Friday, October 30, 2009

not really an Eye Can Friday, Halloween Eve...

...we're almost ready for the 2 to 25 trick-or-treaters that will come to our door tomorrow night. I need to unearth a bowl or basket from the collection of kitchen stuff in the living room and then I think we're good.

Because of the general disarray in the house, I have not put up my Halloween decorations. I usually put it on the coffee table, but that's been functioning as a desk for the Husband sometimes and a dining room table at other times.  Maybe tomorrow...

The good news from the kitchen is that the microwave-hood is now mostly installed. I say mostly because the Husband still needs to put in the exhaust aluminum thingy (have no idea what it's called) and then it's done. The microwave part works though. Yay!

Up this weekend: the Husband needs to finish the cabinet mods so we can move the range into place. And then I want to cook!! I'm thinking beef or pork roast...

On the craft front, I want to finish the machine quilting for the Paint It Red quilt and finish the shawl that's on the loom. In between, I will work on the mermaid.

No real eye candy this week. The garden is looking a bit droopy and aside from a few roses, the flowers are pretty much dying off. Instead, here's a Halloween card for you. This is a modified picture of my Halloween decorations from last year:

Halloween 2009

Don't let the goblins get you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WIP-it Wednesday, a little of this and a little of that...

...the kitchen is still the biggest WIP. The electrician did his thing yesterday and we have power outlets for the new range and microwave hood. However, the Husband still has a little cabinet work to do before we can install the microwave hood, which really should be installed before we move the range in place. Bottom line: still using the old microwave for cooking (or getting take-out, depending on how tired we are). At least i know I won't have to suffer through another Thanksgiving a Christmas with a barely functioning oven! 

On the craft front, the only thing I've worked on is the mermaid. I'm at the point where I can see the end and I want to finish...everything else has fallen by the wayside!  Here's where I left off last night:

Queen Mermaid, as of 10/27

She's getting close to having a face...and I'm almost done with the hair (thank goodness!).

I'm not happy with the rectangular areas that were left open for the large beads that get attached to her body and tail. The beads will not completely cover these areas and I really don't want the linen to show. I've looked at pictures by other stitchers who have completed this project and most did not leave the areas unstitched. I will probably go back and fill these in at the end...

Anyway, I'm making progress!

Monday, October 26, 2009

oh,'s Monday...

...that weekend went by fast!

I pretty much lost most of Friday to the sinus headache from H3LL. Thankfully, it was mostly gone when I woke up on Saturday.

My new range and microwave hood were delivered on Friday. They are sitting in the kitchen waiting for the electrical work to be done.

The Husband got the dishwasher connected and we moved it into place. It was not fun...there is barely enough room for the dishwasher to fit under the cabinet and the insulation was not cooperating. We finally got it into place and after a little fiddling with the water pressure, we did a successful test run to check for leaks. I ran a real load Saturday night and it works great! Yay!! Squeaky clean dishes!

The Husband spent the rest of the weekend preparing for the installation of the microwave-hood combo and continuing with the cabinet modifications. The electrician will do the outlet work on Tuesday and the Husband wants to be ready to go after that.

We are getting a little tired of take-out and food that can be cooked in the microwave, but it's so worth it!

I worked on all sorts of crafts...I had some attention span problems and couldn't stick with one project for an extended period of time.
  • Spent a few hours doing the machine quilting for the Paint It Red quilt. Those little center squares are time-consuming!
  • Worked on the Queen Mermaid cross stitch piece. I am working on her hair and it is crazy-making...five different shades of brown and lots of confetti stitches. (Question of the day: why is there one (1) pale green stitch in only one of the 6 or so hair ornaments? Mistake?)
  • Worked on the Happy Pumpkin scissor fob from Shepherd's Bush. It's cute and it's quick!
  • Spent a few hours weaving the River Rocked shawl. I think I'm about 50% done. One of these days I'll remember to keep track of how many inches I've woven...I always seem to remember after I've done about a quarter of it. 
  • Fixed an error in one of the Rusty Dahlia socks. I was off count by one and had to rip back a couple of rows. Bothe socks are on pattern repeat #2 of 8.

    Here's what they look like:

    Rusty Dahlia socks, as of 10/26

    (These socks were supposed to be finished for Socktoberfest, but that's not going to happen! Not enough hours in the day!)

That's it for the weekend report. And can I just say that Farmville on Facebook is addicting...who knew?!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eye Candy Friday from construction central...

...I'm home this morning, waiting for the electrician to come and do the rewiring for the new range. The range and microwave-fan thingy are scheduled to be delivered later today.  The dishwasher is still not installed because the Husband has been really busy with work ( you know, the thing that helps us pay for these new toys!). It looks like we'll get the installation done over the weekend. Until then we're making do. (I consider this practice for when we actually do the whole kitchen!)

