Thursday, December 29, 2011

The 1st through 4th Days of Christmas

Sorry to have been missing in action. DH is home on vacation, DD2 and P & C are here, so there is not a lot of extra time. We are enjoying everyone's company, though.

P did not have a wonderful Christmas day. He had a touch of something, and spent the day with a bucket within reach... we ended up taking him to the emergency room on Christmas night before his stomach settled down. He did manage a couple of smiles the night before when he opened his presents, but didn't feel well enough to enjoy playing with them until the 26th. He is back to normal now!

I did not get either of the presents done that I was working on before Christmas. DD1 had found a wrap on Etsy that she fell in love with, and sent me the link, (about 10 days before Christmas!). I managed to find a kit for this, and had a few pipe dreams that I would be able to finish it... but here we are a week later, and I am still not even 1/2 way. It is turning out lovely though, and she was thrilled that I had found the exact colors.

The other project is a smocked outfit for C... not a dress (a smocked dress would not be her style at all!) but a Princess Jasmine outfit. That too is far from being done, but I was able to finally get all the pleating done, after fighting with my pleater. After a personal lesson from my friend Carol, I got the pleater to work, and I have about 1/2 the smocking done.


The summer before last I had smocked the front of a dress for C, but had never finished the rest of the project, and then she grew so much that I would not be able to use the finished embroidery for a dress for her. I had showed her the smocking, and she remembered it! Every couple of months she would ask if I had finished the dress. Again, Carol to the rescue! She suggested taking the finished smocking, and making a pillow out of it.


C loves it! (Do you recognize the trim I got from the Textile Warehouse?) My last image of her on Christmas night was her hugging the pillow on her way to bed (warms the cockles of a grandma's heart).

Another of her presents was a cooking kit with a mixing spoon, tiny cupcake pans, an apron, a cupcake stand, etc., so of course we had to use it.


There was enough batter to make some big cupcakes too, and you can see they were good!

We tried to go to the Museum of Science and Industry yesterday... big mistake. There were NO parking spots anywhere in the region, and the thought of all those people together in one place was giving me fits. DH thinks I should have known better than to even try! I am going to call next week to see if they are going to be just as busy then too... we might try again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Hello, just a note. I meant to mention yesterday that when we were at the Textile Warehouse, the check-out person mentioned they were planning to offer another Groupon Coupon opportunity in January! I am planning to keep an eye out for that, and would be happy to organize an expedition for anyone who takes advantage of that (or who would just like to explore textiles in Chicago).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week in Review

I'm sorry it has been so long since I posted. I am working all out on a couple of Christmas presents, and I know that one will not get done, and the other is iffy too. So I have been "working my fingers to the bone" (and enjoying it) but a lot of other stuff is getting left behind, like blogging, and reading other blogs.

A week ago Monday Karen and I went to the Textile Warehouse in Chicago. I had a "Groupon" coupon that was about to expire, and Karen agreed to ride with me. What an adventure! The warehouse is 3 floors packed with fabric: after five, silks, upholstery, curtain, suitings, and that was just on the main floor. Upstairs were mostly home decorating fabrics, nicely displayed in some of the rooms, but just stacked on each other in other rooms. In the basement (the 3rd floor) there were racks and racks of full bolts of lining, and satins, and a few double knit, and etc. Karen and I were wondering how long some of the items had been there!

In one of the rooms on the main floor they had stacks of trims, at not outrageous prices. I picked up a couple that coordinated with each other, and I am thinking of a bag.


This trim reminded me so much of the fringe around the bottom of our sofa in the late 50s and early 60s (except for the color... the sofa was what you might call a bright mauve).


One of the most exciting discoveries we made was in the button department. One of the staff assured us that the buttons were only a couple of cents each, so I started looking for 5/8ths buttons for the button mitts that I made for presents this past year. We got a little carried away:


When I went to check out we had to get these priced by a different person from the cutting table. The gentleman counted out 100, and still had 1 and 1/2 times as much in the box. He calculated I had 250 buttons in all, and gave me a price of (wait for it) $19!!!! I was jumping for joy! That is enough for more than a dozen pairs of mitts. They are very cool buttons too.

A week ago yesterday we had our party for Coffee Break Bible study. We went to Brenda's house to see her decorations... they were amazing. This is her husband's Christmas Harley Davidson Village display. His mom used to give him an item each year.


