Friday, December 30, 2011

New projects for the New Year

Hi everyone!  Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.  Santa was very good to me, and as usual, left me a pile of books under the tree (Thank you Amazon wish list. I love you).  There are a couple of projects I would like to start right away, but I seem to be sidetracked with cleaning and entertaining, or going out to be entertained.  Anyway here's what I got. . . . .
That's my kinda present!  Then I bought something for myself.  I caved to the dozens of emails flooding my box with fabric sales.  I tried to look away. My delete button just wasn't cooperating. I am weak, I know.

Not very exciting color wise, but I wanted some linen.  Also let it be noted that this is the first ever piece of fabric, or piece of anything for that matter, that I have bought with an owl on it.  I know there are a lot of owly things out there, and it has become very popular, but I grew up in the 70's when owls first appeared and they were bloody UGLY.  I have turned a deaf ear to all things owlish ever since.  But I feel myself melting a bit.  I have seen some very cute crochet owls out there, as well as fabric, so I figured a yard of Japanese owl linen would hurt.  We will see.   I want to sew today, but I'm doing this instead. . . . . .
We are having friends over for dinner tonight and  I have to run back to the store again.  I can't wait for next week, when everyone goes back to school and work, and I can dig into my sewing room, clean it up and start making things! During the holidays, my sewing room was the temporary store room for presents, wrapping station, and general "just throw it in there for now" room. What a mess. 

Ha Ha.  It looks even worse in my head.  Anyway, Happy New Year!!!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last minute littles

I just finished up the last of my Christmas shopping and present making.  Here are two quickies you could make this week!
Coffee cozies.  Pattern and tutorial from House on Hill Road.  I've made these before and they always turn out great.  Whip one of these out of your purse next time you go to Starbucks, and everyone will say "Ooooh!  Where did you get that?"  Way cuter than the cardboard ones.  Just remember to take it off before you throw away your cup.  Speaking from experience here.
And more crochet washcloths.  I like these best out of white Cotton Ease.  Pattern on Ravelry, called Simple Stripes Dishcloth by Doni Speigle.

Tomorrow my daughter and I are going over to my sister in laws house (Hi Karen!) to help make the Tamales for Christmas Eve dinner.  I imagine all the women folk will be in the kitchen, wearing our holiday aprons, cooking and having a glass of wine. It should be fun!  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas rush hour

Are you enjoying these last few days before Christmas?  The Christmas music, the cocoa, cookies, wrapping presents, decorations......ahhhh it is soooo fun!!  My crochet hook is running at warp speed as I finish up my projects.
Among the avalanche of boxes arriving daily (I did a lot of online shopping this year), I managed to sneak something in for myself.  I ordered this basket and Paton's canadiana acrylic yarn in a million juicy colors (well maybe only 14 colors), from Joann's.  The basket is only sold online.  It has a cute green and white cotton liner and it's on wheels.(As I write this post, they now offer it in white with a blue liner...aaaagh, I like that one more!)  My daughter laughed at me as I wheeled my yarn around the house.  Hey-I like my yarn OK?
I'm test driving a little block found here.  I don't know what they will be yet, just enjoying the colors and quickness of it all.

Also made a snowflake garland from this blog. Very easy and cute! Nice blog too!
The big snowflake in the middle is from Attic 24.  I'm still working on the giant granny blanket for my son.  Only six more rounds and a border to go.  But today I have to put down the hook  in order to clean house and wrap a sleigh load of presents.  The music is on and I am home by myself sipping tea and looking through cookbooks.  Oh, Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way..........

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Magic

Magical thrifty find:
Seriously this was $1.50 at the Goodwill Thrift shop.  Why would anyone want to get rid of this cute little pillow of Christmasness?  I feel like I rescued something from The Island of Misfit Toys.

