Sunday, November 23, 2014

The bricklayer is finished on Slow Stitching Sunday

Oh I've been a bad blogger - it has been over a week since I posted anything - sheesh! It was a busy week. I had some sort of lunch/appointment/engagement to go to every single day and that kind of in and out of the house doesn't make me productive. A little knitting here, a little cross stitch there.

However I have gotten all the bricks layed for my latest house piece, Blackbird Designs Bittersweet Lane from the Prim Ladies Club at Dyeing to Stitch.

It is a classy looking little house. Still need to put the door and windows in and get the roof done. There was a big pot on the roof that I had to take out. You can see the phantom stitches in the picture. The brown of the pot (GA Wood Trail) was just too similar to the roof color (GA Maple Syrup). I'm going to restitch it in GA Aged Pewter.

I'm still head over heels for this border. I'm leaving the flowers till the end so I can make them Smyrna crosses instead of Algerian eye stitches. I'm not fond of stitching the Algerian eye stitches...they just take too long...I feel like I'm treading in wet cement... and I LOVE that big bump you get with Smyrna crosses. Great texture for very little work... and I all for that - LOL!

And then this sneaked in through my mail slot...Lizzie Kate's Things Unseen Mystery sampler.

Next to Blackbird Designs, Lizzie Kate are my second favorite designers. I've done 3 of their seasonal samplers - Winter, Spring and Fall and every time I display them I love them more and more. I'm confident this Mystery Sampler is going to be a beautiful addition to my collection. I got all the parts - the 32 ct. Wren linen, the Weeks floss and the embellishment package. I considered it a gift to me because I'm awesome... ROFL...oh my, even I don't believe that but hey it is as good a reason as any!

The another  episode of How the Bathroom Turns was completed yesterday. I have a working exhaust fan, a new ceiling, new light fixtures, new copper pipes, new plumbing fixtures and a new coat of paint. I have a company scheduled to come out after the first of the year to refinish the tub - it is chipped and I noticed the other day that when it was originally refinished a swath about 2 inches high and a foot long was totally missed- you can still see the salmon pink color - yuck! I am SOOOOOOOO HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY to get this project wrapped up. Now onto the basement project which I'm pretty sure is going to involve demolition of part of my downstairs bathroom to fix the cracked pipe. I'm trying to get another estimate or two on this job. More phone calls tomorrow.

Hope you all have a lovely week as Thanksgiving approaches... not too much stress. I'm not having "the meal" till Saturday to accommodate my son and his fiance and my family's other obligations. It gives me more time to straighten up my house and prep the food. Until then I think I'll enjoy the rest of today and sit and stitch a bit more.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Postcards from Kaffe, Brandon and Phillip

I took this pictures on Monday...when it was still warm and sunny and lovely...unlike today which is cold and cloudy with a chance of a snow flurry - ugh!  Monday was a good day and along with procrastinating about  sewing the binding on my Postcard quilt, I had been putting off planting all the Spring bulbs I bought. So Monday afternoon I planted 90 daffodil bulbs, 75 tulip bulbs and 11 allium bulbs. This activity was followed by a hot shower and a 2 Advil chaser and a quick run back outside to get these pictures... I think it was worth it.

When I first started this quilt I thought I could keep it small ... wall hanging size... but in the end it is a nice lap just got away from me! It is 9 blocks wide and 15 blocks long. All the colorful prints are either Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably or Phillip Jacobs and there are no duplicates. They put me in the mind of the bulbs I planted - lots of color!  The black and white text prints I've collected for a while and I love how they look in this quilt.

This was quilted with a panto by Terry Finnerty of The Walking Needle in a variegated thread.

Here's the back - an explosion of brightly colored little flowers...

and some close ups of the front of the quilt...

It was a fun quilt to make and after looking at Windham Fabrics version which you can see here, I might have to made this again in another palette.

Thanks to Debbie at A Quilter's Table for the fun pattern and the encouragement to get it done. Check out other Postcard quilts here on Flickr too!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ummmmm...that didn't turn out the way I expected~

So last week I was knitting away on a Sockhead hat using my Blue Moon Socks That Rock yarn in the Supercolourfragilistic colorway. I was loving the color, the yarn and the mindless knitting. It was just what I needed to get through last week's installment of How the Bathroom Turns (see post of 11/12 for the latest episode).

Yesterday I finished it... it was quick knit...about a week of time...very colorful...and squooshy...

just one little problem...I look like a deranged elf in it! Really, it is true and I didn't take a picture because I don't want that image stuck in your brain as it is stuck in mine. I'm trying to be compassionate here.

Sooooooo.... I'm going to unravel it and knit something else with it. Perhaps my tried and true standard vanilla socks. Something I know will turn out fine.  Oh well, it was good therapy last week and it kept be from hurting someone. That's what I like about knitting... it is a stress release for me.

Now I was cheered up by some new Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn that snuck into my house this past week from the Simply Sock Yarn Company. From right to left -

Azure Malachite, Tardis Blue, Christmas Balls, Beach Blanket Bingo!