Brenda collects the little plastic, inexpensive, nativities. Each one by itself looks tacky (I have a couple myself, and I love them), but together they make a very nice display.


This is her main creche with all the characters. It would be fun to look at all these, but we couldn't take the time... there was too much to look at.


She had about a dozen Christmas trees decorated, and every room was beautiful and interesting. Thank you Brenda for sharing your home with us!

Then this past Saturday we went to the Denver and the Mile High Orchestra Christmas concert. (This is actually quite a good picture, compared to my usual concert pictures, don't you think?) There were two trumpets, a trombone, and 2 saxophones, a guitar, a very good bass player, and a drummer.


I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had known what type of music to expect. A Christmas concert to me usually means traditional carols. This was very jazzy, with quite a bit of "White Christmas" and "Here comes Santa Claus" songs. DH, and the rest of the group we were with enjoyed it a lot, and I did too, once I got over the disappointment of no carols.

We stopped for "coffee" afterwards, but we all ended up having a late supper. It was a lot of fun.

DH is on vacation this week, so we are enjoying our time together. I better run now though, I have presents to work on! (Pictures of the projects next week, I promise, even if they are not done!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sunday School Program

This past Sunday evening we had our Sunday School program, and C participated. (She has grown out of the sheep costume, so she was a donkey, just like last year.) In this picture the shepherds are discussing politics before the angels appear... All the kids said their lines without stumbling or hesitating (or freezing) and the stories were interesting and relevant. It was a very nice program.


Here are the actors preparing for the show, "getting into character" (or goofing off a little bit). They are all such good kids!


Here's the whole group singing. (This was the most entertaining part, the sheep were jumping up and down off the step, and the whole audience was giggling at them. It was just the sheep, both the donkey and Mary were singing away, and the sheep were jiggling all over the place.)


I have one more current post, and then I will post the advent pages I finished in the last year while I am busy with Christmas stitching. I met my goal of stitching more than one this past year, but I will have to look up where I left off posting about them. See you soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chicago, again

On Saturday our guild field-trip was scheduled to go down-town to the same architectural tour I went on last summer. We saw most of the same things, but it was still a lot of fun.

Since it gets dark so quickly now, we started at the park. This is the first thing we saw when we emerged from the dungeons (relatively warm dungeons) of the train station. It was a beautiful sunny day, but cold!


We went to Park Grill (under the Bean, facing the ice rink) for lunch. This is our group. I had a brie salad that was delicious. You can see we are having a lot of fun.


The restaurant was very festive, and we were watching the skaters out of the window. I am disappointed in all my pictures, because you completely loose the effect of the skating: I should have taken a short video, and embedded it here. Every time I glanced toward the rink it grabbed my attention because skating is an unusual motion from what we are used to. The gliding is a lot of fun.


We didn't spend too long in the park because of the temperature, but we saw quite a bit because the trees do not have their leaves on. This is the Bean from an unusual angle. From here it looks more like an egg! The actual name is Cloud Gate; isn't the sky gorgeous?


The water in the Crown Fountain was turned off, of course, but the pictures are still active. We saw two different portraits during our walk in the park.



(I don't know if I would like to see my face 50 feet tall!)

We had to walk into the wind to get to the Palmer House and the Empire room, still just as lovely as ever. I didn't take any new pictures there. We were able to step into the building that formerly housed Peacock Jewelers. I think this ceiling is lovely.


I had never seen the Fields (Macy's) decorated windows for Christmas, so that was one of my goals. I really didn't know what to expect. It was a very festive atmosphere, with people streaming down the side walk. The theme of the windows was "Make-A-Wish" and I felt it was pretty commercial; I don't know if that is how it always is. The windows themselves were very pretty.


These are above the section of sidewalk where the windows are. I kind of wished they were playing some trumpet Christmas music.


We didn't spend too much time in Macy's. The perfume department was a little overpowering for people with allergies. But the Civic center did not disappoint.


(I wonder if anyone would mind if you took rubbings of these?) Several of us were commenting on what fun it would be to use these as an inspiration for embroideries. There are plenty more pictures in my Flickr account.

This was the end of the day, and from the Civic Center we got a very nice view of Millennium Park: Pritzker Pavilion, the Bean (Cloud Gate), and the roof of the new addition to the Art Institute.


The nice part was, we didn't even have to go outside to get back to the train. We were all quite grateful for the comfortable, warm train back home.

