Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Whoa...What a Trip!

The milestone birthday passed without too much pain. I approach this new decade with optimism and curiosity. How long does it take for decades to have an identity? I remember the latter part of the Sixties. I graduated from high school in 1970, so my high school years were the sixties. My college years were the early seventies. I remember both periods as changing, sometimes violent, full of war and riots. I was somewhat of a nerd...German club, debate team, student council. The summer of love was full of promise for the future...make love, not war. My generation was going to do things differently when in charge...peace, man. So now it is the sixties again, my sixties. We still have war, riots, unrest. I am still somewhat of a nerd. I cook, read, knit, quilt. I haven't changed the world. I don't think any of my generation really did. What will the "tens" (teens?) decade mean in the future? How soon will its identity be formed? What will our grandchildren remember about the good old days of 2012? I know I will remember the year I turned 60. So far this decade is pretty groovy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dead Fish

Dead Fish Hat done!  I haven't had a chance to block it yet.  I am even thinking of trying to shrink it a bit to felt it, make it warmer.  It is pretty big, so a little size reduction would be good.  If it shrinks too much, I would have to find a suitably-sized grandchild to take it home and wear it proudly.  As I talked about a few posts ago, this hat was mentioned in a book I was reading that prevented me from opening another book that I had inter-loaned, a cookbook.  I want to take a moment here and mention what a wonderful thing a library is.  I think I had gotten away from the lending concept...those big book stores are just so appealing.  But, ANY book you want to read you can get...if they don't have it, they will get it for you.  Our local library staff seems to get excited about inter-loans...I guess they love books, too, and like to see different things come through the door.  Anyway, the cook book I ordered was

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks 

Kathleen Flinn (Author) .  Great book.  It tells the story of how the professionally trained chef, Kathleen Finn, took nine cooking beginners who relied heavily on mixes and fast food, and turned them into real cooks.  Loved the adventures, and also loved the hints and the basic recipes.  I have decided that this was one book I would read again, so it is on my list to purchase.  Her first book, 

The Sharper The Knife, The Less You Cry: Love, Learning And Tears At The World's Most Famous Cookery School: Love, Laughter And Tears At The World's Most Famous Cooking School

just came in (from inter-loan) and is in my bag to take on a little weekend trip.  I will let you know about that book, too, and if it lands on my Amazon list.  I have already made a basic roasted chicken using Kathleen Flinn's methods.  Delicious.  I may try some fish next.  Dead Fish, of course.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mittens for Sale on Etsy!

Finally started to add items to my Etsy shop again.  It is a fun way to get crafted items out in the market.  Have you discovered Etsy yet?  My shop may be a good place to start!  Jerilynn

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Yep, I did it.  Finished the quilting on a new potential pattern project with a smile on my face...until I turned the project over.  Darn it.  I shouldn't have removed the basting pins quite so quickly.  So, with sharp, small scissors in hand, I picked out the offending stitches.  Now to pick up where I left off and try to make it look seamless.  Easy.  I haven't done it yet because the last few days have been a bit magical.  I don't know exactly why, but it has been fun and relaxing and productive, all at once.  We had a huge Ikea armoire in our old tiny cabin bedroom.  After the remodel, and the nice walk-in closet, we didn't need the extra storage in our room,  so it got placed in the hall walk-in closet, which was not a great idea.  It is big and took up most of the walk-in room, plus a closet in a closet is silly.  It was a huge effort getting it into the closet, thus, the hesitancy to remove it.  Plus, we didn't really have a good spot for it.  In the meantime, I am bringing more and more stuff  treasures from the condo and have a need for more studio storage.  Last week I had an eureka moment and realized the big cabinet would be perfect in the corner of the studio to hold all the yarn stuff and yarn books.  So, after some pushing and shoving and unassembling, the walk-in closet is now walk-in-able, clean and organized.  The big armoire is in the studio with yarn, knitting needles, and books stashed inside.  The top of the cabinet is just calling out for some red storage boxes on the top.  THEN, today we took apart the bunk beds that were in the cubbie alcove of one of the bedrooms and moved them to a different room, but as two beds.  My old body didn't like making up the bunks and my friends' old bodies didn't like climbing up the ladder to sleep on the top bunk.  With just a single bed in the nook, the room looks huge and very welcoming.  The two beds in the other room still leave room for a  port-a-crib and rocking chair, when needed.  All beds need some cute new quilts.  I need to use some of that wonderfully folded and organized fabric that I have and put it to good use.  When I machine quilt the new quilts, however, I will be sure to keep the backing out of the way.   Jerilynn

