Friday, November 24, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {11/24/17}

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.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sock Knitting Update

I started in mid-August with enough yarn picked out for ten new pairs of socks. Now it's the middle of November and I've got seven pairs done. 
Normally, this is the point where I'd empty my little train case and stock it with different yarn to knit over the next few months, but I'm still feeling kind of burnt out on the whole sock knitting thing. I threw in some new yarn just so I'd have something to grab if the mood strikes, but I think I'll let this little project go until the new year.

I've also decided it's time to give up on Super Sock Scarefest for the year. I finished two pairs, Convoluted Clues and Charlie McGee, and made a decent start on two others, Dance Academy and Tales from the Crypt.  That's more than I managed last year.

I haven't pulled Dance Academy and Tales from the Crypt off the needles yet, but they both seem to be headed in that direction. I'll make the final decision when I need either the yarn or needles for another project.

Right now, I'm knitting away on that bright pink Paton's Kroy I showed you last week and looking at one of the Caron Cakes. I think I've found the absolute perfect little shawl that will take advantage of the color changes and make me a very happy knitter. The stitch patterns are written out, not charted, but I think it'll be worth the hassle. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

{I've Been Reading} Caroline: Little House, Revisited

I can't remember where I first saw Caroline: Little House Revisited Sarah Miller mentioned, but as soon as did I wanted to get my hands on a copy. After the first few pages, I was absolutely hooked.
The book covers the events of the original Little House on the Prairie so you probably already know the story. What's different here is the perspective and the details.If you've ever wondered how women managed to care for their children in covered wagons or on homesteads, this book provides a  window into those days...but somehow skips the diapers. (Seriously, how did mothers manage in the days before running water and electric dryers?)

There is a scene near the end of the book that left me very uncomfortable. It's handled delicately, but I didn't need or want a glimpse into the bedroom of Caroline and Charles Ingalls. In any other book, I wouldn't have minded it, but it felt like the author went farther than she needed to and that the book would have been better without that part.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mona Lisa in Ten Shades of Floss

Look what I finished! It's itty-bitty just 2 1/2" x 4" or so. Stitching it without a frame left the fabric skewed and I'm debating whether to try blocking cross stitch for the first time ever or just leave it a bit wonky. 

Mona Lisa Cross Stitch

I've had a plan for her all along, but now I'm fine tuning the details to figure out the best way to bring that idea to life.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Fancy Dollhouse Furniture...or it Will be Someday....

There weren't any exciting needlework kits to be found, but just look at these miniature kits I found buried in the office supplies! (That's probably why I so rarely find wonderful things at Goodwill. They're well hidden under the old calendars and scrapbooking paper.) 

I'd actually drooled over this organ kit when we visited the dollhouse shop at the coast and passed it up because it was polystyrene, which didn't sound good. Since then, I've read some online reviews and it turns out that these kits come highly recommended.

My hesitation worked well for me, since I got all three of these kits for half what I would have paid for the organ and although the boxes are crushed the bags inside look undisturbed. (They've got staples, so I'm not positive.)

I'll have to find some special plastic glue before I can put them together, and research the right kind of paint.  And work up the nerve. Fancy kits like this always make me nervous.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Museum a Month -- My New Plan

I've got a new goal. The kids and I are going to try to visit a new museum every month. Seriously, there are a ton of great places within my usual route between the house and the library.  They're always on my list of things we're going to get around to one of these days.

Vacations are a totally different thing -- that's when we go to all of the museums and visitor centers and pull over to read signs by the side of the road. It's the places that are closer to home that we forget to make time for.

Earlier this week, Quinn and Leif and I went to the Linn County Historical Museum. The older kids have been there a few times, but the younger ones were too young to remember it.

Guys, I love this place! There are soooo many exhibits and it's not just labeled stuff sitting on shelves. Remember how it took us four hours to watch a fifty-eight minute video about the history of stained glass? Now imagine us in a museum...

