Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year all! As usual, a new start brings with it hope and encouragement. I might have a new crafty start tomorrow. I am going to begin working on a temperature blanket. 

I've decided to go with the Painted Pixel Blanket by Susan Carlson. I've been drooling over this pattern for a while now and this temperature blanket seemed like a good place to give it a try. I might do the daily high, low, and average, just to make the blanket bigger. A throw size blanket requires 750 squares and is only 50 x 60. Adding another temperature set would give me a 60" x 72"  blanket. I've also decided to use temperatures from 2009.

Other things I have been working on while on vacation this week is the Tiger cross stitch.

 Before I go back to work on Tuesday, I'd like to finish the row I'm currently working on.

I also spent some time on the rainbow dresden plate quilt top. I just need to finish appliqueing the center medallions. This is where I stopped when my bobbin thread ran out. You sewy-people know what I'm talking about.

Finally, I finished the cowl that I started using some of the yarn from my Christmas present.

My sewing room cleaning has begun, but I'm sure you'll understand it when I say that I keep getting distracted by things in the sewing room. "Oh, I should really finish this..." etc. That's actually how the rainbow quilt ended up getting so much progress. I've managed to sort out a pile of yarn, fleece, and my cotton sewing threads that I no longer use and piled it in a box to donate. This cleaning thing will probably be a multiple week process and will hopefully come with some project completions and finding a new home for craft supplies that I no longer need/want.

My vacation time is flying by and I barely feel like I took full advantage of it. I get to enjoy a couple more days of calm and quiet before the 9-5 work grind takes hold again.

Have a blessed holiday!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Post Christmas Wrap-up

Greeting all. I hope you all had a nice quiet, peaceful holiday.

This past Friday I had a painting date with my favorite cousin. We painted snowmen at Painting with a Twist.

Saturday was Christmas at the in-laws. Most of my free time last week was spent scrambling to get a couple gifts finished up. The Slytherin scarf was wrapped up unfinished. After it was opened up, I took an hour or so to finish the scarf while everyone else was continuing to open their presents. I am very relieved to say that it is now complete and was well received. I don't think I've ever had so much trouble with a crochet project before.

I completed a couple crochet hook holders for the niece and mother-in-law.

For Christmas, I received a wide assortment of beautiful threads, yarns, cross stitch patterns, and associated accessories, including a *squee* YARN BALL WINDER AND YARN SWIFT! I don't have any hanks of yarn to test out the swift yet, but I've already put the ball winder to good use and now I have an excuse to find some pretty yarn in hanks. I mean, it would just be rude not to. It was a gift, after all.

Also, some original artwork courtesy of my niece!

Today is my first day to just stay home, relax, and play with some of my new toys. I couldn't resist starting a new scarf with some of the new yarn. The pattern is from my favorite how-to crochet book and is called Very Open Lace. I'm using a bulkier yarn than I think the pattern was intended for and its still coming out quite lovely. I've also discovered that I find it very easy to read crochet graph!

 My week was filling up much faster than I liked and I had to fight to preserve a few quiet days for myself and the hubs. Please remember to take some quiet time for yourself and your family this week.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Only One Week Until Christmas!

Are you ready for Christmas? All my presents are ordered, I'm just waiting for them to arrive in the mail so I can wrap them and stick them under the tree. The next week will be spent scrambling to get two or three projects completed in time to gift for Christmas.   

The new start is the Love is Patient mini cross stitch kit by Dimensions. It is mostly half cross and backstitch and will probably stitch up quite fast. This is meant as a gift for someone, but not a Christmas thing, so I have plenty of time.

The other project I am spending lots of time on is the scarf. The first one was shrinking, so I scrapped it after I figured out what I had done wrong. The restart is coming along much better, although I still find that I drop a stitch here and there and have to rip out several rows of work. 

Old scarf, now scrapped
New scarf - not perfect but much much better.
I seem to be having trouble with the color changes but on a whole I'm much happier with the new one. I estimate this is approximately 1/3 complete.

 I find that alternating between types of projects reduces hand fatigue, so if that is a problem for you, consider taking on a second hand crafting hobby.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Amazing Shrinking Scarf

Well, its been a little hit or miss but I think I finally figured out how to keep this scarf from shrinking on me every few rows. I've learned a bit an

Now that I have a few things figured out, I think a restart is in order. I'm going to frog what I can and try to do a hdc foundation chain. The pattern is 40 hdc across: twenty rows of green, two rows of silver, three rows of green, two rows of silver, repeat.  I have 11 days to finish this. 

