Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh, the bargains!

They have me sidetracked again.  I was on a roll de-Christmasing the house and rearranging furniture and such, when a trip to the store for clearance throws for the loveseats got me sidetracked again.  In all the great clearance detective work I was doing, I came across this holiday table runner for about $8:

And since we just moved a sofa table, it caught my eye.  Haven't had a new runner in years, and I'm not usually a "seasonal" decorator.  Turns out this runner is a tad too long for its intended spot, so I had the bright idea to cut off the holiday ends, and turn the runner into an every-day piece.  The ends can be seasonal table toppers!  (See how my mind works?)  So . . . I'm thinking I can tat an edging for each end of my every day runner.  But what color?  The current edging is a sort of brown/green color, and my living room is fairly neutral with a little olive green.  I am contemplating these threads, and leaning toward the top brown.  I also have two balls of that color, so I would probably not run out when 75% done!  Actually, looking at this picture makes the green a definite "no". So, brown thread or a lighter beige?

So now for the fun part.  Which edging?  I'm considering one of the bottom two in this picture:

Any thoughts?  I'm thinking the bottom one would take less thread, and probably be quicker for me to finish.  And allow me to get sidetracked onto something else :)  Maybe I can even tat a matching edge for the holiday pieces!  Here we go.

My other project this weekend has been to prepare a "Gratitude Journal".  I had a blank book with an ugly cover, and decided to dress it up a little with some decoupage for a journal I've been wanting to get started.  The New Year is a perfect time to start documenting the things I am thankful for. 

To acknowledge the positives each day won't allow me to dwell on the negatives that I encounter.  Studies show that positive attracts positive.  Have you ever noticed how attitudes are contagious - whether positive OR negative?  I strive to be the positive one, and I truly believe that happiness is a decision we all make every day.  Thus the keys on my book.  The key to happiness is being grateful for all that we have.  

So.  My book will be in my living room, and my goal is to write in it every day.  And my family and friends are invited to write in it as well, whenever they visit.  

And that's just a couple of the things I have planned for the New Year . . .

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve :)

I hope you can in every way,
Find Joy and Peace 
on Christmas Day.
However you celebrate,
Whatever your cheer,
Remember the best things
are those you hold dear.

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wine Jelly and Almonds

I really do love that I have the whole weekend before Christmas!  I can clean (sorta) and get the house organized (kinda) and make some things I like to putz with (yeah!) 

The house is quiet while others are out running last minute errands, I'm making some last minute things I just wanted to make.  Not necessary, but you know me.  Gotta squeeze in one more thing . . .

So, the house smells like wine and almonds.  I made Swedish Toast again - one of my favorites that I just have to make.  The recipe is HERE - from last year when I made it.  The wine smell has wafted its way out of the house now, but it did smell somewhat like a bar in here this morning.

We love cream cheese with just about any kind of jelly on crackers, and I've tasted the wine jellies before.  A very good appetizer!  I thought if I tried it with a pretty red wine, it would be a beautiful color, so I bought a bottle of this:

Mixed 2 cups of wine with 3-1/4 cups of sugar, and heated on the stove until the sugar melted.

Then I added one packet of liquid pectin,

Boiled the mixture hard for a minute while stirring, put it into clean canning jars, threw it in the boiling water canner for a 10-minute boiling process, and 


Barely an hour, and I have four pints and one half-pint of pretty red wine jelly. The color is pretty, but I think a white zinfandel or a rose would actually be prettier.  Had I thought ahead a little better, I could have tatted a pretty little top to tie onto the jar with a ribbon. Maybe I have time to do that . . .

Pretty, pretty!

Now I even have time to read the NEXT book I've started - Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  Thanks to Isdihara's post HERE, I'm on my second read of the month, completely avoiding the other books on my "to read" list.  I am so easily sidetracked :)

On with enjoying holiday preparations!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Snowflake, A Gift and A Dog :)

Betsy Snowflake

Another snowflake done!  Whoopee - I've finished a whopping 4 flakes this season.  Ha!  I always start too late on holiday tatting.  I really enjoyed this pattern though - Betsy Snowflake by Betsy Evans - an easy, pretty snowflake with split rings to allow finishing in one pass. I do believe I will be able to get a few more of these done - if for nothing else but my own tree.  I love the shape of this one.