This week's eye candy is brought to you by the letter F...

Freshly Cut Mission Figs

The figs are ripening and they are yummy!!

Up this weekend: do what we can to get the kitchen back together and then attack the layer of dust that has settled over everything. Any craft time will be gravy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

our kitchen is a WIP... well as a construction zone. We now have our new dishwasher sitting in the middle of the floor, waiting for a part so we can install it. The old oven and range top are also in the middle of the floor, waiting to be taken away. The electrician is scheduled to do the outlet work for the range. The dining area now houses all the stuff from the cabinets that the Husband is modifying. It's a little chaotic, but nothing we can't live with for a short while. No pictures because it's not pretty!!

I have been working almost exclusively on the cross stitch piece. Just not feeling the knitting mojo right now. Because I had to move my wheel and loom to another room so they wouldn't get covered in saw dust, it is not as convenient to work on those WIPs.

Our garden is winding down. The tomatoes are almost all done, but there are still peppers to harvest. The Husband made a tomatillo salsa with the purple tomatillos and some chiles. It looks odd, but smells wonderful!

Purple Salsa, after

We are looking forward to harvesting the pomegranates...they are looking really nice!

Monday, October 19, 2009

greetings from construction central...

...not exactly what we thought we were doing this weekend, but it's all good. More about that in a bit.

Pacific International Quilt Festival report: As expected there were many beautiful quilts, some spectacular quilts, and a few that were off the mark. While I appreciate all of the effort that it takes to produce a traditional quilt, I am more inspired by innovative or art quilts.

I particularly love some of the quilts that come from Japan. Here's a detail view of "The Flower of the Wind" by Mariko Miwa. The use of metallic threads was stunning.

Detail of "The Flower of the Wind" quilt

The "Fossily" quilt by Karen Roberts of Germany was also amazing.

Fossily by Karen Peters of Germany

Here's a detail of the beading in that quilt:

Detail of Fossily quilt

While not a quilt, "Even Frogs Dream" by Thom Atkins was a wonderful beaded work:

Even Frogs Dream by Thom Atkins

I did a little shopping in the marketplace, but didn't buy much. One thing I did get was a "Sugar Skull" quilt kit from 1/4 Inch Publishing. I love Day of the Dead stuff and I couldn't pass this up.

I worked a little on my Rusty Dahlia socks, but ran into a problem that I need to frog. I did a couple of hours worth of quilting on the Paint It Red quilt. I worked on the cross stitch mermaid—finished one of the ribbon (sash?) areas and started working on her arm.

That was the planned part of the weekend. The unplanned part was that we bought some new appliances for the kitchen! We needed a new dishwasher and we've wanted to replace the 39-year-old exhaust fan with a microwave-fan combo, so we took care of that.

We've had a lot of issues with our oven, like wild temperature fluctuations, cookies that were burned on the bottom and raw on the top, things taking forever to cook, etc. I couldn't see going into the holiday season with an oven that didn't work right, so we decided to replace our cook top and oven with a new range (convection oven, quick-to-boil burner...)

The construction part? Well, our old oven was a drop-in and fit in a 24-inch opening; the range is freestanding and is  30-inches wide (as are most ranges). The Husband has had to remove portions of the counter and cabinets to gain 6 mores inches for the range to fit. It means I lose some cabinet and drawer space, but I'm gaining so much more! There is now a film of sawdust over pretty much everything in the kitchen and living room, but he's got the majority of the demo done.

We won't get the new range until at least Friday, so we're depending on the microwave and toaster oven for cooking. It's only for a short time and it's so worth it!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eye Candy Friday...

...and it's time for a sky picture:

October morning

This was taken the morning after the big storm. I live the combination of clouds. There's something about an October morning that is so appealing...

I'm taking this afternoon off as the rest of my comp time for working last Sunday. I'll go directly from work to the Pacific International Quilt Festival. The Convention Center is only a 15 minute drive from here. I'll spend the afternoon admiring the handiwork of other quilters and spending a little money on fabric and thread in the marketplace.

One thing I'll make sure to buy is the commemorative pin. Did I tell you I collect pins from the different events I attend? I keep my Stitches West pins on my name tag holder. The rest of the pins I keep on this chatelaine:

Pin Keepers Chatelaine

I took a class for this Pin Keeper's Chatelaine at a Spirit of Cross Stitch Festival [now defunct], pre-2000. It took me a while to finish it, but it is the perfect thing to hold all of my pins. I'll have to look to be sure, but I think the oldest pin is from 1992 or 1993 from Spirit of Cross Stitch Festival; the newest is the 2008 Pacific International Quilt Festival pin. I'm running out of room now, so a bit or reorganization is necessary. However, I'm sure there's room for the 2009 PIQF pin!

