Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Easy to Say, Harder to Do

I'm trying to relax...stressful stuff happening with my folks, and, one weather model predicted 18 to 24" of snow the next couple of days!!! I just can't believe it!  At least we got to set outside on the patio a few evenings for happy hour.  If we get that much snow, we will have to have that drink inside, probably a double!  The picture above is the one I made for our bathroom.  We took down the dark curtains at the window and installed a pleated white shade that lowers from the bottom or the top.  Good for light and some privacy.  I also made a new shower curtain from some fabric I ordered from Spoonflower (before I  made the no-new-fabric decision, whew!).   I will take a shot of the improvements during the day so you can see how much brighter the bathroom feels.  Jerilynn

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Benny or Oprah?

How am I doing on the self-imposed shopping ban, you ask?  Well, I think I am doing quite well, thank you.  A frame for a word picture for our bathroom, replacement leather cord (thicker!!), some replacement beads, a little toy for Benjamin's visit last weekend.  Not too bad.  I have noticed, though, that I have been pinning things like crazy on Pinterest.  I am pretending that I am placing the desired items in a shopping cart, and will place the order any day now.  It continues to surprise me how many of the emails I get are from my shopping opportunity friends (stores).  Don't I have any real friends anymore?   I could take my name off their list, but then there goes the Pinterest shopping.  Yesterday I got an email from Purl Soho in New York.  Now, New York happens to be one of my favorite cities, and I haven't been there in a few years.  When I was working, I was lucky enough to get to go there 2 to 4 times a year and get paid for shopping for shoes, clothes, and fabrics.  Tough job.  When, not if, I go back for a visit to NY, I will most definitely go to Soho and shop at Purl Soho.  I can only imagine the yarns and fabrics...Until then, I read each email I get from them, and save some of their project ideas to my Pinterest board.  The first picture above is their latest...doesn't that blanket just scream out for nap time?  Love.  They made it out of their own bulky yarn, a soft Merino, at $19.50 a skein.  The lap size takes 22....$429.00.  Well, not only am I on a shopping ban, I am not crazy.  That seems like a bit much for a lap blanket.  The orange bird cage in the bottom shot (notice the feet) holds the leftover yarn from the Color Shift Afghan that I finished a few months ago.  It is just a worsted weight, acrylic yarn, but of high quality and very soft.  I decided that if I used two strands, it would be about the same weight as a bulky.  I grabbed some big circular needles, and started to knit during last night's tv time.  The pattern is seed stitch, and is almost as mindless as the garter stitch, perfect for unwind time.  I will knit each color until it is gone, then add a new one.  I can't decide if I want to do the colors in rainbow fashion, or in random order.  So far the inches are soft and squishy, and "pert near" free.  This morning as I got a cup of coffee in my red cup that has been here at the cabin since we bought the place, I wondered if I was like little Benny of The Boxcar Children fame with his little chipped pink cup, or if I am  more like Oprah with pages of My Favorite Things.  Oprah would love the Merino wool afghan.  Benny would think the colorful one out of leftover yarn is cool. Jerilynn

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I am trying to come up with a Dresden Plate quilt block idea for a class at Sew Complete in Eau Claire, WI.  I have a new rotary ruler, fast2cut Dresden Plate Template created by Anelie Belden.  I have a few ideas that are bouncing around in my head, but, as usual, I took a side road.  I started to think about Woolfelt and then wondered how it would look if I combined the Dresden wedges with some embroidered wedges.  I went to my Bernina V6 and digitized a simple design and wreathed it 10 times.  I also added some straight placement lines for the felt wedges.  After the embroidering, I cut strips of Woolfelt, ironed them to some paper-backed fusible web, cut the wedges out with the template ruler, and ironed them in place.  I decided to blanket stitch around all the edges with my machine rather than digitize the embroidery for them.  I like how this turned out.  I think what I am going to do next is make two more squares,  maybe changing out background colors.  I will stitch them together and make some sort of runner.  This would also look good on a pillow, or on the front of a tote.  Just think of all the possibilities!  Different embroideries and different colors of felt would give a completely different look.  I need to get back to a class idea and stay a bit more focused.  Jerilynn

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wrap Bracelet for a Very Tiny Wrist

