Monday, October 21, 2019


I was being so careful to make sure that the headlights were off, that I had everything I needed, that the car was locked....and that's when my phone slipped out of my hand and landed face down on the pavement of  the parking garage. If you're going to break you phone obviously it's going to happen when you're a hundred miles from home and at the very beginning of a fifteen hour day.

If there's a bright side, it's that my phone was years old and far past its prime. And I didn't actually drop it on the floor of  the Goodwill Outlet while I was opening up that treadle sewing machine case a couple of months ago --

Watching myself fumble and catch that phone makes me a little sick to my stomach now that I know what would have happened if it had hit the concrete. Somehow killing my phone while taking my son to an activity doesn't sound nearly as bad as killing my phone while I was trying to film myself messing around with an old sewing machine I didn't even intend to buy. And I've still never left my phone in a puddle in the driveway overnight. 

Stupid little accidents happen to us all and this one will be fairly easy to recover from. I've switched my number to an old iphone my parents had in a drawer, but now comes the fun of getting it updated and downloading and setting up all of the apps. I guess that's my to do list for the week. 

I hear that other people enjoy getting new phones. This sort of thing really stresses me out. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Mixing Thread Types in Cross Stitch

All of my stitching time last week went to Crocuses on the Windowsill and I'm still loving it. 

This is the first Riolis kit I've done that combines the fuzzy wool/acrylic thread with cotton six stranded floss. I wasn't expecting that until I switched to the purple colors and realized that something was different...

I'm honestly not sure why they did this. Maybe it makes the flower petals reflect the light differently  or makes them look more delicate. I'm guessing that the more I stitch the more sense this will make.

Have you mixed fiber content in your stitchery?

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stitchcraft: An Embroidery Book of Simple Stitches and Peculiar Patterns

I have a new favorite needlework book! 

If you've been reading my blog you'll know how intrigued I am by vintage crewel. Stitchcraft: An Embroidery Book of Simple Stitches and Peculiar Patterns by Gayla Partridge is exactly what I didn't know I was looking for -- a combination of those gorgeous botanical embroideries and the stuff you'd find in a curiosity cabinet.

Look at the botanical heart....

There are three different hearts to choose from, along with lungs and other flowery anatomical specimens.  I'll be honest -- one or two of these are too graphic for me to stitch. Just thinking about stitching a diagram of the inside of a tooth makes me squirm in discomfort. But I could see stitching the dissected frog.

And I definitely want to stitch these two...

To see my flip through and video review, click below....

Friday, October 18, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/18/19}

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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Death of a Gigolo

Death of a Gigolo by Laura Levine

Freelance writer Janie Austen has been hired by Daisy Kincaid to ghostwrite a steamy romance novel. The heiress has already titled the book Fifty Shades of Turquoise. The setting will be a fifty room mansion, each room painted in a different shade of her favorite color and there will be a sex scene in every single room. Janie happily settles into her cushy new job and things are perfect (if she ignores the fact that her tempermental cat, Prozac, isn't at all happy she's back together with her ex.)

Then Daisy falls for Tommy and he moves into her mansion and takes over. Every member of Daisy's staff and every one of her circle of friends are horrified. They all want him gone, each for their own reasons. When Daisy announced her engagement and the creep is found dead with a knife in his neck, they're all suspects.

Death of a Gigolo is fast paced and funny with the most unlikable murder victim I think I've ever come across. Don't let that whole Fifty Shades of Turquoise thing concern you -- we don't have to read any of Daisy's bodice ripper.  Instead we get entertaining emails from Janie's parents telling the story of a disastrous haircut.

I absolutely recommend this one and I can't wait to go back and read some of the earlier books in the series.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

We're All Sick Here....

I don't know what my husband brought home from work, but it involves lots of snot and coughing and sinus pressure and wobbliness and it's led to some of the strangest discussions with my sons. Mostly of the "this is not the flu but even if you actually did have the flu you'd recover and be absolutely fine" variety. There was also  the teenager who said he didn't  want any cold medicine because it wouldn't fix his stuffy nose or sore through or cough. I handed him the box and had him read it. This is the kid who never admits he's sick, he just stuffs a wad of tissues into his pocket and soldiers on.

