Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fibers on Friday

Hi there! Welcome to Fibers on Friday!! I'm happy to have you join this fun party dedicated to knitting, crochet, or anything else fiber related!

So, my knitting picked up this week. I finished Shalom. It now fits much better than before, although not entirely perfect. But, I believe better blocking could help with that. I think I need to take Elizabeth Zimmerman's suggestion that some people keep tracings of their favorite fitting sweater on a big sheet of paper to reference when blocking other sweaters. Because I don't manipulate my sweaters a lot....I don't OWN them, like she says we should. So, I need to soak it again....and own it....make it MINE.

I worked on my socks a lot, too. I'm not posting pics of them because it would just be redundant at this point. Let's just say I finished the heel and gussets, now I'm finishing the foot. My kids have swim lessons twice a week now. So, this gives me two 1/2 hour sessions per week of sitting and knitting. Wooohoo!

And here's the scrappy table runner I did. I like it. I quilted it myself using the darning foot on my machine. I set out to just do maybe three huge spirally circles, but it didn't really work out that I just totally GOT WILD....and randomly quilted. Whoah....somebody stop me. So it ended up having some big circles and some smaller spirals on the sides. I like it. I'm savoring the imperfection and homemadeness of it.

My home is becoming more and more hand made...hand crafted...homey. I made the bed with the quilt one day and then set the cute little Ruby Lou doll on it and it was just so sweet and so much of me put into that bed. It just fills me up.

And here's the stack of fabric for quilt #2 coming up. All the pieces are cut. Now I sew. Except we've had a major case of pukeys running through the house so it's getting kinda tough to craft. Poor babies.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Mind Control is Deep Here ~ Haiku

Stand in a straight line
shoulder the wall, hands at sides
summertime, free them!

Saving School Papers in Style

This project has been on my to-do list since the beginning of the school year! I first saw the idea on Blue Cricket Design and bookmarked it right away. Well, I guess I was a little late in getting to the store while all the crates were the hot item for college dorms, because by the time I got around to it I could not find ANY!

I saved a LOT of my girls' papers from pre-school. They are all just stored in accordion style folders. But for their "real" school years, I wanted to do this. I save fewer papers now. Just special art....their first math worksheets...first word-finds, etc.

First I decorated a hanging file folder scrapbook style:

(I marked out the deets for the web), but I had my girls write their name, their teacher's name, and the school. I like having a record of their handwriting :-)

Then chose a nice ribbon and picked up their initial from Michael's.

And there you have a nice, consolidated means of keeping those precious school papers. It's's stackable....and it will be so nice to have it all together to pass on to them when they're older. Although, my girls say they're not leaving home when it's time for college. They're going to do it on-line from home.......that's FINE by me!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fibers on Friday: Deja Vu

Hi there! Welcome to Fibers on Friday!! I'm happy to have you join this fun party dedicated to knitting, crochet, or anything else fiber related! I'm sorry I messed the linking up last week by having it split between text only links and thumbnail links....ooops :-(

I feel like my knitting is a little stagnant right now. I never thought it would happen....I was on such a roll all winter. I guess with my new quilting endeavor, the knitting as been pushed aside a little. What I need to do is finish this Shalom....for the second time! And to get these socks done and move on to something NEW. I need NEW...NEW....NEW!!!

Luckily I have show me NEW....NEW....NEW!!!

So, here's my sad little pile of works in progress. I have several inches of the Shalom to complete (you may recall I'm re-knitting half of it because I didn't love how it fit. So I'm knitting the body again without waist shaping and I've added a few stitches to both sides of the front.) And I've made very little progress on the socks.

But yesterday I whipped together this little table runner to accompany my girl's purple quilt. Of course, it was all scraps I had left over. I intend to quilt it in a circular motion, which really changes the whole feel of these straight pieces (at least it did in the picture I'm using as inspiration). It's from a book I just got from the library called Fresh Quilting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Perigee Haiku

My own poor attempt
to preserve the perigee
lost in translation

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bragging On My Dad

This is not my project. It's my Dad's. I'm so impressed and blown away by this talent that I have to share with you!

It's not that I'm surprised that such artistic talent could come from him. Not at all. He's talented in SOOOOO many ways; he's a singer, he's a writer, he's a guitar player, he's a jokester, and he can DO anything. But this particular talent has been hidden for many, many from before I was born!

Apparently he got into leather working as a "young lad" and worked a couple purses, some belts, and maybe a wallet or two. I'm not sure what made him put it away....