More pictures at Marj's blog here, and the HEG blog, here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Party and presents

I have been admonished (by my mom) that I am falling behind on my blogging. She is right, I am almost a week behind on what is going on.

Our EGA guild has a Christmas party on the first Tuesday of December every year; we go to the same place, we have the same menu, we play the same games, and every year it is what kicks off the Christmas season for me. Before I went to the party, I had very little Christmas spirit, when I got back, I was in the mood to shop, and I got most of my shopping done in the next couple of days.

Good friends exchange gifts at the party, and I got some lovely things:

From Marj I got this turquoise emery with my initial.


From Jamee I got this lovely Brazilian embroidery picture:


And from Betti I got this ornament that expresses my feelings about the holiday perfectly:


My secret stitcher gave me a basket with all kinds of presents: these Christmas towels


and all kinds of goodies: lotion, ornament patterns, a family history book, a candle, a snowman plate, a temari stand, and some winter kleenex.


I gave my friends fingerless mitts, Steampunk style. These were a lot of fun to make. So far I have given away 5 pairs, and kept one pair for myself. I also gave my secret stitcher a pair of the mitts, a pair of scissors, and a temari ball.


The food is an Italian buffet with salads, pastas, and pizza; with an ice cream sundae buffet for dessert. I had a wonderful time, and came home in a good mood.

The other thing that helped with my Christmas spirit last week was a dusting of snow. I'm not loving our cold, though.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Test Stitching

Last year, Debi from Temari Train... of Thought asked for someone to test her instructions for a couple of temari patterns she was working on. I jumped at the chance, and she sent the instructions for this pattern. It was so much fun to stitch!


The biggest problem is that I was asked not to share it until the pattern had been published. For a while it was going to be in a book, but plans have changed, and Debi is publishing these on her blog. Today she talked about this one, so now I can finally show mine. (This picture was taken in July last year.)

This makes me feel like picking up my temari needle and getting to work, but I have Christmas stitching to work on. Hopefully the feeling will not have left by the time I get done with my projects.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Knitting progress

I taught myself to knit entrelac from a book I got out of the library. I made this little kerchief in entrelac, so I didn't have to do any triangles until the final edge. I like how the colors worked on this, and I have enough yarn to make another one like this.


I have a tub o' flowers, getting ready for the hydrangea purse.


The worst thing about the flowers is that when you get done knitting, you have 8 (!) tails to sew in. The knitting is fun, but threading your needle 8 times in a row for each flower gets a little tedious.


I have 28 flowers done, only 17 to go!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Double Knitting

I finished my double knit scarf, and I am very happy with it. I was thinking I was going to give it to someone for a Christmas present, but I put it on over my coat to check the length, that that was it. I fell in love with it, and decided it was not going to go anywhere.


The end (on the right) is finished with the kitchener stitch. It is supposed to mimic stockinette stitch by sewing. Mine did not turn out quite right, it looks like garter stitch, but I think I know what I did wrong. No one will notice, though, from farther than 3 feet away.

I don't have enough yarn left over to make the bubble scarf, but I did find something nice to do with it... stay tuned!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Completed Project--bathrobes

Who wouldn't love to sew for these two sweeties? I bought the peace sign fleece for C several months ago. When I bought it, the clerk mentioned that it would make a mountain of flooshies (lint) when I cut it; I kept thinking about that, and putting off starting on the project. Once I cut into it, it only took a couple of hours to finish the whole thing; her's was done before Thanksgiving. The plain tan fabric on P's robe is what I bought to line the bass cover. I had so much left over I thought I could get his whole bathrobe out of what I had left; but it was in too many odd shaped pieces, so I picked up the puppy paw-print fleece so I could cut out the bigger pieces I needed. I still have a pile of both types of fabric... I may have to make a couple of floor pillows. (They had to put off leaving for home for a few minutes on Sunday so I could finish the belt on P's robe.)


I had made bathrobes for the whole family when P was about 4 years old... P's and daddy's were Da Bears; and momma's was pink. C was too small for a bathrobe, so that is why her's was a priority. P grew out of his some time ago, but momma still wears hers.

C lost a tooth on Saturday night, and the Tooth Fairy came... inflation sure has hit hard since I was loosing teeth!

We took them home yesterday after a stay of 5 days. The house sure does seem quiet!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving day was wonderful!

