Sunday, May 30, 2021

You've been a good month, May...

As life resumes normalcy - more things opening up, group activities getting scheduled, and with warmer weather bringing more outside things to do, at the same time, for me personally, life has slowed down a bit (and it is welcomed).  With all of that, I'm finding myself getting to the end of a week and wondering what I did with all those days!  It's funny...  that was what would happen during the slower days of severe COVID restrictions too, so perhaps it's more the nature of life than it is due to specific circumstances (for me, anyway).

I think that's one of the reasons I like these weekly YOP posts.  Even if I have little to show, I almost always can come up with something that makes me go, "Oh yeah!  I did that." 

Today, taking stock, I'm reminded that I worked on the blue and white ripple blanket (never mind that working on it involved ripping out as much as I crocheted this week).  I've also decided I'm making it a birthday gift later in the year so I'm hereby releasing myself of any feelings of "oughtness" about thinking I can't crochet other things while this big project looms.  I'm hereby declaring it non-looming in my life.  😉

lotsa ends!

I decided to start another Little Sheep Virtues cross stitch:  

I think I'll have this one done by next week, so I'm just going to reveal which one it is at that time.  If you know, don't tell.  😉

And since it's the last Sunday of the month, I took stock of my dishcloth knitting and counted 14 dishcloths all finished, awaiting their final destination (whatever that ends up being):


And while this isn't crafty, I did finally pull out the Kitchen Aid stand mixer I inherited from my MIL, and a nice dough hook I bought as a Christmas present to myself,  and FINALLY made some rolls:

  After a second rise, ready to go into the oven:

Now...  truth be told, I made a big mistake and accidentally turned the oven off after placing these in the oven so they didn't turn out nearly as amazing as they should have.  But aside from the time required for the dough and then the rolls to rise, making them was actually a piece of cake!  So to speak.

Not to let 2 hours of rising time go to waste, I reheated the oven, put the rolls back in to bake until I guessed that they were done inside.  I had no idea how they'd be to eat, but with expectations low, I was pleasantly surprised to find they turned out to be like biscuits in texture.   Yummy, yeasty biscuits that were actually pretty good, if not as lofty as I had originally hoped.  Spread with honey butter, they even made a nice dessert later.

So...  in addition to everything else I did (or didn't do ) all last week, these things  make me smile.  

As did hanging bed linens out on the line to dry one day and smelling that outdoors scent as I drifted off to sleep that night.  And it made me smile to take donations to the thrift store, and make and freeze three meals worth of chili - which used up about a quarter of the tomatoes a friend invited me to pick from her garden last summer!   It made me smile to remember picking them, too.  😊

I'm curious... what small thing(s) made you smile recently?

3 1/2 year-old me - in 1962

Hubs has been busy 
transferring old slides 
to digital pictures  


We've gotten lots of smiles out of those.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Making Space...

A random collection of items has either left the premises, or will be leaving soon.  I have hopes that I can find someone who'll want to take a shot at fixing my old sewing machine.  And the cabinet (which isn't valuable, but would be useful to either someone who takes my sewing machine, or has another machine to fit inside) I hope to find a new home for, too.

The machine looks better in this picture than it does in real life.  In person, the plastic parts are more yellowed with age.

And then some random stuff that I had that I'm more than happy to rehome (some hangers, some socks that didn't work out, a wooden tissue box holder, an old purse, a floppy pillow, 3 or 4 bandanas, a glass candle holder, a plastic snowflake ornament, a couple of pillow shams):

It's not pretty, but I'm calling this 12 items being donated or trashed.

Week 31:  169 things gone (or soon to be gone)

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Did I say I was getting rid of stuff?

This is kind of a funny post to make after declaring on Wednesday that I'm getting back to my "Making Space" challenge (i.e. getting rid of stuff).  And after writing last Sunday that I planned to take my 30 year-old sewing machine to the repair shop to see if I could get it fixed.  Well, I did make a trip to the sewing machine repair shop, but since I was already in the mind to start looking for a newer replacement for my old machine, I was an easy (and willing) target for a sparkly new sewing machine when I walked into the store.

So...  now I'm the owner of a new Janome Sewist 721.  Ain't she purty?

If you're so inclined, you can embiggen the pictures by clicking on them.

It's a fairly simple mechanical machine, but it has some extra stitches and it sews soooo smoothly. 

This week, my 30 year-old machine will be posted online - free to someone who'll come and get it.  I've had it apart and oiled it and gotten it to (sort of) work, but it needs for someone to remove more than just the top and bottom of the machine.  It looks like it will require removing multiple pieces of moving machinery so that the old dried-out grease can be cleaned out and replaced.  From, watching Youtube videos, I think for a person who's interested in doing all that, it might be worth it, but now that I've got a shiny new machine, I'm hard pressed to want to do that.  And truth be told, I'm as likely to break the old one as to fix it, so I'd rather let someone else have a shot at it.

