Friday, November 30, 2007

Catching up...

This post is going to have a lot of little "catch-up" stuff in it. Some quilting, some not so much. I've been thinking of all sorts of things I want to post about but haven't gotten to it and now I just need to get it all out.

Thanksgiving day -- we had a great day here in the Cornfields. I actually cooked (it happens rarely around here). And just to prove that I can do it. A photo. Yep. I took a picture of the bird coming out of the oven. But -- really, it was Normal Rockwell perfect. Not only was it pretty to look at, but it was yummy too.

Also, a few folks have asked if Miss Tinkerbell got to go out and play in the snow (I am seriously behind in answering my emails folks -- I'm playing catch-up there too!). Unfortunately -- by the time we'd had some breakfast, gotten dressed, and realized the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was way cool to watch most of it was gone so nope -- but she keeps on waiting for more of the white stuff.
Black Friday. Ok, I read on a lot of blogs that most of you stayed home and sewed rather than fight the crowds of shoppers on Black Friday. I'd love to say I did the same. Nope. I HAVE to go shopping on that day. I do. It's a memory thing. That being said, I mostly went out to go to Joann's. They were having some major sales and I needed a few supplies for Christmas gifts.

So not all of that was for Christmas presents. I did buy some DMC floss for a project that I will be dealing with AFTER the holidays -- but really, it was on sale! (and with the extra % off for getting there before noon, um, I think I paid something like $.16 per skein -- for those of you in Europe, please remember that is the devalued American dollar -- so in terms of Euros, that's .11 or .08 Pounds. Yes -- we are spoiled here!) And how could I resist doing this pattern? Paula was kind enough to pass it on to me when she was done with it. (I loved seeing hers in progress as well as Carole's) I'm thinking that green tea dyed fabric will be perfect! Thanks Paula!

When I came home I was actually inspired by this. A table with not a thing on it. For a reminder of what it usually looks like you can go here. (and honestly? That full work surface picture is a bit cleaner than normal as well) I had to clean up my work area and kitchen so that we could eat Thanksgiving at the table (I thought it was only right that we actually eat there every so often).

The area that DIDN'T get touched in the mad dash to get everything ready for dinner though was this mess...

Yeah, um, well...look, I have NEVER claimed to be a domestic goddess. (just because some of you may not have BELIEVED me when I said how messy my home/work are is...doesn't mean I wasn't telling the truth). And this doesn't even include the piles of stuff that got taken upstairs to be hidden until after Thanksgiving dinner was over. *sigh*

So, I decided to do a little bit of cleaning and organization for my own sanity. Projects I'm not going to even think about until after the holidays and fabrics waiting to be put away into the stash got shoved placed in bins and removed from the area. I will also say, in the interest of full disclosure, that both of those bins were overflowing by the time I was done since I also brought down the piles of stuff from upstairs while I was in my cleaning frenzy. One bin for "projects" I haven't gotten to. One for fabrics to be put away. I think I need to join Judy L's stashbusting effort -- I love my stash, don't get me wrong, but I need to finish some projects before I buy more stuff for new ones! (yeah, we'll see how long that one lasts -- but honestly? It would be a good idea!)

And here it is -- the after. All organized and almost everything there (other than my basic tools and gadgets) is destined to be a Christmas present or something I need to work on before the holidays. We won't mention that those bins are still stuffed -- but, I will say in my own defense that some of it is because I just pulled the fabrics I want to use, not the correct yardages. Some of what is there will be going back into the stash after I've made the projects (or at least, that's what I keep telling myself -- and it's even somewhat true -- I've been working on some things and I did put about 4 1/2 yards of fabric back into the stash yesterday because I cut what I needed out of it). It is helping -- but I still think I need an elf or two who know how to sew to show up at my place.

And since this post is getting loooooong (when do mine not?) I will save some of the goodies I have been making to show later! (some new shop samples out of some yummy and yummier fabrics) I have been busy -- and this whole cleaning thing has really helped!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pincushion Winners

So, after my last post I am more convinced than ever that quilters are some of the best sorts of people. Thanks to all who commented and told me not to worry. I don't know that I'm constitutionally capable of not worrying at all -- but you made me feel much better!
And now on to the fun part! The names were put into a hat...

