Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nothing finished, but still working!

These are two of the most labor-intensive, time consuming items that I have on my list of items that I want to get done before St. Patrick's Day. I have really been working on them the last few days. Everytime I sit down I try to get a few rows on one of the them, but.....
I was at Michael's last evening and I bought the yarn and needles to make socks. That is my new project for Knitting Night this week. I know that I was not going to start anything else but I HAVE to have a project for Knitting Night and what if I get this sweater done before then and have nothing to knit? Always good to be prepared.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Keys, Guitars, and Teacups

The painting in this post is going to confirm the ADD that keeps appearing as I get older. It is just all-over the place. My MIL was throwing these plaques in the dumpster when I just grabbed them and thought that I could so something with them, (does that get me points for being green?) They are plastic and were white and gold. I sprayed them and then painted them black and drybrushed colors on them. They have metallics brushed here and there, but you can't see that in the picture. Ok, I have two more of them if anyone sees these and thinks,"Where can I get a set of those for myself?" Does anyone think that? The other two are a little bit different design but you too could take advantage of painting and having these great works of art hanging in your home. I am not painting them for you, but I will give them (send them) free of charge to anyone that wants them. Can't beat a freebie!
This is for a friend's son 12th birthday. Tina, I know that John reads my blog regularly (not) so make sure that he does not see this! It, too is splattered with metallics. This was fun to paint!

The next two items I found, already painted, in the basement stash. This had a little chip in it and I am sure that is how it ended up on a shelf. The little cabinet I painted a lifetime ago and have never had anywhere to hang it. It may go in a guest bedroom. I forgot I had it. Now you may ask, "How in the world could you lose something that big in a stash and not know it was there?" (If you are not asking that, you are one of us) If you are asking that, the few people, and you know who you are, that have had the opportunity to see the stash will understand that I have a problem in my basement...I am working on it but it is a long road to recovery...I may not live long enough.
The first two items take two more items off my list! Yippee!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plethora of Patchwork and Pretty in Pink

I seem to be stuck on P's right at the moment. These were the weekend project at my house. My mom and dad came here on Saturday with the plans to do a marathon and get these tops...and more done. The "and more" are laying all over my sewing room right now and bothering me. My mom has so much leftover fabric and to be fair, she did have most of the blocks cut and several of these finished or started before she got here. We really worked on them to get the rest finished. The Ladies Missionary Society at our church makes these into lap robes and small quilts and distributes them to various places. These will now go to them and they will add the backing and tie them.
I don't like the furniture in that room and these really look much better than the furniture, don't you think? As I was sewing I kept throwing a lot of the pinks and blues and baby colors aside, they are now laying in piles all over the room. I had enough to do start this nine patch and there is enough for several other baby quilts. I am going to save those and have them on hand for when the girls or I need a baby gift. I am not a quilter so these are really a struggle for me. They take too long and are too precise for me!
I am going to post my list of procrastinations in the side column. I should have done this awhile ago, I actually have a few of them finished, however right now I am behind on the 25 that I want done before the 17th. I need to get busy and Oh yeah, I did START a couple of more items....I try so hard to not do that!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Panic, A Purse, A princess

Full fledged panic! That is what I went into this morning when I could not find my camera! It was reminiscent of Friday and Saturday when I had no internet service. When did I get this addicted to technology? Luckily my husband remembered that he had set it up in a kitchen cupboard when the two adorable, but very active little boys arrived at our house on Sunday night. I needed it to take the pictures of the packages that I received in the mail over the weekend. Ann at A Hole in the Basket sent this adorable doll to me as a prize from her procrastinator's challenge. It is sitting on the hearth right now and fits there very nicely. Thank-you Ann!
Laurie at Buttons and Lace sent this package of yarn to me for the Haitian Ladies in the Dominican Republic. I am considering this "seed" to start the collection. I have a closet in a guest bedroom that is almost empty and my goal is to fill it up before the next trip in January! Thanks so much Laurie, I really appreciate it and I know that the ladies will be so happy! So nice that there is baby yarn in there, maybe they will be able to make some nice things for one another's babies also.

