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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where has the time gone. The last time I posted it was the beginning of the November. Now, Christmas is behind us and the first semester is over. I have been really falling behind on the home front and keeping up on things.

Seems I need to catch up a bit on things. I have been very busy trying to figure out how to run the house, clean the house, cook and do it all after putting in a full day at work. Not to mention finding time to hit the gym. That has not been working and while I have not put all the weight back on, I have backed up a bit. I am quite determined to get myself organized and to organize this house as well.


We went riding in the desert a while back. What an experience for me. I have ridden in the mountains, which I dearly love, but the desert is new. It was fun, something different, and of course I got a bit cocky and ended up rolling my quad. It was a hard hit. Dislocated my knee, jammed a hit and shoulder, bruises, scrapes, had the wind knocked out of me, hobbled around for several weeks and still having pain shoot in and out from my ankle. It has also been the reason I have had to wait to start back at the gym. But, as much as it hurt, as windy as it got, I would love to do it all again. I would really love to go up to the mountains and ride again, but winter has hit and we cannot get up there until spring or so. Maybe we can head out to the desert soon though. My son is wanting to memorialize our first real tree in the middle of the camp fire. Hey, I am with him.

I have added a member to our family, the four legged furry kind that is. He was dumped out by someone out where I work. Which is the middle of farm land, so it happens often. At any rate, a co-worker rescued the little male puppy from traffic and brought him to the office. From the first sight I knew I had to have him. He came right to me so guess he felt the same way.

Now, I ask you, is this a face you could just dump out in the middle of traffic and not care if there was food, water, or protection for the little guy? I just don't see how.

He has found a place in our family's heart, each and everyone of us. He is too small to let roam outside long so has become an indoor dog. He is very spoiled, but we feel he deserves it as he shows his love for each of us as well. Here in California we have Kit Foxes which are protected or endangered, not sure which, but the kids decided he looks a lot like one so his name is Kit. Best we can figure out is that he is a toy Pomeranian.

We have also had our first blast of winter, which makes me want to curl up and just do nothing. Which I am very good at. We went to Texas to see family for Christmas. It was a very long drive, taking us 19 hours one way, but it was so nice to see family again. Now that the holidays are over though, it is time to get working around here. I didn't have any vacation time, but took off the two weeks that the kids are out of school anyway. Now this next week I am determined to make some kind of order in this world of chaos. Cleaning out, getting rid of, organizing myself as so many people resolve to do this time of year. I woke up this morning with the sore throat and flu junk that the kids have had but I did manage to get the family to take down the Christmas decorations and take the tree out. I on the other hand worked most of the day cleaning out the two freezers and defrosting the one in the garage. I threw away what was no longer good or was just too big a mystery to figure out. There was several packages of that in there. I organized it all and made an inventory of what I have. I made a spread sheet listing the item, how much of it, what it is, where it is so I can use it to create some menus for the next couple of weeks. I was amazed at how much I actually had, amazed at the amount of money I have put in to that freezer, and how much pre-prepared stuff there is. I also informed the family that they would be eating what I prepared for the evening meals and that was all there is to it. It was just outrageous the amount of waste I found, threw away a whole pizza from a local pizza place that had been in the fridge for over a week. How many times over the last few months have I heard that there was nothing to eat so pulled through a drive up to bring home something. More details about that is listed on my cooking blog, which I finally updated tonight.

I recently changed gyms, part of the new membership deal is two free sessions with a personal trainer and a fitness assessment and nutrition help. My appointment is 8:00 AM on Tuesday so will find out how bad I have slipped backwards and what I need to do to get moving forward again. I am tired of standing still.

So, here are my goals for the new year:
1. Organize my home and myself.
2. Go to the gym on a regular basis
3. Spend more time with the family

Okay, sounds pretty normal I know, but not as easy as one would think.

Organizing the home and myself will consist of: planning and actually executing menu plans, scheduling my time to allow not only for gym time but writing and computer time as well. As you can see from the time gap in postings for this blog I need some serious help with the whole time management thing. I also intend to change my personal style a bit as well. And in doing all this, I want to make myself get in the living room with the family a little more instead of spending time hiding out in the bedroom playing games on the computer. My writing has been sitting idle as well.

Well, now I am going to close this off and get moving on with other things but will make a concentrated effort to blog regularly.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ding Dong Avon Calling

Well, I am now an Avon Rep. I don't really have time to work on growing the business, but I do intend to work on it a bit more after the first of the year. In the mean time, I will be getting all my little special purchases at a much better rate, not to mention a savings on the gift giving as well.



I have a website and all, through Avon, that anyone anywhere can browse through the current brochures and place an order, Free shipping directly to you of course.

http://diannablair.avonrepresentative.com/

Guess I will be starting a new blog for my avon stuff.

Not much else is new so guess I will be signing off. Looks like we will be going out to Mojave this week end for some camping and dirt biking.

Notice how I have purposely not mentioned the elections? Okay, have to say this though, if you live in California, tomorrow at the poles.

VOTE YES TO PROP 8

Regardless of my personal, moral, ethical or religious convictions, this issue was voted on and a couple of state supreme court judges (CA State) just ended up changing what the majority of voters voiced. It makes me feel like my vote doesn't count at all.

I realize that it doesn't really count, my vote that is, in the grand scheme of things as far as the national elections go. That is obvious with all the scandal of the early voting going on, the issue of super delegates and such. But I had been lulled in to the false belief that at least on a more local level anyway, my little voice did count. Guess we will see tomorrow.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Punish me gently.

I have been terribly neglectful of my blog life. I know, things have conspired to make me very neglectful of many things.

Where to start?

I finished up the crazy quilt round robins. Well, my participation at any rate. I do not even belong to any embroidery groups any more. Have not crocheted since my winter trip to the ski resort. I get kind of focused on the interest of the moment. I have just ran my course on reading over all my manuscripts that I have written over the past few years so now it is time to start writing another. I need to work on some quilt and crochet projects, but really need to clean up the work area before I do. In order to clean up the work area I would have to give up my computer time, and my latest obsession of casual gaming, in order to actually clean. Well...you get the general idea.

I have also taken on a new home business. I am now selling Avon. Don't know how much I will actually sell, but I have a few people that I know will buy from me often. Who knows, maybe I will actually get myself a little extra income out of it.

For the sunny side of things, my oldest son recently was married.



I am just so proud of them both. The were married on the coast and the weather was just totally awesome. It was a beautiful ceremony in both words and decorations. Simple but so profound. We ended up with quite a bit of family making it as well, which was nice, so was able to see my grand son and oldest daughter.

Guess that is about it, I am heading off to play a few rounds of some game and then go to bed early for a change. Oh yeah, and I have recently become an AVON rep. Ding Dong Avon calling.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

SPRING

How I miss that West Texas Spring wind...NOT! I love spring here, it just kind of happens. One day I am driving to work and the trees are bare. Back after the week end off the trees have little buds. Then there is a profusion of blossoms signalling the production of fruits and nuts. In what seems like the blink of an eye, the petals are all fallen off and now little green leaves are everywhere. I love this time of year.

In my own poor excuse for a flower bed, our spring bulbs planted last year have suddenly pushed forth and wearing their spring colors.

If I could just keep the local foot traffic out of them they might just have a chance.

Last week was spring break here for the school kids, so I took off a few days to just do things with the family.

One day we went to the beach. Of course it was the wrong day to go as it was windy beyond belief which made it cold as ice. In fact, to me it was just plain miserable. I had on capri's and a hooded jacket, wrapped in a towel, still felt frozen. Youngest daughter, 11, didn't mind the weather.

