Wednesday, May 22, 2019

{Stitch Maynia} The Decisions Are Getting Harder

With about ten days left, I'm starting to look at my Stitch Maynia plans more carefully. I might be able to start ten more projects, if life cooperates. So which ten? 

These are all possibilities...


There are others that I can't lay my hands on right now. One would be at the absolute top of the list if I hadn't put the required threads in a safe place. Others have jumped to mind but I haven't seen them in months if not years and don't remember which magazine it might have been in or where that single sheet printout got tucked.

Once May is over, the plan is to focus on something else in June and make (hopefully) steady progress on the things I'm already stitching.

So even though it's all in my head I've got a definite feeling of "now or never" or "now or next year."

That still life with the cheese has to be one of my starts, right?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

{I've Been Reading} The Chrysalis



I kept checking out The Chrysalis by Brendan Deneen and renewing it until I hit the limit and checking it out again. I couldn't seem to make time to read it, but the description sounded so good. A broke young couple buys a surprisingly affordable old house and the husband finds something in the basement that he rapidly becomes obsessed with. Oh, and they find out that they're living in the local murder house which explains that dark stain on the kitchen floor.

Books with scary old houses in them are one of my favorite things and The chrysalis was okay. Except for references to phones with flashlights and some other things that are definitely recent, it felt a lot like the horror novels I was reading back in the 80s.

I picked up An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good for the cover. How could I not? A tiny book made up of very short stories, it was a fun read. Imagine an eighty-eight year old woman with no family or friends who is going to get exactly what she wants out of life. That's Maud. Now imagine what she might do to the people who dare mess with her. Maud isn't particularly nice, but she's very entertaining. I suspect I'd be even more entertained if I'd read the author's other books.

Disclosure -- This post  contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Drama at the Laundromat (and Some Stitching)

One of the things that's surprised me about Stitch Maynia is how frequently I'm looping back to my earlier starts. A Caledonian Sky is the long kitted up project that I started on the first of the month and since then I've found myself putting more and more stitches into it. 


I tucked it into my purse on our last laundry day because I'm filling in blocks of solid color and  the lighting at the laundromat is surprisingly good.  I'd get in some stitching while the dirty clothes sloshed around and got clean.

Maybe I'll stitch at the laundromat next week....

This time, I put up my stitching halfway through the load because my oldest son had run across the parking lot to Walmart to pick up a couple of things and came back to tell me they were evacuating the store because of a chemical fire.

A chemical fire? How bad was that? There's a large expanse of parking lot between the laundromat and Walmart. I had eight minutes left before the machine unlocked and no one else in the building seemed worried.  If it was a big fire, they'd also evacuate the strip mall, right? I was watching the timer on the washing machine tick down while also watching more emergency vehicles arrive and wondering at what point I should abandon all of my husband's and sons' clothing. As soon as that lock clicked open, we got everything together and joined the line of cars waiting to leave the parking lot.

On the drive home, we passed fire trucks headed from our small town to Lebanon. That didn't seem like a good sign at all.

I love that social media lets us find out what really happened. There was a fire on the shelves of pool chemicals.  Several streets and businesses around the store were closed because of the smoke (I'm guessing that included the laundromat and so glad our timing wasn't worse and that we didn't lose our clothes!) On Friday, a local man was arrested for arson.

After we got home, I did some more stitching.



Sunday, May 19, 2019

More Thrift Shop Precuts

Remember the jelly rolls I bought at the thrift shop last week? Mom said I should go back and pick up some of the charm packs if they still had them. The ones that I showed in the post picture were gone, but I picked up these...


They'd been marked down to three for a dollar. When I was paying for them, the lady said that there was more fabric inside that hadn't been marked down yet.

Yet?  I stopped by on Friday just in case, but there was nothing new on the discount table. We'll see if I can find another excuse to wander out that way later.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

{Stitch Maynia} Goblins, Resorts, and Cats

Start #7 -- The Goblins (Cross Stitch & Country Crafts September/October 1995)


I've had this one kitted up for years. The original choice was some greenish linen but there wasn't enough contrast between the color of the goblins and the fabric. Or that's what I told myself, because these days I'm more comfortable stitching on aida.

Start #8 -- Grand Resorts on the Lakes (Cross Stitch Plus August/September 1991)


This is another one that I've had in my stash forever. I love the way the chart looks but I would never ever have decided to stitch it based on that photo. Hopefully I succeed in changing the colors to something I'm happier with. (There will be much less dusty pink and blue!)

Start #9 -- Riolis Furry Friends 


This start involved a couple of hours of gridding fabric. I got a little stitching done before I put it up at the end of the evening but my progress isn't much to look at. I can't wait to work my way down to the pile of books and the other fun details.

And there are four more starts, but I'm breaking this up into separate posts so the individual projects don't get buried in the wonderful chaos. I've also got progress pictures of the earlier starts.

