Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Books!

The best thing about getting an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas is that you can wait until the dark, cold days of winter to spend it. My box of warmth arrived just before I had to leave on my last trip, so now I have some fun reading to cuddle up with for the next few days.

I hope you have some warm winter browsing too!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

My First Knitting Bag

I was hoping to have the project I'm currently knitting ready to post, but I didn't get it done this weekend. We had a two-day trip to Nashville to check on the younger child. We love visiting -- Nashville is such a fun city. I don't really know where the good fabric haunts are though (suggestions more than welcome -- I'll be going back in May to pick sontwo up.) I talked TheManoftheHouse into briefly stopping in at Stitcher's Garden in Franklin. It's a fun shop to visit -- I think you could probably find most any fabric you wanted (well, except the ones I was looking for). They have tons of fabric, but man, is it cluttered. Some of my quilty peeps refuse to go to shops like that -- it's too confusing for them.

Anyhoo, in spite of a TWO hour traffic jam in Louisville, during which time I was knitting, I didn't get my little project done. So, instead, I thought I'd share with you, the dorky vintage knitting bag I made when I was a

I learned to knit when I was 8 or 9. I can remember sitting with a group of kids making this bag,
but I can't remember if it was in brownies, an after school program, or what. It's a classic recycling project, but before recycling was common -- except in California, which is where we lived at the time. We took clorox bottles and cut them up. Then the instructor had us punch holes around all the pieces. I remember that part made my hands sore. We joined the pieces with single crochet and then hand stitched a zipper in. Considering how many moves and apparently dogs (note the dog teeth marks in the side) my bag has been through, I think the poor thing looks pretty good. TheEmptyNestChild seems to like it too.

Well, I'm off on another work trip tomorrow. Back on Wednesday.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Old Project

I was surfing around tonight and ran across this post with a picture of some fabric that I haven't seen in several years. Seeing that fabric reminded me of this dress I made my niece over 8 years ago (I know this 'cause that little cherub is now a wild 10-yr old!) Just a quick post to share....


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Can it get any weirder?

TheManoftheHouse and I were in the kitchen last night and we heard a crash in the basement. When I checked it out, this is what I saw.
It seems someone knocked one of those canning jar lamps full of marbles off of the table. I'm not a tattletale, so I'm not telling who did it. (But Scruff, you know who you are.)

So, that's not the "weirdness" I refer to in the title. As if the word "blog" isn
't weird enough, or people sharing their innermost thoughts with strangers isn't weird enough, now everyone is sharing Six Weird Things about themselves! I got hit by an e-mail friend, so I guess I'll share my weirdness here too.

1. I never crawled as a baby. And I didn't walk until I was 17 months old. My mom said I was just very content to sit with my toys and books around me. "Experts" say this is pretty serious business and you'll be stunted somehow to have missed such a crucial step in your development and they'll make people go back and learn how to crawl. Nothing personal, but what a load of crap. I'm not a world class athlete or anything, but I'm not a complete klutz and I can pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time. So there. And what have I learned from that? Sometimes babies don't follow experts' schedules.

2. Most people are afraid of anethesia 'cause they're afraid they won't wake up. I'm afraid I
will wake up. Too soon. That's what happened to me when my second child was born. I had to have an emergency C-section and I woke up in the middle of it. Only I couldn't open my eyes or speak or anything. I could hear my baby crying. I could hear the Dr. say it was a boy. Then I could feel the Dr. stitching me up. It hurt! But I couldn't say anything. Or even move a finger so they'd know I was awake. It was awful -- in a horror movie kind of way. Eventually I went back to sleep.

