Saturday, March 27, 2010

Looking To The Future??

A few posts back I waxed poetic and gave my "profound statement" on not rushing into the future and savoring each day. Then I fiddled around with the blog layout to brighten it up a bit. I even updated the banner photo. And what does it say on this photo? June 24 2037 !!! Talk about rushing into the future. Apparently, my camera does some weird date thing when I change the batteries.
Anyway, it's still March of 2010 and I'm still very much living in the moment. I finished up a few stitched pieces that were laying around. Two boxes and a soon-to-be box. The first is what I have come to call "my Quirkers".....a Quaker that I have altered with an odd-ball thread selection. This is Workbasket Quaker Frog. I just love the look on his face. I am pretty sure I haven't posted a photo of him yet, though I am far too lazy to go back in the blog archive and actually check. So here is is, perhaps again.
Then the two completed boxes: A selection of eggs from a larger Marjolien Bastin piece and Bright Birds. I love the look of the egg box (filled with candy for my mom and dad for Easter) but the feathers make it quite a challenge to get the lid on and off of the box. The Bright Birds are much more user-friendly, being trimmed with black decorative braiding.
Still knitting away on socks. The repetitive nature of this type of knitting is very relaxing to me. I have even mastered Sock Math, the ability to take different weights of yarn and different size needles and adapt my standard pattern to them. I am currently working with some worsted weight yarns from my substantial stash and making slipper-socks. A big thank you to Staci for sharing her 40 cast-on worsted weight sock pattern. I can see a big dent being made in the yarn stash with this pattern.
I even ventured back into making some clothes for my 16" fashion dolls. I am in a 1920's mood lately and here is a prototype of a Spring outfit. The blouse needs a bit more tweaking for a better fit. Although the shapes of 1920's fashion are very basic, there is a fine line between loose-fitting and down right baggy. Once I establish a basic working pattern I can branch out into various skirt styles and even some dresses and jackets. Any other fashion doll enthusiasts out there? I'd love to share patterns and ideas.

And what day would be complete without a little chocolate. I made Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies from the most recent issue of Everyday Food. If you haven't browsed through this little magazine yet, usually at the grocery check-out lane (I subscribe), it is definitely worth a look. I find at least three recipes in each issue that I use over and over. These cookies are supposed to be for my dad as part of his Easter gift, but they are slowly dwindling!
Roy and Carmella went to the Vet this morning for their annual shots. What an ordeal. They hate to be put in the carrying case. I don't blame them. These are the brother and sister cats that were part of that group of three kittens I found on the roadside in October 2008. Obviously being put and a box and driven somewhere is not their favorite thing. They also spent one month at the vet in a cage trying to be adopted out. Their sister was adopted by the local dollhouse shop lady and I see photos of her pretty often. For Roy and Carmella the smell and site of the Vet's office must bring back sad and confusing memories. I love all of my cats, but these two little ones have been a special blessing to our house. They arrived towards the end of our beloved Alix's life. I worried that they would cause an uproar and upset her, but she truly enjoyed their lively ways and I think they helped her live a little longer. It is hard to believe Alix has been gone for a whole year.

The weather has turned cold again. There was even some snow early Friday morning. So it's back to the wool sweater and the penguin turtle-neck.

Rather then a pet snap toady I leave you with a photo of a massive sewing project. I am pretty sure my 10 year-old nephew does not read my blog ( not enough flashing lights or spinning gadgets to suit him) so it is safe to post this photo of his birthday gift. He is into the cartoon Calvin and Hobbs, much like my brother was. Infact, my brother gave him his first big cartoon book of them for Christmas. He has been asking over and over for a Hobbs doll. It seems the the cartoonist does not produce or license his characters as toys so I had to invent one myself. I now need to find a 50" x 25" x 20" box to mail this guy to New Jersey. I think it might be easier just to buy him a plane ticket.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pretty Things

The weather has turned from three days of constant rain to bright sun, just as this day is ending. So I took the chance to photograph a few pretty things.
Do snails lie? Apparently mine does. He is registering -10 degrees F! Poor thing. I think he is purely decorative now. The plants are coming up and I hope the nights won't be too cold for them. I even got some branches to sprout and bloom inside.
Two cross-stitch finishes: My version of Home Spun Elegance "Fresh Spring". Stitched on 28 count tan Laguna with Olde Willow Stitchery thread #056 "Tropical Storm". I need to find a few little prim charms to go on this. I tend to be a bit bold shall we say, in my interpretation of Quakers. My colors are anything but subtle! I think they might better be called Quirkers because, let's face it, they are a little weird. The rabbit motif is from Prairie Schooler #152 "April" stitched on light blue 32 count linen (thank God for my magnifying specs from Walgreens!) using the suggested DMCs. I never seem to fiddle much with the DMC suggested by Prairie Schooler. They are just so right just the way they are.
Some socks in Red Heart Yarn Heart & Sole "Green Envy". I have made 12 pair so far, sticking to my very dull, but comfortable, freebie pattern from Red Heart. I have gotten rather brave lately and varied the sizes a bit. I made a large men's pair and I'm working on a smaller sized pair for my niece. I even gone so far as to order some hand-dyed yarns from Etsy. My attempt at "Cedar Grove Socks" in the very hard to find black and bright gold of my home town. My niece is a cheerleader there and I think these socks will go over well. My next Etsy order of yarn is bright yellow-gold with some white and black bits, sort of the opposite of this.

Have to throw a few pet snaps in for good measure.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Color Of ....Dirt.

It seems Spring has sprung. Over 60 degrees F here today with bright sunshine. It really does me good to be outside more....or even inside looking at the outside. There are still a few small, sad patches of leftover snow, but the bulbs are beginning to sprout! A sure sign of good things to come. Bud shook off the cold and all the cats just begged to go outside and play (or nap) for a while.
Finally finished a cross-stitch piece. This is the Dutch gymnast Lieke Weavers. Most of my "hand-work" time is still taken up with my obsession with knitting socks.
A beautiful PIF arrived yesterday from Leena in Finland. A perfectly stitched humbug on a burgundy hand-dyed linen. Leena also included this fabulous skein of floss! I had completely forgotten about this PIF, which only made it all the more lovely a surprise. Thank you Leena. There was also a large RAK/de-stash envelope from Edgar last week. Thanks so much Edgar....."one man's clutter"....well you know the rest.

Another one of the sweet chickens got hit by a car last week. Now there are only three Guineas left. They are so friendly, which is what leads them to make the trek from their home up the street to our house everyday. They are just not swift enough crossing the road.

March is certainly'marching' forward! First week gone already. A friend asked me the other day if I just wanted to close my eyes and wake up some time in August and have all the recent stresses and problems be over-with. I thought for a moment and seriously considered answering a definite "YES". But my answer was "no". I do not want to wish my life away. There is something good in every day and I wouldn't want to miss those moments.