Thursday, February 28, 2013

No Busting Today!

Thursday snuck up on me again - this is supposed to be a stash buster day - sheesh!  I wish someone would remind me about Monday of Thursday's approach....

So far my stash buster Thursday's have not busted much... maybe I should do it once a month - what's the likelihood of me getting it right, once a month, do you think?

Here are my excuses! 

Trouble is, I have been on a pretty creative roll as of late, and I really hate to squash that when it happens, because it seems to happen less often these days.  I am trying to focus on re-opening my Etsy shop soon,  but that is proving more difficult than I thought it would.

My neighbour is back in the hospital again.  It has been 2 yrs since he was hospitalized so he has done quite well, considering.  He and his wife have no family here, so we really try and fill that void with them when we can, but especially at times like this.  So it's checking on him at the hospital, and checking on her at home.  Happy to do it - but it does make time vanish very quickly.

And then there is poor broken Cathy - lying there on my craft table starring me down every time I go in that room!   She needs so much, and I give so little... but while I am waiting for my brown-eyed Cathy's arms to arrive, I have been working on her hair and face... really I have!

Old vinyl and plastic dolls often get "Green Face".  I'm not sure what causes it, but the face colour takes on a grayish/green tinge that is very noticeable.  Also so many dolls come to the collector with marker and pen marks on them.  These don't always wash off with soap and water so people who restore dolls have a solution.

Actually there are several commercial solutions available to deal/ clean almost anything on a doll.  These are harsh and harmful to the environment and the user.  Many doll restorers have developed lung conditions from inhaling the fumes of these chemicals - so instead of using the toxic stuff, we use OXY10 Acne cream... I know, who knew?  And who fell on this discovery, I wonder?  What, you were treating your acme and just decided to rub some on a doll?  Okay that's just too weird - even for me!

BUT - it works - it removes pen and marker and green face.  You put a layer on a doll's face and let her sit in the sun for a day and repeat this a couple of times, and you have a clean white face.  I have found it also dulls any markings the doll might have had originally - like eyebrows, red cheeks, pink lips - and in Cathy's case - freckles.

The brown-eyed Cathy I got in the mail looks like she had something done to her face by someone.  She is very ghostly - especially given she has brown eyes and dark hair.  Her expression was lacking, because her freckles were faint, she had no cheek color and her lips were almost white.  Anemic would be the correct term for her.

So I fixed her.  I darkened her freckles, and eyebrows.  Gave her some color on her cheeks and pinked up her lips - that's when I noticed that she only has 1 tooth.  Most Cathy's have two front teeth -  maybe this doll sings "All I want for Christmas" - but no she's not a singing Cathy - I have one of those, and they look a lot different and are a bit smaller than Chatty.  So now I need to read up on one tooth Cathy's!

And that's why I forgot it was Stash Buster Thursday!

Really....



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Going Back!

I think one of the reason I so love to work on dolls is that it makes me remember simpler times in my life, where an evening was spent curling hair, or doing nails - those kinds of things. 

Do you remember when looking great meant a lot of "home" work.  My Mom and I went to the beauty school once a year for a perm,  but both our hair grew quickly so between those perms it was good old Toni Home perms...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs2_OZgpjI4

Funny as it seems, it is the rods from these old Toni perms that I use to curl my Doll's hair today - now there is repurposing  101!


Even with a perm, hair had to be curled - at least once a week - usually Saturday. If there was something going on Saturday night - the hair was curled Saturday afternoon. Otherwise Saturday evening was set aside for washing and curling the hair. Mom did mine - I did hers.



First we washed with this:



or this

Then we used these...

and plastic pics... ouch!











Then we either sat outside on the front step (well I did, Mom - not so much - mother's didn't sit around in those days) or we sat under one of these (usually in the kitchen).  Ours was a real fancy one - it even had a separate motor with attachments for nails...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2QvDo2N2YE


It took hours and hours to look beautiful.  But look beautiful we did!  I even have pictures to prove it...

In our house eye makeup wasn't worn - not even mascara... but we did use face powder and this..

And I actually had one just like this....


And this was beauty in the 60's!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's Melting!

