Thursday, January 31, 2008

WIP it good...

Yep, repeating myself with musical references, but I had such fun finding out who was actually a closet (0r not so closet) Devo fan the last time :0).

Not a whole lot to report this week. I did get the mitts I was working on while waiting for the doctor done. Mostly. They still need the ends woven in. The knitting equivalent of hand sewing down the binding. I may get to that tonight though -- so, close enough to show on the blog. And no, they don't match -- that's the nature of working with verigated Noro for something like this. I actually like the look -- let's just hope my mil does too. She chose the yarn though, so, she should.

I also did manage to get some of the embroidery done on the four seasons swap. Yes, I know it's the 31st. I know it's past the deadline for mailing it. I did get an ok for an extension due to illness. I should get it out in the mail on Saturday. I hope. No later than Monday. And no, not much of a peek here. I'm hoping to have a bit of a surprise for my partner (not that I think she reads my blog -- but you never know).

Oh, and a recent purchase that I didn't show -- a small bottle of Retayne. Because, one of the fabrics from my winter swap has been leaving some nasty blue marks on my ironing board.

I think this fabric is the little bugger culprit, but I'm not positive. Since most of the pieces were smaller than I would prewash anyway -- um, well, hey. Ya play, sometimes you might pay. Not an attitude I'm happy about having to take with a swap piece -- but there it is. And yes, I'm also going out to get some color catchers too.

The last piece I have anything to show on is this one. A new shop sample out of the Cherry Baby line from Lakehouse. I do like this fabric (though, since I've been playing with it since October, um, I might need a bit of a break soon). This one is way cute. I have to think about making one for my own daughter (nope, sorry -- Bella is not Tink's name -- I do believe this one will be going to this cutie, scroll down to see Bella, when it is done being a shop sample). Super, super simple and quick to put together (which is why this is almost done but the apron I'm also working on isn't) -- a charm square pack and a panel of the alphabet letters and you are good to go. The only thing I had to cut out were the letters. Woo Hoo. Simple quilting on this one, a quick binding and it should be done!

You know -- despite the fact that this week feels like it has been singularly unproductive, I may have actually gotten a few things done., if I had taken pictures of the other knit project I cast on while I was confined to the couch, I'd probably really feel that way. Cool.

And finally -- a question for you folks. I mentioned in my last post that I bought a book that I had "previewed" by checking it out of the library first. I've been doing a lot of that lately. Not buying books (not that I don't want to -- just, well, my budget hasn't actually had room for new craft books unless I'm absolutely positive I want to make something out of them), checking them out of the library to see whether or not I want to buy them. Or, in some cases, if I want to hunt them down since they are now out of print.

And well, since I don't seem to believe in moderation when it comes to checking books out of the library, I'm starting to lose track of what it is I like, or don't like, about some of the things I've checked out. See? This is the current stack. And well, since I took this picture BEFORE I went to the library to get the interloans that had come in while I was still contagious, the stack may be just a bit bigger than this. I did return a few of them -- I did, but, well, I kept most. So -- where does the question come in? Would anyone be interested in seeing a "review" post every now and then? I can't promise how often -- but, I'm thinking if I put my thoughts about the books up on my blog it might help me remember which ones are "buy it, now", "buy it someday", "buy it if you see it on sale", "check out again later", "nice to have seen but you don't need to see it again" or "what a waste of time". Let me know -- I may do it anyway, but, would be nice if other folks found it useful too :0).

That's it for now -- now off to see if I can figure out what has been piled on my sewing table (kitchen table, whatever) while I was sick and unable to do much policing. Ugh -- I have to clean to be able to sew -- what's up with that?

** Note -- I am still unable to use spell check so, see previous disclaimer. Spelling is not my strong suit -- this is why I spell check the heck out of my work and usually have a dictionary at hand. Where my dictionary went to, I have no clue -- oh honey?!?

Goodies, Goodies

A couple of days of antibiotics do wonders for your outlook. Add in the fact that I can eat solid food again and the improvement in my blood sugar means my mood is drastically improved. Thanks to everyone who sent get well soon wishes -- and put up with my whining! So, now that I'm feeling human again I thought I would share some of the goodies I've been treating myself to lately. Some fabric goodies, a few knitting goodies, all thanks to some Christmas and birthday mad money -- wooo hooo!

First up -- a recent purchase with a lovely Christmas gift certificate. I love this house and laundry line fabric. No, it's not new. It's been out for awhile. Over a year at least. But, it makes me smile for some reason every time I see it. I have no idea why. I've been eyeing it for at least a year and I finally had an excuse to buy it.

And my excuse for getting it now? This ribbon. It also makes me smile for no apparent reason. I bought this to wrap my daughter's Christmas presents with (yes, she had pink presents -- but, the red polka dots went -- really). When I found out it was printed on both sides -- I went nuts. (ok, so I may have been nuts before then -- and it may have taken very little to amuse me at that point in the holiday season -- but seriously? how cute is this?) I knew I HAD to use it for some sort of sewing project -- so I made sure to snatch it as it was coming off of the gifts. (yes, I actually still have some on the roll as well -- but, hey, recycling here!) What I'm going to do with the combo I don't know exactly, I'm thinking bags of some sort -- but something. And soon!

