Thursday, December 31, 2015

Some highlights...knitting version...

Just squeezing in here under the wire... where does the time go? In looking back over 2015 I see that my knitting consisted of socks, socks and more socks... plain vanilla stockinette socks...nothing fancy but very satisfying. Some were for me and some I gave away but I enjoyed knitting all of them. Here are a couple of the pairs I did...

Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn...Room without a Roof colorway...

Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn...Beach Blanket Bingo colorway...


Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn...Chickabiddy colorway...

You can check out Blue Moon Socks that Rock here they are always changing their inventory. Love their yarn and the names of their colorways!

Opal yarn...Bootsfart colorway...

The beginning of my newest sock knitting obsession... two different self-striping yarns where you alternate each round... a version of knitting I've seen on Instagram referred to as "ragrug" socks. Both of these yarns are Drops Fabel 903 and 911. I used the Dorothy's Spiral Sock pattern on this pair...which I did finish and give away but this is the only picture I have of them.

This pair is Drops Fabel 905 and 672 just alternating each round ...simple....LOVE the scrappy look! Did the heels in a solid gray.

Another version... my favorite so far but then isn't the last project you've done almost always your favorite?  Drops Fabel 151 and 901 and added solid plum heels. What is so mesmerizing about this knitting is you have no idea what it is going to look get different striping patterns and you have no control over what colors will end up next to each... my version of living dangerously...ROFL... I am soooooo not the "living dangerously" type!

I have another pair in this series on my needles now... hope to have them finished tomorrow for my first pair of 2016... pictures then.  Oh if you are interested in the Drops Fabel yarn you can check it out here on Nordic Mart... nice yarn... good prices.

Now I did do one fancy item... the shawl I made to wear for my son's wedding. The pattern is Reverse Psychology... you can see it here on Ravelry...and the yarn is a gradient set from Kimber's Fiber Optics Paintbox Gradient...which you can check out here. If you sees something there you like don't be put off my the sold out line... email or call her... she has inventory in her brick and mortar store I just don't think she's keeping the website up to date.

This is a wonderful shawl/scarf...the pattern is well written with stitch counts for every row... oh be still my OCD...and the beads added a lovely sparkle and weight.

I am going to knit this again... I have another of Kimber's Paintbox Gradients in shade of purple... just need to look for beads that coordinate.

So it was a very good year crafty wise and older son got married last April and the newlyweds are very happy...and that makes me happy. I love my little house and I'm still tweaking things here and there. I have BIG plans for gardening in the Spring... my new garden wagon is going to get a work out ... life is good...

Thanks to each and every one of you who come and read my ramblings... I appreciate that you take the time to see what I'm up to. Hope that all of you have a HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY New Year!

happy stitching -
carol fun

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Some highlights...cross stitch edition...

In looking over my cross stitch accomplishments for 2015 I saw that my finishes were almost exclusively Blackbird Design pieces. That shouldn't surprise you or  me as they are my favorite designer at the moment. Years ago, when I hung out at Twisted Threads,  I was big into Ewe & Eye & Friends,  and I can count at least 17 of their samplers...with houses...that I stitched. Seems like BBD is my go to replacement for EEF as I count at least 13 I've stitched of theirs on my walls. I'm just happy that designers keep turning out wonderful projects that I can't wait to stitch.

So without further ado some highlights of 2015 in cross stitch... these aren't in any particular order as I had a hard time saying I liked this one better than that one... I LOVED them all. Here is a sampling of my samplers...

This was my first finish in 2015...Rosy Morning by Blackbird Designs. I really like samplers that have this long ways rectangular shape. They are in the minority when you look at samplers. I also LOVE the big mutant birds in this one. This piece is one of the 12 offerings from the Abcedarian series. I've stitched a couple but still have most of them in my stash... maybe in 2016!

Feast of Friendship...Blackbird Designs... this is  latest thing I've finished that I have a picture of...changed the phrase "Feast of Friendship in the cartouche to an alphabet to fulfill my OCD need for most of my pieces to be samplers with houses...yeah I"m crazy that way...

Sandwiched in the middle here is the May Day Sampler by Brenda Gervais. I did this one as part of a mystery SAL with a FB group. I hand dyed the linen and love the mottled look. I ended up stitching the birds on this piece twice. The first time I stitched them I did them as they were charted as bluebirds. Then I saw my friend Marcella's version where she had stitched them as robins...sooooooo much prettier. Luckily I had done a sort of redneck finishing on the piece so I could take it apart, and restitch them and I think it was well worth the effort. And I stitched every letter of the alphabet in a different overdyed floss...more OCD...LOL!!

