Saturday, May 3, 2014

When Silence is a Good Thing

You know that saying, "Silence is golden.  Unless you have a toddler.  Then it's very, very bad."  Or something like that.  Well, I'm definitely not a toddler, so let's say that a long absence from this blog means things are going pretty well!

I have mentally started 10 or 12 posts in the last several months, but never made it to a keyboard to get them online.  I think somewhere I have pictures of baby gift #2 (baby boy was born before Thanksgiving, and I got to hold him when he was 2 days old, and he's sweet, and his mommy loved his gifts and his daddy loved the meals I put in their freezer).  If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen my finished Legion of Boom socks (which I proudly wore to watch my Seahawks decimate the Denver Broncos!!) as well as another pair of socks I've started.  I also made myself a couple of shrugs recently.  I have no pictures of those, I really should try to get pictures of me wearing them for you.

Currently, I have another secret project going.  I've been doing a lot of knitting, and zero cross stitching.  I broke my sewing machine a few months ago while trying to hem a pair of jeans - okay, so the whole machine is probably not broken, but it's more than just the needle that's broken.  Yes, I sewed over a pin.  Yes, I continued to use the broken needle, because denim.  There's no way I'm hand-hemming denim!  But it caused more damage than just the broken needle.  I'm sure I would make a repair person very happy by bringing it for a look!  But for now it sits on the table, because I don't have time to deal with it!

Beyond my hooks and needles, church is great, work is great, the kids are great, the dog is great.  My yard is not great.  We've been in this house for almost 5 years, and I still don't have it the way I want it.  I think it's time for me to declare "I'm just not a gardener", plant flowers in containers and do my best to keep grass alive.

On a personal note, next month marks the end of the series of "one year ago today" moments I've been living through.  I think passing the one year marker on several key moments in my divorce has been a good thing.  But I'm glad they're coming to an end.  I don't want to live the rest of my life marking the passage of time based on something painful.

I'm not going to end this post by making promises to be a better blogger.  If you've stayed with me through the last 6 and a half years, you know I have long silences with bright moments in between.  I'm glad that some of you are inspired by what I write, and what I stitch.  I'm grateful for your comments and your shares over the years.  I take it as a good sign that I've had the urge to write more recently.  Schedule willing, I'll be back again...sometime......

Monday, November 11, 2013

One Secret Is Out!

I can finally talk about all the surprises I had planned for my dear friend, April, and her new baby girl!  April and I have been friends since high school youth group.  Now that we seem to be in the 2nd or 3rd wave of friends having babies, I kind of wanted to go all out making this special for her!

So first, before the baby was born, came the poncho and booties.  They were so fun to make, and turned out so cute!  April called to tell me she received them and she loved them.

The next surprise was a surprise-within-a-surprise.  I showed you the jumbled yarn for a project I was working on for her shower.  This is what it turned into:

A series of "blocks" - knit and crochet.  Here I was playing with layout before assembling them with white yarn.  It is so hard for me to be random, y'all.  I made a total of 20 blocks: 4 each of yellow and light blue, and 2 each of the other 6 colors.  (Dark purple is single crochet, light purple is knit "linen" stitch, light pink is garter stitch, dark pink is basketweave knit, dark blue is "puff" or "bubble" crochet, and green is cable knit.)

And here's the real surprise:
The blanket in the background is clearly not the point of this picture. The real surprise was that I flew in to be there for her shower!  It was so hard to keep this a secret for about 7 or 8 weeks!  But it was worth it!  I got plenty of baby snuggles (and hugs from my friend).  They're so sweet, and of course she loved the blanket.

Now to finish the gift for the second baby-to-be in my circle, then back to normal!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gratitude Day 5

Are you doing this?  Last year, I made a point to post on Facebook every day in November something I was thankful for (I may have combined a couple of days, but I actually did pretty well!), and I'm doing it again this year.  Last year it was about using gratitude to stop focusing on pain and start looking for the good things in my life.  And as I look back over the past year, November was when I finally started moving forward and taking control.