It actually only took a couple of hours, but we did a lot more of the activities than I expected to, like packing the miniature covered wagon and building a cabin with Lincoln Logs.  What surprised me most was how intrigued they were by wool carding. Do you think they'd be half as excited about it if I brought my own set of cards down from the sewing room?

There's a whole little turn of the century town set up in what's actually a pretty small museum. The boys were even intrigued by the beauty shop -- because how could you not be fascinated by that permanent wave machine?

There's a doctor's office, and a dentist's office, and a barber shop, and a general store, and a bank...

It's times like this that I'm glad we live in an age where I can come home and find a Youtube video from 1927 explaining how dial telephones work. (It didn't answer the questions about the switchboard, but it was entertaining.)

I've already got a list that'll last us well into next year, but if you can think of great museums or historic sites between Portland and Eugene -- or actually anywhere in Oregon and Washington, let me know!

The Places We Will Go

Friday, November 17, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {11/17/17}

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.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Socks I Finished in Mid-November

I guess that's as good a name as any. Or they could be The Socks I Took to the Retro Gaming Expo. Or the Purple and Gold Striped Ones. 

It's much easier when the yarn has an interesting name! This is Drops Fabel 674, otherwise known as Heather Mix. Neither of those names is catchy.

They're socks. Toe up, sixty-four stitches, short row heels, k2p2 ribbed cuffs... With pretty stripes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

{Books and Yarn} Fatal, Family, Album

I've got new socks on my needles, using that pink and purple self-striping yarn I bought on Saturday. It's too early to have much of an opinion about them, but I'm all set for when life hands me a few minutes that would be better used for knitting than cross stitch. New yarn and a new book by a favorite author -- who could complain about that?

Fatal, Family, Album by Joanna Campbell Slan

It's been a long wait since Glue baby Gone ended with a completely unexpected cliff-hanger. Fatal, Family, Album came out on Monday and my other plans for the day were put on hold so I could finally find out what was going to happen. Of course there's a murder mystery and it does have a satisfying conclusion that ties everything together, but that's secondary to the other huge events going on in Kiki's life. Reading this book felt like finally getting in touch with an old friend and catching up on all of the gossip. Don't start the series with this one, but definitely do start the series if you haven't already!

Seeds of Revenge by Wendy Tyson

I loved Bitter Harvest, the second Greenhouse Mystery, but I didn't find myself getting quite as caught up in Seeds of Revenge. I'm not sure why. The mystery is complex, with lots of characters who all have possible motives and one of them is a "love chemist" who sells modern day love potions. It's a good book, but I didn't find myself  wanting to read it straight through like I do so many others.

Disclosure -- I bought Fatal, Family, Album myself. I was provided with an advance review copy of Seeds of Revenge by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

There's a Mistake in the Sky

I checked my floss colors and double checked the symbols...and I still got it wrong.  

The more I stitched, the more I began to wonder why two different parts of the sky looked absolutely identical. They have different symbols, so they shouldn't be the same... turns out that both symbols use the exact same floss but one only calls for one strand and the other calls for two. I'm not going back and trying to undo it all now. When the finished project is hanging on my wall, no one will know how it was supposed to look.

Do you fix mistakes, or pick them out?

Monday, November 13, 2017


I spent Saturday morning with the Cozy Covers group, helping cut fringe on fleece for their Christmas event. The kid who attend will get to pick blanket kits and the ladies will help them with the tying. 

Sunday, I cut and sewed some sixteen-patch blocks. They'll either be part of one quilt or part of another quilt. I should really do some measurements and make up my mind soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Michaels Ad Said That All Yarn Was on Sale...

And for once they weren't lying. Usually all of the yarn is on sale as promised, but the discount on the stuff I want to knit with isn't nearly exciting enough. This time, the sale was as good as the ad made it sound... and when I couldn't get the extra 20% off coupon to load on my phone the cashier gave me one for 25%. 