At least at first. I will say this, she did at least bravely venture in to the ice cold pacific and catch a few waves with her bogey board.

After that, it was the blue lip shiver dance for the rest of the day. The wind just got stronger until we finally just gave up and headed back home. We had things we needed to do anyway to get the motor home loaded for our camping trip.

So, the next morning found us loaded up and off to the mountains. Where we go is public land, all primitive camping (as in no hookups) but I do love it. The guys love it because of all the trails they can ride the dirt bikes on. I just love being up among the pine trees. We were unable to get our usual camp sight, it was already occupied, but where we found one was pretty interesting. The whole area has a history of gold mines, way back to the mid 1800's and there is bits and pieces of the old equipment still scattered about. At our camp sight there was a steel cable that coiled up from the ground from no where. Kind of like a metal fountain springing forth. Then we found the old A-frame used to hold a hoist or bucket or some sort of device that went down in to a mine shaft. The shaft was of course long since buried over, but in my over active imagination I could just see us waking up to find the front of the motor home sinking in to a mass underground cavern. You could see part of an opening to the shaft, literally about two feet from the front tires.

I was sure that this trip was going to be a miserable one as well as the wind picked up there too, making it cold and miserable late in to the night. At least there I was able to hide away in the motor home and stitch on some projects.

I finished up this little potted plant for my contribution to one of the blocks for the green color study we are doing. It may not look like a lot of work, but that was a lot of beads. The biggest challenge is doing it all in green. I kept wanting to add little red berries in to it.

But the view of the stars from up there is just miraculous, truly awe inspiring. Billions of stars scattered across the night sky as if the angels had spilled silver glitter all about. The full moon rising over the mountain tops was like watching some one turn on the lights at a ball field. Early pioneers would have had no trouble traveling by that moon for sure. The next day though was calm and so rejuvenatory for the soul. I love the sound of moving stream or creek, the sound of a light breeze through the pines, bull frogs with their calls at night, the owls, a wood pecker in a tree over the next hill, the occasional screech of hawk, is just all part of the mountain song.

I ventured out and found my own diversions the second day. I found this tree not far from camp. At first glance I thought it to be a broken limb. But it is not, it is a pine tree that just didn't develop properly, no other branches are on the trunk and the top grew normally causing a weight overload so the tree is growing upside down. Reminds me of those Christmas stores that turn a Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling so that the ornaments hang off for a better view.


To the bottom left of this photo is a trail that leads down to a creek where there is still gold found by recreational panning. The coolest thing I found was when I was riding on a part of the trail and had to turn around because the next section was beyond my abilities. As I turned the four wheeler around I saw the remains of an old homestead. This guy was pure genius as he had a brick pipe way built down several hundred feet to a swift moving stream. Drop a bucket and you had water right at the house. I am sure that part of the house was also used as a spring house. Even in its decayed state, the moving stream of cold run off water caused a current of cold air to rush up the pipe way. It was however kind of sad to see what must of been a picturesque mountain home in total ruin. I had read that a mighty flood, twice with in a short period of time, had wiped out a whole town and settlement, so was not surprised that the home was in ruin.

Even up in the mountains were it is still freezing during the night, spring finds a way to show it is here. The hillsides are scattered with spring grass, tiny white flowers that look like baby's breath only more scattered about, and these tiny little purple flowers. The entire flower is maybe the size of a dime. Just big enough for the eye to catch a glimpse of color, not big enough or close to enough to concentrate the landscape. Along with these were a little plant that had crimson red leaves and a type of daisy that was yellow and small, but on a long stem for height.

My, it is nearly midnight and I have to get up and go back to work in the morning. Guess I better hit the hay.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

SO Funny

I did this for fun, downloaded a photo and let it tell me who I look like. This is what it came up with.



Who would have thought?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quilt Snobs

On a Yahoo group I belong to, a member recently posted about her experience with a fellow quilter explaining that she should only buy the best of fabrics. In other words, this means the quilt shop prices. Now, I have nothing against local quilt shops making a living, am in fact often times quite envious of the ladies who have the budget to afford shopping at these stores. But, considering the price of their fabrics I will never be one of those people. Here is a little info to consider. Depending on the pattern or design of the quilt, and the size, on the average a full size quilt will take about 12 - 15 yard for the top, back and binding. In a quilt store, the fabrics will run 8.99 to 15.99 a yard for 100% cotton fabrics. We won't even get in to the specialty fabrics like Minkee for this purpose. So, using the 12 yards for figuring, that is $108 - $192 just in fabric. You will need to fork out another $30 in batting and $5-$7 in thread. All in all, you are looking at about $150 per quilt. Now, most of those same brands of fabric are offered online at lower rates, JoAnn's carries a lot of it at a lower rate, usually about $2-$5 dollars a yard less. When I first started quilting, I could go there and get calicos and cottons for about $3.99 a yard, then they were $5.99 and lately, I found them averaging about $7.99 a yard. No one seems to make mention of that increase in the news, not like milk and gas anyway, just as essential in my mind you know. Walmart also carries the same brand names, not as much variety, but they also have other brands of cotton as well. Most of them for $3.96 to $5.96 a yard. Just off the top of my head, that is about a $50 savings.

I only bring this up because of the thought that is predominant among quilters that if you buy your fabric anywhere but a quilt shop you are getting poor quality goods. I have heard this so many times myself from the "quilty snobs" and just don't buy it. First of all, when you mention the same exact brand is offered at a lower price they come back with this story of how the quilt shops get the middle of the middle runs which is a better quality than the end pieces. Okay, I am so sure that quality control in some factory is letting thousands of yards be made this is inconsitent with the hundres of yard in the middle. But this they swear by, even adding on to this that the fabric is even thinner than what you buy at the quilt store. Go ahead, buy a fourth of yard at the local quilt store of a piece of Cranston brand for instance, and the same exact piece at JoAnn's or Walmart. It feels the same. The texture of a piece of fabric is determined by thread count. Am I to believe that the factory some how adds threads to a machine run of fabric in the middle of the run? I think not. Besides which, if a major company is going to make an inferior product for the purpose of selling to discount retailers I serious doubt they will use the same name. Come on, even Walmart changes the name of their store brand.

I have searched online, even through Scopes, and found nothing to substantiate this view point. However, with that being said, I will freely admit that there are poorly made fabrics that are sold cheaply at the discount retailers. They are thin, woven badly, fall apart in cleaning. I also admit that you can feel the difference between a poor quality and good quality fabric. The worst piece of fabric I ever used actually came from a quilt shop.

Bottom line is this, there are quilter's out there that will spread this opinion to make their self feel better, make them feel that their end result is a quality piece. They don't want to hear that it could have been made, or was made, for less. I quit swapping quilt blocks because of this same mentality. Requirements being made on brands and colors of fabric. You know, half the fun in swapping is the swap itself. I can't afford to buy high priced fabric to make blocks that I will hopefully get the same amount back from. I admit, that when it comes to purchasing fabric for a quilt, where the quilt goes makes a difference in the price I spend on materials. A few dozen quilts for charity will be made witht the cheaper supplies. I don't mean the cheapest, as I still look for the quality in the pieces, but $4.00 a yard virsus $10 a yard is a pretty big difference when you are talking about several yards. It is a difference between one quilt for sick child and six quilts for six sick children.

