Monday, December 30, 2013

It's Ending

It's all coming to an end for another year.

Isn't it funny how so many memories surface when pulling out the decorations or baking the favorites? Many conversations begin with "We always used to . . . " or "Grandma always made . . . " or "Remember that time . . . "

And once again, too many goodies have been consumed! (Is there really such a thing as too many?)

Unfortunately, the weather will be sticking around for awhile!  Nothing like going from a record high temperature to dangerously cold stuff, but that's how we roll here.  One must either get out and enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or ice fishing - OR - curl up and read a good book or take up some crafty needlework or tatting.  (I much prefer the latter at this point in my life, but I have many memories of beautiful snow-covered woods on cross-country skis or snowmobiles!)

Tatted snowflakes are appropriate in this weather - and the only tatting I've accomplished in December.  I made these for Mom using size 70 thread and beads that were a little too big, but I think they turned out pretty anyway.  I love this pattern by Elizabeth Zipay.

I'm still trying to master using Blogger on an iPad, so I'm never quite sure how my posts will look when I hit that button.  And posts are a bit scarce too, since exasperation occurs before I can finish most of the time!

In any case, it's time to pack up the new memories, put Christmas away for another year, and get on with a refreshed outlook for the next chapter of life's book!

Peace and Joy (and warmth!) to you, wherever you are.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Did You Vote?

Even though I haven't gotten much blogging OR tatting done lately, I DID get a couple of things entered in the Tatting Corner Show and Tell Contest.  I could really use more thread, patterns and shuttles, couldn't you?  Hope you entered something, and If you haven't voted, go vote!  There are many beautiful entries.    Vote here:

I was also saddened to see the loss of Jan Stawasz.  His patterns are such a wonderful contribution to the tatting world.  I'm glad I have his latest book!

Just spent a fun week with Mom while the men were deer hunting - we did our usual shopping, eating out and shopping some more.  By the time we sat down long enough to do any handwork, we were too tired to do it!  A fun week in any case, but now it's back to work, Christmas decorating, and lefse making!  I can't believe it's December already

And, it snowed today.  Slippery-heavy-awful-to-drive-in stuff. Slid right past my street on the way home from work and had to go around the block, all while hearing sirens on their way to an accident nearby.  No shopping or trip to the gym tonite, no sir.  Not leaving the house again.  

I should probably tat or something  ;)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Not what I saw in my head . . .

I loved the Cranberry Bush Lizbeth thread - beautiful Christmas colors!

I loved the photo on Pinterest of this pretty edging to try.

I can make a pretty ornament, I said.

OK, so it's not as pretty as what I saw in my head.  Dang it.

It seemed like a ring at the top with 16 rings would be way too squished, so I made half.  I thought it would be easy to figure it out, but easy = boring ?  

Must. Try. Again.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


WHAT? Snow on November 5th?

Seriously. You'd think we were in Minnesota or something.  

It's gonna be a LONG winter.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sewing Season

I had this great idea for my daughter to make Christmas gifts for her office staff.  They all enjoy the nearby coffee shop, so when I saw this Coffee Cozy Pattern, I thought it would be the perfect thing to make and give with a gift card for Christmas.  So, we spent a Saturday getting started - she choosing fabrics and cutting, and me showing her how these go together.

These are gonna be CA-YUTE!

We got a couple of them done checking out how it was going to work, and were satisfied with the result.

So, while hubby and I went off for our last state park visit of the year, my daughter stayed to Ruby-sit and work on her cup cozies.  She is not an experienced sewer, so she had a little bit of trouble. A few goofs and no experience trying to correct them.  Each one got a little worse, until she sewed one that came out inside out somehow. Nothing that can't be fixed, but when you don't know how to fix it, it's frustrating! I think she did great sticking with it without anyone to turn to at the moment she needed some help, and the issues aren't that awful.  But she gave up and left me this note:

We'll get them fixed. 

