Friday, August 15, 2014

FO Friday

Another week has gone by and I'm still on a roll with de-stashing and finishing projects!  Woo hoo!  I love this!  It feels good to use up some supplies, finish up projects, and have some new and fun things.

One of the things I finished up this week was this painting...


My daughter and I took a class at the local ceramics/painting shop last month.  They were featuring this "Sugar Skull" painting for one of the classes.  We liked it and the class just happened to be the day after my daughter's birthday.  So, that's how we celebrated.  It was a lot of fun!  However, there's a lot more to this "simple" looking painting than it seems.  So much so that we didn't finish our paintings during the class...even though it went an hour longer than scheduled.  My daughter finished her painting a day or so later.  But, me...I kept putting it off.  I finally got around to finishing it this week.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and it was a lot of fun.

Another thing I finished was this granny square table topper.  I made it with a huge, 710 yard skein of Handicrafter Cotton that I had in my stash.  And, I made it in one week.  I thought it would look great with this table cloth that I have.  And, it will be perfect for Fall.  However, it turned out a bit small.  I wanted to center it over the table cloth, on my round kitchen table, and have the corners go to each place there's a chair to act as a place mat...perfect to put a place setting at each corner.  I haven't given up hope yet though.  I'm going to try to block it out as much as I can and see if it makes it big enough.  If not....well?....I'm not quite sure what I'll do with it.  I really like it though and I'm determined to make it work for something.  The burnt orange color of it is perfect in my house.  And, I don't want to rip out 710 yards of stitching!  That was a lot of work!


I also knitted up a couple more dish cloths with a ball of brown Sugar N Cream.
Looks like a great color scheme going on, huh?  :-)


This feels so good to be using up so much stash yarn and finishing so many projects!

I'd better figure out my next project and get started while I'm still on a roll!

I just got a message from Sandy at "My Yellow Swing".  It's a bag making bonanza at her place.  She has finished up a bunch of great bags and posted them on her blog today.  I love how she combines sewing with inkle weaving and cords that she's made.  Here's just one of her FO's for this week...


Be sure to pop over and see all the other great bags she's made.

Oh...and, I almost forgot...I'm need  to add my newest FO's to the Stash-Buster Party at Linda's Crafty Corner.  Hop on over if you'd like to join in on the fun or see what everyone's been making.


P.S.  I just got word that Cindy at "Delighted Hands" posted for FO Friday.  She finished a gorgeous, knitted, lace shawl.  Hop on over and take a look.  Great job, Cindy!  I love it!

Here's a peek...


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tie Dye Surprise

I got a little surprise in the mail this week...a drawstring tie-dye bag!


I love the colors!  And, I love bags!  I feel like I can never have too many.  They're useful for so many things!  Especially knitting and crochet projects.  That's why I put some yarn in it for the picture.  I just happened to have some colors that look great with it.

Benita, from the "Basically Benita" blog, sent the bag to me.  I think it was in exchange for some crocheted rocks I'd made for her a while back.  She dyes bags and other items to sell.  She also sells wonderful fibers for spinning.  She specializes in getting and selling different types of fiber and even has a way to try out different kinds on a regular basis through her "Fiber Binder Club".

Here's a photo of her business card so you can check out her website and HERE'S a link.


Thanks, Benita!  I love it!  :-D

Friday, August 8, 2014

De-Stash / FO Challenge - FO Friday

I did it!  I got another project done...just in time for FO Friday!
I finished crocheting it during my trip and finally got it sewn together yesterday.

I got this yarn several years ago when I was in Sedona, Arizona.  It's Ella Rae Lace Merino and I love the color and texture of it.  I've been on a search all this time for the perfect pattern for it.  I finally decided to just go for it with a version of the Claudia Scarf.  I crocheted until my yarn was almost gone.  Then, I folded it in half, made a twist, and sewed it together to create a mobius.


I had planned to block it to open up the pattern/stitches a bit.  However, after I'd created a mobius, I realized that it would be difficult to impossible to get it blocked evenly.  Oh well.  It looks great anyway.


I'm SO in love with the colors in this yarn.  It's gorgeous!  Oranges and pinks...So pretty!  It reminds me of the orange rocks of Sedona and the beautiful sunsets there.  It even has a pretty twist to it.  And, it's super soft and squishy.  So nice!