Okay, I have gone on long enough. But, I can't help but think that when younger women are wanting to learn to quilt, make quilts for their family to use, for special gifts, but hold back because they perceive quilters as being older women, maybe it is because that older women don't have to think as much about a budget that includes children at home.

Here is the bottom line as I see it. A quilt is a special something that gives a person a special feeling of warmth, security, when it is wrapped around them. That child that has cancer and is cold because of his treatment, that mother greeting her newborn child alone because her husband is serving his country overseas, that soldier that is warming up with a piece of home that someone cared enough to send, the elderly resident that has bright spot of color on their bed in a home, that homeless man that is a little warmer because he has something to wrap around him, that child that has little flu bug and carries around the quilt made for them, a mother 1200 miles away feels like she still has a part of her daughter with her, they don't care that you used Cranston brand from Walmart instead of the local quilt store. To them it feels the same.

Monday - Mid Month

Okay, a little more than mid month, but that is all hair splitting any way. I am home with DD, 11, who is sick again. I think we need to go for a month wearing face mask and rubber gloves. Every little bug seems to find its way to our house and knocks us out. Valentine's was not exempt from this. I came home from work, hubby was not only asleep, but already in bed for the night and sound asleep, which means snoring. He didn't wake up until the next morning. My DD made me a grilled cheese sandwich for supper that night. Lots of genuine love, not much romance.

At any rate, since I was home today thought I would catch up on the laundry, but am pushing that down the list so I could update the blog. I am having camera issues, it just won't work right for me, and when I finally got some acceptable, not great, photos of some projects I down loaded them. That is also when I found out that all the photos of my son's play performance disappeared from the memory card. At any rate, here are some photos for you to puruse.

This is my contribution to Karen's block for the Green Garden Round Robin on my CQ For Newbies group. I am in the Avacodo Group and each of made a basic (otherwise known as a Nakkid block) beginning block done in all green. As the block travels through the group, we are to dress it. We each do one patch and two seams. I posted more about that on my Needle Me Crazy2 blog. All embellishments are to be done in green, only green. The next color is purple. I learned a lot from this green block that I will use for the purple one and I am looking forward to getting started on it. I have Karen's green block ready to mail out.

I have quite an assortment of items ready to mail out as a matter of fact. Planned on mailing them last Friday, but forgot them at home. Today of course is a holiday for post office, the school, banks, and as I discovered this morning the cable company. At any rate, here are a few things I have going out.

This is a dish cloth I made for an exchange through my Crochet Exchange Yahoo group. It is a free pattern online and you can get it by going to Bev's site at http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/bevs-scrappy-cloth.html and be sure to look around at all her wonderful patterns she is so kind to offer as well. This was a fun project as I didn't have to think about the stitches too much and it was easy to use up my scraps of cotton yarn. This particular cloth has three varieties of Peaches n Cream. One is varigated blue, green, yellow, pink, and purple colors, don't know the name and that is what I started with, the bottom rows. The next rows is a color called potpouri and is really cool. It is cream with little flecks of the same colors here and there. When that ran out I finished up with plain ecru. I know that I will be making more of this pattern.

This is a potholder for an exchange on the same group. I used Peaches N Cream Westport for this one. I like the colors in this, will have to see if I can find a place to order a large one pounder of this color. The brown, blue and ecru combination reminds me of cowboys and western decor. Maybe it is because for the first 20 years of my marriage my home was decorated in blues and browns. Who knows. The back side of this is done in ecru. I recently found out that the difference between a hot pad and a pot holder is that one is used to set hot things on, the other is used to pick hot pans up with. To my way of thinking that is one in same, at least in my kitchen it is. This is one of the free patterns I found at JP Fun Crochet Club, the link is on the side bar of the blog under Free Crochet Patterns of the Day. They a free one each day that free only for that day but if you look through their sight there are lots of free patterns listed.

This is another one for the same group exchange. This is the same yarn on the back as on the front, but the design is a little different on front. I found this pattern through the listings on http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/directory.php which has a ton of listings for free patterns of all kinds. Both of these were quick and easy.

As I metioned, for my birthday we went on a family day trip to a ski area. I took my yarn bag, okay a duffle bag I bought at walmart, which was all packed up the night before with the anticipation of working on several projects. I only worked on two. The first hotpad needed the back side finished, didn't take much time. The second project turned out to be the mind exploder. I started, then ripped, then started, then ripped, a total of five times before my mind could get a handle on the directions for this pattern.

This is a filet angel pattern and is the front side. It had been so long since I had done any filet type projects that it was border line insanity. So frustrating trying to get my pea brain to figure out that you read the even rows left to right, odd rows right to left. Finally I pulled out a pencil and ended up marking the graph row by row as I worked it. About the third time I unraveled it all, I swore I would never do anything with a graph again. Two days after I completed the angel, I was thinking I might do more filet. I had started on the back piece, using a varigated cotton yarn, half way through I placed the two pieces together in better light to discover that the yellow in the varigated thread clashed offensively. I will make a back piece that matches better and this will go to my mom. This is a free online pattern at http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/abbeydale/183/hotpad.htm and she has several if you take the time to navigate her sight. I have no idea where I first found her pattern listed, but I am sure it was on one of my groups.

That is about all for now, I need to go move the laundry around and crochet a bookmark. That is the one I am running way behind on. I made two butterfly bookmarks, not happy with either of them, so am starting over. Need to go check on DD as well, time for more medicine for her.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February Already

Wow did January pass quickly. Here we are in to February and I haven't even posted a thing this month. I have not been idle however. OH NO, Never that. It is getting late and I hear that warm bath calling to me, just barely hear it over the snores of hubby and my best buddy Dillon (our 14 year old miniature pincher) but hear it I do.

I am going to keep this really short and to the point. I know, unheard of for me. You are wondering if I am sick or something. I am, still sick, not as severe thankfully, but the energy just still seems to be zapped. Part of that is just plain old depression. We were set to get a nice refund again this year from our income taxes, but then hubby added my employment info. Now we owe a big chunk. Because I had to get bug nutty and join the work force. As I lament about that decision and the wisdom of it, I see another little problem with this working thing. My household has gone to heck in a handbasket, only I can find the handbasket for all the clutter and dirty laundry to carry my household back in. This morning, my youngest DD, the one that is still grounded, decided to wash her hair before school. Okay, no big deal right? I usually have to threaten her with in an inch of her hide to practice a little more personal hygene, and the fact that anything the least bit damp around here is full of ice did send up some of the warning blips on the old mom radar. She was supposed to be blow drying her hair, I didn't hear any drying happening so went to the bathroom to check on her, you know hurry things up a little bit. She was in the middle of layering on a coat of mascara. She knows full well the rule is no make up at this age, except for a little light colored lip gloss of course. After all, she is only 11. Speaking of which, DD is getting ready for her school science fair.

There's my little mad scientist. Not sure what the exact experiment is, but she lights a little candle that is in a pan of water, colored red for visual purposes, pops a jar over it and times how long it takes for the flame to extinguish from lack of oxygen. Also measures how high the water rises in the jar. A sort of vacuum forms. It really is pretty neat to watch. At any rate, I am feeling a little like a failure in the homemaking department with all the home things don't seem to be happening right.