Magical Photo Op:
We finished decorating the Giant Sequoia Redwood Christmas tree and when I took pictures afterwards the Star of Bethlehem appeared in the window above.  Actually it was the moon, but I like the star thing better (goosebumps, like when I'm listening to Josh sing Ave Maria).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa on steroids

O.k. ladies, gather round with your cups of Christmas cheer and find out what happens when you leave things up to the men.  Yesterday I left for a shopping trip to the mall (hate).  My husband and son were going to get the tree.  Now usually we all go together and make a big production out of it.  Even though my girls are grown and moved out, we still get together as a family for the tree shopping.  It goes something like this: argue about what day to go, argue about where we are going to buy the tree, then go out to dinner first (including another argument about where to eat), then lots of drama at the tree lot (of course) and finally bringing it home to decorate.  I love my family.
For a few years we were getting the tree flocked with a light dusting of the fake snow, but this turned out to be a pain, since we had to come back and pick it up the next day.  Nobody wanted to do that and usually ended up with more bickering and in the true spirit of Christmas, led to comments like (cover your ears if you offend easily) "Flock you" and  "Flock off".  So much for Peace on Earth.

Are you still with me?  This picture makes me dizzy.  Anyway, back to yesterday.  We haven't been able to coordinate schedules, so we broke with tradition and the GUYS bought the tree.  Since we moved into this house, my husband and son have wanted to put in a HUGE tree.  Something so big and filled with testosterone, that it belongs in a town square, with hundreds of little WHO characters linked arm in arm singing "Fa Who Do Ray", or whatever Seussism  is chanted.  But us three girls,(estrogen) kept the purchase balanced and practical. Not. This. Year.
When I got in from shopping, the smell of pine slapped me in the face and cleared my sinuses.  I thought the whole tree lot was in my living room.  Well almost.
I have to hand it to them, I don't know how they got it in here.  I  envisioned them cutting a swath through the house like a giant tree tsunami, leaving behind a pile of area rugs, lamps and pictures off the wall.  Putting up a tree this size would be worth a divorce if my husband and I were trying to get it into the stand.  But they did it, and I don't want to know how, especially the part where my son was hanging over the balcony to put on the tree topper. (Women would have put the topper on when the tree is laying on the ground right?)
I don't even have a tree skirt for this thing.  To the boys credit, they put down some old pool towels to protect the hardwood floor.  There is a big metal stand under there with wooden shims to keep it straight.  Yes you heard me. Shims.  This is turning into a Home Depot project.
Tonight we go out to dinner, then come back and trim this behemoth.  It should be hilarious.  I will need to get more lights today.  We may blow a fuse.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Maybe next year

Do you love this?  Me too!!!  I only wish I had seen it in September or October when I would have had a chance at making my own.   Christmas is creeping up, and unless I want to pay Anthropologie prices, I don't foresee these beauties under my tree or on my mantle anytime soon. 
 Crochet Christmas tree skirt and wool bunting.  For next year!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sew Crafty

Here is a fun quick gift item, you may want to make for someone who loves to sew, or for yourself!
They are pin cushion/sewing kits in a jar!  Cute!
All you need is a mason jar with ring (you won't need the middle seal), a scrap of fabric, some thin but sturdy cardboard and fiberfill.  I found this tutorial ( and great blog too!).
You could even dress it up with a little crochet edging, or paint the rings. Make sure to get some nice pins. Check these out!
Have fun!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Thought I'd share a few pictures of what a California central valley White Christmas looks like.
Sometimes it can stay like this for days and days.  It's damp and chilly and the tree branches drip all day like a runny nose. We just wait for a storm to come in and blow it all away.  But it's cozy inside with a fire and some cocoa.  Perfect time for some crochet or sewing.
This is Tea Scarf by Pixeldiva.  You can also find it on Ravelry.  I've made this before with acrylic, but I really like it better out of wool (Paton's).  The red is Cotton Ease.  If you make it, use a larger hook size for the starting chain so it won't curve.  I also crocheted into the back loop of my starting chain for row one, so there is a good stitch to work into when you come around to make the ruffle.  I added the red in single crochet, before I started the ruffle.  I'm thinking of another one in this colorway.
I also started this scarf from the book Cute and Easy Crochet.  I'm loving the puffy chunkiness of it!! If you buy this book, keep in mind it is written in UK terms.
And I finally decided what to make with my Hope Valley fabric that has been in my closet for a year.
 I bought the Swoon pattern from Camille Roskelley.  Go take a look at these big beautiful 24" blocks and tell me you wouldn't love this quilt!  It measures 80"x80" and you need 4 1/4 yards white fabric just for the front.  It's going to be a doozy!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stick a fork in me, I'm done

