Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yarn Along

I was so so SO hoping be able to report that I had finished my 11 pattern repeats. But no, I am halfway through number 11. And I actually have 2 skeins left. If I can, I will be doing a 12th repeat as well. Especially seeing as the blanket is a touch small. Then on to the edging!

I made a big push this week, I want to get this done! So, there had been very little happening in the way of sewing or quilting or (ahem) cleaning. I have another baby gift to get started on too—I have not decided if it will be an afghan or a quilt.

Reading-wise, I managed to finish Beautiful Creatures, which had bogged me down. The story was good, but the writing not my still (too Victorian and stiff!). I then started and finished The Children of Willesden Lane within a 24-hour period. I thought it was good, but only if considered a young adult book—too simplistic for an adult book, but great for 10-year-olds, and with an appropriate vocabulary.

Now I am on to February (fiction). I really need soemthing good to happen in this book soon. I just started A History of the World in Six Glasses (nonfiction) today.

I also just cannot seem to kick the dregs of the 2-week cold I had 3 weeks ago, nor can the boys. We are just tired and still having sinus issues. Don't you just hate that?!

Linked to:
Yarn Along 
Work in Progress Wednesday (Tami's Amis)
Crochet Happy Wednesday

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Very little to show

Another week, and just over one more repeat done. I may get another couple done tonight. Or maybe not, I should really do some chores. We went out of town for 36 hours over the weekend—I took both the book and the afghan. Didn't touch the afghan, but did some reading in the car. And really, we were out doing stuff, not sitting around the hotel. (Other than the jacuzzi and wine and cheese time, of course.)

Even this book is slow going. I just can't really get into it. The "proper" Victorian-style writing just makes me sleepy. I know it's stylistic and all, but YAWN.

7 and almost a half repeats done, and over halfway through the book. Hopefully next week changes will be obvious!

Linked up:
Yarn Along
WIP Wednesday

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Why did I put this off, exactly?

I have a few in-progress quilts (from wall hanging- to twin-size) that I am determined to get done this year.

So, I pulled out my second top from my class with Elizabeth Hartman—a Looptastic mini. The first was my Owl Eyes mini, finished six months ago shortly after the class.

I already had 2 of the rings completed—only the green one was left. That was three days ago. And I had to go buy and pre-wash the background fabric—Kona Natural was what I went with. One of the blues has a neutral that perfectly matches the natural. I have a horrible time with neutrals, I don't seem to like any of them!

As you can tell, the circles are not perfect. I actually cut apart the green twice, trying to get a circle instead of an oval. After carefully examining the photos in the book, I see those aren't perfect either.

The applique was much, much easier than I expected.

I found something in my stash that I will be using for the back:

The selvedge isn't stamped to the line—I think it is Wild Thyme by P&B Textiles. I love this fabric and am questioning my choice to put it on the back—but I bought it several years ago when my favorite LQS went out of business and haven't touched it yet. I really do not want to buy anything else. It is time to cut into this!

Linked to:
Sew Darn Crafty 
Show and Tell Tuesday

Friday, February 15, 2013


So, I saw this darling Valentine's Day dessert on pinterest. One of about 1000 versions, I know, for every holiday you can think of.

This one called for brownie mix, something called "chocolate bark" that the pinner found at walmart, and darling heart-shaped sprinkle-things.

So. I made brownies from scratch, that part went fine. (Why do people buy mixes? It is really no harder to throw in your own flour, sugar, and cocoa. Melting the butter is the hardest part, and the one mots likely to go wrong.)

So, chocolate bark. I have no idea what this is or looks like, but it is in the baking aisle at a Walmart somewhere. I don't shop at Walmart, for many reasons relating to Chinese imports, a woman who was fired in Wisconson almost 20 years ago, and the fact that Walmart if 6 miles from me. There are 6 count them SIX Targets closer.

So I went to Target. I was already there, actually. And drove my 10-year-old crazy looking for this "bark" thing.

Then  I went to Ralphs for "bark" and cute heart-shaped sprinkles. And completely struck out.

