Friday, December 19, 2014

FO Friday

Since I didn't blog for a while, I didn't do any FO (finished object) posts.  So, I've been trying to figure out what all I may have finished during my blogging break.  I'm not sure I'm remembering everything and there are some things that were made for Christmas gifts that I can't show just yet.  But, here are some things I've created over the past month or so...

If you've been following my blog for a while you might remember a sugar skull painting I did in a class with my daughter in July.  Shortly after finishing that, I got the idea to do a kitty version.  It turned out a little goofy and a little cute.  I'm trying not to focus on what I wish I'd done differently and just enjoy it.  I'm not really sure what I'll do with it but I do like the happy colors.


I had an idea early this year to make a tiny, lace shawl for a blog friend's puppet.  She took her puppet on trips and posted pictures of it on cruise ships and exotic places.  It just seemed like a fun idea.  I finally finished it up and made a matching pair of earrings and sent it off.  Sadly, the puppet got lost on one of her trips.  The last time she saw it was sticking out of her bag at an airport.  Oh well.  She liked the earrings and said she'll enjoy wearing them.  She might even make a new puppet that can someday enjoy this cute little set.


I hope I'm safe in sharing these next two projects.  I know that one of the recipients never goes online.  I don't think the other one will visit my blog.  Fingers crossed!

So many people have what they need and gifting is a challenge.  I figure I can't go wrong with nice kitchen towels and a little something handmade to personalize it and make it special.  That's just what these two gifts are.  We all use kitchen towels and I'd love to get a gift like one of these.  

As I was searching on Ravelry for ideas, I saw that someone had used the center flower of a pot holder pattern to make a little scrubby.  It was so cute and seemed like the perfect idea for this gift and the person it's going to.  I even had the yarn I needed in my stash.  How cool is that?!


I used Sugar N Cream yarn, a size G hook, and the "Rose Ripple Potholder" pattern.  You can find it on Ravelry by clicking HERE.  I used THIS free leaf pattern to finish it off.

For this set of kitchen towels, I made a couple of dish cloths.  I've made lots of these over the years and I love them.  They work great!  And, they're simple and fun to make and I can make two with a two ounce ball of Sugar N Cream.  I made this pattern up and you can find details on how to make it on my Ravelry project page by clicking HERE.


I'll post other projects when I can, after Christmas.  Other than that, the only things I can think of that I've finished lately are some Kumihimo cords.  They're fun to make and a great use of scraps.  I'll round them up and take some pictures for a future post.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 25 Years!

Since it's Thursday, I thought it would be fun to do a Throwback post...

Hubby and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week!  That number seems amazing in several ways.  On one hand, it doesn't seem possible that it could be that long.  On the other hand, 25 seems like a long time and we've experienced and done so many things over those years.  And, these days, it seems like a pretty big deal with so many marriages not making it these days.

When I got married, I felt great about who I was marrying but you never truly know how it will go.  Luckily, for us, it's been better than we ever could have imagined or dreamed.  I remember the pastor that met with us before saying okay to marrying us saying that he noticed we had respect for one another and that it was the secret to a successful marriage.  I think of that often and I really think he's right.  We respect and support one another for our differences.  It also helps that we both love many of the same things and enjoy making life a fun adventure and trying new things.

We're more in love today than we were 25 years ago.  We've had a ton of fun!  I love having him in my life everyday.  And, I'm excited to be partners in adventure for 25 and 25 and 25 more years!

I pulled out our wedding photo album last week to post a few pics on Facebook.  I hadn't looked at in a while and the pictures seemed so different this time.  The hair, the clothes, the differences in how we and others looked then compared to know.  It was funny, sad, weird, and wonderful.  And, oh so 80's with big hair and big puffy sleeves!  lol


I've always loved this photo!  Everything we had to do that day was done and we were dancing and laughing.  And, we're still laughing and having a ton of fun together 25 years later!  I love that!


My dad looked so handsome!  The photographer asked us to look at one another and it put tears in our eyes.  We were trying hard not to cry!  I love my daddy!


The photographer asked my mom and I to look at each other for a photo too.  To keep from crying, we just started laughing.


My brother was in the Navy and didn't come to my wedding.  I'm not sure why because he had about a year of notice.  That just left my parents for a family photo on my side as all of my grandparents passed away when I was little.  My husband's family was pretty large though with his parents, two sisters and their husbands and he still had both sets of grandparents.  It's interesting that so much has changed since then.  His grandparents on his dad's side passed away years ago.  His other grandparents are in their 90's!  And, his sister's husbands in this photo are both no longer in the family.  Both sisters have re-married.  Then, of course, we all look different now.