3. I used to chew rubber bands. (I know it's gross, but in my defense, they were clean -- straight out of the box -- and I washed them first.) It was like an addiction and I couldn't help myself. I craved them and they were like chocolate. I searched several times on the internet for rubber band chewing addictions but always came up empty. It went on for 9 or 10 years and drove TheManoftheHouse crazy. Then last year, I had to have surgery (you know that wonderful surgery where they rip your female parts out and when it's all over you feel better than you've felt since you became a woman!) During the pre-surgery tests they discovered that I was
severely anemic so I spent a few weeks having IV iron treatments. What does this have to do with rubber bands? After those IV treatments I couldn't even stand to put a rubber band in my mouth. They tasted awful -- it was SO weird. It must have been my body searching desperately for the iron it was lacking. So, I guess that was an old weird thing, 'cause it doesn't happen anymore.

4. Many people think it's weird that my office cubicle is only 4 cubicles away from where TheManoftheHouse sits. We haven't killed each other and we're still married after all these years. However, you probably won't find us gushing about being best friends yadayada, 'cause no matter how much we love each other, we do get sick of each other. ;-)

5. I have a pretty high tolerance for dirty bathrooms. They don't get to the point that they're unhealthy, but I'm not neurotically cleaning them all the time. Hey. I'm working full time -- if I cleaned as much as you're supposed to, I wouldn't have time for all the fun stuff. Most of my friends have cleaning ladies but I can't bring myself to spend good fabric money on someone to clean my toilets.

6. This won't be weird to you guys, but most of my friends think I'm weird 'cause I sew, quilt, knit, etc. A few of the guys at work basically told me how stupid it was to knit your own socks. Whatever. The joke's on all of them now though, 'cause there's this huge resurgence in all lovely things handmade. I'm SO happy to see its return -- especially sewing. I'm just so sorry that it languished long enough that a lot of smaller independent quality fabric stores went out of business. Hopefully they'll start popping back up again.

So, there's my weirdness. Most of my blogger friends have already been tagged, so I'm tagging my non-blogger e-mail friends. Like Scruff, you know who you are!


P.S. Does this smaller font seem easier to read? The old one seemed SO BIG!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm Sick and My Favorite Hostess Gift...

I haven't felt well in several weeks. I think they call it BlogFever. ;-) I can't stop reading the dadburn things. It's SO fun! And so inspiring!!! Today my victim has been Creative Little Daisy. I've just started reading some of her archives -- I'm feeling like she did a year ago when she first started reading blogs -- it's so overwhelming! I'm really enjoying reading her blog and I love her purses.

I thought I might share one of my favorite little projects. When I'm invited to parties that call for a hostess gift, I like to make a monogrammed hostess towel. They make a nice little elegant gift and they're fairly neutral, which is helpful when you don't know the style of your hostess. (And let me apologize for the lack of light in my photos. Since I work all day away from home, I never see the sun at home during the week. Not that that helps much -- it's been so gloomy this winter that there's not much natural light to take advantage of.)

So, here's how I make my little guest towels:
Cut a piece of cotton or linen 19" x 26". Stitch 1/4" in on all sides. (I know these pictures are sort of hard to see -- if you click on them you can see them larger. I also used red thread for easier viewing, but I'm sure you know to use thread to match your fabric. And Holy Cow! Try to ignore all the lint on that presser foot -- that sure shows you how bad my eyesight is!)

On each of the two long sides, press the fabric toward the wrong side along the line of stitching. Fold again and press -- this creates a 1/4" little hem.

Stitch these hems close to the edge.

On one short end, press the edge toward the wrong side along the stitching line, creating a 1/4" fold. Then create a 1 1/2" hem and press. Sew this hem near the edge like you did on the long sides.

Iron the other short end in the same fashion as the first short end -- first turn under 1/4" and then make a 1 1/2" hem and press. Put a wing needle in your sewing machine and select a decorative stitch. Stitch from the right side of this hem, right along the edge. (It will be easier to see this wing needle if you make this picture bigger -- sorry it isn't very clear.)

Clicking on this picture will show the detail of the wing needle stitching at the bottom of the picture.

Just above the wing needle stitching and centered on the towel, add a monogram. I happen to have one of those spiffy embroidery machines, but this step could just as easily be done with hand embroidery and a pretty alphabet.