And while I was snagging the house fabric, I also found this lonely little pattern hanging out in a clearance bin. $1.00. Can you believe that? $1.00. I don't so much care about the projects -- but the little stitchery patterns are adorable. And for that price? Oh yea, coming home with me! I also picked up some fusible fleece to make another mini-messenger bag soon, but, nothing all that interesting about white fluffy stuff.

This brings us to what I was going to blog about last weekend -- my Friday shopping spree. Before the plague hit -- I was able to go out and spend some of my mad money. Bwahahahaha.

First stop was Michael's for this book (whole story there about not having a 40% off coupon, being told where I could find one -- leaving the store to get it -- yes, I am that cheap frugal -- coming back without a coupon due to bad information -- and a store clerk giving me the discount anyway because I did try to get one).

Why this one? Well, I had checked it out at the library recently. Some really cute patterns, a few things I was kind of interested in but not sure enough to buy it. Then Miss Tinkerbell saw this pattern. Her reaction was a demand request for Mommy to make it for her, complete with color demands choices. What's a mother to do? Yeah -- we've already established that I bought the book right?

Yep -- and the next stop was the LYS. For the yarn. In pink and purple. As ordered. I'm such a sucker. Though, I have to admit -- when Tink saw the yarn she wanted to wrap herself up in it immediately. (forget that Mommy still needs to knit it) *sniff* I'm so darned proud of her. Of course, we'll neglect to mention that while I THOUGHT I had the right needles for this one, I don't -- so, I have to make another trip. But that's ok -- I have an order for some yarn from my aunt. Any excuse will do!

And, while I didn't get the needles for this project while I was there -- I did buy some needles for another project. And some more yarn (though, no photo of that, I'll have to take care of that later). I did get another knitting book with my birthday loot though -- a beautiful Debbi Bliss book. (thank you Borders and a 30% off coupon)

I have to admit the patterns in this one are wayyy a bit above my skill level. But -- oh, man. This one is just killing me. And, since the patterns go up to kids' sizes 8-10 years -- I might even be able to make one that will actually fit my daughter by the time I finish it. Maybe. Probably. Um, we'll see. It's at least inspiring eye candy.

And while I was already out and about -- well, why not a quick stop at a favorite LQS? (oh come now, a day spent shopping for crafty goodness and you think I didn't end up at a quilt shop? Please!) I will admit I was a bit restrained at the quilt shop though. Something about a basket full of projects I want to get to has been restraining me when it comes to fabric purchases lately. But, I did get this little goodie (and some muslin to back it with) -- I had such fun doing the last one I just had to have another one. More hand quilting -- wooo hooo! I can't believe I just said that -- um, no, I haven't been abducted by pod people, I really am excited about this. Cool, 'cause I can't wait to get this one sandwiched and started.

So, that's it for the goodies for right now. I do have some progress to share on some WIPs and an idea that I would like some feedback on, but this post is getting looooonnnggg. (I know, par for the course with me) I think I'll split it up a bit, so don't be surprised if you see a couple of posts in one day from me. Later!

PS -- sorry about any spelling errors in this one -- I usually do run spell check (knowing that I am a lousy speller and that I tend towards typos) but for some reason, blogger doesn't like it's spell check right now. Phooey.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What You Can Accomplish

It always amazes me how much you can accomplish in the time you spend waiting for other things to get done. You know the times -- what can get done while laundry is running, while dinner is cooking, while waiting for kids to be done with sports, etc. And let's not forget one my favorite "waiting" activities -- waiting to see the doctor. There may be a bit of sarcasm in that last sentence. (maybe a LOT of sarcasm)

But hey -- this is what you can accomplish while waiting to see a doctor in something called "convenient care" (which, I will admit is convenient if you can't get an appointment with your regular doctor -- or like me, don't particularly LIKE your regular doctor) but which is also a first come/first serve arrangement. Then, once you have been called, while waiting for the "instant read" throat culture to come back (and yeah, instant would be stretching it a bit) so the doctor can tell you what you had a pretty good idea of in the first place (gee, you would think the two days of fevers/chills and the fact that my glands are so swollen I look like a bull frog, added to the fact that I can't swallow anything MIGHT have been a clue). Though, I must admit -- it did make me feel a bit better about how wimpy I've been all weekend when the doctor looked at my throat and winced at how red and swollen it looked. It's nice having outside verification that you SHOULD be feeling like something left on the side of the road to die.

Oh, and don't forget the wait at the pharmacy to pick up the prescription for those lovely little pills that hold out the hope that in a day or two you will be able to swallow something without pain -- all the while having to argue with the person working behind the counter that yes, you DO have insurance and yes, your information IS on file, and yes, not all people use their first names (now -- I'm usually happy to argue with folks, but when your throat is on fire and all you want to do sleep and hope you feel less cruddy when you wake up -- um, even I get a bit tired of arguing).

And, just to give you a point of reference -- this is the same mitt (once again -- Last Minute Knitted Gifts wrist warmers pattern) in comparison to the finished mitt. By the time I got home from the whole doctor's office, pharmacy, confirmation that I do, indeed, have strep throat ordeal -- I had gotten 14 rows from finishing it. If I add in the fact that I actually finished the first mitt while waiting as well -- um, that's a completed mitt. Not bad.