Two of my best friends were in our wedding and we're all still good friends today.  Our adorable little flower girl is all grown up with a wonderful hubby of her own.


A friend of mine gave me some great advice before the wedding.  She said that something always goes a little wrong or not as planned and that you should just expect it, go with it, and laugh about it.  I kept that in mind and when the flowers arrived that day with some boutonnieres missing and the bouquets looking VERY different than I'd expected.  They were so sparse, with so few flowers.  And, the red in the flowers with the blue ribbons made them look patriotic.  Oh well!  I just figured that's what my friend was talking about, we chuckled about it and moved on.  What else could we have done anyway?  Great advice!

The photographer took photos of hubby and the guys out on the church playground.  They were silly and had fun, as always.  His friend on the left passed away years ago.  He's still great friends with Dave, on the right, and we see him whenever we can.  He's a great guy and always makes us laugh.  Our little ring bearer is not only all grown up but he's in his 30's!  How weird is that?! 


For this milestone, we celebrated with a two week vacation to some awesome places in Utah and Arizona in September.  For the actual day, we exchanged some simple gifts and went out for happy hour and a fun dinner.  My hubby's parents really wanted us to have a party but all of our friends are so spread out geographically and many of them don't even know one another.  So, they surprised us with a gift certificate saying that they want to pay for the hotel for a ski weekend at a place of our choice.  Wow!  So sweet!  Another celebration!  How fun!  :-D

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chilly Surprise

My daughter was able to come home from college for the entire week of Thanksgiving.  She loved that and so did we.  Even though she had lots of school work and music to work on, we made sure to get out and have some family fun.  One of the things we did was to go for a hike up in the San Jacinto Mountains above Idyllwild.

We started out early and stopped for a delicious and hearty breakfast at the Mountain Center Cafe.  Then, we were off to the ranger station for a trail permit and parking pass.  While we were there we looked at all the fun stuff in their little shopping corner.  We ended up buying some little trail buddies.  I got a little Smokey Bear that I clipped onto my pack.  Isn't he cute?  I love his little hat and jeans!


My daughter got an adorable little owl that got to peek out of her pack for the day.


Hubby got a cute little raccoon but somehow I missed on getting a photo of it.  It was perfect for him as he's always had a 'coon tail on the back of his bike helmet.  In fact, that's how he's recognized at mountain bike races and by other riders because he's had that for so long.  He likes raccoons.

We were amazed at how many cones there are on the Sugar Pines this year!  They're loaded!  There were thousands of them on the ground too.  They're such pretty cones!


It was a beautiful day!  A little chilly but sunny and the trails weren't crowded.



Then...we came along something we didn't expect to see...snow!  We hadn't had much precipitation before that and what we did have was from a warm storm.  So, we didn't think they'd gotten any snow up there.  Hmmm?!


The higher we got, the more there was.  Some sections were a little slick but we could still hike through with caution.  


However, the trail at the top had a lot more snow and lots of ice that made it just too slick and dangerous.  There were tracks from people who'd hiked when it was slushy but it had frozen over into solid ice.  That's just not fun or safe....especially when the trail runs along a drop off!


It sure was pretty!  It was also very cold!  The temperature dropped from about 50 when we started to just above freezing with cold wind.




We were really looking forward to the views up on Tahquitz Peak.  Since we weren't able to get that far, we took advantage of a big flat area with a view and hiked out to see it.  We thought we might be able to warm up a bit in the sun but that wind was just so icy!  


Our daughter hasn't hiked to Tahquitz Peak yet and was so excited to get there.  But, she was impressed with the view from this spot.  On a clear day the Pacific ocean can be seen in the distance.


Looks like we won't be hiking this trail again until next spring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cozy

I bought a new throw/blanket lately that we've all fallen in love with!  It's super soft, very warm, and oh so cozy!  Our little Penelope is enjoying it too!  She's so cute!