On the craft front though, am making some pretty good progress. I joined some crochet exchanges and they have you send in JIC (Just In Case) items to begin with so if there comes a time you can't fulfill your swap committment they have one to send in your name. I already posted about the hot pad experience, which was mailed off today. I also mailed off two dish cloths. Both of these patterns can be found online and are free. Later this week I will post the links, just not up to finding them at the moment. The one on the left is done in a very simple basic single crochet row with a double crochet row and is called a "meshie" and is very simple. The one on the right with the blue has a diamond design worked in to it. I like the way it turned out but suspect I did something a little wrong some where as it just doesn't seem to line up quite right. Both were made with Peaches N Cream 100% cotton yarn. At first, when I used it to make the first pot holder, it reminded me a bit of working with a string mop. Yeah laugh, you all know exactly what I mean, you made ond of those silly bed dolls or kitchen witches out of a mop head as well. Well, the yarn still reminds me of a mop, but I am loving working with it. In fact, next to plain old worsted type, it is becoming a new favorite. I have amassed a small stash and will be working on making a bunch of these water babies this Sunday when the whole family goes on a ski day (I hate the cold) to get out of the house for a change (would of course fall on my birthday) and I will be sitting in the little lodge area just hooking the time away.

I have started on my grandson's afghan as well. It is slow going, at least to my way of thinking, as after a couple of rows my neck and shoulders start to hurt.

I am loving the John Deere colors though so that is a plus. It is barely started, but like so many other things in life, there is a story behind this. The pattern, can't remember the proper name, but know it is Native American named. Apache or Navajo tears maybe? I just know that my husband's grandmother, a crocheting dynamo, made this pattern the most. She tried and tried to teach it to me, and I always wanted to do one, started several of them, but would always ending up with what looked more like a drunken path with me increasing and decreasing stitches as I needed to try and even up the edges. This time however, it is working out pretty well. My number of stitches on the end of row edge, seems to be a bit off but not enough to really notice. My little grandson is all about the John Deere, we can't figure out just why, but this Memaw is making sure he has plenty of it. Bought a fleece kit that has John Deere tractors on it as well.

I have just about finished my part of the Green Garden block for a round robin I am in. I got the one book I have been waiting patiently for in today. I already spotted the next seam treatment. Well, that is about all for tonight, I am just barely staying awake and still need to go get a nice warm bath and then bed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Morning

Monday morning and I am home sick...again...but with the company of my children...sick as well. I am doing some better, but my youngest was running a slight fever and I just didn't feel right about leaving her at home all day while I was at work. Probably need another day myself to get over this a little more. The wind is blowing...again...fourth straight day...or so. This part of the country cannot handle the wind well, things are getting blown over all over town. Branches broken off, utility poles knocked over, whole trees uprooted. It is actually kind of erie the way it has finally died down this morning. But, yesterday, it was full force and I tried to just stay in and rest. Ended up having to get out and go to Walmart though. Was out of toilet paper and Kleenex, two essentials if there ever was one. And of course, while there I had to pick up a couple of things in the craft department.

I want to make my grandson a crocheted afghan, John Deere colors you know, so was looking over the choices. I was thinking I would just buy some one pounders, checked the selection, not really the green I want, but would work. Price was $5.88, okay so I know that JoAnn's has them for $5, figure I will save a little and just get it there. Got home only to find that the sale price ended on Sat. GO FIGURE. Oh well, after thinking about it, if I can just find the box of yarn I put "where it would be safe and out of the way" I know I have lots of black and yellow, just need the green. Already know what pattern I will use as well. Now, if I could just find that box of yarn. Oh well, you all know how that goes. Funny thing, I picked up some green crochet thread, to use for my "Green Garden" round robin project. I know, that is a crazy quilt project, but can added crocheted items, if they are green. As I look at it I think, I have some of this, just saw it. In the box of yarn under DD's bed. So I didn't buy it, got home, went right to the box, right to the same green thread, simple. Except that it is a sage or pea green, was actually meant to make a table cloth. LIKE A TWO OUNCE BALL OF SIZE 10 THREAD WILL MAKE AN ENTIRE TABLECLOTH? Barbie size maybe. Oops, was supposed to say 11 1/2 inch fashion doll size.

Let me tell you, after spending some time working on crochet projects yesterday, I do not like thread. I joined a crocheted bookmark exchange, piece of cake so I thought. Went on the trusty Internet, went to
Crochet Pattern Central and then went to the directory and straight to the listing of bookmarks. This is the third Butterfly Bookmark.
The first one , the one on the left, came out okay, but not great. I always make one first to see how it will come out first. My personal view on swaps, exchanges, round robins, and other type work is simple, "only offer up work that I would appreciate getting in return" and so I usually end up with a few realizations that would not have come to light other wise. This particular project brought about an insight for my feeble little mind. I AM DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO CROCHET. I had no idea, still don't really, that there are different sizes of crochet thread. Not sure about this, but it seems that the larger the number, the smaller the thread. Or finer the thread. In other words, the size 5 thread is a little thicker than the size 10 thread. Same with the silver steel hooks as well. It would seem that a size 1 hook is a little fatter than a size 6 hook. So, not really thrilled with the first result, I choose a larger hook and made one again. Yes, I know, I forgot the little circle thing at the bottom of the second one. I have gained new insight to my abilities and comfort zone for crocheting. I do not like thread, do not like a hook smaller than a size 0. Lord, how I ever managed to make those collars and doll dresses, the table cloth I started and abandoned, I will never know. I went blurry eyed trying to find the stitch to crochet through.

Okay wise guy, go ahead and say it. I have bifocals, should probably wear them while working. I still say, give me a plain old worsted weight and a size K hook and just leave me be.

However, I am seriously rethinking this bookmark exchange. That being said, I choose to see the positive in most situations. I really liked the little butterfly as a motif, which brought to mind the crazy quilt "Green Garden" round robin I am participating in. I was hunting some buttons, in amongst the hundreds of plastic boxes of bits and pieces I have been hording for my married life, of which there are buttons that are from my aunt's collection that date back to the 20's, when a spool of Christmas green satin ribbon fell out. It was green, so set it aside. Well, one thing led to another, things went on, and eventually I hit upon the idea of using the ribbon to crochet with.

This is the result. I know this is not a "new" idea or technique, but I did think it up on my own, for which I am pretty pleased with myself over. It has the look I want for the project I am working on. Also opens up a few possibilities for further little projects. I used a size E crochet hook with 1/8 inch satin ribbon. Funny, when you get in to the hooks with a letter, the size gets larger as the letter/number gets larger. Go figure.



Along with the two bookmarks and ribbon butterfly, I also made a second potholder like the one I already made. Actually, this was bottom side to the top. I had posted earlier about making the potholder for an exchange, only to find out I had not made it thick enough. So, I learn, and started on a different pattern making the top, the bottom, then crocheted them together. Now I have a nice thick potholder, have even tried it out, that I am well pleased with and will be mailing it off tomorrow.


This pattern is called Pentagon Dishcloth and is available for free from
JPF Crochet Club which has many free patterns. They also have a pattern of the day that changes each day. This was one of those patterns that was free one day, so I saved it. Sorry, can't post the directions but there are a lot to choose from. I know it is a dishcloth pattern, but was told that it would be great for a potholder if made thicker.

It feels so good, have gotten hooked on using the cotton yarns. This is made using Sugar N Cream with an I hook. Since the finished item was supposed to be approximately 8 1/2 inches and this one is right at 8, guess I should have gone up to a J hook. Told you I crochet tightly, the pattern calls for a H hook. At any rate, I have been saving a bunch of dishcloth patterns as I hope to get involved in some of those type exchanges. They actually feel great to use and wash up great. This was done with ecru color, which reminds me of muslin.

