Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hooked Rug

I did it!  I finally finished my wool hooked rug kit!  That's a big accomplishment!  I've had this kit longer than I'd like to admit...probably about 12-13 years!  Yikes!  That's way too long!  I got it on a trip to Texas.  I visited a wonderful yarn shop in Fredericksburg, Texas that had lots of different things to see, try, and buy.  Rug hooking was one of the many things they specialized in and one of the things I had fun trying that day.  I just HAD to buy a kit and make one!  However, soon after I got home and got started on it, I realized that this is not a craft for me.  I don't enjoy making all those loops of wool fabric line up.  It's tedious and boring.  I think that hooking it with yarn would be more fun because there's no specific direction for the yarn loops.  But, this is the kit I bought and I needed to finish it.  I kept trying but kept getting bored with it and setting it aside.

I've been on a mission lately to complete all the unfinished projects I've set aside and this was one of them.  I've been slowly working away at it for weeks.  I finally finished it today!  WOOT!

I didn't think the backing would be difficult but after trying several ways of attaching it, I realized there must be some kind of trick to making it work so the white monk's cloth wouldn't show along the edges.  Thank goodness for YouTube!  I found a video that showed me how to do it and it worked great!  It was a slow process but I finished the backing/edging in a couple of days.  I think it turned out pretty well.

I'm so happy to have this project finished!  And, it looks pretty cute too!

Monday, July 25, 2016

More Finished Projects

I discovered several unfinished projects a few months ago while doing a little organizing in my craft room.  In fact, I was a little surprised how many I found that weren't finished.  Although, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise since I tend to come down with "startitis" from time to time.  lol  Anyway, I've been on a mission ever since to try to finish them up as quickly as I can.  Up to my last post, I'd finished three of them.  Since then, I've finished up three more and made progress on some others.

Here's what I've finished since my last post...

This project was actually a recent start from when some of the ladies in my stitch group requested freeform crochet lessons.  I taught them how to make a freeform crochet bag and I made one right along with them.  I was able to do a little de-stashing and use up some leftover yarn in the process.  Here's the finished bag...

This next project is one I started last year to use up yarn leftover from another bag I made a couple of years ago.  You can see it HERE.  I had just under half of the large skein left from that project and it was plenty to make this one.  The pattern is the "Jamaica Pouch".  I found it on Ravelry years ago and made THIS.  It's a fun little project and a cute little bag that could be used as a project bag and lots of other things. 

I'm always on the lookout at yard sales and rummage sales for ribbons, lace, and trims.  I have quite a collection of it!  So, when it came time for the drawstring, I went through that collection and found a ribbon that was exactly the right color to go with this yarn.  I also had some wood beads to put on the ends.  I like mixing materials.  I think it makes it prettier and more interesting to add different materials (like ribbon and wood) instead of more of the same yarn.

I ended up weaving the ribbon in through every other hole to make it gather up nicer.  I love the ruffly look it makes on the top when it's gathered.

I'm almost finished with another bag project.  I'd run out of the multi colored yarn on this granny square purse and had searched and found this lavender yarn to finish it off.  It seems to be a great match!  I wound it into a pull skein last week and got back to work on it.  However, I need to shop for lining fabric and hoops/handles before I can finish it.  That's on my to-do list for this week.

I'm excited about this bag and can't wait to see how it turns out!  I hope it ends up looking as great at the end as it does so far!

This little project had actually been finished for a while but it still needed the ends to be tucked in.  This cute little washcloth/dishcloth is done now!  Yay!

I know I shouldn't start anything new but I saw a tutorial a couple of weeks ago online that I just had to try.  It isn't really a project but more of an exercise.  ;)  I was curious how this worked up and the tutorial was so clear that I couldn't resist.  It was a lot of fun!  Here's the LINK to the tutorial in case anyone is interesting in giving it a whirl!

Some of the ladies in my stitch group have also been going to another group/gathering at a local library.  It meets a couple times a month.  I decided to give it a try a couple weeks ago.  It turned out that it was an extra great day to go!  Someone had donated a box full of knitting needles, crochet hooks, etc.  I went through and selected a few sets of needles and some hooks.  My daughter is knitting and crocheting more often now and these are great for her so she won't need to borrow mine so often.  Now, she'll have more of her own.  :-)

There had also been a donation of several large bags of finished projects.  I have a feeling someone had passed away and these had been made by that person...a very talented and productive knitter!  There were so many items that there were some left over after everyone had gone through and taken some.  I chose some washcloths/dishcloths and a couple of back scrubbers.  Nice!