My friend Tina brought this suede yarn to me last week on Knitting Night and Carol left this pattern with me. I could "see" these colors for this purse immediately. I had bought the fun fur yard at the kintting trade show two weeks ago and I had just enough of the lime green for the edging in the "stash" Not sure if I am keeping it or giving it away or listing it on Etsy.

And finally the Princess. Aunt Shelby is feeding some of her birthday cake to Gracelyn on Saturday night. Shelby turned 27 yesterday and is expecting her first baby, a little girl, in June. It is hard to believe that both my daughters will be mothers....where did that time go? Gracelyn is practicing to be a seamstress with her tape measure around her neck. At home she wears her Mom's stethoscope, I think she just likes something around her neck, not sure that it is a career choice just yet.
I spent part of the weekend piecing together quilt tops with my mother for the Ladies Missionary Society at our church. I have a few to finish up and then I'll post them. I don't think that craft is going to become an addiction just yet.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Took the leap!

In the middle of all the things that I needed/wanted to get done, there was this huge procrastination with all the painted items that are in my basement that have no home. Technically they are only "renting" the space in my basement and one of the "landlords" of the house (that would be my husband) is getting real tired of the clutter in the basement. One man's know the saying! I used to sell online at another venue and the prices and fees kept going up and finally I decided that it just was not worth it. After discovering Etsy, I kept it in the back of my mind for quite some time. After beginning to blog...I realized how many of you have Etsy shops and kept thinking that might be a creative outlet for all the "renters' in the basement. So here goes....another item off my procrastinator's list!
If any of you experienced Etsy users have ANY advice, I would gladly accept any or all hints, tips, anything! Now off to list some more! And won't that other landlord be so happy that now all these items are sitting in the corner of the living room now? You know that other saying...Be careful what you wish for...well the items are migrating out of the basement...should he not have said out of the house?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Three empty baskets!!!

Ok, it is only a dishcloth, but it was started! and now finished. These are the most fun things to work on right now, they are like instant gratification, but for now they are going to be put aside to get some of these other items finished, (well maybe just ONE more...) I wanted to try these little purses that I found the pattern for online. I have so many scraps of this fun fur yarn and thought that these would make cute little purses, now to find some little girls that would like them.
This sweater has been laying in my sewing room waiting for inspiration. I had folded and pinned it so many times trying to figure out how to make it into a purse/tote bag. The other night a friend of mine picked it up and folded it just so and there it was! A way I had not even thought nice fresh eyes are on a project! Thanks Carol!

And this is what I made with it. She suggested using the bottom of the sweater as the top of the bag. I cut the holes for the handles and blanket stitched them into buttonholes, crocheted the handle with yarn and crochet cotton together to make it stronger and less stretchy than just yarn, added some lining that I had saved from an old coat that had a really neat pattern and I knew it would work for something, and then dug through my beads for just a small amount of bling, truly a recycled treasure.
Is anyone going to come along on this finishing projects extravaganza? One of my daughters dug through her stuff and she has a project that she is going to try to finish before St. Patrick's Day. You don't have to have 25, just a few...and there are prizes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

I am my mother after all.

Or I can title this "Valentine's Day to St. Patrick's Day challenge.

When the bulk of my crafting revolved around decorative painting I did not have UFO's (UnFinished Objects for those of you who would never dream of not finishing things) but now that I have made the leap back into all things fabric, I have stuff started EVERYWHERE! I could never understand how my normally, super-organized, clean, mother could have all those projects started everywhere! Now I did not get the super-organized or the clean (or the skinny) genetics from her, obviously, but apparently I have the genetic to start everything and have it laying everywhere in my sewing/craft/yarn room. I even have painted projects that need finished also, mostly because I just want to sit and knit...or spend too much time running around here lately.

This morning I cleaned up my sewing room and organized and counted....I am embarrassed by the number...I had to actually go find baskets to put the items in...there are 25 projects in various stages of unfinishedness (is that even a word? it is in my life) laying all over my sewing room. Twenty-FIVE! I thought of taking pics of them all and posting them so that I would be accountable but was not sure that Blogger would allow me to put 25 pictures on one post.