We like the striped one so much that I went to TJ Maxx and bought another one.
And, you guessed it, she likes that one too!  :-)


All of these photos were taken with my cell phone and I used PhotoGrid to size them for Instagram.  "PhotoGrid" recently started showing up on the corner and I can't figure out how to get rid of it.  My daughter uses PhotoGrid and is able to keep it off her photos by clicking it off at a certain point.  I do that every time but it doesn't work for me.  I even took it off my phone and re-installed it to see if that might work.  Nope.  Sigh.  Oh well.  Does anyone know of another editor/re-sizing app that works great but doesn't do that?  Recommendations would be greatly appreciated.  :-)

Giant Tumbleweed and Back to Blogging

I've lived around tumbleweeds most of my life.  So, when I got a big response on my blog and Instagram from the photo of tumbleweeds in a field near my home, I was surprised.  I didn't realize there were so many people who'd never seen them before.  It's exciting to share something that some people haven't seen.  So, I made sure to get another photo on my next bike ride to show one of the large ones.

This huge tumbleweed is up on it's side and against a fence.  We pulled it down after the photo and roughly measured it to be about 7' wide by 6' tall!  Crazy, huh?!  And, it's just one of many this year.


I haven't been posting on my blog for a while because I've gotten much more enjoyment lately from Instagram.  It's so much fun!  And, unlike blogging that takes me hours to create a post that I get very little feedback from, Instagram takes minutes to post, feedback is immediate and I get a lot more of it.  
I've been blogging for years and have enjoyed it a lot but I have to admit that the slow pace it's taken to grow my followers and the small amount of feedback I get is disappointing sometimes.  I've participated in two "Grow Your Blog" parties that grew my blog from around 25 to almost 150 followers.  That's great!  But, after all these years and all the blogs I follow and have commented on, I'm baffled.  Especially when I see newer blogs that have many times the followers and comments.  Even when I've been good at posting a minimum of three times a week for long periods of time it hasn't helped.  But, on Instagram the followers grew fast.  And, that's even with all the ones I deleted/blocked because they were spammers(?).

I just can't figure out the secret to blogging success.  But, I love it enough that I won't give it up for good.  So, here I am, back at it and with lots to catch up on.  I hope you enjoy what I post!  I appreciate every one of my few followers and, especially, those who take time to leave comments.  That means a lot and always brightens my day!  Thank you!

Happy blogging...and Instagramming!  ;-)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tumbletown

It seems that we have a lot more tumbleweeds around this year and they're extra big!  Some of them are as tall as me!  It's going to be interesting to see them tumbling around when the winds pick up!

I snapped a picture of some of them in a vacant field when hubby and I were out for a bike ride...



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Homemade Tamales

We made tamales!  Homemade tamales!

I saw bags of masa at the grocery store last weekend and immediately thought about tamales and decided to go for it and try to make some.  So, I also bought a large package of chicken breasts that was on sale, a large can of green enchilada sauce, and a bag of corn husks.

I cooked the chicken in the crock pot all day today with the sauce, chopped onion, and garlic.  By mid afternoon, it was done and falling off the bones.  Hubby took all the meat off the bones, shredded it and mixed some of the green chili sauce and onions into it and set it aside.  I soaked the corn husks in hot water for about an hour.

I watched a couple of videos online that showed how to assemble the tamales.  It looked easy and it was!  It was also a lot of fun!  As we made the tamales, we set them inside the holey part of a pasta pot.  When we were finished, I set it into the main pot that had water in the bottom.  I got the water boiling and steamed them for 45 minutes and checked to see if they were done.  They ended up needing a little more cooking time.  Fifteen more minutes did the trick!

They turned out really good!  We had them with salsa on top.  Yum!  


When we started out assembling the tamales, I was making them kind of small.  Turned out that hubby was making them a lot bigger.  And, as we went along, they seemed to get bigger and bigger.  Funny, but it worked out just fine.  Next time, I'll use something to measure out the masa so they'll be more uniform in size.


We'll definitely be making tamales again!  They're so much fun and so good!
We'll try some different flavors too.  Turns out they can be made sweet or savory.  I had no idea!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chest, Chair and Change

There's a little shop nearby that I love.  It's called, "Cottage Charm".  They sell antiques and vintage things.  Their prices are usually really good and they're constantly bringing in new things.  So, I try to go often to see if they have any thing I might "need".  I've found quite a few great things there over the past few years.  I stopped in a few weeks ago but didn't find anything.  A week later, on Halloween, I stopped in again to see if there was anything new.  As soon as I walked in the door, I saw a black chest of drawers and it was love at first sight!  Yup...it came home with me!

Here it is in my entry when I first brought it home.  It's painted black, distressed, and waxed...it's all done and ready to be loved and used.  I thought it would be perfect to hold my fabric stash.