Our menu was:
pecan pie
rutabegas (and this ended my responsibility)
Mac and cheese
green bean casserole
cranberry bread pudding
candied sweet potatoes
black-eyed peas
2 pumpkin pies, (one with and one without added sugar)
corn casserole (C's homework found out this was the favorite)
Mashed potatoes with and without horseradish
deviled eggs
eggnog (also known as "snowman juice")

I was going to take pictures of the food, but the turkey took an extra hour to cook and we couldn't wait to dig in. I cannot seem to get that right. This year it was an hour late, last year was an hour early, and the year before that it was late too... and the gravy was lumpy. But P summed it up best:

It may not be perfect, but it is Awesome!

Here is the cook "C" and DD1 modeling her new hat:


(I knit that scarf several years ago.)

Thank you J & C for the most relaxing Thanksgiving day I have had in years. As I said last night C, you can come and cook any time you want to! You are one of the things I am thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cute Christmas ornaments

In my Homewood Guild we had a snowflake ornament workshop in October, and I finished 3 ornaments yesterday. I like how they turned out.

The first one is stitched with needlepoint wool. I like the soft look of it. The center one was stitched with Pearl #5, and it looks very chunky. The right hand one was stitched with "Goldrush" metallic. It was a little thick for this use as well.


Here are the reverse sides, with 3 different designs. I just made them up as I went along.


We had a lot of fun during the meeting with these ornaments.

I am excited that Sharon Boggins from Pintangle is going to be running "Take A Stitch Tuesday" (TAST) again next year. Each Tuesday she will post an embroidery stitch and instructions on her blog, and then everyone participating can work on that stitch and variations, and post their results to share. She did it several years ago, and I did not have the time to participate then. Now, since I do have the time, I think I am going to join in. I am tentatively planning on a band sampler.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am so grateful for family, and for my grandkids (and my home, and good food, and DH... ). The family is all going to be here tomorrow, so it should be a lot of fun. I hope I remember to take pictures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Here is the second one of my Hydrangea blossom. I was pleased with how it felted, until I compared it with the first flower. They are different brands of yarn, so the pink is quite a bit fuzzier, and is still not as small as the first one. It should be felted again, and will turn out fine.


It is going to be a little confusing to keep track of all the flowers for this project. There are 3 different sizes of flowers, and 5 different colors. The pattern calls for 5, 2, 2, 2, and 2 flowers from the different colors, in the different sizes. That gives a total of 39 flowers, with 15 of them being the same color. I am thinking of doing 3 in each color, in each size. That gives 45 flowers in all. They go very quick... less than an hour per flower for the knitting. Then of course you have to sew in all the ends. Here you can see the whole process. The center top is a finished flower after the ends are sewn in, before it is felted, and to the right you see two finished flowers, before the ends are stitched in. Here also you can see 3 of the 5 colors.


I have a knitting dilemma. I have knit a complete repeat of the color in my variegated yarn for my paintbox scarf. The pattern calls for 30 boxes; I have 26. (It is 57 inches long.) I keep hoping someone will tell me "Oh, 57 inches is plenty long enough for a scarf!" I was hoping to get 2 scarves out of these yarns: I have another double-knit pattern called bubbles that calls for the same yarn. If I keep going with my paintbox pattern I don't think I will have enough yarn to do the second scarf. I can make the second scarf a little narrower, so I might not need quite as much yardage to get a good length. So that is the only reason the paintbox scarf is not done.

I am getting closer and closer to finishing my lacy shawl. The biggest challenge for that is finding a big enough place to do the blocking once I bind off. I think I have been working on this for at least 5 months. I think I am going to miss it when it is done. I do have a plan for that time slot as soon as it is finished.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Nothing big to share today, but a bunch of little things.

DD1 came and spent the day on Saturday, helping me clean to get ready for Thanksgiving. I am Very thankful for her help, and the kitchen looks great! I got a good start on the dining room today too, so things are progressing. DD1's SO "C" (got that?) is going to do most of the cooking for Thanksgiving, so we want to have a clear field of operations for him.

Once the dining room was cleared out, I was able to look at the fleece I had left over from the bass cover. I was planning on making a bathrobe for P with the remnants from that because he has grown out of the bathrobe I made him several years ago. I think I have enough square inches of fleece to make the pattern (although he is a lot taller than I thought), but I cannot get the pieces out without too many seams, so I will have to buy some more material. Now I have the fleece out for C's bathrobe, so the next step there is to pin down the pattern and cut it out.