I adore this yarn for its bright colors, its squooshiness and for the names they come up with. The Tardis Blue is a wonderful blue with some purple-y undertones. I'm not sure why I like the Christmas Balls but I do... it is an interesting combination of colors. And I HAD to have Beach Blanket Bingo - a tribute to Annette Funicello if I ever saw one. Annette is near and dear to my heart as her last name is only one letter different from my last name, and all my life people have asked if we are related. Not that I'm aware of, but one of the thrills of my childhood was meeting Annette for a few minutes when she was in Cincinnati, Ohio for some sort of promotional tour for the Mickey Mouse Club.  I was saddened when she past away last year but I know she had suffered with Multiple Sclerosis for years so I take comfort that she was released from that pain.

Don't know what I'm going to work on next. I need to get those skeins wound and should probably start on a hat out of the Tardis Blue for my younger son. He tried on the Sockhead hat and it wasn't his cup of tea either so I'll look on Ravelry for something that would suit him.

Happy knitting!

carol fun

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Looky what I made~

Are you scratching your head? It looks like two logs doesn't it? And how does one make two logs? makes them out of fabric! And they aren't actually logs, they are draft stoppers filled with kitty litter. I made some for my house last year and this year my son requested a set for his house. We've had new weatherstripping put around the doors and sweeps on the bottoms but they are older houses and every little thing you can do to keep the cold out and the heat in helps.

I also made another one for my house for a door in my basement that I keep close most of the time.

Cute chickens, right? LOL

Anyway that is the sum of what I've been doing lately that I can share. I'm working on a Christmas present quilt and have about 8 more blocks to go. I want to finish it pronto so I can send it off to be quilted.

If you aren't interested in the next installment of How the Bathroom Turns you can leave here. I understand... I'm tired of hearing about it too but it make me feel better to vent a bit - thanks!

The continuing saga of plumbing and bathroom renovation woes goes on and on and on. Seriously it has the makings of a multi-year soap opera. After the tile guy and plumber finished up last week, my handyman started the job of putting in an exhaust fan in my bathroom and lowering the ceiling. The bathroom had this beautiful cove ceiling...  that was functionally a nightmare. Every time you took a shower the steam would collect around the edge of the cove and then drip down on the floor and leave water stains all over the ceiling. Perhaps this is why the room was painted a blech brown when I bought the place. I had seen peeling paint in the corner by the window but chalked it up to an old paint job, not the steam problem.  Sooooooo.... an exhaust fan makes a lot of sense... and the installation shouldn't be a big deal....but it was!  The electrical work was stymied by the fact that the bathroom isn't a main line, it was run off of another room's main line. Additionally the walls and ceilings in my house are made of a material sometimes referred to as glassrock. It is a plaster like substance which in reality is concrete. It is impossible to put a hole in the wall to hang a picture without a drill and any holes to find the wiring required a sledge hammer and a saw.

The whole exhaust fan/ceiling renovation was projected to take 10 hours.... at the end of the first 10 hours all we had to show for it was a torn up ceiling and wall and no juice for the fan.  That was Saturday.

On Sunday work resumed. Overnight the handyman realized he could crawl back into this tiny opening in the second floor attic area and access a main electrical line. It is a good thing this guy is small and wiry and not claustrophobic. There isn't enough money in the world to get be back into that space, nor a shoe horn large enough to squeeze me through the little opening for that fact - LOL! Electrical problem then rectified in about 30 minutes. Good, back on track. Now to vent the fan to the outside. Cut/saw/bang a hole through the glassrock wall and drill/chisel/bang through the brick on the outside. Again, a problem. Turns out that the walls of my house are about 10 inches thick. There is the outside layer of yellow bricks and behind that layer of brick is another layer of brick - solid brick - no holes in it at all - weighs a ton - and then a layer of cinder block. It took about 2 hours to get a 6 inch hole to the outside. The handyman referred to it as his Shawshank Redemption! LOL At least he has a good attitude. Eventually the drywall was nailed to the ceiling, the fan was connected and two can lights installed. It was now 20 hours into the project... and it isn't done yet.

This week will include taping and mudding the seams for the drywall. Sanding the drywall, re-mudding the drywall, sanding again...and then it can be painted. I and cautiously optimistic that it will be completed by next weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.

Well the Arctic blast is descending on Ohio. Monday was gorgeous with a high temp near 70. Today cold gray and a high of 40... it will be the warmest day for the rest of the week. Possibility of white death on Sunday... I'm already counting the days till Spring!

Stay warm!
happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, November 7, 2014

Head to toe on the Needles...and other stuff~

Where has the week gone??? Oh yeah, now I remember...I spent it with tile guys and plumbers and handymen!  To avoid another unlucky Wednesday, I scheduled the tile guy for Tuesday and the plumber for Thursday... oh I'm a sly one aren't I?  I'll fill you in on the details of bathroom reconstruction in a bit.

Most of the projects I'm working on are Christmas gifts so I can't show them, but I did get a pair of socks done for me!