So...clear as mud? Again, sorry for the dark pictures -- they really don't do justice to these little towels. The first time I gave one of these towels, we were invited to an end-of-season baseball party when our boys were on the HS baseball team. The grandparents of one of the boys hosted the party in their new seventeen thousand square foot house. Complete with acreage, a pool and a guesthouse. I decided to take one of these towels not knowing at all what this woman's house looked like. After we had been there awhile, the Grandpa asked if I'd like a tour. Would I? It was awesome. Sort of a giant Cape Cod style. They had designed the second floor for when their children (6 of them) and grandchildren visited. In typical Cape Cod fashion, the stairs were in the middle of the house and when you got to the top, you could go to the right (the boys wing with a full up master bedroom and large cowboy themed dormitory style bedroom) or to the left ( the girls wing with another master bedroom, laundry room and princess style dormitory bedroom.) The guesthouse was bigger than the first little house we lived in. It had two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and a laundry room. There were many more very cool things about this house but the absolutely best thing was that there were monograms everywhere. I had chosen the perfect hostess gift -- it fit in perfectly. So, there you have it...the start of my giving monogrammed guest towels as hostess gifts.

That's it for today....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Can you see it?

There! In that picture -- it's SNOW! Yayyyy! At last. Our first for this winter. At last it feels like winter. And when it's winter I must knit. A little project, maybe to finish later this week.


Friday, January 19, 2007

O'Hare all Night...

In keeping with their recent run of poor performance, AA once again cancelled the flight I was on last night from O'Hare to home. Again. The last flight of the night. I really didn't feel like driving home again and arriving home at 3:30 a.m. like last time. And what really was the point in spending $100 on a hotel room for 5 hours (midnight by the time I would get to the hotel and then leave by 5 a.m. to get to O'Hare for the first a.m. flight.) So, I just sat in the airport all night. Thank goodness for WiFi. I read blog archives all night -- Turkey Feathers to be specific. I really had great fun and the time passed so fast. And imagine how beside myself I was at 4 a.m. to see this. What an adrenaline boost! The long lost poodle pattern. I embroidered every single one of those on dishtowels when I was a little girl and in recent years I've been looking for that pattern. Will be ordering soon!

And speaking of embroidery, I finished this little project for my niece's birthday.

My sister just redecorated her bedroom in these fabrics, so I turned my embroidery into a little pillow. I think she was pleased! I purchased the pattern from an awesome little quilt shop in Salt Lake City called Whimsy. If you haven't been there, go out of your way -- it's worth it. They used to be in Heber City (on the other side of the mountains) and were featured in the BH&G Quilt Sampler in 2002 or thereabouts. Then they closed, but fortunately, reopened in SLC a year or two ago.

Well, the downside of being awake for 36 hours is that I'm getting tired and apparently emotional. I watched this little video with tears in my's very sweet. Guess I'm missing my own little peapods and hoping the angels are watching over them while they're away at school.

Have a wonderful, restful weekend!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A new knitting movie....

I got an e-mail from a friend of mine at work today. She knows I knit and sew and etc. The subject line read: You are so hip. Then she said, Check this out:

That's just so funny. These days it's hip to make handmade things. Not too long ago it was oh-so-boring and old-fashioned! The best thing is that my friend wants to learn how to knit. We'll be bringing new meaning to Brown Bag Lunches at our workplace.

I'm off tomorrow on a little trip for work. I'll be gone for a few days. If you happen to be in O'Hare or Newark and you see this bag

you'll know it's me! I made this a while ago so I'd have a place to put my laptop, purse, book and knitting all in one bag. I hate the standard laptop bags -- they're so padded they just add a bunch of extra weight. Besides they're a thief target. A few years ago, I was in L.A. and had my standard laptopy looking bag stolen from the trunk of my rental car. How'd they know it was in there? Bet they wouldn't have taken a quilted bag! The briefcase had my laptop, work papers, a book and some hand embroidery I was working on. I didn't care about losing any of it except for my little embroidery hoop. It was the old-fashioned springy metal kind of hoop and I'd had it since I was a little girl. It held such wonderful memories of years of embroidering -- I surely felt violated by its loss!