Here are two test flowers for my hydrangea purse:


These are both the same pattern, with the same size of yarn. The top one is felted, the bottom one, it turns out, is acrylic, which didn't do anything when I tried to felt it. It took about 3 minutes to felt the top little flower, and I was able to do it in my hands, just scrubbing it together, so that is going to be a fun way to do the felting. One down, 26 to go! LOL (The background is one of the fleece remnants.)

When I got the mail in, this had arrived:


I have bunches and bunches of sock yarn, and no plans (or even ideas) for what to do with it. (I don't wear traditional socks.) The contents of the book list Hats and Caps, Mitts, Gloves, and Cuffs, Socks, Scarves and Neck Warmers, Shawls, shrugs, Knits for kids and Doll clothes, Bags and purses, Wearables, and For the home. That should keep me busy for a while!

I stitched a couple of snowflakes for guild tonight, but I still have to put those together.

Here's my buddy, trying to be good, sort of.


His name is Jake. I am being much too active today for his routine, which calls for a 6 hour nap around now. In the picture he is asking for a cuddle without being too obvious about it.

All I have left on the hat for DD1 is the brim, so that is coming along nicely as well. I better get busy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stitching Bloggers Question (SBQ)

This question was on a blog I read, she will be publishing a question for every month.
OK - here is the November SBQ:

What's your favorite color of thread? Pick just one. Why do you like it?

I have been thinking about this question a lot. First I thought I would pick a variegated floss. My favorite was a turquoise base with bright yellow, coral, and blues... but then I read the question again, and I can only pick one color... not one floss.

I think if I could only have one, it would have to be red. I always feel a deep satisfaction when I finish a piece with red.

I have to make a list of projects, so I can get them done.
crochet hat for DD1
hydrangea bag
lacy scarf
paintbox scarf
2 bathrobes
C-pap pads (done)
c-pap chin strap
Christmas presents (crochet done...)
Holland Springtime Mandala
SAL temari
exchange temari
12 season flower temari

That should keep me out of trouble for a while... don't you think?! I better get busy.

I have decided not to work any longer on the toothbrush rug. It is not going to fit in the location I had planned for it (the door catches on it when it opens and closes!) :-( I will use the rest of my strips for dining room chair pads.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fiber Festival

We had a wonderful time on Friday! The traffic was not fun, but the trip itself, even so, was worth it. The Botanic Gardens are such a beautiful setting! The courtyard of the building the show was in has bonzai trees on display. I thought this one was so beautiful with the fall colors!


Inside this was one of the hallways with displays. Later we were chatting with one of the hostesses, and she commented on how the beauty of the setting enhances the quilts too.


We did get a chance to do quite a bit of shopping. Each of the three guilds represented had an area that had things to buy from their specialty. I was totally captured by the beauty of a hand dyed silk shawl. I tried it on, and it was with the greatest difficulty that I took it off and put it back on the rack. It was a gorgeous, flowing aqua, and the artist showed me a new way to tie knots in the corners to make a sort of a shrug.

I didn't buy it.

The quilts were the most interesting to look at. I love the colors in this leaf quilt, and the different sorts of leaves, several different species of oaks, and ginkgo and maple leaves. This was a big quilt.


The best way to look at the woven stuff was to look at what was for sale. They had some beautiful things too. The weaving guild had the best participation opportunity. They were teaching weaving on small drinking straw looms.


I started a bracelet, and I will show you when I get it finished. They had tubs of donated yarn for people to choose colors from... Karen and I had fun picking out different theme colors and textures.

When we were done looking at the show we took a couple of minutes to walk around in the gardens. There is beauty around every corner and such different things to look at. We walked to the Japanese garden. Here is the group we were with:


Karen, Elizabeth, and Cathy. You can see that it was chilly in the breeze, but in the sheltered areas it was lovely.

This is a longer view of the Japanese Garden.


Here is a vista across one of the waterways. If you enlarge the picture, you can see a heron stalking along the hillside.


This is from the Waterfall garden. Here too, every couple of steps brought you to another view of a waterfall, each one different, and each one lovely. I took tons of pictures.


Going home was an adventure... it took 2 hours, and we thought we were lucky it didn't take longer. Our GPS ("Susie") took us through the highways and byways on the way home, but we made it!

It was a lovely day.