Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wrap It Up

Sorry for the prolonged absence. I've been sick twice, and we have other family health issues going on, so blogging just hasn't happened.

It's been unseasonably warm, and last week we had several very foggy mornings.
Then the sun started to come out.

What decorating we're doing is finished.

And we're trying to relax and enjoy the season.
I've baked a little, but strangely a troop of elves has appeared as soon as I finish, and the baked goods simply disappear.

I've tried to limit the number of hand made Christmas gifts this year to two cabled knit hats (nearly complete), so what's left is to finish up the wrapping, get those cards out the door, and pack for a trip to Louisiana.

I'll most likely be without internet access (say it ain't so!) between Christmas and New Year's, so I hope all of you have a blessed and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 04, 2006


I'd hoped to finish a UFO of long standing this week, but I couldn't because the zipper I ordered from New York didn't arrive until Saturday. Instead I made this.

Oops! You can't see it because of the ornaments. Here it is.

Lamb's Pride Bulky, less than one skein. Based on the directions here but I added additional ribbing and didn't do as many decreases. It's a little snug, I'd use size 11's next time.

On an historical note, we bid a fond but very long overdue farewell to the Jeep. The Jeep was my husband's "signature" ride for many years.

You always knew which one was his by the bumper sticker.

My contribution to the blogsphere in terms of Christmas crafting: a Lutradur tree. Cut two identical trees, slit one down the center from the bottom to about an inch or two from the top, slit the other from the top down (an inch if you used an inch on the other, two if you choose that), put together and voila. If you click on the photo you'll see it's nice and shiny and transparent.

Finally, Mr. Fox returned, and was just outside the window - a screened window. I Photoshopped the picture up so you could see him better.

And yes, I'm still paper piecing at a slow but steady rate. I hope it's worth it in the end.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


The past several months have been fast paced to say the least. The last few days have been a lovely interlude - no soccer, cub scouts, parties, homework, etc. etc. Thanksgiving was at my sister's house so I only had to make some dishes to take there. It's been a time of much needed relaxation.

I finished my other Meathead hat the other day (Flickr group here). Here it is in all its lime green glory.

And here's a close up of the embellishment. It's a berry cluster with some peacock feathers.
Why do I have peacock feathers lying around in my house? Excellent question - discuss!

Thank you Paula for the suggestion of Opal sock yarn. The first pair of socks I made is also wool and nylon and doesn't itch me so I haven't given up hope.

I would love to hear any and everyone's opinion of the updated Blogger (beta). Should I change to it? What are the good and bad points? Thanks for any feedback.

I've been on a finishing spree so look for a finished object hopefully later this week!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Finishing Up

After all that party prep I was sure I'd just kick back and quilt last week. Wrongo! I've been just enough under the weather with sinus issues that I couldn't get into gear. Also, my unblogged broken toe (on my sewing foot) kept me from wanting to sew tooo badly. (No cast or anything - just bruising, swelling, and discomfort. It's mostly better now.) The bonus is that I've finished up some knits.

First up, socks for me in Elann Sock It To Me. Regrettably they make my ankles and legs itch. I'm hoping I can either get used to it, or maybe some 100% merino socks will work for me. Luckily I've got several of those on the needles.

Fetching, left and right. I added several more rows of cables at the wrist and used Karabella Aurora 8 (after seeing how nice Lauren's looked). Please forgive those photos - my in house photographers were too busy watching Scooby Doo to help me.

A Meathead hat. More of them can be seen on the Flickr group here. I also made a green one but haven't finished the embellishment yet. They use one skein of Lamb's Pride Bulky (doubled) and are a fun quick knit.

The felt flower is a felt (obviously) version of a paper poinsettia found in Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas (2006).

Finally, Coleen and Jenn both blogged about our stormy weather last week, and showed beautiful cloud pictures. I spent much of that day running around getting supplies to make another sand castle cake for someone else (finished on Saturday). Somehow I missed the clouds, but I did notice when the sun came out. Here's a picture I took through a screen window on the sunporch - the sparkles are raindrops on the screening.
I have countless things to be thankful for today and everyday. I hope all of you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving Day no matter how you spend it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

End of the Season

The party's over - literally. My last birthday party post until next year! (You can breathe a sigh of relief now as we move forward to more quilt related content after today. Maybe some of my quilting friends will come back.)

The birthday boy had trouble settling on a theme, so 9 days pre-party I decided on dinosaurs and rushed the invitations out the door. I over invited a little, thinking some folks couldn't make it on short notice - instead we had twelve little attendees (including my three). In the end there were 27 people in my house - for me, this is quite the undertaking.

After some intensive googling, I came up with a few activities. One was to have small toy dinosaurs and "fossils" buried in sand for the little paleontologists to find and keep. Here the birthday boy is helping me make the fossils last week.

Recipe: 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water. This was a little sticky, but adding too much flour will make them puff up. What worked for us was to put little piles of dough on the cookie sheet, make impressions with dinosaur feet, then bake at 325 degrees for 1.5 hours.

