Tuesday, March 03, 2015

cooking & crafting...

Cooking and crafting, that's how I am managing to get through our 'long, cold winter'.  It's been over a month since we were above freezing.  Many days, in fact, have begun at below 0 degrees F or in the single digits; wind chills of -20 or -30; snow, snow, and more snow.  On a bright note, I saw two flocks of Canadian geese fly over today while I was walking the dogs--maybe they know something about a sudden thaw...?

Before Ash Wednesday I made up a batch of Paczki, which are a traditional Polish pastry.  I used this recipe, and although it was my first try, they didn't come out too badly.  Keeping the oil at a constant temperature was a challenge, and quite a few ended up a little burnt--we did suffer and eat them anyway, filled with cherry filling and glazed.

When we moved, I realized just how many fabric scraps I have accumulated over the years.  I was considering donating them, but then decided it was just time to start quilting.  Looking through Pinterest has been fun and I am filled with ideas, which you can see on my sewing board.  Thanks to Leila's recommendation, I am reading The quilters: Women and domestic art, which 'chronicles the lives and quilts of pioneer women of Texas and New Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century.' It is a wonderful look into the part that quilting played in their lives.  I think it would be almost impossible to read this book and not be inspired to quilt something. It has been added to my list of favorite reads.

So, I am now working on a crib quilt--my first really-from-scratch quilt, as the only others I've made were a 'cheater' quilt and one from a pre-cut kit long ago.  I am using this tutorial for improvisational quilt blocks using scraps of fabric.  It is amazing how fast these came together! I now have the top done, need to come up with a backing fabric, and am trying to decide whether to quilt by hand or machine--by hand would be nice, though I am not sure how long that may take me.  

I received a new order of leather, which I would like to use for some totes.  I've sewed one up and am excited to test it out for myself; if all goes well, maybe some can be added to the shop. Sewing with leather has been a real learning experience, and I continue to try and perfect my methods; my motivation--I just love leather bags!

Hope you are keeping warm, or maybe even enjoying Spring,


Monday, February 16, 2015

trying to keep warm...

The temperature outside, when we woke up this morning, was -10F...and we were on the warm side as some of the Southtowns were closer to -30F.  Add in a little wind, and well, it's a bit colder than what we usually have to deal with around here.  Of course it would have to be record cold, right?, since this is the first year in 20+ that we've not had the warmth of a woodstove to enjoy...but now I've found a way to keep myself cozy ~ the cable comfort throw. I used Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn in Oatmeal and am very pleased with it--it's cuddly-soft and warm.  More details may be found on my Ravelry page here.

Monday, February 09, 2015

cabin fever & a shop update

The world is cold and white here.  Out the sunroom windows a row of icicles dangle from the edge of the roof, and outdoors the snow has been getting deeper and deeper.  The sun rarely peeks out, but when it does it's cause for celebration...a glimpse of blue sky is instantly cheering.  Everyone, even the dogs, have begun to have cabin fever.  
I've been perusing the seed catalogs and have ordered some mara des bois strawberry plants and a few Heritage raspberry plants to plant on the new property.  There is no garden area as yet, so I will have to get some raised beds ready before they arrive sometime in April.
The house plan has been changed due to cost factors; disappointing, but we have come up with a new plan and will be sitting down with the architect tomorrow to finalize the details and changes.  This plan will have a walk-through pantry, which I am really excited about.  Everything should still be ready in time to break ground come Spring.
For now I'm concentrating on sewing, knitting, and finishing up projects. Some totes and pouches have been added to the shop, and I still have some more items I need to list.  I'm hoping that if I keep really busy, maybe Spring will come that much faster...

Friday, January 30, 2015

a slouchy, daisy stitch hat

After Christmas I decided to knit myself a hat--it's one of the hand knits that I don't have many of, and this being an extremely cold winter of daily dog-walking, a really warm hat is most welcome.  I had taken advantage of the Knit Picks sale and bought some Andean Treasure Baby Alpaca in several colors.  The hat is the Hinagiku Hat by 87cafe, and it is done in a daisy stitch which I love.  The yarn is wonderfully soft...more details can be found on my Ravelry page here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

a rush seat for the rocking chair

After over a year and a half in limbo, I finally dragged this rocker downstairs last weekend determined to get the rush seat finished.
I used up the first roll of fiber rush and had to start on another roll I had on hand--wouldn't you know they were not quite the same, so if you look closely you can see the difference.  I decided not to worry about it and to just enjoy the fact that the rocker now has a sturdy seat on which I can sit and rock, and that I can cross this off my long list of projects in progress. 

Besides, I already have a wonderful punch needle pattern I've started for a seat cushion...there's no end to my starting of projects, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I love working in this room which, when the sun does peek out, is so filled with sunshine...I'm positive it causes me to be much more productive :)
More bags finished yesterday, on to the next...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

sewing galore...

All sorts of projects going on in the workroom today.  January seems the perfect month for sewing, and I have lots to catch up on.  I have a couple new bags in the works in a new style, and I'm squeezing in a little time with the Liesl + Co cappuccino/tunic.  A neckline modification I'm trying had me quite stumped, but the answer, which is hopefully quite simple,  just came to me--hurray!...hope it works.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have a happy New Year!

Hope you are enjoying the Christmas Season. This year we hosted a simple Christmas Day brunch and dinner.  For brunch I tried out these bacon, egg & toast muffins, fresh fruit, and homemade panettone and cinnamon rolls.  The kids voted for lasagna, so a lasagna dinner it was, with meatballs, sausage, salad, and homemade bread. 

The only handmade gifts I managed were the French cross hat and a cowl; the details can be found on my Ravelry page here.  This last week I've started knitting a hat and scarf, and crocheting an infinity scarf.  Though we had a warm, green Christmas, the weather has turned very cold and snowy here--perfect knitting weather.

If the light cooperates I will be getting pictures of several new totes, drawstring pouches, and zipper pouches to add to the shop.  My goal is to also complete some recycled book cover journals.

Thank you to all of you who visit, encourage, and share...I hope your New Year is a happy and healthy one!  


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A knitted cowl

Recently many of you commented on homemade gifts which you are making for Christmas. There were many great ideas-- jars of homemade cocoa, boot cuffs, cowls, dishcloths, gloves, an afghan, potholders,  hats, and scarves. 
Since I finished up with the hat I was knitting, except for the pom pom on top, I decided to knit a cowl to go along with it. I picked up some Bernat Roving wool with one of my 40 percent off coupons, and one skein worked perfectly for the Grace Jones cowl pattern that I used.  I'll be sure to get some pictures of both finished, if the sun ever decides to pop out again.
I would often agree with Kathleen Grace who said,  "I think handmade gifts are the best."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

a quick-to-knit capelet

Since the winter weather has begun, I've really missed the cozy warmth of a woodstove. The thermostat here at the parsonage is being kept at a conservative level--fine when I'm busy and moving around, but a bit chilly when sitting and working on something.  The solution...Magnum Capelet No.2, a cozy shrug which is easily slipped on when needed.  A bulky yarn and large needles allow this to be knit up very quickly, which would make it a great last minute gift idea as well.  It's almost as good as snuggling up close to the fire...almost.
If interested, details can be found on my Ravelry page.


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