This one was an project from Dyeing to Stitch's Ladies Prim Club and is by BBD entitled Bittersweet Lane. LOVE that border...I think it looks like a filigree bracelet.

And last but not least Early Morning Read by Blackbird Designs. This is in the booklet called Weekend. Love the style of these letters but didn't realizes till I got almost done that there is no Z on this piece. I don't think I've ever seen a sampler that left out the Z. The finishing touch on this one is the frame. I would have never thought of this frame till Bev, framer extraordinaire at Joann's suggested it... maybe the best frame EVER!

So there were a couple of other little pieces I worked on but they all need to be framed or finished in some way. And there are two larger pieces I worked on that need attention... and of course there is new stuff I want to stitch. Just like my quilting I'm going to try to try to finish up a UFO or two before starting something new and I want to make a list of projects to try to keep me on track... if possible.

Oh how I wish there were more hours in the day to do the things I love to do. I thank the Lord and my Grandma and my Mom and my friends for introducing me to the joys of needle and thread and fabric and yarn and other crafty stuff. What a wonderful life it is!

happy stitching -
carol fun

Monday, December 28, 2015

Some highlights of 2015 ....quilting edition

Sooooo on Instagram people are posting their top or favorite 9 photos of their year. I haven't been doing Instagram that long , (you can find me at carolfun53 if you want to) but I thought I could put together a little review of what I was up to this year.    I'm going to break it into 3 posts... one for quilting, one for cross stitch and one for knitting.... that way it looks like I got a lot done...LOL!

These are my picks for my best quilts this year... the reason they are my best is because I finished them and I remembered to take pictures... yes the standards here aren't real high. Sooooo like they do on all those end of the year review shows I'm starting at 5 and working up to my number 1 to build up the suspense, dontcha know...

Number 5 - Charm Pack Cherry with Batiks

My twist on this pattern was that I added some pieces to the border strip so the design continues  to the edge here and there... thought I was being quite artsy fartsy...LOL! You can find more info on this quilt here.

Number 4- Bar Code

I got the idea for this one from Kvilstina and you can see all the info on the block and close ups of my fabric choices here.

Number 3 - Yellow and Blue Mahalo

This quilt went together in a flash. Now you have to totally lay it out before you get started but after that it is a piece of cake. I love love LOVE the fabrics in this quilt...yellow and birds... a match made in heaven for me. You and read more about it here.

Number 2- Giant Vintage Star... Anna Marie Horner version

This is the pattern I can't get enough of... I've made it 5 times and I'll make it again... you can't stop me... LOL! This maybe my favorite version...all those wonderful large scale Anna Marie Horner fabrics and that lovely gold background. You can read about where I got the pattern here.

And drum roll please...

Number 1 - Go 4 It!

This was my first foray into low volume backgrounds... it was fun...but I've been told that I pick very loud low volume prints...LOL...I buy what I like! If you go to the post on this quilt you can see my low volume prints up close and personal.   I was totally surprised when this quilt was chosen as the winner in the Scrappy category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival- Fall 2015. You can see my winnings from Moda in this post...they were extremely generous and I am very grateful. Can't wait to play with my new goodies.

In looking over my blog for 2015 I noticed several patterns...first I tend to start a quilt, I'm on fire about it, then things cool, and at this point sometimes things are removed from the design wall which is pretty much the end of it for a while as it is put in a lovely plastic bin. Now I do go back and release projects now and again but I should do more of this. I'm not making a New Year resolution, because I don't do that but I am going to really try to try to finish up some of my UFOs. Several quilts only need the borders put on them... I'm a bad bad quilter... I am extremely easily distracted by shiny new projects.  I've even made a little list of the ones I'd like to finish and a couple of quilts I'd like to do. I know shiny new things will cross my path and I'm not going to be able to resist them all but again I will try to try.

Tune in again tomorrow for  look back on my cross stitch projects.... I know ... scintillating stuff...LOL!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, December 27, 2015

This and that and some other stuff on Slow Stitching Sunday...

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday...we're doing our big dinner rib is in the oven. We did an appetizer brunch at my son and daughter-in-law's home on Christmas day and then they went to her parents house. Breaking it up makes it easier on everyone.

