Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday - This and That

Just thought I'd do a post about this and that....a few different things going on lately.

It's been a very hot summer here.  So, I've been staying in a lot to avoid the heat.  I haven't accomplished as much as I'd planned due to lack of motivation in this heat and being stuck inside.  But, I have done a few things...

I knitted up a washcloth and scrubbie with some pretty, tan, Sugar N Cream yarn I had.  I love the results of this washcloth pattern.  It's simple but so nice.  It lays very nicely with great edges and corners.  It's the "Copycat Dishcloth" pattern from Ravelry and it's free.  The scrubbie pattern is also free and it's called, "Tribble".  I have a big, glass jar on our master bathroom counter that I have several shades of off-white and beige, hand knit washcloths in along with cotton balls and q-tips.  It's handy and the washcloths look so good in there.  They're very nice to use too.  Soft and pretty!


We bought a long dining room table a while back and I collected some chairs to go with it.  I just finished up some custom cushions for four of them.  I used fabric I got years ago for almost nothing...a whole bolt of it!  I still have lots left.   There are two antique chairs that I need to create cushions for too.  All the chairs will be sanded down and painted black.  I think it's going to look great when it's all done.  We just need cooler weather so we can go out in the garage to work on them.


My dad had a couple doctor appointments yesterday.  One was a bit stressful because he was going to get the results on tests to see if he has lung cancer.  I wanted to be with him for something this big...just in case.  Although, we felt it probably wasn't and we were hoping for the best.  My mom was being her usual, difficult self (Alzheimer's) and wouldn't allow me into the room but we got her to go for letting my daughter in.  I hated for my daughter to be in that position, just in case it was bad news.  But, she wanted to do it to support grandpa and to hear what was going on for my brother and I.  She even recorded it for us.  She's awesome!  Anyway...it was good news...he doesn't have cancer.  He has fluid in his lungs but it's probably due to his heart condition and some of the meds he's on.  Whew!  Afterward, we went out to lunch.  We've been trying to do that about once a week or so.  It's been very nice.

When we got home in the early afternoon, the temp in my car said 113 degrees!  Ugh!  We had a nice surprise shortly after that when it started pouring rain.  It dumped hard and rained for at least half an hour.  It cooled things off and gave the plants nice cool shower that I bet they loved.  My daughter's kitty, Sonora, was a little scared by the rain because it was so loud.  When it calmed down a bit, she enjoyed looking out the window and watching it.  So cute!


I've been meaning to put together a picture-full post to introduce a new (last December) member of our family but I just haven't gotten around to it.  I wanted to put a lot of photos on the post and all my photos are all backed up and I literally have thousands and thousands of photos (not just her) that I'd have to go through to find the greatest ones of her, download them back to my laptop, and then upload to the blog.  A big job!  So, I'll just go ahead and introduce her now.  That way I can continue to post pics and not get further behind on what the intro post would have.  

Here she is...our adorable Siamese named, "Sky".  She's my hubby's kitty and she is awesome!  She's so sweet, loving, fun, funny, playful, and she loves being with us almost constantly.  She's adorable!  We love her so much!  Here she is laying next to me while I crocheted one time this week...


It's been a long and difficult adjustment for Penelope to have another cat but she's finally becoming herself again...almost.  Here she is rolling on a rug this morning.  She's actually playing, roaming around the house more, and being loving again.  It's been tough for her and for me to see her not being her wonderful self.  So, it's wonderful to be getting her back.


Sky came over to see what Penelope was up to.  She's not used to seeing Penelope play and be the cat she was.


Our cats are still separated from my daughter's cat as they get to know one another.  Although, my daughter's cat is a very confident cat who's not afraid of much of anything and can be aggressive. So, we're not sure when or if we'll ever let them be together.  For now, they're just getting to know one another through a screen door we put at the hall near my daughter's room.  We don't love having a door there but it keeps the cats safe.  We switch back and forth with who gets to run around the house.  We either let Sonora out for a while while our cats hang out together in our large master bedroom and bathroom.  Or, our cats come out while Sonora gets to stay in her part of the house where my daughter's room, bathroom, hall, and craft room are.  They're very happy wherever they are.  They're all wonderful cats in their own ways.  We love them all so much!

The screen door we used is one we finished up that we'd started when we lived at our old house and had llamas.  All it needed was some color, stain, varnish, assembly, and screen.  Hubby made a frame for it to fit in the arch and ta-da!...a solution for our cat conundrum.