So this year, I'm looking for little things, and expressing them as close to "in the moment" as I can - it's not always possible, but I hold onto that thought as long as I can until I can get to my phone or a computer.  Today's moment of gratitude is brought to you by my 8 year old daughter - when I woke her up for school this morning, I found her hugging her "pink baby".  (No picture of that, bleary-eyed mama was not exactly looking for blog-worthy gratitude moments right then.).  Here's the story behind "pink baby" and why she inspired gratitude this morning:

5 years ago, I had a 3 year old and an almost 6 year old.  We had just moved to Idaho, and we were maintaining 2 households because my ex (we were married at the time) was still working in Washington.  So money was tight, my sanity was tighter, and Christmas was coming.  Katie didn't really have a dolly to play with - she had a bear and a penguin, but no baby doll to cuddle like a 3 year old should.  So I decided to try to make one.  This is what she looked like almost finished:

I thought I had a "finish" picture, but it looks like some of my pictures have disappeared from Google.  She does have a face (brown eyes! why do all dolls have blue eyes???), and a skirt, and an attached blanket, and maybe a hat.  I know I didn't make hair.

Anyway, the sweetness of this comes in when I tell you that I had already started making the doll when I asked Katie what she wanted for Christmas.  I may have been about as far as this picture.  And she looked at me and said, "I want a pink baby."  Melted my heart.

So today's gratitude thought:  Today I'm thankful for craft.  Because even in tough times, even when I didn't have enough money to buy things for my children, I was able to make them things they needed and things they wanted.  And because last night sometime my now 8 year old decided to grab her pink baby and sleep with her.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!


Last night our church had a Trunk or Treat (candy handed out of car trunks) and chili cook off, so the kids got to wear their costumes early!  Katie chose to be a kitty - kind of from a last minute trip to Walmart.  But Hallie chose to be Betsy Ross - her class does a Famous American project, and she is doing her in-class presentation today.  Her teacher is actually kind of a genius - this way all the fifth graders will be in costume for the annual costume parade!

Hallie's dress is "vintage" - my mother made it for the Bicentennial celebration. My favorite part is the sleeves!  Her bag is flag fabric pulled through an embroidery hoop; she also has a blue field with white stars to carry around.

We're already on candy overload from last night, and today my office is hosting trick-or-treating - they'll be coming in to get more candy!  I'm excited to have them come see where I work and show them off to my coworkers!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SQUIRREL!!!!

No, not this kind:

Nor, sadly, this kind:

From 123stitch.com
More like this:
(from the movie "Up")
Sigh.

This is what "squirrel" looks like in my house right now:
And it's a secret for a just a little while longer.  All these precious babies, they'd better know how much Auntie Drea loves them!! :)

I am very happy to report that Baby Girl was born last week - weighing in at over 10 pounds!!!!!! Mama is doing great.  I wish I didn't live 500 miles away from them, I desperately want to kiss those baby cheeks!  But I was able to get the gift I made for them sent before she arrived, so now I can show you what I made for little Miss E.J.:
It is the sweetest little poncho and booties by Drops Designs.  I swear I took a picture of a doll modeling this, but I can't find it now.  When I finished this I wanted to make another!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Weeks In Stitches - a "Sampling" of Work

Sorry for skipping out last week, I was focused on getting a baby package ready to mail.  I can't wait for the mommy-to-be to open it and see the cuteness inside!  Also, I was starting a new personal knitting project.  Don't judge me; at least there will be pictures!

Shareable updates!

Fairy Sisters - I really-really-really wanted to finish the night sky on page 3 of Fairy Sisters this month.  (I know, my goal list says both pages.  I'm ambitious at the beginning of the month.)  But you'll see that I at least set myself up with a way to measure progress - by filling in this rectangle.  The right edge of the rectangle is right about the edge of page 3:


And for the Theme-a-Licious update - Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  I'm really happy with the variegated threads, and I'm happy with my other thread choices, too.  This is going to look so pretty in my room.

And I'm "sampling" making socks.  So I had to start a new knitting project.  This green and blue yarn was totally on sale, and begging to become Seahawks-themed socks, so I work on them during games on Sundays.  And they've now won 4 straight.  (I call them Legion of Boom, it's a football reference.  The pattern is Uzu on Ravelry.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Week In Stitches and A Mini Rant

I'm way late posting this week's update.  Saturday was a weird day, that's all I can say.  No, really, it's been a weird week.  But it meant a large block of stitching time on Wednesday, and no blogging mojo this weekend.

My kids' school called me during lunch on Tuesday to say my younger one had a fever.  I was able to go pick her up, and a fever in the middle of the day means she won't be clear to go back the next day (she has to be fever-free for 24 hours) so that meant I stayed home with her on Wednesday and worked on Great Is Thy Faithfulness:
(which just happens to be my Theme-a-licious project for September - the theme is Samplers.  And this has words.  From a hymn.  And will have Quaker-ish motifs in the half-circle border.  And in the small sampler section of MBTD's website.  There - all of that = sampler.)  This is turning out to be a very quick stitch, which makes me happy.  I need a quick stitch!

