Thursday, December 30, 2004

Me and my big mouth

My husband and I have been ripping out the beige-ish carpet in our house room-by-room and refinishing the hardwood underneath. Well, we've refinished the hardwood in the dining room and hallway so far - in the other rooms the hardwood is bare but not refinished. Someday. Well, that day is nearly here for the computer/sewing room. This was the last room that had carpet over hardwood. The goal for our Christmas break was simply to remove the carpet, then I suggested that we might as well redo the room. I thought just paint the walls and rent a sander from the big orange DIY store to sand the floors and then stain and seal them. That alone would be a big job. "But what about lighting", asked my husband. "Do we want to insulate the back wall?" he asked. Which means tearing down and replacing drywall, but then that wall would be smooth and the other's would have knockdown texture on them. Redo all the walls? Major, major mess not to mention that this project would then stretch beyond this week. It's back to work next Monday. So we decided to leave the walls alone. The ceiling, with it's ugly popcorn, will also stay - well, almost intact. We decided to put in recessed lights. Last evening we cut six 5 inch holes in the ceiling which meant a shower of messy rock wool insulation. Messy. But we're making progress. The wiring for the lights is almost complete. Then we can clean and paint the ceiling (white) and the walls (a dark purplish blue called Mysteria). Then we can get to the floor.

Meanwhile, all crafting/sewing/knitting projects are on hold. So much for finishing my grandniece's baby blanket any time soon! The guest room is piled high with supplies, sewing books, fabrics, and other assorted project goodies. I have so much stuff! We both agreed that finishing the room is a good move and in doing so we will revisit and hopefully thin out our stuff. My husband with his computer stuff, me with my craft stuff and both of us with the large volume of paperwork that just somehow accumulates over time. But I don't know how much of my craft stuff I will part with. When I was moving the stuff to the other room it brought a smile to my face to imagine the projects I'd make with it. There might be one or two books I could get rid of.

I will post pictures when I figure out how to do it from this laptop.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Like making brownies from a box mix

I finished a holiday project!

But I have to admit that this was from a pre-printed fabric panel. All of the pieces were printed on the fabric and I only had to cut them out, sew them together and stuff with fiberfill. I think it's a little like making brownies from a box mix but given that I don't have the time nor talent to do something like this on my own, I'm just glad to have finished the project. I've had this printed panel and another one for a snowman (that'll be next year's project) for a number of years.

Not spending so much time in the sewing room gave me time to bake and cook. I made this lemon meringue pie on Saturday and I made Norwegian Pancakes on Sunday. This is the recipe my grandmother made for my Norwegian-born grandfather. I like them best with butter and sugar...mmmmmm:

Norwegian Pancakes:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 cups milk
6 eggs

Mix milk and eggs (one at a time) into flour. Mix lightly with mixer on slow speed. Spoon into pan to coat bottom. Serve with butter and sugar, syrup or jam.

Christmas was nice - just my husband, me and the four cats, who loved their cat toys. I'm finding them all over the house.

Santa was pretty good to me too, but I had to help him pick these out at the quilt store a few weeks ago:

I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet. I just liked 'em. The only other craft-related item I received this year was Stitch and Bitch Nation.

Oh and my nephew's pants fit! Yippee! I thought for sure the size medium would be too small but he assured me on the phone that they fit and that he loves them. Score! My mom liked her scarf but she's come down with a really awful head cold and couldn't celebrate the holidays with my sister as planned. She could barely talk on the phone. She went to the doctor today and I'm hoping and praying that it is just a cold and doesn't develop into pnemonia. She's 74 and lives 3000 miles from me so all I can do is worry...and pray.

And I will also say a prayer for the victims of the tsunamis. Just horrible.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Santa Baby

Do you think I liked Santa?

And now for some other, long-promised photos:

Here are some cat toys I made last week:

The Eros scarf:

The kitty bed, complete with kitty model.

And just to show you how much he likes it, here's another picture:

The Patons Devine scarf:

And finally, my first progress:

I currently working on a second cat bed. I ran out of yarn with just five (5 !!!) rows to go. Now this is actually a bit of yarn because the bed is 28 inches in diameter. I guess I could frog back five rows and just make it with shorter sides, but I really don't want to. Unfortunately Michaels is out of the yarn. I've been to three Michaels stores and none had it in stock. Their shelves are really bare! Has there suddenly been a knitting frenzy? The latest kitty bed is in charcoal gray and cream. I found some light gray and I may use that for the last few rows.

I also bought some, ahem, fabric. But not fashion fabric, so I'm not including it in my 2004 fabric tally. I bought some fat quarters for quilting or craft projects. Actually, Santa talked me into it. I'm going to put them in my stocking. I've been soooo good these last few months and this is despite some great sales at,, and I looked, I even clicked and filled a cart, but I didn't purchase. Visions of the many (many!) plastic bins of fabric I have danced in my head.

I haven't been really able to sew during my time off from work, except for the cat toys. We're ripping out the carpet in the sewing/computer room so things are a bit of a mess right now. Plus there's been Christmas decorating and cookie-baking to do. We were hoping to tile the kitchen backsplash next week but the tile we ordered won't be in until January. I spent (a lot) of time working on the tile plan so we only just were able to order it yesterday. But that's a start!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Christmas cards and presents - check

The cards are in the mail and the packages are enroute and I feel good! I even made a batch of cookies in time to include some in the packages. Whew! This year I was only able to make two gifts. I have many more handmade gifts in mind but in order to stay sane at this time of year (and get them shipped in time), I have to make some limits. It's hard because I'd love to make things for everyone. But I also need to sleep and go to work. Every year I vow to work on gifts throughout the year and I actually did start an intended Chrismas gift last spring. Unfortunately that was the only time I worked on it so it is not one of the two gifts this year.