Little Miss Tinkerbell (she's the one who has been insisting lately that her name is "Tinkbell"-- won't even let me shorten it to Tink -- *sniff* ok, so I'm kinda proud of this, sick I know) did her part...

And the winner is...

Lisa D. from Stashmaster.

And then -- Mommy -- here you go!

Ok Tinkerbell -- that one too! ( I did mention this was a possibility).

So congrats to Vickie E. from Midohioknitter.

The winners have been notified via email, and thanks to everyone for playing along. Coming soon -- a recap of my Thanksgiving weekend! (yep, late, but hey -- better late than never!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Egg On My Face...

Ok, so the whole -- do a give away drawing as a way of saying thanks to all the wonderful folks who have read and commented on my blog sounded like a good idea. So why the egg on my face? Well -- I've been lax about reading my email this weekend -- when I got to it this morning some of the comments were puzzling me. I mean, a drawing is no guarantee that I will be sending anything right? Welllllllll...I guess I should have read my post more carefully before I hit that publish button. See, there was supposed to be a whole sentence in there about "I will put your name into a hat and have my capable assistant draw a name on Monday" that didn't make it into the published version.


Double Crud.

And now for my quandary. I could be all technical and say that the paragraph following the offer in the original post implies that not EVERYONE would get a pincushion (the whole -- if you want a guarantee go to my PIF post thing -- which, btw, has been filled, thanks!). That feels an awful lot like cheating to me. I'm the one who didn't edit (something I tell my students to do) and so it's my fault. Then again -- there is the other side of the coin. I did not make nearly enough pincushions to send to everyone who commented -- and I don't think I can afford the postage for all of them either (they aren't heavy -- just bulky, which means the postage goes up).

So -- what to do? I'm considering Hari-Kari -- though somehow that seems a bit extreme. I considered going into hiding -- but, well, how do you hide from yourself? Ok, enough self-flagellation.

Immediate fix is that I will hold the drawing I intended to hold today (dd is looking forward to it so, really, you don't want to disappoint the toddler do you? She's really cute). Given how well she did the last time, I can say there will probably be more than one winner.

For those of you who commented and are not ok with this "fix" -- shoot me an email. (this is especially true for those of you who are "no-reply" on your comments, I would have done this via email but, well, I can't really) I'll work something out. I have more fabric. I can make more pincushions -- but, um, they aren't going to be ready for a while. My list of Christmas projects has to take priority -- so I won't be able to get to them for sure until January. Sorry folks, this is the best I can do for right now -- hope you understand. Now I'm going to go see if I have anything resembling a hair shirt hanging in my closet.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

Today was/is (at least for another couple of hours) the day set aside in the US to give thanks for the harvest (though -- our current traditions probably have very little to do with the celebration we're supposed to be emulating). It's also a time to look at your life and think about what it is you are grateful/thankful for. I know it's something I don't do often enough, so it's nice to get the reminder sometimes.

This year I am thankful for young eyes that remind me of the wonder of the first snow of the year. No worries about the roads, travel -- just excitement and wonder that this white stuff came from the sky, and a quick run to the closet and demands to put on her coat so she can go out and play.

I am thankful for my family and friends, near and far. They're pretty wonderful people.

I am thankful for the opportunities I have had this year to play with my quilting and to teach my first quilting class.

And, I am thankful for you -- my fellow crafters who read my blog. You give me encouragement (even when I probably don't need it when it comes to stash enhancement activities), advice, and honest feedback. Those are all things I value. In addition, I've made so many new "imaginary" (though, you are all real -- that term bothers me somehow) friends from all walks of life, all over the globe. I have learned over and over again that quilters are some of the most generous people. People whose generosity in terms of time (and sometimes in terms of fabric, patterns and other goodies) are unparalleled.

So -- as a way to say "thank you" on a day meant for thanks -- I'm going to offer up a little token of my thanks. Remember these pincushions? Well -- leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday, November 25th and I will send you one. Which one I'm not sure (and one of the two finished ones you see in the photo has already gone to a new home) -- but you will get one of them. I mentioned earlier that I had put some scented oil in one -- the one I will send does not have any scent.

