Friday, March 9, 2018

What Happens When You Go To The Dinosaur Park Alone....

.... and there's nobody there but you and your self-timer camera!

Just hanging with my peeps!

Got me a hot date!

Yeah, we've been in line all day.

Duck and cover!

Oooh... a little more to the left... yes... just there...

It's an honor to meet you, sir!

Please sir, may I pass?

Seriously, dude, I gotta go now!

Winchester, VA

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Halloween Table Runner

Himself was away and called home. I had sent him a photo of a table runner that I'd been working on all summer and the top was finally completed. He asked me if I could create a Halloween* table runner before he got home. Seeing as he was scheduled to get home five days later, and a weekend was in the middle of that five days, I scoffed that it was no problem! 

* Yes, this post is a little late. So?

Off to the quilt shop to get some Halloween fabrics and ideas. I ended up piecing these cute pumpkins, backed with a Harry Potter style newsprint.

With thanks to Little Cottage Quilt Shop in Medina for the kit!

And surrounded by some spiderweb

Those eight pumpkins all looked a bit blah on their own, so I made an extra-large pumpkin for the middle. I didn't have enough fabric for the surround, so scavenged some purple Halloween figurines and some skulls fabric and put it all together. 

Much better!

This one was a quilt-by-checkbook and went off to be done. I took the advice of the lady on what colors to use, but I think I should have gone with orange. Orange would have popped against the black and allowed me to use the table runner on both sides. The purple is totally lost, even on the front! I had to edit the heck out of this photo to get the webs to show up for you!

Then I was totally stumped for the border. My beloved quilt instructor to the rescue! She had this marvelous lime green spider fabric and kindly donated some. 

All done!

Did I get it done before Himself came home?

Turned out to be a trick question. Sneaky rat had a surprise return planned and arrived the next day! So, no. 

But I did get it finished before my Halloween party!

Photobomb! :)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Spread a Little Sunshine on Your Eggs

And your toast. 

And your sausage, and your bacon, and your steak, and your baked potato, and your cheese, and your broccoli, and your banana .... hmmmm.... I think the only thing I HAVEN'T put this on would be my morning oatmeal!

"This" would be Himself's Hot Pepper Jam, made with a selection of hot peppers grown in his garden, and using an old African recipe because I totally don't understand this modern pectin stuff and that batch was a complete fail. All of these others are organic, preservative free, homegrown goodness!

By careful selection of the hot peppers and bell peppers, Himself managed to come up with a veritable rainbow of jams. 

Ranging from rich reds, cheeky corals, and vibrant oranges, 

through to dusky browns and military green. We haven't managed an emerald green yet, but I'm sure we'll work on that with the harvest this year.

He even managed some chunky multi-colored varieties. 

I made the first batch and it came out like jam; sweet, but with a hint of spice. Then Himself took over and has been producing increasingly nuanced flavors, all the way up to the ones that make my eyes water while he's cooking them! 

We've started looking at the different varietals at the nursery, with an eye to jam production in the coming fall. In the interim, though, I've got a date with something yummy! Nom nom nom

Friday, February 2, 2018

Easy Spelling Tricks for Those Sneaky Words That Sound the Same

It is no surprise to those close to me that I am inherently lazy. No need to do something the hard way if you can find an easy way to get it done. It drives my quilting instructor absolutely crazy! ;)

Therefore, it should be no surprise that I've worked out some spelling tricks for those sneaky words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Keep these little tidbits at the back of your mind and you'll always use the correct spelling, effortlessly writing like a boss!

Stationery vs Stationary

Are you talking about keeping still, or needing to requisition some supplies? The trick to remembering the spelling is in a couple of keywords: "pen" and "standing".

Then: stationEry = pEn and stationAry = stAnding

My stationery list included a new set of elastic bands to snap at my colleagues' ankles.
The leopard crouches, stationary in the grass, waiting for its prey.

Grey vs Gray

This one is laughably easy. The correct spelling is determined by country.

If you are in America = grAy and if you are in England = grEy

I kid you not!

America is likes red and blue more than gray
British skies are often grey

Baited vs Bated

I cannot tell you how many times I've read that somebody is waiting for something with baited breath and the desire to offer them a TicTac is sooooo strong! Here's how to get it right every time.

Bait is something you use to set a trap, like a worm on a hook to catch fish. So if you're talking about bait, think of fish. Both have an "i" in the spelling. 

If you're not talking about fish, worms, or how to catch men, please use "bated".  It sort of means "to hold your breath", as you would if you were nervous, afraid, or excited.

He baited the line with a fresh wiggling worm while she hurled her lunch over the side of the boat. 
She watched with bated breath as the director signed her name on the movie contract. 

To vs Too

It is so distracting to see too when it should be to, and bad spelling too! 