I did finish my nephew's baseball-print flannel pants but I really think they will be too small for him. I wrapped them up anyway and enclosed a note with an offer to make him a pair that will fit (and in his choice of print in case he thinks the baseballs were loony).

I even finished shopping for my husband! Most of his gifts were à la but I did buy him a few other gifts when I was out shopping last week. I may venture out again and pick up a few small things to put in our stockings. We're going out at lunch today to buy my gift. Of course I would rather have been surprised by it on Christmas morning but there is no subtle hinting with him. He's too afraid of buying me the wrong thing - or worse, getting his feelings hurt by buying me something I don't like.

I guess technically my gift-sewing is not over. I want to make some catnip toys for the cats. I saw some toys at the pet store recently that made me want to run to the sewing machine. Imagine this if you can: take two pieces of felt, sandwich with small lump of catnip, stitch around said lump (preferably in the shape of rectangle, circle, fish, etc), trim with pinking shears. Or pay $3.49 at your local pet store. That is about the extent of it. I could glue wiggly eyes or felt shapes on the outside but they'd probably just get pulled off and eaten. I may make mine with corded tails since my cats love string. And they'd really like it if I used bright pink or red felt. It seems they respond best to those colors.

Now that the Christmas gifts and cards are done (again - YAY!), I may actually be able to make some of the Christmas decorations I never seem to get to. My "rule" for sewing/knitting/crafting at this time of year is to first make the presents that must be shipped, then make the presents that are local, and then work on decorations and stuff for me.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I still have to finish that baby blanket I started for my grand niece. And there is the faux fur throw that I was going to make for my husband and started but never finished. It's boxed up somewhere. And there are more cookies I must make. I have a tradition of making the cookies of my childhood and some of them are rather labor intensive. Call me crazy.

There will be pictures of the aforementioned gifts. I just have to download the pics off the camera and get them on the internet.

I started knitting another kitty bed. It's the perfect TV-watching, multi-tasking project. I'm almost half-way through already! Pictures of the first one are also on the camera. At least two of our cats really like it. The one cat gets very jealous if he catches the other cat sleeping in his bed.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


I knew this. It's refreshing to see a resurgence in crafting, no matter how bizarre. I grew up in a crafting family so I didn't think it was odd that my mother made things from "Pack-O-Fun" magazine.

Popcicle sticks, oatmeal containers, construction paper, acrylic yarn - these were our crafting materials. I was forever making things for my Barbie dolls. I made food out of Play-Doh. I taped a small square cut from a plastic bag onto the side of a gift box and inserted pictures cut from magazines and Voila!, a "TV" for my dolls. We longed for carpet in our bedroom but my mother said no because we were forever cutting snips of paper and dropping bits of glue. We had this "Make-It" book that gave us hours of pleasure just paging through it.

There were instructions for making walking stilts out of coffee cans, puppets out of washcloths, a stick horse out of a sock, and all kinds of wonderful things for which we never had the right materials but we dreamed of making.

Crafting has only recently become hip. In the preppy-suburban environment I grew up in, it was not considered cool to make things. The belief was that you made things because you were too poor to buy them, not because you wanted to be creative. Knitting, quilting, and sewing were considered pastimes for back-to-nature hippies and grandmothers. The fabric and yarn selections were pathetic and consisted mainly of synthetics. Paints were for artists or kindergarteners.

There was no internet in the 70's over which one could communicate with other crafters and share creations. You Gen-X-crafters (and Gen-Y and Gen-Z, if there is one) don't know how good you have it! Go make stuff!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sewing Project Progress

I put my knitting needles down and ventured into the sewing room to tackle some projects that have been languishing. Here's what I worked on:
  • Finished basting the kitchen curtain panels together and serged the seams. Left to do: hems and top casing.

  • Cut out flannel blanket and fleece backing for grandniece. Embroidered her name and birth info on it. Left to do: sew on binding and maybe do some sort of quilting to hold it all together.

  • Cut out and sewed up flannel sleep pants that are a gift for my 18-year old nephew. He's a big-time baseball player, so when I saw this baseball flannel I immediately thought of him.

    I sure hope they fit. My recollection is that he's tall and thin, yet athletic. I used Kwik Sew 2687, which I've used to make sleep pants for my husband. I made my husband's in large and they are a bit big, so I cut a medium for my nephew and added 1 inch in length. I guess if they don't fit, my nephew can give them to his girlfriend and I'll make him a new pair. Left to do: elastic casing and hem

I also did some knitting and finished the Christmas gift scarf. Now I just have to figure out how to block it. I saw someone on another knitting site pinned her knitted pieces to some pink styrofoam slabs I've seen at Home Depot. It makes sense to me to use it for blocking. It's about an inch thick and is used in construction, so it's cheap. I've never blocked anything except the kitty bed and that wasn't pinned flat. But this scarf could use some blocking I think. I will have to consult one of my many knitting books or the internet. I'm sure I'll find some info there!