Oh -- and if you don't want to take any chances and would like to guarantee that you get one of these -- I still have one spot open on my Pay-It-Forward exchange. If you'd like to play along -- I think I can guarantee one of these lovelies :0). If you are signing up for the PIF -- it will be first come, first serve. Please leave your comment on the PIF post!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Ok, so if you didn't get enough of me blabbing about myself in July, I've been tagged for another MeMeme by Nan over at Quilting in Doxie-Land (and yep, this was awhile ago -- but, well, I'm slow at responding to these things). So here it is, 4 things about me...

4 jobs I've held:
  1. Migrant farm laborer. Ok -- so I wasn't so much migrating, but corn detasseling counts -- and I have the scars from the corn rash to prove it.
  2. Waitress at a fast food chain pizza resturaunt. Lousy tips and don't get me started on the damage a softball team can do to a dining room.
  3. Secretary to a freshman program in an academic university.
  4. Indentured servant. Oh wait -- technical title was Graduate Assistant. In exchange for tuition breaks I taught freshman composition courses. On second thought, indentured servant is about right -- but I did love the teaching.

4 films I could watch over and over again:

  1. The Princess Bride ("Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die")
  2. The Quiet Man (John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, 'nuff said)
  3. The Wizard of Oz (I no longer hide when the wicked witch shows up -- but love this movie)
  4. Star Wars (no, not going to give the "new title" -- I grew up with it being Star Wars. The first one. Forget the numbering -- and, frankly, forget the tinkering that Lucas did to it -- it's my childhood memory darn it!)
  5. A host of other films -- really, I love rewatching movies. I have many favorites, these are just some of the top picks.

4 TV shows I watch:

  1. House -- LOVE Huge Laurie
  2. Numbers -- Rob Morrow, Judd Hirsch, the cast in this is wonderful!
  3. Bionic Woman -- Ok, throwback to my childhood again, but the new show is pretty good.
  4. WWE Monday Night Raw -- don't ask, I blame a friend for this.
  5. Again -- a host of others -- I haven't even touched on most of the shows I watch like Miami Ink and all of the Food Network shows I watch. Not to mention Heroes, etc. I'm a TV junkie -- I freely admit this.

4 Places I've lived:

  1. Utica, Michigan
  2. Fairfax, Virginia
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. Cornfield County, Illinois

4 favorite foods:

  1. Sushi (tuna and salmon the two favs here)
  2. Chocolate (in all its many forms)
  3. Bread -- really, I love crusty good fresh bread -- a bit of butter and I'm in heaven.
  4. Saganaki -- flaming cheese served with crusty bread, what's not to love?

4 favorite colors:

  1. Orange
  2. Pink/red
  3. Lime green
  4. purple
  5. blue
  6. brown
  7. yellow
  8. grey
  9. Anyone get the feeling that I love color and am a color slut? You should.

4 Places I would love to be right now:

  1. Right where I am with my daughter and husband
  2. Desert south west with my Mom
  3. Paris
  4. Virginia

4 names I love but would/could not use for my children:

  1. Robert (um -- had a girl, so not really appropriate)
  2. Carolyn
  3. Catriona (was a close call there)
  4. Alexandra

4 people I would love to tag:

This one has made the rounds, so I'm not going to tag anyone specifically -- if you want to do it, consider yourself it!

Imagine my surprise

Ok, I'll admit it, I check my blog's statistics on sitemeter from time to time. I love the world map that shows where visitors are coming from. Ok, yes, it takes amazingly little to amuse me at times. Anyhoo -- imagine my surprise when I realized I've been getting a lot more visits than normal. Like almost double. Hunh? I mean, I know my experiments with tea dying are just fascinating but still.

Oh wait -- I then checked where folks were coming from. Turns out I'm getting a lot of hits from Sew Mama Sew. Hunh? They posted that link to my tutorial ages ago. So why the sudden rush? It turns out they reposted the link to the tutorial as part of their Handmade Holidays posts for November. Way cool. And so are all of the great ideas and tutorials they've been posting. If you haven't had a chance -- go check it out. Not like most of us need another project to add to the pile at this time of year -- but, well, hey -- never hurts to look right? I'm going to add the banner for it onto my sidebar as well. I also added an update to the tutorial (links to the finished project and to the dress with fabric I made) so if you are seeing it on bloglines -- sorry for the repeat.

