Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Year End Totals

This was the year of skipping things. I accidentally missed the sign up date for Sock Madness, decided not to make the drive to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, decided to skip the Row by Row Experience because I didn't love the theme and was busy with a bunch of other stuff, and missed the Retro Gaming Expo because I was waiting for a replacement tire and there was no way on God's green earth that I was driving up to Portland in the pickup. The only one I regret is the gaming expo. 

I still haven't gotten my sewing machine looked at so there's been very little quilting. I turned two finished quilts in to the church group and got one top done. 

At the beginning of the year, I decided that maybe instead of knitting sooooo many pairs of socks I should dig into my stash and knit some shawls. I wound up with fourteen finished and one more still on the needles. With only a few exceptions, these were all really simple, with easy to memorize patterns. 

Of course there were socks, fifteen pairs this time.

I did a lot more cross-stitching (and one crewel project.)

My four big projects will be carried forward into 2018. If I hadn't started the hedgehogs and All is Calm, or if I hadn't done so many smaller projects, A Little Girl's Fancy and Girl With Cosmos might be done by now. But I'd have missed out on other things. (If I need any more justification, I finished a UFO that I hadn't touched since 2004. Full coverage and confetti stitching provides a LOT of justification as far as I'm concerned!)

This year is going to be remembered as the year of The Hobby Lobby Incident. Just in time for me to spend some birthday money, they marked down cross-stitch kits to 75% off. I bought kits in Albany, then drove up to Salem and bought a few more kits...then a few more later when they were 90% off.  A few more kits that Mom picked up for me aren't in the  pictures. In June, they clearanced the yarn and I got there on the morning they were first marking it down. I think those were my only big stash purchases of the year.

 It's time to start planning for 2019 -- what's on your list?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

More Russian Cross Stitch

I've already told you how much I'm enjoying this kit. The design is adorable, the chart is easy to follow, and the wool/acrylic blend thread is fuzzy and wonderful to work with. For something that's this easy to stitch, the results are absolutely fantastic. (Not that I'll be giving up the projects with a hundred colors and thousands of little confetti stitches!) 

I bought a few more kits from this company back at the Hobby Lobby clearance where I bought the hedgehogs and I've been wishing I'd bought more. At the time, I was concerned about the lack of English on the packaging and the thread that didn't look like anything I'd stitched with before.

For Christmas, I got more kits to add to my collection. And there's another one coming in the mail.

 Prices rise and charts and kits get discontinued and this is a pretty harmless thing to collect.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Last Pair for 2018

This colorway didn't have a catchy name.  I think it's "blue and turquoise mix" or something like that, but it made a very pretty pair of socks. 

This project was just a little bit jinxed. I had the stitches fall off of a needle in my purse. A week or so later I snapped a needle in half. Last night, I completely lost a different needle. I'd been working on them since late November, which is a lot longer than a pair of socks that I'm actively knitting should take. 

After all of that, I'm definitely glad to have these done. I'll be happy to wear them, but they weren't a lot of fun to knit. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/28/18}

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, December 27, 2018

Stash Dive 2018 -- The Results

One of my goals for 2018 was to dig through my stash and get everything organized. No one actually thought that was going to happen, did they? It's still a confused jumble, but I did pull out some of my oldest yarn from the deepest corners of the sewing room and knit it up into shawls and socks. 

What counts as deep stash diving? I used December 2013 as a cutoff because five years is a long time and because "before hubby's accident" is a definite point that I can keep track of in my memory, along with "before we moved into the farmhouse." I can usually place my stash into one of those two categories if it isn't newer than that. There's a lot of guessing involved and if I wasn't fairly sure that the something meets the five year cutoff, I didn't count it as a stash dive project. 

The yarn for the Campside Shawl definitely definitely falls into the oldest category. I first wound the yarn into a ball and swatched with it back in 2005.  I thought that the  yarn for the black and white socks was as old, but I searched old blog posts and it looks like it would've been from 2006 or 2009.  

The contrasting heels in some of those socks are because I'd bought single skeins of yarn to knit socks for the boys when they were toddlers. That didn't happen and I've seen how they take care of their socks even now that they're old enough to know better. So I made socks for myself. 

It's a lot harder to decide which projects count towards stash diving when it comes to cross-stitch. If I use old fabric and floss to knit a free download I just found and fell in love with, does that count? (I decided that it didn't.)