I did promise pictures of my Black Friday Herschnerr's Loot. I was trying to pick colors that would be good for men, because most of what I've crocheted so far are definitely feminine. These should make some nice scarves and hats. I attempted a couple of patterns but ended up frogging them. I will give them another try in the near future.

My cross stitching corner has been temporarily dismantled, possibly until Christmas break, so I ended up in my sewing room the other night and found a stack of 2.5 inch squares. I stitched them into rows of four. I'm not sure what these are going to become yet. I'll have to wait and see! There aren't really enough for a good sized quilt.

Happy crafting all. I'd be interested to hear about your holiday projects.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

WIP Wednesday

When I've had a minute or two, I've been working on this green and silver scarf. Its gauge is much smaller than any I've worked on before. I'm using a pattern from Ravelry, the HP POA Scarf with a couple modifications. Mine uses a 4.0 mm hook, 40 stitches for the foundation chain instead of 30, and I'm doing a front loop half double crochet to add a bit of texture. The color is Grass in Palette yarn by Knitpicks. I'm starting to get the feeling that maybe I didn't order enough yarn and I'm debating ordering a couple more skeins just in case. Anybody have an idea how much extra yarn is needed for switching from a worsted to a fingering weight if you want the same length scarf?

The stitching on this thing is so small that I'm using my magnifying light to stitch it. When I need a break, my two color C2C scarf is getting a little love.

Happy WIP WEdnesday to you all!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Post Thankgiving Break Report

 Hello again all and I hope you had a lovely holiday. It was crazy around here. The house was filled with most of my favorite people and aside from the minor miscommunications that happen when there are so many people around, everything went very smoothly.

I didn't get as much crafty time as I had hoped but I have no regrets. I spent Friday having date day with the husband, Saturday with my cousin practicing martial arts and watching cheesy movies, Sunday and Monday with my niece, and Wednesday studying for my written Modern Arnis test. The rest of this week was spent practicing for my first rank in Modern Arnis, which I earned yesterday at the test!

While my niece was here, I started this hat and scarf set. The scarf is just your basic V-stitch and crocheted up very quickly in one evening. It used about 425 yards.

The hat was supposed to be a ribbed beanie but the pattern did not come with a gauge and so it ended up being way too big, so I converted it to a slouchy hat and finished it off last night.

Total yarn usage was approximately 650 yards for both. I have two and a half skeins left of this purple and three and a quarter-ish of another purple, so I am combining them to make another set, trying something new with the color changes, a feature that I typically avoid in my projects.

This is a corner-to-corner, and I'm stitching two rows before switching to the next color. Rather than cut off the ends and weave them in later, I'm leaving them attached and slip stitching them to the next row as needed. Its warping the scarf slightly, so I think I need to loosen up the slip stitches a bit and I'll have to add a border all the way around to make it look pretty in the end. A ruffly border should cover up any mistakes.

You may have noticed that I didn't mention Tuesday at all - because I spent Tuesday at home, all by myself, working on The Castle by Teresa Wentzler.

Starting Point 
As of 12/4/16
I did minimal online shopping over the Holiday weekend. I ordered some yarn to restock the charity scarf/hat basket, which will be just about emptied upon completion of the newest project, and a little more yarn for a Christmas present. I will share photos of my new loot when it arrives, some of which should be waiting for me when I get home from work tomorrow. I also did some Christmas shopping, leaving me with only one Christmas present to acquire. Goodness, I love not having to freak out right before Christmas.

The only other thing I acquired over the weekend was a new cross stitch pattern from Tilton Crafts.

Tauriel by Tilton Crafts
Tauriel is one of my favorite characters from the Hobbit movies.

Please let me know how your Thanksgiving weekend went! Did you indulge in the sales? Were you too full from dinner to do anything? What was your favorite part of the weekend? Did you finish your Christmas shopping?

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Greetings all and Happy Thanksgiving. I hope amid all the political and social media turmoil that you find some peace and share kindness today. I don't think I've ever before spent so much time in constant prayer for our country, our society, and my friends and family. I pray for peace and reason to overtake the hate and malice in which our country seems to be drowning. There are days when I feel assaulted on all sides because of my opinions and beliefs and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Please remember that you are not alone, that you are loved, and that with love and compassion we can change the world for the better. Be the reason that someone is thankful today.