I initially just bought 4 0z. skeins, but after working with it I went and bought a one pound cone of variegated. Just don't mention to my husband those 27 plastic tubs (sorted by color) of the huge cones of yarn I have that came with the knitting machine I was given. I love the idea of being able to make things with that machine, and she gave me all the bells and whistles to go along with it, but try as I might I have not been able to figure out how to take the project off the machine with out it raveling out. Also, I have no room to just leave it up either. When I had gotten it, I mistakenly thought that I would get oldest son's bedroom (built temporarily in the garage) for putting my sewing and crafting stuff in. Hubby decided he wanted his garage back, which I can't blame him, and then son moved back home (three times) so the knitting machine has sat idle. Now son is out for the final time and hubby has taken the walls down over the weekend. However, our youngest DS graduates in May, will be going off to college and in to the dorm. Hey as long as I leave his bed the rest of the room is fair game. SHHH, that is is a secret for now, although I suspect my hubby probably has already thought about that himself.

I have sent DS off to pick up some lunch for my DD and I. He is spending his day off from school by going to the thrift store to find things to use for his costume. He is in drama class. Now lunch is here, along with the cup from @#$*. Seems that the bottom of the plastic cup is bulged out so it has decided to act like a Weeble. Remember them? Weebles wobble but they don't fall down? Well they did and I don't trust this cup not to.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Green Alert - A Word About Plastic Bags

Okay, all the talk about going green is really getting old, but in an effort to do my part I thought I would just throw this out there. A quilting group I am on is getting a lot of chat going about making grocery totes using up fabric in their stash. Since we all have used plastic bags to bring home our stash, supplies to use with our stash, food to supply energy to use or stash, okay you get the drift. At any rate, I can remember my aunts using bread bags to crochet rugs for the bag door foot wipe before coming in and of course crocheted slippers to use over our shoes in the snow. I kind of got to thinking, in my weird way of reasoning, especially when I am sick, what's old is new. I did a Google search and found some offerings for using up those plastic bags to crochet them in to reusable bags for the beach and shopping. Making a not so green product, turn green friendly in the end.

I am not feeling up to writing these in so that they will open in a new window, but you should be able to just click on them. You may be able to right click and tell the computer to open in new window, depends on your system I guess.

Here are a few of the links I found:
Marlo’s Corner
http://www.marloscrochetcorner.com/Plastic%20Bag%20tote.html

Recycled Bags.com
http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/03/29/crochet-a-recycled-plastic-shoulder-bag/

http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/11/09/fun-fur-recycled-tote/

http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/08/11/crochet-a-recycled-clothes-pin-bag/

uses cassette tape
http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/03/14/recycled-cassette-tape-granny-square-bag/

uses VHS tape
http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/04/09/crocheted-sling-bag-of-recycled-vhs-tape/

uses bread bags
http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2007/10/19/recycled-bread-bag-handbag/

Vegan Crochet
http://vegancrochet.wordpress.com/about/

Amelie Redman
http://www.ccthita-swan.org/pdf/Crocheting_bags.pdf

Bev’s Beach Bag
http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/beachbag.html

Also, for your entertainment, I found this really neat You Tube clip of Cristen Andrews explaining how to make bags and such out used plastic bags. Really is king of cool to watch.



In fact, once you cut your bags in to strips and make your "plarn" (kind of like pleather) you can pretty much use any favorite pattern to crochet or knit. You really need to make at least one. I know I am. Have decided that cutting the bag into strips and joining them together will be the perfect "Job" for DD, 11, who is currently grounded due to grades. DON'T even think how mean I am, she is going to love this job. She really does like doing anything craft related.


That is all for now about that.

Snow On The Hills

Just had to add one more thing.

For almost two days, the highways out of town were closed due to snow and the third and final way out of here was closed for a few hours. You can see the obvious snow line. That is the elevation the snow started at. I took this shot on the way to work yesterday. They got a little more and we are waiting to see if more comes with the next system. We don't see it here often, so is a kind of unique sight.

Musings About Crafting

I didn't think I could feel any worse, I WAS WRONG. Had no idea one person could blow their nose so many times, cough for so long at a time, but am finding it out quickly. Along with the typical body aches, chills then hot, and over all plain old bone tired feeling. No matter how sick I am, I am not the type of person that is able to sleep during the day and laying in the bed for too long makes my body hurt. Must be the fibro aspect of life. So, I am slow at it, but work on this or that any way.

Last night I worked all evening embellishing my first two Crazy quilt ATC projects. I spent more time trying to figure out what embroidery stitch to put where than I actually did sewing.

This is my first efforts at this type of project. I am pleased with the way they turned out. I will be working on some hearts today, a little larger space to work with. My little camera for some reason will not take good close up shots. Am pretty sure there is some setting I might could change, but have no clue what it would be. Now that the other computer is set up with a printer/scanner, I may try to scan them and see if I can get the little stitch detailing to show up any better. The top ATC has green grapes growing. The bottom ATC (not that it shows up in the photo) has some ripples in the pond.

Now, I guess I can see if anyone wants to trade with me. May need to work on my embroidery stitching a little more. I know I tried the bullion stitch on the bottom one. Do not like that stitch at all. But, there are a ton of them I can try on future projects. Speaking of which, learning stitches that is, ordered some new books and am looking forward to their arrival.

Speaking of learning stitches, I am a visual learner. In other words I have to be able to see it to do it. I am that way with sewing as well. I follow the drawings not the printing. With the Crazy quilting, like everything else I do, when I first thought I would take it up, I dove in head first. Buying all kinds of supplies, books and such, you know how it goes. Guess that is why I have a crochet hook holder that has every size hook there is.
I made this crocheted holder back in the early 80's when I thought I would be doing SO much crocheting. You know, remember the big crocheted collar craze? Every sweat shirt was worn with one, along with leg warmers off course. It was during this time that realized I crochet very tightly. My hubby's sweet grandmother was the one that explained this to me. Now that woman was crocheting dynamo. People would bring her a bag with skeins of yarn one evening, would pick up a beautiful completed afghan on their lunch break the next day. I would sit in awe and watch this woman in motion. So, I crocheted a southern belle style dress for my daughter's fashion doll (yeah Barbie, but that is a trademark and can't say it) which was absolutely gorgeous, but way to small. Could barely get it to close around the waist and only came just below the knees instead of floor length. Then when the crocheted collar I made for my mom barely fit my 5 year old daughter, I was determined to find out what I was doing wrong. Off to Granny I went with the two finished items, the patterns I used, the thread and hooks as well. Her first comment was "Lord child, how do you hold on to something so tight?" She then explained that I should use larger hooks than suggested, about three sizes. Like I said, that was the early 80's and after starting a table cloth, that is still around here somewhere because I never throw anything away, except the pattern because I was so frustrated, I gave crocheting up. Do I need every hook size there is? NO. Did I get every hook size there is? YES, because I may need it. Never mind that 95 percent of my crocheting is done with an I or J hook. So, two years ago when I was asked to crochet some helmet liners (aka beanies) out of black yarn, given a pattern and told how easy it was, I was pretty proud of myself that I actually was able to find my roll of hooks.

So, I made hats for the soldiers.
Lots of hats. 248 hats to be exact. They had to be black, military regulations and all, so I bought lots of black yarn. In fact, I had actually at one point, when I finished them all, decided I would never do anything using black yarn again as long as I live. Of course I have gotten over that, especially since I have not accumulated all these tid bits of colored yarn and have decided I need a granny square afghan. YES, you remember them, from maybe your grandmother's house? Each square is a different colored center with black around to finish it. I didn't have a grandmother to visit, but I had aunts. Both sides of the family each aunt had at least one, my mom still has hers. Hey it will be great to take camping for sitting around the fire. How did I end up with all those colors if I had quit crocheting you ask? Simple, when I got through with the black hats, I moved in to slipper mode. Lots, and lots of slippers.

