Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Goblins Will Get You

I absolutely love the way Goblins came out! 

Pattern: Goblins (Cross Stitch & Country Crafts September/October 1995)

This one has been kitted up in my stash since before Quinn and Leif were born and I probably wouldn't have started it if I wasn't randomly grabbing projects for Stitch Maynia. I put in ten or so stitches on the bottom border, then set it aside to go deal with something outside and twisted my ankle.

It was a while before I picked it up again and started over and I'm so glad I did. From the magazine picture, I had no idea how great the colors and details would actually look. There are blended threads and the border isn't symmetrical and I complained about both, but the effort was totally worth it.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits

Knitting lace with thick yarn and big needles can give you gorgeous results fast and if that appeals to you, Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits by Barbara Benson is a great choice. The lace is simple enough for knitters new to yarn overs and decreases (and has a section on yarn overs that taught me some new things) and it's pretty enough to tempt more experienced knitters away from their laceweight.

There are pictures showing each project from multiple angles so that you can see exactly how it's supposed to look. The charts are large and clear -- and there are row by row written instructions for knitters who prefer to do things that way.

Now I want to go check my stash to see if I've got some yarn suitable for that gorgeous white throw....

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

Friday, June 28, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/28/19}

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, June 27, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Another Musty Trunk

Remember that trunk I showed you in my last thrifting post? A week later, I found this one at a thrift store about a mile down the road from the shop where we found the first one. It's got the Hartman trunk company logo, but not the nifty "Gibraltarized" one.

It's almost as musty and it's missing one of the big drawers. I'd think that would be a significant flaw and detract from its value. But they're asking six hundred bucks for this one and that tag is a color that won't be marked  down.

Look at the shipping tag that's been wired to the handle for a hundred and ten years. I can't be the only one who loves that, right?

While the trunk didn't tempt me, this antique baby buggy sure did, especially since it was sized for dolls.

I want one!

I've told you about Grandma's knack for finding whatever we were looking for. She might have passed down that trait to my daughter because I'd been talking to Alex earlier in the day about a weird old children's show one of the boys was telling me about.

Alex found one of the dolls. This thing lights up and plays music and squirms and it's hard to imagine a more unsettling toy. But I'm beyond impressed that she was able to come up with one. (I left it at the store instead of bringing it home to torture her brothers...but we texted them pictures.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Knitting in Public

For the moment, I'm doing most of my knitting at the laundromat or the bowling alley. It keeps my fingers moving while the time passes...and almost keeps me from losing patience with other people's kids who are using the laundromat as a race track. 

I definitely need to cast one something more fun. These were going to be road trip socks for a trip that got rescheduled and I don't have anything against them or that pink patterned shawl but it would be nice to knit on something I love.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Man of the Year

I have got to stop picking up books because the advance publicity compares it to something else I liked. In this case the comparison was to The Couple Next Door, which I did read and review a while back, but I saw that title and was thinking of another book entirely. (I did have the same exact complaint about Man of the Year as I did about The Couple Next door once I figured out which book that actually was, so maybe what I need to do is start glancing back at my own notes to see which books are actually being compared.)

Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker sounded like a book I'd enjoy, with its description of a too-perfect-to-be-true doctor and his downward spiral. The first half of the book really dragged for me. Robert Hart is respected, and envied, and wealthy. Wealthy enough that his charitable contributions bought him that award mentioned in the book's title. People envy his boat and his career and the historic widow's walk on the roof of his house... but things aren't as they seem.

I don't have to like a character to enjoy reading about him, but there has to be something to keep me turning pages. In this case, it was my refusal to give up on many books before the end. About halfway through the pace picked up and the plot started to twist. Then it just kept twisted and turning until an end that I don't think many readers are going to see coming. 

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

Monday, June 24, 2019

{The Row by Row Experience} I'm Loving This Year's Theme

Last year, I skipped the Row by Row Experience because I wasn't at all excited about the theme and I had a ton and a half of other things going on. I wasn't sure about this summer, but the theme sounded encouraging. 

Then I saw the block that Yankee Dutch Quilting came up with.

Between the vintage stand mixer and the saying, there's no way I'm not stitching that, regardless of whether or not I make a quilt or visit many more shops.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Shiny Looking Stitching That Isn't

That gramophone bell is about six shades of yellow and brown wool and I can't get over how effective it is. Someone asked me if there were metallic threads in this project. Nope, it's all some amazing thread choices by the folks at Riolis.

As much as I loved Cats with Clock and how effective that simple stitch was, I love this one even more! It amazes me how designers can create the illusion of shiny metal where there is none.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Making More Needle Minders...

I took a gift card that I got for Christmas and headed to Craft Warehouse to see if anything in their jewelry section looked good for needle minders. There wasn't a lot, but what they had made my heart go pitty-pat.