Prepping for Thanksgiving

With hosting Thanksgiving this year, Jack and I took the opportunity to fix up a few things around the house that have desperately needed attention. Thanks to my father-in-law coming over to help, the garbage disposal and the kitchen faucet have been replaced. I love my new faucet. It not only works, it is secured properly, the hose doesn't jam, and it looks much nicer. Additionally, Jack hung up the storage racks for my essential oils, which were previously scattered all over the house for various uses, and fixed the fake "wood" beam that decorates the family room ceiling.

The anniversary present that my mother-in-law made us now adorns the wall of our family room. Our house is not magazine quality with professional art installations. We choose instead to decorate our house with handmade blankets, wall quilts, and other expressions of love from those we care about.

The crafting things are all packed away as I await the arrival of my guests. I find myself ahead of the game, with an hour or two to spare. Because the house is now spotless, I'm looking forward to a weekend of crafting, relaxing, trips to the movie theater, and quality time with my niece. I will either be putting some serious time into a couple quilts I want to finish up right quick or a cross stitching marathon of The Castle by Teresa Wentzler. I will studiously be avoiding all the insanity revolving around Black Friday shopping. What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

This weekend I've been working slowly on my Teresa Wentzler piece, The Castle. Patience is certainly a virtue with TW's, given all the quarter stitches and blended threads. I think this pattern has more blended colors than unblended.

I was able to finish off the wing on the right and fill in a lot of the backstitching on the castle.  The castle part is almost complete, so I will likely focus on that next.

I have since packed away all my crafty projects until Black Friday. I am planning on hosting Thanksgiving this year and life has conspired to keep me from preparing prior to now. However, starting on Black Friday, I will have six days off of work to spend however I desire. This includes nascent plans for a Doctor Who marathon day and sleepover with my favorite niece.

Linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching @Kathy's Quilts

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

No Nano & SFS Report

How to describe November so far? Between being sick, fighting a cough that won't go away, the whole election fallout, planning and cleaning for Thanksgiving, trying to prepare for my first Modern Arnis test, and the passing of a family member, crafting is at a minimum and NaNoWriMo is only a distant dream.

While I was sick, I started Reflections by Dimensions, having replaced the black fabric with some hand-dyed. I had purchased a couple different hand dyes, desperately hoping for a really dark navy blue but the medium gray blue seems to be the best that can be done on Aida. 

The end result might not be as striking as the original, but I do think that its very pretty. This is a confetti heavy piece that seems to stitch best using the parking method.

The crochet blanket now has more than eight skeins and its wide enough for my bed, so now I've started making it taller. Its actually too big to get the whole thing in a photo on my living room floor. I will explore other photo options next time I take a picture. I'm thinking an outdoor option will be my best bet.

My October Stitch from Stash Report is as follows:

October Budget: $25.00
Spent: $39.87
Earned: $13.00
Rollover into Nov: -$1.87
November Budget: $23.13

We're halfway through November and I've bought no stash despite all the pre-Black Friday sales, so I'm optimistic that I'll be able to remain in the green this month.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


I'm home sick this weekend with something vaguely flu-like. So of course I have to go poking around online for more projects.

I came across the Jinny Beyer Quilter's Design Board. Jinny Beyer has a few hundred free quilt block patterns available on her website and a web-based design board that allows you to see how it would look in a quilt. The one that caught my eye was #213 - Jeweled Scrap Quilt Block

There are templates available for traditional cutting and piecing, including those annoying Y-seams. I thought I would prefer to do this block with a paper-piecing template, so I recreated it in EQ7. It has more pieces than the original but no Y-seams. I spent the morning playing around with color variations. 

Here are a few of my favorite renditions.


The paperpiecing template I created is available HERE  for free. It is the template only and comes with no instructions or yardage calculations. The template is for a 12 inch finished block.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Quilt Finish

Approximately four years after I started this quilt, its finished! The quilt is made using the one block wonder method, as outlined in the book "One Block Wonders Cubed!" by Maxine Rosenthal and Joy Peltzmann. I haven't measured it, but its roughly throw blanket sized.

This one is all mine and is going in the family room for chilly evenings. Jack has already taken a liking to it, preferring cotton quilts to the usually fluffy and fuzzy blankets that I keep around. I may have to accelerate the plans for his quilt (a large medallion applique with medieval themed blocks) so that I don't lose this one permanently, but it feels good to have my crafty projects appreciated.

I've also finished the skein on the dragon scale afghan. This one is only about five feet across, so its smaller than I had planned. It shrunk up a bit once I started stitching the scales, as it compressed and stabilized the foundation chain.

May you have a blessed day . 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Some New Recipes

Over the last couple of weeks I've been cooking at home once in a while but its been a lot of new recipes. I'm looking for things that let us use ingredients we typically have on hand, that are easy, and are quick.