Last evening's TV Time Crafting found me experimenting using six strands of leather cord to make a mosaic type wrap bracelet.  The above picture is only about 2.5 inches long, and it took me over two hours to do.  I am sure there is a loom out there somewhere that would make this process easier, but I am not going to buy new craft things, remember?  Anyhow, the leather cord I was using is 1mm cording.  As I pulled to tighten up the latest row of beads, one of the cords broke off.  Darn.  I tried tying a new one on, thinking I could hide the knot somewhere, and as I tightened the knot, the cord broke even shorter.  Lesson learned.  Don't use 1 mm cord.  Now what?  I have this perfectly good piece of beading...I decided to knot the ends (carefully) and use it as a focal piece for a necklace.  Not to too sure about those leather ends.  I may glue them a bit and trim them off.  I now know why those tiny beaded mosaic bracelets cost so much.  It takes for. ev. er.  Jerilynn

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Name That Name

Do you remember the first picture?  I talked about how I made this for our family room in this blog post last year.  I love how all the shots came from items around our house, but sometimes that is hard to pull this off if you are making a gift for someone else.  My daughter-in-law, Katie, wanted to make a name sign for her sister's birthday.  We searched Pinterest and found a link for thousands of free (personal use only - not for resale) alphabets at a Leo Reynolds' flickr site.  Wow.  What we loved about this collection is all the color and variety!  The black and white one I did has its place, but the colored letters at the Leo Reynolds' site...oh, my!  Katie picked out images to spell out SMITH, and printed them out on photo paper. Next was to figure out what to do about a frame.  That is the hardest thing about these long and narrow name projects.  The frame size isn't exactly standard, and custom frames can get a bit pricey!  We happened to duck into the local antique store in Cumberland, and there, in the way back room, we found a stash of big wooden frames, from $6 to $10 each.  They were a good width, but a bit too tall.  Carl and his miter saw to the rescue!  He cut down the frame, re-nailed it, and went to the George's Ace Hardware and had a glass cut for $3.  Katie used some spray glue to tack down some textured fabric for the background, and then glued down the name photos.  She polished the old frame with some citrus wood polish to clean it up a bit and give it a subtle glow.  So cool!  She then made the other words to make signs for her office.  The letter photos can be printed off in different sizes, and can be opened in a photo editing software to further re-size to preference.  I happened to use Elements, but I am sure anything you have would work.   I want to make a "relax" for our master bath.  The hardest thing about this project will be to decide on which image to pick for the letters.  Love.  Jerilynn

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bluer than Blue

We are home again and finally got to do some needed cleaning.  I took down a wintery quilt in one of the spare bedrooms and put away a snowman pillow that was in the family room.  Do you think that is what has been causing this horrible, wintry weather?  If so, I am truly sorry.  When I came to the "Blue Room", I decided the bed arrangement was  not ideal and came up with the set-up in the picture above.  Now each person sharing this room will have a light to read by, and nightstand access.  On the to-do list is painting the little night table that Carl made, and maybe the taken-apart bunk beds.  I need to make bigger quilts for the beds. The throws add some color and pattern, but aren't really big enough to cuddle under.  In the photo, the little pictures over the beds look a bit dinky.  Bigger artwork is on the other three walls.  I may have to re-think some placement.  Today's job is to tackle the studio.  I am hoping that once it is a bit more organized I can find some creative energy.  I fear the new 5 inches of fresh snow with an ice base has me in a funk.  Bluer than the newly changed guestroom.  Jerilynn

Monday, April 15, 2013

News Flash - Retail Stores Will Be Closing Soon!