Now I'm wondering if the reason our homeschooled boys so rarely get sick is that there's nothing to be gained or lost from it aside from occasionally quarantining ourselves so we don't share the annoyance with other people. If they feel like lying down will help, they lie down. Once they feel better they get up and get on with their day. There's none of that "if you're too sick for school you're too sick to do anything but stare at the walls" nonsense. It also takes a lot less energy to head into the living room to do some reading and math problems than it would to get up, get dressed and wait for the bus....all before even getting to school.

My own energy level is picking up a bit so I'm hoping to work on this later today. 

The plan is to patch those gaping holes with some eyelet lace, with buttonhole stitching around it.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Slow Blue Lace Socks

It took me almost two months to slog my way through this pair of socks, despite the fact that I was actively knitting on them. I'd understand if I'd shoved them into a project bag while I was working on something else, but I was actually trying - and failing - to get these done.

I can't explain how or why they were such a hassle. I had good needles. I've knit probably a dozen pairs in this same super easy lace pattern. I've used this brand of yarn before and even though I don't like the placement of those dark stripes, that ugly detail shouldn't have messed with the physical act of knitting them.

I made mistakes. I dropped stitches. My hands got tired more quickly than they should have (a problem that I didn't have once I switched to that garter stitch shawl I posted last week.)

I think I'll tuck these into a drawer until I forget how much I dislike them. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

I'm Obsessed With the Crocuses on the Windowsill

All of  the stitching I've done in the past week has been on Crocuses on the Windowsill. I'm seriously in love with this little scene and once I settle in to work on it, it's hard to put it down again. 

I think it's helping that I'm keeping my focus on just the lower right hand corner and not letting myself even look at how much more there will be to do once I finish this part.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/11/19}

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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, October 10, 2019

{Estate Sale Temptations} The Ship in the Kitchen

I kind of want a picture of a sailing ship in my own kitchen....

I don't know what it was about this house that we visited during an estate sale last weekend, but I absolutely loved it. The structural issues were obvious and I know it would be totally impractical to live in, but it felt welcoming and the massive kitchen was its absolute best feature.

I only took the one picture because it was crowded, but the whole house was like that. Lots and lots and lots of clutter, but the floor plan was kind of amazing. And I have to keep reminding myself that I had a yellow kitchen for almost ten years and hated it for the entire time...but maybe mine was the wrong shade of yellow?

Earlier in the week, I found this at one of the local thrift shops and convinced myself to leave it behind. 

I've been wanting a little metal stove like this forever and ever (to replace one I had as a kid) and this one was only five dollars. The inside was totally rusted out and the top was bent out of shape so I  convinced myself that there will be another one. Or maybe there won't.

I don't absolutely need a little metal stove....

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Caramel Me Away Shawl

I needed something mindless on my needles so a few days ago I cast on with a cake of self striping acrylic from my Hobby Lobby clearance stash. The plan was to knit a garter stitch triangle until I ran out of yarn and just look at how well that plan worked out for me!

I like this one a lot more than I thought I would. It took the tiniest bit of fiddling to keep the stripe pattern consistent because when I bought the yarn I didn't know there was a trick to selecting the cakes to ensure that the colors would end at the same point. To fix my mistake, I wound up using yarn from the outside of  the second skein to make the narrow reddish band wide enough, then going back to the inside of the skein to continue with the dark brown.

This was just what I needed as an antidote to those blue lace socks.

I used two skeins of Yarn Bee Sugarwheel in the "caramel me away" colorway, not quite 700 yards of worsted weight acrylic. Now I'm torn between using my other two cakes to make the exact same shawl in a different colorway or doing something different, like basketweave.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

{I've Been Reading} The Body in the Gravel

All Hats on Deck by Sandra Bretting

This is the first book I've picked up in the Missy DuBois mystery series and I definitely want to read more of them. It was the alligator farm in the description that made me pick this one up. There aren't a lot of gators but there's a ton of atmosphere as Missy and her assistant venture down the Atchafalaya River to meet with a friend's grandson so that she can help him with the business plan. When the young man jumps into the water to show off his skills at swimming with gators, what he finds is the submerged body of his grandmother.