Of course, given the fact that I felt like crud and was running a fever all weekend that's about the only thing I've gotten done (I did get SOME of the embroidery for my four season's swap done, but, not all of it) -- it doesn't seem like a lot. Then again, as I've stated before -- I like keeping all of my fingers and refuse to play with rotary cutters and/or other sharp objects when I'm not quite in my right mind. Hopefully, I will be feeling better tomorrow (today? with all the weird sleep I've been getting my days/nights are a bit confused) and I can get my swap finished and out into the mail. Of course, I have to wait until I'm not contagious to go to the post office -- but, hey, what's an easily communicable disease amongst postal customers? (actually -- no, I wouldn't do that -- but the not being able to kiss and cuddle Miss Tinkerbell for 24 hours is killing me -- and, yes, I am watching her like a hawk since before I knew it was strep she had been cuddling with me).

Ok, enough of the self-pity here -- I'll be back soon with some photos of the loot I've been treating myself to with my birthday money and hopefully a personality adjustment. I'm also going to try and catch up with all my emails. On the plus side -- I do get all the ice cream I want for the next couple of days -- doctor's orders :0).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thank you Mr. Postman

Yep, some of the best things show up in the mail. And today's delivery was a doozy! I have a really tiny mailbox, so packages get left on the front step along with the doorbell ringing. And no, he doesn't ring twice (matter of fact, sometimes he doesn't ring at all -- ugh). Luckily this time, he did ring. I figured it was a birthday package of some sort. (hey, a girl can hope right?) I was wrong -- but oooh, I so don't mind!

Instead of birthday goodies, I got my Four Seasons Quilt Swap package from Janey at SewStylish. Already! (oh man do I need to finish mine this weekend) Just look at the beautiful quilt she sent. I LOVE the pattern and the fabrics. The picture doesn't show it but the white snowflakes and binding have a "sequin" shimmer in them that really looks like snow falling. I just love it! (so does Ms. Tinkerbell -- she decided it was for her and has been trying to cuddle up under it all night. The kid's got taste, but we need to have a talk about MOMMY'S stuff versus her stuff.)

And just look at the quilting in it -- the meandering in the mitten blocks includes, well, mittens. How freaking cute is that? This just proves that I have GOT to practice machine quilting. I wanna be able to do this. Heck, I'd be happy if I could do a decent meander -- but this? Way too cute!

And, as if the super cute quilt wasn't enough -- I also got spoiled with some other goodies. Two adorable fat quarters (I am seriously getting ideas about those fish -- especially since the bubble fabric that came with it would make really cool "fish bubbles" -- hmmn), a knitted bag, a set of quilt hangers, and some yummy looking chocolate and coffee candies. I may need to hide the candy from my husband though -- he does love coffee. Ah well, I've been spoiled enough that I can share. I guess. :0)

Thank you so much Janey -- I absolutely love everything you sent. And my quilt (once I can wrest it from the hands of my little one) will be going up on the wall as soon as possible! Wooo Hooo -- this is turning out to be a GREAT birthday week!

Now, it's off to bed for me. I've got my own quilt to finish as well as a couple of other projects in the works -- if I'm going to get anything done I had better get some rest!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Crack that WIP...

Sorry, couldn't resist the musical reference (and you get points if you can identify it! Points for what I don't know -- but points.) Anyhooo -- let me first say thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes from everyone. They really did "make my day." As for a couple of requests to see the crafty birthday loot -- um, well, there really isn't much. Yet. I did get a quilt block a day calendar (I'll get a picture) but mostly I was given some birthday money. Now, you know me. Mad money. Added to some Christmas mad money. Um -- yeah, I'm already plotting a trip (or two) to a quilt shop (or two) and the LYS I love, I may even be doing some button pressing. Sooo -- photos as appropriate (which reminds me, I already took a trip to spend some of a quilt gift certificate the other day -- I need to get some photos).

On the spending the day sewing front -- I did get some work done on my Four Seasons swap. (speaking of which -- I really should get the button up on my sidebar -- yet another "housekeeping" chore I haven't done --hmnph). I have the top together -- now to just get the embroidery transferred into the large white areas and get that done. Since the quilting is going to be very simple (due to the skill level of the quilt maker -- and because while I toyed with hand quilting it, I didn't leave myself enough time) I should have time to get this in the mail for the deadline next Weds. Yeah!

I decided to go a bit scrappy on this one (though, since I had to buy most of the fabrics you see -- not sure how "scrappy" it is. My scraps and stash run to blues that are great if you are trying to make a Caribbean sea, not so much for winter snow. That's ok though -- I now have a nice selection of scraps to play with in the future). I also have been having fun doing some wonky piecing. (thank you Tonya and Joyce for your inspiration) A few snowflakes and some icicles. At least, I hope they look like icicles :0). I had forgotten how much fun it is to do these kinds of blocks -- something I'll have to think about playing with more. How soon? Anyone's guess, since I do have a long list of projects I need to get to before I'll have time to play with them again. I'm happy with it so far -- just hope my partner enjoys it as well!