I'm trying hard to stay focused on finishing projects and not starting new ones.  It's been going pretty well but I keep finding projects that I want so badly to start!  And, I need to get going on Christmas gift projects soon because time goes so fast that it'll be here quickly!  So, I think I need to stay focused but find a balance of finishing at least one old project each week and work on Christmas stuff too.  Do you also have a lot of WIPs that have been set aside and need to be finished?  What are you working on lately?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Penelope Shawl

My Penelope Shawl is finished and blocked!

I love it!  It's big, soft, lacy, and the colors of my sweet kitty, Penelope.

I love the little bits of pink....the same color of Penelope's cute little nose and toes.  The gray and white are the colors of her soft and pretty fur.

I love how long and large it is!

Penelope hung out with me while I blocked it.  She was "helping".  ;-)

I used the Mock Faroese Shawl pattern by Lily chin and a size J crochet hook.  The yarn is from Inner Yarn Zen but I'm not sure how many yards I had or used.  The yarn is super soft and oh so pretty!

Yay!  One more project finished and off my to-do list!  :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

I was starting to blog more regularly but it's slowed down a bit.  Ooops!
So, here's an update from the last week....

I turned my cucumber harvest from last week into a big jar of refrigerator pickles.  I made sweet pickles and they're delicious!  I'd like to figure out how to make the next batch a little less strong though.  I'm wondering if it's ok to add a little water to the vinegar?

Here's my harvest from this morning...more cucumbers, and a couple of Meyer lemons to flavor my water today.  The cucumbers are growing like crazy!  The vines are loaded with tiny ones that'll be big in no time!  I may need to learn how to do canning!

The pumpkin plants are exploding in size!  Here's what they look like this morning...

A couple of tomatoes are just about ready to pick!

We now have three baby eggplants.

It's been pretty hot lately.  But, one of my friends and I decided to go to a winery one day last week.  We found a nice spot to sit in the shade and the misters kept us comfortable....along with a cold glass of one of their delicious white wines!  We enjoyed relaxing and knitting so much that we have another outing planned this week and more of our knit friends are going to join us.  That should be a lot of fun!

On Sunday, hubby and I took our tandem bicycle down to the Carlsbad and went for a long ride along the ocean.  It was wonderful!  The temps were in the mid 70's, the sky was clear, and the ocean was calm and gorgeous!  We stopped for breakfast at one of our favorite places in Encinitas, The Potato Shack.  It's been there for a really long time and has great food and friendly service.  They even have gluten free pancakes and French toast!  Yum!

After breakfast, we headed south a few more miles.  We stopped to take in the views and snapped a photo of our Tandem.  We've had this awesome beast since our daughter was little.  Hubby and our daughter and hubby and I have even used this in mountain bike races!  He pulled it out last week, tuned it up, we took it out for a spin, and we're in love with it yet again.

On our way back north to Carlsbad and where we parked, we stopped at a place I've been following on Instagram for a while and was anxious to try, Lofty Coffee in Encinitas.  They roast their own coffee beans and make their own almond milk and hazelnut milk!  Not only were our drinks delicious but they were also pretty.  Here's my hubby's cappuccino with hazelnut milk...

And, here's my latte with almond milk.  They treated us to a homemade goody (not sure if it was a cookie, a muffin, or ??) that was gluten free, vegan, and yummy!  Their coffee grinder was acting up and delaying our coffee.  So, they brought the treat out with an apology.  How nice is that?!

We sat outside right along Pacific Coast Highway / Highway 1 and enjoyed the cool weather and our treats.  So nice!

These beauties were in the parking lot.  Plants love it down there and grow so well in that awesome weather!

What have you been up to this last week?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Harvesting and a Happy Kitty

We're starting to get veggies from our Summer garden!  Woohoo!

Here's my harvest from this morning...a couple of Patty Pan squash and some pickling cucumbers...

I picked our first three cucumbers a couple of days ago.  I plan to make some pickles today.

Penelope got her staples out on Tuesday.  I think it felt a little funny and starting driving her a little crazy as she kept whipping her head around and trying to get to the area they'd been.  I distracted her with her new mouse toy.  It worked!  She had so much fun playing with it.  And, she even wrapped her paws around it at one point and laid her head on it.  So cute!

She's a much happier kitty now that those staples are gone!  She's able to relax a lot more.  Here she is hanging out with me this week as I worked on trying to finish up some old WIPs.

I caught her looking in the mirror.  So cute!

I can't believe this week is almost over already!  Seems like it was just Monday!  How's your week going?  What have you been up to?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Finishing and Flowers

I was going through things in my craft room recently to simplify and organize.  I got rid of some stuff I didn't think I'd ever use.  That felt good.  However, I found that I had more projects that I'd started and not finished than I had expected.  So, I'm on a mission to finish them up.  I've slowly been chipping away at finishing them.  Here are the latest two projects that I've finished...