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in the Peg.  The sun was bright and warm, and some melting began in earnest on the huge snow piles everywhere.  Some streets have melted down to pavement (the main ones) the side streets and lanes are just plain pathetic!  If we don't get stuck on one or the other, it will be a miracle!

I did manage to get some projects wrapped up and mailed yesterday - yeah, yeah, and thought a lot about new ones to start - but decided that it would be more important to give some time to my neighbour who's husband in back in hospital - so after supper I headed next door for the evening for some "Girl" talk.

"Girl" talk with my neighbour consists of much talk about sheep, cats, fleece, plants, gardening, spinning, a little about husbands and kids and families, and back to plants and gardening again.

When I walked into her living room I had a moment when I thought her house had tipped over.  She is a spinner and has fleece from all over the world which she is processing to spin.  The whole living room floor was covered with Shetland fleece from Scotland - drying from it's wash.  It looked like clouds on the floor - and it was so beautifully white and soft, I couldn't help but reach down and pick up a hand full every once in awhile - just to feel the softness of it.

I did not know that sheep had so many natural colors.  I tend to think of sheep fleece as off-white.  But she has totes filled with several colors of white, browns and blacks.    She has a carder that she has been using to make carded rolls for spinning, and totes upon totes full of these rolls already done and waiting to be spun.

She has been teaching me ( or trying to) to spin - and I admit I'm not great at it.  My efforts more resemble wire than yarn - too much twist, I'm told.  It is not as easy as it looks, and is definitely one of those activities that you have to learn by practicing.  You have to get your hands and feet in a rhythm, and maintain it though out the spin.  I'll bet Gary would make an awesome spinner - or any organist for that matter - they are co-ordinated with hands and feet with no thought to it at all.

Anyway, the potential is there for some spinning time, when I want it - so I need to make room to learn to be a better spinner.

I'll let you know how that goes...

In the meantime - it is on to some new crocheted projects... still working on my stash  - cotton this time around!

Enjoy your day!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A New Friendship!

Have you ever been the recipient of a totally unselfish act of kindness?  By someone you don't even know?

When I am at work, I always talk to my husband at lunch time.  We only chat for a few minutes but we catch up on each other's day, and if anything good has come in the mail - I get that report then.  On Friday Gary told me that a parcel had arrived for me from Alaska.  I was more than curious as I don't know anyone who lives in Alaska.

He read the name on the return label to me, and I vaguely recognized the name as a woman who is on one of the FaceBook Doll groups I belong to.  She posts regularly, sometimes I make comments on her posts, but that is all the contact I have ever had with her.

This box was from her.  She is friends with woman in the group whom I have known (on the net) for about 6 yrs, I'm sure my friend gave her friend my address, knowing me well enough and her friend well enough to know that it would be okay.

As soon as Gary told me her name I started to think about her doll collection, and realized that this woman was a big time Chatty Cathy collector.  He also told me the contents listed on the box said broken doll.

I couldn't wait to get home.  But first I had to finish the day at work, and then we had planned to go grocery shopping so by the time I actually did get home it was already evening.

I did manage to put the groceries away first and then I tore into the box.

Sure enough it was a Chatty Cathy in pieces.  BUT... it was a brown-eyed Cathy!  I was through the roof.  I have never eve seen one before, and certainly never thought the day would come when one would be in my home, broken or not!

I had no idea why she sent this broken doll to me - like I said, I really had not communicated with this woman much at all.  Did she want money for this doll?  Was there a catch to this?

So on to Facebook I went, and her name came up on the Chat screen.  I wanted to let her know the doll had arrived so I started chatting with her.  What started out as a Thank You chat ended up in a almost 90 minute conversation about so many things.

She's a 6 yr breast cancer survivor - just like me.  She told me about her family, herself - and yeah I guess we talked about dolls - a little!!!!!!!!!!

She said she wanted to send me the doll because she thought it would make me happy.  She did it in friendship!  She just wanted to make my day!

To say she did, is an understatement!  Her random act of kindness, touched my heart in so many ways - not because of the doll -  because of the act of thinking about someone she barely new whom she wished to make happy in friendship.  I think that is past amazing!