I used a size "H" crochet hook.
And, I was able to use so much of the yarn that I only have about two yards left.
I wanted to use as much of this beautiful yarn as I could.


The length turned out perfect for wearing as a single loop.
And, it works perfectly to double around the neck for more warmth.



I can't wait to wear this beauty!

This is another de-stashing success!  It's the eighth skein I've de-stashed into an FO in the past few weeks.  It's the fifth FO.  I started two more projects from stash yarn this week.  This is fun!

How's it going with your de-stashing and FO's?  I'd love to hear about it and see your projects.
If you're joining in on this challenge, let me know.
I'd love to share photos of your successes and link them to your blogs.

Happy de-stashing and have a wonderful weekend!

UPDATE 8/10/2014 - I'm joining in on Linda's Crafty Corner, Stash-Buster Link Party.
If you'd like to join in on the fun, hop on over to her blog.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Backyard Harvesting and Preserving

What a weekend!  It was wonderful and scary and productive...all at the same time!  

We had rain and quite a bit of it.  That was wonderful!  We need it so badly and we'll take every drop we can get.  It's rare here and we savored the storms...opening windows, watching and listening to it fall, and breathing in that wonderful rain smell.  Ahhhhh!  My daughter and I enjoyed a little antique shopping on Saturday morning with the cloudy and cooler weather.  We even went for a walk in the rain with our dog yesterday.  And, late last night the rain poured hard...enough to wake us.  It was wonderful!  There are a few clouds in the sky today but I think the rain is over...for now.

The scary part of the weekend happened mid-day on Saturday.  Hubby had gone for a long bike ride.  It's something he does almost every weekend.  And, luckily it's often with a group.  Extra lucky this time!  I got a call from him around noon letting me know that he'd crashed and wouldn't be able to drive home.  Someone was giving him a ride to the bike shop and my daughter and I needed to meet him there to pick him up and drive his car home.  The pain was so bad that I needed to take him to an urgent care.  It turned out that a rib under his collar bone was broken and some cartilage next to his sternum was banged up.  It even hurt him to breathe!  The doc gave him a brace to hold his shoulders back.  That helps with the pain and will help the bone to heal in the right position.  The pain meds are working but he's needing to take it really easy until those stabbing/piercing/burning pains stop happening when he moves.  I'm taking good care of him!

While he was resting in the recliner on Sunday morning, I went out in the backyard to enjoy the cooler and moist air from the storms.  It turned out that a lot more figs had ripened.  I started picking them and ended up with a big bowl full.  There's still a bunch more on the tree that are green.  
The colors are incredible!


I quickly got to work preparing them for the dehydrator.  And, this time, I remembered to take some photos.  I used the same technique of dropping them into boiling water.  It weakens the skin to allow moisture to escape easier during dehydration.  Look how dark the water got...


After just 30 seconds, I scooped them out and dropped them into an ice bath.
It's interesting how the blanching turned parts of them green.


My daughter helped me slice them.
They were so pretty that I posted a pic on Instagram...


 My daughter suggested slicing them into quarters instead of halves.  She thought they might dry better and be easier to eat.  She was right!  They're already done and so delicious!  Some are sweet like brown sugar!  And, I love that delicate crispy, crunch of the little seeds.  Yum!


My Basil plants were big and lush...perfect for harvesting!  So, I cut a bowl full of basil to process into freezer cubes to use throughout the winter.  I try to do this several times every summer and it works great!  This year, besides the standard, green Basil, I also have a variety now with purple leaves.  It has a slightly different flavor but still has the delicious basil taste that I love.  Bugs seem to bother it less too.  It had very few munched leaves compared to the green plants that I have.


I picked off all of the good leaves and rinsed them in cold water.
The colors of the leaves floating in the water were so pretty that I had to take a picture...


After rinsing, I spun the leaves dry in a salad spinner and chopped them up in the food processor with olive oil (I did the green ones and purple ones separately...just because).  I put spoonfuls of it into the compartments of an ice tray.  It's amazing how little there is after it's chopped.  I almost filled a whole ice tray this time though.


