Saturday, December 31, 2016

94.04........

......and I'm not going to make it to 100.  There is a level of insanity which exceeds even MY limits.  I did finish one more table runner:
and here's a little tip for you: stippling is really, really SLOW.  Even if you're not doing it very well.  The second one is pinned and ready for quilting as well,
but even if I get a chance to start it today, that would only put me at slightly over 95 yards for the year, and I've got a lot of things I need to get done today.  What I am happy about is using up one of the fabrics that was my "last hurrah" purchases from December 2015. Not most of them, but one more.  I wish I had realized the border would shift a bit when stitched together,
and perhaps that one of the table runners would end up sporting an inordinate amount of mutilated Santa Clauses.  I think these won't be going to homes with really small children. 

And, I'm back on the fabric wagon.  I waited two more days, made my planned purchases,
and am back for another year of sewing from stash.  There's another order coming, which hurts my numbers as there's a bolt of muslin, but I wanted a nicer one and I use a lot of it.  But I still used up more than I bought, so my stash has decreased and I'm ready for another year!

Speaking of 2017, I have decided to continue with Me Made Mondays, though not the 20 new projects part as I'm hoping to be back to work soon.  I'm also going to try for 100 finished projects again--regardless of yardage.  I didn't make several projects I was interested in because they didn't use enough yardage, so I'll go back to focusing on projects and hoping that clears up some more space in the sewing room.  I think there will be a noticeable difference already, once I clear away the December carnage.  Between wrapping gifts, making gift bags, and the final made yardage dash, my sewing room looks like it was attacked by fiber-crazed lunatics, but 94 yards takes up a lot of space.  Not as much as what's left, but a lot. 

Happy New Year my friends!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here's to a better 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

92.76

Thanks everyone!  I have to admit, I didn't think I'd make it a full year without buying fabric as my previous attempts have failed spectacularly.  I'm struggling to make it to 100 yards for the year, but today I'm at 92.76 yards used up so far, and with NOTHING coming in all year, that's a dent.  Maybe not a big dent, but a dent all the same.  In case you were wondering why I haven't made more progress this week,
I have taken up a new hobby called "snow shoveling."  We have a corner lot and a 3-car garage, plus some older neighbors who can't shovel snow, so it's become a time-consuming hobby.  While I can do it without injuring my back/hip, it does wear it out pretty thoroughly, and Mother Nature being a bit of a jerk, we get the most snow when Andy isn't here, so it's often a solo hobby.  I think I'll be giving it up as soon as possible. 

Boise gets snow, but it rarely sticks around this long, and until a heat-wave of 30 degrees yesterday, the streets were almost impossible to navigate.  There's a field near us, so we've been going out snowshoeing to try to get ready for some outings with friends in January.  It tires my hip a lot, and we can only do about a mile before getting too cold to continue, but it's exercise.  Really cold exercise.  REALLY cold.  Honestly, I don't know what we're thinking sometimes, but even the cats are getting cabin fever.  And there's more snow coming later this week.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.  As I have such a habit of being sick, this was our first Christmas at home without having people over, and it was kind of relaxing.  We made calzones, went snowshoeing, and of course, unwrapped gifts.  A friend of mine found this
at a church bazaar.   It's made from an old hymnal, and is just the cutest thing ever.  The clever things people come up with!

Andy, knowing I'm on a yarn diet, bought me Malabrigo:
 He specifically ordered enough for a pair of socks, but it's such lovely and soft yarn that I'm thinking some sort of scarf instead.  Surprisingly, I didn't cast on immediately, but I have spent an inordinate amount of time holding it, so I am definitely enjoying it.

I did make my final Me Made Monday by wearing this,
which is seasonally inappropriate but DID make the 20th "new" item, so I have made at least one goal for the year.  Even with four new table runners,
and three in-progress table runners,
 I'll still be short unless I think of a fast, simple 8-yard project.  Or two 4-yard projects.  Three days--8 yards.  Maybe I need a new pair of pajamas.... Or a fleece blanket.....

Monday, December 26, 2016

366!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I MADE IT!!!!!!! I haven't bought fabric in 366 days!!!  I finally did it!

And I've been up for 2 hours already and haven't yet ordered any fabric--which amazes even me. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays from Ch√Ęteau Sutton-Goar!

