Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Here is how Cody feels about fireworks:
Poor thing...he's petrified. Yes, he has wedged himself between the nightstand and bed and hid his head under the bed. Kenzie, on the other hand is speeding from one end of the house to the other to make sure we're not invaded. Bless her 10 pound heart! She really does not understand that she is NOT a superhero! We'll have to crate her soon or she will literally wear herself out to the point that we get worried.
Hope you and your family have a safe and happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Todays Efforts

Today was devoted to taking the Christmas decorations down and practicing my free motion quilting. All I can say is I'm not sure there is enough thread in Florida for all the practicing I need to do! And....could someone please make a bigger bobbin? Am I missing something with bobbins?

I will not post a picture of the dining room table since it was only yesterday or the day before that I said I was going to do my best to keep my quilting/sewing organized.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not as Easy As I Thought

I sat down at the dining room table this morning to cut down and organize all my scraps. It sounded like more fun than it actually was. You know...spend a few minutes (snort) and cut into set widths and then one day you sit down and I could quickly put together a scrappy quilt.
This doesn't look like much but it took most of the day. No actual sewing today. And I'm rather not inspired by the pile of blocks and strips.
The mailperson brought me a box today! At work, we have this thing called reward points. People give them to you and you can spend them. They're being phased out and we have to "spend" them all by the end of January. I decided I was going to buy books.
Bottom Up: Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, Scraps and Shirttails, Knitting Without Tears, Seams to Me, Mindful Meandering, Creative Classics and Machine Quilting Made Easy.
I have another box on it's way and hopefully will be placing another order soon. I'm waitng for Knitted Lace of Estonia to become available again before I order.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Next Quilting/Sewing Project

This is my next quilting and sewing project. What is this you ask? A big ole' pile of mess! Prior to the holiday, I had packed everything up (I sew in my dining room) and shoved everything in our closet. Yesterday G and I cleaned out said closet and it's all back sitting on the dining room table. So my next project is some type of organization! I'm going to cut and sort all my scraps using a version of Bonnie Hunter's system. I have ordered some Protect N Store containers to help. I'm finding a way to organize all my notions and WIPs (only 2 at this point but hey, it's time for a plan before it gets really crazy). I'm bound and determined to start 2009 with a neater, cleaner way to sew and quilt. Not sure how my plan will work long term, but I am going to try!If any reader has any tips or ideas they would be greatly appreciated! I need all the help I can get!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fun Times!

I hope you and your family had a wonderful day yesterday. My parents and sister came up and Greg's mom was able to get a pass for the day from the physcial rehab facility she is in. We opened gifts.....
....while enjoying the Yule Log. You know, the one on TV! It IS Florida here after all and what is Christmas without the air conditioner running all day?! The temperature here was almost 80!
C got up at 6:30 and made his first turkey. Much better than any turkey I've ever made. When I went to bed last night, he'd already put the carcass in a stock pot and made stock for soup.
I took very few photos. I got so busy with food, visiting, and opening gifts. Everyone had a fun and safe holiday and I hope you and your family did as well!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Busy Weekend

It's going to be a busy weekend! I am no where near done with my Christmas shopping (let's not discuss wrapping), have to menu plan, grocery shop, get organized, and get it all done! Oh, and did I mention that we still have to demo the rest of the fence from the storm damage we had? And even though I have more to do than I have time for, I still went to Knit Night at KnitWitz. That goes without saying, doesn't it?

My fingerless mitts are coming along. They're the only knitting project I have on the needles right now. After Christmas/January I know I'll be casting on for a couple more as I generally like to have 3 ongoing projects. When I started knitting last January, my goal was to work one project at a time and FINISH it. I'm typically not a finisher. I get enthused and excited, start, lose that excitement, pack it away, and hold onto it for 15 years. While I haven't been loyal to just one project, I am proud to say that i have finished my projects!!!!

My 2nd quilt top is almost done. I have one side of the inner border to finish and then I just need to add the outer border which is pieced and will take more time. Unfortunately, my sewing is all packed away. I use the dining room for any sewing and with the holiday right around the corner I made the decision to pack it all up until the 26th. Of course, I then felt the immediate need to sew. But there is just too much mess generate so packed up it stays.

February 2009 I'll start taking a Sweater Workshop class at KnitWitz and I've very excited about it. It will teach me all the skills I need for a sweater for me. Like waist shaping. I've knit a sweater for 2 of my nieces but lets face it, shaping doesn't matter for them. Anyways, I'll end up with this weird type of sampler that in my mind kind of looks like a knit wind sock. Check out the link above; it's to amazon and you can flip through a couple of the pages of what will be the class book. 2009 just might be the year of a big girl sweater!