I've been puttering with various projects this past week, keeping busy to enjoy this season of giving.  Michelle and her daughter and I were actually able to schedule a Twin Cities Tatters day on Saturday - another chance to sit and relax and tat with coffee.  Jealous yet?  Salted Caramel lattes and mochas.  Now are you jealous?  Tatting snowflakes and chattering away.  It's so nice to take a few minutes to slow down and enjoy some relaxed time with friends during the rush of the season. 

And here's a gift I finished for a dear young lady - I enjoy making things for someone who appreciates them so much. She says she loves them because no one ever made her anything before. (I can't imagine!) I thought this table topper with a burlap center and some coasters (I forgot to add the little ivory bird salt & pepper shakers to the picture) made a cute set.


And, we even remembered this one's birthday is today.  We can't believe Taffy's been with us for 14 years!  She doesn't see much other than shadows, and her selective listening has pretty much become deaf ears, and she runs into our legs and open doors.  Other than that, she's a happy little companion content to sleep by my feet.  Or on them.  In any case, she had a pig ear snack and got a new squeaky toy, both of which she enjoyed much more than posing for this picture!

I do not like this hat I do not like this hat . . . 

And thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. Life is a treasure we forget to embrace during our busy lives sometimes. Be happy and sing Christmas carols - the angels will LOVE it!

P.S.  Is this font too big?

“Tears are the jewels of remembrance, 
sad but glistening with the beauty of the past.”
            From The Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Angels

I don't ordinarily complain on my blog, but today I'm tired of being tough and optimistic.  I have lost an uncle and a niece within 3 days, and another uncle just 5 months ago.  Completely different generations, two older but unexpected, and one younger and in poor health for the past couple of years.  I'm sort of at a loss for words today, watching members of my family grieve for their Dad and brother, and seeing my nieces reminisce about the fun they had growing up with their crazy cousin, now lost to them forever.  It's just hard to watch those you love in such pain.  Both my family and my husband's.  I now truly know the meaning of a heavy heart.

But it makes me realize how absolutely wonderful life is, and how much we should appreciate every moment.  Unexpected events can change your life in mere minutes.  Spend time with your loved ones, hug your kids, tell your spouse/partner how much they mean to you, and take the time to notice the beauty of the day around you.  Appreciate your days, no matter what inconveniences you have.  Be tolerant of others and their actions.  You never know what tomorrow might bring.  

There are new angels in heaven today.  And every day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Need. More. Time.

I love that Thanksgiving fell early this year - it makes it seem like there is more time until Christmas with that extra week.  We leisurely got the tree up, and I really have  most of my Christmas shopping done.  Had a great time last weekend making lefse - even Michelle and her daughters joined us.  I was feeling pretty on top of the Christmas rush.

(Taffy poses when the camera comes out!)
And then, this awesome old dresser entered my life.  

It's a shame to cover up that beautiful old wood, but I dislike stripping and refinishing wood.  So, I am going to paint this beauty.  THIS weekend.  Great timing, right?  But it can't sit in the garage - we are getting our first significant snowfall tonight, and would prefer to park all vehicles in the garage.  This dresser has a piece of glass to fit the top also - I'm envisioning doilies and pictures under the glass . . .

So, I won't be tatting many snowflakes this weekend.  But I might get a few more chapters of The Ruins of Lace read.  A book review another time.  I wish there were a few more hours in a day - or a weekend!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lace and History

Here is one more piece of lace in my new collection of old stuff.  

It appears to be finished at both ends - what would one use this for?  A collar?  To add to something else?  This looks like mostly crochet to me, but I'm not sure about the piece that the long threads come from.  Is this hairpin lace? I guess I didn't think hairpin lace twisted like that. It looks like the twisted threads that are in the pulled thread piece in my earlier post of these old items. 