Well all the super secret gifts have been gifted but I forgot to take a single picture...doh!!! Hope to remedy that later this week. In the meantime I did do a little stitching on my Heartstring Samplery  "Instead of Sheep".  This may get finished before the 31th... fingers crossed. No particular reason to have it done by then, it is just nice to end the year with a finish, isn't it?

And I don't think I showed my Blackbird Designs Feast of Friendship since I brought it home from the framers.  Love that little gold filet... I think it dresses up the piece a bit. In the one I changed the phrase "Feast of Friendship" that was in the cartouche to an alphabet.  I loves me a sampler with a house and an alphabet... you add that border and giant fruit and I'm over the moon!

Did you get nice stuff for Christmas? Well I'm happier than a 5 year old kid because I got what most 5 year old kids would want for Christmas... I got a wagon!!!

A good sized yellow wagon! Now technically it is a "utility cart" but I'm calling it a wagon. I plan to use this to haul around the flowers and dirt and mulch and stuff for my yard. I don't have a big yard but it is pretty long when you have to carry heavy stuff from the back to the front. I know my younger son is thrilled about this gift too as he won't be the one toting stuff all the time.  Can't wait for Spring... I already have plans for new window boxes and new landscape bushes... too bad it looks like next week it is going to turn cold. Oh well I have a new Burpee's catalog and one from Jackson & Perkins roses so I can dream.

The other day I posted a picture of some of the Christmas cards I made... I love cards... homemade or store bought it doesn't matter. There is just something wonderful about getting a card. Now my boys are very good about getting me cards and this year I got great ones. The first one is from my younger son and it is super sparkly... hard to capture with my cheapo camera.

And inside it has a lovely message that Nick added ... touches my heart!

My older son usually buys cards with blank insides... he doesn't always go for the seasonal choice but picks cards he thinks I'll like... ones with quilt patterns are always a hit with me.

And here is the verse he wrote for me...

Oh my goodness... aren't those words music to your ears???  Only took him 30 years to figure it out...LOL!!  Yes he is sarcastic and funny and crazy and he's told me on many occasions that "crazy doesn't fall far from the crazy tree"... so I guess I have no one to blame but myself and I'm okay with that.

I'll be linking up with Kathy's Quilts today and Super Mom - No Cape tomorrow. Enjoy what's left of this weekend.... although it doesn't really feel like a Sunday...with the holiday on Friday I'm all discombobulated. It is a good thing my smart phone tells me what day of the week is it .

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

hope Santa brings you good stuff!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Popping in for a minute...

So I've been a bad bad blogger... I've been busy with Christmas-y stuff but it either wasn't blog worthy or it is a present for someone that reads the blog so in either case I couldn't show it. I did get some Christmas cards made and sent out...

now usually I make lots of the same design but this year I was too ADHD for that.... which resulted in a couple of these and two of those and one of them. I 'm happy they got into the mail on Monday and I think they'll all arrive by tomorrow.

And while I usually complain about the weather I got nothing to beef about right now. At the moment we are experiencing wonderful Spring-like temperatures. It is 66 degrees ... on December 23... in Ohio... LOVE IT!! Life is wonderful... right now I'm feeling pretty good about my Christmas preparations. I have stuff to make appetizers for a brunch on Christmas day and then on Sunday we are doing a prime rib dinner. I'm going to wrap presents tonight which involves shoving gifts into the fabric bags I made years ago. Quick and easy gift wrapping! We've used the same bags for years saving money on wrapping paper. Now I didn't do it because I was "green" I did it because I had an enormous amount of Christmas fabric and this put some of it to good use and I'm lazy. Wrapping presents is my least favorite thing to do.

I'm sitting here looking at my Christmas tree and watching the Dude  sacked out on the living room rug...

no he isn't dead... just very relaxed. And so am I...either I really do have everything under control or I've totally forgot to do something I need to do... hope that isn't the case.

Anyway hope your preparations are going smoothly and that everyone has a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

carol fun

Friday, December 11, 2015

A day as gray as my mood...

UPDATE!!!! I FOUND THE DOCUMENTS!!! Say your prayers for someone else...I know there is someone out there who needs them. THANKS!!