I hope your weekend is less hectic than mine! At least I'm in Florida and not battling the sever weather that a lot of people are experiencing. Have a great weekend!
Me, J, C, and G
J's hair is wet so he doesn't look too scary here!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Knitting and Quilting Goodies in the Mail

I've gotten some lovely knitting and quilting goodies in the mail from contests that I've entered on blogs!!!

Marie at Marie Quilts sent this! Love it!

The buttons are especially cute!
Linda at The CraftGossip Blog Network sent me this wonderful pattern!

Thank you both!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's About Time!

Several things have gotten done that have been long over due!
We all got up early this morning and finally got our tree up and decorated! With everything that has been going on, it's not been a priority. It's been kind of weird without it up and it's nice to have it up and decorated.
This ornament is one that my parents purchased for their first Christmas together 49 years ago.
I should have moved the basket of dog toys!

I also FINALLY got the buttons sewn on the sweaters I knit for two of my nieces!
PATTERN: Sophia's Ridged Cardigan (Ravelry Link here)
YARN: Berocco Comfort Colorway 2723
AND I finally finished G's socks!
PATTERN: Charade by Sandra Park
YARN: Dream in Color Smooshy
COLORWAY: November Muse
NEEDLES: US 1.5 ribbing, US3 balance of sock

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tough Week and It's Only Thursday!

It's been a tough week here. My mother in law went to the emergency room on Friday and she is still in the hospital. She is being transferred to Brooks tomorrow for physcial rehab. We don't know at this point exactly what is going on with her but the cardiologist said the neurologist would be talking to my husband about cerebral atrophy. He believes it's related to her long years of being a "party girl". She is only 60 and is so shaky she cannot walk. She has been sober for 12 years but her doctor said she has the body of someone at least 20 years older. G is dealing with this all on his own. I know he has unresolved feelings towards his mother and that makes him feel guilty. We don't have room for her here, she needs more care than we can give her, and she has spent every penny she ever had - which admitedly is not much. I'm doing everything I can to be supportive but at the end of the day the decisions he has to make are his own. He never thought at 39 he'd be this responsible for his mom but then again in many ways he's been taking care of her since he was a child - which breaks my heart.

So that has been going on all week. Meeting after meeting with doctors, social workers, etc. Then today my oldest son calls G and asks him to come home. There were tornado warnings this morning but we're used to is Florida after all. Turns out there was some type of wind event at our house - the neighbor says it was a tornado but I don't think so. I drove home quickly to see what was going on. A large portion of our fence is down. The 4x4s in this section were snapped off even with the ground.
Here's part of the back fence and the neighbors little john boat. About 2/3 of this is down.
Tree limbs from our trees in the neighbors yard. J spent some time this afternoon cleaning up their yard. We have a big pile of limbs stacked out front.
The large branch that hung over the driveway and the middle 1/3 of our 14 year old oak is missing.
Well...not techinically missing. It was ripped off. There are goudges in the ground where it fell. Not sure how it all got shoved back in the middle of the ligustrum and twisted around. The entire section between our house and the neighbors (pictured) is filled with the other side of the tree. Who knows if the tree is hiding any further damage. Let's hope not.

Oh...and we're missing about 50 shingles from the roof.

Now we have a roofer, a fencer, and a tree removal service. I've also talked to my insurance agent for the first time in ....well....the first time ever.
Thankfully no one was hurt and the damage was very minimal. It could have been much, much worse. The good things about this? The fencer came out within hours. The tree tomorrow at 8am. The roofer? We have not called him yet....we need the tree removed first. In January I scheduled to be off tomorrow. No one has to miss any time at work to meet people. All the neighbors have been updated with timelines as stuff from our yard is in their yard. G has his hands full with his mom, but I can take care of most of this on my own. We are indeed very fortunate.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Free Motion Quilting Class

Two weekends ago I drove down to Orlando for a Free Motion Quilting Class. I'm determined to learn to do this so I can quilt my own quilts.

As you can see, I have a long way to go.
I have the tension down and the stitches themselves. I rot at the pattern part of it. Really rot.
Everyone says it takes a lot of practice and I sure hope they're telling me the truth. I can practice. I just want to make sure I'll get better if I practice. In other words, I want to know I'm not hopeless with this!
This is my new machine as of a few months ago. I bought it at a fabric store that was running out of room and was just going to carry Bernina's. This was a demo machine but they had another one set up on a frame and this one wasn't used very much. I got a VERY good deal. It's a Pfaff Grand Quilter. It just does a straight stitch and at this point that is truly all I need. One thing I noticed though was the darning foot seemed to be a little tight against my practice muslin quilt sandwich so I need to figure that out some. It might help me if there was a little more give. If anyone out there in blog land has any tips, suggestions, etc. about FMQ or this machine I'd totally love to hear them!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cables, Fingerless Mitts, and How Do You Photograph Black?