In November when I started blogging I did a 30 crafts in 30 days challenge and it was the greatest motivation for me to get things done. My sister and I did the challenge together at that time. Last month Ann at A Hole in the Basket did a Procrastinator's Challenge and once again, I was productive! So this time I am going it alone...unless someone wants to come with me. I am going to finish those 25 projects on my list BEFORE St. Patrick's Day, that gives me 30 days from today.

Anyone else have a list? need to make a list? If anyone wants to go along with me, I'll have a giveaway prize at the end for anyone that participates. You don't have to have 25 projects, just a list that you need to get done, post it on your blog and let me know and keep me posted as you finish items. I'll post my list tomorrow!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Needle felting, Penny rugs and Sweater Pillows

Wow!!! Three projects finished yesterday! and only two more started...shouldn't that be considered gaining on the problem? I found this pattern...or something similar to it in an old stack of quilting magazines that my Mom gave me. I love to do scrappy circle pennies but sometimes these "planned" ones are hard for me, they are not as relaxing as the circles, but certainly more rewarding when they are finished. This sweater was a favorite of mine, just an inexpensive acrylic sweater, but the one that I grabbed that worked for everything and the color was good for me. Unfortunately in my excited quest for pine cones on a trip through the woods, I pulled my sweater into a pouch and threw them in. Pine sap EVERYWHERE! What was I thinking? I salvaged this much for a little pillow, there is still some left...I'll add it to the stash!

This was my first attempt at needle felting and I loved it. I did this quite awhile ago and just finally finished it into this pillow.

Now to feed the addiction, I found a link online to a Pittsburgh Knitting and Crodheting Festival/Trade show/Enablers Anonymous event that was happening over the weekend. So I gathered a fellow addict and away we went yesterday morning. After being away from all things yarn for so long pursuing a painting was a revelation for me! About the third booth and first swipe of the debit card, a feeling came over me that I don't think was brought on from too much coffee. I WANT IT ALL! I want to learn, I want to buy, I want to be able to do it all! (Truth be told, I think I had this same feeling when I wanted to learn to paint 25 years ago)
Now, thanks to Memaw, I can crochet about anything...those tiny, fine little doilies to jumbo afghans but knitting I am struggling with. Those straight scarves and the dishcoths that I thought were confusing are nothing compared to this adorable sweater pattern that I bought to make for a granddaughter...not sure which one yet because I don't understand guage and sizing so we'll see who it is for when we see how big it turns out. Anyway, I started the sweater yesterday and Tuesday night we start a knitting group....I can't wait, how fun is this going to be? I have to clean my house though, the first meeting is here!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A tribute to Memaw

Yesterday would have been my Memaw's 109 birthday. She was born February 13, 1900 and in 1913, she was 13 on the 13th. It was so easy to keep track of her age because she followed the years on the calendar. Memaw left this world in 1983, I was pregnant with my second daughter. She was feisty right to the end and was only sick for a brief time. I write this post surrounded by some of the yarn projects that I have started because Memaw is the person that taught me the love of yarn and crocheting, her teaching skills were great but knitting sort of escaped me until recently.
As a little girl I always remember her riding the city bus to our house, she would call and tell us that she was coming and a little while later, my sister and I would cross the street and stand at the bus stop and wait for her. As soon as she would get to our house she would round the corner into the dining room and reach under her dress, make a few quick unhooks and pull off her girdle and hose in one motion. She had to have that girdle for the 10 mile bus ride!
She had several unsuccessful attempts at driving that would deserve a post all their own...or maybe a short novel. She lost her husband, my Papa to cancer in 1962 and the city bus was a great source of transportation for her and in later years when bus service was not as good, her children and grandchildren were her transportation and despite her lack of driving skills she always managed to tell us how to drive.

She would allow us to sit on the back of the couch and brush her hair. It was an activity we always fought over. She had thick, naturally wavy gray blue hair and it must have fascinated us because we never tired of brushing it. Her fingernails were always painted a bright red and she had beautiful long fingernails. I did not inherit the wavy hair or long fingernails!