Did I mention that this is fun?

Friday, May 17, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/17/19}


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, May 15, 2019

I Don't Like This Shawl

I made another shawl and I'm not at all happy with it. Except for the colors, which are gorgeous. And the pattern, which I'll definitely be following again.


This is going to be more of a yarn review than a post about a finished project.  Yarn Bee Wildstreak comes in gorgeous colors, but it's loosely spun and I had to focus on every stitch to keep the tips of my needles from going through the yarn. The second of three skeins had multiple knots and stretches where the fiber wasn't twisted at all.


I need to learn that it's okay to give up on yarn that just isn't working, especially when it was 75% off in the first place. I spent a whole lot of hours on a project that's probably going to wind up at the thrift shop because I don't feel like it turned out well enough to donate and it's not quite bad enough to throw in the garbage. (I'll make the final decision after seeing how it holds up in the wash.)

So much for trying new yarns...at least this particular new yarn. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Jelly Rolls and Precuts?

I really want to know the story behind the fabric stash I found at the thrift shop last week. I don't think I've ever seen precuts, let alone three small laundry baskets full of them... 

There were jelly rolls and charm packs and some others I don't know the name off, all dirt cheap if you were comparing them to the original prices and all in the condition they'd left the quilt shop in. 


See that bundle in the top center? Someone could use that to make a 30s Barn Raising quilt just like the one I made. 

Like I said, I want to know how and why all of this was there. Did someone give up quilting? Die? Read that book about decluttering and make some drastic decisions? This particular thrift shop supports a local no-kill shelter so they get some great donations, but I've never had a thrift shop find like this one.

Luckily, the fabric wasn't in colors that made me swoon. I picked up three jelly rolls to give to my mom for Mother's Day (with a full explanation of where they came from because the backstory makes them even more fun) and left the rest for another quilter to be excited about.


So what's your opinion on thrifted gifts? I'm all for them if they're going to someone else who enjoys thrifting, but I wouldn't try to pass anything off as new.

And have you ever found fabric like this at your thrift shops? 



Monday, May 13, 2019

{Stitch Maynia} The Next Two Starts

I've been doing more stitching than blogging about stitching. I think I told you that in my last post about Stitch Maynia.

Start #5 is Mr. Rabbit, a free download from Maria Brovko's Facebook page.


This adorable little guy may be my undoing.  There's not a lot of stitching but that outlining -- the whole reason the rabbit is so stinkin cute -- is hard to figure out. And made harder by the fact that I'm using aida and have to pierce the fabric to get it in what I hope is the right position.



Start #6 is Peaceful Countryside, an old Dimensions kit by Charles Wysocki 


I do not know where this one came from. I must have either traded another stitcher for it or picked it up in a thrift shop. The previous owner had started stitching it in the middle and after fifteen or twenty minutes of trying to pick out her work, I grabbed the fabric from another thrifted kit and started using that. It's an odd size, longer and skinner than most of the pieces I already own.

After an hour or so of stitching, I'm almost wishing I'd left the fabric where it belonged because that kit is also one I want to start...

I can cut another piece down from my stash. It's just aida and aida is relatively cheap. This is the only one of my ten new starts that I'm not excited to pick back up, so if it goes back into the stash with only a few stitches I can live with that.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/10/19}


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, May 09, 2019

{Estate Sale Temptations} I Was Afraid to Open This One...

The ad for the estate sale promised seventy years accumulation. What we saw at the actual sale was more like "do we have enough to bother with a yard sale?"  Aside from a collection of sewing machines and a latch hook Jesus rug, there wasn't anything interesting.

Then I saw this....


I should have put something in the pictures for scale, because you can't tell how big this is. Imagine the big packages of Quaker Oats. Full of gold glitter.

And did I mention that it was fifty cents? I bought it for the packaging because it's neat and old and that looks like such an insane ridiculous amount of glitter. But when we got home I carefully pried it open. Outside, because I didn't know what I was getting myself into.


I'm the very happy owner of an obscene amount of gold glitter. I can't even begin to justify it, but I knew this one would haunt me if I passed it up.

Would you have brought it home or left it behind?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

{I've Been Reading} The Invited



I love, love, love ghost stories. The Invited by Jennifer McMahon handles the idea of a haunted house a bit differently. Instead of moving into an existing house, Helen and Nate are building a house from scratch, doing all of the work themselves while they live in a trailer on the property.  Once Helen begins researching local history and seeking out salvaged pieces with ties to the place, things start getting spooky. It's not a fast paced book, but the ghost is downright chilling.