I always like to put the tray into a plastic bag and tightly close the end.  That keeps the freezer from smelling like Basil and keeps the basil from smelling like freezer.  After they're frozen, I place them into a Rubbermaid container and keep them in the freezer for convenient use.  It works great in sauces and dressings.  And, best of all, even in the middle of winter, it tastes like I just picked it.


Since I'm sharing photos of food I preserved this week...here's a picture of some refrigerator pickled cauliflower that I made last week.  It should be ready to eat by now.  I think I'll have some for lunch!  I made it in one of my new, green, Ball canning jars.  I love how they're making them in colors now!


It's kind of amazing how much food I'm getting from our yard.  Especially since our garden isn't going so well.  It's so satisfying to eat food that we grew and know exactly what's in it and what's not.

Time for lunch!  :-)

Friday, August 1, 2014

De-Stash / FO Challenge - FO #3

It's no secret that I love cotton yarn.  I'm particularly fond of Sugar 'n Cream and all the pretty colors it comes in.  Not to mention that it's so inexpensive that it's easy and cheap to pick up a ball of it here and there and not feel guilty about it.  It's colorful, it's cotton, and it makes me happy.  Then....there's the stash!  I have quite a bit of it in my stash.  So, I'm working on finding wonderful ways to use it.

I've used up two balls of it over the past couple of weeks!
I made this set of wash/dish cloths with some leftovers.
The colorway is "Earth Ombre".  I love these colors together.


This post is also a great way to show ya'll my adorable new soap dish.  I love the cute little bird on the side.  I saw these at World Market before my trip.  After my trip, I had a great excuse for getting one...the two, little bars of hotel soap that I brought home.


Here are two more dish cloths that I just finished up this week.
This colorway is called, "Barnboard Twist".
I love the colorway and the name!


This de-stash / FO challenge is helping me so much!  Knowing that I posted and promised to do this helps me get things done.  It feels so good to use up some yarn from my stash and finish up some great things.  I'm so happy to have finished and posted three things in three days!

Just in case you missed the first post...this challenge is open to anyone.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, just let me know.  I'd even love to share your accomplishments on my blog (with links to your blog, of course).  We can all encourage and inspire one another.  Happy de-stashing!  :-)

UPDATE 8/10/2014 - I'm joining in on Linda's Crafty Corner, Stash-Buster Link party.
If you'd like to join in on the fun, hop on over to her blog.



The FO Party is Under Way! You've Got to See This...

My post yesterday about doing a de-stash / FO challenge got some very positive feedback and several people are interested in joining in on the fun and success of it all.  In fact, I just heard from Delighted Hands and she's already started!  She made an entire top from start to finish today with some gorgeous fabric that she already had.  Just click HERE to see it.  It's really pretty!  I can only imagine how excited she is to wear it somewhere.  She did a fabulous job!  I wish I could whip up clothes like that.  That would be awesome!  Well done!  

So....consider this the very first week of "FO Friday".  Weeeee....this is fun!  :-D    And, don't forget....it's not too late to join in on the fun!  When you do, make sure to let me know if it's ok to post pictures of your projects along with the links to your blog.  Otherwise, I'll stick to just a link like I'm doing this time (I forgot to ask but I'm so excited to share).

Have an awesome weekend!  Happy creating!  :-D

De-Stash / FO Challenge - FO #2

I started this cowl right after getting back from our road trip.  It worked up really fast but I've been putting off making the clasp for it.  This challenge encouraged me to finally get it done!  Yay!

I've had this yarn in my stash for years.  I won it in a yarn shop drawing.  I've started several projects with it and they either didn't work out or didn't seem like a good match for this yarn.  Then, I found the "Artfully Simple Infinity Cowl" pattern on Ravelry.  It was love at first sight and I knew this was the perfect match for this yarn!  I even had this turquoise bead thingy in my jewelry stash.  So, this might count as a double de-stash! 


I'm in love with this pattern and can't wait to make another one!
I love the open, airy stitch pattern and the versatility of ways it can be worn.


It's super simple and I like how it makes a slanted mesh grid.


I used one ball of Berroco Comfort Sock yarn in the colorway, Beach House.
I love all the colors in this yarn.  This turquoise bead is a great accent.