2016 marked our 10th wedding anniversary, and we celebrated by buying new rings. While it was tempting to do the traditional tin/aluminum, we thought they might be more meaningful if they DIDN'T come out of a gumball machine (if they still have those). It also shamed me into sorting through more of the garage in case any of those remaining boxes were ALSO celebrating a 10th anniversary, though I'm not sure what a box buys to celebrate. New packing tape?

While “done” with physical therapy seems to be something I'm never going to really ever achieve, my hip/back does continue to improve, and we were able to go cross-country skiing this year, which was very exciting. Even bigger news—I was able to go back to work for most of the year. For about 7 months, I worked as the store manager at Dunkley Music's Nampa store, which was fun—except maybe for what is known as “rental season,” which is a three-week period that is the source of all nightmares for music store employees. Music retail is a bit weird. During my first week, I had a lady call me on the phone, play her violin into the phone, and ask me if it was in tune or not. Then there were the steady stream of people with musical “treasures” they had gotten a great “deal” on through Craigslist or via Amazon. Luckily, I own a thesaurus and know a lot of synonyms for “junk.” It is interesting to see how determined people are to believe in something they want to believe, even if it means a bright green trumpet or a plastic violin. I had to eventually leave because working Saturdays and later into the evenings really didn't work out for us, but it's exciting to know I can cope with a work schedule (okay, with help from my physical therapist), and hope to find a Monday-Friday non-retail job in 2017.

Since I worked most Saturdays, Andy did all the traveling this year—camping and motorcycle trips both solo and with friends, visiting Trinity Lakes, eastern Oregon, and the Sawtooth Mountains. He got some new lenses for his camera, and has been out exploring with them. He also visited his parents in southern California for a week and had the decency not to gloat about any of it. Not to be outdone, I did add a new level of uncertainty to his vacations by landing in the emergency room during one of them after losing a tussle with a wine glass stem while washing the dishes, requiring 7 stitches and some emergency follow-up when a nurse opted to cut off the circulation in my hand with her bandaging. I don't believe he has any of our friends checking on me while he's out of town—I think they're doing it on their own. Can't say I blame them.

We didn't attempt much of a garden this year, which was just as well. We did end up with a large crop of voles, and at least a few of the ones that ended up in the house were dead. Most. I didn't even get our garlic planted for next year, but as there's some that went wild a couple years ago, I think we'll still probably have fresh garlic for next year. And lots and lots of lemon balm, which I didn't know was in the mint family until AFTER I planted it. Sure, the mint family has choked off pretty much all the other plants in the herb garden, but that part of the yard DOES smell fantastic, so there's that.

Since I sew and knit, I decided 2016 was a good time for a challenge called Me-Made-Mondays. It's also been done as Me-Made-May, but that's a bit more challenging for someone with a lot of wool socks and sweaters. It truly made for inventive Mondays, and it turns out that if there is appropriate work attire that works with funky hand-knitted socks in screaming colors with pompoms, I don't own it. Andy's woodworking year was dominated by 2016 being his turn to make Christmas gifts. We always get great ideas from the Idaho Artistry in Wood show in February, though by October there's usually a shift into “realism” and simplified (can be finished by Christmas) projects. Deadlines are marvelous for that. Sort of like with holiday letters..........:)

Things I learned this year:
  • There is no “five second rule” when it comes to a hot iron landing on carpet.
  • Until you are married to an engineer, you cannot understand the importance of Star Trek stamps
  • Taking a break from gardening isn't really conceding to the squash bugs. It's just a temporary tactical retreat that gives one a break from zucchini
  • I should not have complained about having to medicate a cat with stress issues. Now I'm medicating a stressed-out cat on a diet.
  • You'll never know when adulthood will sneak up on you. I was watching the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movie when I found myself thinking, “You know, I'll bet they really could have just immediately landed that helicopter and avoided that whole crisis.” Because realism IS what matters most in movies with flying men.
  • After working in it for 7 months, it will amaze me forever that those who work in retail AREN'T among the highest for alcohol abuse or mental breakdowns.
  • When we finally replace the upstairs carpet, I'm picking something that closely blends with cat barf stains.
  • The best thing in a music store is the electronic drum set with head phones. The worst is a real drum set.
  • In case you were wondering, it takes about 10 days of working in a music store before you learn to spot middle-aged guys who can't actually play, but want to tell you all about their buddy who owned a Stratocaster or Telecaster guitar. And 11 days to figure out how to outrun them.
  • Judging by the ferocity with which my cat digs up my spring garden, one would think HE was the one forced to eat canned spinach as a child.
  • This year I read the Hunger Games series. Clearly “Young Adult” doesn't mean what I thought it did.
  • People can actually ask music store employees if they carry “that song” by “that guy” with a perfectly straight face.
  • Now the vet thinks both cats have stress issues. I had no idea Andy and I were so hard to live with.
  • Very few things are important if you haven't seen them in 10 years.
  • Even if you haven't done it in many, many years, people will never forget that you CAN raise money for charities—even if you want them to.
  • I'm almost embarrassed by the amount of satisfaction I got when one of those “just under the wire” customers showed up right AFTER I'd locked the store door. Because I was SO wanting to have to stay late without being paid for it.......
  • No matter how much you love your spouse, it's impossible to NOT be relieved when your cat runs into your spouse's closet to throw up and rather than into yours.
  • Having had the rudest interview experience EVER with the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, I have been eagerly scanning the want ads for anyone calling themselves the “Outright Jerks of America.” It could work.
  • When your long-haired cat is waiting in front of an air vent, it might be time to consider turning the heat up just a little.
  • There are no points for starting a holiday letter early—only FINISHING early counts.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a healthy 2017,
Toni and Andy