Also this past week, I got some fun mail.  I don't recall where I heard of Cross Stitching Supplies just north of Indianapolis, but I'm so happy to have discovered them.  I ordered some cross stitch fabrics (in colors I hadn't been able to get at my regular online cross stitch resource), and a bunch of overdyed floss - since they offered a nice discount on the first order.

I can't  wait to dive in and start stitching something new.

Lindsey, the owner of Cross Stitching Supplies is a good communicator.  She even notified me that she was giving me a partial refund on one of the fabrics because it had a random dye spot on it (that didn't belong).  I thought that was very nice, but I imagined I might have to sacrifice half the piece of fabric (for what I wanted to use it for, anyway).  But when it arrived and I saw her hand-written note on the fabric, I looked it over and it was the tiniest spot that didn't appear at all on the opposite side, so the whole piece of fabric is totally useable!   

It's pretty handy that Lindsey is located on the north side of Indy while I'm on the southside, so my order got here lickety split.  I will definitely be checking first with Cross Stitching Supplies when I want to place an order in the future. 


And on the crafting end of things, I managed to finish off more of the little stitches I posted about a few weeks ago - some of which have been waiting years (okay... decades - lol) for this day...

They aren't perfect, and I'm still learning some things about finishing small cross stitch projects into mini-pillows, but I'm so glad to have FFO's rather than the small bits of projects these were before. 

And that, dear reader, is all she wrote!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Making Space...

Life has started getting back to normal here and while I'm probably lacking in some needed motivation to continue downsizing, it needs to happen regardless - so  I'm restarting my Making Space posts.  Hopefully, with some regularity now.

Since I started these posts last November, 29 weeks have past, so I'm counting this as Week 30 in my personal Making Space challenge.  Truthfully, throughout the last several months I've been continually "making space" by moving my brother's things out of the house - either to relatives who've wanted items, or selling and donating items.  I just haven't been recording that activity here - perhaps for obvious reasons.  

But now that I'm seeing my way clear to start clearing my own stuff again, I decided recently to remind myself of the container concept described by Dana White and apply it to my cross stitching magazines.   I updated the link above with a more current, and excellent video of Dana explaining the container concept.

A few years ago two large binders of vintage Just Cross Stitching magazines came into my possession. While I took the time then to look through all of the magazines, I was determined to only keep one binder full.  Today, I decided to free myself of some of the magazines I've been holding onto and let someone else possibly enjoy them.  

My plan is to put them on the free shelf at the library - maybe in batches

Now, never mind that I have kept maybe twice as many magazines as you see above, I have lightened my collection and am using the less full binder to also corral and organize printed out patterns I now have in plastic sheet protectors.  

In case you didn't watch the video linked to above, this is the container concept (my paraphrase):   You first decide what the container of any particular collection of stuff is, and then you only keep what will fit inside the container.  It's really a very simple concept that only requires will power to adhere to.  I'm going to start exercising those will power muscles again.

I think I'm moving into the master bedroom next.  Somehow, it's become a catch-all of things I didn't want to lose track of while we've been sorting through my brother's things, and now it's a mess again.  Or at least a few spots are a real mess. 

So...  I'm going to watch me some Dana White videos, and see if she can't inspire me to chip away at that area.  Hopefully, in a week I'll have more to show.

If you haven't clicked on Dana's video linked above, I'll make is simple for you:

Meanwhile if you're curious about my personal Making Space challenge, here is a link to a post I wrote when I started it last November.  I would love to have anyone join me (or rejoin me) who would like to.   I know a few of you have been keeping this up in some measure.  In that case, I just want to let you know I'm back, and I'm re-joining you!!!  😉

Making Space Week 30:  157 things outta here!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Cross stitch smalls...

It was tempting to skip posting again this week, but crafting mojo is so elusive lately, I thought I'd better post while I have something current to show.

In my last post, I was making plans for finishing some older cross stitch projects.  Well... I finally stitched a few up into little pillows:   

The hardest part was just deciding to do it.  Though, it did take a bit of time to cut everything out, iron on interfacing (to make the projects nice and smooth - I heard somewhere to do that).  And I left too small of openings for turning them right side out, so I had to unpick some stitches.