I have a couple of thoughts about the pattern too.  I don't think it necessarily has to have the curve that many patterns seem to have. A simple 12 x 5 rectangle would be just fine.  I would also use a whole hair binder instead of just half of one to give it more room for adjusting on different size cups.  Embellishments could include some tatting.  I think I need one of these :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reacting vs. Responding

A whole MONTH has gone by since I posted last.  A lot can happen in a month!  

I haven't been tatting much, but there's been a lot of "life" going on. Youngest daughter and boyfriend bought a house, so the preparation and moving in and housewarming have taken some time.  Hubby has interviewed, and interviewed, and interviewed,  and finally landed a position after a long stretch with only temporary work.  Oldest daughter bought a new car, with boyfriend and dad helping out.  Youngest daughter had a birthday and got a new job.  Hubby and I have been to our last camper cabin/state park visit for this year.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster!  Happy, nervous, anxious, stressed, and all of it all over again. And why do I take on everyone else's stress?  And here we are with the holidays looming.

I used to be good at responding to situations with a fair amount of confidence and organization - looking at the big picture.  Lately I've been just reacting - with much anxiety and low confidence without thinking beyond the moment.  But, recognizing that is the first step to getting back on track!  It's one of life's great lessons to realize that everyone is shaped by every single experience and emotion they have.  It's one thing to say it, but a whole other thing to really experience it first-hand.  And to think about it and analyze it so deeply is bringing out that introvert in me.  Only other introverts would understand it, so I won't dwell on it with further detail :)  

After finishing a really good book, I started trying to remember all the books I've read this year so I could add a page to my blog to keep track.  I considered writing a short summary of each book, but decided that I will just keep it a simple list and maybe get thoughts or recommendations from others as time goes on.  So, for now I'm adding a page of books read if anyone cares to comment or share.
I've added a button on the right to my GoodReads bookshelves, per Fox's wise suggestion!  

Craftiness tomorrow.

Ah, a cabin in the north woods and a
good book does wonders for the soul!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Favorite Time of Year

FALL!  I love the cooler weather, the colorful foliage and the smell of leaves.  Anything under about 80 degrees F is good for me :)

We got married in the fall too.  30 years ago today!  Boy, it seems like that went by fast - until I realize I have kids that are in their 20's. It's amazing how looking back makes the years seem to fly, but when you are raising a family and working and running to practices, games, tournaments and recitals, the days seem to drag.  I feel blessed to have such an abundance of good memories.

Fall has always been our favorite time to take some time away from home, so off we went to another state park this past weekend.  This time we were in southern Minnesota, in a town with much German heritage.  

Same cabins in all of the state parks.  Waaaaay better than a tent!

And as usual, wonderful hiking trails within the park.

The fall colors are just beginning around here.  These views will be breathtaking and full of color in the next couple of weeks.

I refuse to wear SOCKS until I absolutely have to.  
Sweatshirt, jeans and flip-flops are just fine.  For now.

This area also has an historic brewery.  We took the tour to learn more about it - it's fascinating how businesses made it through the depression, and how this brewery survived the prohibition by making root beer and near beer.

I never knew what "hops" looked like, or how they grew.  
Beer is made of barley and hops.  Huh.
Kind of a pretty vine, actually!

 The resident peacock family studied us with curious looks as we strolled around the grounds.

And on our way out of town, we stopped to see "Hermann the German" and climb to the top of the monument 
for a view of the city.  More history.  
Why didn't I pay better attention in History class in school?

The climb was somewhat unnerving on this windy day . . .

But the view was nice!

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
Just in time to prepare for our next weekend 
of weddings and reunions.  Then we might
just slow down a little before the holidays hit.

Until then, we'll be enjoying FALL. 
Love this time of year!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Life's Been Good . . .

. . . to me so far!   Not to mention BUSY.  No time to tat, read, sew or a dang thing, so I'm a Witchy Woman.  But we did go to the "History of the Eagles" concert this week - a gift in celebration of the 30th wedding anniversary with The Best of My Love.  I LOVE the Eagles.  It brings back so many memories of high school days - back to Life in the Fast Lane.