All sizes, all colors. In fact, the last photo shows the pair I made that ended up being probably about the same as a man's shoe size 18. Well maybe not that big, but very big and when my adopted soldier said his bunk mate fit in them I found myself wondering what the bunk mate looked like. Okay you caught me, it is a by product of writing the romance novels, but hey, you know the saying, big feet and all? At any rate, the slippers were made with two strands of yarn, one variegated and one solid, so have all these colors left over.

But, I have strayed the path as I was explaining that when I start a hobby, a craft, a project, I dive in head first and full force. Crazy quilting was the same way. I had went to Amazon.com and purchased several books on the subject. My favorite book was this one.
An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs. This is the best book. I liked it because it not only gave wonderful directions on how to make the stitches and variations of the stitches, it also showed them paired up or combined with other stitches.

Only problem, I cannot find that book. I know I had it camping, went out in the wind and dark of night to search the motor home with flashlight in hand. No luck. I remember having it and another book in a blue tote with all my embroidery supplies, remember that the books fell out of the tote, am afraid that hubby didn't realize what they were and threw them away when he cleaned out the back of the car where the tote had been. But, lucky for me, Amazon happened to have some used one listed for around $5-$6 so I have already ordered a replacement, just have to wait for it now. Can I help it if I found a few more? They were quite reasonable as well. At least that is what I will tell my hubby when he questions me about the Amazon charge to the checking account.

Guess that is about it for now. Need to go read my emails, take some more medicine, then work on something, anything, to get my mind off this "dirty word" flu slash cold.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sick Again

Man does it really bite to be sick. I tell you, I have had four kids, all with out any drugs, and I would rather go through labor and delivery than this flu crap. This all started on Nov. 21, and just when I thought I was getting over it, my husband and daughter come down with it, now they are pretty much over it and I am back down with it.

On another line of thought. I have this cross collection that is displayed on a wall of my living room. I don't collect a certain type, just what ever pleases my eye so to speak. Of course family and friends know it makes a great gift for me as well. I did a little shopping on Ebay and found four crosses to add to the collection. I received them this week. The small one is very rustic, almost like rusty iron, quite ornate. The one in the middle is a favorite, it has an angel in the middle and the little glass candle holder fits in her arms. The photo doesn't show it clearly. The third cross is a Byzantine style. Which by the way is a reference to the Roman empire after the 300's AD which is know for its rich iron works and ornate styling. Today, it reminds you more of Mexican style art. Of course, my decorating budget is on the lower side, okay I am down right cheap, so this isn't really iron, it is more like plastic resin with a few metal trimmings. However, they do look nice on my wall, at least to my way of thinking, and that is what matters.

My fourth cross, a really lovely one with a depiction of a Texas longhorn did not however survive the trip through our postal service transfers. At least it was a clean break. The seller has promised a refund, unfortunately does not have any more like it. Said that he bought it off Ebay as well however suggested super glue. I offered to send it back since he was refunding the money, he declined. I think I will try to glue it back together and hang it on the wall anyway. I love the longhorn, which looks a little like pewter. But then, I really like anything that is Texan in nature.

I am however extremely put out with the postal service over this, the box was clearly marked "fragile" on all sides. I didn't pay for insurance, usually don't with the amount of funds I use, so that is all there is for that. And...as Forrest Gump would say, "that's all I got to say about that."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Day - Crochet Gift

Well, here it is another day at work. Be careful what you wish for. Isn't that the old saying? I wished for a little income of my own. Having been home with the kids for so many years I was pretty sure it would be difficult to find a job. SO...I looked through the want ads and applied for a few office positions that were taking resumes over the Internet. Well, that was in late February '07 and by mid March I was employed and a member of the working force. Now I am making money, which was supposed to feed my craft habit. I don't have the time to craft that I did before, or go to the gym. Which by the way I really was enjoying going in the mid morning time when there was like 4 other people there. But, now I can't give up the job because my kids have become way to dependant on mom's wallet to pay for gas, dates, cell phones, clothes, well you know the story.

Perfect example was this week end. I get paid, looked like I was actually going to be able to bank up a little extra in the old check book. No such luck. Spent $50 on ink for the printer so I could actually print a little something out once again. Got it set back up with the old computer system that for a long time it played happily with. Seems Vista doesn't get along with printers too well. At any rate, hubby was doing our oldest DS's taxes and needed to print out a hard copy for records (we have lost too much to hard drive crashes to take chances) only to find out that now that computer won't communicate with the printer either. It was a really great all in one printer too. SO...we conclude that it has to be the printer, off I am sent to the store to find a replacement. "Get one that goes with Vista" he says as I head out the door. Now understand that when it comes to the hardware of what works with what, I am a total imbecile. I can make an electronic scrapbook page (with a software program) can make great greeting cards (with my Printmaster) but to determine on my own which printer is the best? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! At any rate, $100.00 (plus some sales tax) and I am walking out with a new all in one Kodak Share printer. I picked it because it is new (Vista compatible) and ink is cheap (will see how much one really prints) and the other similar printer was wireless ready and hubby didn't want to have to buy more stuff to make it workable. Of course, not one printer in the store was compatible with the $50 worth of ink I had bought earlier that day. He was able to get it working with the old computer, and was able to print out the copies of the tax returns. Oh, and earlier that day, had bought an inexpensive keyboard that would work and was not like typing on piece of cardboard, only to find the extra keyboard we had a few hours later, after hubby had moved things around to make the house wireless. This is so DS, 18, can use his laptop int house. He has a computer in his bedroom already, uses the laptop to chat on MySpace while laying in his bed, instead of getting a job to pay for his own dates. Back to the story though. I was tickled to death to get to finally print out a crochet pattern after having been with out a printer since mid summer. Although, it took forever because the old computer only sends a little bit of info at a time. So, we go to bed (this was on Sunday of course) so we can get up and go to work while the kids sleep in to honor Marting Luther King day at school. Won't even get started on what I think of making a person's birthday a federal holiday. The next morning, wanted to print off something else, only to find that over night the computer had now quit talking to the new printer.

Now, DS 18, needs to use our computer to print out something off the Internet for class assignment. Dumb me was thinking he needed to use ours because he doesn't have Word on either of his computers. He has a working printer I realize and find out that his computer has a pop up problem which keeps him from being able to print. This makes no sense to me, I think he just doesn't want to deal with all the pop ups he has that don't get blocked now that he has all the stuff loaded from MySpace, AIM, and what ever else they use to pop up and in for chatting. Needless to say, I was a just a bit miffed at paying almost $200 to be able to print and still could not. It is supposed to be working now, seems he forgot to tell the old computer that the old printer was no longer there. But, it is running so slow it is almost like playing with our first dial up service. Amazing what you get use to. I remember how excited I was when we came home with a Commodore 64, plugged in like an Atari game. LORD DID I JUST DATE MYSELF?

Oh, and my computer (the newer one with Vista) now has a printer error and won't let us add any printers so hubby is going to run the restore disk. Pray for me blog friends, the last time he did this we lost everything on the computer. I know that in time we will get all of these marvelous gadgets up and running, but all that gadgetry has turned us in to an instant gratification type of society. We want it now by golly, and now we will get it. Guess I will just have to entertain myself the old-fashioned way and use the hook and needle for some creative releases.