What I did inherit from her was her love of knitting and crocheting and all things yarn and fibers. No matter where she went she always had a bag of yarn and a project that she was working on. It fascinated me to see the metal needles and hooks flying through the yarn. I loved the colors of the yarns, all fuzzy and soft and the shiny metallic of the hook or needles flying through it. She was the source of potholders for my Mom, fancy ones with flowers on them, ponchos and sweaters for me and when potholder vests were in style, (the 60's that some of you may not remember) I had the coolest ones.

I was probably 12 or 13 when she started to teach me to knit and crochet and while that was probably not something that you wanted all your friends to know that you did, I loved it. I struggled with it...learning to loosen up, learning to get the tension right and most of all, learning to follow a pattern without her looking over my shoulder constantly. What patience she had with me!

As I started this afghan yesterday for my new granddaughter that will arrive in June, it prompted me to remember Memaw, the things that she taught me that I hope to pass on to my grandchildren, not the needlework skills, but the time and patience and love that she always had for me. After all these years, I still miss her.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Where am I? what day is it?

No pictures it Wednesday? Thursday? day? night? Since Sunday morning when we discovered a flood in our normally dry basement, we have been pumping the water out every 45 minutes to one hour around the clock. While I am trying to remain optimistic, my optimism is wearing thin.

Sunday morning right before leaving for church we discovered the water problem, we had kept our friends' "children" overnight and we attributed the water problem at the time to maybe a backed up pipe. After all, it had been four years since we had that many people showering and flushing in our house. As a side note, it had been many years since we had four teenagers in the house and it was so much fun to have them! John stayed home from church and the kids and I went to church. Now just a another little side note of Murphy's Law. I left my purse at church after asking my MIL and my daughter and SIL and granddaughter to go to lunch with us. Now here I am sitting at the restaurant , nine of us and no money and I thought, no problem, John is meeting us here and he will have money or cards or something and after waiting the alloted amount of time, I excused myself and called him and he was not meeting us! The water was still coming in! Lunch...begging for mercy with the promise of getting the money to them and home...still more water coming in. Who would have thought of what was to come? (By the way, I did remember to go back and pay the restaurant on Monday!)

Now we had a little pump because twice before we had a little water and we kept it there in the event that should happen again. Both times were extreme rains and we pumped the water and it was gone. Here we are pumping every hour all day Sunday...and here we are on this whatever day it is right now still pumping. John and I are on shift work and my shift just started at 3 this morning. Thank goodness we work for ourselves and so close to home because we are leaving work every hour and coming home to pump out the basement. Now if you are still with might ask "where is all this water coming from?" as we are now asking also. We have had a backhoe in and dug up the drains...I think that was yesterday AM and they are running OK, not great though and then yesterday we got the bright idea to measure the water. We have a hose running out the side door and I grabbed a bucket and filled it......20 gallons of water every hour!!!! Now by my math, that is over 480 gallons a day for four days and that is when the light bulb came on....this is not our drains or just run off. We have not been using much water for the last few laundry, camp showers and only flushing when absolutely necessary. We checked our meter and we only used 19 gallons yesterday. (Aren't we being "green" through all this?)

Back to that light bulb moment..(I can't believe anyone would still be reading this) I remembered that Christmas day the road in front of our house "blew up" A fifteen foot circle of pavement just blew out of the road! At first they thought it was a water main break and then after testing the water and finding that there were no chemicals in it, they realized that it had to be a natural spring. As I was standing in the driveway emptying buckets I thought of that and now we are questioning if that spring has not found it's way to our basement???? How in the world do we fix that? Well today....or later today, is it Thursday? we are going to have to break up the concrete in the basement and make a pit and install a sump pump. Not fixing the main problem, but hopefully allowing us to SLEEP!

Timer went off, time to pump......Not one to waste time, during that pumping I basecoated a window frame that I am getting ready for the princess' toy room and found a cute little rocking cow wood piece in the stash. I'll basecoat it the next pumping. In between, after this blogging I will be working on a penny rug that I have started and more knitted dishcloths (I made two last night and read my Country Living magazine during pumpings. I think that I must have got an A in Uses Time Wisely in elementary school.