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Of All the Things I Have Lost, I Miss....

Above picture:  Dead Fish Hat.   Picture was from here .   Instructions are there, too.  So, let me tell you how I found out about these hats....  I have a big, awful birthday this month.  It is bothering me more than I thought it would.  I am used to catching my reflection in glass here and there and wonder who that older woman is.  She looks somewhat familiar.  I have gradually developed lumps and bumps and wrinkles and sages.  And, I have lost the ability to lose myself in a book for a long period of time.  I used to read for hours.  I was a fast reader and I could read several books a week.  These past few years, however, I have found that my mind wanders when reading and I just can't stay focused.  A few people recommended books by Patterson because the chapters are short.  That helped.  I have an Ipad with a Kindle ap and found out you can get e-books from the library.  Problem is they "disappear" magically at the end of the lending period and some are only good for a week.  Well, I just get about half-way through a book, and, poof!.  Gone.  Get on the waiting list again.  Wait.  Book is back, but I don't remember what the story was about, the characters, or where I left off.  Get about halfway.  Poof.  I got frustrated and bought the book on Amazon for $4.99.  Cheap therapy.  I have discovered that I can pay more attention if the books are mysteries, and, especially if they are "cozy" mysteries.  From Wikapedia "Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as "cozies," are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously , and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The detectives in such stories are nearly always amateurs and frequently women. They are typically well-educated, intuitive, and often hold jobs (caterer, innkeeper, librarian, teacher, dog trainer, shop owner, reporter) that bring them into constant contact with other residents of their town and the surrounding region. Like other amateur detectives, they typically have a contact on the police force who can give them access to important information about the case at hand, but the contact is typically a spouse, lover, friend or family member rather than a former colleague. Dismissed by the authorities in general as a nosy busybodies (particularly if they are middle-aged or elderly women), the detectives in cozy mysteries are thus left free to eavesdrop, gather clues, and use their native intelligence and intuitive "feel" for the social dynamics of the community to solve the crime.
The murderers in cozies are typically neither psychopaths nor serial killers, and, once unmasked, are usually taken into custody without violence. They are generally members of the community where the murder occurs, able to hide in plain sight, and their motives—greed, jealousy, revenge—are often rooted in events years, or even generations, old. The murderers are typically rational and often highly articulate, enabling them to explain, or elaborate on, their motives after their unmasking."  I especially like cozies that have to do with some sort of craft - sewing, knitting, cooking.  I was dashing into our local library to pick up a cook book that I ordered through inter-loan,  when, like a raccoon, something shiny caught my eye.  On the new book shelf was a mystery by Sally Goldenbaum, A Holiday Yarn.  A new Cozy!  It was an easy read, I was able to follow along.  Mentioned in the book were Dead Fish Hats that several of the characters had knitted for a local band.  Curious, I found out that there is a real pattern out there for these hats, pictured above.  I think one will be the next knervous knitting I will do.  I have checked out two more Goldenbaum cozies.  I hope the wandering mind won't be lost forever.  The cooking book?  Still not cracked open.  Jerilynn

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Makes You Happy?