Apparently, I don't know what Steampunk means (or whoever came up with this packaging doesn't) but I'm not complaining because these are going to be fun. The green eyeball is a ring, but the band is elastic and beads so that will be easy enough to modify.

There were lots of other possibilities at Joann and Craft Warehouse, so click on the video if you want to see what else is out there.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/21/19}

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, June 20, 2019

{Vintage Show and Tell} Vickie's 1940s Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book

You already know that I've been on a vintage cookbook kick and that I've got Better Homes and Garden editions from when my mom was first married and when I was first married. Now I've got Vickie's, which appears to date from the late 1940s.

I don't know who Vickie was, or share her taste in recipes, but I love how she punched holes in things and added them to the binder. I think there's more extra stuff than original book here. I found foreign stamps and pressed leaves and odd newspaper clippings. 

By far the best is this valentine from her husband. I wish that it was dated.

There's also a letter postmarked 1958, from a friend who moved to Colorado and had a disappointing Fourth of July. 

If you want to see everything that was inside, click the video below for a complete flip through.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Montavilla Socks

They don't look the same color at all in this picture, but they're from the same skein of yarn. I'm pretty sure it's just contrast against the color of the porch boards or a trick of the light. 

Yarn: Knitpicks Hawthorne, Montavilla 

These have been on my needles for weeks. I know I had them on the coast trip back in March. Or maybe I just had the skein of yarn with me. At any rate, they're done now and I love the colors and I'm glad I added that simple bit of lace.

So I remember what I did...

Round 1 -- knit three, purl two
Round 2 -- knit two together, yarn over, knit one
Round 3 -- knit three, purl two
Round 4 -- knit one, yarn over, slip slip knit

It's not unique to me, but I couldn't find it when I needed it and couldn't remember it when it was time to start the pattern across the instep. The socks themselves are 64 stitches on dpns, increased to 65 stitches to make the lace pattern work.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Those People

Those People by Lousie Candish delves into the relationships between neighbors and how far the residents of Lowland Way will go to preserve the ideal neighborhood that they've created. Everyone gets along. On Sunday afternoons, the street is blocked to traffic and everyone moves their cars so that the children can play in the street. Then Darren and Jodie move into the house on the corner. First it's a noisy remodeling job with no respect for safety. Then they start selling junked cars from the yard, parking them up and down the street. And there's always the blaring of their music.

It all comes to a deadly end (we know that from page one) and the book works towards it with snippets of police interviews and chapters from the points of view of different neighbors. It quickly becomes clear that while Lowland Way has been a nice place to live, everyone has something simmering under the surface. I enjoyed this one.

Mine by Courtney Cole

Tessa is preparing the house for a hurricane, fuming that her husband's business trip has been extended and that the romantic night she had planned for the two of them won't happen. Her annoyance turns to fury when she turns on his ipad and sees the naked pictures of his twenty-six-year-old mistress.

Almost immediately, Tessa decides to deal with the situation. She can't reach her husband, but she can lure the other woman to her home for a confrontation. This one is fast paced and over the top, not something that I think could ever happen in real life but it certainly made for an entertaining read.

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

Monday, June 17, 2019

Now Life is Giving me Bats?

I was getting ready to make some lunch and glanced over into the dining room. It's dim in there even with the lights on and for a moment I was wondering what the boys had stuck to the ceiling and why...because there's been a long history of random things taped up in places. 

Then I took a closer look...from a safe distance because if that was what I thought it might be I didn't want to startle it.

I can't blame the boys for this one.

So when there's a bat on the porch, you don't go out that door and you keep the kids away until night falls and your new little friend  flies away. When there's a bat on the ceiling of your dining room...what do you do?

In our case, we called the local wildlife hospital to confirm that my plan wasn't stupid. Then we put a box up under the bat and used a thin sheet of cardboard to knock her down into the box and moved her out to the barn. She'll have a cool dark place to get through the rest of the day and that's probably where she came from in the first place.

A couple of years ago, life was giving me spiders to blog about. This time it was something a lot bigger and maybe a little more stressful. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Ripe Apples -- Blended Threads and Big Stitches

For a kit I picked up just because it was so inexpensive, Ripe Apples has been a pleasant surprise. The stitches are huge, which would usually be a deal breaker for me and I think I did briefly think about swapping out the fabric for something more my speed, but the blended threads are making these apples look amazing and it turns out that I don't hate the 10 count fabric as much as I feared I might.

Riolis Cross Stitch Kit 1450 -- Ripe Applies

 This was one of my Maynia starts and I will absolutely have it finished before next year. I might even frame it and hang it in my kitchen!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Anyone Know What "Gibraltarized" Means?