So, now he's retired and something provoked him to take up his old hobby again. He made a wallet for my brother. He brought it to show me and I was floored. I oooooh'd and ahhhh'd and was so impressed! (he said oooooh'ing and ahhhhh'ing were a must, but it's not like it wouldn't just come naturally)

Then, he set to work on a purse for my sister. This piece of leather for the purse had been sitting in his basement for about 30 years! He worked it baby....oh yes he did! take a look:

Look at all that lacing! Look at all the detail in the flowers and leaves and the hummingbird!

These are not stamps, folks! He carves out these images. That's talent!

He even added her kids' names to the side panels (the letters are stamps, I think).

So, there you have it! Some amazing crafty art from my Dad. Any oooooh'ing and ahhhhh'ing you might have will be passed on to him :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japan's Earthquake Relief

My bloggy friend, The Crafty Cripple, has a wonderful idea and incentive for coming together and donating to Japan's earthquake relief fund. Please visit her blog and consider donating if you haven't already done so.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fibers on Friday: Who's Crazy?

That would be me.

Welcome to Fibers on Friday! this is a party dedicated to knitting and crochet and other fiber loving endeavors (like quilting)!

The quilt is finished. It's beautiful. It's loved! It's painstakingly fussed with by a certain little girl to ensure it's just perfect each morning. gave me a run for my money when I got to the binding. The lady at the quilt shop convinced me I should leave 1/4" of extra fabric around the edge to give a little "bite" to the binding. She likened it to a stuffed crust pizza :-) I agreed....but I did not consider how much the width of my binding would affect this endeavor. So, I kept the width at 2" as called for in my book. Well, this was just too narrow to reach around, grab the extra fabric, and nicely be sewn to the back of the quilt. I fought and fought with it (with my husband's assistance even!) until he finally said,

"Hon, can I ask you to just stop? We'll pull all these stitches out tonight and fix it tomorrow."

I concurred.

So we sat on the couch that night, both armed with seam rippers and an episode of Big Love, and ripped out the whole binding.

The next day, I removed the excess fabric and did it right. It's perfect now!

I'm crazy

Remember my Shalom sweater? Well, I love it, I do. But, I would love it better if it closed more completely in the front (my tummy is not one I'd like hanging out the front of a sweater....and I haven't entered the world of Spanx....yet). So.......I ripped half of it out. Yup. I did. And I plan on knitting it again without the waist shaping and maybe even adding 4 stitches to each side and see how that helps.

A Cute Little Wallet

This little pattern for a cute wallet was displayed at my quilt shop. I thought it was so cute and the ladies assured me it was a fun, easy pattern. Sure enough! It's adorable! Such a nice little means of using fabric scraps. The pattern is by Valori Wells.

I have a couple business cards for people I know (and love!) and they, until now, have been stored in a spare pocket of my wallet, but this little dandy is perfect for my cards.

What? You want to know more about these cards? Oh....well, the top one is for my friend Steph. Her business is selling Thirty One Gifts. Check her out.....super cute bags, wallets, and totes.

And the other one is for my cousin Amy and her husband, Jason. I've told you about them. They are hoping to build their family through open adoption. Need to know more? Visit their site and keep them in mind....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's All About the Green

I made a card today! Do you believe it? I have had two days of working on my quilt. Really, two craft FILLED other pressing issues to deal with. The quilt gave me a run for my money, but more on that on Friday. So, today when I finally finished it, I wanted to step away from the sewing machine and into my paper crafting world.

My girls are part of a Daisy Girl Scout Troop. They have secret pen pals they are responsible for writing once a month. Actual writing! With pen and paper! I'm thrilled about this. So, this provided the perfect incentive for me to make some "stationary" for them....and it's festive!!

In order to jump right into the mojo, I need inspiration and a path. I have a couple go-to places for that, and today it happened to be Card Patterns via my friend, Elise, at Mamacow Creations. Here's the sketch:

And here's my take:


Cardstock: PTI
Buttons: PTI
Patterned paper: Wild Asparagus

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meatless Monday! Crafting Fail Turned Delicious Dinner!

For St. Patty's Day decorations this year, I was all excited to make the split pea decor balls or topiaries that have been all over the net. Like here. I think it's just the cutest idea and I love the look. I bought all the supplies and set out making split pea decor balls.

It was a disaster!!

I honestly don't know how so many people completed that project so successfully because I, for one, am STILL vacuuming up split peas!

But, I was not discouraged. I knew I could put the left over peas to good use in a nice split pea soup for St. Patty's Day. I made this last night and we were all very impressed! Of the canned Campbell's soups, I'd have to say split pea is my favorite, but it's loaded with salt and well, ham. But, oh, the yummy smokey flavor! How can we achieve that in a meatless soup sans ham hocks!?

The answer: Chipotle Chili Powder!

The flavor and smokiness of this soup was divine. The recipe calls for it to be made in a pressure cooker, but I don't have one. So, I made it in the crock pot and pureed it in a blender. This picture is not very appetizing, I admit. I forgot to take one while it was hot and pretty in my here are the drab left overs...I assure you, they're still yummy! I found this recipe here.

