Thursday, July 24, 2014

It Doesn’t Get Any Better…

A gathering of friends… quilting friends… over several days – it just doesn’t get any better than that!

My annual (6 years now!) summer mini retreat has come and gone all too quickly – but the memories remain and I know I am looking forward to next year for many reasons.

I think we have a nice mix of people – Some of us have been friends for more than a decade… (gosh now I’m starting to feel old) and some for just a few years… but when we come together it’s all about sharing our knowledge, talents, and friendships. 

Group photo 2014 (1)

HoeDown 2012

 

Our best intentions never seem to remind us to get a group photo until after someone has left… so I cropped a picture of her out of a group photo from another year!

Our Challenge this year was to use a color – shading of that color – to show shape or movement in their project.  We set a 36” minimum size and here are our entries.  Although everyone seemed to have a busy year we had a good showing – many projects completed at the very last minute!

This was a stunning entry – inspired from a photograph of the splash-down of a flamingo in a pond… complete with beads for the water splash.  The second photo shows the birds head partially submerged.

Flamingo (5)

Flamingo (2)

A landscape to ponder…

Cheryl (1)

Someone worked outside the box…

George (1) 

by showing the inside of the box.

George (2)

I want to see the light at the end of this tunnel…

May (1)

Love the pop of color with some hand painted work in the center.

Melissa (2)

Lovely light table cloth with the shading in the prairie points that surround it.

Neen (1)

Pictures don’t do this justice… she dyed her own fabrics for the shading of the reds.

Sue (1)

And last but not least – the winning entry this year! Beautiful undulating work here… and the quilting lines enhance the flow.

Bev (1)Bev (2)

I could use the words lovely, beautiful, stunning in describing all of these quilts – I love what my friends create…. such a talented bunch!

I am always amazed at how quickly our days together go by.  Most folks who travel arrive on Wednesday and leave again on Monday… we sew Thursday through Sunday.  There are always a few trips out to this, that, or the other store… and we have even discussed starting a day or two earlier so that they can fit in some more shopping trips around the area.

Our weather was spectacular!  I live in an old stone house that doesn’t have central air – so we have to rely on individual room units when it’s hot.  Some years it’s been miserable – but this year – no AC’s!! It was cool overnight and dry… DRY in July!  And the temps only in the 80’s during the day.  I couldn’t have planned better weather… if I could plan such a thing.

My only regret was not having everyone bring a 5 gallon bucket… so that they could pull weeds to take home… sounds like a good idea huh? LOL

Monday after everyone left I ran a couple errands and then took a 2 hour nap.  Then Tuesday my handyman helper showed up… so I’ve been out ‘helping’ him pull weeds.  I ordered 3 yards of mulch which we will be spreading as soon as the weeds are all out (ha, ha, ha… that’s optimistic huh?)  Anyway – he’s out there right now and I’m sitting here… so I’ve gotta go… pull weeds…

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Q & A

So where have you been?

Oh I’ve been right here mostly.  Although we did make a trip down to SC to visit the Grandkids in April.

A road trip?

No actually as much as I love to drive we went by train this time.  We decided to travel on work days for The Engineer so that he could work while we traveled. The train has WiFi and he was able to get a full day of work in as the miles flew by.  We left behind brown grass and bare trees and 11 hours later arrived to green grass, flowers and shady trees!

April 14 Vac (21)April 14 Vac (22)

Wasn’t that boring for you?

No actually it wasn’t.  I did try to knit but that wasn’t entirely successful so I settled into (re)watching the entire Season 4 of The Walking Dead during the 2 travel days (down & back).

And how are the Grandkids?

They are doing great!  Everyone has had a wonderful school or daycare experience this year and are looking forward to summer!  We really enjoyed our visit during Spring Break.

April 14 Vac (3)

April 14 Vac (4)

So much fun to see the different personalities developing!  The youngest boy will be 3 this summer, the older boy was 5 in November and Miss K just celebrated her 10th birthday!  We went to the pool a couple times (before cooler weather moved back in),visited the aquarium, shopped the markets in Charleston, ate lots of good food, and just enjoyed watching the kids play!

You’ve been gone from the blog a long time… you must have made quilts, finished lots of knitting, gotten your spring cleaning done and your garden planted by now!

Ummm… Not so much… I wish I could say all those things are done.  I’ve done a little knitting – but didn’t finish anything.  WAIT – I did finish those stupid curtains for our bedroom – no sewing otherwise.  For the record I hate sewing lined curtains – 10 panels for 5 windows – augh I am glad that is done. I started getting the gardens in shape - in between the rain – but the WEEDS just may be my undoing!  Just this week I bought flowers to put in the raised beds – not much vegetable gardening in my future.  And Spring Cleaning… I’ll make a list for next year I think.

What? No vegetables?