I've cast on for my first project using cables and my first pair of fingerless mitts. Even though I live in Florida, my car steering wheel gets really cold in the winter. I live so close to work that by the time the heater gets warmed up, I'm at work. And then my hands stay cold most of the day.
Does anyone in blog land have any tips on how to photograph black where the details show up? And the color is true? I tried several settings on my camera and the pics that show the detail well photographed the color as a gray - a very unattractive gray. This picture shows the color better but the detail is lost.I cast these on, worked on them for a bit and then turned my attention to G's socks, the holidays, and my quilting class. They would otherwise be a quick knit.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


It's been a whirlwind of a few days! I hosted Thanksgiving this year and cooked it all! There were only 8 of us. It was a lot of work but yummy! I like cooking for the holidays! I took just a few pictures.....
Here is my mom trying to convince J to get a hair cut. She was not successful. He certainly loves his grandma though! And she just loves teasing both my boys!
Here's Dad with Cody and Kenzie.
Then Friday, I was at Best Buy at 4:45 am to pick up a few things. J works there but he wasn't able to hold anything for family. Very much against the rules. I had to work a late shift (11-8). Saturday was spent shopping at Olde Green Cupboard and Joanns and a visit to the library. Then errands and a late lunch. It was almost 4 when I got home. G was at the FSU/UF game and the kids were working so it was just me and the pups for most of the evening. I finished up a book I was reading and then started on my quilting homework for class on Monday. After working hours today as well, here is where I'm at:
This is a quilt called Down the Road. I have one panel completed, another almost completed and the last 2 ready to cut the strips. It was a lot of work and I'm totally pooped. After sitting at my dining room table for most of the day, my back is killing me. I totally understand the need for the correct height table and chair when sewing/quilting. I certainly do not have it. Even regular breaks didn't help much. In between, I cleaned the kitchen, unloaded the diswasher, put away groceries, and cooked dinner for Thursday and popped it in the freezer. I also spent some time moving some books around and reorganizing a bit.

The good news is that I'm getting better at lining up those pesky corners (I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about that!). Part of what has taken me so long is taking the extra time to pin before sewing. It takes a lot of time but it's so worth it. They all don't line up perfectly but it's such an improvement over my first quilt!
In knitting news, I cast on a couple of weeks ago for a pair of fingerless mitts tha have a cable on them. My first time doing cables and not so bad! They're in a black yarn though and it is a booger to photograph. Anyone have any tips on photographing black yarn? I also finally bought the buttons for the 2 sweaters for my neices. I might get to that soon. And I finally finished one of G's socks and cast on for the 2nd one. I'm almost to the heel on it! Might finished those this year! G really wants to be able to wear them. It's nice to know they're appreciated!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brown N Serve.....Later

I have a tradition in my family that I like to make home made rolls for Thanksgiving lunch. I have another tradition that I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen at Thanksgiving so I do as much as I can ahead of time. I found a recipe years ago that told you how to make brown and serve know the kind you pop in the freezer and when you need them you pop them in the oven. Simple, huh? This isn't that recipe but I use that same theory. That way we can have home made bread on a holiday but I won't be in the kitchen all day.
I'm fond of this shape of roll. Reminds me of the ones my mom used to make. So here's my rolls after they've risen:
And just after popping them in the oven:
The trick to this is to fully cook the rolls but take them out after they just start to turn brown. Here are mine. I made 2 dozen - okay...only 23 are left but who's counting?

And the bonus is your house gets to smell like that warm yeasty bread goodness TWICE!

Here is a picture of my pup Cody. He absolutely hates to have his picture taken. He's kind of camera shy (actually the red light on the camera scares him as he wasn't properly raised to be a camera ham) but he actually let me take this picture without bolting. He loves to sit on the back of our couch this way. He had his head on the couch with his little pink tongue hanging out when I ruined his evening with the camera. Not the most flattering picture but with him you have to be happy with whatever you can get.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Love Mail!