The doll is just a doll - but the friendship is so very important in this day and age where friendships come and go or fade away! Two strangers "connected" to friendship all because of a doll....

There is more - The doll she sent only has one arm, so another box will be coming in a few weeks with another set of arms, and a party outfit she had especially made for a Chatty Cathy doll.  I told her this was too much, but she would not agree with me - I don't think I could stop her if I tried!

So here is my next "Cathy" project....  I can't wait to get working on her!

Isn't she a doll?

Thank you Jean!






Friday, February 22, 2013

Thinking about spring!

It's Friday!  Yipee!  Don't know what I am so happy about, I have been home pretty much all week anyhow.  However being home well and being home sick really are two different things!

I haven't had a sinus infection for awhile - I forgot how painful they can be... head, eyes, teeth - everything hurts and sleep seems to be the most activity one can do.  This was my last few days - sleep, sleep and more sleep... and yet I feel I could still sleep some more!

However it's back to work for one day and then the weekend.  Hopefully the weather will be warmer (it's supposed to be).   We are one week closer to spring - think that's how I am going to look at the weeks ahead - as a true countdown to spring.  We here in Manitoba have stuck out a horrible winter, so I think we deserve to start thinking, dreaming and planning for spring.  It will be here before we know it, and all this white stuff piled everywhere will be a memory!  I hope!

However spring in this neck of the woods almost always means flooding.  This city is built at the junction of two major rivers, The Red, and the Assiniboine.  One goes south-north and the other goes east-west.  We don't even have to get a lot of snow for the Red River to get nasty.  If North Dakota has a bad winter the Old Red brings it all up this way.  If we have also had a bad winter, we add to it, and we are flooding.  The flood forecast is due out next Wednesday.  They have already predicted that Fargo ND will flood, next on the Red is Grandforks, and then Winnipeg.  Both have had above average snowfall this winter so I'd say our chances for a good flood are prime... but we'll see!

In the meantime, perhaps the sun will come out and the temps will rise and we can have some major early melting - that's what we need - melting now - not all at once in April!  Oh if we could only control the weather...

So have a great weekend everyone, wherever you may be, and whatever weather pattern you may be under.  Enjoy these beautiful pre-spring days - after this season - they won't be around for another year!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tea Anyone?

After much searching I did manage to find the pattern for the miniature cup and saucer that my Mom used to make in the 70's.  I have no idea who's pattern this was originally, it might even be hers, I just don't know.  It was hand written in the back of one of her craft books, so it's any one's guess who is the original creator.

It is however, very much like the one someone posted on Pinterest.

Head pounding and all I did manage to make two of these little gems, I wanted to be sure the pattern was okay before I posted it - and it is just fine.


Here is the finished product.

These are miniature in size.  Would make great accents for doll displays (which is probably why they caused such a stir with the doll group on FB).  They could also be used as favours at bridal or baby showers or spring teas... put some mints in them and set them on the tables for lovely little accents.

Here is the pattern - Enjoy!


MINIATURE CUP AND SAUCER


Size 10 crochet cotton in the colours of your choice
N0. 7. crochet hook

Saucer:

Ch 4, join with a slip stitch to form a ring

ROW 1.  Ch 3 ( counts as first dc) make 19 more dc in ring, and joint to the top of the ch3.  =20dc

ROW 2.  Ch 4( first dc ch 1).  dc ch 1 in each dc around, and join in the 3rd chain of the first ch4.

ROW 3.  Slip stitch to 1st ch1 space.  Ch3, dc, ch1, 2dc in ch1 space (shell made). * skip next ch1 space  
2 dc, ch1, 2dc in next ch1 space.  Repeat from * around.  Join. = 10 shells.

ROW 4.  Slip stitch center of first shell made. Ch3, dc, ch1, 2dc in shell.  Ch1.  * 2dc, ch1, 2dc,  in center of next shell , ch1.  Repeat from * around.  Join. = 10 shells 

ROW 5.  Slip stitch to center of first shell made.  Ch3, dc, ch1, 2dc in shell.  Ch2.  * 2dc, ch1, 2dc in center of next shell, ch2.  Repeat from * around.  Join.  Cut and fasten thread. =10 shells.