Up this weekend: I want to keep it a little quilt-y. I want to finish the machine quilting on the Paint It Red quilt and then start the process of finding loose ends and burying them. Once I have the loose ends taken care of, I'll add the binding and do the final hand stitching. I need to add some sort of quilt label and decide whether to add a hanging sleeve before I do the binding...a few decisions to make.

In between, I'll alternate working on the shawl, the mermaid, and the Rusty Dahliasocks. I'm such a slacker on Socktoberfest this year! I've only spent a handful of hours on my socks...not enough hours in a day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WIP-it Wednesday, a little damp around the edges...

...after that huge storm yesterday, everything is damp! We've had a few rain showers this morning, but nothing like was wild outside.

I took yesterday afternoon off as part of my comp time for working on Sunday. I used the time to work on my cross stitch mermaid and do some weaving.

First though, here's the spinning I did during Saturday's Spin-In:

Simpatico, bobbin #1

This is Simpatico, a Falkland top from the Yarn Wench. The colors remind me of Halloween.

Here is the current state of Queen Mermaid:

Queen Mermaid, as of 10/14

Trying to get a picture of the whole thing without taking it off the stretcher bars is a challenge!

In case you were wondering how I approach these large cross stitch pieces:
  • I work most cross stitch projects from the center of the design outwards. I like to make sure the piece is centered on the fabric.
  • I frequently work parts of the design upside down, which is what I am doing right now. A lot of Mirabilia mermaids have design elements on the left side of the fabric. Working upside down allows me to stitch from left to right on those elements and helps keep the count correct, reducing frogging.
  • I also tend to finish the color on my needle before swapping to another color.
  • I usually do the back stitching after I've finished the cross stitches, but before I wash the piece.
  • I do the beading after washing and blocking (somewhat) the piece.
The main thing I worked on yesterday was a new shawl. I warped the loom and started weaving this:

River Rocked Shawl, in progress

The warp is Rowan Purelife Organic Wool yarn in Onion (not Tea like I said on Monday) and the weft is Socks that Rock Mediumweight in River Rocked, the latest installment of the Rockin' Sock Club. (The pink yarn at the bottom is not part of the shawl--it's waste yarn that I used to spread the warp out evenly.) Here's another view:

River Rocked Shawl,progress closeup

The Rowan yarn color is very close to one of the colors in the Socks That Rock yarn, so they work very well together. This is the first piece I've woven where I did a test swatch before starting. My new mini-loom came in handy for that!

Monday, October 12, 2009

storm front coming...

...we're supposed to get rain tonight. I don't think it's going to wait that long! This was taken early this morning.

Storm Front

My weekend was short, as I put in some extra hours on Sunday for work. So I made the most of my Saturday!

I decided to make lemon scones for the Spin-In and serve them with the Daughter's cream-cheese-pumpkin-butter spread. The scones came out OK (they would have been better is my over worked properly....grrrrr), but the cream cheese spread helped make up for the scones.

Since Spin-In wasn't until the afternoon, I decided to take a trip to Purlescence and see if I could find a warp yarn to use with the latest Rockin' Sock Club yarn. I think I found the perfect tea-dyed wool to go with it. They also had the Second Heddle Kit for my loom; I got that and a second 10epi heddle. I also bought a Schacht Mini Loom Weaving Kit...I think it will perfect for doing samples when I'm trying to figure out how two yarns will work together.

Spin-In was great! I started a new Falkland top (pictures on Wednesday) and spent a few hours chatting with my spinning friends.

After that, I ran to the grocery store to get something for dinner and went home to laundry and work on my cross stitch.

I finally finished the mermaid's tail (YAY!) and went back to working on her upper body. I'll post a new picture on Wednesday.

Anyway, that's it for now....need to finish up my work project! I plan on taking a day off (maybe tomorrow?) as comp time this week, so I better get cracking!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Eye Candy Friday, blog and run...

...because I have a ton of work to finish by the end of the day.

Today's Eye Candy Friday is the Falkland top I will be spinning tomorrow. It's time for Spin In and I'm realy looking forward to it! In honor of Autumn and Halloween, I picked this:

Simpatico Falkland top

This is Simpatico from the Yarn Wench.

Up this weekend: Spin In tomorrow! And then sleep, cross stitch, and quilting, in no particular order!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

let's hear it for sock WIPs...

...and Socktoberfest!  I haven't made much progress yet, but I've started!

Rusty Dahlia socks in progress

The actual color is a bit more rusty, but it was hard to capture this morning.  One thing about Sundara's patterns that I like is that she frequently does not include ribbing in the cuff. You cast on using two strands of yarn and then go right into the cuff pattern using one strand. The two-strand cast-on gives you the stretch to get it over your foot. It's a nice change.

