Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Still Cleaning! UGH!

Greg and I are still cleaning like maniacs - closets, drawers, under the sink, etc. There have been countless trips to Goodwill and countless bags of things thrown away. You know what happens when you clean out closets, drawers, and other places? It seems like the rest of your house gets messy. There is the odd thing here and there that needs to be dealt with. Even Jacob has gotten in the mood and is digging out cleaning his room! THAT is cause for celebration people!

So I still have not been doing any sewing or stitching and very little knitting. I did get this in the last couple of weeks though to help with my 1/4" seams (the ones that are 1/4"+). It's a Bernina #57 foot with the guide. I hope this helps as I've heard good things about it . I hope to get to try it out on Friday or Saturday.
I also had a chance earlier this month to work on my free motion quilting. This is a shell like pattern. It's doesn't look so bad in a thread that blends.
It's not so pretty in a contrasting color.
Here's another attempt in doing the swirls. A very small improvement.
When I tried the swirls before, I didn't post the contrasting tread photo. Here is the most recent one. I have such difficulty in getting the rounded shapes round. More practice needed!
Lesson Learned: Sometimes it's good to try and blend in!

Some progress on my plain vanilla sock. This is the only crafty thing I've been working on and not much of that has been going on. I do like the stitch definition this yarn has and I'm glad I elected to go with a plain sock.
I did get a chance today to start organizing my sewing room. I asked Greg to hold off on hanging shelves and putting together the 2 wall cabinets until I get a chance to work in the room and make sure the layout works. I think it's going to be fine but I want to be sure. In order to do that though, I have to get everything put away. I spent several hours doing that today and hope to make some more progress tomorrow and Friday. I've been looking for a stitching and knitting chair but so far have not found anything that really works.

Tomorrow, I'm taking a quick trip to Gainesville to see a friend from high school. Guess what her hobbies are? Yep, knitting, stitching and quilting! Years ago, out of all the places in the US our parents bought a second home within miles of each other (they don't know each other). It's been like that with us since 1978 when we met in Mr. Vance's Civics class. There have been times when we've drifted out of each other lives but we always seem to know when the other needs us and we always seem to pick up where we left off. I'm excited to spend some time with her tomorrow!

Several of you offered up help on changing my blog to a 3 column blog! Thank you! I have not had time to play with it but I will this weekend!

Happy Stitches!

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Husband Has a Problem

The past couple of days, I've been cleaning. Not just everyday cleaning but the stuff you do every now and then. First it was the garage, then it was the closet in my bathroom, then it was under the kitchen sick. I also scrubbed the grout in the bathroom with a toothbrush and SoftSoap with bleach (the grout was really buggin me) and cleaned the shower door with a razor - a razor really helps with the water spots. This morning it was the linen closet. It's not a big closet but bigger than most. I started by taking every single thing out of it. I counted 22 empty boxes in there courtesy of my husband! Telephone boxes, laptop box, a modem box, all sorts of stuff. Including the box for his shoe inserts from The Walking Company. Crazy Man! Why would we need to keep that box? There was even a sunglass box in there! I didn't take pictures because he thought I was nuts that I even counted them!

Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas with the boys as they were at their fathers for Christmas Day. We went and saw Sherlock Holmes, ate dinner out, and came back to open gifts and have dessert. It was great to spend time together just the 4 of us. Jacob's schedule is so different than everyones that it can be hard to get the 4 of us together at once.
Chris loved the big mirror we got him. It's the kind you lean against the wall.
On Christmas Day, I gave Greg the Noro Striped Scarf I made him that I have not posted about here. I think he reads my blog.
Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood (aka Brooklyn Tweed)
Ravely Link Here

Here's the 4 of us before the movies.
Can you tell Jacob just loves to get his picture taken?
The remote to the camera wasn't working so I had to set the timer and run!
Note to self: Time to head back to the gym!

Does anyone know an easy way to change my blog from 2 columns to 3? I'd like a sidebar on each side of my blog. I'd also like to be able to do it without messing up what is there already. I struggle with blog formatting. So many of the tutorials are greek to me! I've made a change or 2 already but it's been slooow going.

Do you set crafting goals each year? I've seen a lot of blogs with an ambitious lists of things they'd like to do in 2010. Does it help get things done? I'm thinking of setting some simple attainable goals for 2010 but still mulling it over. I don't like the feeling of having a deadline for something that should be fun. But then again, I do have some projects that I would like to finish and 2010 IS a whole year! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Happy Stitches!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

In true Florida Christmas fashion, yesterday we had to to turn on the air conditioning. At 9:21 it was 76 degrees (I think that is 24 C) and very humid inside our house. (I need to remind Greg that the day of the week is wrong on the keypad). It seems like most years we are running the A/C at Christmas. One year, I'd love to experience a white Christmas!
I was happy to use my Christmas china. I love this stuff! It really makes the table look festive!
On today's agenda: cleaning out the garage!
It took 5 hours. Of pure misery. It took Greg longer because he made the trash run and the Goodwill run. We took EVERYTHING out of the garage and off the shelves and really edited what we put back in. We got rid of loads of stuff. Now Greg wants to clean out the attic! UGH!

