Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Slowing Down......

Christmas was Christmas.... always nice, but it's done and put away.  Jim and Violet in a moment of "cuteness".
We spent the holiday afternoon at what I consider our church..... our local Nature Center.  It has the most lovely wooded hiking trails.........
As for inside activites...........
The hedge apple rug slowly is progressing.............. and............
socks are coming together.  One down, and one to go.  I love this slowing down of time that post holiday winter brings......... sigh...........

Friday, December 23, 2011


Wednesday was our nine year anniversary! Jim and I have actually been together in one form or another for over 22 years.  I first met him when he came over to photograph myself and the ex for some family Christmas portraits almost 30 years ago (my mom still has one).  I was fairly happily married at the time, but remember thinking "Wow... if I wasn't taken, I'd be after that guy for sure!!"  Well.... the marriage went south eventually, but our paths did not cross for a couple more years after that.  We ran into each other one evening while I was out with a girlfriend, and over the next few days, a couple of mutual friends called to see if I was available.  Apparently Jim had checked around first before giving me a call.  One of the best parts of our relationship is my absorption into an instant family with two children.  They are lovely adults now, and we now have two grandchildren from Jim's son Erin.  We spent part of our anniversary hiking with our MOST AWESOME grandson Graham.
Later in the day, Graham's sister Ava came by.  She's an adorable bit of a tomboy (which I love).
We spent the evening, alone, at our favorite restaurant.  It was a very nice anniversary indeed..........



Thursday, December 22, 2011

HOBO Project #2

I dug out 2 sweaters that I've had for years and never wear.  The white cable is one I bought during my, now in the distant past, teacher life.  I felt I needed it to wear on Monday's when we had to wear the most horrid vest for our Character Ed. program.  I hated Mondays because I hated having to think about wearing that vest!  That may sound silly, but you know how Monday's can be, and having to wear something you don't like on top of the Monday crazies was not fun for me.  The other flowered number is a glass of wine, credit card, late night visit to the Anthropologie website.  I love Anthropologie, but this sweater and I never made friends..........
I did a bit of combining, patching, and finally soaking in left-over coffee and vanilla caramel teabags.
I also stretched the heck out of it before I let it dry on the drying rack.  The sash was from the Anthropologie sweater which I sewed along the bottom.  Then used various pieces of left-over wool for patches.

Jessy Gets Her Grey On!

My "can't get enough of her" gal pal, Jessy,  has embarked on a fabulous new hair adventure!  She has decided to cut the dye, and invite her beautiful grey locks to grow in and shine.  This growing in of natural color can be quite a challenge.  Jessy decided to strip her current color, and go soft to let her silver and grey come in as naturally as possible.
We spent three hours of friendship and champagne while anxiously waiting the result of Jessy's superb hair colorist, Pam's, magic to do it's thing.
It's hard to tell in this shot, but the results is a super soft light color with bits of silver coming through.  There is grey coming in at the top, which will blend nicely over time.  I told Jessy, "Get used to people staring at your grey roots and streaks."  I don't know why, but letting silver shine tends to be a bit disconcerting for some.  Jessy has gorgeous blue eyes, and a wonderful pale complexion with tiny pretty freckles.  She is, and will be even more gorgeous when all her fabulous silver shines!


My "At The Moment" Fav Rug!

I'm so loving hooking my Hedge Apple rug!  I love the colors, the wonky shape, and the simplicity of the design.  Not my usual small stuff with tons of details, which makes for a relaxing meditative sort of project.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Check Out Luvvly Jubbly!!

I'm just so excited these days!  I guess it's because I'm so loving this time of life.  I've been hooking, knitting, and working with my pastels.... all so rewarding (sigh...).  But I'm way excited to introduce you to a smashing new blog created by my gorgeous and talented girlfriend Jessy .  Her blog is called Luvvly Jubbly and it's my first stop everyday.  Jessy is one of these fascinating people that's been in my radar for years.  Both our hubby's are photographers, we both attend indie movies, we are both the same age, we both art and craft, we both are retired, and...... well you get the picture.  So I would like you to meet Jessy!
Jessy has the most wonderful talent for recreating just about anything from thrifted items, and things found around the house.  She shares all these wonderful ideas on her blog with very detailed instructions, so we can all be more creative, thrifty, and have fun!  One of my favs are her HOBO tights.

I mean really...... how sweet and hoboie are these?!  We met for coffee the other day and she had on these....
Jessy made these cuties from men's pj's.  I LOVE them!

