Thursday, February 28, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} I Want a Ship in a Bottle

It was a good week for things I've never seen in thrift shops. Especially things I've never seen and didn't know I wanted. 

Like an unused ship-in-a-bottle kit...

And big ugly, but seriously tempting, lamps...

The more I look at this guy, the more I think he might be from the same mold as the one Grandma had in her living room when I was little. I always remembered hers as a knight and I'm pretty sure this guy is a Conquistador, but to young eyes they would've looked the same. I'm sure the posture is right, but I'm not sure about his clothing. And now it's driving me absolutely nuts!

I left the shop empty handed, but there was a lot to drool over.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

{Books and Yarn} Bring Me Back

If this weather is good for anything, it's cuddling up under Grandma's double knit polyester quilt and reading or knitting. These most likely won't be done by the end of the month, but I'm not pushing myself while I wait for the first Sock Madness pattern to drop. Tired fingers would definitely be a disadvantage! 

I thought I knew which book I was going to write about  in this post, but by the time I reached the end I realized that there was absolutely nothing good I could say about it. As much as I love domestic thrillers, I didn't care what happened to the protagonist, who stumbled through the story doing (mostly) what her husband told her to and consuming painkillers and sleeping pills and lots and lots of glasses of wine. Something has happened to her, but the author doesn't tell us what it was until the very end and I wasn't even sure until much later in the book if the women in the book even knew what it was. She's a horribly unreliable narrator who keeps doing stupid things and then lying about those things and digging herself deeper into this weird hole that shouldn't exist because she's created it herself for no good reason.

Then the power went out and I found myself with time to read another book.

Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris is the kind of domestic thriller that keeps me coming back to find more of them. A vacationing couple stops at a service station. Finn goes to uses the restroom and when he returns to the car, Layla is gone. The police search turns up no trace of her. Ten  years later, Finn is happily engaged to Layla's sister. They're planning a wedding, until someone spots Layla and Finn begins to receive emails and packages that make it seem that Layla is still alive.

This one kept me turning pages. I can't talk about much more than the cover copy without giving too much away, but I enjoyed the twists of the plot even though I can't even begin to convince myself that what happens at the end could ever happen in real life. It's just a book and it was a fun read.

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

My Yard Looks Like My Stitching

Trust me, it looks more fun than it actually is. 

Remember those winter storm warnings I was telling you about earlier this month? Those storms never showed up, at least not at my house. I'd stopped watching the forecast quite so closely and there was nothing exciting predicted for this week.

Monday, we woke up to twelve inches of snow. Then the power went out...and came back an hour later...and went out for the rest of the day and most of the night. The automated system called and told me my power had been restored, it hadn't, and yes I'd checked my breaker box, and no the power had not been off for an hour, it had been off all day. Oh, and each phone call took eight or ten attempts because as soon as I'd waded through all of the recordings about downloading their app and checking online the call would drop.

As of this morning, we had power but no phone or internet. The internet is back, but I haven't even checked to see about the water.

All of that lovely, picturesque water in my pictures of the yard? There isn't supposed to be water there.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

My Latest Stitchy Obsession

I thought I was going to try to finish the hedgehogs by the end of the month, but then I picked up All is Calm and spent a couple of evenings stitching on the trees and now I'm just a little bit obsessed. Those half stitches make for fast progress.

In the Q-Snap, it looks like I've got a huge chunk of it done, but there's a lot more bare fabric hiding off to the right. This won't be done anytime soon.

And it looks like that break from while floss I was planning isn't going to last as long as I'd thought. There's a lot of snow waiting off off to the far side of the picture...

This is what happens when you stitch from a thrifted kit with no packaging and forget exactly what it is you've gotten yourself into.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Novelty of the Pressure Cooker Hasn't Worn Off

I'm still happily using the pressure cooker -- three times this past week! Once was to cook beans for taco soup that I finished on the stove top. I'm getting better at making sure they're completely cooked.

I also made Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, which is exactly the sort of thing I was dreaming of when we ordered our pressure cooker. Put in boneless skinless chicken breast with a jar of salsa, then cook and shred it and make tacos. The whole family liked it and it's quick and cheap, the kind of thing I can make in a hurry if we've spent the whole day out running around.