I started knitting a necklace at least a year ago.  I have no idea why I set it aside.  But, I finished it yesterday and it's ready to wear!  Yay!  I made a long I-cord and added some beads with big holes in them (I searched and searched to find them....large hole beads are tough to find!).  I made it into three strands that weave alternately through the beads.  It's adjustable to make the strands even or some longer and some shorter.  I don't remember what this yarn is called and the tag seems to have gotten lost.  But, it's a yummy, soft, cotton yarn that I fell in love with a few years ago on a trip to the Central Valley of California.  I always search out yarn shops when I travel and this one had lots of great yarns.  I think it was "Creekside Yarns" in Visalia, CA.

I found and bought a cute set of charms last year to make set of wine glass markers.  I wanted to buy some beads for these in colors to match my decor but I hadn't made it to the bead store (about an hour away) and decided it made more sense to use beads I have.  That helped with de-stashing and cost.  I love the woodland theme of them.  These work great to help everyone keep track of which wine glass they're using.  Plus, it's fun to dress up the wine glasses.  ;-)

Over the weekend, we got started on installing the new knobs (that I bought recently) onto our kitchen cabinets   We  realized that the knobs mounted very close to the cabinet and made them hard to use.  We searched for something to space them away a bit.  We found a small jewelry box knob that my husband drilled out so it would fit over the bolt.  It spaced it out perfectly and it looks like they were made to go together.  We love how it looks.  We got just one to try it.  Since it's such a success, I went back this morning to get more.  Here's a pic of the before (right) and after (left).  

We were at my husband's parent's house this weekend and a cactus they have was still blooming.  I had to snap some pics of these beauties.  Aren't they gorgeous?!

They reminded me of those sugar Easter eggs that have a scene inside.  The hole at the top beckons a closer look at the magical little world inside.  So cool!

The weather has been so nice here with temps in the 70's and 80's during the day and 50's and 60's at night.  But, it took a turn this weekend with the daytime temps around 110 and the nights not cooling off much.  Hello, Summer!  Hello, air conditioning!  Looks like much of the country is in a heat wave.  Stay cool, everyone!  And, have a fantastic week!

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Crazy Week!

Wow!  It's been over a week since I posted and what a crazy week it's been!!!

Penelope was off to a good start for the first night after her surgery.  We just had to take her back to the vet the next day to have a staple fixed that had come out on one side.  But, other than that she seemed fairly okay.  I did ask if they had a pain/itch relieving spray or something that could numb the incision a bit though because I noticed that she was starting to scratch it a little with her back feet.  They said there wasn't really anything that would work and recommended putting baby socks on her feet and wrapping them to keep them on.  It seemed crazy because cats don't put up with stuff like that.  We tried it the next morning and I was right.  There was NO way we were going to get them to stay on.  Then, we tried another thing they recommended, a baby shirt.  That made it worse because it pressed on her staples.

The itching and pain became so bad that she wouldn't leave it alone.  She was so upset that she'd look at us and complain and hiss.  She ended up making it bleed and she completely freaked out!  She was screaming in pain!  We took her back to the vet and they wrapped both feet, put a cone on her, and sold me a spray that stopped itching.  I with they'd sold me that spray the day before because it would have saved her a lot of pain and an additional vet bill!  Sheesh!  Luckily, it worked!

She got one foot unwrapped by the next morning but hubby was able to re-wrap it.  We kept her feet wrapped through the weekend and kept applying the spray.  By Sunday evening both wraps were off and she refused to let us put them back on.  But, luckily, the swelling and itching had gotten a LOT better.  Whew!  We've been keeping a close eye on her all week and she's doing better and better.

Here she is with the last wrap that stayed on.  It was just enough to throw her off balance if she tried to scratch and kept her safe a little longer.  But, as you can tell by the look on her face, she was DONE with all this craziness!

When both wraps were gone, she was so happy and finally started getting some sleep.

A friend of mine surprised me last night with hand knitted and felted mouse she'd made as a get well gift for Penelope.  That's SO sweet!  Penelope loved it so much that we had to hide it for the night so we could all get some sleep.

We got the results of Penelope's tumor and it's benign.  YAY!  Such a relief.  It was, however, an unusual (for cats) fatty tumor that was right next to her microchip.  So, I can't help but wonder if the microchip may have caused it.  I'm happy the tumor is gone and the microchip.  She now has a cute, flowery collar, and a shiny ID tag with our phone numbers.  Hopefully, she'll never get lost to need it though.  I'll put it on her after her staples are removed next week.

My daughter came home for a couple of weeks to escape the extreme heat in Arizona.  I was so happy to see her and to have her company through the Penelope ordeal!  We also enjoyed some craft time together.  She even went to stitch night with me last week!  :-D  

While I was there, I finished up my fourth gnome!  Yay!  This one was a gift and I made sure to snap a picture that night before I sent him off to his new home.

