Friday, September 30, 2011

Practice Post #4

When I was making those collage postcards the other day I realized that I was running out of old stamps and didn't know how many postcards I have on hand. So on my pre-prep errands yesterday I zoomed around to pick up holds at the Library, check out Goodwill's bookshelves to see if they had any I couldn't live without, stopped at the Book Stop where they did have what I was looking for (and more!) so I spent part of my credit there, and finally I went around the corner to the Green Bay Stamp Shop. I bought all my current stamps from him and he's got a lot of old, low postage ones from around the world. I kind of went nuts. But I only spent $18 and it'll last me for years and year, plus look how pretty.

The book in the upper left of the photo is Nick Bantock's Urgent 2nd Class with his suggestions on what to use and how to repurpose ephemera to make collages, etc. Fanned out across the bottom of the photo are my remaining postcards. I can get by with them for a while. Maybe I'll find some cool ones on our jaunt next week. I'm sure Durwood won't mind stopping in yarn shops and antique stores. He's a good sport.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Practice Post #3

The subject of today's post is Random Creativity. Years and years ago I fell in love with Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine books. I loved essentially reading someone else's mail and I loved the surreal element of his art style. I'm not much of an artist in the painting and drawing area but I can cut out and glue with the best of them. I buy old unsent postcards (13/$10) from a local antique shop and old cancelled stamps ($.01 ea.) from the stamp shop in an old mall a few blocks away. I found some sticker books at the School House with spiders and lizards and other oddball stickers. I put them all together like this,

and mail them off to my kids and friends who I think might need a pick-me-up.

Yesterday I remembered that I have a packet of sticky
postcard backs meant to turn snapshots into postcards, so I dug them out along with all the old stamps, cut-apart stock photo books I bought at Goodwill year before last, and an envelope of art paper scraps, took them to work with me, and made some collage postcards. They aren't as rigid as standard postcards but I really like them and had fun making them. I have the best job in the world!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Practice Post #2

Yesterday I decided that I should probably practice for Blogtoberfest, to get into the groove of finding something to snap a photo of, something fascinating to blog about, so that when the fest kicks off on Saturday October 1st I'll be cocked and primed, up and at 'em, ready, willing, and mable. Something like that. So here's today's contibution.

I look out the window by my desk in the corner and there's a nice big maple tree there. I noticed last weekend that the leaves have started to change colors. The leaves at the tips of the branches are a rich deep red, almost maroon, but the green leaves have changed too. Not their color yet, but they're a more solid green, not as translucent as summer green leaves, like their natural under-color is beginning to assert itself. I'm not thrilled that all this change and beauty will lead us to the deep freeze of winter in no time flat, but I do love the crisp days and the flamboyant colors of the leaves as they kiss summer goodbye.

Despite my best intentions I've cast on another scarf. I think it was a Free Knitting Pattern a Day one from a couple months ago that interested me enough to print it off. Then I found some silk and bamboo yarn up at Spin in Sturgeon Bay--on sale, of course--that called out to become a scarf. I was cleaning out my knitting catch-all basket in the living room, dug down to the yarn, and I was sunk. I started it on the needle size called for but I think my yarn's a bit thicker than the pattern yarn (worsted rather than DK) so I ripped it out, got out fatter needles and took another run at it. I'm liking it--and it's not a usual color for me.

I also found a different free pattern that caught my interest, I dug up some stash wool, and cast it on last night. We will not be discussing this further, suffice to say that I am weak when it comes to new projects. But we knew that, didn't we?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I got tired of having sewing pins slide up under my nails when I tried to grab one without looking. So I sewed up a pincushion with piping and stuffed with ground walnut shells. Walnut shells? Yeah. Skully said that they were the perfect thing for pincushions. I looked around on the internet and discovered that ground walnut shells are used for a lot of things.

Like for reptile bedding...

filtering water in the oil industry...

and as a blasting medium...

but I'm just using mine as pincushion stuffing. My blasting days are over.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where Did This Week Go?