Friday, December 23, 2016

The 23rd...........

Two days until Christmas and there are 14 emails from yarn or fabric merchants in my inbox. I think I'm a legend in my own lifetime........

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thought For the Day.......

Considering next week I'll probably convince myself that 2017 really WILL be the year I get that sewing room cleaned up and organized, a flying fat man in a sleigh isn't really that much of a stretch...........

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dashing Toward 100

Normal people do not care about such things, but I am now within 10.6 yards of hitting my goal with 10 days left in the year.  I could still make it!

Of course, I could stop being such an idiot and say "close enough," possibly involving some sort of medication, but until I find it,
the two black runners are done, and I think I'm going to try Anita's suggestion for doing the designs in green, then I was also thinking of using black fabric instead of white and trying gold.  I have 10 days, after all.

The latest obsession really started because we couldn't find a gift bag that would fit for one of the gifts Andy made, and I have a BIG box of felt, so
two problems solved.  Then for once I actually remembered that I had a bin of bags in progress,
and found 5 in need of just finishing,
(one not pictured), and as not being finished means the fabric has never been counted, BINGO!  Then since I was one such a roll
I've been testing out some of the new embroidery designs for additional bags.  If I keep doing bags (which we do use, so it's not completely out of desperation) and table runners, it's just possible I'll make it to 100.  What's 10 yards in 10 days, right??????

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Black or Red?

So I'm working on the third table runner,
using black thread, and now I can't decide whether I should do the last one in red
or black.  I'm kind of leaning toward black.  Then, on to anything else.

I finally remembered to post pictures of the bowl that used up the VERY last of my green batik pack,
and the tractor pillow that I'm only half-happy with:
I didn't have all the exact colors, and the closest green I had is a bit too neon-lime, but it's December 15 and it's good enough.  This is what I keep telling myself and WILL keep telling myself until I get it packaged and out in the mail.  

 I also washed the stabilizer off the newest ornaments,
 so I can get some of them wrapped up and put the rest on the tree before Christmas.  Being only 10 days away, I thought it time.......

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's the 14th

....and I need to use up another 15.6 yards of fabric before the end of the year to reach my goal of 100 yards for the year.  The part of me that isn't stressing is trying to figure out really big projects.

I've been down with a cold for the last week, so I haven't really done any sewing--or knitting--until yesterday, when I did manage to finish up two new table runners:
and have two more like it in progress.  Not a lot of yardage, but I had a new embroidery design set to play with (another one).  One of them is being delivered tonight as a 45th wedding anniversary gift, which I hope they'll like.  I think I'll try black thread on one of the new ones to see how it looks--these don't stand out as much as I had hoped.  And when those are done, that will give me about another 1.2 yards--again, not much fabric, but something.  AND, I am twelve days away from not having bought fabric in a year.  These arrived yesterday,
so I think Joanns is missing me or is keeping as close an eye on that date as I am.  I am going to need some neutral cotton, but if I find that, I think I could easily do another year sewing from stash.  Or 10.  Either way.  :)

Andy is out of town this week, so I am Chief Kitty Entertainer for the week, and Theo was very serious about sewing
until nap-time got him.  It's snowing outside today, which means none of us are likely to be outside much.  I do have a party to go to tonight, so hopefully the snow stops pretty early--maybe early enough that I won't have to shovel anything?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Holiday Sunday

The good news is that we really only have one super-busy week this holiday season.  And since it's been more than a week, you might easily guess that it was THIS week.  My hip/back is still really sore from visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, but we've still managed to see the Carole King musical, Beautiful, with my mother on Wednesday, then "helped" some friends bottle their wine yesterday during the day, then went to a holiday house concert last night (I even performed), and then tonight we have a dinner to go to.  I'm pretty worn out, but it's all fun--and tomorrow I can rest. 

