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. 


Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Victorian Home in Cross Stitch

The Victorian Home in Cross Stitch by Barbara Thompson and Ann Green popped up in my Amazon recommendations and, based solely on the title and cover, I ordered it. 

My hope was that the book would include more rooms then just the three shown on the cover. You can't have a house with a bathroom and no kitchen...can you?

Happily, there is a fully furnished house to stitch.

There are also samplers and little gifts to stitch and some extra rooms that don't fit into the full house design, like this Christmas scene.

There are also some scenes from outside of the house, including the conservatory, gardener, and maid. I could see stitching those and framing them to hang beside the finished house.

As far as cross stitched dollhouses go, this one is packed with gorgeous colors and fun little details. The black and white charts are clear and the instructions for the backstitching make sense. That's everything I hope to find in a needlework book.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/20/19}

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 19, 2019

{Estate Sale Temptations} Was There a Stitcher Here?

I'm going to have to start using Google Street View to scope out estate sales before making the drive. This was another one  that I couldn't have gotten into with the minivan. Earlier that day, we stopped at another sale and Hubby had trouble getting the pickup into even with four wheel drive engaged. It was a steep dusty driveway and we weren't the only ones challenged by it. 

This was a huge estate sale with outbuildings an an entire house. You can't tell from the picture, but that staircase was a deathtrap. 

The set of longstitch pictures gave me hope that there might be needlework stuff somewhere in the house.

I found another one in an upstairs bedroom. I do try for decent camera angles, but to get this one I would've had to climb onto the bed.

There was a sewing machine, but that was it. I wonder if these were gifts or if whoever stitched them quit the hobby a long time ago. Now and then I'll find a house with a lot of fantastic stitchery but no sign of floss or supplies.

They had my favorite Trixie Belden book in the same format I had as a little girl. Mine is around here somewhere so I didn't buy it.

I hope Dolly found a good home, but at that price I kind of doubt it.

Here's another table like the one I grew up with. I never see sets like this anymore. Whoever lived here kept their furniture for decades.

Do you have trouble with estate sale parking, or is it just me?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Fiddling With Fate

It's been a stressful month or two, but if anything could make me feel better it's the fact that three of my favorite mystery authors all have new books available RIGHT NOW.

Fiddling with Fate by Kathleen Ernst

After her mother's death, Chloe finds a box of antique needlework tucked in the back of a closet and begins to realize just how many unanswered questions she has. A last minute research trip to Norway gives her a chance to explore her mother's roots and the hope that she might find real details about who her ancestors were and explore the land where they once lived.

Once again, Kathleen Ernst had me holding my breath to see how events -- both in the 1980s and at the turn of the century  -- would resolve themselves. She also had me hurrying off to her blog, along with Google and Youtube, to get more information about the historical objects she describes in the book.

When I hear the word Hardanger, I think of the needlework. I'd never heard it connected with fiddles  but once I started reading about the decorations and the music, I wanted to know more. I've had this same reaction to almost all of her books.

The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking by Leigh Perry

When Georgia's dog escapes the house and comes home gnawing on what looks like a human femur, her first response is to apologize to her skeleton friend. But it's not Sid's leg. The bone came from an empty lot and the rest of the remains are still there. 

I love reading about Sid and Georgia and the situations they get themselves into. Author Leigh Perry always manages to find new and interesting ways for the walking, talking skeleton to get out into the world and investigate murders. In this one, he's also up to the part of his skull that would hold his ears with online Christmas shopping while Georgia negotiates a potential strike at the college where she's currently working as an adjunct. This series just keeps getting more and more fun. The murder mystery in this one did get to me a bit because it's more emotional than just the usual "that nasty person we barely knew is dead now" that you see in so many cozies. It's a good thing, but if you want to avoid sadness this one might not be the best choice to read on that particular day.

If quirky cozies are your thing, I can't recommend this series enough!

Joanna Campbell Slan also has a new Kiki Lowenstein book that just came out, Grand, Death, Auto, but between the wedding and everything else I haven't carved out time to read it yet.

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

This Week's Plan -- Catch my Breath!

Now that the wedding is over, the only thing on my to do list for this coming week is to catch my breath. And maybe piece a few more triangles for this black and red quilt and do some more knitting on those blue lace socks....  

I've got a whole long list of stitchy and quilty things I want to get started on, but this probably isn't going to be the week for any of that.

The Dainty Squid's recent post on dump digging has me wondering about old dumps and how far from a house they would have been and during what time period. I've got a hundred year old farmhouse and several acres of land and a kid who wants to play around with a metal detector (not to mention the metal detector itself)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Thrifted Floss -- A Slightly Cautionary Tale

Do you buy floss at the thrift store? 

I pick it up when I find a good deal, but most of the time the prices seem kind of high and I really do have a lot of floss already. This box was marked two ninety-nine and had at least fifty skeins so it seemed like a good deal until I got it home and actually touched it.

The problem wasn't the musty or cigarette smell that I usually worry about. It was the texture. This isn't DMC, it's one of the Chinese knock offs.

If you look at the labels (new DMC from my stash is on the left) you can see how I misjudged. As much as their labeling has changed over the years and as many variations as I've had in my stash, this stuff looked right, especially through that tinted plastic box.

It's not a huge problem. I've bought the Chinese floss on purpose and I'll use this floss with the other colors I bought or for vintage embroidery or ornaments or something where I'm not mixing it with the cotton floss. If I'd paid more for the box -- and lately I've seen them up two twenty dollars -- I'd have been seriously disappointed.