Stitching up a kit that I bought and packed away before the move definitely counts.

So does finishing a project that I talked about in my very first blog post from 2004.

I'll definitely continue the stash diving into the new year. I wanted to get organized, but pulling out and actually using stash that had been almost (or entirely) forgotten may have been the bigger success. There's a lot more that I pulled out and haven't used yet and I'm really looking forward to casting on, or cutting it up for quilt blocks, or doing some stitching.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/21/18}

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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

{Estate Sale Temptations} A Teddy Bear Hoarder?

If an ad for an estate sale uses the word "hoarder," I get annoyed. And then I hurry off to the sale because who wants to go see what a minimalist left behind?  

There aren't many sales to choose from at  this time of year, so if something is close to home and looks interesting, I'm probably going to check it out. Even if the ad lists nothing but bears. A person can't own nothing but bears, can she? 

Apparently she can -- 

That's one wall of one room. Most of the walls of the other rooms were similar. You can't imagine how many cabinets filled with bear figurines there were. When we walked in, the woman running the sale said that we could fill a can with bears for five bucks. It turned out that the "cans" were those big metal popcorn tins and if we'd been at all interested in little collectible bears, it would've been a heck of a deal. 

There were bears in both bathrooms, and the kitchen, and every place else. I'm sure I saw some Boyd's Bears and Cherished Teddies, although I didn't look closely enough to verify that. I don't collect resin bears. 

We did buy two. Quinn got a clock with a couple of realistic bear cubs crawling on a log. Leif got a  little music box with bears that are apparently supposed to dance...but it doesn't work quite right so no one has seen them move but him. (We're having fun with that.)

And I got this --

It's going to be a dollhouse. The glass front slides off and I haven't measured the shelves, but they should be the right size for 1/12 scale rooms. I'm always looking for stuff that would make a fun dollhouse, even though I haven't made any progress in that direction yet. For a couple of  dollars, I can always stick something else in it if I change my mind.

I love my shelf and the boys really like their bears, but that sale was unsettling. The poor ladies running it seemed completely overwhelmed...and we were there in the last couple of hours of the sale. She offered me a bundle deal on the three things I was buying, which actually came to more than they would have been than they added up to, but I felt so sorry for her that I didn't argue.

This makes me feel better about the fabric and yarn and vintage stuff I'll probably leave behind. It's got to be easier to rehome than thousands of little bears. And I've definitely got less invested in my own hoard of treasures. Seriously -- the bears have to have originally cost tens of thousands. I'm very curious about the bear lady.

Did you grow up with the story about all of the teddy bears coming to life at midnight on Christmas Eve? I haven't been able to get that idea out of my head since leaving that house.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Fifteen More Days Left in 2018

It had looked like I could get a couple of these projects done by the end of the year. The days keep passing and things keep happening and although I could probably get those done before the clock strikes midnight and the calendar turns, it's making less and less sense to try. 

And  then it feels like I'm giving up...

 I'm thinking about just letting the random number generator decide what I'm going to work on each day so that it makes the decisions for me. 

Do you struggle to get stuff done so that you can count it as a finish before the new year starts? Or is it just me? 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/14/18}

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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Neutral Hug Shawl

Remember the Hobby Lobby Incident? I've used up four more skeins of yarn from that pile. 

Yarn: Yarn Bee, Alpine Authentic (Neutral)  

I used the cast on and increases from the Gramma's Hug pattern, but left out the lace bits and ended it with a wide border of k2p2 ribbing. Ribbing at the bottom of shawls may be my new favorite thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What I'm Working On

Last week, I showed you the newly started Krampus cross stitch piece and shawl. Krampus is stitched and propped up on the fireplace. I'm a full skein and several pattern repeats into the shawl. 

Now the question is how much of this I can get finished by December 31...or if I want to start something entirely new....

Monday, December 10, 2018

I Want a Hundred Year Old Greenhouse

I do understand that there are lots and lots of reasons why I can't have an old glass greenhouse, but let me dream for a little bit. Because the one we visited yesterday was GORGEOUS...

It was the annual Christmas open house at Deepwood and Bush House and all four kids and I thought it would be fun to go.  Back in 2016, we missed the greenhouse. I remembered that it was there, from the days I used to walk through the park almost every day with the stroller, but I had it confused in my head with the ones over at Deepwood...and those were locked. 

Look at all of the succulents (and also look at how I manage to avoid figuring out the plural of cactus)...

