Thursday, September 26, 2013

There Has Been Canning........

....but very little crafting going on here lately.  I did finally get a picture of the new ornaments,
 but as there haven't been any more since then, I'm farther behind than I was.  Darn tomatoes.

The last crafting time I had wasn't even spent on ornaments:
I made a bowl from some of the rope Andy gave me for my birthday.  I love it, and since it was part of a gift,
I'm keeping the bowl.  It's new purpose is to hold my embroidery threads that I'm actually using.  I don't think one can really keep thread organized while it's in use, but the baggies and bowl should help.  The free-standing lace ornaments have to have matching thread in the bobbin, but one would be very sorry to sew with such lightweight thread under any other circumstances, so the baggies keep spools and bobbins together.  It's not pretty, but it really helps. 

I had a little spare time this morning, and went into the sewing room determined to try a new ornament,
 and got ambushed by another rope basket.  Maybe I just need to find a way to hang them on the tree so I can count them............................

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cool Things I Am Never Going To Do

I'm on Pinterest, and aside from the occasional friend trying to market his or her business through it, I really like it.  Shockingly, I've even made a few of the recipes and craft projects I've pinned.  Not all, or even half, but some.  Sometimes I see something that is really, really cool but that I know I am never, ever EVER going to do, and I think I need a board for that.  I've even found the first thing to pin:

http://www.embroideryonline.com/c-127-christmas-village.aspx

A freestanding lace Christmas village.  It's an unbelievably cool idea, and one that I love as a crafting theory, and I could truly spend an hour admiring this is someone else's home, it's never going to happen in my life.  If anyone else decides to make this Christmas village, please send me photos when you're finished.  I assume that might be in 5 to 10 years, but I can wait.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's Monday Already?

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary,
so provided I don't do anything to bring back my cold OR hurt my back/hip today, we're going out to dinner tonight.  We exchange perfume/cologne for our anniversaries, but we decided to wait a bit on that to make sure I've regained my sense of smell completely.

It was a busy weekend--some friends had us over yesterday for a delightful brunch on their patio, last night I picked and peeled tons of tomatoes, and Friday and Saturday I canned.  I have managed a few ornaments (pictures to come), so I'm now up to 264.  101 left to go!!!!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Have I Mentioned There Have Been No New Ornaments?

So the thing about deciding to do 365 of anything in one year is that it's quite easy to figure out where one stands at any given time.........like today, which is the 263rd day of the year.  Not being at 263 ornaments, I would now be behind.  And it's early in canning season, and the holidays are coming, so time is not on my side.  Today didn't actually help.  Finishing Friday fell prey to desperation canning and the cold.  We refer to it as "desperation" as I've been freezing tomatoes as I pick them, then taking them out to work with when I'm ready, and the freezers are about ready to burst--obviously one of us is not keeping up very well.  So today was Basil Simmer Sauce, and tomorrow--if I can keep the cold at bay--will be a triple batch of our favorite salsa.  Then picking more tomatoes--it's a vicious cycle. So we'll be eating well this year--and we're certainly covered on our lycopene for the foreseeable future--and I WILL be caught up from last year's pathetic garden showing, but there had better be some serious Christmas cheer this weekend.................

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall Back Stash Dash Update

From September 1 until November 30, it’s time to fall back in love with the things you already have. New yarn cannot compete with a long-term love.  Complete as many of the following as you choose. As always, please feel free to involve other hobbies or crafts as well:

Love at First Sight - pick a yarn in your stash that was truly an impulse buy--a yarn you just fell in love with. Find a pattern that will do it justice- DONE.  Actually, I picked out FOUR possible patterns for it--how's that for thorough?

Soul Mates - make a pair of socks, slippers, booties, or stockings from stash yarn--the deeper the better

Glass Slipper - Match a pattern you already have with a yarn you already have and put them into a project bag to surprise yourself with in 2014 - DONE

 This is set aside for Christmas of 2014.  I might even remember it by then........


‘Til Death Us Do Part - complete FIVE rows on a WIP that is at least one year old, or your oldest if they’re all more recent - DONE

“Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Complete TEN rows on a second WIP
Only 2000 left to go.............

“You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” - Complete SEVEN rows on a third WIP - DONE
     I don't seem to have a picture, but there are now at least seven more rows on the edging of the lace capelet.

“Killing Me Softly” - complete SIX rows on your most frustrating WIP or project

“Hit the Road, Jack” (or “Hit the Toad, if you prefer) - review your WIPs and frog any that you don’t love - DONE
This was one of my first sewing projects with the Husqvarna.  It was going to be a tiered skirt, but somehow I managed to cut it out wrong, so one of the bottom tiers is smaller than the tier above it, and I being in gauze, I don't think it's savable.  However, I think it might fit into the scrap basket very nicely............

“We’ve Only Just Begun” - update or embellish something you already have: crochet cuffs on a pair of jeans? Ribbon embroidery? A new hat or scarf to match an old coat? Create a look you love.