Thursday night, we had The Easiest Instant Pot Crack Chicken.  (Why do so many of these recipes have "crack" in the name? The boys are giving me all kinds of grief over the recipe names and I'm apparently not creative enough to re-name them on the fly) It came out well, but the family had varying opinions over whether or not it was too hot. I fell into the "not hot at all" category, which meant it definitely wasn't.

Cheesecake is still on the list of things I want to try, but the family keeps eating my graham crackers and I wound up using the cream cheese for the crack chicken because the crackers were already gone. Next time, I'm buying crumbs from the bulk section.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/22/19}

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.

Inlinkz Link Party

Thursday, February 21, 2019

{Estate Sale Temptations} Hiawatha Genuine Needle Painting

As best as I can tell this was made from a kit sold by a company named Hiawatha in the 1940s (or 1800s to 1940s, depending on which listing we want to trust.) It looks like it was worth more than the five dollars they wanted for it at the estate sale....if that piece of cardboard it was glued to hasn't leached a ton of damaging chemicals into the fabric. And if someone could remove it from that piece of cardboard without making a scary mess of things. 

I left it behind for whoever wants to figure that out. 

I don't frame things properly, but even I wouldn't have done that!

There's a listing on etsy that gives a little more information about the original kit and how it was intended to be used.

This package contains an authentic reproduction of a famous old print, on fine linen...picture frame with enameled glass mat...embroidery floss...needle and directions.

Mounted in its unique frame this picture may be used as it is ... add a few dabs of floss here and there and you have a most charming piece of artistic needlework. 

I love the idea of "a few dabs of floss here and there." That sound fun!

Someone, at some point in my childhood, must have had these two. I absolutely know that I've seen them before.

For fifty cents, maybe I should have brought them home and worried later about what on earth I was going to do with them. Because when am I ever going to find another set? Just look at her little tulle veil and his pipe.

Edited to add -- I found a blog post by a lady who's trying to figure out the source for the pattern. They're so much older than I I'm really kicking myself!

My sewing room is going to be decorated in all of the oddball vintage DIY home decor.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I've Been Reading...and Buying Adult Coloring Books at the Dollar Tree

The Coloring Cook, the second in the Pen and Ink series by Krista Davis, is a really entertaining read. The mystery starts with an estate sale where Florrie's friend, Dolly, discovers a rare book from the 1700s. The Florist was the first coloring book ever published and a lot of people want to get their hands on a copy. Not long after her discovery, Dolly is found dead with a scrap of paper in her hand that Florrie is sure came from the book, which is nowhere to be found.

In addition to working at Color me Read, a bookstore, Florrie illustrates adult coloring books. As she contemplates the events of her day, she draws. The way she thinks about the other characters while sketching them really helped the elements of the mystery pull together. There's a whole lot going on in this book and it all weaves together into a single engrossing plot.

I had some reservations after reading the first book of the series but after this one I'm definitely hooked for good and I'll be watching for the next one.

The coloring book hasn't quite bitten me yet, but I've been tempted. Over the past month I've found two really nice books at the Dollar Tree. One is intended for moms and moms to be, but does it matter what the title is if there are pretty pictures of yarn skeins and tea pots inside? The other is A Christmas Carol. I can absolutely see packing that one away with the holiday decorations and pulling it out every year...or could if I was that kind of organized.

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Fireside Shawl

I had plenty of yarn left over after knitting the Campside shawl, enough to knit a second one. 

There's no pattern for this one. I made a triangular top down shawl, switched to k3p3 ribbing when I thought there was enough yarn left for a wide band of it, then kept knitting until I was down to what I thought was enough yarn for casting off.

Monday, February 18, 2019

This Week's Goals

Last week I made myself work on the entire list of current projects. This week, I'm going to play with the three that are the most fun. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Early Morning Stitching

I was stitching on my hedgehogs before the sun was up this morning. There's just that corner of greenery to finish...along with filling in all of the other random stitches I skipped along the way for various reasons. I really should remember that skipping around too much makes things harder later.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/15/19}

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.

Inlinkz Link Party

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Murder Wears a Little Black Dress

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress by Debra Sennefelder

What happens when a young women takes over her grandmother's consignment clothing store and then a psychic collapses after trying on a black lace dress and announcing that it had been worn by a murderer? It's not good. Not good  for the book's protagonist Kelly Quinn. For those of us reading the book, it's absolutely fantastic.