Not much more to show -- we had a nice, relaxing evening last night and today the temps dropped back into the "please don't make me go outside in that stuff" range. So, hopefully more to show soon!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

Or, well, ok, so maybe not of champions. I'm sure champions actually eat a very healthy and nutritious breakfast. How about "breakfast of birthday celebrants"? Hmmm...not the same ring to it. But it's my birthday -- so I enjoyed every single bite! Even more so since I wasn't expecting it when my mil brought the cake to dinner last night! (and hey -- it has apricot jam in between the layers -- that's FRUIT, see, healthy! We shall simply ignore the sponge cake and home made butter cream frosting shall we?)

No major plans for the day today -- I think I'm going to spend the day communing with some fabric for a deadline that is approaching. I may even get to quilting a swap I finally finished the top for this weekend. I'd show a photo of the top, but I need the ok from a certain someone who is currently cruising the Caribbean. Hmmnph. Maybe I should show it anyway just to make up for the fact that I'm here in the frozen tundra (previously known as the cornfields) while she's enjoying balmy temperatures. Nah -- I'll wait!

And before I go off to enjoy a day spent communing with my sewing machine and fabrics (Miss Tink is safely at daycare after two days of being cooped up in a small house due to dangerously cold weather outside -- Mommy needs a day to herself!), I want to say thank you to Tracey, Kairle, and Gwen who all nominated me for a "You Make My Day" Award. Since all three ladies regularly make MY day -- well, it's just plain sweet. I'm supposed to choose ten other blogs who make my day to pass this along to -- but, well, there is a reason I have a lot of fabrics in my stash. I just can't choose! (between two different fabrics? Um, how about a little bit of BOTH?!?). So, I'm going to cop out here -- if I've read your blog and commented, if you've commented on my blog, please know you've made my day!

Ok, I'm off to enjoy some quiet sewing time -- or, well, possibly not so quiet since I plan on blasting some rock-n-roll on my ipod. Who says 36 year olds are grown ups? Not me!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting back to the fabric

Ok, so the knitty love is still going strong here -- but, my sewing machine has been patiently waiting for me to find my way back to it. Or, well, I did hear some murmurings in that direction about a yarn overthrow. So -- I SHOULD spend some time devoted to sewing here on the blog as well as preventing a coup and yarn basket overthrow. I have finally reclaimed the kitchen for sewing space (there go all those lovely visions of family dinners around the table) so there should be more fabric love showing up soon.

In the meantime -- I thought I would share some goodies that came in the mail over the holidays. This lovely, bright quilt was a gift for my daughter. Despite my hopes that she wouldn't like it ('cause Mommy loves it and wants to cuddle under it) -- no luck. She LOVES her gift from her "Aunt B" and has been sleeping under it every night since the postman delivered it. It's lined with lime green minky -- soooo soft. She's even named it her "super soft blankie". I've got to admit, the kid's got good taste.

The postman also brought me a lovely little package from Sam over at Diary of a Mad Fabriholic over the holidays. I won a drawing on her blog and as a prize I got this fun little pincushion kit and some great cards. Since I really do have to send out some notes soon -- the cards are going to come in handy!

And last, just because I am feeling the need to show something I've made that is quilting related -- here's a photo of the quilt I made for Miss Tinkerbell LAST Christmas ('06). This is one where I had pretty much figured out how to make it from a photograph, but I did end up buying the pattern just to make sure I was "doing it right". Honestly? I shouldn't have bothered -- (though there were a few other cute patterns in the book). The method the pattern used was MUCH more fiddly than what I did (let's hear it for Thangles).

The other thing about this quilt is that it shows why, though I love the idea, when Finn cried "All Aboard" for the Orphan Train quilts -- I was left standing at the station without the ability to get a ticket. When I need quilt backs -- um, well, I'm too cheap, frugal, um -- thrifty, yeah that's a good word, to buy large pieces of fabric (there is also that whole -- I love so many fabric designs I usually don't want to limit myself to one or two purchases of yardage -- I would rather have a little bit each of lots of fabrics). So -- I end up having to either a) go out and buy a specific backing fabric (or two or more depending) or b) make do with what I have. In this case -- it was option b. I had lots of smallish cuts (1/2 yards or less) and an orphan block -- hey, it's a quilt backing! So, not many orphans here at casa de cornfields -- but a whole lot of quilt backs that are a mish mash!

Now, to see about getting that sewing machine to stop plotting against the knitting basket...or maybe I should clean? NAH -- there's still enough room to put down a coke -- I think quelling the overthrow should come first...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Getting My Knit On

So, we finally had some sun today so I decided to take some photos of projects in the works, things I've finished (yay!) and some gifties I got in the mail that I haven't posted about yet. When I got the pictures loaded in the computer I realized that I took 69 of them. Ok, yes, some of them are multiples of the same thing. I'm not a great photographer. What I lack in skill and knowledge, I make up for in luck and taking a whole lot of photos of the same thing hoping I'll get decent results. Generally this works for me. But even after weeding out the "oh yuck, who the heck took that one" photos, I still had way too many for one post. So, I have photos for the next three days worth of posts.

