Saturday, December 28, 2013

Food, Fabric and Fun

Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  They are long gone or I would share with all of you. If I'm going to get fat I need company.

A splurge on some Liberty fabric from Westwood Acres.  Go there.  Drool.  Buy some.

Here comes the fun........
My new Christmas toy.  I am seeeeew happy!  Yay for the husband who tracked down a Featherweight right before Christmas.  I was looking for a 221, but he came up with a 222K.  Never heard of it.
But.... everything is the same as for a 221, except for 2 distinct features which happen to be an asset.

Distinct feature #1
The deck slides off for free arm sewing. Oh happy day.

Distinct feature #2
If you push that small screw to the "darn" position, it lowers the feed dogs!!!!  Do you know what that means?  You can quilt on this baby!! I am using way too many exclamation marks, but friends, this was way more than I was hoping for.  The 222 was made in Scotland, and is not as common as the 221.  I can't believe my luck.  Anyway I'm having fun reading about them and playing around on it.  It also came with several attachments, including one for sewing ruffles and bias tape.  I ordered a zipper foot for it yesterday.

And of course, I started a new quilt.
Happy New Year!!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

A bit of sewing

It's so incredibly dry here.  There has been no significant rain for weeks.  When you stand on the carpet and touch the light switch, you get a shock.  Reach down to pet the dog, and, youch, a shock.  Yesterday I pulled my fleece sweatshirt over my head and I saw a thousand popping flashes of light as the material dragged across my hair creating static. Shocking.
Instead of rain, we have brisk cold, blue skies and crunchy leaves. Good walking weather.  Also nice light for taking pictures.
 I finally got some stolen moments at the sewing machine and put together a couple of market tote bags based on this pattern.  The fabric was cut out weeks ago, but I just haven't had time to put them together until today.  I'm itching to sew more now.  Those bags were just the appetizer.  After Christmas, I want to sew up the main course.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

5 row scarf and a tree

Okay so this scarf has more than 5 rows but it's all about the method I used to finish it.  This is the one-skein chevron scarf I made first in pink, back here, and is free on Ravelry.  I used Madelinetosh Pashmina in Olivia this time, which looks like a pukey green color in all of these pictures, but is incredibly soft against the skin. Since "the puppy" is my new full time job, I kept this project within easy reach, and would sit (or stand), and try to bust out 5 rows at a time.  It would go something like this:
Crochet row 1
Get up and remove the couch from puppies mouth
crochet row 2-3
take puppy out to pee, walk around back yard for-ev-er
15 minutes later, crochet row 4
get up to answer phone, and run back to the couch in time to save $30 skein of Pashmina yarn from puppy teeth (no harm done)
crochet row 5
And so it went.
Our 11 year old Lab (nicest dog ever) is just not that into the new addition to the family.  Maybe it's because the puppy relentlessly launches herself at any of his loose, sagging skin folds, latches on, and swings like Tarzan. For now we are keeping them segregated, and trying to give him some special one on one time.
 Like the rest of you, I've been busy decorating and wrapping and shopping.  I'm also eating a ton of Satsuma tangerines, which I absolutely love (almost as much as the See's candy I usually consume this time of year, but I have vowed to change my evil sugary ways.)  I really should plant a tree.  A tangerine tree, not a See's candy tree. 
I already started another scarf (In green again.  I don't know what that's all about. I don't like green that much), this time in Malabrigo.  More on that later.)

Right now, my daughter and I are watching White Christmas, and drinking Brandy Alexanders (here's the recipe I used).  I'm waiting for the husband to come back from the hardware store with tree stand #2.  Our tree is currently leaning half way out of the crap tree stand, despite the addition of bricks, plastic wire, and an assortment of oddities gleaned from the corners of the garage.  Every Christmas there always has to be a tree of epic proportions, which usually requires a hole filled with quick dry cement and guide wires.  Meanwhile the boy ducked out to play football with his buddies, the puppy is howling for her food, and the pizza is being delivered.  For some reason, putting up the Christmas tree requires a certain amount of drama around here, and this year is no exception. Hence the Brandy Alexanders.
From my nut house to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Making and Baking

First, thank for for the comments on my last few posts.  The Internet has finally been fixed (after appointments with 5 different technicians, and me threatening to go over to another provider), and I can now get a handle on my email.  There are responses to your comments floating in the air somewhere, probably hanging out with the lost socks from the dryer.
So now down to the business of making things,
You know you are getting old have been quilting for a long time, when some of the first quilts you made are looking rather "vintage" and worn.  These two quilts are well used, faded and the fabric is falling apart in places.  I just can't throw them away.  So.......
So far I'm making garland, but I can see pillows, Christmas stockings, and gift tags (you can see some made with old quilts here and new fabric over here.)
Yesterday I made some coconut macaroons from this cookbook.  No flour or white sugar.  Shredded coconut, coconut oil, coconut sugar (yes there is such a thing!), chocolate chips and vanilla.  That's it! So good.

I'm just starting my decorating.  How about you?

Monday, December 2, 2013


She's here!!!!

This is Luna. 8 weeks old and sweet as can be. Floppy ears, soulful eyes, and a calm, quiet disposition.  She is the color of the moon and just as magical. I could eat her up.
She sleeps a lot, then we play, then she eats, then she poops and then she sleeps some more. Rinse and repeat. In the middle of the night we creep downstairs and go out to the backyard.  While she goes potty, I shiver in my pajamas and look up at the stars and listen to critters stirring in the bushes. 
Inside, my house is full of chew toys, crates, gates and dog beds. Electrical cords and shoes are considered fair game, so they are constantly picked up or hidden. People come over to visit her and bring her gifts like she is royalty.  She has taken over the house. 
Looks like it might be a while before I can spend any stretch of time in the sewing room, so crocheting may be my go to craft of the moment.  I don't mind a bit.