Kelly had big plans for changing her inheritance into an upscale boutique, but talk of "the murder" dress isn't good for business. Neither is the group that comes in one day and sets up a seance in the home decor area, or the lawsuit filed by a customer who's afraid that Kelly sold her a haunted chair. Or the fact that she's discovered more than one dead body.

I'm not into fashion at all, but that didn't keep me from loving this book. I definitely want to read whatever else is coming up in the series.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an ARC.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I Worked on Them All!

Last week's goal was to pull out all of my active projects and work for at least an hour on each one. I managed that, and now I've got one fewer project in my rotation. 

I'm still not enthused about the green socks or A Little Girl's Fancy. They're both too fiddly for me to deal with right now. I think I'll focus on the hedgehogs and All is Calm and worry about those later.

Those winter storm warnings are still popping up on my phone even though it's well above freezing and there's not a flake of snow to be seen. Makes me really glad I'm not trying to plan anything around all of this!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Cat With Clock

Those dire warnings about the weather continued all day Sunday. The plan was to stay inside and work on All is Calm, but I wound up finishing Cat With Clock instead.

I am absolutely smitten with this piece, especially when I lay it out with my three possible  frames. For a kit that only included nine colors, there's so much fun shading and detail. Did you notice the cat's shadow on the table cloth? And the flame in the lantern? 

This is the first of my Riolis kits that I've actually finished and it turned out that running low on floss was the least of my worries. I had extra, plenty of extra, of every color.

I'm going to give my eyes a bit of a break, then get back to All is Calm. Or maybe the hedgehogs.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

All is Calm

It's thirty-five degrees and the sun is shining...and the weather app on my phone is giving me dire warnings. At least I don't have anywhere to be over the next couple of days. I'm going to hunker down at home with my stitching.

Last night, I pulled out All is Calm. 

I really do like this one, but it took a backseat to the hedgehogs and the one with the clock. All of those blended stitches make it  more challenging, but the half-stitches make it go faster so I suppose it all evens out. Eventually, I'll get them all done.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

{Pressure Cooker Update} I Made Flan!

I've pulled out my pressure cooker that isn't an Instant Pot three times this week. For kidney beans and to cook a roast for French dip sandwiches, which was kind of boring.

And to try One Happy Housewife's recipe for Flan, which was a lot more intimidating a whole lot more fun. 

Flan is one of those things I've been wanting to try forever. I've probably still got a couple of instant packets lurking somewhere in my kitchen. I pick up things like that with the best of intentions and then procrastinate.

This thing was from scratch. I cooked sugar into the caramel sauce (probably kind of badly, because although I was sure it didn't burn, it had that kind of taste to it) and pulled out the blender to mix my ingredients. Is there a reason I couldn't do that in the stand mixer?

I honestly don't know how to judge my results. It didn't taste like the flan I've had before, but that's always been pre-packaged stuff from the grocery store. Maybe this was what it should take like? The boys and I devoured the whole thing and I'll make it again, probably soon because I've got half a can each of condensed and evaporated milk left over from this one.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/8/19}

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.

Inlinkz Link Party

Thursday, February 07, 2019

{Estate Sale Tempations} The Search for a Chair Like Morticia Addams Had

Our daughter had mentioned that she wanted a wicker peacock chair, so when I saw this photo in a listing, I messaged her to make sure that she was okay with blue and find out what her budget was and we stopped by the sale. 

I had a plain wicker one years ago, that I picked up at a sale for two bucks. It wasn't in the greatest shape to begin with and at some point over the years it vanished. Apparently, they're now worth crazily inflated prices?

Needless to say, we didn't buy the chair. I was a little tempted by this jewelry box just because it's so dang weird....

The chair was slightly tempting, but unobtainable. Then there was this --

It's a Frigidaire Flair, just like the one from Samantha's kitchen in Bewitched, and it's the second one I've seen over the years. I would almost want to remodel my entire kitchen for this thing, if it wasn't such a completely unreasonable choice for a hundred year old farmhouse.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Sock Madness is Starting Soon

I was going to take a picture of my new red socks in the snow, but by the time I got motivated enough and bundled up enough to venture outside it had mostly melted. I hear there's going to be more snow tonight.  

The pair is in Drops Fabel's Red Chili colorway and, with Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought the yarn would be a festive choice. They're just something to pick up and work on when I can't count.