“Do You Believe in Magic?” - finish ONE WIP (or project if you have no WIPs)

“Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” - make one gift - DONE
Actually, done three times.

“At Last” - finish a SECOND WIP (or project if you have no WIPs)

“Dreams Can Come True - finish a THIRD WIP (or project if you have no WIPs)

“We Belong Together” - work 40 rows on any project made with stash yarn

“Embraceable You” - sort through ONE yarn bin, drawer, or bag to remember what great yarn you already have

Optional Bonus Categories:

“Wouldn’t it Be Nice?” - wrap up a second project bag for yourself and wrap it up for your 2014 birthday

“Let’s Stay Together” - work an additional 30 rows on any project

“My Funny Valentine” - work an additional 25 rows on your favorite WIP or project

“My Ideal” - repeat any of the challenges THREE times, one for each month of the challenge

“Crazy” - repeat ALL of the “row count” challenges THREE times

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bah! I Have a Cold

Sunday was (hopefully) our last day of temperatures in the 90s.  On Monday, I caught a cold.  Not even slightly funny.

I did manage to finish the third rope bowl from the 3/8-inch bowl,
and I think I'm ready to move on to some smaller rope projects.

The dressmaker's dummy (still in need of a name) had her first assignment,
and made the facing a breeze!  This is the third jacket I've made from this pattern, and on the first two jackets I had to stitch the facing many, many times to get it right.  It has to be basted, then top-stitched.  I hand-basted the yoke area, did massive pinning, and it got it right the very first try!  That was worth the price right there.  I'm down to just a few buttonholes, and can count another finished WIP.  I'm aiming for 15 WIPs in a row, but the knitting ones are taking so long that I am going to incorporate sewing WIPs.  I've been working diligently on the peach stole,
which is about to finish off its first ball of yarn.  It's sort of exciting to be that far along, but it will use most of THREE balls, so it isn't exactly close to being finished.  I don't want to stop the WIP marathon, but it gets a bit overwhelming at times, and I think incorporating sewing WIPs will give me a boost........and clear up some space in the sewing room...........:)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

It Was a Good Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, and aside from being incredibly sore from a NEW spot getting therapeutic massage on Thursday at physical therapy, it was great fun.  We had intended to go to a concert at the botanical gardens on Thursday night, but between rain and not being able to sit down again, we postponed that for
and a heating pad.  :)

Yesterday Andy started my day off with breakfast in bed, 
and I can't really think of a nicer way to start a day.  

We originally had other plans, but my hip was so tender that any clothes but pajamas hurt, so I spent most of the day sewing.  I finished up the thread bowl experiment,
and will try soaking and shaping it later today.

I also finally found a solution to the rope-bowl finishing problem:
 Elmer's glue!  It stiffens the fibers enough to not fray, but it's not visible once I rub it in and let it dry, so
I finished the first bowl! 
 Obviously in most circumstances, this rope is much too big and makes no sense, but a lot of our friends are from kayaking, so rope bowls are just funny and totally appropriate gifts for our more outdoorsy friends, and is a good way to learn this.  Andy gave me,
so I'll be branching out as well.  This book says to NEVER use anything but cotton clothesline, but the book from the library said anything that didn't have plastic was fine, and I think the red make a really cute bag. I may have a new addiction.  
The other exciting news yesterday:
I had decided that when my year of not buying crafting stuff ends on November 1, I was going to buy a dressmaker's dummy.  I had thought about making one of the duct-tape ones, but after two years of back problems, I weigh more than I usually do and certainly don't want to commemorate THAT in duct tape.  And I don't always just make clothes for myself, and after looking at reviews and checking them out in stores, I had picked one out and had it in my cart on Amazon.  As it turns out, just the idea of putting things in an online cart gets me past week moments in the spending ban, so I've been adding and subtracting stuff all year, but this I knew I was going to order.  Then last weekend, while removing a bunch of stuff from my cart, I found that this had temporarily dropped in price by $25, and after thinking it over, I decided to go ahead and order it as it wasn't an "impulse" buy nor one of my "problem" areas (books, fabric, yarn, notions).  Originally I was just going to put it away until November 1, but then I got a notification that it would arrive on my birthday!  So I decided it could be a birthday present to myself.  So, I am now the proud owner of a dressform, who has been assembled and has taken up residence in my closet, and sometime this weekend she's going to help me finish the floral jacket
 just in time to be put away for spring.  I think I need to work on my timing...................

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Was Abducted By Canning

Over a week later, we have:
 One finished project--a rare thing around here these days,
a bit of progress on the thread bowl, which I think might be ready to wash and shape,
one not-quite-finished bell ornament,
three more lace icicle ornaments,
a double batch of fresh vegetable salsa,
a double batch of roasted tomatillo-chipotle salsa
4 pints of pickles,
roasted garlic pasta sauce,
and 4 batches of poblano-cilantro sauce, which are frozen but still count anyway.  Or at least count in the "why I am now only ONE ornament ahead for the year" category.  I'm beginning to see a flaw in the plan...........