Edging:

Fasten new colour in the first ch2 space.  Ch2.  2dc, ch1, 2dc in the top of the next shell.  ch2.  Place hook under chain between shells of last 2 rows and draw up a loop and sc to lock it.  Ch 2.  This pulls the chain of the last two rows together and makes a deeper scallop around the edge.  Repeat around and fasten off.

Cup:

ROW 1.  Attach main colour thread to any Ch1 space on second row of the saucer.  Make 2dc, ch1, 2dc in this space. * Skip next ch1 space and make 2dc, ch1, 2dc in next ch1 space.  Repeat from * around and join. =10 shells.

ROW 2.  Slip stitch to center of the first shell made.  Ch3, 1dc, ch1, 2dc in center of shell.  2dc, ch1, 2dc in each shell around.  Join.  =10 shells.

ROW 3.  Repeat row 2.

Chain 10 for handle and fasten at the bottom of the cup and fasten off.

Edging:

Attach contrast colour to the stitch beside handle.  Sc in stitch.  Make 4 sc in the top of each shell around the top of the cup.  Slip stitch at the top of the handle and make 15 sc around the handle to the bottom.  Fasten off...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You know you are having a bad day when:

1.  You use your cell phone as your alarm to get up in the morning, but fail to notice it needs charging the evening before!

2.  The sun is up before you... (you are usually at work 1 hr before the sun comes up)!

3.  When you open you eyes - You Can't!  The nocturnal eye fairies have been busy painting your lashes with a mixture of egg whites and liquid honey all night!

4.  You have a splitting headache, a head that feels a thousand pounds, a throat full of razor blades and double pointed knitting needles in your ears!

5.  It is -32 outside!

So went my morning... and so I crawled out of bed, emailed work that I would not be there today, took 2 Tylenol and crawled back under the covers for another 3 hours!

Not that it improved things much...  headache is still here, eyes are runny and head is full, but it's just a head cold in the making - I'll survive!

I belong to several face book groups and last weekend one of the ladies posted a picture from Pinterest ( I think) of a crocheted cup and saucer.  Everyone was all excited about it.  Yes it was cute - but I saw so many of those in the 70's that it really didn't do much for me.

I mentioned that I thought I might have the pattern for it somewhere, and the excitement grew.  My Mom made these every spring for a number of years and sold them at the spring bazaar at the church.  I have seen the pattern handwritten on a piece of lined paper and stapled to the inside of the cover of one of her knitting books many times over the years.... I can even see the cover of the book (in my mind)!

So I promised I would get the pattern for those who were excited - and I went looking.

And looking, and looking... OMG!  I have all Mom's books and some of my Aunt's and a collection of my girl friend's mother's and a few of my own, and binders upon binders of printed stuff off the net (free patterns and purchased patterns).

The pattern book that I was so sure was the one with the pattern in it indeed did have a handwritten pattern on a lined page of paper and it was stapled to the back cover - well actually there were 2 there, one pattern was for a poodle toilet paper cover, the other was for a knitted drop stitch scarf that actually sounds kind of neat - but no pattern for the tea cup and saucer that I'd imagined.

I could see myself growing permanently to the floor in my attempt to go through every pattern book on my two bookcases and armoire, so I shoved it all back and put it out of my mind.

Just before bedtime last night - it came to me... I saw a different book cover and just knew that the pattern would be there - so back I went (when I should have been heading to bed).  It took me awhile to find the book (Crochet Techniques and Projects) by Sunset books  $2.45 - that will tell you how old it is!!!

And there hand written on the back cover - no piece of paper at all is the Cup and Saucer pattern that my Mom made so many times over the years!

Crafts are like Women's fashions - they go out of style, then come back in.  I guess if you are lucky, like me - or perhaps I'll re-word that - if you are a bit of a SAVER like me - you will eventually have every pattern for the "New" things being shown on Pinterest!

I hope to have that pattern with a picture for you tomorrow for Stash Buster Thursday!

Stay connected!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh what pretty girls!

Well for a long weekend, this past weekend sure was short!  I had all kinds of things I planned to do, but once again I fell short on my tasks.