In other crafting/sewing/quilting news -- um, nothing really to report right now. It's been a singularly craft free weekend. Ugh. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in -- but I also had a little one with a virus thingy (don't you love my technical medical terms). I love that kids bounce back quickly from these sorts of things -- I hate the gut wrenching fear that you have when daycare calls and tells you your child has a fever of 104 F. And just to reassure you -- she was kind of listless and oddly agreeable for a day. The next day she was her normal bouncing off the walls and go, go, go self who is glad to tell you "I don' LIKE that" with no fever in sight. Now mommy on the other hand -- mommy needs longer to recover! Hopefully I will have more to show/share soon.

Also, thanks for all the tips and suggestions on the tea dying. I want to try some of them and see what results I get. But, I'm just about to the point on the doll fabric of saying -- it's good enough, I'll make it with what I have and continue the experiments after Christmas (when I don't have 10 projects lined up). Any opinions?

Friday, November 16, 2007


Ok, so I've never been one to be too scared of experimenting with fabrics. I like to play. If I mess up -- it's FABRIC. No one dies, I may have spent a bit of money and time -- but, um, nothing seriously wrong happens. (if you know of an exception to this one -- I'd love to hear about it -- though, on second thought, maybe you shouldn't burst my bubble).

So, when the pattern for my daughter's Christmas gift called for something I've never done -- wooo hoo -- time to experiment. Time to venture into the kitchen and play with some tea dying. (for those of you who have done this a million times -- um, yep -- I'm late coming to the party on this one) And of course, since I'm prone to overly complicating relatively simple things, I had to not just tea dye but play with it. I wanted to get a "peachy" color to the fabric. This is, after all, supposed to be a doll right? So -- black tea should give a brownish tinge -- what will give more of a flesh tone? How about a "red" tea?

And, just in case the whole -- it should be black tea thing is necessary. How about another length that has both red and black teas combined? So far looking promising no? A nice peachy color here -- even given that tea dying is going to be MUCH lighter when it gets washed -- still, looking good!

Anyone get the feeling that this isn't going to turn out the way I want it to? You should be -- I mean, I did end up getting tea dyed fabric. It's darker/duskier than the original white -- but, the whole color thing I was going for? Not sure. It could be the detergent I used. I used Dreft, which is a wonderful product. Really. There's even a blurb on it in the current Quilter's Home magazine for this issue's product test -- they rated it REALLY highly for washing quilts, just below the specialty product Soak (and for the rating -- a darned sight cheaper as well). But, you see, I forgot one *little* thing -- the reason I still use Dreft for my daughter's laundry even though she's 2? Um -- this stuff WORKS. I mean, really works. Gets out stains I thought wouldn't come out works. As in as soon as I poured it into the washing machine it started changing the color of the fabrics -- fast!

Soooo -- this is what I ended up with. The red tea is on the left, the red/black is in the middle and that far right piece is another experiment with green tea meant for some stitchery ideas (too coarse to want to use for the doll body. The fabric across the bottom is the original white. Not sure how happy I am with these.

And just for a shot with another color reference -- here's a shot with my hand in it. I mean -- it could be the detergent (probable) -- it could just be that the red color in the tea I used doesn't stain enough (possible) -- could be that I used warm water to wash it in (also possible but not as likely as the first two) -- could be that I didn't use enough tea bags to get good color (though, look at the before pictures, I think I got enough color on there)-- etc., etc., etc. So the question is -- do I attempt the experiment again? Do I change one of the likely culprit variables and attempt to re-stain the fabrics? Do I say well -- I got stained fabric and just go with what I've got?

Am I over thinking and over complicating something that doesn't need to be? *sigh* probably to the last one. But I'm still unsure about the use or redye question. I still think the red tea idea should work -- but, really, does it matter? What do you think? Redo or use what I have so my daughter can have her doll for THIS Christmas?

And to end on a happier note -- the pincushions are coming along. Two completely done -- five more that need buttons added to them, but that's a good nighttime project. One of these is actually already at its destination -- one of dd's teachers is leaving today. I added a bit of scented oil soaked in a cotton ball to the stuffing and it's a pretty sachet if she doesn't need a pincushion. As for the others -- well, stay tuned for further announcements :0).