I will put in a few tomato plants, a cucumber plant or two for sharing with my neighbor and my strawberry bed is looking good.  Nothing else.  Our Organic CSA starts this week and I found that last year we had more than enough wonderful veggies all summer for the 2 of us… and I didn’t have to water or weed!

So you must have been spending all your free time at the gym?

Ha!  No… and I am certainly paying for it – in more than one way.  Apparently (and I have the research to support this) just paying for a gym membership is not enough to maintain your weight.  Only thing I’ve been loosing is money.  And my knee is starting to complain.

OK… are you just sitting on the couch and eating bon-bons?

Ha… again no!  I have been doing a lot of research the past couple months.  As part of our trek towards a healthy life style (ignoring the fact I haven’t gone to the gym) we have been looking into the use of Essential Oils.  I had done a bit of research back in the late 90’s but mostly to use as an additive for bath oils, soaps, etc.  Now I am looking into their use as an alternative to the chemical soup of the “over the counter” drug store products available to us and for supporting our ever maturing bodies!  I am not one to jump into things willy nilly… so it’s been a slow cautious journey.  I have a pain cream recipe that is doing great things for The Engineers back and we are sleeping better with some different oils applied topically and diffused.  We have also had great results fighting seasonal allergies.  And I am playing with topical and diffusing blends that are uplifting and energizing.  We used a most excellent blend to keep the bugs in SC at bay.  I am seriously considering an online course in Aromatherapy… but that will require more research and I’ve really wasted enough time run out of time to just sit and read… so that would be something I consider again in the fall.

Last question today… Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?

Yes!  I’ve done my research – see question 3 above! And when that time comes… this is the person I will be with.  He goes nowhere without his sword! 

April 14 Vac (8)April 14 Vac (9)

He wakes up and asks “where’s my sword”?  Pick him up from daycare… “where’s my sword”?  Finish with dinner… “where’s my sword”?  He often also has a gun tucked into his belt… or pocket… or the waist of his pants and maybe even a saw from the tool box.  If his brother has the gun then he makes his own out of Legos (nice to be an armaments master!)

April 14 Vac (7)April 14 Vac (10)

If the lego gun breaks he can quickly re-fashion it.  In the best of situations he will have his Power Ranger suit with the built in muscles… he loves his suit!  The Easter Egg Hunt in the park had someone making balloon animals for the kids… one got a dog…

April 14 Vac (1)

the other a machine gun!

April 14 Vac (13)

And when he broke his machine gun – he went and got a balloon sword!

So when the Zombie Apocalypse comes… I’m with the little guy!

Friday, May 9, 2014

In All This Time…

You would think I would have my house clean, the garden and yard in order, some quilting done, some knitting finished…

And you would be wrong!

But since it’s What’s on The Needles Friday I figured I would show you what I had started a couple weeks ago on our trip to Charleston, SC to visit my daughter and grandkids!

We took the train… and you know knitting on a train isn’t the easiest thing to do because they move around a lot more than a car or airplane would.  Not that I would knit in a car because I always drive…

So I knit a little bit on the way down and pulled it back out for my trip home but this is what happened.

This is exactly what it looked like with the sunlight filtering through the trees along the tracks… I am guessing this is what ACID was like back in the 60’s/70’s.

Needless to say I didn’t get any more knitting done on that trip (or since).  That was another Leftie Shawl using a pretty brown I picked up at Knit Picks and the same little leaf colored yarn I had used before.  The Leftie Shawl is available in Ravelry.

We had a great visit with the kids, still can’t believe we sat by the pool two days while we were there – and no it wasn’t warm enough for this lady to consider getting wet. Ha!

2 little indians

The boys were chilly after their baths one night so Granny wrapped them up like little Indians.

Keao Desmond

And this little one – I can’t believe Miss K is going to be 10 this May!

I’ll be back soon with some more of what I’ve been up to… although it’s not all that exciting!

Almost forgot – remember to go check out what others are knitting this week

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shunned…

The dictionary defines Shun as: persistently avoid, ignore, or reject (someone or something) through antipathy or caution

I am afraid I have reached that point.  The point of no return.  The point where you decided in your mind that you have had enough of a situation and you decide to take ACTION.

I’m done…

These boots… are shunned…

shunned (4)

Yes these Muckmaster boots have served me well… in fact - too well this year.  Keeping my feet warm and comfortable outside in the ‘freezing hiney’ cold for 2, 3 or 4 hours at a time.  Snow storm after snow storm after snow storm…

And these Jobber boots also from the Muck Boot Company… they are shunned too!

shunned (5)

While out running errands they have provided sure footing on the slush, packed snow and ice… day after day after day…but I’ve had enough of them as well.

The various wool hats and gloves… shunned as well…

shunned (1)

Yes, yes, yes I know – the warmth has been splendid – especially in the face of those single digit winds… I am however so over you too!