My blog seems to be protecting me! Yesterday I wrote a long blog about how I was giving up shopping. I explained what I was giving up buying, why I was doing it, and what my "rules" are for myself. I hit "publish" and then .... Nothing! It was as if my blog was preventing me from telling the world about my plan, just in case I want to realize the foolishness of it all and start shopping! Sort of like not telling people you are on a diet so that when you order dessert after a huge meal they don't look at you funny. Soooo, I will try again to let you in on what I am doing, or, in this case, not doing. When I got back from Florida, I was struck with all the wonderful fabrics, beads, yarn, clothes, home decs, and art supplies I had. My studio is huge, but is getting pretty full. This isn't ho-hum stuff at all! It is really fun, imaginative, can't-wait-to-use it stuff. I have great books full of inspiration, and dozens of good Pinterest ideas. I decided to stop buying any more new things for a year, giving me time to discover all the treasures I have, and spend shopping time being creative. It is not the budget, although, it will be interesting to see what this will do to the monthly charge card total. I will allow myself to purchase things I need to finish a project - lining, batting, zipper, etc. Or replace supplies - paper, ink, threads. Just no new projects, fabric bunches, or supplies for a new craft technique. Clothes? I have a bunch of cute things. A loss of some pounds will make my old stuff look a lot better! Home decs? I can analyze what attracts me to something. The lines, the colors...then use what I have to make my own version. This is about a week old, and I already have seen a new fabric collection that is out that I would have swooped up in a heartbeat...I guess I will just pin it to Pinterest and pretend it is in my stash. I will try to duplicate the colors with what I have. Stay tuned! Jerilynn

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Addy's Clothes, Year One

Addison Ryan turned one year old yesterday.  The party is this weekend, and I have her present done!  I had asked her mom to save her first year's baby clothes, and I would make her a quilt for her first birthday.  I have made several tee shirt quilts for family and friends, and the recipients always love them.  What's not to love?  Your favorite soft tees backed by a  microfleece blanket - cozy!  So, 28 little pieces of clothing were given to me.  Sounds like plenty, right?  Well, those little tiny onesies and jammies don't give up too much usable fabric!  I managed to get a 6" square out of all of them, and some yielded two.  To make the quilt a bit bigger, I got some 6" x 3" pieces out of arms and legs.  The little sleeper I stitched on the back was the outfit Addy came home in.  The label is on a piece of a shirt with the original pink stitched cuff.  I left the snaps operable on the sleeper so that Addy could hide little soft toys in there.  The whole thing is about 45" square, just the right size to drag around the house.  She will have fun in the future hearing about all her clothes she wore as a baby.  Wouldn't it be cool to have a quilt each year on your birthday made from clothes/tees from the previous year?  Jerilynn

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Dream of Florida Starfish

My friend, Shirley had spine surgery while we were in Florida.  Through another friend I was informed of her progress, and her wish to have a shell brought back from Florida.  While I was in Florida, Keith O'Connor, a raku ceramic bead artist, had a trunk show at Buttons, Bangles, and Beads.  I spied this starfish and I thought that this just might be the "shell" that Shirley needs. If you see a starfish in your dreams, it suggests a period of healing and regeneration.  Just what Shirley needs.  She is such a caring, busy, helpful lady...she needs now, however, just to rest and heal.  I hope she likes it.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

They Sell Socks at Walmart, You Know!

This is the second sock I have started for Carl's birthday, now almost two weeks ago.  "Good", you say.  "You are already on the second sock!"  Well, not exactly.  I have been plugging along on the sock with the tiny needles and thin yarn.  Two night ago, I finished down to where I needed to start the toe shaping.  I tried the sock on Carl, carefully, because I still had my needles in the sock.  It didn't fit really all that great around the ankle area, but we both thought it might be better after washing.  I divided the stitches, and started the shaping.  The toe had to be closed using the Kitchener Stitch, which is a bit tricky for me and requires a bunch of concentration, but looks good when finished.  Got the toe woven in, and it looked pretty good.  I was just ready to hold the sock up for the "ta-da" moment, when I noticed something was very, very wrong.  Okay, picture this:  the ribbed cuff, the rib detailing down the front of the sock and down the back of the sock, the double stitched heel for extra padding, the flat bed of the sole....the toe should be just beyond that flat sole bed, also flat and horizontal.  Well, somehow  when I divided the stitches for the toe, I did a 180 and now the toe area is sticking straight up, vertically, from the sole.  Hmmm.  Not good.  I used to be in the shoe business, and I have never seen a foot that would fit this style sock.  Darn it.  I decided the only thing to do was to frog the whole sock and try to save the yarn.  We didn't like how the ankle fit anyway, so I found a new pattern to try.  Thus, sock #2, shown above.  This whole process reminds me of the time I was taking a wire class at a bead shop in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  I was sitting making earring wires.  An older lady came over, observed what I was trying to do, and in a very Southern, drawly stage whisper said, "Darlin', they sell those things already made, you know!"  Jerilynn