Thursday, July 30, 2009

Knit Pickin' - Pretty Book

I've not posted any this week as I have been busy prepping for a yard sale we're holding this weekend. It's been quite the task going through all kinds of stuff to decide what goes, what stays and how much things should cost if they end up in the 'go' pile...and there are LOTS of 'go piles'. Will finish it all up tomorrow and the big sale is on Saturday. Hope it ALL goes. I don't want to haul ANY of it back into the house!

In the meantime, I thought I'd take a break and pop in for a minute to give you a peek into my favorite knitting book. I have lot's of knitting books, but this one is by far my favorite. Probably a fave of some of you too.

This is Morehouse Farm. Margrit Lorher and her husband Albrecht live in upstate New York and own and operate a Merino sheep farm that produces the wool for the fabulous yarns they make and sell. This book is really beautiful in it's photos and the story of how Morehouse Farm came to be.

It's definitely a story book....and I still love 'story books'.

My copy of this book is rather dog eared as I've looked at it A LOT the last couple of years. I love it and have used it so much!

My cheesy camera does not do these beautiful pictures any justice whatsoever. Just take my word for it when I say 'beautiful'. Margrit has all kinds of great projects in the book also - all of which I hope to complete someday, one at a time.


...and have a knit pickin' good weekend too!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Knit Pickin' - Pillow Talk

The last year and a half of my life has been about starting over...and starting over in every way imaginable. One of those ways is putting a household together completely from scratch.

So while doing all the things necessary like getting the basics to set up housekeeping, there's also the little things that add to the aesthetic quality of making a house a home. I yard sale, shop thrift stores and the like, and make stuff, etc. We are also currently renovating an old Cape Cod style home we acquired last fall. All this has been quite the task and quite the adventure, to put it mildly. But it has been great fun and it all has been like working with a blank canvas to create the living environment most conducive to and most comfortable for our current lifestyle.

It is true the old saying: "It's the little things that make a house a home". So one of my latest projects to 'home-ify' my house is knitted throw pillows. I got the idea from Morehouse Farm. Margrit Lohrer who runs a Merino sheep farm for her fabulous knitting yarns in upstate New York, and who knits like a banshee, has made some beautiful knitted throw pillows through the years and that's where I got the inspiration to do some for my house.

I'm starting with just simple, basic stockinette stitch to showcase the colors I've chosen for a pillow or two. Then I will move on to some more elaborate stuff like cables and some entrelac. Right now the most basic of knitting techniques is great fun - simple and mindless in the work. I'm currently working on a seat cushion done in entrelac and it has been a challenge finding a tutorial dumbed down enough for me to get the hang of it. But I finally figured it out and it is going swimmingly. But it does require quite a bit of 'paying attention' to what I'm doing at the moment, so it's nice to put it down and go to the stockinette stitch for a while. Doesn't make my brain hurt so much.

I have so many different kinds of projects in the works that it's nice to take a break from one thing and go to something completely different, i.e. going from knitting to embroidery, or crochet to quilting. Keeps my fingers nimble and my mind sharp as it can possibly be at this age now. My mind is mush most of the time these days, which really ain't such a bad thing either when I think about it. I can just play dumb to a lot of things and get away with a lot! Getting old does have it's advantages!! Not that I think I'm truly old. It's just nice to be able to use it as an excuse occasionally when there's things I 'might' need an excuse for. So, it keeps me out of trouble. Just so long as I "tend to my own knittin' ", I'm OK.

Have a knit pickin' good weekend ya'll !!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Going To 'Pot' !

I've been crocheting like crazy the last couple of weeks and in addition to finishing the afghan, I've made a gazillion potholders.

My youngest daughter in Tennessee is a newlywed (1 year this past June) and is still in the throws of setting up housekeeping. I told her I'd make some potholders and shoot 'em her way.

But I was having such a good time making these that I got a tad bit carried away and have a butt load of them now. So I will divide them up evenly and disperse them between my three daughters. Now in addition to making their way to Tennessee, some of them will also be traveling to Florida and some to Arizona. My kids are scattered ALL OVER the country. (My boys are in New Mexico and Virginia).

These were sooooooooo much fun to make. I made some for my sweetie's mother for Mothers Day and just did the same kind for my girls. These are very simple patterns I made up as I went along. I have to have VERY simple patterns. My brain doesn't handle too much in the way of complicated these days. So nothing more than double crochet. It's just better that way.


This is some of what I've been up to lately. There's more stuff in the works. Am knitting at the moment and loving that. Am doing some entrelac in the form of throw pillows and a seat cushion for a rocking chair. Just too much fun.

See you soon with more updates on more stuff. Have a knit pickin' good day ya'll !

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Knit Pickin' - I've Been Busy

I've not posted much this past week as I have opted to be busy with various projects I've had in the works.