I did manage to get the craft room cleaned - AGAIN!  If anyone has discovered a way to keep a crafting area tidy, I sure wish you would share that.  The only time mine it tidy is if I have not been working in there, and even then things get piled around and pretty soon its a mess.

Material and thread are the worse.  Little pieces of material and thread are tracked all over the house when I am sewing, even though I have my garbage can right beside the machine.  Oh well - the cons of creativity, I guess...

I sewed a couple of pretty hook cases for gifts, and I dug some more dolls out of that box of dolls I bought last November and had yet another spa day.  I think there are only 4 more dolls left, so I am almost ready to start thinking about selling off some of them.

Here are a couple of before and after shots of the large rubber dolls that I have been working on.  This first one was in really sad shape.  Her hair was very badly matted, and her eyes were stuck.  She has taken hours and hours to restore.  But I am very happy with the outcome.  She is an unmarked doll from the 40's or 50's, and has hazel coloured eyes which is quite unusual for that era.  She is wearing her original dress, but I made her a sweater to go with it, and found her some shoes and socks.  She is lovely, and I will be keeping her in my personal collection.


This next girl was not in as bad shape as the other.  She basically just needed and bath and a shampoo.  I love her pretty face.  She also is rubber, large and I'd say the same age as the other doll.    She too will stay in my personal collection.   These are the type of dolls I had as a kid so they are very special to me.      There is one more really large rubber doll (larger even than these two) but she has a serious eye problem that I am trying to figure out how to fix.  




So the weekend was sewing, dolls, some baking, some house cleaning, some long naps and some reading.  I guess it wasn't such a bust after all....


Friday, February 15, 2013

BRING BACK THE APRON!

Every so often I will get an email, that really takes me back in time.  I got this one from my neighbour a few days ago and knew it was just a blog post waiting to happen.  I did not write it, don't know who did, but I thank them for reviving some memories long forgotten. 

If you are young, you might not be able to identify with this post - but I am here to tell you - that this is all pretty much true.  I have long wondered what has gone wrong with this world... NOW I KNOW!

Now we have the most basic answer.....

I declare it's time to ...   BRING BACK THE APRON!


ENJOY!


(Notice that a "Medium" is a size 14-16)




Remember making an apron in Home Ec? Remember Home Ec? If we have to explain "Home Ec" you may delete this. I just don't have the energy anymore. Read on.



The History of 'APRONS' I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few and because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

REMEMBER:

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.The Govt. would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron- but love...

Have a great day!


and a great weekend.....


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Oops!  Thursday snuck up on me - and here I am without a project for Stash Buster Thursday!  I usually start writing that post the weekend before, in this case I thought I had a lot of time - but as we all know time DOES fly, whether you are having a good time or not - and it's been one of those weeks!

Although I don't have a project for you today, I have lots of ideas for Busting that Stash of yarn - and material too - and they all have to do with Cancer.

Cancer has been uppermost in my mind for over 6 yrs now - it fades a bit now and again, but it doesn't take much of a break really because 4 of the specialists we do billing for are Oncologists and we read OR reports every day about cancer.  It is sometimes very hard to read about our patients - what they have, what they go through...

Have you ever thought of donating some of your hand-made items to Cancer Care Units at your local hospital?  You should....  Believe me - they need all the help you can give.

Chemo caps are the most common items that can be donated... both knit and crochet - but also sewn.  These are excellent stash buster projects, and they take very little material and time, but mean so very much to the recipients.

If you need some inspiration or even some patterns here are some useful links for Chemo Caps.

http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/patterns.htm

Children need these too - one of our patients who has ovarian cancer, just had surgery last week.  She is 10 yrs old!  She would love this:

http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/childpattk02.htm

You will notice that there are also patterns here for sewn chemo caps which in some climates might be more preferable over the yarn versions.

Cancer Care units also give out lap blankets to patients when they are having chemo.  They are small little afghans that just cover the knees and the legs - made however you want - but most are cheerful and bright - and warm...  Patients are encouraged to take them home with them and bring them back each time they have chemo.


Your local Pet shelters also accept small knit and crochet blankets mostly for the cat rooms, but occasionally you will find them in the dog rooms as well.