Now we're old, so we Take it Easy. Definitely not the New Kid in Town anymore.  But, it's a Peaceful, Easy Feeling to know that Love Will Keep Us Alive. 

Ok, enough.  Music is really in my soul, and I've been getting my music organized and doing plenty of singing along lately.  It really has been a busy month, and I can put those ear buds in and really escape with my favorite music.  I've even found that I walk on a treadmill better with good music on rather than watching the tube.  I've been doing some reading on stress/anxiety relief, and when I read about escaping with music for awhile, it hit home.  It's not surprising, really, I've always found great comfort in the music I choose to listen to.  I think I've just gotten away from it somewhat over the years of raising kids. But listening to music that I loved as a teenager makes me realize what an escape it was even back then. A calming escape.  Maybe that's part of the appeal of the music from those young days.  People say those days are carefree, but I think being a teenager is very stressful, and music is just one way to escape.

I can't believe we are almost through September already.  I've put the Trellis doily away for now, and have a few more booked weekends before I will get back to any projects.  Showers, weddings, state park trips and other gatherings have us on The Long Run until mid-October.  

I am Desperado to have some free time One of These Nights.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Funny for Me

It's a busy time of year I guess.  I put the trellis doily aside for now, and have been enjoying this last bit of summer. (I know what's coming weather-wise in Minnesota!)

A trip to the farmers market last weekend got me hooked into canning some tomato-vegetable soup.  It's kind of funny for me - I'm not crazy about cooking meals, but I love to make soups and jams to can for the winter.  To think my grandmas canned to have food on the table during the winter months, and I do it for "fun".  They were some smart, organized women.

One evening this week was spent with some friends boating on the Mississippi River.  Funny,  I'm not a big water-recreation person either, but what a beautiful way to spend an evening in nice weather. 

And one last funny.  I picked up my doily from the Minnesota State Fair (yahoo, 2nd Place!) without ever attending the dang fair while it was going on.  It was just toooooo hot for this Scandihoovian to consider wandering around the fairgrounds standing in lines to get any food or see ANYTHING.  Seriously, there were heat advisories.  Air-conditioning for this big baby.

I also have a new iPhone, so I'm playing with apps and trying to get everything synced.  Technology is wonderful, but ooh, what a deadly time-sucker.  I love it.

Now, I'm not sure what this next week will bring, but if it's nice outside, I will be enjoying it before the temps turn COLD and I'm in for the winter!  My autumn sunflowers are beautiful. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

OK, I'll Do It

After some serious thought and some practicing, I think I'm ready to try the Victorian Trellis Doily [so dubbed by Frivole.]  Well, I'm at least ready to try the first round, which is the beginning lattice work.  

This is one of those very old patterns that is incredibly difficult to understand, but Frivole has given a detailed explanation of how to complete that first round.  I am certain I would have tossed even the mere thought of trying this doily out the window had it not been for this explanation, so many thanks to Frivole for the work she does clearing up some of the mysteries of tatting old patterns.  

I am intrigued by the fact that this doily is all chains.  No rings to un-tat? [This is great news, since I'm expecting I will be doing some retro-tatting . . .]   I love the ruffly look of the Victorian Set stitches, and the very unique look it brings to tatting.  This beginning round also has SCMRs (self-closing mock rings), so after a few more of those I should be able to remember the technique.  I have a hard time remembering which technique is used where and how to start, so just concentrating on the fact that I'm only working chains helps to pound that SCMR into my memory bank.  

I KNEW there was a good reason to have coil-less safety pins, too. I searched and searched for these awhile back, and was excited to find them - only to find I don't really use them as much as I thought I would.  This pattern definitely has me using . . . one  :)  I found these handy pins in the jewelry-making supplies at JoAnn's, not in the sewing stuff as one would imagine.  If anyone has a need for these pins and can't get them, let me know and I would be happy to get some to you.  Of course, good old bobby pins work for this pattern too - ha ha!