I finished my 'Providence Rose Garden' granny afghan a few days ago. It's so good to FIIIIIINALLY have this completed. In this last month or so, every time I thought I'd be able to sit and finish, something else would come along to take me away from it and then it would be days before I could get back to it.

This past week I've been bogged down with some sort of cold/flu like crud that sweetie brought home over the 4th of July holiday. It hit him hard that following week and then I got it this past week. In the throngs of coughing and feeling pretty crappy, and in between reading all your lovely blogs out there, I've managed to finish the afghan and work on a couple of other projects too.

So here's the afghan. Will be showing you what else is in the works in the next few days. Am working hard to get stuff ready to be put up for sale this coming fall in addition to doing things for my own house too, i.e. the afghan for an old rocker that sits in my dining room. Have some knitted throw pillows in the works for various places around the house too. Have taken on some entrelac knitting and thoroughly enjoying that. Been crocheting like crazy too...and doing some embroidery...and designing a doll or two.


There's lots of stuff to keep me busy for the summer and lots of stuff to show you as it goes along.

Hope ya'll are having a fab summer week. It's raining here...AGAIN. A good day to sit and knit. Certainly not gonna get out and about in this weather with the crud I have. Napping and crafty stuff as I feel up to it are about all that's on my agenda for today.

See you soon. Have a knit pickin' good rest of the day ya'll!!!

Addendum to today's post: I would VERY much like to be able to give you better photos than what I have been, but as the case may be - I don't have a real live camera to do the deed with. I have to rely on my phone to take pics for now. A nice digital camera is on my wish list - hopefully for Christmas. My good cameras were something that went when I broke down and sold nearly ALL of my worldly possessions a couple of years ago, and until now, haven't really had a need for another. So, please pardon the dull, unclear, lack of detail photos until I can rectify the situation. The afghan you see here has a scalloped edge, but you CANNOT see it well in these photos.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Such Is Real Life

OK...this is for all you working stiffs out there who have to deal with the dreaded 'MONDAY'. Enjoy!!

Notice the 'giants' are knitted :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gone, But NEVER Forgotton

I've spent a good portion of this week lost in remembrances of the Apollo 11 rocket launch, the lunar module touching down on the moon's surface, and Neil Armstrong's first step (for man) on the moon.

On this most historic date in history, July 20, 1969, I was seven years old. But I remember this momentous occasion like it was yesterday. And the voice I've been hearing in my head all week recounting this monumental moment is that of Walter Cronkite.

Yesterday we lost a true National Treasure. In this year of great losses in the entertainment and news industries, Walter Cronkite's passing is the one that touches me deeper than most others...even more so than Michael Jackson. Walter Cronkite was a daily staple in our home when I was growing up and when I moved out on my own, he remained a staple of my daily life until his retirement in 1981. Life just wasn't normal if I didn't have his face and voice reporting to me the days news every evening during supper time.

Walter Cronkite is a true icon of Gen X'ers and those of us old enough to remember his reporting during the days of just 3 networks and black and white TV no doubtedly will feel the loss of such an important figure of our era.

Even though Mr. Cronkite retired from daily television news reporting some 28 years ago, he has remained the standard by which even today's up and coming news reporters and journalists of all kinds aspire to, but none seem to ever achieve. Lyndon Johnson said towards the end of his presidency, "If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost middle America". And that was a true statement in every sense. He had the ears and pulse of the nation as a whole as the most trusted man in America and had great influence over nations and political leaders the world over. I don't think we'll ever hear president Obama saying "If I've lost Rachel Maddow.. Katie Couric...Brian Williams, I've lost middle America. "

No one in the world of television news today has the vision, the fortitude, the forthrightness, the no non-sense manner, nor the honesty by which Walter Cronkite came to us every day. And I think he has no doubtedly been sorely disappointed...and disgusted by the turn television news has taken in the last few years.

There's no one in television reporting today I watch with any regularity because of the lack of appeal and the insincerity most journalists deliver on a daily basis. I still subscribe to the old school ways the news should be - honest and to the point.

When Walter Cronkite spent 27 straight hours on the air to report the very first man on the moon in 1969, my family was there every minute with him. When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, it was the only time in his career Mr. Cronkite was speechless. I was too young to remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy - 19 months old at the time. But I do remember when Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were murdered...and Walter Cronkite was the voice of those historically somber occasions also. He took us through the Vietnam war, the Energy Crisis in the mid 70's, The Three Mile Island disaster, the Iran Crisis, and the election of president Ronald Reagan...his last of very many political and election coverages dating from WWII.

He covered thousands of stories, in hundreds of countries, reaching millions of people in a career spanning more than seven decades. No one will ever top what he has done, in the way he did it, in the time he did it. Just like there will never be another Michael Jackson, there will never be another Walter Cronkite.

