Thursday, February 27, 2014

Creative looping

We had a big storm last night.  The kind that batters the house with wind and slanting rain, tosses the garbage cans and tears at the trees.  I almost put in ear plugs, it was that noisy and I was trying hard to sleep and not get anxious about loosing power and the giant redwood trees swaying above the bedroom roof.
But this morning all was calm again, the sun came out and I pulled out my seed packets, and new fabric and imagined a garden of zinnias and cosmos, and a soft spring quilt with puffy batting and voile backing.
In reality I have projects backed up like airplanes on the tarmac at LAX, and I'm doing a great job of avoiding each and every one of them.
I played around with this square and some cotton yarn, just because it was easy and new and NOT a project I should be working on. At first I thought, okay, I'll just make a few and turn them into pincushions. Done. But as I dipped into the fabric stash, I gave it more thought and my mind turned to pot holders.  Nope. Got more pot holders than pots around here.
What to do?
What I don't want to do is create yet another half finished project that will soon be decorating the inside of my closet.
Do you see any logic in any of this?  Let's make more things so we don't have to make the things we are already making.
I'm stuck in a creative loop.
Hopefully, I will finish off the "thing"(I still don't know what it's going to be), for my next post.

Meanwhile, the puppy's favorite toy has checked into the sewing hospital for a face transplant.....
Luna has been playing with this monkey for three months now, and frankly I'm surprised it's lasted that long.  Most dogs would have ripped that face off in 2.5 seconds, but Luna just kind of mouths it gently, and rolls it around with her on the floor. She probably doesn't care, but monkey is headed for the washing machine too.  So a monkey makeover and an unidentified crochet/fabric project is what I'll be working on this week. What's in your loop?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Full of February

I started keeping a household journal lately, of projects, appointments, phone numbers, blog post ideas, or just daily observations.  There is probably an app for my phone that does the same thing, but I enjoy making notes in my little book. Looking back on the entries, I see there is a lot going on, but nothing is finished as yet. February has been a full month so far.
I'm still piecing my Liberty patchwork, quilting the economy block quilt and slowly adding to a growing pile of scrappy half square triangle blocks. That vintage pattern shown up there will hopefully be turned into some cotton frocks with deep pockets for collecting eggs and veggies from the garden. I'm obsessed with smock/apron/dresses right now. I want a whole closet full like these

My Nordic shawl is halfway done, but the picture doesn't look much different from the last time I posted it, so I'm sharing my knitting swatches instead.  This is actually taking up a lot of my time.  I remember learning how to crochet a few years ago.  I spent hours practicing, watching you-tube videos and reading books before I managed a completed shawl. So it goes with knitting.
I did make a trip to the yarn shop yesterday, just to soak up some knitting atmosphere and pet all the yarn.  I left with two hanks of Berocco Flicker, knitting needles, and some motivation. There are so many pretty knitting patterns, blogs, pins on Pinterest, posts on Ravelry, that my head is full and excited at the same time. The last thing I need is another craft, but I really want to make this work for me.

Out in the yard, we are re-configuring the garden, making new raised beds and cleaning out the shed.  Before I can bring new chicks home, we need to repair the chicken coop and paint.  Might as well take advantage of the nice weather and get a jump on some of these chores. Here in California, spring is handing winter his hat and coat and pushing him out the door.
With help from my sister, I have started a weight lifting program at the gym. I hate that I'm so sore after working in the yard, and I think this should make a difference.
I'm also deep into the book The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.  The first few chapters were iffy, I put it down and then picked it up again, without too much enthusiasm.  But everything changed in part two and now we're getting somewhere.  I'm glad I kept going.
As I'm typing, the U.S. women's hockey team is playing Canada for the gold medal. My sisters and I are texting each other madly back and forth.  They are tied 2-2 in the last few seconds of regulation time, and will be going into overtime. As a Canadian living in the U.S., I'm actually a bit torn regarding the winner.  I guess either way I can't lose.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quiltus Interruptus

Two other larger quilts were put on hold to make a quick mini.  First I saw this one, then that one, and then I dove headfirst into my scrap pile (don't worry, it's a pretty big pile, so I didn't hurt myself), and a marathon of cutting, basting, stitching and binding ensued.
I tried really hard not to use my ruler, so there would be some wonkiness. The quilting lines were not marked either, I just kind of eyeballed it. 
This is going into my "gift" basket.  A lot of the things I make are gifted throughout the year.  When a birthday or Christmas comes up, I search the basket for a present before I run out to buy something. 
So very satisfying.

Dark gray fabric: Kona (don't know the color, charcoal?)
Backing: Alexander Henry "Market Stalls", bought at Joann's
Finished size: 25x25 inches

Saturday, February 8, 2014


This weekend I am fiddling with a blanket idea (inspiration here), basting my economy block quilt, walking in the RAIN in my new wellies (Finally!!! I was beginning to think I would never get to use them), and starting a Nordic Shawl while watching the Olympics.  That's it.  Short and sweet.
Speaking of sweet, check out this recipe I brought to the Superbowl party.
I could eat it for breakfast right now, put my whole face right in the bowl.
I should probably just have some eggs, sigh.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Project bag

I made a linen project bag and added a row of granny squares front and back, along the bottom.  A little bit of sewing and crocheting, just the way I like it.  We finally got some rain last week (52 days since the last rain here), but only overnight.  The sound woke me up, and I laid there and enjoyed it for a while before falling back to sleep. Since then the pear tree in the backyard has begun to blossom, and then the bees appeared out of nowhere. They are so noisy, that when you stand under it, the tree sounds as though it's humming to itself.
A new butternut squash soup was a hit, with the addition of a chopped apple, paprika and chili powder.  I never would have thought of those two spices in a butternut soup, but it was really good.  However, if you're going to add Hot Hungarian paprika like I did (all I had in the pantry), you may want to put in less than the recipe calls for.  I had to finish my soup off with the cream (not a bad thing, I must say) to take the sting out of it.
We are going to a Superbowl party today.  It's cold and cloudy.  A storm is on the way, and I would rather stay home in my pajamas, work on some embroidery, and watch the game from my own couch.  Instead, I guess I'll go put on a bra and some makeup so I don't scare anyone.

Here are the links to

Butternut squash soup recipe

Crochet granny square  
For the granny square there was no tutorial so I just copied the picture as best I could.  Round 1 is 12 dc's.  Round 2 is 2dc, ch1 in between each dc from previous round.  Round 3 is the same as round 2.  Last round is 3dc, ch1 ( in between dc from previous round).  Do this twice, then make your corner with 3dc, ch 2 3dc. Repeat all around. I used Knit Picks Dishie yarn with a G hook.

orange and white linen fabric