Here are a few we've tried that came out pretty well.

I left out the dill and red pepper, and made it on the stovetop instead of the Crockpot. I used flatbread that we had on hand instead of tortilla boats. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as Betty's, but we both liked them. I think this would go in the Great Way to Use Up Leftover Chicken category.

Caprese Chicken by

The only change I made to this recipe was to replace the fresh basil with basil pesto and I put it on the chicken under the cheese. This was a total win. 

Slow Cooker Taco Pasta by Betty Crocker

This one I made as directed in the Crock Pot, but realistically, you could do this one on the stovetop. I used regular diced tomatoes instead of Mexican tomatoes and left out the cilantro (cause ew.) We weren't sure about this one but it was good enough to eat and the leftovers tasted better for lunch the next day.

Are you sensing a slow cooker theme? One of the things I want to do is come up with some recipes that I can drop in the Crockpot after church on Sundays and not have to worry about cooking dinner that night.

This one was a hit with both my favorite cousin and my favorite niece - or at least, they didn't complain about it. I needed something gluten free for the older one last time the two of them spent the night. I paired it with some roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus. The only change I made was to use sun-dried tomato pesto instead of actual sun-dried tomatoes. The meat was a little dry but there was plenty of drippings to drizzle on top which had a lot of flavor.

I do apologize for the lack of pictures. I find it very difficult to take good photos of food and it didn't feel right to pirate the photos from the sources.

So if you are looking for something new to try, give one of these a shot! I'd love to hear how well they were liked or even how much you hated the recipe.

Friday, October 21, 2016

And the Month Moves On

October is plodding along. I've lost track of the minor disasters that I've had to deal with this month, the most recent of which are Jack getting the flu, my garbage disposal breaking, and one of the headlights on my car burning out. All three of these issues still need to be resolved. Lets just say that I'll be happy to see October go. 

I am having good success with my October goals nonetheless, having successfully completed one of the goals and made solid progress on three more. At the end of the month, I will post a full update. 

This post is mostly just a quick update to share the progress on Frog Pile. Although its not on my goal list, I've really been enjoying stitching this.

I really do believe that taking the time to work on a project, even if its only a few minutes here and there, is keeping me sane. I even have evidence to back up this assumption. For a fascinating read, check out Sew So Easy: The Many Amazing Benefits of Quilting. I've seen similar articles published about other creative pursuits. I have my own personal theory that we are programmed to create - after all, we are made in the image of God, the original Creator. Whether its creating a new invention, a novel, a quilt, or other art, creation is systemic throughout the human race. Something to ponder as I continue to work on my various projects. Remember... Make all the pretty things!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching and October Goals Update

Here we are, about a third of the way through the month. It's been a week of house cleaning, appliance repair, and other necessary chores. When I can steal a few minutes, I've primarily stuck to projects that are on my goal list, with one exception.

That one exception was Frog Pile. I made the mistake of drinking a caffeinated beverage in the evening a few nights ago and couldn't fall asleep. So I was back out of bed at 1 am and spent a couple hours stitching on Frog Pile. Big blocks of color - perfect for the sleep deprived stitcher. All of the oranges and reds went in this weekend. This, along with the crochet, will be my Slow Sunday Stitching project.  I will probably put it away tomorrow or Tuesday and pull Princess and the Dragon out again. 

Goal Update: 

1. Finish my quilt. - Not done yet, but I did get this back on my sewing machine and am close to halfway.

2. Finish the current skein on my corner to corner blanket. - After I made this goal, I realized that I only had a few yards left of the skein I was working on. Skein #4 took only about fifteen minutes to complete, so I'm actually trying to get skein #5 on the blanket this month. I measured this morning and its about 4.25 feet wide after 81 rows. I'm estimating that I need it to get to about six feet wide before I start making it taller, meaning I'll need a blanket 110 x 150 rows to fit on the bed. Completion percentage: 20%. 

3. Finish the current skein on the dragon scale blanket - barely started but here it is! 

4. Finish the page on the Princess and the Dragon. I've made a little bit of progress on this.


5. FINISH MY CONFESSOR'S DRESS. I have a wedding I'd like to wear this to in a few weeks so it really totally needs to get done. This is going on what, four years pending? Enough already. - Not yet started. Not good, since this is the only one with a time constraint. 

6. Finish the crochet hook cases that I started at the beginning of September. One down, three to go. Mine is done, now I need to get back to working on the other three. 

Linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching @ Kathy's Quilts