Well, I have lots of answers for that question.  One item high on the Happy List is a cup of coffee in my favorite red mug first thing in the morning.  The thought of having coffee gets me out of  bed.  Seriously.  Carl doesn't drink coffee, but for some reason he has taken it upon himself to get the pot ready every night so all I have to do when I wake up is push the button.  Now that sweet thoughtfulness also makes me happy.  I get the  "O" Magazine, and some months are ready for the recycle pile fairly quickly, and other months are worth the read.  The February issue is a great issue - made me happy to be a subscriber. The cover was the first warm fuzzy.  I guess there are  a couple of covers out there, this is the one that is all done in chalk.  Love it.  Several years ago, when I was in the shoe catalog business, I suggested the art director draw the cover for the next shoe catalog in chalk.  It was brilliant!  I don't know if we sold more shoes that month, but I still have that cover if you want to see it.  So, of course, when I saw the cover of "O" done in chalk (color chalk, no less), I was anxious to read more of the "Express Yourself" issue.  Lots of great articles and eye candy to buy (Oprah is always good at that).  What really was worth the price of the yearly subscription, however, was the column by Martha Beck, "Now, Don't Get Excited...But do get happy.  Martha Beck explains the all-important difference between feeling thrilled, exhilarated, and crazed - and finding the kind of joy that lasts."  Two pages of good insight, but....there on the third page...How to Be Here Now.  I will quote the article now - "I discovered a two-word instruction that reliably ushered me onto the plains of peace when I couldn't force my Brain to just "be still".  Here it is:  Make something.  You see, creative work causes us to secrete dopamine, a hormone that can make us feel absorbed and fulfilled without feeling manic.  Research indicates that we're most creative when we're happy and relaxed, and conversely, that we can steer our brains into this state by undertaking a creative task."  Somehow I have known this all along, and, I am sure you have, too.  Make something.  Create.  It makes us happy and calm and usually makes others around us happy, too, if they are the lucky recipients of something homemade.  So, I cut out the article to put in my "Inspiration" file, ear-marked the pages where it shows JAG jeans with a pull-on waist, an apple crisp recipe (that is why I need pull-on jeans), and where to buy the Xonex Wooden Art Set for only $35 (Amazon.com).  Tonight I sewed out one of my latest coaster designs - a red cup of coffee, of course!  Happy happy.  Jerilynn

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cumberland is an Island City with No Subway

I didn't get a chance tonight  to sew out  this "subway art" .  I am not sure if I will make it coaster-sized, or make it bigger for a pillow or picture.  I may still play with the fonts and the word placements.  It was fun to play around with in the Bernina V6 software.  I reduced the density of the stitching, thus reducing the number of stitches.  With all the satin-stitched letters, it was going to take me a while to stitch out. I might just try changing it to a vector image and print that out.  Such options I have!   Jerilynn  P.S.  Actually, Cumberland DOES have a Subway - it is only one of two chain  eateries  in town.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bad Photo of a Cute kid with Cute Mittens

Just pretend that this is one of those vintagy type photos that people are posting using phone aps that I don't have or understand yet.  What this is supposed to be is a picture of our youngest grandson wearing his new felted mittens.  He is holding his favorite bear - the white thing.  He happens to be going through a "don't want my picture taken phase", so getting a picture of him with the mittens on was no small task.  He seemed to like the mittens - just not the camera.  So excuse the exposure, the blurs, the color.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ordinary Time

Yes, I know I used that post title last January.  I go through a bit of a decompress every year about this time.  After the Christmas hub-bub and all the decorations get put away and the house gets a cleaning and some organization is done - I let out a big sigh and hunker down.  Usually the weather is so cold/snowy/blowy/dreary that hunkering down is survival.  This year, though, the weather has been breaking records, and the sky has been pretty blue.  It is just in my bones, however, to lay low.  I have been doing some digitizing as you can see from the coasters.  The scissors coaster did not turn out.  A redesign is in order.  Carl finished the pantries (yes - three pantries! ) and I spent a day cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and making good use of all the new pantry space.  The cupboards now have breathing room.  They are taking a big sigh, too.  I think the other new basement storage areas will be done in plenty of time for a move here (cabin..house...lake), hopefully in the not too distant future.  I will try to keep in mind how good it feels to have neatness and order and space and bring up memories, not stuff.  Jerilynn  P.S.  Here is a shot of  one of the pantries before I started to add items.  Two more of these are opposite.  Nice.  Carl is amazing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Even More Mittens!