We are still on the quest for two more trunks because, despite what those articles say about old stuff your kids don't want, all four of my children absolutely need big old trunks. For anyone keeping score, I currently have two which are both family pieces and my children can have over my dead body. Our daughter has one that we bought at an estate sale and she's an adult now so she can buy her own trunks. Our oldest son has a fantastic trunk we found last spring, complete with leather straps and wheels. That leaves me with two more children whose lives will not be complete until they have awesome old trunks of their own. 

The thrift and antique stores are full of trunks, but whatever they get has to be extremely affordable and in decent shape. That narrows down the choices considerably. 

Last week, they found this one....

Looking back at the pictures, I'm kind of suprised that this thing isn't in the back of my van. It was only forty bucks and had most of the original pieces. But it reeked. Now I'm wondering if it really smelled that bad or if it was the migraine I've been fighting all week.

I did tell my son (who didn't smell a thing wrong with it) that if it's still there on our next trip to town and goes to half price I'm willing to gamble that we can air it out. Which leaves a whole new problem because the son who found this trunk already has one. There's going to be swapping or rock-paper-scissors-ing or something if this trunk hasn't already found a new home.

We also found (and didn't buy) The Un-Candle by Corning. It doesn't look nearly as much fun as the Bake-a-Round clear glass bread tube.

How is this less expensive or bothersome than candles? Were candles a whole lot more complicated in the 1970s?

There's a video with the rest of our finds. We left the stores empty-handed, but definitely had fun!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/14/19}

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, June 13, 2019

I Finally Started the New Shawl

How many times this week have I said I was going to cast on a new shawl?

This wasn't the one I had planned, but it's what I'm going to need to haul to the bowling alley and the park and the laundromat and wherever else I need mindless knitting over the next couple of weeks. I'll still cast one the lace one I had planned, but I'll work on that one when I can count instead of paying attention to my laundry and kids and whatever else is going on around me.

The yarn is Yarn Bee Fair Isle and it seems to be doing its pretty self-patterning thing. Because of course there weren't any directions for that.  How cool would it be if the yarn company could give us some clues on the ball band instead of just showing us a picture of a sweater and letting us guess?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Deco Dames, Demon Rum, and Death by Ellen Mansoor Collier

I've always enjoyed reading about the 1920s. Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death has the jazz age, and a seance, and a ghost how was I not going to read it? Fast paced and peppered with era slang, the plot doesn't stop moving until the end. Did I mention that it's also got grave robbers and KKK members and organized crime? Society reporter Jazz Cross is doing all she can to sort it all out. 

This is the fifth book in the series and I probably would've been better at keeping the characters straight in my head if I'd started with the first. (The author and Great Escapes Book Tours provided me with copies, but I haven't had time to read the others yet.) 

 When young Galveston Gazette society reporter Jazz Cross hears rumors of grave robbers at the Broadway Cemetery, she and photographer Nathan Blaine investigate, hoping to land a scoop. The newshawks witness meetings held by clandestine gangs and enlist the help of her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, who attempts to catch the elusive culprits red-handed.
Meanwhile, the supernatural craze takes Galveston by storm, and Jazz is assigned to profile the society set’s favorite fortune teller, Madame Farushka. Sightings of a ghost bride haunting the Hotel Galvez intrigue Jazz, who sets up a Ouija board reading and séance with the spiritualist. Did the bride-to-be drown herself—or was she murdered?
Luckily, Sammy Cook, her black-sheep half-brother, has escaped the Downtown Gang and now acts as the maître d’ for the Hollywood Dinner Club, owned by rival Beach Gang leaders. During a booze bust, the Downtown Gang’s mob boss, Johnny Jack Nounes, is caught and Jazz worries: will Sammy be forced to testify against his former boss? Worse, when a mystery man turns up dead, Sammy is framed for murder and Jazz must solve both murders and help clear Sammy’s name.
As the turf war between rival gangs rages on, Jazz relies on her wits and moxie to rescue her brother and her friends before the Downtown Gang exacts its revenge.

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Decodame Press (December 28, 2018)
Paperback: 249 pages
ISBN-10: 0989417042
ISBN-13: 978-0989417044

Pinterest –

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosures -- I was provided with a review copy in exchange for the tour post. The giveaway is being run by Great Escape Book Tours, not me. 

Summer Plans

May is over and I've got a ton of projects to keep stitching on. If I have a plan beyond that, it's to work on reorganizing the sewing room now that the longer days give me plenty of warmth and light up there. 

Google tells me that the first day of Summer is June 21, but I think I'm ready to call it summer now. The temperatures have been all over the place, but they're predicting mid 90s later this week so I'm ready to pull out my chair and floppy hat and go see what kind of shape the swimming hole is in.  I figure even if the water is still high and fast, the teens can deal with it. There's a very short stretch between the "deep spot" and the ankle deep water so for big kids with supervision there's not much actual danger.