I know I said I was sick of knitting socks, but just look at the pretty Paton Kroy. I'll keep a pair on the needles to work on when I need my attention free for other things and those pink skeins in the back are calling to me already.

After resisting for a long long time, I finally succumbed to the lure of those pretty Caron Cakes. I tried to pick color combinations that I thought I'd enjoy in a finished project, instead of what looked good in the skein. With the weather getting colder and colder, my plan is to make some cowls or something. (That's the same thing I've got planned for the Woolike, which I'd never heard of. At a dollar sixty-something for  678 yards, it looked like a fun risk to take.)

Have the holiday sales sucked you in yet?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

{Thrift ShopTempations} The Quest for the Perfect Trunk Continues

I've already got a couple of big old trunks and both are pieces with great family history. But I've got kids who want their own and they can't have mine.  A couple of years back our daughter found one for five bucks at an estate sale and persuaded her father to both pay for it and haul it back two blocks to the van.  It  went with her when she moved out and now our oldest son is looking for one of his own. Everything we've seen so far is way out of his price range. 

Look at this beauty... 

There's a second removable drawer under that one and they're in pretty good shape even if they do smell like an old musty trunk. The funny part is that we've been walking past that same trunk for weeks, scowling at the two hundred dollar price tag. Seeing it open, it makes a little more sense.

Someone who collects old packaging might like this magnetic strip...

It claims to be the "Silent Helper"  that you can use to dry your stockings and hold cigarettes to the dash of your car. I'll take their word for that. 

For one brief, hopeful moment I  thought this was needlepoint. It's printed on canvas, which gives it a neat texture.

I left the store empty-handed this time, but had a lot of fun looking.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! 11/10/17

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.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

{I've Been Reading} A Fatal Collection

Still not much knitting at my house. I've picked up the socks a few times, but if I'm snuggled in my comfy corner of the couch lately, I'm most likely stitching away on Mona Lisa.

A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes

When a visit to her aunt is cut tragically short by the older woman's unexpected death, Callie Reed inherits a shop full of music boxes and the charming little cottage behind it. She's quick to step into her new life, but as she learns more about Keepsake Cove and its residents, she begins to wonder if her aunt's death was an accident at all. We barely get a chance to meet Aunt Melodie, just long enough to get the impression that she was a really nice lady. I enjoyed this book.  The mystery kept me guessing until the end and the solution left me satisfied. The residents of Keepsake Cove are three-dimensional and I'm excited to see where the series goes with them. There's also a little hint of what might be the paranormal, which is always something I'm happy to read. While I'm waiting for book #2, I think I'll check out the author's other two series.

The Good Mother by Karen Osman

There are three stories here -- a middle aged woman writing to a prison inmate, a college student in a relationship with one of her instructors, and an unhappy housewife taking a writing class. Each woman is living in a different decade and there seems to be no connection between them...except there obviously has to be something tying them all together or they wouldn't all be sharing the same book. Kate, Catherine, and Alison have distinct personalities and I didn't need the chapter headings to keep track of who was who. I was surprised by the twist, but in hindsight I probably should have seen it coming.

Of Spice and Men by Sarah Fox

 A horror movie is being filmed in Wildwood Cove and the head make up artist is killed when someone sets her trailer on fire.  The murder happens early on and things never slow down after that. The third Pancake House mystery is so fast-paced that there's not much time spent at Marley's Flip Side pancake house. I'd expected the remake of The Perishing to be a significant part of the plot, but I never even found out what either the original movie or the remake was about.

Disclosure -- I was provided with advance review copies by the publishers. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Is She Picking Apples?

Same fabric, different bag. 

The back of the bag is a solid blue fabric that comes close to matching her gown. This image was partially cut off by the selvedge, but it still had her face and arms and the fruit. That's the only part I really need.