We then moved on to homemade Shamrock Shakes!!

Top O' the Marnin' to ya!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fibers on Friday: My New Friend, Gus.

Hello! Hello! Welcome to Fibers on Friday....this fun party dedicated to knitting and crochet and occasionally some fabric projects (like quilts :-)....

My quilt is a mere binding away from being complete and keeping my happy girl tucked in at night. I took my long arm class on Tuesday. I was there for 3 1/2 hours and did not complete the quilting. Yikes! So, I scheduled some time to go back and finish it up today, which only took an, I was able to get some pictures of "Gus", the long arm machine, in action!

And here are the fabrics I'm swooning over for Madison's quilt:

What? Have I been knitting? Barely.....but here's my lonely little sock in progress:

I'm engrossed in a really, really good book. I saw it recommended on NPR showcased for Women's History Month. It is heartbreaking. It is tragic. It is beautiful. It is unbelievable. It is real. It makes this Ani lyric play over and over in my head:

why don't you just go ahead and turn off the sun
cuz we'll never live long enough
to undo everything they've done to you

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sprucing up the "Space"

Our house is on the market to be sold. Have I told you that? We are due for a military transfer this summer and we are hoping to move to Florida. I say "hoping"....really, I'd prefer not to ever leave here. We have been "home" here in NJ for 5 years. 5 glorious years of living near my family; my siblings, my parents, my nieces and nephews, and aunts and uncles. We have savored it thoroughly, but it's time to go. The thing about moving (when you HAVE to) is that one MUST wrap their head around it immediately or else wallow in misery. So, although I dread leaving here, I have already changed my way of thinking in to excitement. We've been moving around for 15 years, but this is the first time we're doing it with children who are old enough to understand what's happening. It's exciting and scary and sad. But it's taken me this long to put my finger on what happens when we're looking forward to something new....this place we are now just becomes stagnant...static. All our future plans or daydreams are not here right now. They're in Florida. It's hard to say that and hope the people we're leaving behind understand these conflicting emotions.

I didn't mean to go into all that....thanks for listening! lucky are we that we get to sell a house in this age of HGTV where everyone is brainwashed into thinking we can't have family photos or personal affects in our house while it's on the market? Not only that....but that ROOMS are not called ROOMS, but "SPACES"....argh, I can't stand that!

But, we complied. We took down all the pictures of our smiling happy faces so it would not deter the dreams of another happy faced family who needs to see themselves living here. And this is what we're left with:

Thankfully I saw this post by The Magic Onions and knew it would be perfect for this "space" hahaha! So enough ranting and's my craftiness to make things happy, but not personal!

No more blank walls where pictures should be! Nice, EASY, paper stars now hang in their place!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatless Monday! Prep for St. Patty's Day

Do you have fun on St. Patty's Day? I do! I like to have a green dinner party! I even send invites :-)

Get yourself prepared to make this soup for the upcoming St. Patty's Day. It's yummy. It's meatless. It's green (somewhat). I got lots of ooohs and ahhhhs over this one. It's from Cooking Light.

Irish Colcannon and Thyme Leaf Soup


  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups diced peeled baking potato (about 14 ounces)
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth ( I use veggie)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 8 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves


Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add potato, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potato is tender.

Combine 3 tablespoons water and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large Dutch oven; bring to a simmer. Add cabbage and thyme. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Place half of potato mixture in blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Add potato mixture to cabbage mixture; cook over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fibers on Friday: Poppies....Poppies....

Poppies will make them sleep....sleep...sleep....

Welcome to Fibers on Friday! A fun day to share our knit and crochet projects (or a quilt or two!).

Last week I showed you my quilt top and asked for opinions on which way I should go with the actual quilting process. Well, I decided to take a long arm class and do it myself at the quilt shop. So, that class is happening on Tuesday. Hopefully next week I'll be able to show you the finished quilt.

On the knitting front, however, I did finish another hat. This is the third one I've knit with this pattern called "Poppy" (The yarn is Bernat Felting Natural Wool in Crocus). It's so flattering on this girl! But, she grew out of her older one, so I made her this one. (Plus, I started a new pair of socks).

Two administrative notes :-) I added a new comment system to the blog. Now we can respond in thread-form to one another. Make sure, though, if you want to be notified of follow up comments, to check the box. I like this system when you ask a question, you don't have to deliberately go back and check for responses, you'll be notified. Also, I did not leave a comment on every single link this week like I have been trying to do. As you see, we got upwards of 30 link-ups! That's AWESOME!! I look at and revel in each one, but I just didn't have to time to comment on all.