So I got nothing to show... I frogged the scarf I was knitting...pretty yarn...pretty pattern...together...blah. Christmas project for friend...not working out the way I saw it in my head.
But the thing that has me the most down is somehow some way I have misplaced, lost or possibly even accidentally  tossed over 20 years of documentation dealing with my son's autism. I am devastated...I know it isn't sickness or a death or an auto accident ...but I still feel awful awful awful. I have torn my house apart. I've looked in all the places is should or could be in at least 10 times...and since it obviously isn't in any of the places it should or could be, I've moved on to the places it might be. It is not a big house. I've opened every drawer, every box, every storage container, I've moved furniture and looked behind it and under it.  I've prayed to St. Anthony, the patron of lost things and I'm moving on to St. Jude. patron of lost causes. If you have a moment any prayers or positive thoughts would be appreciated. I just  don't know what I did with this 2" thick packet of papers that was in a 2 gallon Ziploc bag to protect it from any damage. I am usually on top of these things and I don't like the view from the bottom at all. Some of this documentation could be retreived for a fee (.53 a page)... I checked online, but some of it can't. I talked with my older son and that made me feel a bit better. I'm off to go through things in the garage...these papers have no business being in the garage but maybe that is where they are hiding.

Hope your day is going better... it probably is...

carol fun 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Open House...

Welcome to my Christmas Open House...I'm linking up with Brenda from Cozy Little House and joining with the parade of wonderful holiday decor. I hope you enjoy it!

First, I don't EVER remember having all my Christmas decorations up this early. Usually I drag my feet until at least the 15th or later so it is nice to have everything out and up and finished. Don't know why I got motivated this early, but happy I did.

Let's start with an overall look at the place... most of my decor is in my living room....

looking out to the front window is  my tree ... I was so happy that again this year all the pre-lit lights worked. I've decorated with an assortment of ornaments old and new...

There is a Hallmark ornament celebrating my younger son's first Christmas  25 years ago... and my bubble lights which remind me of my Grandma's Christmas tree...and the sequin studded Santa and Mrs. Claus that my Mom made in her last year of life. Bittersweet memories of her sitting in bed making ornaments while suffering from cancer...gosh how I miss her!

To the right of my tree I've filled this shelving unit with lots of decorations, each shelf having a bit of a theme...

cross stitch and the beginning of my newest collection of deer...

gingerbread men and 2 more deer... three makes a collection, right???

and a selection of Santas!

I added this cute little quilt from my friend Laurey to accent this pillow!

Santa is watching over my little chest that I filled with quilts and topped with the Nativity set I needlepointed over 30 years ago.

I made this when my first son was born, as I wanted a Nativity that he could handle without fear of breaking. If you make the picture bigger you can see all the sparkly threads and dimensional stitches I used. I thought that someday I would replace this with a ceramic set but I never did and I'm glad I didn't. This one has lots of memories in it and I hope more to come.

Across the room I have another tree...this one decorated with only food ornaments. My younger son started this theme a couple of years ago and we've been adding to it every year.

Our stockings are hung on the TV cabinet as I don't have a fireplace in this house...they are hanging out with a collection of tins from Mary Engelbreit.

This is my stocking...

and this is my son's stocking...

These are two of four stockings I needlepointed back in the mid-80's. I don't know what I was thinking back then, as these are BIG...24" long...and it takes quite a bit to fill them up. If I knew then what I know now (and doesn't that apply to lots of things in life?) I would have stitched smaller stockings.

On the big wall in my living room I always hang a quilt and this year I picked this vintage Debbie Mumm Santa one that I did years ago...still looks good in my humble does Big Dude!

My newest addition to my decor is this 3 tier galvanized tray. I used my collection of needlepointed Santas as my theme for this...

before I did cross stitch or quilted or knitted I was really into needlepoint... can you tell? LOL All of these decorations are 25 to 30 years old...oh my fast the years fly by! I did a whole series of these Santa's dolled up in different costumes. My favorite is this one, which I refer to as my Bing Crosby White Christmas Santa...and you know how much I LOVE White Christmas!

And if all this wasn't enough...and it wasn't...I've added a bit of holiday cheer to my bedroom.

My Christmas quilt is cozy to sleep under and I'm loving my sparkly new accent pillow that picks up all the colors in the room! Thanks Linda!

Okay... are have I worn you out? In looking over all of this I realize it has taken over 30 years to amass this collection of decorations. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child... 30 years ago... that I had a dream that I wanted a home filled with quilts and cross stitch and needlepoint and I think my dream has come true! I am very blessed...