She also hobos up her sweaters.  This one is adorable.
Jessy was so sweet to share some of her scrappy hobo fabric remnants with me, so...... I worked a bit on an old blazer that's been hanging in the closet for way too many years without being worn.  It was part of my old life as a teacher.  I bought it because it's wool and nice and warm for recess duty, but it was always a bit too stern for me.  I softened it up a bit.

I used some nice brown velvet (Jesse has at least two new creations from this velvet... it started out as a shower curtain) and old antique paisley.  I ripped and added the blue cotton scarf because I love the blue against the brown.
I finished it off by removing the three tiny boring brown buttons from the sleeves and adding some fun vintage ones from my button collection.
And... there's a very cute patch on one elbow that I forgot to get in the shot, but it's the same fabric as my little handkerchief sticking out of the pocket.  The best part is having something brand new, fun, and spending zero $$!!

Well, I'm off to dig out my old cotton tights, some wool scraps, the sewing kit, and make myself some snuggly hobo tights!

Stay warm, create, and have fun!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bits of This n' That

Golly.... sorry to have taken so long between posts.  I guess seasonal activities and an annoying fluy kind of cold set me back a bit.  Hubby and I had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago.  Nothing says the holidays like being in downtown Chicago on the day after Thanksgiving.  Below is a shot of us in front of the Robie House, a Franky Lloyd Wright home that we toured.

Next is a photo of the reason we were up there, my lovely and talented step-daughter, Lily 
and our fabulous son-in-law, Jesse.

 Oh, and poochies, Joanie and Louie.

 A few glimpses of downtown Chicago...

Yes, it's wall to wall humanity, but when you're just there to soak up the people, art, culture, and.... when there's no car parks to deal with (we rode the train), it's simply fabulous!!

I don't know about you, but whenever I travel, I can't wait to get home and start creating and crafting!!  The stimulation of travel always gets my juices flowing and gives me an extra jolt of adrenaline, not unlike a trip to Starbucks.

I've been hooking quite a bit, and hedge apple rug traveled with me to the big city.  I love working with these colors, and am anxious to start the border.  I'm not completely sure how the border design is going to play out, but I'm envisioning it as a completely different design than the rug, using colors that compliment and pop.

If you read my previous post, you may remember my pitiful whine about knitting sock toes.  I mean, for someone who has knitted a dozen pairs of socks, you'd think I'd have it down cold.  Well.... bloggy friend Dag from Sheep On A Spring came to my rescue.  She emailed directions for a brand new way to do my sock toes.  No more pointy ends, or confusing kitchner stitches for me.  Since I was sick and slightly dopey at the time, this did take more than one email to get me straightened out.  But Dag was so patient with my drug induced confusion, and once the first toe was done I had it down to a socky toe art.  Now, I'm knitting yet another pair, because I got this wonderful self-striping yarn on sale and needed some socks in black and white.

Cute, cute, cute!

I found this nice variegated Noro wool from Japan.  I'm knitting this twirly scarf for a Christmas gift exchange that my book club is having.  Such pretty colors......

  Lastly..... thanks for staying with me...... I've been working on a seasonal pastel.  I copied a photo in an old British Country Living..... the absolute best magazine I know of for lovely photos and articles that make me happy.  It's American sister mag doesn't even begin to compete. The pastel's not quite finished, and has been a bit of a challenge, but I'm almost there.

I'm sorry if I haven't been by and left a comment at your blog.  Hopefully, this week I'll pop by at some point and check in.

OH....... one more picture of our new little sweetie, Violet.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Color and Kittys

I've been madly hooking away for the past month.  The colors I'm currently using really excite me and I love laying contrasting hooked strips down next to each other always wowed by the effect of color.  The following is my little "Water Garden" rug named by my sweet friend and neighbor Emma (who is 10 years old).

I really enjoyed creating this little abstract piece.  There's plenty of color, but I only used about six or seven pieces of wool in this composition.  In other words, I color planned it, even though it may appear a little willy nilly with color.  This rug is about 3'x18".

This next project is the one that really has me jazzed.  Every fall I so look forward to the color of the fall hedge apples.  I love bringing them in, but they last such a short time... so I decided to hook a rug with the hedge apple being the focal point.  It's another somewhat abstract piece, and is quite large.

As you can see, there is no rigid geometric shape to this one.  Just sort of wavy with a curly cue border ..... I'm saving the border for last, but will most likely be a hit n' miss using colors from the design.

And on to doorstep news....I'm so happy to announce that we have a new member to our family.  A sweet little girl that's been hanging about for the last week or so.  Meet Violet!