This doily may take me forever-and-a-day but I think it's a good challenge.  I will probably have to work on other projects between rounds so I don't get bored and give up altogether, but I seem to complete things if I have an absolute deadline.  Next year's fair entry is due in July 2014 . . .

If anyone else is interested in trying this pattern, here are some links I used to get myself started on this pattern:

The pattern is in this book, page 17:  Priscilla Tatting Book No. 2
(pattern is also in Julia Sanders Tatting Patterns book)
Frivole's first round explanation post: First Round Explained 
Frivole's Self-Closing Mock Ring video:  SCMR De-mystified

And, last but not least, here are posts showing Frivole and Jane M 's successful finishes of this doily.  I can only hope to finish this one myself - it most certainly won't be fast.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Need a Fix?

Our Twin Cities Tatters group met yesterday, and in trying to decide what to work on, I decided I needed something easy and relaxing.  I can never concentrate on anything but rings and chains while chatting, and besides, after that Jan Stawasz doily I needed something that wouldn't take much brain work :)

Recently, Jon Yusoff (Tat-a-Renda) posted a simple bookmark for practicing split rings.  Good for a split ring beginner, yes, but I like the look as well as having something fairly simple to do at times when my brain is not ready to be exercised fully as well.  Besides, who can't use some more split ring practice?

So, if you need a quick tatting fix, this is a good one.  I need to replenish my bookmark stash anyway!

Jon Yusoff's Bookmark with Split Ring Centre
Lizbeth Wildflower Garden, Size 20

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Heaven has Frisbees

We won't be having these kinds of chats anymore . . .

And this little nose won't be working hard to find morsels under the kitchen table . . .

No more "throw it again!" persistence . . .

But we'll never forget this sweet little face.

For almost 15 years, Taffy was our loyal family companion.  My adult children were in elementary school when she adopted us as her own.

We said goodbye to her today through tears, but we know she's chasing Frisbees again - wherever she is.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

State Parks and Fabric

One of our recent state park trips was to another northern Minnesota bog area - Big Bog State Recreation Area.  A few photos from that trip:

This is our friend Chip - the chipmunk that lives under the cabin deck.  It was SO hot and humid this day, that even Chip just laid on the deck most of the time. He looks quite tired, doesn't he?  Perked right up for a snack, though.

We went for a quick walk on this mosquito-infested trail (and I do mean infested! The mosquitoes were ruthless.  It's a bog area on an extremely humid, tropical day.)

This park area has a river on one side and a HUGE lake on the other.  At the river, we watched this doe for quite awhile just cooling herself in the water and eating wet grasses.  

 This was a great moment - the doe didn't see the boat and the boat didn't see the doe.  In the end, neither one cared anyway.  It was too dang hot.

And then our friend Peter rabbit stopped by for a snack.  I just love seeing these little creatures pop on in to see what we're doing, spying on us to see if we brought anything good to eat.

We climbed the fire tower for a good view of the lake.  It was actually cooler up there, so it was worth the climb.

 And the view was beautiful with a clear blue sky and the sun sparkling on the water.

We climbed back up there later in the evening to catch the sunset. The clouds were rolling in, so unfortunately we couldn't see that beautiful sun set right on the water.  We had to settle for this glimpse just before the clouds took over.

Which brings me to today's fabric shopping trip. Woo hoo!  State Parks and fabric - some of my favorite things all in one!

Each year, many of the Minnesota Quilt Shops participate in a two-week shop hop featuring Minnesota themed fabric designed just for this event.  I usually admire the fabric and get a few pieces, but today started the 2013 event and has this beautiful state park themed fabric.  I think it was designed just for me.  I wanted needed some.

I have lived all but about one year of my life in good old Minnesota. I love my home.  I am a city girl, but I do love the outdoors and our beautiful state parks for hiking and taking photos.

So how could I resist?  Looks like a beautiful start to a quilt of some kind.  I haven't made a quilt in a few years, but these soft, blended hues are inspiring.  I think I'll be digging in some quilting books over the weekend.