Today's offering? Well -- hopefully the title kind of explains it. I've mentioned that I've been kind of taken with knitting again lately. Well, the current obsession fascination has paid off in some finished objects to share. First up is the scarf I showed here. Done. Ends woven in (am I the only one who puts this step off until the very last possible minute? I actually had this one off the needles about a week and 1/2 ago -- but, I had to weave in the ends and block it. So, what did I do? Cast on and finish two more projects that also needed ends woven in. I think this is like my aversion to sewing down binding) and blocked. Of course, to do that I needed to go out to the lovely LYS and get some blocking pins and a new yarn needle -- but, we do what we must do. Finished in time for our weather to get back to normal January freeze your tush off cold. (single digits expected for the weekend -- and please remember I'm using the F scale here) And since this is for me, I'm wearing it as an early birthday gift to myself.

Also done (remember I said I had finished two projects while avoiding weaving in ends?) is a pair of warm and soft, soft, soft mitts/wristwarmers for me. They're made out of some Noro cashmere/silk/wool/nylon blend yarn and may I say they are nummy. The pattern is from (of course) Last Minute Knitted Gifts -- and while I couldn't find the really short circulars they called for in the pattern, it works up just fine on double points.

And because after I was done (more ends to weave in remember) I wanted to make another "quick" project. The pair for my aunt out of the same yarn. Though, I do love this color -- too bad my aunt has seen photos of the yarn I bought for her -- otherwise I might think about trading, that would be wrong (and my aunt would kill me as well).

And just to prove that I only have second sock issues (and no, the second pair of those is NOT done yet), not second mitt issues -- a photo of both PAIRS of mitts.

Oh, and I may be addicted to making these. I mentioned having to go to the LYS to pick up some notions? Well, I finally took my mil out to the shop as well. She goes to quilt shops with her mother and I every year -- but, well, she doesn't quilt or sew much. She does, however, knit. While there she saw the yarn I made these out of and I offered to make her a pair. She decided on this lovely variegated version (looks much more like "Noro" colors hunh?) for her pair.

And speaking of doing the same pattern again -- um, I think I'm going to be making another one of those chevron scarves. Wayyyyy too much fun with that one. So, I may have (just may have mind you -- despite the photographic evidence I'm about to show) purchased some yarn already. This one is going to be for a friend for Christmas (next year!!! How's that for an early start?). I did call and ask her if she wanted something calm or not -- she said go for the hot pink and green so, hope you like it B! Personally, I can't wait to see how these go together in that pattern. The yarn is Shibui sock yarn in orchid and wasabi.

Christmas gifts -- I'm already working on another one for next year! (woo hooo -- another New Year's Goal I'm actually working on. Now, if I keep it up will be another thing) This will be -- um, well, it will be something. I'll show it when it's finished and tell you my plan. Until then -- it's easy peasy knitting in the round (yes on dpns -- but, still, all knit stitches, no purls, no decreases, no pattern, you know -- boring). I'm about 1/3 of the way done with it -- but, it really goes quickly.

And I have more yarn for the next one of, whatever it is, when this one is done. This should be fun (and I hope it works) since it is recycled cotton yarn. It is made from the leftovers/ends that are part of fabric manufacturing. I really like the idea of hand made gifts using something that is recycled (not by me mind you, I bought it -- but, still, by someone).

And one last knitty thing to show. I did mention I was going to have a hard time leaving alone the yarn for my daughter's sweater right? Well, despite having a few other things going -- I did get the gauge swatch for it done. Just need to block it to know for sure, but it looks like I've got gauge!!! Wooo Hooo! (though I'm thinking about trying out a new pair of needles -- I love my addi's but, I may try the addi lace turbos to get a better point for parts of the pattern. We'll see.)

So, wow. I guess I did get a few things done. Though, those ends were woven in on Sunday night and the scarf was blocked before I went to bed. AFTER little one was feeling better. Tomorrow's post (I hope) will be all about fabric and gifts. In the meantime, my living room looks like a daycare center exploded all over it. I had to shove aside move a whole lot of junk stuff in order to be able to take the photos while we had some sun. I think it's time for even my non-domestic goddess self to get some cleaning done!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back to Normal

Or, well, as normal as it gets here at casa de cornfields. After dealing with the 48 hour stomach ick with Miss Tinkerbell, she's all better and back to her normal headlong dash through her days. Whew. There are days when I wish for a break from the constant activity -- until she gets sick and I see what she's like without it. I need to remember that when I'm about to pull my hair out (or collapse in a heap because she has WAY more energy than I do). Thank you so much to everyone who posted and sent good wishes for quick recovery. They are appreciated (and I'm working on answering emails).

For some reason I haven't got much crafty/quilty/knitting related to show. My "long" weekend pretty much consisted of staying our pajamas all day and cuddling on the couch with some Disney classics. (Tink has been fascinated by Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and The Little Mermaid -- I didn't know if she had the patience to sit through these yet. Turns out, she LOVES them. Cool.) Oh yeah, and the other cutie? He got to clean up Friday night's bed icks. I love an equal opportunity laundry family!

We also spent a lot of time explaining that it was too cold/wet/icky out to go to the park -- so we played with markers, and play doh, and all the other good art stuff we've got hanging around. It's fun watching her put together colors and how she puts them on the page. One of the pieces in there is totally inspired by the fairies in Sleeping Beauty. She gave me the pink marker, she took blue and had fun "zapping" any pink marks I made on the page. I was cracking up. I also have to keep remembering she is only 2 when we watch some of these movies. I've taught the Italian version of Sleeping Beauty (as well as the Perrault version) -- there are things I can wait to explain to her.