I'm pretty familiar with basic crochet, but not these stitches.  And I'm too lazy at the moment to go digging for more information.  Another day :)

Here's an envelope of embroidery thread.  Much of this is silk thread, but I really love the envelope!  The Mississippi River in Minneapolis was once the home of the world's largest flour mill, and Minneapolis was known as the "Flour Milling Capital of the World" in the late 1800's/early 1900's. 

From postage history I found,
this stamp was issued in 1912.

There is an address on the front of the envelope to a Mrs. Larson.  Swedish or Norwegian perhaps?  The pencil writing on the envelope looks to be Scandinavian, and it says "dyne tra" and "silke tra" - something thread and silk thread?

So, what should I do with the lace piece?  How about the envelope?  Why do I love stuff like this so much?  It's fun to have, but there must be something I can DO with it to display it or use it so it doesn't get stored away.  Maybe I need several shadow boxes!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Fake" Tatting?

This big box is full of thread, embroidery floss, old patterns for embroidery, and edgings.  

I love these old wooden spools of thread.  

There are some interesting edgings in there, but this one is an entirely new package of a 'Novelty Braid' that looks kind of like tatting.  Fake tatting!

It makes me wonder if the person that bought it had an intended use for it, or if it was just an irresistible purchase because it's so pretty. What should I do with this?  I feel like it should just be displayed in its original package.  Maybe I should make a shadow box with some of these items that are just fun to look at.

And is this for rug hooking?  I've never done that, but the hooks I've seen for rug hooking are different than this.  Not sure about this doo-dad.  Looks like a typical something in a crafter's collection.

One more piece of lace to share tomorrow, and then I really should get busy getting into the holiday spirit.  It IS almost December!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Funny Collections

Back to the contents of the old boxes of "stuff" my aunt gave me.  What an interesting mix of collections.  My aunt had these in her closet, and she knew I would have fun digging in them and enjoy looking at the old items. 

First of all, I really love the old boxes.  I wish I could think of something unique to do with them besides admire them.

This was a nice, intact piece in with the other things. A long dresser scarf maybe, or a table runner.  This is about 19 inches wide, and 4-1/2 feet long, with this beautiful work on each end.  

I'm hoping for a little help from my lace blogging friends.  Is this pulled thread work? I can't imagine doing this, but it's quite unique and interesting to me. 

There is just this one little spot that is ruined.  

I'm wondering if I could cut this end of the runner off, and then cut this little section of lace off (it's near one edge).  It would make a nice little cloth piece with a pretty edge to hang off of a shelf.  The remaining length of the piece still has the other pretty lace end on it.  If I hemmed the cut end, I could wear it as a scarf.  I'd rather do something useful with it than pack it away.

The cigar box is empty, but it's a nice sturdy box.  What should I store in there?

The box from the toilet soap is full of buttons, hooks, and old garter (!!) pieces.  My aunt was not sure where she got these or who the original owner was, but whoever owned this collection was quite the re-purposer! Geez - I thought I was bad.  I will have to sift through these and determine my next step . . .

More contents another day.  
Will I ever get my sewing room clean?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Merge

Well, here we are at the merging of two huge holidays!  Thanksgiving week melds right into Christmas, doesn't it?  It gets earlier every year.   
I can't bear to put Tom away just yet -
Christmas decor will have to wait! 
I've said it before, but I'll say it again - we spend Thanksgiving differently than most at our house.  Hubby goes off to the cabin in the woods for 10 days of deer hunting with my dad, brother, nephews and uncles.  Mom comes to my house and stays, and we shop like maniacs and eat out.  A lot.  Then we make the typical Thanksgiving dinner, and celebrate a casual day with my daughters and boyfriends.  Nothing fancy, but great food and leftovers :) Then it's back to more shopping, but we skip eating out and make leftover dishes. 