"Too" is used when there is an excess of something; consider it a kind of "plus one". So if you're trying to add yourself in agreement, think of yourself as plus one: "me too." If you're asking for an additional item from the grocery store, it's a plus one: "get red berries, and green ones too!" If the bus is full and there is still a queue of folks waiting to get on, it's a bus load plus one (or plus many): "too many passengers." Always ask yourself, "could I use 'plus one' here to get my idea across?" If the answer is yes, use too, because it is "to" plus one "o". 
Get me to the church on time!
Let me have one too!

Hope this helps you in future. What words have I missed? Do you need any sneaking spelling tips? Do you have any?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Year Resewlutions

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wishing you all a contented, crafty, completed-projects 2018!

To prevent my resolve dissolving, this year I made some New Year Resolutions and actually wrote them down. Measurable, trackable resolutions. Ten of them, to be precise. Such ambition!

Of the ten, one is to sew more. My sewing time has been waaaaay down in the past year or two. I've done some sewing and some quilting, none of which made the blog, but nothing close to what I was hoping to get done. This year I plan to get a lot more done, so I've actually done some planning!

Here is my New Year Resewlution list.

Ohhhh... how I want to sew my own lingerie. I want to be able to lounge in my boudoir in delicate silks, frilly lace, and luxurious satin. Eventually, one day and maybe, I might get old enough to slow down enough to lounge at all, let alone in lingerie, but in the interim, for this year I plan to sew these pieces.

I'm really in need of some flattering pieces that aren't tee shirts! With some thoughtful editing and fabric patterning, I think I can create a great selection of versatile tops for all seasons. I've tried to go for the v-neck and boat neck styles that are more flattering to me. However, Seamwork doesn't only have great patterns. They have a fantastic habit of showing you how to hack their patterns to change the design. So my end result may not look like the original. That being said... when have I ever managed to make anything that looked like the pattern cover?

Skirts and dresses
These are not often used in my wardrobe and I've been slowly weeding them out. Most of the dresses I have are either too dressy, or just not good for my mental health. I don't feel good in them. Dresses are necessary sometimes, though, to go out in, or for when the weather is so hot and uncomfortable that you'd rather wear a lampshade so that there's nothing touching your body. For that reason, two of the dresses are sacks... er... shifts, and one is a caftan. Maximum cool. The other is a skater dress, for when I need to dress up. I think it will suit my new, older body shape. The skirts are for a work project, and I wanted them more to play with for an end goal than to make for myself.

Activewear and Bottoms
This year I plan to do a lot more exercise, so activewear is a must. Plus, I think it's about time I learned how to sew a pair of jeans! Here are two pairs of leggins, a workout tee, a pair of jeans, a pair of denim shorts, and a pair of drawstring shorts. I think that pretty much has everything covered!

Winter Wear
Yeah, sitting here in below freezing weather is a major motivation to include some winter wear in the plans. I have it all here, from a cardigan to a coat, and all the bits in the middle. Plus, fabric choices can take them from summer aircon coverup to winter freeze. Niiiiiice!

Last, but not least, I want to sew myself a backpack. I have a very particular design in mind (my own) so am making this one as practice to get a feel for how to put one together and any design flaws that might trip me up, before actually making my own bespoke pack.

Now, it just happened that all my sewing plans fell together really well using the Seamwork Magazine pattern collection. I have other patterns that I may use instead to fulfill one of the categories I've outlined above. For example, I have a different bra pattern that I might use instead, and I purchased a Craftsy pantie-making class in the Black Friday sales. So the items pictures above are representative of my plans, not fixed in stone. The idea of an entire year of Seamwork is kinda cute, though, so who knows?

P.S. If you like the patterns and would like to join Seamwork, the link above is an affiliate link and will give me a free month at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my sewing habit! ;)

Home Decor Resewlutions.

Well, you didn't think it would be all about me, did you? LOL.

We live on a mountain covered in calichi. Every time a car drives past, or we drive around, a fine, white, powdery dust goes EVERYWHERE! For this reason, I want to sew covers for two machines that don't get used often enough and that I want to protect from dust. Our toaster oven sits in one corner of the kitchen and needs something muted and elegant.

And our Home Theater projector sits up high and gets forgotten very easily. I'd rather not have to deal with the smell of frying dust particles in the vents of either machine!

Next up, I'm going to quilt a rug for our kitchen doorway. We have this little one which is not big enough, has an annoying habit of curling in one corner, and is a major pain to clean because it's a rug. I'm going to quilt a pair of rugs that fit perfectly into the space and that can be tossed in the washer on an rotation to keep them clean and fresh. 

And, the last PLANNED item, which opens the doorway to lots of unplanned ones! LOL, is a cover for this old, battered pouf. The leather is ripped and shredded, as you can see. It was bought over two decades ago, second hand even then, and loved greatly. To my surprise, it is still sturdy (can't beat old quality!) so it's getting a new lease on life this year.

There you go. 35 planned items, approximately one every ten days. Plus whatever else I manage to churn out! I will post photos of each completed item as I work through them, so watch out for at least three posts per month. Ha! Seriously ambitious indeed! :D