And so… un-ceremoniously I deposit you in the shoe bin…

shunned (2)

…and I say to all of this ‘unending winter’ apparell –  it’s official… I’m done with you… dismissed, hidden away, shunned…

Just as soon as this (hopefully last) nor’easter goes by…

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Knitting Oooops! 2/28/14

I’ll be linking up with July L’s Patchwork Times blog again this week.  I had had high hope to show you what progress I made on my socks that were started at least a year ago… maybe more?  Actually I looked and it’s just a year.  Anyway for inspiration please go look at what other are successfully knitting this week.

As I said me… not so much inspiration… more like “don’t try this at home”.

Lesson:  If something doesn’t feel right – STOP right there and figure out why.

2 Up Socks 4

So these socks have been sitting patiently waiting.  I had gotten the foot part done and set it aside until I could concentrate on doing the gussett… Yes Please Laugh Right Out Loud Here!

I was working them 2 at a time on circular needles and had apparently started the increases for the gussets as there were more stitches on one side than the other. OK so I continued increasing… but after a while it was getting kinda snug so I split the increase side onto 2 double pointed needles on each sock.  Kept working but decided I really didn’t like the way the increase edges were looking… and then as I neared the last row I took a good look at the directions to make sure I understood what was going to happen next… moving stitches and placing markers and the such.  And then I saw it… What I had been working on – the increases – were suppose to alternate with a knit row… A ROW OF PLAIN KNITTING!  I hadn’t been doing that row of plain knitting – I had been (and I won’t yell this time but I want to) increasing every row… which is why it was so snug and icky looking.  So I had to unknit all those rows.  I thought about just pulling the stitches out and trying to pick them up… “trying” being the key word in that phrase.  I separated the socks, removed the wrong stitches and have one back to the beginning of the gusset and have started correctly from there.  I’ll unknit or “TINK” the other one later.  TINK is knit backwards… makes sense huh?! LOL  I’ll work on each sock individually until I get the heel done and start the leg then I’ll put them back together on the 2 double pointed needles.

I don’t so much mind being lazy and sitting around knitting… but I sure hate it when I realize I’ve even wasted my lazy time!

Enough knitting mistakes…

My approach to listening to the weather over the past week goes something like this… I stick my fingers in my ears and go “la,la,la,la,la!”. 

On Thursday when I looked out and saw BIG fluffy flakes from the passing snow shower… I thought to myself “If I have to get the shovel out I am just going to cry!”  Fortunately it was indeed a passing snow shower and I didn’t have to get the shovel out or cry.  I even went out later to run some errands in the sunshine!  Goodness it’s cold again – but it’s cold everywhere these days!  Anyway someone the other day said something in passing about the “storm on Monday”.  Since I’ve been sticking my fingers in my ears I did not know about the possibility of snow on Monday, hummm??  Then yesterday as I drove through town I went past an intersection where a front end loader was scooping up the snow on the corner and moving it back… way back off the corner.  Now we’ve had a few 40 & 50 degree days (just enough to tease us before dropping back to freezing hiney cold again) and there’s been a good amount of melting and compacting of the snow during that time - but it is far from gone.  That front end loader moving snow was a bad sign… I sat at that intersection and wanted to cry knew I needed to take my fingers outta my ears.  Sure enough another storm is on its way… with any kind of luck it will be a couple inches (insert laugh here) or based on the national news report this morning anywhere from 12 to 24 inches.

This would have been a really good year to have taken up hibernation as a hobby…

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bluebird of Happiness…

Yes and a Cardinal too…

If you need a little bit of bright cute color in your life right now you should try knitting up one or a half dozen of these cute little birds.

Bluebird of Happiness (4)

Bluebird of Happiness is a free Ravelry pattern that knits up so very quickly – you will certainly want to make more than one.

Bluebird (2)

Here is a picture of one stuffed, a flat finished and a new one in the works.

Bluebird (3)

It’s knit in 2 sections… you start at the neck and stitch towards the tail and then you pick up stitches at the neck and stitch to the beak.  The method of M1 the pattern uses (which is the easiest M1 I’ve used to date) makes the wing line **I miss stated that – the wraps and short rows in the body section make the wing lines** and the wraps in shaping the head makes the eyes… they are just too cute!

I will make a canary next and will get a good measure on the amount of yarn needed.  It’s somewhere between 12 and 15 yards of yarn total.