I finished spinning up a ball of roving this week.  I'm letting it sit for a bit before I Navajo ply it.


I've wanted to play a musical instrument for a very long time.  I tried piano lessons a couple times but didn't stick with it.  It was difficult to memorize all the notes and play different things with each hand from the two different lines on the music.  I've been thinking that something with just one line of music would be more practical to start with.  In my search, the ukulele has been suggested several times.  I finally decided to go for it when I found this great ukulele that not only is cute but has a wonderful sound...not so shoe-box-like as so many are.  It even came with an adorable bag!  So far, it's going well and I'm even enjoying practicing.  There are challenges with learning the many chords and the different rhythms but I'm enjoying it.  I find myself wanting to practice.  Wow!  Maybe, hopefully, I'll have a different answer someday to a question I'm often asked when people see my daughter masterfully play the harp...  "where does she get her talent?...do you or your husband play anything?"  My answer is usually...."um...I play the radio".  My daughter and I have a goal to eventually play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" together (harp and ukulele).  We found a beautiful rendition of it on YouTube that gave me the last push I needed to buy my uke and go for it.


Maybe I should have made this post yesterday and called it "Wordy Wednesday".  lol  Now that it's all put together, I realize I could have made several posts.  Oh well.  It's done now.  I hope you enjoy it.  And, if you stuck it out to the end...thank you! :-)

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tiny Airedale

I finished up a project that has been in the works for quite some time.  A few years, actually.  It's a tiny, needle felted Airedale.  I'm not quite sure why I'd set it aside without finishing it but here she is.  my tiny, 3 1/2" little cutie...


I feel like she still needs something but I can't quite figure out what it is.  So, I've decided she's finished...unless I come up with any ideas on what might make her better.


A little red collar might be cute.


I love her ears and her adorable little behind.


I'm naming her Salsa after our dear, sweet Airedale that passed away recently.

This is number 34 in my create 52 challenge.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Coachella Top

I've been knitting for years but haven't moved much beyond scarves, hats, and simple things.  Except an occasional pair of socks.  I've been wanting to venture into knitting clothing...sweaters, vests, tops, etc.  The fear of not understanding the pattern and spending lots of time on something that has a high likelihood of looking bad and/or not fitting has kept me from that venture.  Yeah....there was a vest years ago.  It was a simple pattern with v-neck and a cable down the front.  It was made with a double strand of yarn.  It was ok and I think I wore it once or twice.  But, I used yarn that pilled up really bad on the sides after only wearing it that little bit of time.  I made another vest years later that was actually looking great.  But, silly me, I noticed a couple spots along the v-neck ribbing that had holes.  They were small and I could have just stitched them closed from the inside and had a finished vest.  But, no....I felt the need to rip out the ribbing to learn what I did wrong and do it better.  It didn't work as planned and I couldn't get the ribbing knitted on a second time to look right...the count and other stuff kept going wonky.  The vest was a little large anyway and I ended up ripping it out.

I'm trying again to go for it but with baby steps.  I decided to try a tank top.  The one I decided on was a pattern I'd tried before.  It had gone well the first time but I'd made it a size or two too big and ripped it out.  I figured it would be a good pattern to use again since I'd had some success with it before.  I thought that if I got this one right and could actually wear it that it would be a great stepping stone to knitting more clothing.  

I did it!  Here it is...my Coachella top (a free pattern on Ravelry)... 


I love the back of it.


The pattern is basically a tube with a rolled edge on the top, two arm holes, and a little bit of shaping.  It calls for two sizes of needles.  I used size 6 and 8 circulars.  The smaller ones are for the rolled edge on top and for a rolled edge at the bottom.  I had to re-do the bottom of mine because the smaller needles and the twisted stitches used for the rolled edge made it too tight to fit and it didn't have any stretch.  I ripped back and made a 2x2 rib with the larger needles.  It fits fine now.  If I use this pattern again, I'll use the larger needles at the top too.  I think it will lay a little nicer that way.  I made mine in the x-small size.  I'm not sure how it will be if there's any shrinkage but it's fine now.  I normally wear size small tops but the small size of the pattern was too big last time.  I've read notes from other knitters on Ravelry that say it ran large for them too.