Another overdue Christmas present done!  These shrinky-dink mittens are fun.  It usually takes two washings to get them the size they should be.  Each wash, of course, makes them denser, thus, warmer.  I have a pair started for Carl, in the ordered dark grey.  I don't think I will bore you with a picture of those when they are finished.  Too bad this winter up here in the northern lands has been so mild...not much need for such hand protection.  I am sure we are destined to get the bad, cold, snowy weather in April or May.  Jerilynn

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Let's All Welcome the New HBB Coaster

Joining his friends, the Cabin Star Blanket Coaster and the Swiss Army Blanket Coaster, is the Hudson Bay Blanket Coaster!  Ready for duty.  Jerilynn

Cabin Coffee

I loved reading The Boxcar Children series to my kids when they were young.  Something about kids on their own and finding a boxcar in the woods to live in...picking up furniture here and there, mismatched dishes and silverware  - and Benny finding a cracked pink cup that he used and treasured.  When we first got our cabin, I got that "boxcar" cozy feeling.  Certainly it was much larger than a boxcar, but we furnished it with some items that came with the place, some Ebay items, some Ikea, and some thrift store items.  I don't remember when I first got The Red Cup, but I use it every morning for my coffee, and I think about how much I love it.  Much the way Benny loved his cracked pink cup.  When I am at the condo, I have double-walled Bodum tall glass mugs that I drink my coffee from.  What is going to happen when we sell the place and move everything here?  What will make the cut?  What will the kids take?  What will we sell?  The mug rug that The Red Cup is on is a Bernina V6 software-designed interpretation of my new Cabin Star Table Runner pattern.  The picture is a bit distorted - the mug is actually more rectangle than square.  It is a friend of the Swiss Army Blanket coaster.  They both are expecting another friend any day  now...the Hudson Bay Blanket coaster.  So, back to the moving question:  glass mugs or The Red Mug?  I think you already know the answer.  Jerilynn  P.S.  There has been some discussion about the "cabin" name of this place.  I suppose it could be called the lake house.  I am reluctant to give the cabin name up, though, thinking maybe I will lose some of the feeling I get when I am here.  I suppose when we sell and move here permanently this place will just be called Home.  I guess that is a good name.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Colorful Mittens

The pictures don't show the dramatic shrinkage that the mittens have once they are washed a couple of times.  You can see, however, the individual stitches in the mittens in the bottom shot, but not in the top.  I should just wash one sometime alone and take a picture side-by-side.  They are certainly colorful!  I think I should make more of these, don't you?  Jerilynn

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Will This Fabric Be Enough for 2012?

Our friends, Jan and Tom, came up to our cabin to spend New Year's Eve with us.  During the day Tom helped Carl with some basement-building  stuff, and Jan and I had fun in the studio.  Later, we had some good food, tasty drinks; played some cards.  It was fun to relax and catch up with what they have been up to.  This morning, after breakfast, Jan suggested we go back up to the studio and tackle folding all the fabric in the storage drawers.  I had the fabric pretty much organized the way I wanted it, but most of the fabric was just shoved in the appropriate drawer.  I tend to be messy while creating and don't always take the time to make the drawers look good.  Zip zip.  In no time, she and I had one tower folded.  I had to admit - it looked great!  They had to get on the road, but I was so inspired that I spent the rest of the day folding and organizing all the other drawers.  I took pictures of the 6 towers and mushed them together to show you how neat and colorful they are.  I had a good time "finding" fabric treasures.  Now I can see what fabrics I have an abundance of , and what I might need.  Actually, I think I probably have enough of everything to make a New Year's Resolution Not to Buy More Fabric Unless Absolutely Necessary.  I hope I worded that so it is somewhat of a resolution, but not really a resolution.  Jerilynn  P.S.  Thanks, Jan!!!  Please come back again soon:)