So now that I have posted this story...mostly for my benefit, I just needed to get it all off my chest, I will be listening to the wind howl, hoping the house holds together in these winds and really hoping that the power stays on! We need it to pump the water!!!! Hey back to the optimism, it could be so much worse and I realize that every moment of all this. I am watching the news and listening to the fire and police scanner and there are so many people having so much worse problems than this! Just had to share it! If you are still with me and reading...thanks for listening!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Silent auction for needlework supplies

I would like to try something, not sure if it will work or not but here goes. I am going to offer this butter churn for silent auction. The proceeds of the sale will be used to buy knitting and crocheting supplies for the Haitian women in the Dominican Republic. So here's how we'll work can post a price that you will pay for this on a post and I will leave it open until Sunday at which time the highest bidder will be notified that they have "won" the butter churn. If you help me out and mention the auction on your blog, should you win, I will pay the shipping to you. For accountability sake, I will post what I buy with the money on my blog. I hope to start a suitcase of items to take next winter. I would actually like to fill several duffle bags with items for the ladies so if this works, I may have some more "treasures" to offer.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Crocheted flowers and raiding the attic

Yesterday morning I searched through all the old magazines that I have until I found some patterns for crocheted flowers. I made these up yesterday, some with crochet cotton and some with perle cotton. Who would've thought that you could crochet with that? When I started making penny rugs, I bought a ton of perle cotton and did not like using it for the penny rugs. Not sure what I am going to do with these, but they are fun to make, every one is different. Natalie and Tins and Treasures shared her spoon collection and that jogged my memory that I had a thimble collection somewhere in a bin in the attic. Yesterday morning, since it was warm here I went on a bin searching expedition and I found them and hung them over my sewing machine. It is the first time that I have had a sewing room in years.
I also found these scarves that I had crocheted a long time ago and they only needed blocked. I'll be adding them to the bin of hats and scarves that are looking for a home somewhere.

I also found this baby quilt that I had started over 6 years ago. It only needed the edging and it was actually started although the stitch that I was using was going to run out of yarn long before the end. I pulled out what edging was there, changed the stitch and finished it also. I figure that either the girls or I will need a baby gift soon and this will already be finished.

I also found yarn and knitting needles (from failed attempts at knitting in years past) and crochet hooks and some other knick-knacky things that I have placed around. I realized that I really need to have a yard sale. I have never had one so it should be a great one!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

If not for the job... and donations of yarn?

Oh, the things that I could do. Would I procrastinate and not do anything as I have heard so many people say that are staying home? I don't think so but I really don't know. All I know now is that when I get a few hours off in the afternoons as I did this week, I accomplished so much at home. Well to tell the truth, the house is not really clean, but I love making these dishcloths. I learned how when I was in the Dominican and now I am hooked on making them, I guess that I'll put the hats and scarves aside for a little while and make these. Luckily there was a huge spool of the cotton yarn in my aunt's stash that I received. They will all be the off-white color but I also learned that to make them stronger you can add crochet cotton to them. I tried that on one but kept dropping the cotton. Maybe if I try it in a color I will be able to see it better.
I found this pillow top that I had put together many years ago (well actually about 2 moves ago for a bedroom in a house two houses ago), do I really hang on to stuff that long? I actually have a twin bed quilt top that I also made at the time. I coffee stained this and am going to continue the decorating of the toy room for the princess.

I started this in January and finished all the blanket stitching on it yesterday. I am going to make it into a pillow but am out of polyfil right now and have this thing about being paralyzed to go any farther if everything is not here to finish it.

I finished this pillow for my daughter, more of the yo-yo's that I have an abundance of. I have a small basket left of them right now in really funky colors but I am determined to use them all up. These are still from the vest that my mother had made for my daughter when she was younger. They have been like the loaves and the fishes....they have seemed to multiply.