I've been getting some nice compliments on the Christmas ornaments from my last post -- if anyone is interested in being Megged -- I know Tammy was planning on kiting these up with the pattern and a fabric pack. I'm not sure if they're up on her site or not or if she's gotten them done yet -- but if you are interested you could shoot her an email. Just doing my part to ensure a vital global economy :0).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas here at Casa de Cornfields. No, I don't have my decorations up yet (isn't it bad enough the stores have had them up since Halloween?? EEEKK -- nope, we wait until AFTER Thanksgiving in this house thank you very much) -- but I have been a busy bee sewing up some Christmas themed items and getting some work on hand made presents done. I don't know why I do this to myself every year -- I wait 'til the last minute (ok, so a month or so before isn't the LAST minute, but you know what I mean) to get all the handmade stuff done and/or underway.

If you're like me -- you also forget about people you know you want to do something for -- but not a full quilt (or, well, projects that are going to require a huge investment of time and/or money). The coworker gifts, teachers (my daughter has 4 teachers who are with her on a regular basis), coaches, family members who you see once a year but still want to do something for...what to do? What to do? Well -- one option could be these little lovelies that I've been working on this week. Fun fabric ornaments/gift tags. The pattern is new from Daisy and Dell (though, I was having problems with their site if you follow the link) and tons of fun to make.

Though -- I will have to say, my ability to overly complicate things may have been in overdrive here. Yes, the pattern does call for doing machine blanket stitching around the fused pieces -- but, seriously, on pieces this small -- I probably should have just let it go. It's not like it's going to be washed or anything. It looks great (or at least I think so) but -- seriously folks. Despite that bit of insanity -- they really are fun to make, and easy enough to use for some of those gifts you're not sure what to give -- who couldn't use a cutie patootie ornament for the tree?

I may even make some more of them to give as gifts (or for myself for that matter). Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that I was making these as shop samples. A case of "one of my favorite quilt shop owners and designers (hi Tammy) went to market and I get to play with the goodies!" And speaking of goodies I got to play with (and another shop sample) -- I FINALLY got my hands on some of that yummy Chocolate Lollipop fabric I've been wanting to play with! (If you don't remember -- there was a bit of a saga the last time I tried to find some) Add in a fun new pattern by an all around wonderful blogger who had two new patterns introduced at market (see the November 6th post) and you've got another fun project to make. This one is both fun and easy -- and I have a 'tween on my Christmas list who may be getting one of these. Thanks PamKitty for such a fantastic pattern to play with!

Hmmn...with all of these shop samples you would think that my claim of getting Christmas presents done was, well, not quite the truth. But -- I have, in fact, been getting some done. Or, well, close to it anyway. Here's a sneak peek of an in-progress project -- more of that lovely Cherry Baby fabric. I got to keep some of the "scraps" when I was making aprons and so I've been turning some of them into pincushions. I've got another "scrap" project cooking with these as well -- I'll see about posting hints on that soon :0).

I've got more projects in the works and some fun stuff I'm working on -- but it looks like this post is getting to be WAAAAYYYY longer than I intended (I really need to work on the whole running off at the fingers thing). So, I will say goodnight for now (despite when this SAYS it was published -- it's after midnight by my watch!)

Oooops, almost forgot to mention -- Anna Maria Horner (the lovely lady who designed the Chocolate Lollipop fabrics) will be on Martha today (Nov. 15th) so check it out!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I'm just so proud...

I've commented here and there when I've seen other crafters whose children are joining the fun, that I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to join me in the crafting madness that goes on around here. Not that she hasn't tried already (though pulling on my yarn skeins as I try to knit and trying to hit buttons on my sewing machine (see step 10) are not exactly helpful -- it comes from a good place, "mommy, I help you"), but, well, she's two! I figured it would be at least another year or two until I could brag about, um show off, no -- display (no mommy pride going on here at all folks) her handiwork. HA! Shows what I know. Look what came home with dd yesterday from daycare/school. Yep -- the two year old made this! Well, before you start thinking I have a prodigy or something (not that I don't believe she's the smartest and most talented kid I know) she did have help. They've been doing a unit this fall on bodies and differences at daycare. Part of this was the doll project -- the kids got to choose the basic doll body (pre-made) from a variety of skin tones. Then they talked about eyes and they got to chose their eye color -- and while the kids pointed, the teacher glued where they pointed. Same with the hair, mouths, noses, etc. And the clothes -- oh yeah, the design options for the outfits were all theirs too (with execution help from the teachers) -- and trust me, I've seen some of the other dolls and their outfits -- hers is way cooler (no bias here, nope, not me). And she is so in love with her doll -- and has now named her "Baby Dolly" (a better name than "poopy dollie" who came home with us from the toy store while 'Nama was visiting).