So get out your supplies - you have ideas, now you have places in mind to donate your stash projects to.

All it takes is a few moments of your time - a bit of your stash - and a phone call to find out where to drop your donations off.

Ask anyone who has been on the recipient end of this donation - and they will say "Thank You, from the bottom of My Heart!"

Happy Valentine's Day!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

46 Days until Easter!

Today is Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of lent and 46 days until Easter.  Growing up I used to believe Christmas was the most beloved time of the year for me but last year all that changed.

I joined the choir at my church last year, which was a wonderful experience but the season that touched my heart and my faith the most was not Christmas as I thought it would be - but Lent.

In my church there are 13 Lenten services leading up to Easter Sunday.  Through the years I have attended many of these services, but not all of them.  Last year I did - I had to because the choir sang for every one of them.  What a difference it made for me understanding the events and meaning of Lent.  I got so much from it that I have been anxiously awaiting it to start this year - and now, as of tonight it has.

This year our church is also doing a program called  The Way of the Cross.  Again it has been offered before, but I have never participated in it before.  It is a program designed to learn more about the services of Holy Week ( the last week of Lent before Easter).  I hope to attend these evening sessions as well - so needless to say the season of Lent will be a busy church season for me this year, even though I am not singing in the choir this year.

I will really need to juggle my schedule to get everything done that I want to do during Lent... maybe I will have to give something up... isn't that what some do?

Guess we'll have to wait and see...

Many Blessings!



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Melting Moments!

The temps outside are acting more favorable towards us the past few days.  I even see icles hanging from my eves on both sides of the house - now there is a vision to behold.  Well I did see icles, but Gary knocked them all off on the south side of the house so they wouldn't pull heavily on the eves, and so they wouldn't fall on Molly as she sits outside in the snowbank and sniffs the spring-like air...

Do we mere humans know the delight in sitting on a snowbank sniffing air?  I doubt it, but to watch my girl is to watch pure contentment.  How can something so simple bring such joy?  And why don't we appreciate such simple pleasures as much as our animal friends?

Wouldn't the neighbours talk if they saw me sitting out on a snowbank obviously sniffing the air... I don't think I would appreciate what I am sniffing quite in the same way a dog does.  Spring in my neighbourhood does not necessarily smell fresh, thanks to the dogs and the dog walkers.  Enough said!

In the meantime, I have started a prayer shawl, and I am doing it in broomstick lace which is turning out very pretty.  I had to google the stitch as it had been years since I last did this, but once I got going on it, it all came back to me.

It actually works up pretty quickly, and when finished its light and airy, and I am finding it much kinder on the wrist and arm when working on it.  I'll try and remember to take a picture of my work in progress.

Did you try and make a needle case of your own?  Here is another project you can try with the strip quilt as you go method.  I actually have some of these on the go at the moment - and a few that I made at Christmas that wait only for the binding on the edges.  One of these days I will get brave and attempt to finish them with a proper binding.

Check out this table runner -

http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/2010/08/table-runner-tutorial.html






Thursday, February 7, 2013

Stash Buster Thursday - A Needle/Hook Case!




I am not much of a sewer - my mother was a seamstress, she made bridal gowns and ball gowns and everything else you can imagine.  You'd think I would have turned out to be a decent sewer because I had a wonderful teacher - BUT - although Mom and I were very close, I admired her and respected her  - but when it came to sewing we two butted heads like crazy.

She was perfection, and I was not... so sewing never became a passion of mine.  Having said that I have done quite a bit of sewing, but mostly crafty things, and doll clothes.  Don't expect to ever see a garment larger than 21" ever coming off my machine!

Even so - I do have a STASH of material... thanks to my Aunt Margaret.


  Now there is someone who can take a scrap of material and turn it into something beautiful!  She gave me a lot of material scraps several years ago, and I have great intentions, but so far have used only a small bit of it.

So here is a small project to "Bust"  a little of that fabric stash.

 This is made from strips of fabric.  Cut a pile strips, of varying widths, and at least 12" long.  This one was made from strips 9 " long, but as you can see it turned out just right for my steels (crochet hooks).  My regular crochet hooks are quite a bit longer than the steels so that is why I am suggesting 12" strips.