I also did a little more work this last week on a free form crochet project I started a few weeks ago...a bikini top.  It's challenging but fun.  I added the bottom band.  I still have straps and the t-back to figure out.

My daughter crocheted a free form halter top while she was here.  It's super cute!  We didn't get any pics yet though.  And, she headed home this morning to take care of some things before she heads back here again in a few weeks.  She was going to stay a few more days but it made sense to travel before it gets really hot this next week.

Stay cool!  Stay Safe!  And, have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Penelope's Home / A Little Decorating

Penelope's home from her surgery.  It turned out that the microchip was right next to the lump.  I had them remove the microchip just in case it was the cause.  I figure it's better to do that just in case.  That way, I won't have to subject her to another surgery later to try to remover it.  Besides, they said it can normally be pretty hard to find.  The test results will take three to five days.  I still have my fingers and toes crossed tightly that it's all good!

She has 15 staples in a line about two inches long.  I can tell it bothers her and it sure looks like it would.  Eeeek!  She's been in pain and, luckily, the pain meds do seem to help.  She can't reach it to lick it.  That's good!  But, she can reach it with her back foot to scratch it.  She hit it slightly when scratching this morning and screamed out in pain.  Poor girl!

Here she is last night curled up on some quilts while we waited for a new dose of pain meds to start working. 

Sh'e been hiding under the bed a lot.  But, I was able to lure her out this morning with some food.  She was SO happy she could finally eat again!

I stayed busy yesterday so I wouldn't worry so much.  I've been wanting to change things up a bit around the house and do a little decorating for summer.  I got even more inspired yesterday when I visited the blog, Art and Sand.  She's always having so much fun arranging, re-arranging, and decorating her adorable cottage by the sea.  She made some fun arrangements yesterday that inspired me.

I started off by clearing the old arrangement that was on the antique buffet in our entry area.  I gathered up some different items from cupboards and around the house and created a summery arrangement.  I went out and bought some little pots of ivy to put in this cute wood basket and give a little life to the whole thing.  That's the hat I wear when I go out somewhere that I'll be in the sun a while.  It'll be handy since it's right next to the door now.  That's my little collection of flower frogs.  The doily is one that I bought recently when we got some for making dream catchers.  And, the birds were moved from another spot in the house.

I got some sunflowers while I was out buying plants and stuff.  I put them in a pitcher on my kitchen table.  I took off the table cloth and pulled out this crochet doily/table topper for a splash of color.  The table looks so bright and cheery now!  :-)

That was fun and I love the results!  It's always interesting to me how rearranging a few little things can make everything seem new and fresh.  :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What's Up?

I missed posting yesterday.  So, here's an update of my weekend and what's up.

My sweet Penelope went in for surgery this morning.  I'm trying hard not to worry about my sweet girl.  I found a lump where her microchip normally is.  I Googled to see if tissue can grow around microchips or if they can cause tumors.  I was shocked to see that tons of stuff came up about microchips causing cancer and lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that manufacture them.  YIKES!  I took her in to have it checked yesterday.  The good news is that the lump doesn't seem to be attached and can be moved around.  And, her lymph nodes seemed to be fine.  They're going to remove the lump today and send it in for testing.

Poor baby was so scared this morning.  It was so hard to take her in for this but it seems to be the right thing to do.  I don't want to wait and take a chance of it being bad and spreading to the point of not being able to do anything.  I love this girl SO much!  She's the sweetest and most loving kitty we've ever had.  She's so attached to me and wants to be with me almost constantly.  She comes to me often for snuggles and looks at me with ooey, gooey, loving, eyes and always has lots of kisses for me.  Fingers crossed she'll be just fine!

I snapped this pic over the weekend of her enjoying the morning sun.  Looks like she's meditating.

I bought a crock over the weekend that I'd had my eye on at my favorite antique shop.  They were having a sale, it was still there, and I got it for less.  Woot!  I put my antique rolling pins in it.  I love the rich color of it.

Hubby and I went to Oceanside for a bike ride on Sunday.  It was a cool, cloudy day with temps in the mid to high 60's.  Ahhhh!...a nice break from the heat wave we had for a few days at home.

These gorgeous Matilija Poppies were growing near where we parked.  The bushes were about five feet high and loaded with these beauties!

Our garden has some veggie babies!  Yay!  I snapped a few pics this morning.

A volunteer butternut plant seems to be doing well...

More tomatoes!  I'm so excited for these tasty treats!


We have an eggplant blossom!  :-D

I plan to stay busy crafting and working around the house today to stay really busy and keep my mind from worrying about my sweet Penelope.  I get to pick her up sometime this afternoon.