To make the clasp...I used a double strand and the same, size "G" crochet hook to make a chain long enough to go around the bead when looped (the button hole on the right) and slip stitched it closed.  Next, I continued to chain until I had enough length to loop through the bead, wrap around the cowl (when doubled) and reach back to where I slip stitched the button hole loop.  I wove in the ends, looped it through the center of the bead and back around itself and voila!  A custom clasp!  I simply wrap it around the doubled cowl and slip the loop over the bead.


Unfortunately, it's way too hot to wear it right now...111'!  Ugh!  But, Southern California has plenty of slightly chilly days that this would work great for.  It'll be a great pop of color and texture for an outfit too.  I can't wait for cooler days!

UPDATE 8/10/2014 - I'm joining in on Linda's Crafty Corner, Stash-Buster Link party.
If you'd like to join in on the fun, hop on over to her blog.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

De-Stash and FO Challenge

I've decided that a challenge is in order.  A challenge to de-stash my yarn (and other materials) and finish as many projects as I can over the next month.  The challenge is for me...and anyone else who'd like to join in on the fun.  I'm going to start off by trying to complete and blog at least one item a day for the next few days.  I have several things that are almost finished....they only need to be blocked, have ends tucked in, or some other small thing to complete them.  This challenge should help me finally get to it!  Here's item number one....

I started this cowl before my road trip and finished it while I was gone.  This week, I finally got around to tucking in the ends.  It's made with yarn I spun myself.  It's the "Gaptastic" shawl...a free pattern on Ravelry.  I used size 11 circular needles and cast on 131 stitches.  The pattern says to knit for 15" but I only made mine 10" wide.  I felt like it was plenty wide with how thick it is.  My finished length is 27" (the loop laid flat).

I love this pattern and I've knitted it before.  It's comfy, warm, and versatile.
I like how it can be looped twice around my neck when it's really cold.


It can just be worn this way when it's not so cold...


The seed stitch texture is so pretty.


I think this pattern was a great match for this yarn.  It seems to really bring out the colors
It also works well with the unevenness of this yarn and the inconsistent twist.
It's a yarn spun up a few years ago and, even though I'm proud of it and love it, it's not as good as I could do now.  I'm so happy to have made something out of it that I love so much.

Here's a picture I posted when I started the project.
I love it because it shows the roving, the yarn, and the project.


If anyone else wants to join me in this challenge just let me know.  We can cheer each other on.  And, I'd love to provide links on my blog to the posts you create with your FO's.  Who knows....if enough of us get together to do this...we could even create something like FO Fridays or something!  :-D

UPDATE 8/10/2014 - I just found out about a stash-busting party at "Linda's Crafty Corner".  I've never done a link party but it sounds like fun.  So, I'm going to try to join in, starting with this stash-busting FO.  It's open to anyone.  So, if you'd like to join in on the fun, hop on over to her blog.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lovely Find

There are a few local antique shops that I like to pop into regularly.  It's always fun to look around to see what's new.  I found something on my last visit that just HAD to come home with me.


It a carved piece from the top of a french armoire.  I think it's made of oak.  The owner knows the person who brought it here from France.  She loves it but has so much stuff that she decided it was time for this lovely piece to find a new home.  

I love it!  I brought it home and placed it above a door in my craft studio.  


I adore the delicate roses on it.  The leaves and ribbon are beautiful too.


I have no idea how old it is but it's obvious that it was handcarved.


I'm just giddy over this find!  It's so pretty!
It was inexpensive too!  I love that!  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Yum!

We have a fig tree in our back yard and the fruit is starting to ripen.  Luckily, this year, it's ripening a bit at a time instead of all at once.  We usually lose most of them because we just can't eat them fast enough.  And, even though we like them, we don't love them.  I was going to try something new this year, dehydrating.  I gave it a whirl yesterday and filled a couple trays in the dehydrator.  They were finished this morning and....WOW!  They're SO yummy!  This is officially my favorite way to eat figs!


I tried a method I'd seen online....drop whole figs into boiling water for 30 seconds to weaken the skin so moisture can get through while dehydrating.  Remove them from the water and immediately dunk them into an ice bath.  I dried and cut them in half and put them on the trays.  They've been drying for almost 24 hours.  A little less time might have been better.  But, they sure are tasty and they have a crispiness from the seeds that seems to add to the fun of eating them.  I can't wait for more to ripen!