There's not much room to maneuver between the wide tables. If I had a greenhouse like this one, I'd want a cozy spot to sit in. Not a realistic dream, since I can't manage to keep plants alive. The hens and chicks in the ladle are still hanging in there and I hope I can get them through the winter. Whatever it is that I put in the wishing well planter has been thoroughly trimmed by the chickens. I don't think that one is my fault and I did move it out of their reach once I figured out where all of the trailing bits had gone. 

I've also killed way too many house plants over the years to even consider wanting a separate structure to keep them in. But that won't stop me from loving the idea.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Krampus is Coming!

This is my favorite (and so far my only) new Christmas decoration of the year. I just need to dig out a little hoop to put him in.

Pattern from PyroDog Pins on etsy 

There are a lot of colors in this little project, and a lot more tiny little half-stitches, but the finished effect was definitely worth the little bit of extra effort. 

Saturday, December 08, 2018

What to Do When Your Baby Grabs a Bite of Poinsettia

This is a repeat of a blog post from a few years ago, mostly because it contains one of my most exciting Christmas shopping memories. Since I wrote this, I've started carrying rat poison (also knows as prescription blood thinners) around in my purse. I'm so glad my kids are all old enough to understand the concept of fatal internal bleeding.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my supervisor at work told me a very sad story about the little neighbor girl who drank bleach. Have I ever mentioned that I was always paranoid about keeping the bleach and drain cleaner completely inaccessible to my kids? Nasty cleaning supplies, vitamins, medication...all of that stuff was where they couldn't get at it. I didn't know about the button batteries until after my kids were old enough to know better than to swallow them or I'd have been afraid of those too.

It was the weird little things that gave me trouble. I mean, who gets mad and deliberately swallows his older sister's tooth? Who eats a glue stick? Or tries to suck the ink out of an empty printer cartridge?

And why would anyone take a swig from the bottle of food coloring?! (Not to mention, who got it down from where I had it hidden?)

The nice man at poison control actually laughed at me and suggested I take pictures to blackmail my child with once he's older. I was pretty sure that it was harmless, but wanted to be prepared with real answers when Daddy got home and I had to explain the dark green teeth.

There are also the things that you can't believe they got their hands on. I was Christmas shopping with my youngest in my arms, digging through my purse and standing in the checkout line. With that awful speed that only toddlers headed straight for trouble have, my son reached right over my shoulder, grabbed a fistful of petals from a poinsettia display I hadn't even noticed, and stuffed them into his mouth.

That scared me. It was too early to call the doctor's office and I was in an absolute panic, imagining my little baby in the emergency room getting his stomach pumped. Called the emergency line for our HMO and used up all of our cell phone minutes for the month waiting on hold -- and they had me call poison control. It turns out that poinsettias aren't as deadly as we've all been warned they are.

If you even think your child might've gotten into something, give them a call. They've added an app and an online search function since the last time I needed their services, which might also be useful. I'm convinced that they have information about everything (Including ink cartridges...did you know that those have antifreeze in them?) They'll tell you what symptoms to watch out for. Or if, God forbid, you need to head to the emergency room.

Every single time I've called they've told me it was going to be just fine.


 Note -- if this seems like a lot of calls for one Mom to have made to poison control, please keep in mind that it was spread over four kids and more than twenty years!

Friday, December 07, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/7/18}

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, December 06, 2018

{Museum a Month} Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Portland Attractions Marketing Alliance attraction for November was the Oregon Coast Aquarium, so our family headed for the coast. We'd been looking forward to this one all year. 

Over the years, we've been to the aquarium plenty of  times. My husband and I went to see Keiko, the whale from Free Willie, while he was there. The kids and I slept in the Passages of the Deep tubes one night, with sharks swimming over and below us. (For the record, I don't recommend trying that with an infant, a toddler, and two school age children. They had fun. I survived the night.)

And there have been trips just to see the seals and sea lions and sharks and jelly fish.

The current exhibit is Secrets of Shipwrecks.

We enjoy our occasional visits to the aquarium, but admission for a large family isn't inexpensive. The nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center is free (with a suggested donation) and although it's not nearly as large, it does have a touch pool and the octopus is always better than the one at the big aquarium. (Although I just checked the octocam and they don't have one on display right now)

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

I'll be Reading Soon...