Just a reminder to double check what you're buying, especially if you can't get a clear look at it.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Embroidered Botanicals

Embroidered Botanicals by Yumiko Higuchi is exactly what I was looking for when I got hooked on vintage crewel kits and I scoured the library and thrift shops for every embroidery and  crewel book I could find. Surely there had to be something that would show me how to stitch all of those gorgeous flowers without a kit.

The first half of the book is gorgeous eye candy. It's full of the traditional flowers I was looking for, along with brooches that look like fragments of pottery and light colored stitches on black fabric that feel like heavy old lace.

The second half contains the patterns and stitch diagrams. I haven't tried working from the instructions yet, but there are clear step-by-step photographs of the techniques and the patterns themselves show which stitches to use and how many strands of threads.

This is one of those books that makes me feel like I can absolutely do something gorgeous!

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

Friday, September 13, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/13/19}

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 12, 2019

{Estate Sale Temptations} Expensive Collections

This one was billed as a "once in a lifetime sale you'll be telling your grand kids about." It was definitely impressive, but I've been to others that were more story-worthy. 

The deceased was a collector and he collected things I never knew were collectible. Like these antique notary stamps. 

They're seriously cool looking, but apparently also worth some serious money. And there were a lot of them. This is one of two big bookshelves.

I don't know what makes these ducks and swans special, but I'll assume that they are. Again, this is only half of what was there.

If I was seriously tempted by anything (other than the antique steam engine models) it was the ship's wheel. There was a ton of amazing nautical stuff.

And a box of Taco Bell Talking Chihuahuas, sill in their original bags. They were ridiculously out of place compared to everything else in the house.

Someday, I'm going to wind up with a pair of old wooden water skis. I started to learn on a pair like these and it was an experience.

The house was small and old and everything inside looked like it had been immaculately cared for over the years. Out in the barn, there were some works still in progress, like these old wall phones.

And there was a set of vintage Disney Book Club books. If I wasn't 99% sure that shelf belonged to the estate sale company, I'd be making up stories in my head about little ones reading them while their Grandpa worked on his projects.

It was a fun sale, and one I'm glad we visited, but I probably won't be talking about this one in years to come. We left empty-handed. I guess I prefer the sales where people haven't been quite so careful with their belongings.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September Sock Knitting?

I couldn't tell you why, but the blue lace socks are not going well. I pick them up and work on them every time we sit down to watch TV as a family, which is just about every night. Somehow I've fallen into that special type of knitting black hole that I've heard other knitters talk about, the one where it doesn't matter how many stitches you put in or how many hours you spend, you don't get any farther along.

It's not the yarn. It's not the needles. It's not the pattern....although at this point I'm thoroughly sick of all three.

I don't think casting on a new project is the answer, not when I've got thee pairs of socks that are stalled. One for no reason and the others because they're kind of a little bit hard and I don't feel like knitting something hard right now.

So I'm challenging myself to finish one of these pairs by the end of the month. Smock Madness looks the most likely, because wraps are a little less daunting than circular cables.

How's your knitting going? Better than mine, I hope!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Halloween Cozies

Mulberry Mischief by Sharon Farrow

When the eccentric Lake Lady comes into her shop wanting to order enough mulberries to completely cover her house, Marlee doesn't know what to think. The berries are supposed to have protective qualities, but Leticia genuinely seems to believe that they'll protect her from the "shadow people." She accepts the special order, for a much smaller quantity of berries, and thinks that'll be the end of it.

When a murdered man is found on Leticia's property and the Lake Lady herself vanishes without a trace, Marlee realizes that the danger was real.

I loved this one. The suspense built until, near the end, I was actually holding my breath. It's the first book I've read from the Berry Basket series and I'll definitely be starting at the beginning to catch up on the others.

Death by Jack O' Lantern by Alexis Morgan

An unfriendly farmer is found dead in his own corn maze and most of her neighbors suspect the homeless veteran who's been accused of trespassing on the pumpkin farm. This is the first Abby McCree mystery that I've read and it really captures the fall season. I enjoyed the mystery, but I had a lot of questions about Abby and her background that probably would have been answered if I'd started with the first book.

Haunted House Murder by Leslie Meir, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross

These three short mysteries will help get you into the Halloween spirit, especially if you're so busy you don't have time to settle in with a full length book right now. I've got mixed feelings about the individual stories. Leslie Meir's protagonist managed to push all of my buttons with her snap judgments about her unfriendly new neighbors. Barbara Ross's mystery about a ghost tour gone murderously wrong was definitely my favorite and I'm happy to report that I already had the first of the clambake mysteries on my Kindle so I'll be able to find out more about Julia Snowden and her friends soon.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review  copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, September 09, 2019

Halloween Projects in Dark Corners

I've got the absolute perfect mindless knitting project for Halloween, but it's in the sewing room. I saw it months ago and tucked it into a dark corner because I had absolutely no intention of finishing it ever...and we all know how it goes with my dark corners. Maybe it'll turn up in time for next Halloween and I'll need a mindless project then, too. (If you're curious, it was that black wool witch's hat I last worked on in about 2012)

I didn't find the hat, but I did find the spool holder that I've had for years and never used. Somewhere -- Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram -- I saw the suggestion that these are a good way to store washi tape. Now the question is whether I can hang it on the sewing room wall because I absolutely know I'd knock it off my desk and send rolls of tape scattering into those hard to get to corners, never to be seen again.

I also found a little less than a yard of what's got to be some of the cutest bat fabric ever. Luckily there are words and hanging pumpkins or I'd definitely have used it upside down. I really want to make a project bag...and I really want to use it as a border for a quilt....or for a strippie quilt....

I've apparently got decisions to make.


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