I got a little worried half way through that I might not have enough yarn.  I went to find more but couldn't.  Luckily, I was able to finish it with what I had.  There were just a couple yards left.  It took four balls of Sugar N Cream in the "Pebble Beach" colorway.  I love this color way SO much and I'm bummed that I can't find anymore.  It seems to have been a limited color but I sure wish they'd keep making it.  It's one of the prettiest colorways they've made.  At least I got some while it was in the store and enough to make something cool with it.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tropical Blues

I just finished tucking in the ends of this gorgeous, turquoise, chunky throw.  I wish you could see it in person because the color is breathtaking!  It's hard to get it to turn out right in photos though.  The only way I was able to come close was by having warm tones of the table and the seashells in the photo.  The colors went all wonky whenever I tried to go in close without those things in the photo.  Oh well.  Close is better than nothing.  And, the seashells are perfect because the throw colors remind me of tropical seas.



This project started out as something completely different.  The original project only used one kind of yarn (with several strands held together) and was a knitted cable throw.  It was exciting to try out giant, size 50 needles.  However, I quickly lost my enthusiasm for several reasons....it went much slower than I'd anticipated with those giant needles; the giant knitted stitches/loops made it hard to figure out where I was what was what with the pattern; and those giant needles caused pain in my shoulder because of the exaggerated movements required to knit with them.  So, it sat in time out for a long time.  I eventually came to the conclusion that this would never get done.  I had no desire to work on it again.  And, I wasn't even excited about the throw pattern anymore.  So, I ripped it out a couple of weeks ago.


I decided that I really wanted to make another "5 1/2 Hour Throw" (that's the name of the free pattern on Ravelry but it takes longer than that to make).  I'd made several and really enjoy crocheting them.  I figured I had enough of the chunky yarn.  I just needed some accent colors to go with it.   I had some ideas in mind but came home with totally different yarn and colors than I'd planned on and I sure am glad I did!  They turned out to be a gorgeous combination!

The chunky yarn is Loops and Threads Charisma.  The other two are Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda (the dark teal) and Blue Mint (the turquoise).  The three strands are held together throughout the entire project.


Something happened that I found interesting.  I started two skeins of Caron Simply Soft at the same time but one ran out way before the other.  I wonder if one was way short of the yardage, the other way long, or ???


I love this throw!  It's my favorite color, it's beautiful, and it's super soft and squishy!

It didn't use up all of the yarn from the original project.  I still have several skeins left.  And, I have about 3/4 of a skein of each of the Simply Soft colors.  I did, however, get something out of it that I love.  That old project is no longer hanging hanging over me and waiting to be finished.  And, I have an idea of something to make with the leftovers.

This will be number 30 in my Create 52 Challenge. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Re-fashioned Denim, Fun Fashion Finds, and Confidence

My mother-in-law went through her closet recently and pulled out a lot of stuff she wanted to get rid of.  She asked my daughter if she'd like to come over to see if there was anything she wanted.  My daughter and I both found several things that we brought home.  We've been busy re-making them into different, more current, fashionable clothing.

The first one I worked on was a long denim skirt.  It went almost down to my ankles.  I think it must have been from the 80's or 90's.  It's a high quality skirt and the top of it fit great.  So, I shortened it for a more current and stylish look.  It has nice deep pockets on the sides too.  I love that!  I even had thread that was the perfect color to match the faded yellow on the other parts.  Cool!


I wasn't quite sure about this dress.  It was a little funny.  But, I love denim so much!  And, I have a memory of a super cool denim dress I bought in the 90's that I ended up returning because I wasn't sure I'd be brave enough to wear the very fitted style that it was.  This dress is different but there was something about it that reminded me of that one.  So, I had to go for it.  Oh, and a cool side note...not only is it great to be up-cycling old clothing but this dress was made in the USA!

Oh that ruffle!  And, the raw, frayed edge!  Oy!  lol


I removed the ruffle.  It turned out that the edge that was left was already surged.  That was nice.  All I had to do was fold it over and stitch it down.  I wasn't quite sure if the tapered look would work or if a hem on the thick denim would even hang right.  But, I think it works.  As far as the top goes, I opted to just cover it up.  It fits funny at the top and there's a tiny hole in the middle that looks like it might have had a flower or something attached at one time.  I have plenty of scarves and shawls and several of them looked great.  I went with a more summery one for the pics.

Oh, and pics!  Yikes!  I've been working at being braver to post pics of myself.  I've gotten better.  It's still weird though and uncomfortable even having my daughter take pics of me.  But, I went for it and got a few I'm fairly happy with it.  I'm not going to let myself wimp out on posting these!  So, here it is....my new, up-cycled, re-fashioned dress...