Hattie Breckenridge was killed by her neighbors, her body sunk deep into the bog, and she's never left the land. If you like reading ghost stories late at night, I highly recommend this one.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 

Monday, May 06, 2019

{Stitch Maynia} Cats, Apples, and My Love of Stitching

Over the past few days, I've been doing a lot of stitching and not much blogging. As I type this it's day six of Stitch Maynia and I've started five new projects. There's a sixth one sitting next to me that I plan to start this evening.

Start #2 is a Riolis Kit, Cat With Gramophone


Remember how happily obsessed I was about Cat With Clock a few months ago? It's that all over again.

Start #3 is a Dimensions Kit that I bought when I first started cross stitching and a local independently owned craft store was closing and had everything on clearance.


It's been fun to play with so far. I think I'll incorporate it into a project bag once I'm done.

Start #4 is Ripe Apples, one of the Riolis kits I bought when Hobby Lobby had that huge clearance sale last yet.


I had my doubts about the 10 count fabric, which makes the stitches almost twice as large as when I'm working on 18 count, but I think it's going to look just fine. The wool is heavier than cotton floss and I'm going to trust the manufacturer and do it the way they packaged the kit.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Cross Stitch the Special Moments in Your Life -- Or Some Fancy Rabbits Dressed for a Masquerade Ball

I've got to admit that the title of Cross-Stitch the Special Moments of Your Life confuses me a bit. It definitely doesn't describe the contents of the book, unless maybe you special moments include fox hunting. 


It would be easy to overlook this one, especially if you flip through and only notice the teddy bears, but there's an amazing variety of patterns in here. I definitely want to stitch the girls on the left...


And those rabbits! The cross stitching world is full of amazing rabbits, but those have to be some of the best.


You can see all of the patterns in my video review over on YouTube.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/3/19}


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, May 02, 2019

{Stitch Maynia} Start #1 -- A Caledonian Sky

In Monday's post, I explained a bit about how Stitch Maynia works. After lots of debating with myself, I actually waited until the first of May to start my first project.

This is A Caledonian Sky. Mostly the floss and first few stitches of A Caledonian Sky. It's been kitted up in my stash for almost twenty years. I was going to stitch it. Someday.


I printed off the pattern in December of 2001, probably a year or so after I started stitching, and somehow I didn't forget it. At one point, I'd converted the Anchor colors to DMC. Those notes are written on the pattern. Some time after that, I apparently got my hands on the Anchor floss the pattern actually calls for.

The picture on my printout isn't great. But the Internet Wayback Machine is a thing and after some fiddling around to remember how the site works, I found the actual picture and the chart. It looks so much better there!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} The Chairs at the Goodwill Outlet

Last week, my daughter and I spent a day digging through the bins up in Portland and falling in love with chairs. 

I'll start with the one that isn't going to haunt me -- 


I love wooden swivel desk chairs. They capture my imagination and make me think of old movies and this one was in great condition and only seven bucks. But I have one already and I like the one that I have.  It's also much easier to resist temptation when the person you are with is buying the thing and you know you'll be able to see it again.

This pretty little rocker wasn't too tempting because even though it was only five dollars I knew I didn't have a place for it.


I walked away without even taking a decent picture because I wasn't tempted. Then I saw it in one of the bins being wheeled away to the back and realized that it hadn't found a home and I felt a little sorry for it.

Then I got back to my own house and a day or two passed and I realized that I had the perfect corner for it. It could have replaced the child sized rocker in my bedroom corner. Damn.

I am totally going to buy a print of The Fairy Tale, but it isn't going to be this one. The whole thing was much greener in real life.


This landscape wanted to come home with me and it would have been soooo cheap. But it also would have taken up a huge amount of my extremely limited wall space. There will be other paintings like it and some will be just as pretty even if they aren't as inexpensive and I really do want to fill the wall space with my own quilts and stitching...


Just because I  can smell the trees and river and imagine crawling over that fallen log doesn't mean I have to succumb to temptation...

If you want to see what else we found, click on the video --



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Antiques Ravin'



The thirteenth book of the Trash 'n' Treasures mystery series by Barbara Allan, Antiques Ravin' has an appropriately dark theme. Newly elected sheriff Vivian Borne and her daughter are investigating a murder at the Edgar Allen Poe festival -- after her performance of The Raven. It's a fun fast read that I highly recommend. To quote Brandy, "For newbies just jumping in -- heaven help you," but it's easy to start reading this series out of order. Brandy and Vivian, who alternate chapters, will tell you what you need to know and frequently tell you what book certain events happened in. I've probably read half of the books in the series and I find myself curious about past events, but never feeling too lost. 



I picked up The Loch Ness Papers by Paige Shelton because the description sounded interesting. It's the fourth book in the series, but I frequently read things out of order and most of the time it works. This time, it didn't. Delaney Nichols works at a bookshop in Scotland and is preparing for her wedding. While going to make last minute arrangements to replace the pastor who was supposed to perform the ceremony, she meets Norval, an old man who is obsessed with Nessie and looking for someone to take over his research. When his nephew is murdered, Delaney tries to help Norval clear his name. 