Some of the finished product.

This was so successful for us that we made additional fossils at the party (that I forgot to dole out to the guests after baking - oh well.)

Of course it rained the whole day of the party, so this was an indoor activity. We buried the dinosaurs and fossils in bins of sand. The aftermath is below. The fossils were more popular than the dinosaurs.

What's a party without a little science? I used the old baking soda/vinegar trick in tiny volcanoes made from film canisters with playdough around them. Each guest had their own volcano. We also went on an (indoor) dinosaur egg hunt. We put little dinosaurs in Easter eggs, then paraded around until the eggs were found. Bear in mind that 7 of the guests were three years old.

Since T-Rex's are the king of the dinosaurs (as I've been informed daily for several weeks) we had a sand castle cake. I found this idea at some cake site last year. The "sand" is brownulated sugar. You can put it on the frosting but then the frosting is sort of crunchy- bad mouth feel. The sea shells are melt and pour candy. I mixed white with just a touch of chocolate, then "painted" them with luster powder.


Here's evidence that I still quilt. Look closely, and you'll see that the lights are on on the Bernina.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Stitches East

...And Other Knitting Related Content

I've done some piecing in the last week, but mostly it's been about the knitting and the kid related Halloween and school events.

I finished the pink sock for Socktober, but the other sock languished, in need of having the gusset stitches picked up. Instead I cast on for a lovely Koigu sock, and got almost to the heel flap. (Pictures later.)

I cast on for My So Called Scarf on Thursday and I've knit about 17" so far.

I also cast on a vest in Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, but I'm not sure I'm going to stick with it.

On Saturday I went to Stitches East with a large group of knitters. (There must be some term that's been coined for a group of knit bloggers, but I don't know what it is.)

Here are Coleen and Jen modeling their lovely scarves at Panera before we left for Baltimore.

Here's a group shot (sorry some faces are turned away). There's Jolene, Coleen, Jen, Suzanne, Jenna, Lolly, and Laura.
No photography was permitted in the show itself, so you'll have to take my word for it that we met up with Eunny, DNA Stacey, Cheryl and Erin.

I also met Saun who was very nice and looked great in her Susy Tunic. There was a Kaffe Fassett sighting, but I knew I wouldn't say anything coherent to him, so I nonchalantly strolled by.

I was so glad to be able to go with this group. I enjoyed being able to relax with a group of like minded friends (who knew exactly which booth had the best price on everything)! What fun it was to see Erin's hand dyed yarn and roving on sale, Jolene talking to Phoenix Bess (for whom Jolene knits samples), and see Eunny next to her gorgeous sweater from the IK Winter Issue in the Interweave Knits booth. Thanks so much for including me, guys.

Here's my haul, mostly sock yarn. Left to right Ellen's Half Pint Farm, Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Evergreen, and Socks That Rock in Midsummers Night.
Also Trekking XXL in 71 (Navy) and Mama E's Superwash Sock Yarn in "Ocean Mist".

I also bought four balls of Karabella Aurora 8, two black and two pink, and I've already used some of it for this:

I know it's hard to see the cables here, but it's Fetching from the Summer 2006 issue of Knitty. The first one is complete except for the thumb. I added two extra cable repeats to make it a little longer in the wrist. I think it's my fastest knitting yet.

I'm always disappointed when I don't get to go to Houston for the big IQA show, but I'm counting on next year. I'll have to get in gear on those quilts!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Where the Wild Things Are

It's Halloween! Scary things can happen on Halloween and the pictures below prove it.

Let's take a walk down memory lane and look at some of the costumes I've created for Halloweens past.

Two years ago I was quite the busy seamstress (emphasis on stress) just before Halloween. Two wizard costumes, and a fish!
Doesn't that little girl in the pink hat look mature for a 2nd grader?

I included this picture to show that the stars are reflective. I bought reflective iron on tape, and found out I could cut it with paper punches.
Here's the matching green wizard costume, with another celebrity guest head.

The year I made these costumes my youngest child was not quite two. He looooved the fish costume! Here he is trying it on just before I finished making it. (He ran around the house two times before I caught him.)
When the costume was finished he refused to put it back on, and we had to go with the backup (store bought) cow costume. (The cow costume is the scariest one we've ever had, in that no child has ever been seen to smile while wearing it - it's a mystery.) The fish eyes are also that reflective tape.
My little fish reluctantly waiting for his brothers to parade by at school today. Note the dejected posture - I think he's coming down with something.

Look at this dragon/dinosaur/Stegosaurus? We've gotten lots of wear out of this costume, made 6 six years ago. The fish is going to stay inside on ice, while the dinosaur (hopefully) goes out trick-or-treating once again.

OK, time for a wild life update! Red fox spotted in the yard, Sunday morning, 7:20 am. Sorry for the (lack of) picture quality - he was about 125 feet away, through a window, and I was sitting in the bay window with a three year old while taking it.