Lots of people wanted Ruby Oubre's riverfront property and Missy can't believe that the older woman drowned by accident. She's also not going to leave Hollis alone in the empty trailer, especially after he begins to receive threatening phone calls.

I enjoyed the mystery and spending time in Missy's world, but in the swamp and at her upscale hat shop.  I've obviously missed a lot by skipping the previous four books and Missy makes several references to "another story for another time." For me, that other time is going to be soon.

The Body in the Gravel by Jazzi Zanders

When the gravel for a driveway is poured and reveals the corpse of the man who was supposed to be making the delivery, house flipper Jazzi Zanders finds herself plunged into another murder investigation. Darby's wife and son vanished years ago and although bodies were never found, some people believe that he did more than just drive them off with his awful behavior.  Plenty of people might have wanted him dead and now he is.

I picked this one up thinking it was the second book in the series, but it's actually the third. The romance that I enjoyed in the first book has progressed into a happy relationship, although Jazzi almost  can't be bothered to pick out a wedding dress. I'm glad they're happy and that the author isn't playing around with jealousy and misunderstandings.

The mystery is interesting. I found myself caring about the people involved and wanting to find out what had actually happened. Jazzi accompanies a police detective on his interviews and never really does any investigating on her own. And there is so much food! Every meal is planned, and shopped for, and cooked, and eaten. I'll be watching for the next book so I can spend more time with Jazzi and Ansel and their family and friends.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, October 07, 2019

The Second Week of October

We're moving into the second week of October and I really need to  get moving on my Halloween plans. There's the pumpkin patch to get to, and the gaming expo....and Halloween.

Why does October always fly by so quickly? We've got so many things to do!

To Do --
weave in ends and take pictures of finished knits
cast on a new project so I'll have mindless knitting to haul around
clean sewing machine
put up floss from finished projects
add more grid lines to Crocuses on windowsill

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Peaches are Better Now

On Thursday I made the drive up to Acorn and Threads and spent six solid hours stitching with my friends. I took breaks to wander around the shop and breaks to listen to the conversation but mostly  I stitched a jar full of peaches. 

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the problem I'd run into with Canner's Kitchen. It was the first stitching I'd done in ages and I'd made a lot of progress and then I realized that a big chunk of what I'd done was wrong and I didn't know how to fix it. I was STUCK.

Some of us pulled out different shades of orange and compared them to the photograph and made guesses about whether those stitches should be darker or lighter than the other existing stitches. Then Michelle Garrette looked at the green skein and wondered if 772 was just a typo for 722 and we compared that shade of peachy orange to the other possibilities we'd chosen. It was so close that it just HAD to be the right color.

I sat down and picked out all of those green stitches and started replacing them with the new color and filling in the space around them. That can't not be the right color. Or if it is, I don't care because it's worlds better then the green.

If you're wondering how I got myself into so much trouble, it's because of my other project with lots of shading, Ripe Apples. That one has all kinds of colors that don't make any sense until they're stitched. If I'd been looking at the picture on the opposite page instead of just blindly following the chart, I would've seen that something was wrong. But I didn't.

When you think about it, it's amazing that I so rarely run into problems with these old magazines.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

{Sorting Through My Stash} Paula Vaughan

I thought I'd try to figure out how many Paula Vaughan cross stitch patterns are out there and I quickly gave up because it's all so overwhelming. There are the books, and the single pattern charts, and the magazines...

I think I'll just keep watching the thrift stores and see what I can find. There doesn't seem to be any duplication between these three books I've already got in my stash, but it's hard to tell because she uses to many similar elements with quilts draped over barbed wire and attic and porch scenes and old dresses. 

Do I even need to mention that I want to stitch them all? I hadn't noticed this wheelbarrow until I was doing my flip through video.

And this piano scene definitely fits in with my current still life obsession....

It's got an attic, and a quilt, and a spinning wheel. And none of her other designs, at least none of the ones I own, have spinning wheels.

I saw someone's pictures of this piece on Instagram and immediately fell in love with the pumpkins (along with just about every other chart in Quilts for All Seasons) and was lucky enough to find a copy at Goodwill after only a couple of weeks of searching.

I'd love to get my hands on Quilts from the Bible or Preserved in Time or The Best of Paula Vaughan Book 2 but it's going to have to be if I'm lucky enough to stumble across them because they're out of print and not cheap.