"And THAT'S the it was".
Rest In Peace Walter.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stop Dragging My Heart Around

There were a LOT of years in my life when I used to spend more of my time in the fabric department at WalMart than I did in my own home. Some of those years I dragged my significant other with me and put him through the rigors of matching fabrics for a current quilt project or laying out a new one. The poor slob never knew what hit him.

What I knew to be only minutes at a time, significant other ALWAYS swore it was hours at a time. But time flies when you're having fun...and maybe it really was 'hours' he subjectively endured.

I never was one to drag him along when I shopped for clothes. I always preferred the opinions of others not be relevant when choosing my wardrobe. My own warped sense of style and eye for fit was enough criticism and punishment. But mall hopping, sitting at Sonic Drive In, and going to WalMart were always a different story. These were places to 'share' special time together, and what was more special than choosing quilt fabric?! After all, he always did encourage my craft and showed off my completed projects to whom ever would even remotely be interested - whether they wanted to be or not.

But the shopping for fabrics together was akin to the Plague. Any time I asked if he wanted to tag along on one of my jaunts, he would usually politely agree, "Sure. I don't have anything better to do" as in; "the game is not on for another six hours yet" or "maybe the yard work can wait another day or two." But actually getting him in the fabric department - and keeping him there was a struggle.

WalMart was a struggle because it was a department store, as in having OTHER things BESIDES fabric and the like. In the older stores, the fabric department was usually sandwiched between Sporting Goods and Automotive...and Lawn and Garden was just a hop, skip, and jump away too. Sooooo, he didn't feel TOO tortured when it came to tagging along. There was always the 'escape' route for him. He could walk to fabrics with me, stand there with hands in pockets while I asked his opinion about a piece or two, nod, smile, "uh-huh" gratuitously, and then suddenly decide he needs a couple of things from the aforementioned areas. Escape complete.

But a 'fabric store' might as well have been the paddy wagon; locked up and on a one way journey to Nowheresville. He didn't go with me too many times to the specialty shops, but there were occasions when he did come along...and I got to where I hated him being there as much as he did. So I learned to make those trips myself...and to relish the time alone to revel in all the splendor that is a fabric shop.

Today, I don't even begin to think of asking my new sweetie to accompany me on my trips to these places for these things. I learned my lesson previously from the old significant others. He's all for my endeavors into the world of long as he's not dragged along on the outings for supplies. And I prefer it that way. It really is better as just 'my thing'. And he always seems to appreciate that I prefer it that way. I prefer not to have to endure the sudden aches and pains, extreme tiredness, or the sudden remembrance that he had a previous engagement and we gotta go...NOW!

OK. So I'm done with dragging my male counterparts to the things I like to do, and I prefer not being dragged to the stuff he likes to do. Those days are long past, wasted on what was my youth, and now I enjoy doing stuff alone in my old age. It just works better that way. And we have recently discovered that we are eating supper around 4pm instead of 6 to 7ish. Come to think of it, I kind of wind up in bed by 7:30, and he falls asleep on the couch long before then. And I'm the one who drives to wherever we need to go. And I find myself in the slow lane with the turn signal ever blinking unbeknownst to me until some passerby yells 'turn your blinker off grandma!"

So, I'm getting old. Spending time alone is not so bad. Early meals ain't so bad either. Shopping for my supplies alone is a great thing. Now, shut up and drive.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jingle Bells

It's July and time to start purchasing Christmas fabrics. I do it every year and it's never intentional. But I walk into the fabric shops in mid summer and there they are!

I can't help it. There's something about Christmas prints that just drives me crazy. I see 'em and I gotta have 'em. I never know what I'm going to make with any particular piece I buy. I just know I gotta have it. I know I'm gonna die dead if I don't walk out of the store with out a Christmas print of some sort. And the closer to Christmas it gets, the worse it gets. I end up with boxes full of the fabulous little treasures by the time Christmas rolls around. And those fabrics may just sit in those boxes or in cabinets or what have you for a year or two before I actually find a project for them, but by gosh I've got 'em and that's enough for me!

The very first find for this year is an adorable 'Peanuts' print I found at JoAnn Fabrics. I love the Peanuts characters and am especially fond of anything having to do with 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. There's nothing more precious than the innocence of these children in this particular story. It's been part of my life for 42 years and I grow more fond of the characters and this animated story every year.

This fabric at JoAnn is regularly 9.99 per yard...GEEEEES - enough to choke a horse. It's just a plain old 50/50 cotton poly blend. But I got a yard and a half on sale at 40% off plus another 10% off with a coupon I had. So all said and done at 4.99 per yard, that's not too bad. I can live with that. It was just too cute to pass up and even at regular price I would have gotten a yard at some point.