There has been some crafting since my last update.  I did a new bowl, 
and, what's really exciting, is that I sliced up ALL the remaining fabric
from the Spicy Spiral runner
 
 for Andy's parents' 60th wedding anniversary last year.  This is a big thing for me, because I really loved how it turned out and the fabric, and using up the last of it will truly mean it's all gone.  ALL GONE.  And I've even started the bowl that will use it all up,
though I did learn that this isn't something I can do while on muscle relaxers or too much medication.  I started it earlier in the week when my hip/back was at it's worst, and when I examined it later, I had to restitch much of it because I'd missed sewing the rounds together.  Oops.

I also finished the second fall leaf runner, 
 and they are now in the gift bin, got another ornament done,
and this morning I'm trying out the tree design. 
I love the applique and lace ornaments, but the fact that one can use up scraps on them,
is probably not helping my compunction to hang on to scrap fabric.  Oh well--at least I have found a use for it, right?  And it would probably only take 100 or so of these to make an actual dent in my scrap basket.......:)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

So, that was a fast almost-2-weeks.  I did remember Me Made Mondays,
though neither of them count for "new" items.  I need to pick up the pace on those a bit as it's almost December..  Speaking of timing issues, this
arrived last week. I can only assume this has been bouncing around in the mail for 3 months or that "pre-order now" refers to Christmas 2017.  Okay, yes, every crafter I know DOES actually have insanely unrealistic expectations of how fast we can make Christmas gifts, but I think most of us at least expect stores to have more sense than we do.  That's what they're there for. 

Last weekend Andy and I popped down to Twin Falls for the weekend to get Emma fixed,
and Larry was able to replace the part while we were there, so I have two working Husqvarnas!  And,
a new quilting foot to play with.  The one I have for the Bernina has a guide, and I really like it, but the feed dogs pull very hard and there's no changing foot pressure on it, so since I was there anyway, I did a little shopping.  If I'm going to spend money, I'd much prefer to give it to great local stores like Twin Falls Sewing Center.  I don't know what Theo thinks of the new foot,
but he is enjoying some sewing time.  And I might have celebrated getting my embroidery machine fixed with some new embroidery designs....
And I'm working on some projects I might have bought designs for a while ago:
but at least are finished in time for Christmas.  Technically, this is Andy's year to make gifts, but my hours at the music store were horrific (because you can do that to salaried people), so Andy ended up fixing dinner and doing all the grocery shopping and the cleaning and pretty much everything else around the house while I was there.  So, I can certainly pitch in and help with gifts.  Especially since I'm still 18 yards short of my fabric goal for the year..............

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday

 It's a pretty tense time in America right now, in case anyone just woke up from a coma or something.  Yesterday I spent some time with a very old friend, which was wonderful, and last week I started doing some VERY part-time/temporary work with one of my oldest friends, which has been great.  There are people who bring pain to your life and people who bring joy.  I hope I am always the latter in the lives I touch, and I am really thankful I have so many of you in mine. 

It was time for a little beauty today.  Jeeves is working beautifully,
which is really fun.  With nothing positive happening on the job front, it's nice to not have to even think about replacing him just yet.  The other machine I took down--Emma--worked okay for a while, then flipped out again, but behaved beautifully today.  Larry, of course, warranties his work, so I've emailed him to let him know there's still a problem and he's already ordered the replacement part.  I have run out of places to leave them positive reviews, but if I ever find a new one, 5 stars! 

The brown table runner has been on hold because I couldn't decide how to finish it, but it just needed some sort of edging, so I picked a decorative stitch in gold thread,
using embroidery thread rather than metallic as it shreds and I just didn't need that today.  Especially because the sewing gods had this lined up for me:
It's really hard to see, but I was literally and inch and a quarter short of having enough binding with just two strips.  I had a little partial strip available, but I hate to have two joins so close together.  Still,
I adore the finished runner.  In fact, I love it so much that we're keeping it.  Not that I have a surface right now without a fall table runner, but I could turn it into a hanging--or we could always get more furniture, right?