Thanksgiving morning....
The morning after....
I'll be back when I'm done cleaning up my mess.  Hope your holiday was a good one!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

L is for Liam

Liam isn't here yet.  We are all waiting with excitement for his arrival, especially his big brother Logan. 
The baby shower is today, and while I had bought my niece the diaper bag she picked out, I also wanted to add something handmade.  So on Friday I whipped up a little quilt (31x36) out of leftover DS fabric.
Hope the boys don't end up fighting over this since their names each begin with "L". Ha Ha , did Auntie Lynne just start something?
The backing is a  nice soft flannel from Joann's. They had a whole wall of new flannels with many colors and designs to choose from.  This was a lucky match.  It washed up great, and now it's wrapped and ready to go.  I might make a bigger version for me next time. " L" is for Lynne too!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Granny wears linen

You never know what will inspire you when browsing through all the fantastic blogs out there.  For my blanket, I first spied this over at Suz Place.   You could sit for hours and look through all her pretty crochet.  Then I found this post and I was smitten.  I love linen.  And that just happened to be the name of the color I used for this afghan.

It's funny though, depending on the light, this color can look dingy, like a thumb sucking 3 year old has dragged it around forever, and you have to carefully pry it from their tight little fist while they are sleeping so it can be washed.

Or the colorful little grannies with their white centers can sparkle like Edward when he steps into the sunlit meadow with Bella (You will only get that if you have seen or read Twilight)

Either way I like it, right down to the cute little pink edging.  It's made entirely from my stash of Vanna's acrylic, with a J hook, so it came out nice and thick, and warm too!  Time to pick out the next project :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Breakfast and a quilting update

This morning I made a Dutch Baby, courtesy of Angry Chicken. 
I added my own spin on this puffy pancake, by sauteing some chopped apples in butter and cinnamon before pouring in the batter.  It bakes in the oven for about 20 minutes, just enough time to make some bacon.
Oh yummy, and super easy.  I ate too much then I felt like this.....
I bet you didn't know I decorate with doggie gargoyles.  Really he is so ugly you gotta love him.  OK on to fabric.  I pulled out two quilts from last year that never got finished because the I just ran out of time somewhere around Thanksgiving( gee, kinda like this year).  Hopefully I can get these quilted soon.  I would hate for them to be stuffed back in the cupboard for another year.  One was for fall...
And this is a Christmas quilt with minkee in the borders and a flannel backing.
I also want to show you what I bought with my gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts. 
Complete fat quarter bundle of Daisy Cottage by Riley Blake.  This is going to make a really cute quilt.  Almost as cute as this...
Better?  My "granny wears linen" blanket is almost done.  I should be posting about it in a few days.  Other than quilting those two blankets, I don't know if I'm going to start any new big projects between now and Christmas.  Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we are hosting dinner here.  My panties are already in a knot, even though I still have plenty of time.  I think.
Are you hosting this year? Just a quiet dinner with immediate family or a big blow out (like us).  Or do you go to grandmas house?  We used to cook two turkeys, one on the barbecue, and one in the oven, usually soaked in brine first.  But now I'm back to one giant stuffed bird in the oven.  We also have to make it buffet style, because we just can't get 16 to 18 people around a table.  I usually serve one specialty cocktail, along with beer and wine.  Last year it was chocolate espresso martinis. Yes. They were amazing.  I'm having a hard time choosing this year.  Anyone have a good holiday cocktail recipe?  I would love to hear your Thanksgiving plans!