I hope you had a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hodge Podge

As you know, I'm not responsible for my online purchases. There is usually a blog that "made me do it". I've been seeing ornaments across blog land. All those pretty pictures. So I ordered the JCS Christmas editions from 2004 to 2007. I already had 2008 and 2009. They're a great value. Where else can you get so many patterns for one low price? This was a cost effective purchase!
I've been missing having a sock on the needles so I cast on for one late Saturday. Plain vanilla. Mindless. Just perfect. I love red and I love the stitch definition that this yarn gives. Right now I don't have the brain cells for anything remotely complicated.
Last year, Greg and the boys and I went to see the Luminaries. While we had a great family time, the luminaries were a huge disappointment. This year Greg and I went to St. Augustine to ride the Holly Jolly Trolley around town with some of my coworkers and their families. It's wasn't a long ride but it was fun and downtown St. Augustine was beautiful. One evening I'd love to go there and go from pub to pub listening to all the live music.
I'm in Florida so the open air trolley really was not a problem. It messes with the hair though!

This is the Basilica. I've never paid too much attention to it but at night it is amazing!
Somehow our holiday preparations are getting done. We spent hours over the weekend wrapping up gifts after finishing up our shopping. I have 2 gifts that should be delivered this week and a very large gift for Chris to wrap and then I'll be pretty much done with all that except for stocking stuffers. I have an emergency hair appointment tomorrow - it is absolutely driving me crazy. Why does short hair seem to grow so fast? Especially once it starts (coughcough) to turn gray?

As you can tell, this post is all over the place. I think that is typical for me this time of year!

I'd like to thank all of you for this year of reading my blog, commenting, and getting to know me. I never expected that a blog would bring me friendships but it has. What a nice surprise! I've also learned so much from your blogs. Thank you for sharing your tips, tricks, lessons learned and your stories. It's been a pleasure to get to know YOU in 2009! I wish each of you a safe and happy holiday and new year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Break from the Holiday Craziness

Today I took a break from work and a break from the holiday preparations. Instead, I went to my LQS and sewed. I packed enough projects to carry me through 2049. How many did I get to work on? Just one. I learned that I rot at stitching in the ditch. But that part is done. I sewed on the binding and at the very end I realized that I was sewing with too large of a seam allowance. I'll be picking that out next week. The good news is that I have a great chance of having a finished table runner for my 2010 Fall table!
I went from the quilt shop to my favorite yarn store. I had finished my Noni bag a few weeks ago and needed to sew on the strap. I did that. Then Randi discovered that I had hand sewn (with like 1,403,239 BLACK stitches) the handle to the BOTTOM of the bag. Unpicking that has been a nightmare, even with help (thanks Sharon!), and I think will take the amount of time to unpick it that took for the pyramids to be built. I am determined to get this done and the project felted by 2010.
You know, neither of those things spoiled my day! I had a great time and still feel like progress was made. What's an extra stitch or 2 in the grand scheme of things?

Stitching on Quakers and Quilts has been slow but still enjoyable. I'm thinking of starting another project soon. I'm not sure if that will be a restart to LHN Neighborhood or something completely new. The fabric won't be here for what I really wanted to start next. I know Kerrie is starting a new stitching project on Christmas Day and Melody (I think) is starting something on New Years. I had not heard of a tradition of starting a new project on a particular day each year. It's kind of interesting! I'd love to hear if you have a similar tradition!
I also need to figure out what to do with this lovely stuff that somehow found it's way home with me. 1120 yards of fingering weight yarn. Do I really need another big knitting project? Seriously?
I can already tell that my list of things I want to do during my last week of vacation is totally unrealistic.

I'm looking forward to every single minute of it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Room Update