As my mama used to say, "I swan to John, time sure is flying." Nah, she really didn't. I just made that up, but I gotta say that time is flying and I can't begin to pin it down to my satisfaction. I meant to post a couple times this week, I really did, but the days got away from me. I promise I'll do better. Promise. Maybe I'll sign up for Blogtoberfest and post every day next month. We'll be up in Michigan's UP the first week of the month so that might be a good way to start. I'll give it some thought. I wonder if they have the internets up there. I'm hoping to see lots of pretty leaves and Lake Superior and maybe find an agate on the beach or at least walk along looking for one. Mostly I want to go away with Durwood and veg.

The other night things were going remarkably well on the Lava Shawl and I th
ought maybe I could finish it to take along next weekend, so I took it to work with me on Thursday and I knitted 4 rows at work--wrong. It wasn't until I got home and was adding another row that I realized that about seven rows back I'd gotten my count off or my stitches off. It was totally noticeable and had to be frogged back and fixed. I started tinking back (backing up stitch by stich, unknitting, hence t-i-n-k, k-n-i-t backwards) before bedtime and got a couple rows. I was bitching about it at Friday Night Knitting and Z-Dawg, the yarn whisperer, held out her hand and spent the next two hours putting in a lifeline, ripping back all those bad rows, getting it back on the needles, and back on pattern. I tried to pay her but she'd only take enough cash for a piece of pie. One of these days I'll figure out a way to make her take money for that. Maybe I'll buy her a skein of some super yarn...

Last week I finished Bandwagon Block #7, haven't got the tails woven in yet, but it's done-ish. I will not be casting on another block until I get the Lava Shawl and the Sea Foam Scarf done. *firm head nod*

Speaking of the Sea Foam Scarf, it got to go to work with my on Monday and Wednesday. I got lots added, and I worked on it while Z-Dawg rescued the Lava Shawl last night. Thanks again!

Last week on Purl Bee they brought back a nice quick tote bag pattern that I thought might be the perfect project for those couch fabric sample pieces I got out of the load of not-for-doll-clothes fabrics someone gave Mom. Turns out I was right. I even had enough webbing to make handles. The ones I liked the best were the ones that look like mid-80s sunroom furniture, you know, kind of watercolor-y and bright with fruit, flowers, and pitchers on it. Loud and brash, just the way I like it. I cut out 4 bags and sewed up three of them this afternoon. I'll probably pop down and finish the last one before bed tonight. They're called the Twenty Minute Tote, very easy, very quick. They'd make great, reusable gift bags, if you're so inclined.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sometimes You Get Your Inheritance Early

A couple weeks ago my brother Andy called to say that he had custody of the "family canning supplies" they were clearing out things and did I want it. I said yes and he dropped off a few boxes. We walked around them stacked in the living room for a while and then unpacked them to see what I had last week.

There's a big pressure canner and a small one (that might have been GramMary's); both of them have their instruction manuals, thank God. Dad's red bottle capper was inthere with a box of bottle caps, some of which have cork liners. There's a box of old Coke bottles, individually wrapped in old newspapers, in both the 6.5 and 12 oz. sizes. The cone ricer used to belong to my grandma Babe, it was in her full set of Mirro aluminum cookware, Mom says I don't know where the big old scale and wooden slicer are from, maybe the farm, they look familiar. The most surprising item is the box with four 2-quart Ball jars. I don't think I've ever seen jars that size. Gallon jars, yes, quarts, pints, even half-pints, sure, but half-gallon ones, never. I hope that they fit in the hot water bath kettle. They'd be great to can Durwood's homemade tomato juice in. Cross your fingers.

This entire treasure trove may be destined to belong to the Canning Women one day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I decided the other day that I need to corrall all my WIPs (works in progress), rank them by finish-ability, and plunge in. I've started too many big projects that I lose interest in and then tuck away so I chose the Lava Shawl because that's made with big-hole lace on big needles with bulky yarn so it should go quickly (I'm all about the speed of gratification.) for my at-home project.

(Don't you love the orange carpeting in my basement lair? Lairs don't get redecorated very often.)

For now Bandwagon Block #7 is the work project. It's nearing completion. Once it's done, the Seafoam Scarf will come back into the at-work project spotlight.

