Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baseball and Yarn

At Scottsdale stadium
Buster Posey (catcher) and Tim Hudson (pitcher)
Brandon Belt signing autographs before the game
We're back from Spring Training in Arizona.  The weather was beautiful, the hot dogs plentiful and we had a great time (even though the Giants lost all 3 games. Pooh).
The hotel was amazing too!
We rented one of those cabanas for the day and hung out by the pool...

Every evening between 6 and 7 the bagpipes were played on the golf course.

There was shopping and restaurants all within walking distance, and if you ever find yourself in Scottsdale, I highly recommend you splurge on a dinner at Mastro's Ocean Club. At first I thought how can you dare call yourself "Ocean Club" in the middle of Arizona?  I should not have doubted.
 I had a delicious piece of blackened Halibut and they serve a decadent side dish of lobster mashed potatoes that will make you weep, it's that good. I wish I had some right now.
On the way out of town, the family was kind enough to indulge me in a brief stop at Jessica Knits, where I picked up some souvenirs.
These two skeins are produced by local Arizona artist Mary Gavan.  On the top is a lace weight raw silk, in the color Pewter and was made up in the store into this shawl.  The drape was beautiful. The bottom skein, which is actually more of a pink than it looks here, is a sport weight rayon/cotton in Sandcastle.
I'm also in a Ravelry group which is making a scarf using the colors of your favorite baseball team. The pattern is called Crackerjack, and these are the colors I bought for the San Francisco Giants.
The idea is to knit 2 rows using the color assigned to wins or losses.  For example a home win could be orange, and a road loss, white. There are 4 possibilities, therefore 4 colors are chosen.  The striping would be determined by the wins/losses of the season and you never know how it's going to turn out. Sounds like a fun project to work on all year long doesn't it?
I'm unpacking, washing clothes, grocery shopping, and cutting the grass this week.  Next time around I'll show you the hand pieced quilt blocks that are making me jump out of bed in the morning.
Until then, here's a little crochet and Charlie.  The dogs were very happy to see us come home.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Heirloom Needle Case

This is one of those items you don't realize you need until you actually get one and start using it.  I've been doing a lot of hand sewing lately, and it seems like I'm always looking for a needle.  I usually have to paw through the half dozen pin cushions laying around my sewing room, but this, this keeps everything contained in one spot.
The tutorial is from the Purl Bee, the rock star of beautiful handmades, and was easily sewn together in half and hour.  I had everything in my stash, which is always a bonus, and picked out my favorite piece of blue hand dyed wool( don't remember where I bought it, but I have a nice little stash of felted wool just waiting around for a project like this, so I was happy to use it).  I kind of wish I would have added an embroidered monogram or something to the outside, but I thought their example was beautiful in its simplicity and plainness.  Here are the directions if you want to make one.

We are headed out to watch the San Francisco Giants at Spring Training in Arizona.  I'm looking forward to getting away for a few days and enjoying some sun, baseball, hot dogs and a cold beer.
Of course I'm bringing some crochet for the plane, and I hear there is a good yarn shop in Scottsdale.
I hope to return tired but happy, with yarn and a sunburn.
Have a great weekend everybody.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Laundry and Lemonade

I know you're probably thinking, what the heck are these pictures of her laundry doing on here?  Where are the quilts and crochet? 
During the short dark days of winter, I dreamed about Spring, and ordered a new clothesline. I guess most people would be dreaming about what flowers and vegetables to plant in their gardens, but not me.  This year it was all about the laundry.
 Our current clothes line was the retractable kind that stretched across the length of the back porch.  It was easy access from the house, but the laundry was always on display from the windows, and you had to duck and swat your way out to the pool.  Not very convenient when my son and his friends were over, running back and forth through a curtain of damp clothes.
I waited patiently for the weather to change, and picked a day after a brief rain shower to dig the hole (Our soil is like clay. Once it gets hot and the ground hardens you can NOT dig even a teaspoon of dirt without some kind of motorized machinery or explosives).  I picked a spot between two young oak trees, thinking I would be needing some shade during the summer months to keep my clothes from fading.
I followed the instructions for the cement, setting the metal tube in the ground, back filling with rocks and dirt, and in a grand DIY moment, I sunk my pole.  The best part is, it twirls around in the breeze! Gosh, it doesn't take much to entertain me.  I didn't even get upset when I found bird poop on one of the pillow cases.
drunkards path blocks in progress.  i love the hand sewing.

I've been drinking copious amounts of lemonade from the lemons I picked off my tree.  Just combine water, lemon juice, and simple syrup (1 cup sugar and 1 cup water heated gently until the sugar is dissolved.  Store the syrup in the fridge until forever), pour into a tall mason jar over ice, and add a tuna sandwich and some potato chips (not in the jar silly, on a plate).
California "Ceanothus" a drought tolerant, native plant and one of my favorites

Anyway, I'm trying to make the most of these gorgeous Spring days, since it's going to be 100 and sweaty degrees in a couple of months.  I'll be back before the end of the week with a quick make from the Purl Bee, and then it's off to Arizona for a family getaway.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Notes for a Sunday

I hate to keep rubbing it in, but we are having the most excellent weather.  There has been a lot of hand piecing outside in the sunshine, clothes hung on the clothesline, dogs in the pool, grass mowing, and screen doors open to the breeze.  Looks like Spring to me!
The baby shower is this afternoon, and the quilt is all ready to go, washed, wrapped, and backed with a soft piece of voile. I added a last minute accessory to the gift.
Little girlie stuff.  Too cute.