Miraculously, a zipper from my thrifted stash was exactly the right length for the pieces I'd cut -- and it was on top of all of the others. I regularly shorten zippers to make them work, but if one already happens to be the right size, I'll happily take advantage of that.

I really like how  this little bag turned out, and it's given me an idea for another possibility. The great thing about having a big hunk of fabric is that I don't have to worry as much about the opportunity cost that comes with my design choices. There's enough to try again and again with different techniques.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Just A Few More Stitches

I could happily abandon all of my other projects until this one is done. Even though all I'm stitching now is miles of the same color, it's still oddly satisfying. 

It looks like I've fallen in love with this project before. Look what I found while I was digging around out in the sewing room...

The picture I'm working on right now is 2480 stitches and calls for ten colors. This one is 45843 stitches and fifty-some colors. My first reaction when I pulled it out was "I only need one cross-stitched Mona Lisa in my life."  But the more I look at the front of the chart, the more I think I'm going to have to stitch her. Someday.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Stitchery Kits at Goodwill

On Halloween morning, we were shopping for costumes. I'd already told the boys that we couldn't go out and bought plenty of candy to compensate, but then Hubby came through and got the van fixed in the nick of time.

The last minute costume hunt ended in one son wearing his evil clown mask for the second year in a row (with the addition of a thrifted clown suit) and the other in zombie scars that were literally painful to look at. Most of the year, they don't care that their big sister is a beauty blogger, but on Halloween it pays off.

While they were searching the racks at Goodwill, I dug through the craft stuff and found a couple of old stocking kits that weren't even remotely exciting. Then I found this cross stitch box kit from Whiskey Creek.

I splurged on a different one when they came out years ago and haven't stitched it up yet, but when you find another one for ninety-nine cents, what else is there to do but add it to the stash.

Under that was this Crabapple Hill pattern. You already know how I feel about her designs, and about Halloween project in general, so that was also no brainer.

And then there was the biscornu pincushion pattern. I love those and I like The Sweetheart Tree. There's a little post it on the front that says complete, which puzzled me because how can a one page pattern not be complete?  Turned out that it's a kit with fabric and floss and beads and needles included.

I did hesitate over this one. There was no picture of the project, just a line drawing, but the buttons were pretty and I know that Just Another Button Company Buttons aren't cheap by any stretch of the imagination. I didn't realize until I got it home that the package also includes the overdyed floss and the linen. It took a lot of digging online, but I finally did find a picture of the finished project.

This is my favorite pattern of the bunch. Do I pick out the little bit of stitch that's been done already, or try to grid the fabric around it and trust that the last stitcher did her part right?

We went to three more thrift shops, but there was nothing fun in their craft sections. What I found at the first store was so well hidden that I think I'm going to have to get better at digging.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

{Thrift Store Temptations} Do I Have to Care What a Cornucopia Is?

I do actually know what a cornucopia is, but the  woman standing next to us at the thrift shop last week apparently wasn't satisfied with the answer I gave my son and launched into a mini-lecture about symbols of the bountiful harvest.

My own explanation was more along the lines of "It's a basket for Thanksgiving and yes it does look like a plague mask if you hold it like that, but we're not buying it." I spend so much of my time either answering questions or helping to look up the answers that I think I can be forgiven for not being excited about thrift shop baskets at that exact second.

This week's reminder that I want to  learn to crochet so I can make a pretty afghan...

Possibly the first time that I've ever seen vintage sheets in their original packaging. I've got enough in my stash already, so I left that for someone else to find and love.

And I'm weirdly fascinated by this ugly little hutch...

Why are the chicken and rooster walking away from each other? Why does the chicken look so mad?

I'm sure someone with the right skills could repaint this piece and replace the plastic and make it absolutely adorable, but at the price they're asking I'm afraid that won't happen.

Also puzzling was this old cash register, which I think is the oldest I've ever seen...