And just so this isn't just another rambling post about my life and family (not that there is anything wrong with that) I did manage to finish a couple of things. These are actually WISPs (ala May Britt only I forgot to get a "before" picture for these to count for her January Challenge) I've been working on for awhile. I started these way before Christmas as shop samples but the holidays got here and things got crazy.

They are little children's hangar covers done in wool and embroidery. A really fun and (if you're not totally swamped and hand work challenged like I seemed to be) relatively quick gift idea for a little one. I can so see these as nursery decorations or as a great presentation/gift giving idea for a hand knit or sewn creation. And -- well, 'cause it's me (and because pink and green are Tammy's signature colors) why bother with pastels? Or am I the only one who thinks that pastels are ok for babies -- but I'd much rather play with in-your-face brights?

The pattern for this one is from Daisy and Dell. There are actually three patterns in one -- though I just did one pattern in two color ways. The wool is from Weeks Dye Works (I've loved their hand dyed embroidery flosses for years -- now that I've worked with the wool I'm even more in love). I'm also thinking I want to work with more wool. I haven't done much before because most of what you see are the more "primitive" color palates. I love the designs -- but the colors kind of leave me cold. But -- take the same folksy designs and punch up the colors? I'm sooooo there. These particular colors are bubble gum and chartreuse. (and I am really hoping that Tammy gets more of these wools or others like them in the shop -- hint, hint) The flosses are also from Weeks -- Emma's Pink, Chartreuse and Saffron for the yellow. The "ribbons" are ones I made out of some fat quarters. I looked for ribbons to match but couldn't find anything that really "went" -- so, 3" strips made into a tube and you have a fabric ribbon! All in all a really fun project to play with -- and look, more embroidery -- one of my New Year's goals I'm already working on! Wooo Hoo! And they have been delivered to their home -- so totally finished!

I do have some more finishes to share soon. A couple of knitting projects (nap time is a good time -- and longer naps for sick baby meant a few things done) but I need to get photos. So, see you all soon -- and thank you again for all of the encouragement. It means so much to me!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

But I Just DID Laundry...

Anyone who has read my blog for long knows that I am not a domestic goddess. Not by a long shot. Crafty? Yes. Love quilting and sewing? Yes. Knit? Yes. Clean the house well and/or regularly? No. Not only no but oh h*ll no. There are only so many hours in the day and I have too many fabrics I want to play with.

So what am I doing at 3 something in the morning doing laundry?? Especially since I just DID laundry yesterday (and have the basket full of Miss Tinkerbell's laundry in the living room waiting for me to bring it upstairs and put it away to prove it). I got the dreaded Mommy call --that's what.

Any of you who have children know this call -- the "Mommy, I'm messy" call. Silly me, I thought it meant she had peed her bed. Again. We've been having a bit of a passive aggressive struggle lately about bed time. DH and I put her to bed, she protests. She tries/says anything to stay awake a little while longer. "Sing me a song Mommy" "I need to go potty, weally" etc. etc. Anything to avoid sleep and draw out the bed time process. DH and I have been quietly ignoring most of the requests and simply saying "no." One time at the potty, one song, a cuddle and a kiss and goodnight. Her protest? Take off her pants and her diaper and pee on the sheets. It would be funny if it weren't happening to me so you can go ahead and laugh. I mean -- from her viewpoint, you've got to admit, it's effective. It does delay bedtime while we change the sheets and put new ones on and put her back to bed, again.

I should have known better since this call came at 2:00 am. Nope, this "I messy" meant that she had thrown up all over herself, her bed, and the stuffed animals she was sleeping with. "I messy" meant a trip to the tub for the "dub dub" we didn't do earlier and a clean pair of pj's (though just for the record -- she HAD taken off her pj bottoms and her diaper so she may have been THINKING about peeing in the bed). It meant reassuring her that it's ok that she got Muffy messy, that Muffy would get her own "dub dub". (no, Muffy is not the name of the dolly I made for her. Muffy is the "bear" she "made" the day we visited Santa) It meant taking her temperature (normal) and reading a story. It meant cuddles and kisses and going back to bed. That was over an hour ago -- but I really don't see me getting any sleep tonight.

My baby is sick and there's nothing I can do about it. This is the WORST feeling in the world. I am wide awake and wired to DO something -- but there's nothing to do. Oh, other than keep an ear out for any repeat stomach "bloops" (her word). Which, btw, we've already had one. So we're on the second set of pj's, a new pj top for Mommy, and another load of laundry to start when the first is in the dryer. And I'm not going to get any sleep tonight. I'll keep watch until DH gets home from work at 6:45 am and then get a nap in before the Dr.'s office opens at 8. Then I will do Dr. duty, and then Mommy duty since little one will not be going to daycare tomorrow.

You would think I could use this time to do some sewing. I have swaps to finish. I have knitting I can do. But I need my hands free. I need to be able to drop what I'm doing. So, I'll sit at the computer, a few short steps from Miss Tinkerbell and get caught up on my blog reading. And I'll listen. And I'll worry. And I'll hope her tummy feels better. And I'll wish I could do SOMETHING, so I'll ramble in a blog post and hope you understand.