 



Once you have your pile of strips cut, cut a 9X12 piece of fabric.  (I used a 9X9 for my steel case).

Starting the left edge sew the first strip right side up to the fabric square.  Take another fabric strip and lay it right sides together and sew along the the right side of the strip.  


This picture is backwards, I really did start at the left edge!

press the strip back
You are going to need your iron handy for the project because you will need to iron the newly applied strip back down so that the right side of the fabric is facing up. 
The picture on the right shows how you open the sewn strip after sewing.  You can also see that the  strips are sewn but all the seams are invisible.





Complete the square by sewing strips in this manner, tight to the edge of the square.

Finished sewing the strips

Because I am horrible at binding and will do anything to avoid it at all costs I decided to back my piece with another fabric.  So lay your square right sides together with your backing piece which has been cut  to a 9X12 size (mine was 9X9)



Sew along three sides leaving 1 side open.  trim edges and turn it open, and press.  You will have a mini-pillow case sort of thing now.

Note: I left my open side to the side, not the bottom.  Finish this side by folding and ironing the side finished, and sew along the edge to seal it closed.


Next fold the bottom of your square up, forming a pocket which will hold your needles.

Next I top-stitched from bottom to top, at intervals wide enough to hold 2 needles.  This also will quilt the strip part of the piece, so you are both quilting your piece and forming your little pockets.
Roll and tie with a ribbon, and there you have it!
I attached my ribbon, but first I rolled the case so I could judge where to attach my ribbon.




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Prayer Shawls

Last year I was involved in the Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church.  I made a couple of shawls, but because I could not attend the meetings or shawl making get togethers, I dropped out of the group. 

Yesterday my pastor blessed a shawl for a friend of mine who is having surgery today.  I will give it to her as soon as she is able to be up a bit.  In the meantime, it got me to thinking about getting back to contributing to this very special and important ministry.

I should use my talents more to help others than I do - I think we all should.  Something I make with my hands can be used to comfort someone else in a totally different way.   It is a gift of the heart, but also a gift of spirit.  So I decided to start a new prayer shawl to donate to the ministry at church.

While my BFF is in surgery, my mind and heart are consumed with positive thoughts and prayers for her and the surgeons who are operating on her.  Could there be any better time to start a shawl for someone else in need?  I don't think so.

I thought I might make a lacey shawl, maybe along the lines of broomstick lace.  Remember that technique of crocheting off a very large knitting needle?  I will have to google it and see if I can find the instructions - it has been many years since I last tried this method of crochet that was all the rage in the 70's.

In the meantime, I will keep those positive thoughts and prayers focused on my dear friend.  She faces a very long and difficult recovery and will need all the prayers that we can send.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Penny For Your Thoughts!




Pinching your Pennies?  A Penny wise, and a pound foolish? In for a Penny, in for a Pound? A pretty Penny?  A Penny saved is a Penny earned?  A Penny whistle? Henny Penny? Penny arcade?

The Canadian Penny came to be in 1870, and sadly it was abandoned yesterday.  Abandoned?  That sounds kind of harsh, but the truth is the Canadian penny will no longer be made, or used in the day to day economics of this country.

We are not the first country to be without  Two Pennies to rub together!  Australia, Finland, Israel, New Zealand, Brazil, Norway and the Netherlands  have all pitched their Pennies, claiming they have saved millions on a coin that wasn't worth a cent!

I guess Penny Pincher's from here on in will just be referred to as cheap skates!  How refreshing! Your "thoughts" will now cost a nickle; that brand new BMW will cost now cost you a Pretty Quarter; and if you actually get to save a nickle in today's economy, it just might be worth a cent!

Our pretty Canadian Penny was produced right here in my home town of Winnipeg.  I watched it roll off the line many times over the years when we took visitors to tour the mint.  Wonder what the mint will produce now?

And what is going to happen to all those Pretty Pennies out there in circulation.  What do you want to bet they all vanish... all the baby-boomers will be pinching those pennies and storing them in jars in the closets - isn't that what we all did as a child?  I must admit I have a pound or two of them myself - in a good solid container they make a great door stop.