Isn't she beautiful?!  Right now she is living in the downstairs bedroom as she is quarantined from the other girls (that would be kitty's Iris and Willow).  Still concerns about a little respiratory infection she has.  It's hard to tell from this photo, but she is quite tiny.  The vet thinks she may be about 2 years old.  I love her markings... her coat has sort of a tarnished Bengal cat look.  Violet is the most affectionate sweetie ever!! 

I'm working on a new pastel, which hopefully, I'll have enough done to share in my next post.  And, of course, the never ending knitting of socks.  My new pair is waiting for the toes to get done.  I HATE, HATE, HATE doing the toes.  It never comes out right.  So, I'm experimenting some with this pair.  We'll see........

Hope you're enjoying a beautiful fall (although I know some of you are already experiencing quite the winter!).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vintage Betty Boop Halloween

And I thought today's cartoons were violent!  That Betty sure could take care of herself.
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cindy Joseph Video

I find the beautiful Cindy Joseph very inspiring.  It's great to have a glamorous 60 year old who's willing to embrace her age and the benefits that it brings.  Also, I do have a couple of her Boom products and love them!  Really digging the long silver hair!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Projects That Whisper "Fall"

Hello!  So sorry for the long absence!  I've been doing all kinds of things, but haven't been blogging much at all.  The weather here is beyond lovely, so I've been taking much advantage of these gorgeous fall days.  I have been doing quite a bit over the past month..... so here's a peek at what's been happening "creation wise" at my doorstep.

During my, now in the blurry past,  foot surgery recuperation I knitted this very sweet "fauncho".  I acquired the pattern from Owl In The Dark Please check out this lovely blog......  This is my 2nd try at intarsia knitting.  INGNORE the clunky shoes..... temporary situation.  Although, I have been wearing some darling red Dr. Martens that are clunky in the very wonderful clunky way that I love.

I won't be showing you the underside of this thing..... Let's just say that my felting needle came in quite handy.  You may want to check out my friend Pixie's blog at The Crafte Nook.  She has posted a shot of a knitting project she's doing from the same designer.  Very cute stuff!

Speaking of knitting.... I'm knitting my absolutely LAST pair of socks for the year!  I have 8 pairs of brightly colored striped socks, of which, I've knitted every single one.  But..... I noticed that I don't have a nice drab pair to wear with drab sorts of things.  So... I picked up this beautiful softly textured gray and am just now ready to kitchner up the toe of sock #1.

I love knitting socks because I can basically knit them in my sleep, for one thing.  They're also a great "take somewhere" kind of project.  Small and portable.

The change in weather has inspired me to add some of this scrumptious fall color to my home.  I'm not a big holiday type decorator.... and do less of that type of thing every year. I did feel inspired to do a little pastel using some nice warm reds, golds, and greens.  Once again, I used the still life set up sent to me by painter friend Kathryn Glover.  Drop by her blog and see the very sweet orange pitcher with flower she's done. 

 The warm colors go beautifully with the hedge apples.... and of course.... a picture of grandson, Graham.  It was a fast pastel ..... about an hour or so.  Below is a  quick shot of the entire mantel done up for fall.

Nothing fancy.... just a few things that I've collected and always have out.  I enjoy picking up fall flowers at the grocery, and they must stay on the mantle or little cat Iris will make a quick game with them and scatter petals and stems all over the place (and then throw them up later.... lovely).  And that's about as much Halloween/fall you'll find at this house......  oh.... there is a knobby pumpkin on the porch.

Now..... here's where one needs to keep an open mind.  It's my current rug hooking project.  I felt absolutely COMPELLED to hook some bright colors.  I didn't want to get into any sort of pictorial piece because then I get all detaily and into lots of hand cut tedious stuff.  So.... I'm hooking abstract simply for the love of these colors.  This is a tiny sample.

I'll post more of this later and you can see the size and shape.  "Where will something like that go?" you wonder.  Who knows, who cares.... just enjoy working with color.  Got all this gorgeous wool from pal, Sheri, of The Shabby Sheep .  We're practically neighbors, and great friends, so it's fun to drop by her place to wool shop, drink mochas, and gab away an afternoon.

Hope you're having a lovely fall season, and beautiful days as we're having here.  Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Feeling Good, and Loving Hedge Apple Green!

So sorry for the long absence, and thank you friends for checking in with me.  I'm doing sooo much better since my foot surgery, although still painful and using one crutch.  This annoying pain comes on mostly in the evening and causes lack of a peaceful night's sleep, and good sleep is one of my life's priorities.  Which..... if not achieved..... leads to lethargy and crankiness.  But, today I feel rested, am blogging, and enough of these kinds of issues already!