I hope it finds a good home, and quickly. It doesn't seem like something that should be sitting out for everyone to poke at. (And believe me, it was tempting to try those levers to see how it  worked!)

How about you? Are you excited about cornucopias, beyond knowing what their name is? Find anything great at your local shops this week?

Friday, November 03, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {11/3/17}

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.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

A Second Project

I was only going to work on one project at a time, but this one is little and only calls for ten colors and I really, really want to stitch it right now... 

Two cross-stitch projects at a time isn't bad. It's the three pairs of socks I've got on the needles and the countless quilts... Things add up quickly when life gets in the way and you forget what it was you were already working on.

And there are at least three other projects in my stash telling me that I want to be stitching on those too. I'm not sure it's a bad thing to be so excited about my existing stash.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Knit Mitts

Want to really learn how to knit mittens?  Knit Mitts --Your Hand-y Guide to Knitting Mittens & Gloves is the book for you. There are plenty of patterns for mittens and gloves and fingerless gloves that feature cables and colorwork and all of the things that make you want to knit them in the first place, but what really makes this book shine is the fact that it explains how they all work.

Have you ever seen the extremely complex discussions about how to make socks fit properly? This book does that, except it's how to fit your hands. I had no clue that there were so many parts to measure!

There are instructions for working to your own measurements, charts for different ages and hand sizes and stitch counts, recommendations for yarn types and techniques to keep your fingers extra warm...  Honestly, the only thing missing is discussion of traditional mitten styles -- and there are already tons of books out there that have that part of the craft covered.

If you want to do more than just follow the pattern, you'll love this book. And if you want to just follow the directions as written, you can use the included patterns and make the gorgeous projects shown on the cover.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Halloween Treat for My Readers

I was going to post this on Halloween, but then I decided that if you want to sew a spooky last minute project, you might appreciate the extra day. 

Because everyone (or maybe just me and my offspring)  needs a coffin-shaped pencil holder... 

If you have the materials handy, it won't take long at all to make. While I was putting mine together, I kept thinking of ways to make it more fun like adding a red lining or trapunto and free motion quilting. But Halloween is tomorrow.  The clock is ticking and now is the time for something quick and easy.

You'll need:

two 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles of coffin colored fabric
one 7" zipper
one 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle of paper
matching thread

About that zipper -- These instructions don't explain how to install it. Let me know if you need a separate zipper tutorial and I'll put one together. The zipper I used was labeled 7" and measured the same as my 8 1/2" cut of fabric. You can always shorten a longer zipper from your stash. That's what I'd do if I hadn't gotten lucky with the one I grabbed!

Start by folding the piece of paper in half lengthwise with the fold on the left. Along the top and bottom edges, measure in 1 1/4" from the fold and make a dot. Measure 3" down from the top edge and make a third dot on the side that isn't folded.

Connect the dots and cut along the lines. When you unfold it, you'll have a coffin shape. Don't cut your fabric into that shape yet!

Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut one of the fabric rectangles into two 8 1/2" x 2 1/4" rectangles.

Install the zipper and top stitch along either side.

Now's the time to cut the zippered rectangle and the plain rectangle into the coffin shape that we just created. Doing it this way means that even if the seam allowance on your zipper isn't perfect, both pieces will be the same size. (Or, if your seam allowances are perfect when it comes to zippers, it means I don't have to figure out how to make oddly shaped pattern pieces that will come out the proper size.)

With the zipper open, place both pieces right sides together and sew all the way around the outside edge. You'll be using the open zipper to turn it open.

Turn and press and fill with nice pens or yummy candy for your favorite little monsters.

Be sure to check out  my other free Halloween Tutorials -- Halloween Parlor Quilt Haunted House PotholderPotion Bottle Mug RugPumpkin Carving Wall Quilt To be notified when new tutorials are added, follow my blog or like Michelle's Romantic Tangle on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.

This post is linked to Bag It! and Crazy Mom Quilts


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