The end

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bread and Blanket

I've been so busy getting ready for Thanksgiving!  The girl arrived yesterday, and the boy comes home tonight.  My husband's birthday is tomorrow.  The Internet/phone lines have been up and down like a dog on a football, and I will be lucky to get this post done without getting kicked off in mid sentence. I am now having conversations with an elderly man who is sharing our phone line and it's kind of hilarious.  I'm getting to know the phone numbers coming across on the caller ID that belong to him, so we don't answer.  I'm sure he's been plenty entertained by listening to our phone conversations. Hopefully all should be fixed by Friday and then I can resume visiting blogs and Pinterest.

I finished the Modern Alchemy blanket, made entirely of Paton's classic wool that I had in the cupboard.  I'm trying to beat my yarn stash into submission without buying any more, at least until the end of the year.  A few things about this pattern I really liked....
It was fast!  Kind of like a ripple, you can watch t.v. and be hooking without looking, yo.
The pattern creates a scalloped bottom and top edge, as well as smooth sides. I didn't feel a border was necessary to finish it off.
I love the ridges it creates.  It looks rather accordion like, which stretches as you snuggle under it.
I crocheted 8 rows per color, which used up almost the entire ball, and threw in a couple of extra skinny cream colored rows.
Feeling full of myself after the blanket finish, I attempted this bread the other day, and it was so good I was lucky to get a picture before we devoured it.  You're supposed to wait and let it cool for an hour after taking it from the oven.  Ha!  We started slicing off the ends well before that, slathering on the butter, completely ignoring the fact that it was supposed to be served with soup for dinner.  Oh well.

We get our new little puppy this weekend.  Since I was the last to put in a deposit, I get the last pick of the litter.  So we have to wait for everyone else to make their choice.  It's like waiting for the bread all over again.  I went to check out the dogs, you know, make sure they didn't have 3 legs and 4 eyeballs, but of course they were all cute.  Really have you ever seen an ugly 8 week old lab puppy?
So it's turning out to be a very exciting week here at Pieceful.  Hope yours is just as fun.
Have a great Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I is for Indulgence

This weekend is turning out to be so very satisfying.  Not only is the weather still bright and pretty (And soo dry. No rain yet.  I'm turning into a mummy here!), but I'm lazily indulging myself in a few treats.
I've been slowly adding to my collection of Berroco Vintage yarn, and finally got down to the business of winding the skeins into balls.  I have no clue what I'm going to make, but it's fun to imagine and just play with it.

I made a Tea Time trivet out of scraps, and now I'm thinking I should have another in Christmas colors.  I love the little felted wool balls on the corners.

I bought a new cookbook yesterday.  Even though I have an Amazon wish list full of books I would like for Christmas, this is the season for cooking and I want need it now.

And later I'm going shopping.  Not for clothes, makeup, shoes, yarn, fabric or food.  But for one of these....................

                                                          (source Pinterest)

Could you just kiss that face!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Star attraction

I'm making another attempt at English Paper Piecing, this time using the diamond template.  In a box under my work table there are half dozen or so hexagon flowers still waiting to be turned into something, but for the moment this has caught my eye.  I was looking for a project to use up my Hope Valley fabric, then started to read that book and the next thing you know I'm cutting out paper diamonds and stitching fabric shapes by hand.  I figure the hexagons were just practice, preparing me for a Star of Bethlehem quilt.  This time around I'm gluing the fabric to the paper.  I usually hand baste with needle and thread, but the glue stick is a huge time saver!  I also load up about 4 needles at a time on my spool of thread.  I had never heard of this before, and it's one of those tricks that make you want to smack your forehead and wonder why you never thought of it.
Simply pull one needle to the front, push the others back toward the spool, until you have about 18 inches or so in between.  Cut the thread in front of the remaining needles, and you have a threaded needle all ready to go, with more waiting as you need them. Kind of humbling isn't it?
Anyway the book is about a young Quaker girl from England who comes to America with her sister. Quilting and the Underground Railroad are the background themes here, and the author often emphasizes the differences between the English paper piecing quilts, and the applique quilts done in America.  When I started reading the story, I didn't know it had anything to do with quilting, so it was a nice surprise. It also got me whipped up for a few days of searching the web and Pinterest  for fun facts on EPP, and Star of Bethlehem patterns. Yeah I'm a dork.
The crochet blanket is almost done, just need to add a couple of more stripes.  I'm using mostly Paton's worsted wool with my H hook.  The pattern is from Lions Brand and you can find it here.  I added more chains to make it wider (multiple of 7 plus 1), and I worked into the loop created by the chains in the pattern, NOT the chains themselves, which goes a lot faster.  I saw several people on Ravelry did the same thing.
Did you notice they are really pushing Christmas this year?  I guess we have fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the stores aren't wasting any time.  I swear I saw my first Christmas commercial on Halloween. There is holiday music on the radio and in the department stores. I'm not ready for this.  I just got out my Thanksgiving decorations, and am enjoying the fall weather.  Here are a few pieces of my turkey collection. 
We have been hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of the family for almost 20 years, and I've had plenty of time to add to my collection while browsing thrift stores and flea markets.  Some have been given to me as gifts. I especially like the ones that are also vases.  I fill them with flowers and set them on the counters in the bathrooms.  I don't usually collect anything besides books and fabric, but these only come out once a year so they are fun to unwrap and spread around the house.
Anyone else hosting Thanksgiving?