I'm still hoping you have snow where you are -- we're amazingly still snowless here in the midwest!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Knitting Journals

I'm teaching some of my friends to knit. So, I thought as a little gift for their patience, I'd make them each a little knitting journal in a box.

I included cards where they can write pertinent info about each of their projects. And to file behind the tools tab, I put a few cards with sewing tools attached, one of which was a set of beaded stitch markers.

It all reminds me that I have knitting to do....


Friday, January 12, 2007


About two years ago, sontwo came home with a tiny kitty in his hands. He said he'd found it in the ditch at the end of our driveway. I said we couldn't keep it. We're really dogpeople, rather than catpeople. We'd just been through the death of our beloved 12-yr. old german shepherd and besides, I knew in a few short years the boys would be off to college -- leaving you-know-who to take care of the cat. So, sontwo said he knew of a few girls who would probably love a new kitty.

The next night, sontwo came home with the kitty again. Gee mom, they can't keep it, but they took it to the vet and he thinks it's a girl and it's about 6 weeks old, he said. Well. Fine. So, after about a week, the little kitty didn't seem to be doing very well. TheManofTheHouse poked around and found a little hole in the kitty's neck. We were clueless, so we took the poor little thing to the emergency clinic. Hmmm...this kitty's a boy and is only about 4 weeks old says the new vet. And this hole is (this is gross so close your eyes) a fly larvae. The vet said it's quite common for wild kitties -- they'll poke their head into a hole or something and the fly larvae will rub off onto their fur and the larvae will begin to develop under their skin. Eeeewwww! Anyway, he took it out, we brought the kitty home and after a week of tender loving care by TheManofTheHouse, little kitty thrived.

Turns out, it was a match made in heaven! (Or a big dent in the pocketbook, pick your version of the story.) We've named him Scruffy, and he became our new emptynestchild. Here he is in his favorite place as we speak.

I know Scruffy was meant to be 'cause he's told me he wants to learn how to sew. There was the time when he came to me with the large darning needle hanging out of his mouth -- it was attached to a piece of candlewicking thread that was already in his stomach and he couldn't figure out what to do with the needle. And then there have been the multiple times when I wake up to find a yarn ball spread all over the house. One time he unrolled one of my yarn balls all over the house right into the basement where he mingled it with the jute ball from a sontwo project that he unrolled.

His true dedication to his education was discovered one morning when TheManofTheHouse gave me an empty ribbon spool and asked if there was anything on it. I said, well, there wa-as. Maybe Scruff ate it, guess we'll just have to watch him. Sure enough a week later, he threwup about 18 inches of ribbon -- only it was still hanging out of his mouth. I pulled. He gagged. I pulled. He gagged. TheManofTheHouse was summoned. He cut the ribbon and Scruff swallowed its remains. Trip to the vet. He gave us some internal grease in hopes that the ribbon would pass.

Two days later, now the Saturday of sontwo's high school graduation, Scruff had stopped eating. TheManofTheHouse took him to the emergency vet (while I entertained the out of town graduation guests) who xrayed him in hopes of finding a blockage. Instead, she found another needle. So, little Scruffy went under the knife and they removed the needle and another 18 inches of ribbon. Bad kitty. Careless mommy. BIG vet bill. I try very hard now to keep my sewing stuff put up, but it's oh so hard.

Sorry for such a long post, but now you've met Scruffy. So far, his story has a happy ending, although there must be more sewing stuff in there 'cause he weighs 17 pounds. Oink. One last pic -- he prefers the water fountain method of procuring his water. Bad kitty.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

In the hoop...

So, you're probably thinking that there hasn't been much thimble in Thimbleanna so far??? Thought I'd show you what's in the hoop today. My little niece has a birthday this week so I thought I'd make her a little gift for her boudoir. I'll post the finished product later this week.