I'm looking forward to the Row by Row experience. The theme this time around is "taste the experience" and one shop close to home has a block with a vintage stand mixer that I can't live without. We'll see how many other rows I manage to pick up once I see the designs.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to make it to Sisters for the quilt show. That depends on the weather and the family's schedule and what mood I'm in by the time July rolls around.

That's as much planning as I'm going to do. I'll also be knitting at the bowling alley and by the river and in a new spot I can't wait to show you once it's all sorted out.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The bees swarmed  Sunday morning. 

This shot, with the corner of the truck for reference, gives you a better idea of how high off the ground the swarm was. It's the dark spot in the center, about a third of the way down from the top.

There was a long ladder, and a saw, and I'd really rather not have a swarm of bees dumped down onto my head especially when there are three adults and only two bee suits, but it all ended without injury. I got stung once on the bare arm and my husband got one sting through his glove.

As I type this, the bees are in a new hive and they'd better stay there.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Invisible Man

Friday morning the fourth room for the Universal Monsters SAL was revealed....

This is how far I got on the invisible man's lab before bedtime Friday night. It would've been further except I was scrambling to find several of the colors, which are in with other projects. I still need the blue for the sky in the framed picture and another shade of yellow for the light bulb.

We get one new room every second Friday (I think) and my goal is to have all of the rooms I've started done before the next piece of the pattern is released. Maybe if I stitch quickly, I'll also be able to start The Mummy.

I could actually get caught up! How are you when it comes to stitch alongs? Are you one of those people who stays completely on schedule, or one who is always way behind?

Saturday, June 08, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} I'm Going to Wind up With One of These...

After seeing all sorts of posts about "vomit clocks" I finally found one in a second hand shop. 

As far as they go, this one is kind of nondescript. It doesn't have river rocks, or seashells, or unidentifiable blobs of stuff.

I'm kind of starting to want one, but it's going to have to have interesting bits of stuff in it. When I was little, my grandparents bought a mid-century house that had a resin toilet seat filled with bottle caps and matchbooks and little tiny crabs. If it was sharp and scary to sit on, it was incorporated into that toilet seat. I can't tell you how much I wish I had a picture to share with you.

Or how much I wish that I had the actual toilet seat. With my house and my boys it would be absolutely perfect. If I'd been just a bit older when they sold that house, maybe I'd have thought to ask for it. I'm sure the new owners would have been just as happy with something new and nondescript.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/7/19}

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, June 06, 2019

Wilhelm's Mausoleum

I found out about Wilhelm's a few years ago. Originally built in 1901, the eight story mausoleum has seven miles of corridors. And it's only open to the public once a year, on Memorial Day. Our daughter visited last year and after seeing her pictures of the mausoleum I was  even more anxious to see it for myself.  

Those massive corridors go on for what feels like forever. We spent a little over three hours just walking around and taking it all in. 

At the end of each main corridor were windows, letting in daylight and the sights of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. You can't see it in my photo, but there's also a view of Oaks Amusement Park and we could see the rides in operation.

I never did get a real feel for how the building was laid out. If it wasn't for my husband and the boys I would have been asking for directions to find my way out. It probably didn't help that street level was the fourth floor and we went down from there. Not every elevator or stairway goes to every floor. Now and then we'd look out a window and get a glimpse of the building's exterior, which left me even more puzzled.

The fountain is on the second (I think) floor and from the eighth story you can look all the way down into it...if you're tall enough or want to lean way over the edge.

I took dozens of pictures and my son took dozens more, but I missed so many things that I'd love to share with you. I was too obsessed with the stained glass to get a single picture of the marble statues. They've got a life sized replica of Michelangelo's La Pieta and a bunch of other pieces that I'm sure I should have recognized but didn't.

There are couches and chairs scattered along the hallways, most of them that quirky mid-century stuff that I love so much. In tiny alcoves on every floor are the flower rooms, each one with a sink and counter and tools for trimming stems. I thought I should take pictures of them, if only because there are so many different types of sinks and counters in there, but by the time I had that thought I'd missed a bunch of  them so I didn't and now I'm regretting that decision.

Before we went, I read all of the online articles I could find about the place. There aren't miles of smelly shag carpet. We saw lots of carpet in different colors and patterns, but nothing I'd even remotely describe as shag. Being in a building with 90,000 burials wasn't dizzying and I never felt the need to escape for fresh air.  There were only a few moments when I felt at all unsettled. 

This room under the chapel was sad. Stickers on the urns certify that (insert name and date of death) was incinerated. Maybe it's how tiny and crowded together these niches are compared to the more elaborate ones upstairs, or the fact that they just had those generic stickers on them, or the fact that the glass doors were held shut by painted over screws.

I'd heard that the mausoleum was only open to the public on Memorial Day, but they offer free tours every Wednesday and Friday I'll definitely be going back to find out more about the building and its history because now that I've been inside I've got more questions than before.


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