With the holidays fast approaching, Greg has had little time to work on putting together the Ikea stuff for my sewing room. But he has had some time. I'm keeping the existing corner unit that was part of the closet organizer and we've added an Expedit bookcase with drawers and a couple of doors. This went together pretty easily and quickly.
Then we played around with room layouts. I want to have a stitching and knitting chair in the room. One day I plan to have a wall mounted TV in here and I'd like to knit or stitch and watch tv. My original plan wasn't working with the amount of counter space I wanted, so we regrouped and came up with this. The wooden table top to the left is going to be my cutting table.
This shows the corner where I hope my chair will go. The table frame represents where I'll have my ironing board when I need it. Otherwise it will be in the closet. I'm a slow sewer so it will probably be in the closet more often than not. If adding a chair doesn't work, I'll rearrange the counter space back to my original plan. Greg isn't going to put up the 2 wall cabinets and shelving until I get it all figured out which will be after I spend some time in the room.
Lots and lots and lots of assembly. Hopefully it will be done by the New Year and I'll be organized and sewing! It's a small space but I hope to use it well and get a lot of use out of it.In the meantime, it's the mad dash to the holiday finish line. Greg mailed packages yesterday and once I get an online purchase delivered (hopefully tomorrow!) we'll have more. Most of my Christmas cards have been sent. I still have loads of shopping to do for Greg , my sister and my parents. Tonight I purchased gifts for the people who work for me that are out of town. I'm going to finish wrapping them and hope to get them FedEx'd out tomorrow. I do have 3 more that are in the same location that I am to buy for but they will all be here next week. Menu planning - hasn't happened yet. And there is stuff all over the place. Whew! I'm tired already. I seem to be in this same position every year and somehow manage to get it done. Or at least I get enough of it done. I'm hoping that this year will be the same! Fingers crossed!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wonderful Day with Friends

My friend, Melody, invited me to her Rug Guild Holiday Luncheon a few weeks ago and today was the day. The luncheon was held at The Row Restaurant, which is located inside The Riverdale Inn. Is it just gorgeous?
The setting was wonderful, the food absolutely delicious but best of all the company and conversation was fantastic! Here is a peek inside the parlor. It's the only interior picture I took. Such a lovely room. I'd love to be here on a cold day with the fire going with some knitting, stitching and a good book.
After lunch, Melody invited everyone over to the historic home where she works. This picture is a bit fuzzy but the tree was lovely and look at the ceiling!
While Kris, Henri, Nancy and I knit everyone else worked on their wool rugs. This is what Jane was working on. The picture does not do it justice and it's going to look fantastic when she is done. Today I felt the pull to rug hook....must resist! At least for a while!
Melody gave Kris and I these beautiful stitch markers. Perfect for a knitter! I think I'm going to cast on for a pair of socks soon so I can use these!
Melody, thank you for such a wonderful day! Everything was just perfect and loads of fun!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Very Little Creativity....

There is very little going on here with creative pursuits. I did manage to cut out and sew the first block that is posted on Ravelry's Quilters Knitting forum. So far 4 blocks have been posted. I hope the lady who is posting the picture tutorials keeps it up. I'm doing these before starting my Fat Quarter Shop BOMs to see if I can do it.

Lesson Learned: I need more precision in my 1/4" seam.

This block is smaller than it should be. My 1/4" is larger by a thread or two and that has added up. I need to spend some time practicing and I also need to measure my pieces after they're sewn together and make corrections immediately if they're needed. The good news is that I've gotten better at my seams meeting in the right place. This block is not perfect by any means, but there IS improvement! Any tips will be greatly appreciated. Those FQS blocks have way many more pieces than this block does. Any lack of precision is really going to mess them up!
Also this week, Marlene from StitchinByTheLake sent me a book she was destashing. It's a Quilt Journal. There is a place for a picture of each quilt and a spot to write comments. While I'm documenting my quilting history here, I love the idea of having it all in one place and in my own writing. Do any of you keep a journal of your quilting/stitching/knitting/whatever projects? What do you put in them? I don't have a lot of completely finished quilting projects so I should be able to document my journal pretty easily!

Marlene, thank you so much!
I hope all of you are having a good week and are spending time doing the things that you love!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nary a Stitch....

...of any kind this weekend. Not a single one. I even missed Midnight Knit at my LYS.

Yesterday, Greg and I went to Ikea in Orlando. It's a little over 2 hours from our house. We got there at 10 and left at 4:15, stopped for dinner and got home around 8pm. In a comment on my prior post, Jean said that Ikea translated from Swedish is "takes all your money". I agree.

Exhibit A:
The van was loaded. I didn't get some shelves I need for the wall. Or a chair for my sewing table or one to sit and knit or stitch. But I did get most everything else I need from a function or storage standpoint for my sewing room. Hardly anything in terms of decorating. That will come. Let's hope all this stuff fits in my tiny room and that I like it!

I'd also like to say that my legs don't hurt after hours hiking in the mountains. Or after weight machines and the elliptical at the gym. But the day after Ikea? They HURT.

This morning I was reading a blog and saw that it was 18 days to Christmas. What? Within 15 minutes I was out the door. Target, Joanns, ToysRUs, Costco, Publix, a pedicure, cooking. We also finally got the tree up and decorated. I'm not the kind of girl that decorates her entire house including her bathroom. The tree and the fireplace is pretty much it though I do have a couple of other things here and there in the living room.
Tomorrow it's work. Maybe I can get some rest and I hope tomorrow night take a couple of stitches here and there. I need it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

As Promised!