I swear -- my sons were working in unison last night to ruin the newest lace shawl. I had a couple of stitches wrong at the end of a pattern repeat,  but they were next to a diagonal panel of garter stitch. As long as I figured it out over the next couple of rows it would be mostly hidden. We were all watching a movie together and every time I got near those stitches, someone would start a fresh conversation. I'd put the knitting down for a few minutes, then ask them to let me get through the row before I picked it back up -- and as soon as I got to the spot that was giving me trouble, someone else would have an exciting thought to share. (Did you know that you can send your mystery spider to the state department of agriculture to be identified? Did you ever want to know what your big scary mystery spider was?  I didn't and I don't.)

Sock Madness starts in March and I'm all signed up. Nervous about it, especially considering how much I'm struggling with those Oz socks, but I'm signed up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Claws for Celebration

Claws for Celebration by Linda Reilly

I don't know how I managed to miss the second Cat Lady mystery, but I jumped from the first book to the third one -- and with as much as I enjoyed Claws for Celebration, I'm going to have to catch up with whatever it was that I missed.

Lara is disappointed that the town's annual cookie decorating competition refuses to add a category for pet friendly treats, but that doesn't stop her from developing her own recipe and cooking up some healthy cat treats for the charity bake sale. She's hoping her best friend's mother will win the competition with her gorgeously decorated Santa cookies, but there won't be a winner at all this year. The former home economics teacher who's in charge of judging the entries has a fatal reaction to one of the cookies. It seems like everyone in  town had some sort of grudge against Gladys Plouffe.

The murder mystery, and another mystery that Lara stumbles into along the way, kept me intrigued. I am most definitely not a cat person myself these days, but I found myself loving all of the cats in the shelter that Lara runs with her Aunt Fran. Each one has a distinct personality and if I could open my home to Nutmeg or Valenteena I absolutely would.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an ARC. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, February 04, 2019

This Week's Projects

This week, I'm pulling out all of my active projects and putting in at least a couple of hours of stitching or knitting on each of them. Keeping that progress tracker in my planner last year was a HUGE improvement over what I've done in the past. I still flit from project to project, but I've got a physical list of where I was before I got distracted. And there's just a little touch of guilt when I carry something forward for several months without touching it once.

Maybe I should add a tracker for those projects I was planning to start but didn't... Probably not. If I didn't stay motivated enough to even start, this might not be the right time to work on those things. 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

A New Project that I Can't Put Down

I know I've gushed already about the cross-stitch kits by Riolis and their wool/acrylic blend threads that has such fantastic coverage and their big charts that I can actually follow without enlarging it on the copier. 

I started this one last Monday and have been having a ridiculously hard time putting it down to work on other things. 

I'm not even sure why I love it so much. The clock is great, and there's a shelf in the upper right hand corner and I love the details of that cushion the cat is standing on...but the whole thing only has nine colors. That's got to be a personal record of some kind -- I'm usually all about the  full coverage and confetti stitching with an insane number of colors.

There's no name on the kit itself, at least not in English, but Amazon calls it Cat With Clock so I guess I'll call it that. There's also a similarly styled cat with a gramophone, a cat with a telephone, and a cat with a sewing machine.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

{Estate Sale Tempations} All of the Tempting Antiques

This one was interesting before we even got to the house. The GPS sent us on the extra scenic route, which I'm pretty sure included a detour over the steepest and curviest hills in the area. Because why not?

The neighborhood started off really new, then gradually took us past older homes that had some seriously unique architecture. Not the DIY kind you see in my neck of the woods. People must've paid serious money for those houses.

We wound up in front of a mid-century modern home that didn't look nearly as unique as its neighbors. There was a time capsule kitchen. I don't know which I like more, those double ovens or the pantry beside them.  

The house was mid-century, but the furniture was all much older. Or expensive new stuff designed to look much older.

When's the last time  you went to sale with multiple full sized carousel horses?

It wouldn't fit my house or pocket book, but I loved this piece...

And the barber chair, with carousel horse number three behind it. I somehow didn't manage to take a picture of the emu, which was on rockers.

The only thing in the house I seriously wanted to take home was the little toy piano in the middle. But I was good and resisted temptation.

We all thought this would make the perfect reading nook. If that metal lion to the right isn't life-size, he's darn close.

I feel like there was definitely an interesting story behind that house and those furnishings.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/1/19}

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.

Inlinkz Link Party


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