I'll bet crafters all over the country will be thinking of ingenious ways to use Pennies.  I think I might replace the linoleum at the back door with pennies... I saw that on Pinterest, actually... it was stunning!  Or maybe if I don't have enough to cover the whole floor, I can at least make a penny mat for in front of the door.

Oh the possibilities are endless!  Yet another project to think about.

Fifty years from now, Canadian children won't even know what a penny was.  They will no doubt be throwing loonies in the fountains after their wishes - for surely by then all the pennies will be long gone... maybe in heaven?

RIP little Penny!

I had all kinds of shinny copper pictures to add to this story - but alas, Blogger is not working well this morning.... maybe I'll be able to add them later....


On an entirely different subject - today is my favourite Aunt's 95th birthday.  Happy Birthday Auntie Margaret - I love you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday's Musing!

Happy Monday, everyone!  I know, as days go, Monday is not everyone's favorite day - that thought went through my brain @ 5:30 this morning too.  Still every day is a gift, and we should treat it as such.

What did you do on the weekend.?  I declared I was not moving from the house all weekend - and I didn't!   I did get a lot of things on my to do list done, and I even managed to squeeze in a couple of things that were not on the list. 

I always feel that I should do my house cleaning before anything else.  Why do we always feel that is the most important thing we should do, when we find ourselves with some time?  A throwback to another era, I guess, but sure enough, early Saturday morning had me cleaning and scrubbing.  By noon I was done (in more ways that one) so after lunch I headed for the craft room.  It was still a mess from the week before, so I decided to NOT clean it but add to the mess.  I opened the armoire where I store all my fabric - and instantly got and idea for my next Stash Buster Thursday segment.

I wasn't intending on working on fabric stashes quite yet - but don't you know after a very short time with the rotary wheel in my hand - I was dreaming up all kinds of projects to do with fabric.

Oh great - now I have two major heaps - one of yarn, and one of fabric.  Think I can work on both at the same time?

Well I don't know - maybe I'll try it for this week and see if I drive myself completely around the bend.  In the meantime, I'm thinking it is probably a really good thing that the rodent, Manitoba Merv has predicted 6 more weeks of winter - It's going to take me at least that long to clean up this mess of fabric and yarn that I have made in my craft room!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Got Ski Pants?

And I don't mean the thin shinny wind pants that some call ski pants.  I mean the ones that have the wind repelling material on the outside and layers and layers of batting filled material on the inside.  The ones that add about 70 lbs to your look and actual weight.  The ones that when you fall to the ground you must lay there and yell... " I can't get up - I can't get up!"

Well I have you on the right page now -that's for sure!  So do you have such things hanging in your closets?  If you do, I would advise you to stick your legs in them and give them a solid yank... you are going to need them this morning, if you are anywhere near Manitoba.

You might want to add a warm hat; mitts (doubled of course)... that would be 2 pair of mitts on each hand, not one pair on the hands and one in the pockets like my son used to do as a kid.  Oh... and a scarf... no not Pashmina- a winter scarf - who cares what colour - wool would be your best bet!

I am painting a grim picture - but believe me it's a very accurate picture of the human-like forms I saw slugging along down the sidewalks in the dark hours of this early morning.  These forms were upright, slightly bent, and not moving all too quickly... but they were moving, which was a good thing, otherwise I would have had to stop the car and get out - not something I was very anxious to do this morning.

When I finally arrived at my destination, and finally was able to get out of my car (yes I was frozen IN, again), it was to find a co-worker waiting at the elevator.  What was the first thing we said to each other?

"God, it's cold!" or in her case "Jesus, God - it's cold!"  But you know what?  She was smiling from ear to ear, and I was too.

So if we hate the cold so much - Number 1 - why are we living here?
                                               - Number 2 - why are we out in it?
                                               - Number 3  - why the heck are we smiling?

You know what I think?  I'm going to tell you!

Manitoban's are phonies!  Yes they are!  They love winter - they love the snow, the cold and the discomfort that goes along with it.  But most of all they love the practice of talking and telling stories and yes complaining about the cold weather.  Yup, that's why we live here... whatever would we talk about if we didn't have winter!