

I've been crossing my fingers that the first pattern for this year's Super Sock Scarefest wouldn't be inspired by a movie I hated or include techniques that I won't do. (As impressive as the pattern is, I wasn't about to knit a pair of colorwork Babadook socks.) 

I liked Return to Oz well enough when I finally watched it with the boys last year, and I love handknit cables, so the first pattern, Finding the Yellow Brick Road,  is making me very happy. I don't think I've knit closed ring cables before.

This is fun!

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

{I've Been Reading} Creature

Creature by Hunter Shea

There's something scary in the woods outside the picture perfect cabin by the lake...which sounds like at least a dozen other horror novels and movies I've picked up over the years. Except Creature is nothing like those and if you want to be on edge for a few hours you really should pick it up. This is the perfect book for reading late at night by the glow of the Kindle screen.  (For those of my blog readers who don't like horror, you probably don't want to read this one.)  Andrew Woodsen arranges the summer rental hoping to enjoy a few weeks there with his wife, Kate, before she resumes the treatments for her autoimmune diseases. They both hope that Kate will start feeling well enough to join him out by the fire pit, or maybe to sit on the dock for a while, and until then the cabin is a wonderful place for her to rest while Andrew explores the woods and lake.

I've mentioned before that I love stories with married couples who are actually happily married. Kate and Andrew definitely fit the bill -- those two are amazing as they try to deal with the horrors of Kate's diseases and the horrors lurking outside the cabin. This book isn't light and fluffy horror. By the end, I felt like I'd been through an emotional wringer (and I mean that in the best possible way.) There's some gore, and some death, but that's not the part that got to me. This book is going to stick with me for a while...and not in an I-wish-I-hadn't-read-that sort of way. I have a feeling I'll pick this one up again to revisit the characters.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own.


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