There's only a sleeve and 3/4 to knit on the Khaki Cardi. I'm not sure why it got pushed aside, maybe because it looks like it might be way too big, but it needs to be finally finished.

I did a little sewing yesterday and assembled the Egg-Collecting Apron I'll give to DS & DIL1 once Henny & Penny start laying eggs. I am in love with the fabric!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

So What Did I Do Last Week?

I worked on this, trying to make a knitted flower and a crocheted bee to send to the Goobie for her mama to sew on her new winter hat. I suck at it, sucked at it all week. I might look for another pattern I can make, a one piece pattern of a flower to crochet, to hell with the bee.

On the way down to the Quilt Show I knitted on the log cabin parts of Bandwagon Block #7, got one side done, picked up stitches and knitted the next side, and picked up the third side.

The last few nights I've been trying to remember to knit a row or two on the Summer Fever Shawl. I feel good about it even though it's going slowly.

I really should unearth a wool shawl I've got OTN since summer's almost over and hold this one until late next winter for next spring. It'd be smart to finish some of the myriad projects I've got around here, wouldn't it?

Here's my loot from the quilt expo. I bought a pack of charm (4") squares ($5.99!!) to make a bag that Bells made last month. It's very cute and I want one, now I have the raw materials.

I couldn't resist the fat quarters for $1.49 and the batik yards for $7 at the Nancy's Notions booth. I love batiks and they're always so expensive.

A few (hundred) booths later we spied tables of fat quarters in very interesting prints. Here's the ones I bought: Dots & Teapots (don't you love the colors?)

Bugs & Butterflies (couldn't resist the little bugs making tracks in the sandy backg
round) and

Fish & Flamingos (no explanation needed for these).

The vendor was from Nicholasville, KY just down the pike from where DD & DIL2 live. Small world. At another booth I resisted buying a flamingo umbrella for $23. I am amazed at my continued maturity.

Cookie and I spent quite a bit of the drive home talking about food, in particular grilled veggies. I had to make some and I took a picture for you to see. This is the second batch
. You see I was taking the last of the first batch off the grill, rested the pan on the grill rim, and grabbed the hot handle with my bare hand. I dropped it, and all the yummy grilled veggies spilled onto the dirty patio right near where I had sprinkled ant killing granules early today. I had to throw them all out and start over. I cried, both over burning my finger and having to waste all that food. Not my finest hour.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Not Long At All

Almost immediatly after making the statement in the previous post that I need to finish things instead of start them, I ran across the Special Olympics 2012 Scarf Project info that I'd bookmarked a while back. Naturally I printed off the details and a few patterns, stopped at JoAnn on my way to Cookie's yesterday and bought the Red Heart Soft yarn they call for. I cast on and knitted a few inches. I like it alright but I really like carrying some eyelash yarn along, making it more boa-like for those young (and young-at-heart) athletes who yearn for something flashier. I should check the stash, I'll bet I've got some red eyelash down there.

In harvesting news, I went o
ut and clung to the side of the hill to pick raspberries for Durwood. What I do for love...

while I did that he went off and picked up the half-bushel of tomato
es he ordered from Sunnyhill Farms and got right to making his own tomato juice. See how excited he is!

I turned my back for two day, TWO DAYS, and look at the patty pan squash. The biggest one is about the same diameter as a salad plate. If you don't keep an eye on the little devils they just explode. They sure are tasty.

We got tired of looking at the dead lettuce in the pot by the patio doors so I cleaned it out at Durwood's suggestion and planted spinach in its place now that it's cooler. It's sprouting nicely.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Easy Come, Easy Go

Well, actually, the "come" part wasn't that easy, but the "go" part sure was. I finished the toe-up Easter Egg Ankle sock the other day. I tried it on. It didn't fit well. I didn't like it.

I got out my ball winder and turned the sock back into a ball of yarn. Zzzzzip!

Then I took the yarn to work and cast it on again but this time in the old tried-and-true cuff down method.

I worked on Bandwagon Block #7 tonight at Friday Night Knitting.

I'm in a "I need to finish things instead
of start them" mood. We'll see how long that lasts.