I decorated the outside of my house with multi-colored lights in the bushes and a couple of inflatables... a gingerbread man and a snowman...but the surprise this year is that somehow the lights reflect on my brick house and it looks like my house is polka dotted!!!

It is sooooo coo1... and total serendipity that the Polka Dot Chicken should live in a polka dot house!

I hope you've enjoyed this tour... please go over to Cozy Little House and see all the other wonderful holiday displays. It is great fun to be a part of a celebration of this season.


carol fun

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Some Sunday Stitching and a bit of a rant...

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend...the temperature here is low 50's...great weather for December in Ohio...I even went out and put out more Christmas lights and didnt' even need gloves. Thank you to all who congratulated me on my winnings from the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I feel very blessed and can't wait to play with my goodies.

Sooooo... the super secret Christmas stitching has been completed... and the super secret Christmas knitting is almost done (will finish it as I watch TV tonight) I decided to start a new chart... Instead of Sheep by Heartstring Samplery. You can see it here.

And this is my progress so far...

I'm using 2 strands of floss over 2 threads...I like that heavier coverage for this linen. Now this little piece has so much I love. First there is the lyrics from the song "Count your Blessings" by Irving Berlin in my FAVORITE movie White Christmas. Did you know it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song? I didn't either till I read it on Wikipedia. Anyway beside the lyrics there are tons of my favorite sampler motifs...a house...a giant woman...scissors...a bird... and a chicken...okay so technically I think this is a rooster but it is poultry so that fits the bill..LOL!

I already know where I'm going to hang it when it is finished and framed... right next to my bed...perfect ,dontcha think?

And this little piece is connected to my can leave now if you want but I need to get this out of my system.

So if you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know that "White Christmas" is my FAVORITE movie. I've watched it countless times at home and even seen it in the theater on the big screen a couple of times too. I had seen it as a stage play several years ago and it was part of the package I have at the Aronoff Theater in Cincinnati this year. I was excited to see it last Thursday night. Dinner beforehand was tasty (really any meal that ends with cheesecake is tasty now, isn't it?) and the company was wonderful but the play left me a bit ticked off. I didn't know until afterwards that they had "modernize" their interpretation. Big sigh.... I'm not a fan of "modernizing" classics... did I ever tell you about the production of Cinderella where they changed the ending? Oh another rant for another day. Back to the rant of today...

Now I know that the stage play can't contain all the elements of the movie, I accept that, but what I don't want to accept is when you change the personality of the characters and the names of the characters. In the play Phil was sleazy and not at all likable. Emma the housekeeper from the movie was morphed into a loud mouth Ethel Merman-y "I want to be in the show" harridan. And then there was the music... some songs were totally left out of the play, okay I can live with that, but they were replaced with songs that were NEVER in the movie!!! "I Love a Piano" is the opening number of the second act...yes it is an Irving Berlin tune but it is no substitute for "Mandy"... even the girls sitting on stools tap dancing could not redeem this for me...perhaps if they had had tambourines with faces on them I might have been placated. (If you are a fan of the movie you know what I'm talking about here... if you haven't seen the movie go stream it from will love it ...promise!)

The funniest scene of the whole movie is when Bob and Phil (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) lip sync the "Sisters" song for Betty and Judy (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen). This was totally skipped in the first act where it should have appeared. Instead it showed up mid-way in the second act and it wasn't a bit funny. Insert frown-y face. I will say I did like the tap dancing in the show. It brought back memories of my youth when I took tap dancing lessons for years. However, that can't make up for the songs they left out of the show and the fact that every single song was done at a breakneck pace. Their finale of "White Christmas" was so quick tempo  I thought they were late for their post-show dinner reservations.

Thank goodness for Netflix... I came home and watched "White Christmas" in its entirety. It did get the bad taste out of my mouth...and the next day I watched it again...feeling better...and I plan to watch it again later today. Then perhaps all will be right in my "White Christmas" world. I suppose this is proof that I'm turning into a crabby old lady...or reverting to a whiny 3 year old. I just want classics to stay classic...crawling down now from the mountain I made out of soapboxes.

I'll be linking up with Kathy's Quilts today and Super Mom - No Cape on Monday. I still have some Christmas prep to do but my house is all decorated. This may be the earliest it has ever been done...and  it is nice that I will be able to enjoy it for a longer time.

happy stitching-
carol fun