And on the bright side -- I've wondered how I would handle the whole "child getting sick and throwing up" thing. You see -- I tend to have a "sympathetic" stomach. On my own, pretty much a rock unless I am seriously ill. But give me a good whiff of someone else losing their lunch (or dinner, or any other meal) and, um, yeah. (baby spit-ups do not count -- not the same thing AT ALL) So, I'm proud of me tonight. I didn't lose it. I kept my head. I cleaned the mess without losing MY dinner. I even touched the ick without getting too grossed out (and anyone out there who tells me they don't get a little icked by cleaning up messes like this, I don't believe you. Yes, it's part of being a parent, but come on, it's gross). Yeah me.

2 1/2 hours left until DH gets home. Let's hear it for caffeine and adrenaline. And it's also time to switch loads of laundry. 'Cause dammit, Muffy will be clean and dry when little one wakes up. 'Cause she was worried about the darned stuffie, rather than herself. 'Cause it's all I can do.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Yarn Porn

Sorry about the title but -- um, well, I wanted to warn those of you only interested in quilting content what you were going to get here. This post is all about another form of insanity I indulged in over the holidays, yarn. Or, more specifically, a really great yarn sale.

In my post-Christmas relaxation mode I haven't been doing much sewing. I did get my mil's apron done for her Christmas present (and silly me, didn't get a photo of it. Drat! It turned out well too -- I used some of the Moda Roman Holiday fabrics for it and used prairie points instead of ric rac for trim. I'll see if I can get my mil to take a photo for me) but that's about it. Otherwise it's been all knitting, all the time. I'm just about done with my chevron scarf and just need to decide if I want to buy two more skeins of the yarn to make it longer or if I'd rather just make another one :0). I'm leaning towards making a second one in an even wilder color combination.

With all the time spent with a pair of knitting needles in my hands, when I got the email from my favorite yarn shop that they were having their annual sale I jumped all over it. I mean, 40% of most yarns in the store? And 20% off of almost everything else? Wooo Hooo. The catch? (oh, come on -- there is always a catch!) It was a limited time sale. One day only and the largest discounts only for those who were at the store between 7 and 9 am. For each two hour period afterwards the discounts were lower.

Ok, I can do this right? Only -- um, the shop is at least 45 minutes, if not an hour, away from my home. For those of you who are doing the math -- that means being up, and out of the house by 6 am. Earlier really since there were disturbing mentions in the email about only allowing enough people who could safely fit in the store in at one time and lines. (silly me wondering how many other folks would be up at that hour for a great yarn sale -- come on. Dedicated knitters are at least as passionate about yarn as dedicated quilters. When I finally got out of my car and stood in line the line was all the way down the block and beginning to wrap around the building). Um, did I mention the projected snow storm for that day as well? Yeah.

Well -- yep, I decided to jump in to the insanity and just do it. Why not right? And I will even say that at those prices, I could indulge in a bit of yarn love that otherwise I wouldn't be able to. So, thinking that it might (given the email warnings) be a bit busy I did make a list of things to look for and projects I wanted to do this year. This was a good thing -- because there were some dedicated knitters there who were walking out with bags full of beautiful yarns that made my own little pile look pitiful (knitters and quilters have a lot in common when it comes to the raw materials of the trade).

My first score was this yummy yarn. I found a pattern for a lovely little wrap sweater for Miss Tinkerbell in the holiday 2007 issue of Interweave Knits (the pattern is called Dragon Skin Wrap). It's Jaeger Baby Merino and the colors are just so soft. It will be perfect with the scallop/shell pattern in the sweater. This one I really can't wait to get to -- though, I should probably finish a few other things first (I'm just so bad at delayed gratification though).

That was really all I went into the store for. The yarn for one little sweater -- but, well, come on. You've read what happens when I go into a fabric store right? Unhun. Soooo...I may have come home with a skein of this just for fun.

And -- because what do you do while waiting in the car (and delaying going to stand in line 'cause it's COLD outside baby) at 6 something in the morning but call your early bird fellow knitter mother (who also happens to be in a time zone an hour ahead of you) who is visiting her sister who also knits to tell them about the sale? (ok, so maybe this is just me) And when they find out about it -- um, they may ask you to pick up some things for them.

For my aunt, a lovely skein of the cashmere and silk blend Noro I got from Mom as a Christmas present. Only, hers is in a lovely turquoise color. I'm supposed to just send this to her along with the pattern information for a pair of wrist warmers/mitts. I think I may surprise her though and just make up the mitts and send them to her. (what? I'm being nice, really. I'm not depriving her of the chance to work with this yummy yarn -- I'm being a thoughtful niece who appreciates all the things her aunt does for her. Really.)

For my Mom -- a fun and funky skein of Lorna's Laces sock yarn for a scarf she is making. I have no idea of the pattern that is going to be used for this one, but she said it was for a scarf for me. Cool -- I get to pick my own colors. Hehehehe.

Oh, and I may have picked up another pair of addi turbos for myself. I'm realizing as I get back into knitting that all of my needles moved close to 1500 miles away from me several years ago. (hi Mom!)