I made this purse yesterday. Not sure if I really like it or not. It is hard to see, but I have beaded all the "vines" in the design and it is lined. Maybe it will go the "to sell someday" stash. That stash is getting fairly large and I am debating what to do with it. Etsy? Ebay? Open house? not sure at the moment.
Suggestions welcome!
Rondell at Tomatoe Creek Prims posted that she would be willing to help my find supplies for the Haitian ladies in the Dominican Republic that are learning to knit and crochet. I would gladly appreciate help in finding inexpensive supplies. If anyone would like to add this to their search list at yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets it would be so helpful. I would like to keep the cost down, but I would be willing to handle your finds in a couple of ways.
1.) You can send them to me and I can reimburse the costs of the items and shipping.
2.) I will send you a "giveway" of a painted treasure for every donation!
Items needed:
Knitting needles, any type or size
Crochet hooks, any type or size
Any leftover yarn of any type, crochet thread, perle cotton, etc.
Any unfinished kits of any type of needlework
C'mon ladies, this is a great place to get rid of leftover stashes and know that they are going to a good cause. The Haitians that are in the Dominican Republic are treated in ways close to slavery. The men work in the sugar cane fields all day with a pay rate of $3 or less a day and much of that is used at the company store that keeps them always in debt to the owner of the fields. They live in tin one-room shacks about the size of our backyard sheds and cook over an open fire outside. The more prosperous villages have a community outhouse and shower facility but many have one outhouse and no showers at all. Fresh water is minimally available. There is a great deal of prejudice among the Dominicans for the Haitians. Yet if you ask them why they do not return to their own country, the typical answer is "And leave this land of abundance?" As bad as their circumstances are in the Dominican for them, they are for worse in Haiti where no jobs and no food await them. These women, by learning a skill are able to sell a few items. Imagine selling a beautifully crocheted shawl for $5. That is two and one half days wages in the sugar cane field!
Anyone who would like to help, please email me and I will give you my mailing address. Thanks in advance!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Goodwill finds and another scarf done.

Ran into Goodwill really quick last night after WW. Could I justify that guilty pleasure as my reward for my 1 pound weight loss? I found these three little wood pieces for .49 each. They struck my immediately as perfect additions to the princess' toy room. I could "see" them painted! Started them first thing this morning.
And here they are done....minus the varnish. I caught them midflight on their way to the basement where they will receive the varnish.

This is the results of my three bags full of wool, all cut up and neatly stacked, well almost. At Goodwill last night a jumper, skirt, jacket and sweater just jumped into my cart also. I want to make a purse from the sweater, it is still formulating in my mind.
Any patterns, links or ideas that anyone would want to share would be greatly appreciated!
I started this scarf in the airport in Pittsburgh and finished it on the way home on the plane. While I was in the Dominican I found out that some women from another group are teaching Dominican and Haitian women to knit and crochet. The one worker at the center where we stayed worked on this scarf with me a couple of times. It goes in and out as she knitted much tighter than me, but I will be keeping this one and I'll think of her when I wear it.

I have this idea swirling around in my brain to take supplies back to the Dominican next winter for these ladies, hooks, needles and yarn. Another thing to look for at next summer's yard sales!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A gift I can now show

This is the painting that I did for my granddaughter's toy room. I could not show it until after the party was over. My daughter is making nursery rhyme stitcheries for in the room that are going to be so nice! Can't wait to show those off when she gets them done!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dominican Trip 2009

I did not take near as many pictures as I should have on this trip, but I am sure that I will get some from the other people on the trip. We had a very successful trip and saw God working in so many lives. It was great for me to visit and catch up with people that I have met on trips in the past, both Dominicans and Americans and see how well they are doing. I painted some but the murals were beyond my talents. I am not a people painter. I was able to help out and do some lettering on projects. There are always so many stories to tell and I never know where to begin....or end. Part of our group did Vacation Bible Schools and part built a house for a family. Our church was able to fund an addition on the Compassion school that is located there and we were also to deliver bags of food for 75 families in a Haitian Village.

We had a baptism service in the river near the center where we stayed and it was an amazing moment to be a part of. I have never seen a baptism anywhere except inside a church and am so glad that I was able to be a part of that.

I was up yesterday AM at 4 and did not get home until 3 this morning, slept for four hours, then went to church this morning and my granddaughter's birthday party this afternoon. I am so ready to sleep!!!!