On the 16th I won a 100th Post Give Away on Chris's blog "Greetings From the Shady Grove". Friday, my box arrived! I knew what it was but simply didn't have time to open it. I'd just gotten back from my knit group and had to cut muslin in preparation for a Free Motion Quilting Class in Orlando that I took on Saturday. So I opened the package a few minutes ago....
Chris hand dye's fabrics. When I saw this stack of greens and blues on her Etsy site, I loved them! I was expecting the fabrics to be the prize, aren't they fantastic?!
What I wasn't expecting and was truly surprised to see was this gorgeous stained glass snowflake which Chris also made! I live in Florida....this is as close as I'm going to get to snow here. It is STUNNING! Even J, the typical aloof teenager, said it was "cool"! I can't wait to put this baby on my Christmas tree! She is an amazing artist!
Chris is from Wisconsin and sent a really cute postcard of cows too! Chris, thank you so much! I love, love, love it all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Class on How to Dye Yarn - Part 2

In my first post about my class on how to dye yarn, I showed you photos of the yarn in the crockpots soaking up the dye. Today's post is all about the results! Here are the 6 yarns I came home with after they dried. The skeins 2nd, 4th and 5th from the left were skeins we over dyed - which was a really fun process!
This picture below is of some of Sugarbees yarn. The photo is to illustrate the yarn before and after reskiening so you can see the difference. The photos of my finished yarn above are before reskiening. I thought I'd taken pictures of the reskiened yarn but I haven't but I'll post pictures after I've done that. Knowing relatively little about yarn, I wasn't aware how different it would look and thought maybe some of you out there might not as well. The photo below is the SAME colorway. Just reskiened on a different scale so the color variations line up a bit differently. Gorgeous either way! Sugarbee is SO talented (and I can't believe I didn't buy that yarn as I have the perfect outfit already to knit something up with it)!

The 2 photos below are the 2nd and 4th skeins before we overdyed them. We overdyed one skein with a pumpkin color and the other with a burgandy color. I can't remember which before picture ended up as which after picture but you get the idea! Sugarbee dyed the yarns she is holding below.

I'm definitely going to continue experimenting with yarn and the dye process. Why? Not to sell (frankly I do not have time) but for my personal use. Plus it's FUN! The year of 2008 has been about my discovering other interests besides family and work. It's been successful beyond belief. When 2008 rolled around, I wasn't knitting, I had no idea how to use anything but the simplest setting on my camera, and I certainly wasn't quilting or dyeing yarn! The part that I had not thought about was all the new friends I'd make and for that I'm extremely grateful!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2nd Quilting Class

I had the first session of my second quilting class at the Olde Green Cupboard. I had forgotten about it so I had to run back home to get my supplies and sewing machine during my lunch hour. I thought the class started NEXT week. Thankfully I'd been in the store the day before and picked out my fabric with the help of the owner, Gloria. Fabric selection is tough for me. So many choices and being new it can be a bit overwhelming. This is what Gloria and I ended up with:
We're making "Down the Road" from the book "It's a Dogs Life" by Carrie Nelson. I couldn't find a picture of the quilt to post so I'll be posting my own a long the way.
In non crafting news, this is the little guy that is totally taunting my 2 terriers. Driving them crazy. Cody has caught 2 squirrels already so I hope this guy stays safe.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vacation Haul

We visited Mountain Stitches by Susan. Her shop was smaller than the other shop we visited but she has a great selection. Lots of patterns. Susan is super nice and we spent some time talking to her and her husband. She is in the process of setting up a long arm business as well. You can tell that she really loves quilting.
G and I went to the Cherry Pit which is a lovely quilt shop. They had a great selection of fabric. I fell in love with this yellowy Moda fabric. The other fabric was from the $4 yard bin and I'll use that for practice. I've had 2 Ravelers send me a generous amount of scraps so I picked up the scrap book for inspiration. I think I'm going to practice on doll quilts for my nieces. At least that is the plan! I picked up 2 patterns - the infamous Yellow Brick Road and the Star Quartet. The Star Quartet is way beyond my abilities and will be for some time but G had been looking at it and said he really liked it. I realized I had looked at it several times too so I picked it up for future use!
The only yarn shop in the area is The Smoky Mountain Spinnery. She has some lovely spinning fibers. I don't spin and even after visiting a well stocked spinning store I don't have any interest. I'm not saying I'll never have interest but at this moment I don't see it. She also had a lovely selection of yarns and I fell in love with this Cascade Rustic. I love black and heather grays.

This is the second November we've made a trip to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area for vacation. Both visits we've done an excellent job of staying off the "strip" and staying away from the touristy type attractions and the outlet mall shopping. The photos above are truly all we bought other than 2 hiking trail books from the park store. I don't consider the yarn and quilt shops as tourist attractions though I'm sure they do get a lot of out of town shoppers.

The Smoky Mountain National Park is where we spend all our time other than a quick late lunch or early dinner. If you've never been there, I can't even begin to tell you how beautiful and peaceful it is here in this park. It's always so hard to leave.....