On that corny little lead in note, I finished the gift set for my co-worker's new baby girl. I crocheted a little hat and booties to go with the quilt. Personally, I think they turned out just cute as could be. I used lavender fun fur to trim the edges of the hat and booties. The back of the quilt is a deep royal purple fleece so his wife can just throw it in the washer. Two more guys I work with are expecting as well. I was told that today when everyone saw the set I gave. Guess I better get started on a couple of more quilt sets.

I had posted earlier that I joined a crochet pot holder exchange with a photo of my first pot holder that I promptly sent off to person in charge of the exchange. Was so pleased that I managed to get it to her in a timely manner, even more pleased when she emailed me that it had arrived. Only, one problem, having never done this type of project, I failed to realize that it would need to have another layer added. She was very kind and supportive about it, mentioned it would make a great dish cloth. To that I replied asking if she knew of any groups for dish cloths I could join and told her to just send mine back to me and I would fatten it up and mail back. I have however already started on a new one that I will make sure is thick enough to be of use this time.

On the sewing front, received a crazy quilt block from my avocado group for the "Green" round robin I am a part of. In the previous posting, along with the photo of my "nakkid" block, I sort of explained that the round robin is done in green. In fact, it is actually a color study of sorts. All the fabric, all the trims, threads, embellishments, are all to be green. Karen's block arrived today and her creative juices were really flowing as she took an image of a Victorian lady and printed it in green for the focus of her crazy quilt block. I will post before and after photos of my contribution to her block in the weeks to come. I have a month to work on it and send it to the next member so have a few days to put some intelligent thought (yes I know that is an oxymoron when coming from me) in to determining just the right touches for Karen's Victorian beauty.

Of course that is time period I am just in love with. Simpler times, way more morals and higher ethics, family and honesty was important, and according to the romance novels they had a lot of spice for the more intimate side of life. I think I lived that era in a former life, but if I did was probably, pretty sure any way, I was a soiled dove. Well, enough of the playful thoughts. I am off to read my emails, check my free pattern of the day sights, and then maybe work on the spinning the yarn I am currently in the middle of. Literary yarn that is, one of the many unpublished romance novels I like to create as a means of emptying my head that goes a 100 miles a minute when it is time to sleep. Until I post again....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How a Sewing Machine Works - On You Tube

You have got to watch this. These guys did this for an audition for Junkyard Wars, but it is a demonstration on how a sewing machine works. It is great.

Just a Thought.

I was doing some blog surfing, noticed a posting about some 30's fabric. It made me think about the thirty's repro fabric I used for a quilt. It is not the best of photos, taken a while back, over a year, but you can get the idea.


This pattern is called "Rancher's Daughter" and can be found free at Debbie's Creative Moments then scroll down to the bottom.

I made this quilt to be a wedding gift, rushed to get it made before the wedding. Long story short I now have the top, the wedding was cancelled. They broke up. Guess it will be on the UFO list to finish in 2008. It was made in 2006. I have several UFO projects, similar situations. Guess I should make a list of them and just check them off as I finish them.

Today, I finally got the computers moved around. Now, I am back to the old set up so I can print, seems Vista doesn't play well with printers. Hubby even bought me a great flat screen monitor so I can set up on my sewing desk and still have room to sew. Amazing how quickly you get use to something because I sure miss that big screen. That computer also has a much better keyboard. Had forgotten how crappy this one is. Doesn't even register all the keystrokes, will be typing along and then realize that half the letters are missing. The other computer is too far away from the router, so need a longer wire before I can have Internet with it. SO...I am off to buy ink for the printer, now that I can print again, and a longer wire to get Internet. Just wanted to post this photo of the quilt while I was thinking about it.

Hubby is sick, one kid is sleeping at a friend's, the youngest is grounded for a few weeks, and I have been battling a severe headache. We ate out last night, don't even feel up to going out tonight, had fast food for lunch, so am thinking I will just make some soup for supper. Okay, I am off to run the shopping errands and get back home so I can settle in and read emails and work on some sewing projects. Am going to have to get a keyboard as well.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Quilt Top Is Done

Just thought I would pop back in and post a couple of photos. I am finished with the quilt top for the baby quilt I am making. It will have a deep purple fleece back with a lighter purple cotton binding. I machine embroidered the name and birth date in one corner as well.

I am still learning to use my little camera, but I think it came out pretty well. Think the quilt came out pretty cute as well. My co-worker is the dad, he mentioned that they did the baby's room in pink, black, and white. I actually thought about putting this quilt aside and going and buying all new fabric, but then decided that they can use it in the car or something. I know when my kids were small I was always short on utility type quilts.

I also thought I would post a photo of the center square. You really can't see the detail in this photo, but the little angel is machine embroidered and done to look like cross stitching.


Like I said, the detail isn't showing up very well. But, you get the idea. I am heading off for the night. Going to see what other trouble I can get in tonight. Still need to eat.

Two Projects Ready To Go

I have two projects now ready to send on their way. I am so proud of myself that I am getting them done on time. That is going to be something I have to really watch, since it seems that I will only be able to work on things for the most part on week ends.

The first project is a crocheted pot holder. It is for an exchange on one of my Yahoo groups. I like the one on one exchanges, you have a little more time to work on it and don't feel so rushed. I took my cotton yarn and a set of hooks along with the pattern directions to work one day and crocheted over lunch. Didn't quite get finished, so finished it up at home. You can find the free pattern online at Lacy Honeycomb she has it available in a downloadle file along with a ton of free patterns.

I think it turned out pretty nice. Am looking forward to getting a name now to swap with. I love the look of crochet, but it takes me so long to make anything and I have to really concentrate on where I am. I like quilting much more, don't have to think as much with it. The machine does the stitching, it is the same stitching all the way through. But, there is something about the look of crochet that is just so warm, homey, it is just a really neat medium to work in. And now they have so many specialty yarns that have just awesome results. I have however come to the conclusion that I do not like plastic crochet hooks. That was all I had handy at the time, it was a set I actually bought for my eleven year old daughter, so that is what I took to work with me. I have since dug out my collection of aluminum or metal hooks for future use. NOW, I am not saying anything is wrong with the plastic ones, it is just that my personal choice is metal. I can remember my aunt using wooden ones, she would laugh at my metal ones and tell me that they were just a fad and wouldn't stay around long. I dearly wish that sweet aunt could see what I do now. She was so patient with me as she taught me to chain, then single crochet and double crochet. Told me that was all I needed to know to make anything I wanted. Of course I have taught myself a few more stitches, have a small library for reference, but she was actually pretty much correct in that statement. She never was successful in getting me to loosen my hold on the yarn, but hey, I know that I just have to go up about threes sizes in hooks to make the gauge come out.


Okay, while you chuckle at that, my next project ready to go out is a Crazy Quilt round robin block for another Yahoo group I am on. They are a great group at CQ For Newbies and so very helpful for people just starting out in the craft. I joined the Green Garden round robin. This exchange is a little bit different than the one on one type. I made a basic Crazy Quilt block, known to the group as a "nakkid" block.

Did I mention that it is being done in all green? All green fabric, trim, beads, thread, just all green. I will mail my block to the next name on the list and she will add some embellishment then send it to the next name. For this round robin, I will always send to the same person, will receive from the same person. The block travels around the group, then when it gets back home it is all dressed up. I will post the progress of it as it happens.

I am off now to move the laundry around and get started on a quilt project. I also have to take my son, 18, to the thrift shop so we can find clothing for a costume to wear in his school play. Will definitely take a photo of that.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Guess What I Found?