I've been working on being braver with fashion.  There are looks that I love but I tend to go safe.  My usual way of dressing is jeans and casual shirts.  I'm doing better.  So, now, I'm trying to be even braver and trying not to worry about parts of my body showing....like my legs.  I've been wearing shorts all summer and even some skirts!


I found these awesome boots a few weeks ago at a thrift shop.  I love them!  So, I got them and I'm determined to be brave enough to wear them.  And, now I have an outfit that goes with them.  So, no excuses, right?!  Gulp!


I hit the shoe jackpot the day I found these!  They were only $5!  They're leather and in great shape.  I looked up the brand online and found out that these boots were over $100 when they were brand new!  These look like they've barely been worn.  And, for heels, they're actually pretty comfortable.


I found two other pairs of shoes that day for just $4 for each pair.  They're in great shape and look like they've barely been worn too.  Those who've seen them think they're high dollar too.  I'm still working on finding outfits for them.  


They're definitely beyond what I normally wear but I love them.  So, that's a perfect reason to be braver and bolder to get to a place where I can wear things like this that I love!

How do you all feel about fashion?  Do you stay in a safe zone with what you normally wear?  Do you see things you love but aren't sure you could do it?  Do you worry about an imperfect body like I do?  Are you nervous about trying to be more stylish or letting parts of you show?   I'd love to hear how others feel about this.

I've always been SO self conscious about my skinny bird legs.  As I've been working lately on being OK with me, I've noticed that there are beautiful people out there with skinny legs.  The difference seems to be confidence.  That's what I'm attempting to have!  I'm trying to love what I've been given and make the best of it.  And, besides, I'll never be as young as I am today!  So, why keep waiting?!  Watch out world, here I come!  Gulp!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Scrabble Markers

I finally got around to finishing up another project that had been in the works and waiting to be done for quite a while.  I made Scrabble tile crochet markers.  They are letters that correspond with crochet hook sizes.  When I start a project, I simply place the hook size marker on my project.  Then, there are no worries about losing my hook and not knowing what size I was using.


I collected letters of sizes I use most often and a few others.  There are several of each of the more commonly used sizes.  I used a few different sizes of clips for different thicknesses of yarn.  And, they store nicely on a ring to keep them all together.

I'm not sure if I'd seen some like these already made up or if I got the idea from other things made with Scrabble tiles.  Either way, I started searching for and collecting Scrabble tiles a few years ago for this project.  


Hubby helped me build a tiny jig to put the tiles in one by one to drill and get all the holes in exactly the same spot.  It was fun using the drill press!


It'll be nice using these and not worrying quite so much about my hook getting separated from my project or setting it down next to another hook only to forget which one I was using.

Yay!  Another project completed that's been in the works.  And, another project for my Create 52 challenge.  This one makes number 28 and keeps me caught up.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My New Wheel

I've wanted a double treadle spinning wheel for a long time now.  And, I've wanted a wheel that is more portable than the Ashford Traditional and the Country Craftsman wheels that I have.  I just couldn't justify buying one since I had two wheels that worked just fine.  However, when my Traditional wheel broke a few months ago, I felt it was time.

I was loading it up in my car and heading to Tucson to see my daughter.  I was planning to take some private spinning lessons from someone I'd met there.  When I got to my Tucson and took it out of the car, a big section of it fell off...the part with the uprights, the bobbin, etc.  A piece of wood that attaches it all to the wheel had snapped in half along the grain line of the wood.  I have a feeling it's not meant to be transported a lot...even though I try to be very gentle with it.  However, most of the spinning I do is when I'm meeting up with other spinners somewhere other than home.

That was a perfect time for it to break though because there's a yarn shop in Tucson called Grandma's Spinning Wheel.  Which, as you might guess, sells spinning wheels.  I paid them a few visits to test out the many wheels they carry.  I'd dreamt for years about getting an Ashford Joy wheel.  I love the idea of how they fold up and fit into a handy carrying case.  However, when I had the opportunity to test it out, I really didn't like it.  I also couldn't justify the high price for a wheel that seemed so delicate.  I ended up falling in love with the Ashford Kiwi.  I had fallen in love with a Kiwi years ago when I tried one out but to like this wheel over all the other high dollar ones was surprising.  A very nice surprise!  The cost was about half.