Quilt pattern:  Storytime Quilt by Made by Rae
Crocheted Crown:  Cascade 220 Superwash, pattern here

Monday, March 2, 2015


Would you just look at how green the grass is right now?  I have been sewing bindings on quilts from the back porch for the last three days.  Just soaking up sun, and birdsong and Springness.   I know that's not a word, but it just feels like Spring right now.  I watched a scrub jay break small twigs off my Red bud tree for his nest, and fly off with them. What's up with that?  He couldn't find any on the ground?  I bet it's the same bird that killed one of my baby chickens. I'm keeping my eye on him.......

Anyway I always find it more interesting to take pictures of quilts when the wind is blowing.  I kept waiting for it to fall off the fence and into the dirt but it held fast.
As I put the last few stitches in, I knew this one was destined to go back to Canada with my Aunt and Uncle.  I'm hoping they have room in their suitcase.  We really had a good visit, and I'm not sure when or if we can all be together again.  Giving them this quilt feels like I can send a part of me home with them.
Hope you get some sunshine this week!

Quilt info:
9" finished goose tracks blocks set on point
3"wide scrappy border (squares of various lengths)
Background is Kona Snow
60x60 inches big
All fabrics from the old stasheroo

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sewing with Charlie and the Lunatic

Charlie sits on Luna like this all the time.  He has clearly made her his bitch bench.
Sometimes these two dogs make me think I'm raising toddlers again.  As I write this out on the back porch, drinking tea, soaking up some sun, watching blossoms falling lazily from the pear tree, Charlie prances by with a branch from one of the bushes by the pool, proudly waving it around like a banner.  I'm thinking that bush won't make it through the spring.  The Lunatic, fresh from a dip in the pool (never mind that the water is about 45 degrees. I can hardly stand to put my arm in there when cleaning the baskets), shakes her wet self all over my laptop and proceeds to push her big plastic water bowl noisily across the patio (running into my feet several times) trying to turn it right side up.  Note to self, get rid of that bowl.

We are having a birthday party barbecue on Saturday. Tri-tip roast, rosemary potatoes, salad, green beans and garlic bread.  My oven is working /not working, and I'm waiting for a new part to be installed, which won't be until next week, so my husband will be busy at the grill. I bought a huge sheet cake at Costco the size of my kitchen table, and had to take it over to my parents house because it wouldn't fit in my refrigerator.  Several Canadian relatives are flying in, including an Uncle I haven't seen for over 30 years, and his wife and son whom I've never met.  Part of the preparations include tidying the porch and backyard, and I can't believe just how much these dogs have trashed the place this winter.  Thank goodness the puppy stage is almost over.  For a Lab, I think this must go well into their second year.

The baby quilt is almost done, but will have to be hidden away in the cupboard during the party, so my niece doesn't see it.  I also ordered a quilt pattern, Sweet William, that I have been drooling over for some time.  I plan on using some of my hoarded reproduction fabrics for this one.  The bottom half of each block is pieced, and the top half is applique and embroidery, so a bit of everything.  I made a sample block, and will be machine sewing the basket half, even though her instructions call for sewing by hand.  I know how I operate, and I want to get this done before I'm too old to thread a needle, and not let it become one of those half finished projects you find in a bag at the Goodwill.

I love it when the kids go down for their nap.

Friday, February 20, 2015

About a girl

Seems like everything I'm putting my hands on lately has some kind of pink/red color in it.  I just finished my second Haiku shawl (the first one in grey).  It only needed a few rows to complete, about an hours worth of work really, and yet it sat ignored for months.

Here's a smallish quilt in the works that reminds me of the Bonne Maman jam jars.

 I'm also sewing the binding on my goose tracks quilt and waiting for a sunny day to take a decent picture.

More crochet, this time in red, for a shawl requested by my daughter.

And finally, I'm cutting out a baby quilt for my niece who is going to have a girl in April. When my niece was little she wanted to be a Unicorn when she grew up, so her baby shower is all about pink and unicorns.  I immediately ordered some of the Heather Ross "Far, Far Away" fabric line. 
All the women in my family are pretty excited about the new little baby girl.  My Dad came from a family of 7 (!!!) boys, (Bless my grandma. What a zoo that must have been.) He in turn had 3 girls, and we gave him 4 grand daughters. Yep, 7 girls in a row.  We were all starting to think there was a serious boy drought, and years went by with no new little babies. Then I broke the curse and had my son when I was 36 years old.  Better late than never.  Several years later my other niece had two kids, both boys.
It was starting to look like the boys would repeat the 7.
Come April, it's time for some pink.