Actually, I have been reading a very good cozy mystery set on the coast, but there hasn't been a lot of time for that over the past few days...mostly because I've been stitching on hedgehogs and a fun new holiday project.

But now I definitely will be reading a lot faster. Larissa Reinhart has a new Maize Albright book out!  I've been waiting anxiously for this ever since I read the last line of the previous book. 

Have I told you how much I love pre-ordering Kindle titles? You buy the book in advance and as soon as it's released it pops up on your device. Your purchase is covered by their pre-order price guarantee, so you'll get the lowest price available between the time you order the book and the time that it's released.

There's also a new shawl there in the background, one that I've been wanting to start for absolutely years now. I hope the lace pattern starts to make more sense soon because as of right now it's confusing the heck out of me.

I'll let you know how the books are -- and whether I read them right away or keep knitting and stitching a bit longer first!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

New Projects for December

I meant to write this post Sunday night, but all of that bin diving at the Goodwill Outlets kept me out late and by the time I got home I just wanted to crawl into bed.

So instead of telling you that I'm going to start a new Christmas cross-stitch project and a new shawl, I'll show you what I accomplished Monday night...

The plan for the week is to keep working on these.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Thrift Shops Without Temptations?

On Sunday, my daughter and I headed up to the Goodwill outlets in Portland. We both had plans to take pictures and film video, but neither of us actually followed through on it. There really wasn't much of anything that was blog-worthy. 

The first stop of the day was Value Village, because someone on a facebook thrifting group had posted a Barbie Mountain Ski Cabin that she didn't buy because it smelled so bad...and I wanted to see if it was still there just in case her "too musty" was something I could live it. I trusted her judgement, but I really wanted to see the thing in person. It was gone, but I found some vintage jigsaw puzzles to admire. I love them for their boxes, but so far I've been able to resist the temptation to bring one home. 

Is it a bad sign that I can recognize the local thrift shops by the shelves in the background of online photos?

Our main destination was the bins. We went through every bin in both of the Portland locations -- and then stopped at the Salem bins on our way back home. There wasn't much to take pictures of, but we found enough practical stuff to fill the trunk of her new car.

I didn't save any stitches. This quilt might have had potential if someone wanted to separate the top from the batting and backing and mend torn seams before re-quilting it. That someone wasn't going to be me.

I couldn't figure out what was going on with this one. My best guess is that it was pieced from wool and then run through the washer and dryer many many times over the years.  The resulting texture was not pleasant.

This empty box from 1971 had dated graphics, but I can totally see someone buying a similar product for their kids today. How can something so dated also be so current?

Depending on how you look at it, we had an extremely successful trip...or one that was kind of a bust.  We didn't find any great stitchy or vintage stuff, but I did get some warm, cheap, new-to-me sweaters and have a great time with my daughter.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Still Stitching the Hedgehogs

If it wasn't for the Hedgehog SAL, I doubt I would have started this project yet. It's absolutely adorable, but so are a lot of other things in my stash. 

I started stitching because of the stitch along, then I kept stitching because I fell in love with the wool/acrylic blend threads. The colors and coverage are fantastic, and they're wrapped on numbered cards so there's no guessing at all while one to use where. I may have said that before, but I'm still not quite used to it.

Now I'm wondering why this particular stitch along has been keeping me so motivated, unlike all of the other quilt alongs and knit alongs and stitch alongs I've been sure I'd keep up with...

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Dude Crafts

It looked like Dude Crafts by Mike Warren might be a good choice for my sons. Obviously  I'm not the intended audience for this book, but it's not suitable for my eighteen year old either.

A handful of the projects are neat. I could see making rings out of quarters, or a branding iron out of old bicycle spokes. And (in theory at least) I guess it's nice to know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich on a car muffler or heat lasagna in the dish washer. The instructions for making a metal forge out of a busted microwave don't seem to be in the book, which is probably a good thing.

Most of the projects are things we've seen before, either on Pinterest or in old craft books. Like soaking yarn in glue and wrapping it around a balloon. Or using hair scrunchies and suction cups to hold bottles to the shower wall.

Then there's the alcohol, the main reason this book disappointed me so much. Seven of the fifty projects involve booze -- and that's not counting the ones that just use the empty bottles. I'm all for hacking up old baby dolls to use in craft projects, but making one into a flask and wearing it in a tummy pack? Nope.

I'll continue my search for a project book that will appeal to my boys.

The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 


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