I'm pressing on with the Mermaid, but sadly it doesn't look marginally different than the last picture. Large cross-stitch pieces go so slowly!

The Husband is off on a mountain bike trip with a friend, so the kitties and I are keeping each other company. I wish I could enjoy it more, but work it a little crazed right now. Next week should be better!

(If you are so inclined, please ask the Universe to send oms and support to the family and friends of Ariel S., who passed away today. She was a vibrant young woman and will be missed.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

no picture Monday, again...

...there is nothing significant to show you and I'm sure you're getting tired of garden shots! Which is not to say that I didn;t works on anything over the weekend.

I went to Eddie's Quilting Bee in search of thread for the Paint It Red quilt and I found something that I thought would be perfect: a variegated thread in shades of red, with the darkest shade being very close to black. I also picked up a metallic silver with the thought of adding some metallic touches here and there.

Well, I didn't like either one of them. The variegated one looked really good on the red fabrics and pretty awful on the black fabrics. The silver didn't look good on either...too much contrast. I went to plan B: I'm using a smoke colored "invisible" thread for the top and red for the back. I did stitch-in-the-ditch quilting around all of the blocks and in the seams of the borders. I still have to quilt around the center squares of each block and add the binding. Maybe next weekend.

I also stitched several hours on the Queen Mermaid's tail. I finished one half and am working on the second half. The tail is tedious work because of the huge color expanses. (The longest row I've done so far is 35 stitches in DMC 5022, blue-green...) Anyway, I'll be glad to finish up the tail and get back to the upper body.

After finishing coaster #2 on the loom, I decided I'd had enough of that project. It wasn't making me happy and it was time to call it "done." I do have two coasters, but they are not anything to write home about. I've put the loom away while I search for a warp yarn for the next project.

I've broken through the knitting block and cast-on a pair of socks for Socktoberfest! I am using the Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! yarn I got in the July 2009 installment of Loopy Eye sock club. I am not using the club pattern because it is a toe-up pattern...just couldn't face another toe-up right now!  Instead, I am using the Dahlia pattern from the Sundara Petals Collection club [Ravelry]. It has a similar feel to the Loopy Ewe club pattern, so I think it's a good choice.

This week is going to be a zoo at work, so I'll post when I can!

Friday, October 02, 2009

another T. G. Eye-Candy F...'s been a week and next week promises to be really busy at work! Just fair warning: the blog may suffer while I try to meet some release deadlines for a client.

Today's eye candy is from (surprise!) the garden. The Husband is harvesting the cHile peppers now. Here is this week's haul.

Habanero chile peppers

Habanero chiles

Scotch Bonnet chile peppers

Scotch Bonnet chile peppers

Still Life with Chiles

Still Life with Chiles #2

(There are a few more chile pictures over on Flickr...)

On to the craft stuff...first off, I finished the Spooky Wrap cross stitch project:

Spooky Wrap

Finished: 9/30/09
Spooky Wrap kit from Pine Mountain Designs
Cross Stitch
No modifications made
(The buttons aren't sewn on yet because I need to buy the right size pillow for the wrap.)

And this week's view of the Queen Mermaid:

Queen Mermaid, in progress

Up this weekend:
  • A trip to the quilt store to find a quilting thread for the Paint It Red quilt. I'm thinking that a rayon or metallic thread might give it a little extra zing, but we'll see. I could start the quilting process this weekend if I find the right thread.
  • Cast on a pair of socks for Socktoberfest! It started yesterday and so far all I've done is read the introduction to the new Cat Bordhi sock book.
  • Continue working on the Queen Mermaid project. The one thing I would like to finish is weaving the coasters so I can get that off the loom. I've found a weaving pattern that will go well with one of the sock yarns in my stash and I'm dying to try it.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

September 2009 recap...

...yeah, well I didn't get a chance to post yesterday and today all you get is a recap. At least I have some pictures for tomorrow!

  • 9/5/09 Under the Sea socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 9/13 Paint It Red quilt, top completed
    9/29 Sandwiched and ready to quilt
    (With quilts, I figure there are two finishes: one for the top and one for the quilting!)
  • 9/30 Spooky Wrap (cross stitch)
Worked on:
  • Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)...this now back in the UFO pile
  • Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Corrugator scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry] 

  1. Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  2. Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
  3. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  4. Central Air socks (knitting)
  5. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  6. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  7. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  9. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  10. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  11. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  12. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
  13. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

Eye Candy Friday...

...and rolling into a long baking weekend. I'm completely loving the skies and clouds. 11/30/18: 12/5/18: Today was a co-w...