I love the wood knobs.  It's solid wood with dove tailed drawers.  And, the drawers are nice and clean and don't seem to have a weird smell like old chests often do.


I thought it would work well in the upstairs hall area.  It's just outside of my craft studio for easy access to the fabric inside.  It's a little hard to get a good photo in there though.  I have some decorating to do to the top of the chest.  And, I need to decide what to do with the art that was already in there and is now hanging above it.


It's a wonderful, very detailed cross stitch that my mom did years ago.  My dad made the frame for it.  All together, it's very special because it's been made by both of my parents.  Plus, the cross stitch is pretty spectacular.  The hall is a bit dark and will keep it from being faded.  I'm not in love with the color of the frame and mat though.  I've thought about changing it but feel that would take away from the creativity my parents put into it.  Maybe I can find some things for the top of the chest to tie it in and make it look better.  My mom made a little boy to match and gave it to my brother.

Here's a close up...


I've been on a cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of spree lately.  This chest of drawers took that to a higher level.  Even though I'd already gone through fabric bins, gotten rid of some stuff, and consolidated it to just four bins....buying the chest inspired me to go through again and this time I was ruthless!  I got rid of every piece of fabric that I wasn't in love with.  I only kept what I loved and had enough fabric to do something with.  That brought the amount of fabric down from four bins to one drawer and half of a second.  Wow!  That feels so good!


While I was going through the fabric, I ran across this scrap of fabric...again.  But, this time, I was about to get rid of it because I've had it for years, hadn't used it, and didn't know what to use it for.  I love it though.  It's beautiful!  And, I have a lot of red in my home.  Then...it hit me...all of a sudden...something I'd never thought of before...


I could use it to recover this chair...


I had just enough and it looks so much better!
I think Salsa even likes it!


It sits in our kitchen at the built in desk.  The fabric looks great with the flowers in the tin tray and with the curtains on the other side of the room.  Yay!  I'm so happy to have found a great use for it!  I have one more piece that I'm planning to use to re-cover a sewing bench cushion.


Going through the fabric was such a success and I was feeling so great from it that I decided to go through my yarn stash again.  And, I was ruthless with that too!  I got rid of almost all the leftovers from finished projects and I have a bunch of full skeins that I don't love and hope to find homes for or donate.  I'm using some of the drawer space for my cotton yarn.

While I was going through the yarn, I decided to try using a ball winder my mom had gotten at her church rummage sale a few years back and given to me.  I'd never tried it because I have another one that she'd given to me that had also been found at one of the church rummage sales.  It has a bigger spool to wind more yarn.  But, I thought it was time I gave this one a whirl.

It's heavy duty and made out of wood and metal.  Pretty cool!  I didn't realize until I went to use it that it sets up and works a lot different than most.  It worked great though and made a little ball from leftover yarn.  That's as big as it can make though.


I won't use it much because of the small amount it can wind but I'll definitely keep it.  I like how it's metal, has a bolt shaped like a heart, and how often do you find anything that says, "made in Liechtenstein"?!  Very cool and very unique!


It's interesting how buying that chest has made my cleaning out and ridding of things so much more successful.  And, I'm not done yet!  I still have more things I want to go through or go through again!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Rummage Sale Bargains

There's a rummage sale at my parent's church the first weekend of every November.  I try to go to it every year.  There have been times that I've found some great stuff like a quilt rack to work on a quilt with (big), bobbin winders, an umbrella swift, iron skillets and what I posted about HERE.  There have been other times that I walked out with absolutely nothing.  I didn't find anything spectacular this year but I did find some useful and fun things.  And, I only spent $3.95!

I started out by finding some little bags of stuff and decided to grab this cute little basket to hold it all in.  It was only .25c.  Then, I outgrew my basket.


I found a set of weights to hold patterns down.  Supposedly, with these, pinning the pattern down is not necessary.  I've heard of something like this and I'm excited to try it.  The package has never been opened.  So, set is like new!  I also found a pair of scissors that say "WISS" (as far as I can tell...it's faint and they're a little worn and grungy).  They're heavy duty, feel like quality, and I think that's a good brand (?).  I'll take them to the knife sharpener guy at the farmers market and have them spiffed up.  I've been wanting another nice pair of scissors.


I got a bag full of zippers...15!


Snaps and hooks...


About five yards of beautiful, red, velvet ribbon...still on the cardboard spool from the store.


Three bags of trims, seam binding, blanket binding, lace, etc.
Most of the packages have never been opened.