The murder mystery and Norval's stories about his childhood encounters with the monster, who he firmly believes took his father, are interesting but I never really felt pulled into Delaney's world. She hears "bookish voices" which aren't explained at all until most of the way  through the book, and although she was planning a wedding I really didn't get any sense of her relationship with her fiance. Those are things that I probably would have known if I'd started with the first book in the series, but jumping in with this one wasn't the best idea.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. My opinions are my own. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

New Bandwagons to Jump On

If you've followed my blog for long at all, you'll have noticed that I tend to jump on bandwagons. Not all of them, by any stretch, but the ones that look fun.

Stitch Maynia is starting in a couple of days and I'm playing along this year. Cross stitchers start either nineteen projects (because it's 2019) or thirty one projects (one for each day of the month) or whatever other self-determined rule they decide to follow. Some are monogamous stitchers and work on one projects, some do a mix of WIPs and new starts, some do all new starts...and you can change your own rules any time you want.

I'm planning a mix of new stitches and new knits and probably some project bags. Thirty-one is the goal...but I know how my life is.

The Witchy Stitcher (she designed Home is Where the Horror Is, which I stitched last year) has a new mystery SAL with nine universal monsters in the rooms of a haunted mansion and I'm soooo soooo sooo tempted that I'll probably have purchased it by the time this posts. You can buy it on her etsy shop.


There are also those Target bags. They have a grid of holes which form squares, so of course people are buying them to stitch on. And buying them to resell at hugely inflated prices, which might be why there were none in our local store even before they went on clearance.



I stopped at the Target by Ikea while my daughter and I were shopping and not only did they have the bags, they had them for 70% off. I bought five, which seemed like too many...then I got home and the boys saw them and started putting in requests and it might not be enough. If I don't wind up stitching anything on any of them, it was still a good purchase since the entire state just passed a ban on plastic shopping bags. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

I Stitched a Thing...

I'd been carrying around the pattern and fabric and floss in my project bag since January. Sometimes it seemed like the most appropriate thing I could possibly stitch. Some days things were going smoothly and I was happy with hedgehogs and snowy scenery. 

A week or so ago, I really needed to work on something that was simple and one color and didn't requite much concentration. So it got stitched. 

Pattern: Swearing Helps, a free download from Glowfall Love & Craft

There should have been a swag of flowers across the bottom, but leaving those off meant that it would fit the hoop that I'd recently used as a prop for something else so I left them off. They would have been pretty, but this piece represents a particular moment in time and on that morning flowers weren't a priority. 

I've got mixed feelings about what I've seen described as snarky stitching. Some captures me feelings almost perfectly, but I wouldn't hang it on my wall. This one is iffy, but it's going in the sewing room and I'm the only one who should be in the sewing room and I honestly don't worry about the entire world seeing it. It's tame enough. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/26/19}


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, April 25, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Sewing Boxes and a Camel Teapot

There are some things that just call to you from across the room...


I'd love to know more about that adorable little stove, mostly who cooked on it and where and what the rest of their life was like.

My son really, really wanted the silver camel tea pot, but I couldn't quite justify it.


We checked out an antique shop with an interesting sign and found some pretty sewing boxes...


That one is absolutely gorgeous and I had to remind myself that I don't use the sewing boxes I already own.  This one wasn't as cute, but it was filled to the brim with sewing goodies.


And I got a reminder that I can't afford mid-century barware. This isn't the set that I'm coveting, but it was entertaining.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/18/19}


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

Sunday, April 14, 2019

I Love Lighthouses

I'm sure I've mentioned that before, but I'm having so much fun with this kit, Beacon at Daybreak, that I don't want to work on any of my other stitching projects. I just kind of love everything about this one. 


Hobby Lobby has cross stitch kits on clearance again...


There were a couple of other tempting me, but these are three that I know I'll stitch.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Tide Pools Instead of Museums?


Remember last year's plan to visit a different museum at least once a month? I didn't pull it off. Going places was possible, but spacing them evenly out, let alone spacing them evenly out and getting them to mesh with the actual calendar...that didn't happen. 

I thought we'd go to the Marine Science Center while we were at the coast, but it turns out they don't have an octopus on display right now. Since the octopus and the touch pools are the main attractions, we didn't go.  Instead, we spent a couple of afternoons clambering around on the rocks and looking at actual tide pools. 

There weren't informative signs, or helpful volunteers to answer our questions but we know most of the creatures by sight and we have smart phones that helped fill in the gaps in our existing knowledge. 

This was a lot more fun -- and a lot more exercise -- than walking through a museum reading signs. 




I've still got a  whole long list of places we plan to visit, but I'm scrapping the idea of doing one a month.

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