As I promised in my prior post, here are a couple of pictures of projects the Sampler Guild members are working on.

Kerrie is working on Jane Rees. It's a huge project and she has a lot of it done!
I really like this sampler. I should have asked her the dimensions of her fabric. I can't imagine working on something this large. I guess it's like any other project. You take it one stitch at a time!
Loretta just finished Peaceful Paradise by Midsummer Night Designs. Another large but gorgeous project!
This is really beautiful too. If you've seen the chart, you'll know that the photo on the chart really does not communicate just how gorgeous this is. My picture does not either. There is hours and hours put into both these samplers. Tons of fun!
Loretta and Kerrie are just 2 of the talented ladies in the Sampler Guild. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to showcase the projects of everyone. Many of them also knit or quilt or hook rugs - they're a talented bunch. As the new girl on the block, they've made me feel welcome and the conversation is easy as is the moments when it's quiet and everyone is stitching.

I've been able to get out of work by 6 this week and most of last week. It's been really nice. G and I are planning on a trip to Ikea this weekend. It's a bit over a 2 hour drive. I want to look at some things for my sewing room and we have a gift to pick up for my older son. We still don't have our tree up so we'll have to do that this weekend along with various other things that have to be done on the weekend. It's just the 3rd but it seems like the month is already flying! I'm taking a couple of Fridays off this month plus the last week of the month. I need some time with my sewing machine!

Happy Stitches!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Busy Weekend!

Saturday I had my first Bernina Mastery Class. I learned a lot and did several things for the first time. One of those things is cleaning and oiling my machine. - something very important to know and I now feel confident that I can do this competently. I've also never done the satin stitch on a sewing machine. Easy! We're using the Bernina Mastery workbook and doing each exercise. It's a lot of fun and very much worth the time. I feel so much more comfortable learning something new in a classroom environment. It takes all the frustration out of it.
Sunday, I met the ladies from the Sampler Guild and I was able to complete page 1 of my Quakers and Quilts chart. I've corrected the placement of the red stitches over the number 9 since this photo was taken. I'm still enjoying every second of this sampler. I'll have more pictures later in the week of some amazing in progress projects.
I did not knit on the way to my parents house for Thanksgiving. Instead I worked on Christmas cards. I was feeling pretty good about it but now it's days later and they're only half done. I can barely get commercially made cards out in the mail and yet some of you out there make your own cards. I'm in total awe!
The holiday season is ramping up. We've started some shopping. G went out at 3:30 Black Friday to pick up some things. Isn't he a sweetie? I had to work Friday. I've also ordered a few things online. Our shopping strategy is to hit the stores very early or very late and hopefully skip the crazy large crowds. Last year that seemed to help quite a bit. Do any of you have any holiday tips? I could use all the help I can get!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stash Enhancement

Over the past couple of weeks I've been doing some stash enhancement. It's been kind of impulsive really. So easy to do. One minute you're walking through the store. Two minutes later you're in your car with a bag. Let's not talk about the mailman.

Two table runner kits. The pattern is for 12 table runners. One for each month of the year. The kits are for July and November. My LQS had samples made. They were cute. It was their fault I could not resist.
One day I was reading a blog and a blogger was sharing her Jennie Bean Halloween Sampler she was working on. It was gorgeous. Two minutes later I realized I'd sent an email to Lois at Elegant Stitch asking if she had everything in stock. Of course she did. It all happened so fast that I really can't be held responsible for this purchase. Michelle's blog is dangerous!
Of course, the specialty threads came with it along with the fabric.
And the JB Pin Tuffet chart came along too. I'm not sure how that happened. It wasn't on the blog I saw. But Lois had it on her web site. That's it - it's her fault.
Of course, I needed the thread and fabric.
A few weeks ago, my knitting friend Caroline (no blog) sold me a skein of the hard to get Wollmeise. This yarn is highly coveted. German. Hand-dyed. This is my third skein. I enjoy looking at it so much that I can't find a pattern that seems to be worthy. I'll hold Caroline responsible for this purchase. She practically dangled the darn skein under my knitting needles.
Wollmeise is known for fantastic colors. This skein is blue with hints of purple. Needless to say, my photography skills are sorely lacking. It's truly a very saturated, intense & gorgeous color.
Lastly, I acquired 2 skeins of Kashmir from my LYS. 65% cashmere and 35% silk. Incredibly soft. I have no idea what I'm going to knit with this either. It was going to be gloves but gloves don't seem to be quite right. I think maybe I did this one all on my own. My memory is a little hazy though.
As you can see, I've been an equal opportunity stasher. I'm not a big fan of yarn diets, or fabric diets, or frankly any kind of diet. But I need to go on one.

Maybe Monday.

Or the Monday after that!