I ordered one that was unfinished to save a little more money.  And, I thought it would be nice to personalize it.  I had grand ideas of painting beautiful things on it and lots of bright happy colors.  I decided against doing that when I imagined all of that flashing at me as the wheel spun round and round.  So, I went for a simpler design...I painted the wheel in my favorite color and gave the rest a subtle stain with a satin finish.  I'm very happy with the results.  I think it's beautiful!


I have to admit that there were many times I'd wished I'd splurged on a finished version.  I don't enjoy sanding and I was worried that the stain wouldn't work out or that the whole thing wouldn't turn out nice.  Luckily, my hubby loves to sand, stain, paint, and finish things like this and he was more than happy to help out.  In fact, he did a lot more work on it than I did.  But, it was a lot of fun working on it together with the stain and then putting it together.

There were a lot of parts!  And, this picture doesn't even show the bag of hardware for putting it all together!


Since my new wheel is my favorite color, it made sense to have my first bit of spinning on it be in that color as well!


I'll post a pic of the yarn when I get some done.  I've had a crazy, vertigo, sinus thing going on for most of the week that's prevented me from doing much of anything.  I'm hoping to get back at it now that I'm starting to feel a bit more normal.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cooler Coastal Hikes

The weather here has been very hot.  That continues to make our 52 hike challenge even more challenging.  Luckily, we live within about an hour drive from San Diego and that has helped us keep up.  We did our city hike in San Diego a few weeks ago.  We've hiked the past couple of weeks at Torrey Pines (also in San Diego County).  It's been warm and humid down there but so much nicer than the record temps of over 100 at home.  And, the views...WOW!  Gorgeous!

Click photo to see it larger....they're so much more fun to see that way.  You can even click through them from there to see them all larger.


The red ice plant on some of the hills is surprising sight.


I took my daughter there the first time and we hiked over six miles.  There are so many more trails there than I realized.  That's cool!

Hubby went with me the second time.  We hiked some of the same trails I hiked the first time but the tide was low this time and we were able to hike down to the famous flat rock in the water.


The beach next to that big flat rock is covered with interesting rocks.  This one looks like an ear...




It always amazes me at how dry and desert like the landscape is right next to the ocean.  It seems like all the humidity and moist ocean breezes would make it more lush and green.  There are even cactus!  But, there are lots of pretty flowers.  Here's an interesting one with beautiful color...


I love the color of these and they're so cute!


Teenie, tiny, wild snapdragons...


There are LOTS of yellow flowers...


And, white ones...


Heart shaped cactus and a cactus bloom!


What a beautiful day!


 Hubby and I had a wonderful day together!  We started the morning off with cappuccinos at our favorite coffee roaster in Encinitas, Ironsmith.  Delicious!  They are the best!  They're SO skilled at what they do and have the most delicious cappuccinos!  Then, our hike and walk along the beach.  We finished with lunch at a yummy Mexican restaurant.

Our daughter hiked one of the Southern California Peaks that day....16 miles in one day....up to a 10,649 feet!  Wow!

We've kept up pretty well with our challenge and have officially reached half way.  However, we are now one week behind because of another week of record high temps that even had the beaches sizzling.  It's supposed to cool down slightly this week.  We'll see what we can figure out to get caught up.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Bikini Top

I did it!  I successfully crocheted a bikini top without a pattern!  Whew!

I started this project about a year ago when I  became fascinated by crochet clothing projects I'd started seeing that were made without patterns.  It was an exciting challenge that I wanted to try.  I watched a few tutorials on cup shaping (they were in a different language) and got started.  That part was pretty easy.  I completed the cups and bottom band pretty quickly.  The straps and back, however, posed a bigger challenge.  I wanted to be sure they'd work and look good.  Not quite knowing how I wanted to make them, I ended up setting the project aside.  Over the past year I've looked at swimsuit tops, sports bras, and searched through patterns and project photos to get ideas.

This week, I finally decided to just go for it!  I had an idea of how I wanted to work the straps and worked it out as I went along.  And, now, ta da!...It's done!


In some ways, the back is very close to what I had in my head.  In other ways, it's better.  The best part is that it actually works.


It looks a bit different on my dress form than it does on me but this was the best way to get photos.  And, honestly, I'm still working on just going for it with wearing it.  I figured all along that I could at least wear it in my back yard for some sun time or gardening.


I've never been very comfortable in my own body.  So, wearing something like this would have been a challenge for me at any age.  However, at 55, I've decided that if I ever want to feel comfortable in my own skin that I need to push myself and go for it.  After all, time flies by and I'll never be this young again!