Are their certain designers you collect just because you love their patterns so much? 

Friday, October 04, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/4/19}

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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Dollar Tree Crafter's Square

Have you seen the new Crafter's Square at Dollar Tree? One of the boys needed a USB charger so we  stopped by and I'm optimistic. That banner wasn't there last week and although the section isn't fully stocked yet I went looking online and it looks like they're going to have some fun additions.

The store I visited had the glitter and beads I've found there before (with a few new varieties), along with paint brushes and some wooden pieces. There was still lots of room the new craft section could expand into.

I'll be checking back later to see if they get the adhesive cork sheets and utility knives I saw on some of the haul videos. There were also some little wooden trays that I have an idea for. 

I wish that they'd had all of this when the kids were younger and wanted things for projects. These days there are so many fun little craft kids available.

Have you got a section like this in your local store? What are you finding useful? We left the store with only the cord we'd gone in for -- mostly because they'd stocked up on snacks the day before. 

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Practical Thrift Store Shopping

When I go thrifting, I'm almost always looking for things I couldn't buy new. Sometimes I'm digging through the bins at the Goodwill outlet just looking for a warm sweater in a yarn that won't fall apart after two washings, but usually I'm after interesting vintage craft supplies or original text Nancy Drew books or stuff that's interesting enough to photograph and put into a thrift store post. 

My summer thrifting got taken over by the quest for shoes.... 

I needed three teenage boys to have presentable feet for the wedding. They didn't have to be brand new shoes, or like new shoes. They just had to be kind of nondescript and not garish sneakers. My oldest might wear his again someday, but the younger two aren't done growing and I don't expect another occasion that will call for fancy shoes.

We went to every store I know of, most of them more than once. There was a pair that were a size too big for my oldest but they were in perfect shape and dirt cheap so they came home with us (and later went to the best man who actually wears that size and also needed shoes.) There were a couple of pairs that were perfect except for the price.

I also called around to see what rental shoes cost. Yikes!  We bought all three pairs for less than my husband spent for his new pair....which was less than the rental place wanted.

As much as I love thrift store shopping, I'm glad that the endless shoe hunt is over. It's much more fun to just wander in and see what's there.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

{I've Been Reading} The Farm

I can't remember where I first heard about The Farm by Joanne Ramos, but I checked it out from the library expecting a thriller. Golden Oaks, a luxury facility where surrogate mothers known as "Hosts"  are paid to remain for the nine months of their pregnancies, seems too perfect to be true. There has to be a catch and I was expecting a shocking twist that never came.

Jane came to Golden Oaks after losing her job as a baby nurse. It seems like an answer to her financial problems, a way to provide a better life for her infant daughter who she's left in the care of her cousin. Although Jane is definitely being exploited at times she's her own worst enemy.

The hosts avoid stress and eat nutritious food an keep to a strict schedule of exercise. Their movements are constantly tracked, but there's really very little in the books about the details of surrogacy or of pregnancy and there's absolutely nothing about childbirth. There's a growing sense of just how vulnerable the Hosts are to the whims of their clients, and of Golden Oaks. It's horrific, but in a slowly paced, very realistic sort of way.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Magnetic Cross Stitch Bookmarks

A few months back, I bought a pack of magnet bookmarks from Hobby Lobby. They were cute and had a sewing theme and it didn't take me long at all to realize that I wanted more of them. I found tutorials for making them out of washi tape and old maps and a dozen other things...then I started to wonder if I could make a cross stitched version. 

Turns out I could -- and I did!

The patterns I stitched are from a book I've had in my stash for years, called A Little Country by Kount on Kappie. It's got fifty little old fashioned still life scenes that I've been dying to stitch but didn't know what I'd do with if I did stitch them. I used 18 count aida to keep the size down.

For the complete finishing instructions, click on the video below.

I'm linking up to What I Made

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Bookstores with Shopping Carts

I saw a post on Facebook earlier this week saying how great the world would be if only bookstores had shopping carts....

The used bookstore where I worked when I was in high school had shopping carts and Ida's customers used those carts. It wasn't some wishful hypothetical situation -- those ladies would leave the store with big paper grocery bags full to the brim with books and they'd read them all and bring them back to trade for more.