I didn’t post last week because The Engineer was off work and at 8:30 in the morning we were back outside to YET AGAIN clear off the driveway.  OK – we aren’t talking snow anymore… well except this… the snow came off the porch roof yesterday while I was out picking up groceries.  So I had to climb over the 2 foot snow bank to get to the shovel so that I could clear the walk and bring groceries in. 

roof snow 2-20 (3)

The pond is half full of snow… I’ve only seen one of the fish so I’m hoping the others are OK… I didn’t see anybody laying out in the driveway so they weren’t washed out when the avalanche happened.

roof snow 2-20 (1)

Back to knitting… My girl sent me this pic yesterday. Styling the Leftie Shawl which is available thru Ravely but is not free… well worth the money though!

Leftie styling

Please go over to Judy L’s Patchwork Times and check out what others are knitting on today.  Always good ideas there!

Under the Food Category… Something new arrived yesterday… my package from Cinnamon Hill that contained 2 types of stick cinnamon and a nifty cinnamon grater and cup.  I’ve always loved cinnamon and we have been using more of it because of it’s health benefits.  I’ll have to let you know another time what we think of it as all I did last night was open the box and take some pictures!

cinnamon hill (3) 

Under the “I’ve been a SLUG” category… I am trying to not be a slug – really!  Remember my word for the New Year… Move.  So far the Fit Bit Force has been tracking my activities so that I can get a gauge of just when I am active and in-active.  I seem to have no problems hitting the 10,000 steps mark… on those days where we have to go out and clear snow from the long driveway and many sidewalks.  LOL  so I have had a few of those 10,000 step days.  I’ll admit to running in place on a few occasions to tip the count over a certain mark… but otherwise I haven’t yet set any goals for myself.  I did set the alarm to go off at 9:00 am… a little reminder to myself to get off my hiney if I’m still sitting in the kitchen poking around the internet – which I have been known to do on occasion.  I think my plan is to look at the inactive days to see just what the pattern is and then see what I can do to modify those days to pick it up.  Of course going to the gym would make a big difference… as I have determined that paying for the gym has absolutely no positive effect on my health. 

On that note… I need to get my hiney in gear before the 9 am alarm goes off… LOL

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Completely Missed My Anniversary…

No not that one…

It’s been 3 years since I broke my knee… and I didn’t even think about it this year!

Not on the 7th (date of fall) or the 15th (surgery date)… not until today did it occur to me that it’s been 3 years.

I will say that all in all my knee is great… no limp, able to walk right up and down the stairs.  It still gets cranky when I’m on it a lot and has been a bit swollen the past couple weeks because of all the shoveling snow.  Seems that being right handed and throwing snow to the left… I put weight on that leg with each throw.  The Engineer uses the tractor with a snow thrower attachment and I have 2 walk behind snow throwers that I can use for the sidewalks or on the driveway if I’m doing that also.

Week 6-52

Here is a panoramic picture I took last Friday after we had finished clearing the driveway and sidewalks for the 2nd time in 2 days – oh and I cleared another 3 inches yesterday too!  I’m standing in the middle of my driveway (which is straight by the way). 

Have I said recently that I’m sick of the snow?  I am… how about you?  Yeah that’s what I thought…

Friday, February 7, 2014

Late Night Knitting Finish…

Don’t you hate it when you lay down at night and your brain just won’t shut up so you can go to sleep?

Since that happened to me again last night I went ahead and got up because I knew I only had about a half dozen rows to finish on this cowl.

This is (again) a free pattern available thru Ravelry… it’s called Elis.  I was intrigued by it because of the Indian Cross Stitch.  It’s very easy and gives an interesting pattern.  I still need to block this – but the yarn is a Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca DK weight.

Elis Cowl (2)Elis Cowl

Here are the Morning Bells Shawl

Morning Bells Shawl Complete

and Triplicity Shawl – all nice and blocked and ready to be mailed!

Triplicity Shawl Complete

You know what time it is?  Time to make Felted Knit Eggs if you want to include them in baskets for loved ones this year!  I made some last year.

Easter Eggs 6

Before and after felting.

Easter Eggs 11

You knit them and stuff them and felt them in the washing machine and then you can dye the plain ones with Kool-aide!!

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In the end I liked the Kool-aide knitted ones the best because the colors were just so brilliant! 

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My local yarn shop is going to order some colored yarns and put together some kits for those that want to make colored eggs but don’t want to dye them.  I think they will be sweet and was glad that she liked the idea enough to order some yarn.

I’ll be linking up to Judy’s Patchwork Times for her weekly On The Needles post… go see what others are knitting this week!

And just a glimps at what my week has been like… Monday brought about 8 inches of HEAVY WET snow…

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Not good for bushes…

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But pretty good for kids… each age group comes out and climbs up this mountain of snow.  This is the view from my flat roof that needed to be shoveled off in anticipation of freezing rain coming the next day.

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And speaking of freezing rain… here is Wednesday!

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We did not loose power here but it’s been rough going for many many people here in PA.

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I’ve got to ask y’all… do you see the face image in the ice in this picture?  I see a girl in the little icicle… do you?

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