I love finding stuff like that.  It comes in useful and has even prevented runs to the store in the middle of some projects.  However, I now have so much that my trim jar is full and won't hold any more.  


It was fun calling my daughter to tell her about all the stuff I'd gotten.  She couldn't believe that I spent less than $4 for all of it!  I can't either!  I love bargains!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Finally, A Chart....

I found a little pattern on Ravelry this summer that I fell in love with.  It's called "Half Lotus Bunting".  I found it very challenging to figure out but I worked at it until I did.  I had mentioned in my Ravelry notes that I wanted to chart it for future reference.  Since then, I've gotten quite a few email and Ravelry messages, blog comments, and Instagram requests for the chart.  Seems that others are having trouble with the original pattern as well.

I got another message via Ravelry today and the sender was very frustrated at all of her failed attempts to figure out the pattern and asked when the chart might be available.  That finally got me to stop putting it off.  I grabbed some yarn, a hook, a pad of paper and pens, and my laptop to re-figure, re-write, and chart the pattern.

It was a lot of work!  But, so worth it because I'm thrilled to try to help others make this adorable bunting.  And, I'm sure I'll be happy I took the time to chart and re-write it when I decide to make another one.

I sure hope the designer doesn't mind that I did this.  I love her pattern and so appreciate that she shared it for free on Ravelry.  I just wanted to make it easier to follow and try to help others with it.

Here's a reminder of what this bunting looks like and the ones I've made...

This one is made with crochet thread and I added little tassels.
I love how it turned out.  I think I'll be putting it on one of my little Christmas trees.


This is one I made for my daughter.  It's made with Sugar 'n Cream yarn.
She loves it and so do her roommates.  That makes me so happy!  :-)



I made this one with Sugar 'n Cream and Handicrafter Cotton in Fall colors.
I love how it looks on my mantel!


Here it is....the chart.  It's my very first one.  They're not easy!  So, apologies for how it's a bit "wonky".  I hope it works and helps though.


I also took a photo of each finished row to help it all make sense.

Row 1

Row 2

Row 3

Row 4

Row 5

Row 6

Row 7

The re-write/revision may not be exactly as the designer designed it but it's the best I could figure.  If anyone has any questions or notices anything that needs to be fixed or changed, please let me know.  Here's the re-write...

Chain 9
1.       7 tc in 5th chain from hook, sl st in beginning chain – 9 tc posts

2.      Ch 3, turn, dc between first two stitches in previous row, *2 dc between each post of first row (repeat from * across), end row with 2 dc in last space – 8 pairs of 2 dc

3.       Ch 3, turn, dc in first dc and between next two stitches, *ch 4, skip 2 dc, sc in next space between stitches (repeat from * across), ch 4, dc in space between last two dc pair, dc in next to last dc and dc in third chain – 6 chain loops

4.       Ch 1, turn, sc in first dc, sc in each of the next 2 dc, sc in first chain loop, *ch 5, sc in next chain loop (repeat from *across), sc in each of the last two dc and third chain (3 dc) – 5 chain loops

5.       Ch 1, turn, sc in first sc, sc in each of next 3 sc, *ch 5, sc in next chain loop (repeat from * across), ch 5, sc in last four sc – 6 chain loops

6.      Ch 1, turn, sc in first sc and in each of next 3 sc, 3 sc in first chain loop, ch 6, *sc in next chain loop, ch 6 (repeat from * across), 3 sc in last loop, sc in each of last 4 sc – 5 chain loops

7.       Ch 1, sc in each of next 7 sc, *7 dc in next chain loop, dc in next sc (*2 times), 3 dc in third loop/center loop, ch 4, sc in fourth ch from hook, 3 dc in same/center loop, *dc in next sc, 7 dc in next chain loop (*2 times), sc in last 7 sc

8.       Ch 1 (for corner) and finish with single crochet stitches spaced evenly across the top.

9.      Give your bunting panels a nice finishing touch by gently stretching each one into shape and blocking with a steam iron.

10.   Connect panels together by making a chain (the length is up to you); single crochet across the top of first panel; chain (your choice of how many) between panels; continue for desired number of panels; end with another chain.  If you use thicker yarn (i.e. worsted), it looks great to turn and single crochet in the second chain from the hook and all the way back across the bunting.  It makes the string a little thicker.        Enjoy!  

Here's another photo of the chart with the key to the symbols...


The chart and re-write/revision can also be found on my Ravelry project page.