And you thought the skunks were gone? This one was caught climbing a wall the other day at Centennial Park. (Costume courtesy Halloween 2001, but still getting good use.)

And this one was just taking pictures
Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Farm Fresh

Today was the big Pumpkin Patch Field Trip. We took a looong drive in the car (four minutes) to the farm.
(All these pictures are better if you click them to see the bigger version.)
We walked through a corn maze.

The pumpkin picking was a little slim, but just fine for the three year old crowd. The real draw was the animals, and the corn pit.

Our county fair has a corn pit, and I can barely get my children to leave it. The leaper in the picture above accumulated at least a half cup of dried corn in his clothing, which was distributed in his car seat, the dentist's office, and our kitchen.
The local leaves are peaking. I'm very envious of this maple down the street.

Birthday party #2 was, as one of my children would say, fun, fun, fun!!!!
I won't bore you with the details. I will say that if you make a good enough cake, the guest will bow in thanks. (Except your sister, who will laugh at you.)
OK, they're not really bowing in thanks. They're playing a game where you try to put the face on the jack-o-lantern by picking up the (paper) features with a straw.

After observing how a bunch of hay bales kept 20 children occupied for 45 minutes at a party on Saturday, and seeing the corn pit today, I have a new strategy for party #3. I think I'm just going to get some hay bales and make a corn pit, get cake and ice cream, and call it a day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In Progress

It seems like everything I'm doing is in progress. Quilt: definitely in progress. Socks: here are two (of many) in progress.

Discontinued Knitpicks yarn

Yarn obtained from Elann at some indeterminate date in the past

They're both second socks, and my Socktoberfest goal is to finish them both by the end of the month. I feel like I'm a very slow knitter, but I think it would help if I actually put in some time working on the socks. I realize that sometimes entire weeks go by and I haven't knit at all, and maybe that's contributing to my slowness - hmmmm. It's getting too cold and dark to knit at soccer practices, so I've lost some time there.

Birthday party prep: in progress. Wouldn't this be a lovely area to have about 10 six and seven year olds carousing for a Halloween themed birthday party this weekend?

Except that it's supposed to rain. I'm working hard to come up with indoor activities to keep them occupied. Today I've printed Halloween themed Bingo cards from this site that have pictures instead of words. We're also doing a foamie craft project (yeah foamies!), bobbing for apples, and an eyeball on a spoon race. If it rains all day we're also going to maybe need to decorate some mini pumpkins and come up with some witches' brew classes. Any other bright ideas are welcome!

I got some good news yesterday evening. I'm very excited that my quilt Grotto was accepted for the C&T Publishing Book (and exhibit) Innovative Fabric Imagery. Yeah!!! The book will be published in 2007, and the exhibit will be at the 2007 International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mystical State

Thanks to everyone for their nice remarks about my "party pics"! One down, two to go.

I've been keeping pretty busy, and a fair amount of that has been quilt related.

I prepared entries for two shows/contests. I'm very accustomed to the whole slide taking process for entries, but haven't sent many digital entries yet. Both these shows required digital pictures. I wasn't happy with the digital pictures I already had for one of my quilts, so I decided to take more. Unfortunately, the only assistant available at the time is three years old. I thought about Emily's post about taking pictures in the shade on a sunny day (as opposed to an overcast day), and had what I thought was a great idea. I'd lay the quilt flat on the ground, and take the picture from the balcony. This would also get around the fact that it was windy that day. Here's a fabulous photo of my setup.

This might have worked, except that it's very difficult to take a sharp picture of something when you're hanging halfway off of a balcony. No tripod means no go! I guess I'll have to stick to hanging up quilts for photography.

I've been noting the onset of fall.

(Backlit leaves in my front yard)

Mostly I haven't been posting because I'm in that mystical state where you're working on a quilt and that's pretty much all you can think about. In the last few years this mystical state has been quite rare, so I'm going with the flow. Here's a very exciting shot of the washout of some purple fabric.

I dyed a 10 step gradation of purple for this quilt about 5 years ago. I was sure I'd washed it out quite thoroughly. When I went to cut out the deeper shades I decided to wash the fabric one more time, just in case, and I'm glad I did. I don't get what happened here, because I know I washed the fabric quite a few times the first go round. I know the dye is no longer reactive here, but I didn't want it to bleed into some of the surrounding colors when I block it.

This picture sort of sums up my inspiration for the quilt - lavender asters in the fall. It's a traditional quilt, but one I just need to get out of my system. Don't look for pictures of the quilt anytime soon, as it's the biggest quilt I've ever made, and will take several more months to finish.

And of course, it's time for Socktoberfest!

I've got quite the collection of socks on the needles, so I'll try to take a picture of them and post details later this week. (Lolly took a picture of them at Knit Nite that shows how many there are.) I'm going to try and finish two socks this month, so that I'll have a total of three finished pairs.