So the Christmas shopping season officially begins for me...and gonna LOVE every minute of it. There are many, MANY more Christmas prints in very near future as I can not resist them. Stick and around and watch the stack grow!!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hi-Ho Cherry 'O

Life Is a bowl of cherries...

pitted and chopped...

...and then you make cake!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America !!

It's hard to believe it's been 33 years since the Bicentennial of our country. At the end of that summer I entered my freshman year in high school. What memories that brings back. And what a big deal our Bicentennial was. Sooo much anticipation. Soooooo much celebration. Sooooooooooooooo much commemorative 'junk' manufactured for this auspicious occasion.

Last night my sweetie and I were moving a bunch of boxes of miscellaneous 'what have you' from the back porch to the basement...stuff we inherited from his mom recently as she is selling her house and cleaning out YEARS of accumulation. In the mountain of stuff, we ran across two boxes filled with Bicentennial commemorative coffee mugs. They had belonged to my sweetie's dad and are quite nice really. They must have cost a pretty good penny back then.

Running across those mugs at this particular time was kind of a cool thing and it got me to thinking about where I was July 4, 1976. And it got me to thinking about all the years that have passed since then. So much time. So many memories, good and bad. Mostly good. So many things to be grateful for.

I am truly blessed to live in this country. My children and their children are truly blessed to live here too. All the opportunities in life afforded them today could never happen anywhere but here.

My baby girl, my BABY, who turns 22 on Monday (who was very nearly an Independence Day baby, but the hospital's surgical team had that Saturday July 4, 1987 off...and that Sunday too, so she had to wait 'til Monday the 6th to be born), and her lovely hubby drove to Washington D.C. from Nashville, TN yesterday to spend our country's birthday in the most spectacular place on earth place for this event. How fabulous, and how fortunate they are to have the freedom to do this. I am soooooooo very proud my children live in a place where they can choose to do anything they want to do and go anywhere they want to go and say anything they want to say and feel anything they want to feel.

I expect the pictures and the video's from their experience to start rolling into my email around midnight or so tonite.

As for me and my sweetie, we have the freedom to just sit home and enjoy the holiday on our deck with Cat and Dog and the grill and cold beer. We may drive the few blocks to U Mass to watch the fire works display, or we may just sit home and listen to them booming in the distance. We have the freedom to make that choice.

I also have the freedom to get up this morning, cruise the newspaper, check off my destinations and hit the yard sale trail. What a country !!

Have a happy, safe and blessed 4th of July !!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Habitat For Humanity ReStore

<------------ Time to feed the fishies!!

Today's post is for all you thrift store junkies out there! I've mentioned several times now about the fact that I used to volunteer in a Habitat For Humanity ReStore. In some parts of the country, the ReStore is a thrift store in the way we usually know a thrift store, with the exception of clothes. They don't sell clothing. But it's a great place for fab finds in the way of vintage furniture, antique furniture, new furniture, dishes, knick-knacks, framed art, etc. It's endless some of the great stuff that can be found in one of these stores.

Some of the ReStores around the country focus more on construction materials for houses and the like. If you're the 'do it yourselfer' and doing some repairs on your house, or even focusing on a remodel of some sort, The ReStore is a THE place to get your needs for these things too.

Cabinets galore. Bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Floor tile. Wall paper. Paint. Rugs. Windows. Doors. Appliances. The list is endless in what these particular stores offer too. A lot of it used. A lot of it new.

All merchandise sold in the ReStores is donated from the general public. A good bit of is donated by businesses like Lowe's, Home Depot, Builders Source, the Room Store, Haverty's, etc... Smaller home town businesses donate too. Most of it comes from residents of the cities and towns where they operate.

Most of the money made in the ReStores goes toward building actual Habitat houses. Some stores do have paid staff and therefore have to use some of the money to towards payroll, but most stores rely strictly on volunteers. Those are the stores you REALLY want to shop. Most of the volunteers are passionate about what they do and it shows in the stores and in customer service. They are passionate about what they are working for.

Because it is costly and environmentally unsound to overflow landfills with waste from construction and renovation, ReSTORE acts as a "thrift shop" for building materials and household items, offering them for sale at hugely discounted prices to the public. Proceeds from ReSTORE sales support the Habitat home building program which partners with hard working, limited income families to build simple, decent, affordable homes.

Habitat ReStores are pretty much all over the country. The only place I know where they're not actually called 'ReStore' is in central Oklahoma. It's called 'Habitat Renovation Station'. VERY unfortunately for me, there's only one Habitat Restore in all of Massachusetts. It's in Plymouth which is about an hour or so away. This is me sobbing uncontrollably now :( If you're into the whole recycle, and thrifting, second hand shopping deal, Habitat ReStore is for you.

If you're looking to get rid of some of that stuff that you just don't use any longer or just don't need, donate it. ReStore will even pick it up for you if you like. Now how great is that?

You'll be doing a great thing for others while getting great deals for yourself.