I've celebrated Thanksgiving without the men (that hunt) at home all of my life, and without my hubby for 28 of 30 years we've been together.  It's just the way it is.  The men celebrate their blessings with a typical Thanksgiving meal in the woods - probably a truer representation of the holiday anyway.  Can you imagine being in the woods in a log cabin with the smell of turkey wafting through the snow-covered pine trees?   It's good for them to peel potatoes and do all the cooking for a change :) It's really a fun tradition for my mom and I to spend this time together.  This morning Mom headed back home, Hubby should be home soon, and we'll all get back to the usual routine.

Amid all the shopping and eating, I got some bags made for mom to take home with her for gifts.  They make perfect tatting bags, and for those that don't tat they are great for chunky jewelry.  I have a small one I picked up many years ago that was for jewelry, and I enlarged it for a tatting bag.  Actually, I like them for everything because I have an addiction to bags  :)  I guess there are worse addictions.

Mom also brought along these two old sugar & salt bags for me.  She knows how I love old stuff, and thought I could do something with them.  I'm not quite sure how to display or use them, but I have a couple of ideas.

AND, my aunt brought this little collection to me when we met for dinner one evening.  More old stuff that's fun to look at :)

I'll save the contents for another post.

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with good food and good company!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Modifying gone awry . . .

Still working on snowflakes here & there, and found this one to be a nice one to tat up.  I think it looks better in person that it actually does in the book.
Spoke Snowflake
Tatted Snowflakes by Vida Sunderman

I got tired of making white snowflakes, so I thought I'd use some pretty Messy Jessy thread [that Michelle was kind enough to share with me at our last get-together] and try my hand at climbing out of a round with a split ring again. Well, you can see where that went.  I love being unique, but when I do too much of my "own thing" I confuse myself!  So much for modifying on my own.


So, I started a flake that I was pretty sure I could get through with what thread I had left.  And, now you see where that went!  Aaaallllmmoooosssttt made it.  I was determined to finish this one, so I finished it off with a matching pink. Dang it.  If I hadn't experimented a bit, I would have had enough thread to finish.  I guess it really doesn't look that bad.  Kinda looks like I meant it that way.  That's it.  It was planned. 

Snowflake #10
Festive Snowflakes & Ornaments
Barbara Foster
I think I'll go back to using plain white for my snowflakes.  I have plenty of white thread. 

As for the Aerlit shuttles - I'm finding I really do like them.  I just have to hold on to the shuttle back a little farther to compensate for the tail length.  [Which, by the way, is quite handy for winding those bobbins.] The longer hook works fine also now that I've gotten used to it.  I may have to invest in some more of these happy little shuttles :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Aerolit (AERLIT) Testing [and Junk]

Dang it!  I keep wanting to call these aerolits - but I know they are AERLITs.  So I am correcting my spelling errors.  Ugh.  I'm usually quite observant about spelling . . .

I couldn't resist a couple of those new Aerlit shuttles, and I've been testing them out a little bit today. I'm working on another snowflake at the moment - more on that when I get it completed.

As far as the Aerlits, they are nice and clicky, and smooth to hold in the hand.  I am used to LaCossette's modified shuttles though, so that tail seems a little in the way.  The hook is a bit longer too, so I've been catching it on my thread.  I think it's just going to take a little getting used to - and I love all the colors.  I'll have to tat a bit more to get a feel for whether or not I really like these shuttles.  

Junk Update

Remember this old frame I picked up a week or two ago?

My main goal today was to get this frame turned into the jewelry frame I wanted.

With some help from the Mister, I attached some chicken wire. Then, I painted the whole thing a more light tan/taupe color than the original white.  The idea was to get the chicken wire painted the same color as the wall I want to hang it on, so the chicken wire doesn't show up quite so glaringly.  I also painted some little "s" hooks the same color.  Once that paint was dry, I rubbed on some black paint to give it a little more of an antique look. We currently have taupe colored walls and black accents in our room where I will be hanging the frame.  The corner carving detail certainly shows up better.

Ta Da!  The final product. I love it!  
This will work just fine :)