So I got Magic Shell and conversation hearts.

In spite of what the Magic Shell bottle says about it hardening in the refrigerator, that's not exactly true.

However, the brownie bites were a hit. Boys and husband eagerly pronounced them "delicious"!

I also have no lovely dish to display them on, just my cool bird platter from....Target :)

Not a Pin Win, but not a complete Pinstrosity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Passing the halfway mark

Not a huge week on the baby afghan. I got one more repeat done, for a total of 6. Which means I am over halfway, if nothing else! But with sick kids and being sick (we have had the strangest 8-day cold!), and kids home sick, there was not much crocheting. The kids hog the TV (we only have 1), and I just can't watch Mythbusters all day like they can!

I have not actually started Remarkable Creatures yet. Tonight! As soon as I get all my chores done.

Linking up: Yarn Along and WIP Wednesdays
Wow, my slippers got chosen as a Sweet Buzz this week, over at Sugar Bee Crafts. Exciting!

Sugar Bee Crafts

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I picked up the Spring 2013 Stitch magazine last Monday, largely for the slipper pattern. Since I was at Joanns (long story involving a castle project, gray paint, a closed art supply store, and an impending due date), I grabbed the non-skid fabric and some ¼” elastic. The rest could come from my stash.

I dug through my stash, and indeed even had a solid flannel, probably form a Halloween costume over 10 years ago. Time to use that!

 I made the large size, hoping they would be large enough. They do just fit, though they are also too wide. But they are super cute.

The pattern is well written and easy to follow—what a relief after the last few things I have sewn. I learned a bit about the limits of my sewing machine: 10 layers is too many; and working on something curved and small is not a strength. Getting that binding sewn on was a nightmare in the front.

Changes I will make for next time:
• Reduce the width! I have narrow feet but wear off-the-shelf slippers all the time. These are crazy wide, even with socks. And socks make them too short....
• Add a quarter inch too the length. The pattern is only sized up to a 10.
• Sew the binding on before attaching the sole. It will be a lot easier to maneuver this through the machine without the sole on.

Change I made this time: rather than overlap the binding in the back, I left several inches unsewed on each end while I sewed the binding to the front 2/3 of the foot opening. Then I unfolded the part left unsewed and fit it so it was the exact right length, sewed a seam, cut the extra off, ironed the seam and then finished sewing the binding on. This enabled me to match my binding and and back seams.

I'm not sure what to do with the thickness issue. I broke 4 or 5 pins just trying to pin the many layers together, and when sewing the 10 thicknesses through the heel, I broke the top thread repeatedly (after it shredded each time). I even ended up with my machine set to "vinyl", which did help, but did not solve the problem. I used Dual Duty thread for the construction. Interestingly, my sewing machine needle did not break.

What's this?
**Update** After a trip through the washing machine, the quilting has crinkled up and the slippers have shrunken slightly (flannel and cotton had been prewashed; non-skid sole, quilt batting, and interfacing had not been). The width is now perfect, but the slippers are too short. They fit, but I am walking on the heel seam (not comfortable!), and I don't imagine the quilting cotton will hold up for long being walked on. Next time, I will leave the width and add a half inch to the length.

Linked to: Sew Darn Crafty 
                    Sugar Bee Crafts Take a Look Tuesday
                    Fabric Tuesday 
                    Show and Tell Tuesday
                    Show and Tell: Gingerly Made

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


6 more repeats to go!
I have made progress since last week! Five repeats are done, 6 to go. This actually goes quite quickly when I sit down and work on it. I have been distracted by 1) 24 hours at cub scout winter camp 2) having said cub scout home with a bad cold and headache for 2 days and 3) the slipper pattern in the new Stitch magazine that I found at Joann's when getting paint for the middle schooler's castle project. That is how it goes. Must get back to this.

In reading news—I finished NW, you can find my review on Goodreads, which is linked in the right-hand sidebar here. I am now reading Away by Jane Urquhart (fiction) and Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. I also have His Family by Ernest Poole on my phone as my emergency book.

Linking up:
Yarn Along
WIP Wednesday