On Saturdays, the counter was piled up to our eyes with books that had just been traded in.  We'd add up their value on little notepads, no calculators allowed. (Until recently, I'd forgotten all about that little skill. When it comes to useful math, I know what I'm doing -- or did thirty some years ago!)

I miss those days.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/27/19}

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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Garter Stitch...

It turns out that what I needed to get myself out of this knitting slump was an easy garter stitch triangle. I'm working from a cake of Yarn Bee Sugarwheel in "caramel me away" and yes I absolutely did buy it because of the color name...and also because it was $1.74 at the Hobby Lobby yarn clearance sale.

What I didn't know at the time was how to compare the cakes to make sure the colors flow when you move from one to the next. I haven't compared them yet to see if I accidentally got it right.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

{Estate Sale Temptations} This Time There Was a Stitcher!

Last week I wrote about the sometimes impossible parking at estate sales. I'm not exaggerating about conditions in my neck of the woods. Not even a little bit.

On Saturday, I saw this ad --

Gate won't open until 10:30 each day. About 20 Cars will fit on property, staff will help you park during busy times. If you park on road do so very carefully. We will have signs alerting of the estate sale ahead and that cars may be on the side of the road. It is steep so be careful. There is a lovely little store at the Junction of ----- that you can wait at until gate opens. Address will be posted here, online and on craigslist day of sale but just follow the signs from the junction of ------------. It will be well marked.

I can't think of anything tempting enough to make me deal with that, even if we took the truck and I wasn't driving by myself.

We did find another estate sale at an old farm and it was close enough to our regular route that I took my chances on the parking, which wasn't an issue at all.

They had all the oil lamps...

And vintage baby clothes still in the original boxes...

And two framed birthday poems. I wonder what will happen to those.

There had also been a stitcher in the house, which is what drew me there in the first place. I found lots of nicely embroidered linens in the bedroom and all of this in an attic room upstairs.

Want to see what came home with me? Click on the video below...

This post is linked to Vintage Charm.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Grand, Death, Auto

Grand, Death, Auto by Joanna Campbell Slan

When a string of suicides hits a nearby high school Kiki finds herself pulled into the investigation. Her fear is that someone may be pushing the students to take their own lives and while the regular art teacher is on maternity leave, she'll spend the last two weeks of the school year helping the students finish their portfolios and introducing them to the world of scrapbooking...while at the same time trying to get them to open up to her so that she can figure out what's really going on at the school.

Leaving her family and store puts Kiki in some difficult situations. Arranging for her employees to take over Time in a Bottle is  the easy part. Beyond that, things get a lot more difficult. Sheila, her former mother-in-law, is out of rehab and, along with her husband, wants to take the two older children on a Disney cruise.  In order to be close enough to the school, Kiki and the baby and their nanny will have to temporarily move in with her current mother-in-law.

Scrapbooking plays a huge role in this book and I loved seeing Kiki do more of it. I also liked the focus on her relationships. Those have always been my favorite things about this series and they're what keep me coming back for each new book.

Now for the stupid disclosures that bloggers are required to make... I consider the author a friend. She's sent me review copies of previous books. I bought this one directly from Amazon and she doesn't know that I'll be posting about it here. If I hadn't been so busy with the wedding and didn't know she was dealing with a hurricane, I probably would have asked her if she wanted to do a guest post here on the blog. That's a whole lot more complicated than the usual "the publisher sent me a review copy."

Monday, September 23, 2019

It is STILL September

Somehow, I keep convincing myself that I've almost missed Halloween and that there's no more time for projects or tutorials. In reality, I've still got almost six weeks to work on the things I want to do (and no one is going to stop me from working on them after October 31 if I want to keep going!)

 I've got a huge to do list right now, but it's all upcoming tutorials and projects and things I can't share here yet.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Charting Error?

I've been adding a new jar to the Canner's Kitchen this morning, stitching away on a chart that's mostly black and pink and white and wondering what these things are. (From the chart, I'd have guessed pickled eggs as unlikely as that is.)

Then I compared it with the photograph on a nearby page. That leaf green obviously does not belong here. The DMC number and the name on the chart both call it "leaf green" but there's no green in that photo. 



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