Fun stuff and I'm looking forward to playing with it! I do need to get back to my sewing machine though. I have a mini/doll quilt swap I need to finish and another swap quilt I need to get cooking on. And another one waiting in the wings (but I do need to order something for it). Oh well, there will be time for both passions!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Let It Be Resolved

First -- Happy New Year to everyone who stops by to share my little slice of the cornfields. (I know -- it's three days late, but really, given that there are 365 days in a year -- what's a day or two amongst friends?) We had a very quiet celebration here at casa de cornfields -- complete with a pre-midnight nap for me on the couch at some point in the evening. I remember the days when I would party all night -- vaguely, but these days I think I would rather have our nice and quiet celebration with the in-laws and our daughter and a bit of knitting thrown in. What this says about me I'm not sure, but I think it may be something about getting old! Or something about the fact that the weather here has been much too cold and snowy to want to do anything other than snuggle on the couch with some knitting!

And the whole "dig in and wait for spring" thing also makes you think about what you want the new year to bring. Hmmmn...well, that and Kim's meme asking us to post our quilting resolutions for the new year. Now -- this may be a bit of a problem for me. Especially since the only resolution I've ever kept is the one year I resolved never to make another resolution. But -- well, if I look at them as goals rather than resolutions, maybe I'll do better. I mean, goals are a good thing right? So here are my goals for 2008 (categorized because my brain works that way, in no particular order because, well, it works that way too).


  • Continue working on my hand quilting. I really enjoyed my little mini-wholecloth. I want to do another of these and even try something that has, well, seams.

  • Applique. I've avoided all applique like a plague because it scares me. No more fear -- and there are way too many cute projects out there that involve applique that I want to do. Sometime this year I will try it! (and not just machine applique though there will be some of that too -- we're talking hand work!)

  • Embroidery. I've really enjoyed the projects I did this year. I want to do more of it. So, that's the goal -- do more embroidery.
  • Knitting. I know, this is a quilting blog. But, I'm really enjoying my time knitting lately and I have have a few projects I really want to do. So, goal for the year is to do those projects I've already bought yarn for (and there are several that you haven't seen yet) and to not end up with a yarn stash to rival my fabric stash. (yeah, this one might be a problem -- though my addiction to really expensive yarns may help me here. If I don't have the money, I can't have the stash.)
  • I have tons of projects that I want to do. More than I have time to do this year, and possibly into next (we won't mention that I probably have enough to last me the next 5 years at least as well). Most of these are PIBs (or PIGS if you insist) -- I have the fabrics, the patterns, they are kitted up -- I just need to sit down and work! So, the goal for this year is to get some of these done! Honestly -- the fact that I have so many projects planned but not enough done is starting to paralyze me. I have to clear some out so the new ideas that keep coming can get out as well!

  • UFOs -- I have a few that need to be finished. (can we say baby quilts from before Miss Tinkerbell was born? She'll turn 3 in June -- um, time to get these out of the way!) Goal for the year is to get the UFOs out of my to-do pile or out of the house if I'm not going to finish them.

  • Bags. I love them. I absolutely love making them. I had a blast just kind of making it up as I went along for my cousin's Christmas present. So -- I want to do more of the same this year. I already have ideas for a few more bags I want to make but no one has patterns that meet my needs. Well, darn it, I have the skills, I have the desire, I will make it up and make it fit me!
  • I've seen a lot of folks post about the need to reduce their stash, etc. I like most of my stash (though there are some things in there that I've fallen out of love with like most of us) -- but, having said that there are all of those projects sitting around. AND there are new fabrics coming out every day. And new interests I have. Sooooo -- I really need to use what I have this year and make room for the new. It isn't about yards used, etc. for me -- it's about making room for new ideas and directions I want to take. I may join in with the folks posting to Judy L's blog about stash usage, I may not -- but I will mention when things are gone from the stash here.

  • Ok, you would think the goal of using up stash would be enough, but not quite. See -- I have these hoarding tendencies. I buy fabric, I love it, and then I just don't want to touch/use/cut it because then I won't have it (PLEASE someone tell me that I'm not the only one who does this). I had such a hard time cutting into my Joel Dewberry fabrics to make Miss Tinkerbell's dolly for Christmas. I didn't buy them with any specific project in mind. I had vague ideas of making a bag for myself -- and yet, when a good project for it came up I had a hard time using it. I must stop this. Once I have fabrics I love, I need to use them for goodness sake!!! So the goal is to stop "saving" my fabrics for some special occasion and just use them when I want to!


  • The whole Santa's Sweat Shop/list of insanity thing was a bit much this year. I don't want to do this again. I got a lot done, but there were definitely points were I was ready for Christmas to just be over or I felt like I was missing out on the magic of the season with a toddler because of it. So, no more. Goal for this year is to get hand made presents started, well, like now. And if it isn't done two weeks before Christmas? It's gift cards baby!
  • Live well, laugh often, love much. (anything else is subject to change and/or to editing at my discretion)

Well -- I think those goals are enough to go on for now. No lists of specific projects (which leaves me some wriggle room -- I have an overflowing bin to choose from) but lots of directions to take. We'll see how I do on these goals for the year, whatever happens, it looks like 2008 is going to be interesting!

May you all have a new year filled with much joy, laughter and love!