I also e-mailed my friend today so that I can get with her this weekend and make a plan for the t-shirt quilts that she wants. I'm anxious to get started on this project -- it will be a hard project to do, but one that needs to be done.

Well, I'm off to blogsurf -- it keeps the January doldrums at bay and there's always inspiration to file away for future projects!

Saturday, January 6, 2007


An article in DH's PCWorld caught my eye the other day. They rated the Web's most useful sites in several different areas. The area of interest to me was all about User Rating Sites. They give the No. 1 thumbs up to

I think this site is mostly used for dining reviews, but they provide the ability to review lots of other business. I travel a little bit for work, so I'm always looking for fun fabric/yarn/etc. shops. Wouldn't it be really cool if everyone would go to Yelp and rate the shops that they've been to? I've reviewed some of the shops in my area (and there are very few of them) and, in the next month or so, I plan to review some of the shops that I've visited in my travels. So....if you're so it! It's easy to sign up for an account and write reviews. And we could all help each other out. And get all of your friends to do it too!

Friday, January 5, 2007

It's Over....

The holiday season is officially over at our house. All the decorations and gifts are put away for another year, and I finally had time to sit down and make a list of projects for the winter. Finding the time has been difficult 'cause:

  • I had to go back to work on Wednesday. ;-(
  • DS#1 got seasons 1 and 2 of LOST for Christmas and now he has me hooked. He's informed me that I have until Feb. to watch the first two seasons and the first part of this season on the web.
  • And, last but certainly not least, I've been obsessed discovering new blogs. There's SO much out there -- seriously, I have a headache. A good headache.
So, let's review last winter's projects:
  • Paint Laundry Room. Done.
  • Make Laundry Room Curtains. Done. (Here's a Peek at the end of this list -- I even exceeded the goal by quilting a little pad to keep the top of the dryer from being scratched.)
  • Clean Master Bedroom Closet. Done.
  • Paint Walls in Computer Room. Abandoned. Family wanted to keep the ugly wallpaper and they outvoted me.
  • Paint Wall Unit in Computer Room. Done.
  • Make Flannel Quilts from Gift Flannels. Dropped the Ball.

Well, most of them were accomplished. So here's this year's list...we'll see how I do:
  • Make T-shirt quilts for friend. I'm not a big fan of t-shirt quilts but my friend lost her husband in a tragic bicycle accident this summer and I certainly understand the need to hang onto his shirts. And what, really, can you do with them besides make quilts? She wants one for herself and one for each of her two children.
  • Finish painting projects: Apple cupboard and mirror for closet.
  • Finish wallhanging for sunroom.
  • Finish sweater started last year.
  • Make Flannel Quilts from Gift Flannels.
  • Choose three random projects from stash and complete them.
Notice a theme here? Finish. I have a ridiculous number of unfinished projects. And I can't ever decide which one to work on. I feel like I should come up with some sort of crafter's version of the Rock-Scissors-Paper game to help me decide. Um..Yarn-Paper-Fabric. Yarn ties up fabric, Fabric wraps up yarn, Paper ??? fabric??? It doesn't work very well, but I'm desperate!

In other news we saw Charlotte's Web the other night. And loved it. My sister and I cried. I think her little kids just thought we were goofy. Good thing I didn't see it before Christmas, I would have asked for a pig from Santa. I want a little pig.
Here's my fond farewell to our holidays -- this was what we saw at my sister's, first thing on Christmas morning.

If you have snow where you are....please send it our way!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy New Year!

Out with the old...decorations, that is...I'll miss these the most. I love my Grandma's bells. When we were little, it was always late at night when we arrived at Grandma's for Christmas, and all I could see were those red bells blinking away in the dark. It makes me sad to put them away every year.

In with the new
...up comes old man winter -- maybe he'll blow some snow our way. Pretty please!

It's also time to set a few goals for winter projects this year. I love making those lists and then looking back at the lists the following year to see what was accomplished and what was not. Hope to do that in the next few days -- but first to finish all the Christmas clean-up!

Happy Goal-Making to all!