I woke up with a nasty stomach bug this morning. Good thing the bathroom is in my bedroom. At any rate, this afternoon I started feeling a little better so decided to try and finish cleaning my sewing area up in between trips to the bathroom. Amazing, I found a desk and shelves and carpet.


It is sure great to have a place to work once again. The only thing missing is the monitor that will be going with the computer. Hubby bought me a flat screen monitor for Christmas so I can have more room and still be able to sew. Early last year he bought me a new computer to use for school, it came with Vista, which has printer issues, so am unable to get a printer working. He is getting it all set up for me to run both computers (the old one - with printer and embroidery converter box) and the new one. I think is more so he can get on the computer at the same time I am home.



I went to work full time outside the home in March 2007. Then added internet classes through the local junior college. Stands to reason I guess that since superwomanwifemom I am not, something had to get left out. That has been the house and my hobby time. That is one reason I decided to take the semester off. My goal was to be able to start sewing on Wednesday, I made that goal. I will be back in my corner happily putting the pedal to the meddle as the needle sings along.



Now, as I said, I found so many things while I was cleaning. A co-worker and his wife recently welcomed their first child, a baby girl, born in December. I want to make a quilt for the baby, bought some great fabric for it. Yeah I know, with plastic bins and tubs of the fabric all over this house why would I buy more? Because it was a heck of a lot easier and quicker than trying to search through all the places I have fabric stuffed, rolled up, poked in, and stashed around this house. At any rate, I have been letting the wheels crank back up in to motion, after a generous oiling of viewing several recent issues of various quilt magazines, to get inspired and settle on a design for the quilt. Have it narrowed down to five you know. But in the midst of cleaning, I came across this small top I had made for a charity project that has a darling little cross stitched angel (okay, so it was done with my embroidery machine) in the center, done with yellow accents.

I meant to take a closer photo of the center, but my batteries died. Guess I played with the new camera a little too much. I will take one soon though. When I saw this little lost angel, it struck me that if I made a few blocks with colorful fabric I bought to border around this then I would have a nice size quilt. It may look like a single quilt block, but the quilt top is 24 x 24 inches as shown. I know that she is there little angel, even has brown hair like this one. Must be guilty karma going on, but that is the way a lot my projects work out. I get it in my head to make it one way, the perfect person to receive that quilt almost always shows up. It was the same way with a star quilt I made. Everyone in the class was using cottage colors (rose, pink, cream, sage) but I had to be totally different, using bright colors and black. The quilt shop gang just didn't have the appreciation they should have for my color choices, but then I really don't care much for their thoughts any way. A few months later my husband's boss got word that his daughter had been injured very badly in the line of duty while serving in Falujah as an MP when she was the victim of an explosive device that blew up the vehicle she was in. She went through 9 very painful operations to save her leg and skin graphs for the burns. I gave her the quilt telling her she was our shining star. It was all her favorite colors and she has it proudly on her bed. Got side tracked there, it really doesn't take much to do that to me. I will post a photo of the baby quilt when I get it done. I hope to have the top finished up tomorrow so I can take it to my quilt group on Thursday night and use the tables to get it basted. I have really missed the ladies at the church group and know it has been well over a year since I was in attendance with them.

On another side note, I also bought some green fat quarters to make an all green block using the Crazy Quilt method. I have joined the Green Garden Round Robin on one of my Crazy Quilt groups on Yahoo. I make the beginning (called a nakkid block) block then send it to the next name on the list. We are the avocado group. When we receive a block, we will embroidery some embellishments to it and send it on. By the time it has gone through everyone and returns home my block will be all dressed up and ready to shine. I am so excited about this project. Also found some lost bags and boxes of trims and such that will be used at some point. Oh, and by the way, even though I told myself I was only going to have one blog to keep up with, I have created a few more. I created a second edition of my stupidly deleted Needle Me Crazy blog. It is called Needle Me Crazy 2 and you can get to it through my profile. Will be adding the link to this blog sight later in the week. Am just to tired to mess with it tonight.

I am actually fading very fast as I type and need to go get a bath and off to bed. Sure wish I could stay home tomorrow and just sew. But, have to go work to pay for all my little pretties.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year

Yeah, know it is a little late, I have been really busy though. But here I am in the late hours of the night, unable to sleep again, so trying to play catch up with all my groups and blogging.

Okay, since the last posting, I finished up the pantry. Even sat down and made up menu plans for several weeks using only what I had on hand. Believe me that is a lot of food. This will be my first real test of it, as this is the first full week back after the holidays and the kids go back to school as well.

Now the really cool stuff. I used some of my Christmas money to buy me a really cool little digital camera so I can take photos of all the stuff I plan to make. It is an extensive list, a good portion of which is UFOs and PIGs but of course that is every quilter and crafter as well. I also bought this awesome rolling tote which was half off to put all my beads and embellishments in so that I have them in all in one place. Earlier in the year I would take some of my crazy quilting to work to embroidery on during lunch, but it never failed that I would get there with out needles, without floss, and so forth, even have a wonderful collection of items that a wonderful person gifted to me to help get me started and it is all in a shoe box. Okay a boot box, but still it needs to be where I can use it.

Now this week end I got started on clearing all the crap from my sewing desk so I can just get to my machines. So much dust on the poor baby's and they are just covered with copies of test, notes, homework assignments, mail, kids school papers, and photos. I did manage to get a good deal of it disposed or put up in a proper place. I had two big garbage sacks full that went to the dumpster along with a few Walmart bags full of papers as well. I hope to have it all cleared and able to actually sew by Wednesday.

I have to make time for the gym in there somewhere as well. Was so surprised that I actually lost some weight over the holidays. Of course having pneumonia for over a month had a little something to do with that. But hey, I will make sure it stays off and hopeful shed a lot more. A great deal more. If I keep really busy with the gym and sewing then I won't have time to keep up the emotional eating that I have a huge problem with. Not as bad as it was this time last year, but still creeps in from time to time.

I admit it, I bought fabric this weekend as well. I know I shouldn't have, I have a hundred tons of it stashed about the house, but I need to make a baby quilt for a gift and that was just quicker than trying to sort through the tubs of fabric at the moment. Besides, it is really great baby quilt fabric with purple fleece for the back and it was all on sale. I also bought some cotton yarn to make potholders out of.

I have joined a couple of swaps, am making myself adhere to a strict limit of them due to time considerations, and am really looking forward to them. Both are through a couple of my Yahoo groups. One is for a color on color swap of crazy quilt blocks. The whole block has to be done entirely in greens. It is not really a swap, it is a round robin. In other words, it will get passed along the list of names and everyone will add a little something special to the block for me, I will be adding a little something to everyone else's block as well. The second one is a potholder swap on a crochet group. This is a true swap and I will be sent one name and her info, then crochet from cotton yarn a potholder, send it to the name and they will send one to me as well. Oh goodness I can hardly wait to get started, even purchased what was needed to make my offerings, but will not let myself get started on any of it until I have that desk cleaned up. The projects are however, and all the others I have planned, HUGE incentives to get the cleaning done quickly.

Good thing about cleaning, I found some nice treasures was sure were lost forever today. Found some treasures that I was needing, but didn't know I had already gotten. Such is life though. Okay, allergy meds have kicked in and am now sleepy, also have gotten quite cold sitting here so it is time to get to bed and warm up with my fuzzy teddy bear (aka dear sweet hubby) so until I have more to post, here's hoping you have a truly blessed year to come.