The enjoyment she's getting out of her dolls lately is giving me hope that my main present for her for Christmas is going to go over well. Which is good because the patterns for most of it came in the mail yesterday! Wooo Hooo!!!! I can get started on her doll and doll ensembles! I saw this doll over at the Material Obsessions blog this past spring and just fell in love. I have since started reading the blog of the designer, Rosalie Quinlan and her sister -- Melly and Me Designs (you should seriously check out some of their joint designs folks -- they are fun, fun, fun), and been trying to get the patterns here in the states. I did try and see if a LQS could get them (no luck) and finally decided enough was enough (especially if dd is going to get these before she has children of her own) and ordered them from Australia. I can't say enough good things about the folks over at Jet Music and Books. When I originally emailed about the patterns to check on the shipping costs (very reasonable) the patterns were out of stock. BUT -- they kept me informed via email (once even to let me know they were still waiting but they hadn't forgotten about me) and let me know as soon as they were available. Great service and they got to me within a week and 1/2!

So -- you know part of what dd is getting for Christmas -- shhhh, don't tell! (And since she can't read yet, I'm pretty safe here) The doll is to go along with the doll crib she's also getting. It's actually MY old doll crib from when I was here age -- it's been reinforced with 2x4's since I used to want to get in with my dolls and wood and wonderful. I'll get a photo when I can (right now it's "hiding" in a box so little one can't see it) -- but, a little old, a little new, and a little handmade. Sounds perfect to me.

And before this post gets to be REALLY long -- I'll keep the rest of what I was going to say for another post. Maybe tomorrow. I'm not going to join the NoBloPoMo challenge (goodness, I have the feeling people's eyes would be popping out of their heads if I did that) but I do have enough things I've been mulling over and wanting to post about for at least 3 or 4 posts. In the meantime --- here's a current picture of my sewing/work space (aka the Kitchen/dining table) -- um, really, there's 4 or 5 projects in various stages of completion there. But I do need to get back to it so I can start on the new dolly! As for dinner being eaten there any time soon -- not so sure.

Pay It Forward

I know, I'm a bit behind the times here. I've seen this going around the blogosphere for the last several months. But every time I saw someone post it -- it seemed I was always the 4th person to read and/or so far down the line it wasn't even funny. Now -- looks like my luck has changed. The lovely Kristin L. (rocking cool crafty artsy chica mama that she is) has decided to play along as well. AND I managed to make a comment in enough time to be able to sign up. Wooo Hooo!!!

So, for those of you who haven't read it before or have no idea what I'm talking about here is the original meme/invitation:

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

Obviously, there is one little catch -- you must have a blog in order to pay it forward yourself. I wish there were a way to make the offer to some of you who have kindly commented here and don't have blogs of your own -- but this one is going to have to be limited to those who have blogs. Stay tuned for something soon that will be open to anyone.

As for what I may send -- I have NO idea. Probably something made out of fabric, though knitted stuff is not out of the question as well, and then there are embroideries too -- oh the possibilities. I also will try my best to get these out sooner rather than later -- but, the only promise I will make is that in the invitation -- within the next calendar year. Oh, and the photo of the yoyo's -- um, not sure the eventual PIF items will contain them, just needed a photo for today so I raided a past blog post!

And on the current crafting front -- I have a ton going on right now. Lots of stuff on my work surface, some new patterns to play with, some sightings of the aprons I put together at market (last photo from the bottom of the post on the right, the mannequin with the aprons on it? The adult sized one is one I made -- and yep, that's the Lakehouse booth -- silly that I'm excited by this right?), and a package from Australia that came in the mail today with more goodies. But, the only photos I've taken in the past two days are of the applesauce I made yesterday. And I don't think you're all that interested in my culinary experiments sooooo -- I'll post more about what's going on later (I'd say tomorrow, but it may just be later today).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Reason to love living in a small town

Ok, the title of my blog makes it pretty obvious that I don't exactly live in a large city. It's larger than it used to be, but, it's essentially a small town plunked down in the middle of a cornfield. I've lived in suburban/metro areas (and let me tell you when I first moved to this small town over 20 years ago there was some serious culture shock going on) and a large city. There are benefits to all -- but last weekend I got to enjoy one of my favorite parts about living in a small town in the Midwest -- the annual town wide festival. And what does our town's festival celebrate? The pumpkin! (kind of lucky that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays don't you think?)