Monday, September 2, 2013

Having A Holiday

Originally, I had planned to can tomato salsa yesterday, but then I thought, "Hey, it's a HOLIDAY weekend.  This is not what normal people do with holidays."  So I'm doing it today instead--still a holiday, but a Monday, which sort of evens things out.  Besides, I think I sat too much yesterday.  And that would be because...
I was on a crafting marathon yesterday!  First I stitched another bag, this one for a friend of ours who just purchased a new ukelele and has a birthday this week,
then three more white lace ornaments.  Now that I only have 2 months left before I can buy more thread, I'm less concerned about running out of white thread and more concerned about having white lace icicle ornaments.  I just love these!  And 3 ornaments in one day during canning season isn't a bad thing--114 left to go!!!

Then I did some stabilizing on the thread bowl by adding a grid:
and while I've heard several theories as to why my machines hate Coats and Clark thread and can only use it when I lower the thread tension, the amount of fuzz and lint the stuff sheds might be a factor.  I've had to clean the machine twice already, and I have to brush off the walking foot even MORE often.  That can't be a good thing in thread.

I've now completed OVER 5 rows on the peach shawl,
earning my first category for the "Fall Back" stash dash:  'Til Death Do Us Part.  I've still got a long way to go before I have my 3rd WIP for the current WIP marathon, but if they all move forward a little at a time, I'll get there.  I have a feeling this is going to take me through most of next year. 

Then, I tried something new!
I saw this book on Amazon and would have ordered it immediately were it not for the spending ban,  but thankfully our library owns a copy.  The bows on front are made from clothesline wrapped with cloth.  The rope you see is quite a bit larger because I got 3/8-inch lodged in my head rather than 3/16-inch.  This is in a very gray area with the spending ban.  Andy picked it up for me at the hardware store, and generally when I make gifts I originally pay for the materials out of my own allowance and then reimburse myself from the general account when it's actually done.  As a fair chunk of the stash would qualify under the heading "gift ideas thought of but not made yet," it works out rather well.  But if it's for a gift I'm doing immediately, it doesn't have to go that route--like the ukelele embroidery design.  So, it feels a bit like cheating, but I was so excited that I wasn't going to argue. 

As the rope was colored AND much thicker than it was supposed to be (and I'm trying to learn this), I decided to just use the rope as-is.  So many of our friends are outdoor types that a bowl made out of rope is just perfect for them anyway.

I set my machine to a zig-zag stitch, reduced the foot pressure as low as it could go, and tried to figure out how to get it started without the rope unraveling,

which I didn't really do well.  The idea is to zig-zag across the coils of rope as you turn, and it was about here that I realized one would probably be better off with a joining foot
to have that guide.  Reducing the feed dog pressure enough to not catch the nylon of the rope also means the coils can slide around a lot.  Live and learn, right?

When I thought the base was wide enough for some stability,
I started working the rounds at an angle to build up the sides.  The bobbin thread is what is going to show on the outside of the bowl, so one could use a decorative thread for accent.  Can't you just see all sorts of possibilities for this?

It got a bit tricky when I decided I wanted the walls to go more UP than OUT,
but after a little practice I was quite zipping along until
I ran out of bobbin thread.  It's a fun size of bowl, and because of the terrible fraying, I'll have to think about how to finish this off, but I am tremendously pleased with the result.  When November 1 comes, I'll be hunting down some 3/16 clothesline and trying the fabric-wrapped version.  I'm in love!!!!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fall Back Into Love Stashdash

From September 1 until November 30, it’s time to fall back in love with the things you already have. New yarn cannot compete with a long-term love.
Complete as many of the following as you choose. As always, please feel free to involve other hobbies or crafts as well:

Love at First Sight - pick a yarn in your stash that was truly an impulse buy--a yarn you just fell in love with. Find a pattern that will do it justice.

Soul Mates - make a pair of socks, slippers, booties, or stockings from stash yarn--the deeper the better

Glass Slipper - Match a pattern you already have with a yarn you already have and put them into a project bag to surprise yourself with in 2014

‘Til Death Us Do Part - complete FIVE rows on a WIP that is at least one year old, or your oldest if they’re all more recent

“Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Complete TEN rows on a second WIP

“You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” - Complete SEVEN rows on a third WIP

“Killing Me Softly” - complete SIX rows on your most frustrating WIP or project

“Hit the Road, Jack” (or “Hit the Toad, if you prefer) - review your WIPs and frog any that you don’t love

“We’ve Only Just Begun” - update or embellish something you already have: crochet cuffs on a pair of jeans? Ribbon embroidery? A new hat or scarf to match an old coat? Create a look you love.

“Do You Believe in Magic?” - finish ONE WIP

“Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” - make one gift

“At Last” - finish a SECOND WIP

“Dreams Can Come True - finish a THIRD WIP

“We Belong Together” - work 40 rows on any project made with stash yarn

“Embraceable You” - sort through ONE yarn bin, drawer, or bag to remember what great yarn you already have