And look at all of this obvious progress on Fairy Sisters - it was the Facebook SAL weekend again, so I devoted some chunks of time to stitching the sky.

I also made some significant progress on the baby gift for T & S on Sunday afternoon.  As in, I'm really happy with how it's turning out and I wish I could show you a picture....

And now for my mini rant.  I enjoy streamlining things, which includes using my Android phone to take picturess of my projects and having those pictures automatically backup to my Google account.  Then I can go in when I'm writing a blog post and edit the photos online, including adding text, before publishing them.  The native photo editor on my phone won't allow me to add text, either.  (Which is strange because my old one would.....)  Well, Google made some changes to their online photo editor, and it looks like the option to add text is gone!  Now I have to either use a "real" camera and load pictures on my computer that way, or I have to open my Picasa photo editor, download/sync the online albums, make the edits, and re-sync them so I can add photos to my post.  I can still do it, but it's extra steps.  And I hate extra steps.  And the text I added looks tiny.  I really wish they would change it back.  I understand that it's free and open-source, but it seems the changes they've made only serve to make photos look more "vintage."  I don't want my photos to look more vintage.  If I want photos I take with my phone to look vintage, I'll put them on Instagram.  (By the way, you can follow me on Instagram if you want - sometimes I share sneak peaks of projects that I don't put on the blog.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Morning Pinterest Fun

It's break time at work and I was going through my Pinterest boards, looking at all the great ideas I've never gotten around to making......and I was going to try to share pictures, but Pinterest and Blogger are not playing nice that direction.  So I'll post links instead.

One is a toilet paper roll holder (originally for sale on Etsy for $45!!!) that doesn't look very hard to recreate.  I would probably only make it hold a single additional roll, but I would love to embroider a design and have something functional and beautiful.  The bathroom is next on my redo list - time to get rid of the key lime green walls that clash with the avocado tile.  So when I decide on a shower curtain and towel theme, I can choose materials for this roll holder.  That seems like the logical way to do it!

And then there's these - I loved them so much I pinned them twice.  My brain says I could totally make a set for my desk at work, too.

I seem to be drawn to repurposed denim - after all, I still have a bag full of torn/ripped/worn-out jeans in my closet.  This skirt is so precious, I think my skirt-loving K has to have one.

What is on your top Pinterest projects list?  Have you actually done anything you've found?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Week In Stitches

Well this was a distracted week!  First I had a long weekend for the holiday, then I was sick on Thursday.  I started a Bible study on Wednesday, and somewhere in there I even managed to do some stitching!  No work on Fairy Sisters this week - my contacts are at the very END of their lives, so I didn't put myself through the torture of trying to stitch when I couldn't see.  Instead.........

I finished Irish Blessing!  And I forgot my cardinal rule with this fabric, always photograph under harsh electric light.  Hopefully Jo will be able to get a better shot of it when she receives it!  It's on its way to England!  I will restitch this at some point for myself - I would absolutely love to have some of my work hanging in my house.  And I may rechart the pattern I shared so that it incorporates what I did here.  I'm really happy with the changes I made.  The "braid" in the middle is the blue, pink and yellow together, so it makes a rainbow thread.  It looks really pretty.

Oooh!  I found one I took and put on Instagram after I finished - you can see some of the detail better - it was cut off at the top, so I've cropped it even more to show the braid and the Rhodes stitches:

And here's a sneak peak of the new baby gift - just  a look at the yarn.  This is DK yarn from Kraemer Yarns, Tatamy Tweed.  The color name is Oatmeal. and it's so soft!  I love this pattern, I'm making great progress on it.

Okay!  Off to the post office and the eye doctor!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I May Be A Little Crazy

I'll leave room for the possibility, anyway.  I'm thinking about learning to spin.  When I was looking at giveaway gifts on Etsy, I came across "learn to spin" kits which included a drop spindle and gorgeous hand-dyed roving to get started.  I managed to talk myself out of it, since it was the color that caught my eye, and the seller was in the UK - I'm sure the shipping charges were very reasonable for an ocean voyage, but not when this was a whim and I have no idea if I'll even like it.

The owner of my LYS mentioned to me a couple of years ago that she thought I might enjoy spinning (based on a conversation we were having about yarn texture), and I keep coming back to the thought.  What holds me back is the fact that I have NO TIME right now between work, the kids and house, and my other projects to learn a new medium that will probably engross me.  But then again there would be the lusciousness of fiber through my fingers, and....oh wait, I already wrote about that!

Do any of you spin your own yarn?  Or have you tried it and walked away?  Let me know your experience, please!