And let me tell you -- most of the town really gets into the celebration. There is a pumpkin decorating contest with all of the entries displayed on the courthouse lawn. I overheard someone saying this year there were something like 900 entries. And there are categories divided by type of decoration as well as by age group. It's always a blast to see how they are decorated and whether they fit into the year's theme. If you want to know what is popular with different age groups from year to year -- just check out the pumpkins. This year there were A LOT of pirates -- wonder if Johnny Depp might have anything to do with that? ;0)

In addition to the pumpkins, there's also a parade. And while some small town parades are relatively small affairs -- this one, not so much. In addition to all of the local floats, etc. there is also a marching band competition -- so, lots and lots of marching bands (I lost count after 10 or 11 this year -- but, you get the drift). It's also the first year we've taken my dd to see the parade (her first year it was cold and rainy, last year ditto and she probably wouldn't have enjoyed it because of the crowd -- this year, totally different story). She LOVED the bands and was paying attention through the entire thing (or, well, as much as we stayed for -- after a bit more than 2 1/2 hours with more of the parade coming we decided to call it done and get out of dodge -- I did mention this parade was kind of a big deal right?)

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with crafting, quilting, etc.? Other than being a fun little slice of my life? Well, another feature of our little festival is the huge craft/goodies market held at the high school. The entire field house is taken over by crafts and other stuff (it used to be called a flea market but for some reason the name has been changed). There are actually 3 craft shows being held in town at the same time -- we only hit one of them, but have vowed that next year we will hit the rest. Lots of great ideas for gifts, etc. and this year I found someone who was selling hand painted yarn. Aren't those colors just luscious? A new skein of sock yarn to play with, of course, this does mean I should finish the pair of socks I'm still working on...they're a bit further along than they were, but not much. Oh well, this is an incentive to get them done.

On other crafting fronts, I haven't been sewing much at all lately. While Mom was here I simply didn't have time, and since she left on Tuesday, I have been finishing a few other things. But, I did have some crafty fun while Mom was here -- no quilting, but some knitty goodness. Mom wanted to look for some yarn while she was visiting so we went to a new to me yarn shop. May I just say yummy? I must admit that walking in was like stepping into a playground where all I wanted to do was take one of everything (or more). But, I was good -- I had two projects (yep, ambitious aren't I given that I have tons of quilting projects to do for Christmas and a WIP already on sticks) in mind. I had checked this book out of the library recently and let me tell you I am in love! The photos are stunning and the patterns really do seem doable. (this one is already on my Christmas list along with its sister book for quilting -- the folks at Purl really do have some fantastic ideas)

So, what did I end up with? Well, one yarn I got was a lovely bamboo and wool blend. I'd show you the skein, but, um, I've already finished the project. Hehehehe -- see, not so crazy is it if I've actually FINISHED it. No new UFO hanging around -- just a really soft and cuddly knit bag. This was actually a super fast project to knit up (gotta love those addi turbos) since it's done in the round and nothing but knit stitches except for the eyelet round.

And I also ended up with a skein of Koigu Premium Merino (the link is not to the place I bought it, but I can't find it on their site). Again, would love to show you a photo of the skein, but, um, I finished the project already. A fun little cabled knit bag. What I'm going to do with it I don't know -- it's pretty much big enough for a cell phone, a credit card or two and a set of keys (maybe a lipstick too) and that's it. But, I had a ton of fun making it and I am now no longer afraid of cables. Which is cool.

Both projects were finished by Nov. 1st -- and I bought the yarn on Oct. 26th, so -- less than a week for two knit finishes. I think this is a record for me. Now to just get back to those socks! I will have more quilty/fabric related content again soon -- it's just been a knitting kind of week or two. Oh, and anyone who is curious -- Mom loved the quilt, but she still noticed how messy the house was -- kind of hard to miss it. But, being the fantastic Mom she is -- her comment was "I know you too well -- and I'm not there to see how clean your house is, but to spend time with you." Yep -- and that's why I love her, and why I SWEAR for Christmas, things WILL be cleaner! I've got two months -- I should be able to get it clean by then!!!