This is the Carolina pattern I've done several times before. You can get it here on Ravelry for free.

I used the Regia yarn Design Line by Kaffe Fassett. I think it was called the Landscape collection. It was in my stash for a while.

And when I finished with the socks I cast on something for my head... a Sockhead hat...which is another free pattern on Ravelry that you can find here.

I'm using a Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn in the crazy color of Supercolourfragilistic which you can see here. Now I only cast on 128 stitches versus the 144 it called for but I think that will be a nice size for my noggin. My younger son wants a hat with this pattern too but his yarn won't come till next week. With temperatures dropping like a rock here in Ohio I think we'll both get a lot of use out of warm hats.

Now onto the saga of the continues...anyway the giant hole in my shower is patched... and it looks like a patch but it was the best he could do. Four inch tiles from 2014 are NOT the same size as four inch tiles from 1953... they are smaller but just a bit, but when you have to replace 5 rows of 5 tiles by the time you get to the last row the grout line is noticeably larger. I'm hoping that refinishing/reglazing that wall will make is less noticeable. Last year as part of the renovation I had the salmon pink/brown/turquoise tiles refinished to white... nice clean white...and  I want that look back. Also the 2014 white tiles are not the same as the refinished white tiles... ugh.. its as hard as matching fabrics.

The plumber put the fixtures back on and tried to find the source of the smell in the basement and this is again turning into the worst case scenario. It appears the crack in the pipes is either behind the new drywall or most probably embedded in a concrete support wall. The estimate for this fix it BIG!!! Right now I'm taking the Scarlett O'Hara approach,,, I'll think about it tomorrow or the next day because tomorrow my handyman, Dan is ripping out the ceiling in my bathroom and putting in a exhaust fan and some new can lights. I've been waiting for him to have time to get to this job for a while. I really would have liked to recuperate from the tile/toilet work for a bit, but I'm afraid if I cancel him it will be months before I can get back on his schedule. So more construction tomorrow!

Here's hoping your life is less crazy and that you have something fun to knit on your needles!

carol fun

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Slow Stitching on Sunday finally produces something!

I'm not sure when I started this piece but it has to have been many months ago...maybe as much as a year as the name of this piece is Bittersweet September by Blackbird Designs.

I got this as a kit from Dyeing to Stitch, it is from their Ladies Prim Society and was a release from 2013. The pattern, fabric, threads, backing fabric and rickrack were all included. They made it into a little pillow but I think I'm going to frame it. This has been a great club and I've done it for two years now. This club is featuring designs from Blackbird Designs and Threadwork Primitives. The charts for these clubs haven't been release to the general public. I assume they will be at a later date but so far I haven't seen any on the retail sites. I LOVE this piece - it has my trifecta of things I want in a sampler - a house, an alphabet and an interesting border. I really like that the top is different from the sides and the bottom.

Now the over one stuff always takes me a lot of time. I did stitch the C and the N in a different floss color - those are the initials of my boys. I wasn't paying attention when I stitched the S and the T - they are a different color too but I didn't do that on purpose and I wasn't going to frog it.

So a finish always leads to a new start right? Shake your head up an down, up and down -LOL! I couldn't wait to  finish Bittersweet September so I could start on this 2014 release from Dyeing to Stitch's Ladies Prim Society called Bittersweet Lane.

I LOVE EVERYTHING about this piece - it has a house, it has a gorgeous border and it has a pumpkin with a quilt block on it! So many things I love to stitch squeezed into a dainty 6" X 6" square. I was in such a hurry to start Bittersweet Lane that I neglected to read ALL of the instructions. I had 2 sides of the border stitched when I realized I was already running low on one color of floss. Hmmmm... that's never happened before, they always include ample amount of thread...unless you didn't read the line that says "Cross stitch with 1 strand of floss over 2 thread of linen." Arghhhh...well, I checked my stash of threads and have most of these colors so I'm continuing on with 2 strands over 2 threads. I preferred the more solid look of 2 strands to the more delicate look of one strand of floss.

Here's a peek at what I've done so far. It is a gorgeous border - reminds me of a filigree bracelet.

So I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching - go here and check out what others have been up to!

Thanks for all of you who commiserated with my tale of plumbing woe - I do appreciate it - send good thoughts my way as another plumbing problem has reared its ugly head. I hope to get someone here tomorrow to address the nasty smell  that comes and goes in one area of the basement. Our drop in temperature these last two days seems to have made it worse. I talked to the plumber last week and a couple of my neighbors who had this problem in the past  and have a bad bad feeling that I have a cracked pipe somewhere that is letting this smell come out.  My fear is the pipe is behind a finished wall which will require demolition, repair and the reconstruction.  Again I see dollar bills flying out of my house - not a pretty sight. Big sigh!

I'm off to do a bit of stitching - I have a couple of projects going that I can't share yet as they are Christmas presents and I need to work on them. As of there are 52 days till Christmas !!! Now that is a scary thought too.

happy stitching-
carol fun