Now, I will address my dear friend Tammy's latest post.

Maybe you can make the connection quicker than some people (Kenny?..........).  Of course, if you're not familiar with hedge apples, this is completely lost on you.  Sorry.  These are shots of my almost new car I bought just short of a year ago.  It's my baby Fiesta, and I love it!  After driving my entire life with a standard transmission (many small cute cars over the years), this automatic four door is a dream....... is this a sign of age?  Oh, and it's completely synched up with everything.  It's kind of like driving around inside my computer.

I'm starting to feel like I can get back to the studio and start pastel painting again.  I paint mostly standing up, so a bit of a strain at the moment.  I played around with the art app on my iPad during the course of this lengthy recovery, and here's a couple of paintings I did.  I just copied parts of magazine photos I found interesting since I wasn't able to set up a still life from my reclined position.  It's quite like using Photoshop with the layering techniques.  I paint with my finger, and after some practice, was able to mix color, shade, add lights and shadows, etc.

The above is a piece of a fall crafting photo I found in an older edition of British Country Living.  And beneath I found these bottles in another BCL where I just played around with trying to get the idea of old glass.   I did my own version of a couple of bottles from that particular photo.

I've gotten quite a bit of knitting done, and will post some of that later.  My brain simply has not been able to wrap itself around an idea for a new rug hooking project (too much anesthetic?).  So..... yesterday I called my buddy Tammy (hedgeapples from above), and threw out some color and shape ideas to her.  For some reason, when I talk art with Tammy, she can help me sort through my muddled ideas of colors and shapes that just weren't going anywhere.  Anyway, I'm very excited about my new project that evolved as we brainstormed.  I don't have anything down on paper, yet alone linen, but looking forward to moving ahead with a new hooking project for fall and winter!  Oh, one more fiber project I hope to be able to share soon, is a new wrap made on my tri loom.  But first, I have to finish building the loom.  Actually my man about the house built it for me, but it's still missing the nails..... and it requires A LOT of nails.  Maybe this week?  Well, overdoing things is what's been getting me in trouble for the past month.  So..... we'll just have to see how it goes. 

Thanks for reading my Monday ramblings, and wishing you a lovely week ahead.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Living Life Lying Down

Oh my..... it's been quite a bit since I last posted on my blog.  Numerous unpleasant issues have kept me from being here, or dropping by other blogs for a visit.  Firstly... a broken keyboard happened.  2's, w's, s'.s or x's were no longer available.  Now I can surely get by without 2's or x's, but s's?!  No way!  Secondly, I had a very extensive surgery on my foot which has kept me reclined for the past 12 days.  I am only up now on one of my 10 minute breaks I'm allowed each hour.  Well actually, I do cheat on this throughout the day, but I'm trying to be a good patient and get back in shoes and fun asap.  I have another 2 plus weeks of this along with upcoming rehab.  But, it's well worth it, and my doc did a most excellent job.

My dear sweet hubby has replaced my keyboard, and today I'm feeling pretty spiffy considering where I was a week ago.  Pain meds and I DO NOT get along (dang!).  But now that they're out of my system I can see without everything spinning, keep my food down, and communicate without sounding too loopy.  I'm also feeling spiffy because of the many lovely visitors who've happened by with Starbucks, sandwiches, and entire meals.  Non of these sweeties blogs or checks out blogs, but thank you Sarah, Lauren, Cathy, Marti, Ann, Barbara, and Tammy  (who, of course, is our fabulous Skip To My Ewe).  Thank you friends!!  Food and company has the very most healing power!

Another spiffy thing about having to stay in one place reclined is making good friends with my iPad.  I ordered an art app that allows me to paint called Procreate.  Below is one of my attempts.

This is actually a joint effort with buddy painter Kathryn Glover who set up this little still life, photographed it, and emailed it to me with the intent of a future pastel.  Well, I hadn't gotten to that yet. so while looking around for something to try my art app out on, I remembered this photo and went from there.  I painted this with my finger using various brushes, and ways of loading them.  Just beginning with  painting on the iPad, but it keeps me from getting too rusty while healing.

I've also been knitting.  I had held back this yarn and scarf pattern for post-surgery.  Easy to knit, and creates this swirly little number.

I'm also reading a great historical piece titled "The First Tycoon" the epic life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.  This is a book club choice.  My book group reads a lot of historical work, which has been a wonderful learning experience for me since I usually reach for fiction on the shelves. 

So I'm sort of occupied, and excited because tomorrow is an actual outing!  Well... to the doc, but that counts when one hasn't been anywhere in a week.....