But seriously...  It's embarrassing how long it took me to finally set myself down to do this.  I've had the cross stitching finished on this one since last October:

In the process, I found out my 30 year-old Singer sewing machine is frozen.  I'm thinking all it needs is a good cleaning and re-oiling, and whatever a repair shop does to get a machine in good working order again.  Meanwhile, I'm sewing on my MIL's nearly 70 year-old Singer and it hums along so nicely.  It's tempting to just chuck my old frozen one, but it is very handy for quickly zig zagging edges, and creating buttonholes - whereas doing these things on my MIL's machine requires fiddling with attachments.  So sometime this upcoming week I'm thinking of biting the bullet and getting my old machine to a repair shop. Wish me well in that plan. 

And that's all she wrote!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

I've got plans...

Except for crocheting some on what will be my son's ripple blanket, and a little dishcloth knitting, I didn't do much crafting this week.  In fact, I contemplating skipping making a YOP post today because I had nothing to show, but then it occurred to me...  I have plans.  Why not write about that?!?

But first the inspiration behind my plan.  With time on my hands this week, I found myself perusing Youtube (when I probably should have been getting something done, but nevermind that).  I came upon a delightful woman in Germany, named Silvia.  Her Youtube channel is beckisland.  It appears she hasn't posted in about eight months,  but I found myself completely charmed by her and her lovely small cross stich pillows.  I was so inspired, I decided to pull out all my small stitches, and go through my fabric stash to see what I could pull together to possibly finish some small pillows.  

First off, the stitches I have that are waiting for some love:

After I took stock of my non-FFO'd cross stitches, I opened up the containers that have all the fabric I brought home from MIL's last summer and found some nice materials that I think will work for finishing the above into pillows.

First up is a stitch I did many, many (I'm sure close to 40) years ago and for some time, it was in a very ornate oval frame (oh boy...  thinking this might have been a Creative Circle kit, I looked it up, and indeed it was!  Check it out here if you like.) While I displayed it years ago (in the ornate frame), for way too long it was stuck in storage - probably in the garage.  I think it was a couple of years ago that I rescued it from obscurity and now I think I will make a medium size pillow out of it.  

While the colors in the fabric above are perfect, I'm having second thoughts about using it to make a pillow (with this stitch). For this stitch, I want to make it into a larger pillow (like something that might sit in a chair), and I want a significant amount of a print fabric to show on the front of the pillow.  I may have to actually buy some fabric to fit this project. But that's okay...  I have enough projects below to keep me busy while I find a more perfect fabric for this one. 

Meanwhile, check out the back and the snazzy way I stitched it up to be taut for framing:

I think I've found fabrics that will work with the various other projects.  Tell me what do you think:
If I still have this color thread in my stash, I think I'm going to add some stitching to some of the stars.  A couple of them seem a little stark to me.

Seeing the picture above, I may swap this fabric out for something else.

I think I made these "quilt stars" in the 80's.  My MIL was a quilter, and I seem to recall that I originally made an ornament of at least one of these stitches for her and then I got hooked on them for a while.  I know I have several as ornaments in our Christmas decorations.  I think I even sold some when a friend and I did a couple of craft shows together way back then.  I don't know why I never put these last ones together.  If I remember correctly this was a free pattern in some ladies' magazine back then.  Woman's Day, maybe?

This one (above) I haven't decided between the flowers or the polka dots.  The red in the polka dot fabric is exactly the same as the strawberries.  But the little white flowers in the other fabric remind me a bit of the flowers on a strawberry plant.  I suspect either will look great, but I'm curious if you have an opinion.  On this one, I plan to have some of the print fabric on the front, with the same fabric making up the back of the little pillow.

The patterns above came from a vintage Just Cross Stitching magazine.  I believe the animal ones are from Prairie Schooler, but house is from another designer.  For my purposes, I think they all go together perfectly.

And some may remember the stitch above from last autumn.  I finished it after October, I'm guessing, and wasn't overly motivated at the time to fully finish it for display at that point.  Well, now I am.

And there are two little candlewicking ornaments I stitched up - over 30 years ago, I'm sure.  Those need to be finally finished and put with Christmas/winter decorations.   

One of the things I really love about Silvia's little pillows is the simple ways she finishes most of them.  I like a simple finish, I've concluded.  Silvia shows that even the most simple finish can be lovely.  She does like to add fabric to the front and some ric rac or ribbon trim to some, and I do like that, so I headed over the local Hobby Lobby yesterday afternoon to see what they might have.  Boy, did I have good timing.  I hit the mother lode!  Spooled ric rack and ribbons were 50% off!  So I got bunches.  For the price, I decided to get all of the colors of ric rac and a few special ribbons, and figure out later how I might use it.

I have two thoughts as I look at the above ribbons and trims:  I have just derailed my plan to continue downsizing my stuff!  And... Why did I not buy MORE?!?!?  Seriously now...  look at those colors.  How could I resist?

And that, dear reader, is all I've got. 
Just plans for some fun finishes.