Sunday, May 5, 2019

May madness...

Today feels like spring and I certainly hope it sticks around.  Since early April, daily life has been very busy and often unpredictable. "Small" home improvements, meaning small for a home improvement company, began primarily because the timing was right. One of my sons hired a company we used 25 years ago for his kitchen remodel. I liked how things were being handled for him in the initial stages and decided to see if my jobs could be piggybacked. We live three miles apart, I was envisioning my jobs being tied into his schedule, and they have been to a degree. All is going well but like every home improvement since Wilma Flintstone asked Fred to put a window over her sink in the cave, the process is taking longer than expected.

My kitchen facelift consists of a new cabinet, new quartz countertops, new cabinet and drawer handles (77 of them!), and a new microwave. I could have done the handles. The new counters are something we began discussing a few years ago. Did I really need them? No, they were on my "someday" list. What spurred all of this in the kitchen was my microwave from 1983. That thing was still working but either had lost some strength or perhaps it just wasn't up to today's standards and therefore directions on a frozen food were never quite right.

The 1983 model was a large countertop microwave. When we had the kitchen remodeled in 1986, a specific contraption was purchased that held the microwave under a cabinet. It had a circulating fan (venting outside is not an option here) and had a light over the stove located below. When we began to discuss the microwave's eventual demise, we wondered what we would do to configure a new one. Nothing about a new one would fit in that previous holder and the unfinished wall would show behind it. Cabinetry could not be matched so I chose plain black to match the new microwave and tie into the routered design on the existing cabinets.

Here is the 1983 microwave followed by the unfinished look of this space with the new cabinet and appliance. Tile in this space should happen in the next few days. The black cabinet had to be recessed to allow the fan to vent. I am happy with the look, it seems like it was a design choice, not a solution that had to be made.

So there is the story: A still working microwave that isn't going to last forever led to a big bucks kitchen facelift! A few hiccups occurred but solutions were found and I am happy even though I still don't have a working sink on the main floor except for my laundry tub. 

I've had lots of exercise going upstairs to use the bathroom as the main floor has been without a toilet for a few weeks. It is a long, boring story not worth mentioning here, but this has been my living room view for a while now.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but a few stories aren't meant to be public yet.  I'm hanging in and hope you are too. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Sweater styled like a Baseball Jacket

There is a sweet little boy on my street whose mom I've know since she was in high school with my sons.  That high school's athletic field is on the opposite side of our street. When a sporting event is taking place, most of the neighbors gather to watch the event, often with lawn chairs and coolers in tow. When I saw this knitting pattern, I thought it would be perfect for Zachary when he joins us in the fall to watch football and soccer.

The pattern is a free download from Ravelry. It was written by Debbie Bliss and is aptly named Baseball Jacket. This is the image most often associated with that pattern. 

I used Berroco Comfort DK, a sport weight yarn in my sweater. I chose this for its washability. I used our school colors and am pleased with the result. The pattern called for snaps as a closure which didn't seem like a good idea to me, at least not directly on the body of the sweater. If I had planned ahead, I would have made a button band with traditional buttonholes. 

The finished length of this sweater wasn't the right side for a separating zipper so I added grosgrain ribbon to the inside front openings for stability before sewing on regular snaps. The black buttons were then added to give a finished look to the front. 
I added the ribbon by hand, turning the cut ends under and stitching across each of those ends and down the open edge of the sweater. The other long edge of the ribbon is not sewn in place. You can see that on the left side of the photo below. My thought was that this might become visible on the outside if sewn. If it becomes a problem after washing, I will offer to tack it into place. 
I can't wait to see the happy little guy in this. Other than my opinion on the closure, this pattern was easy to follow and one I would make again.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Finally Scarf

This is the Finally Scarf because I Finally found a stitch pattern that I liked and I Finally found a use for the yarn. The yarn isn't at fault, it is Plymouth Encore Tweed, a yarn that I like. I was originally going to make a sweater for myself but didn't like the way it was working up. I tried a boxy cardigan but ripped that out. I was going to look like blue moving van if I wore it.

This scarf is 7 feet long without stretching. My son is happy with it so I am happy. I like a scarf to look on either side so the stitch pattern was important to me. This has ribbing on both long sides and in the middle with panels of Irish Moss stitch in between.

I still have yarn left so a hat is likely to be made and maybe even a thinner, shorter scarf for me. Other projects have priority now and I don't want to tempt Mother Nature to deliver more cold weather by making winter accessories right now.

Birthday card for a quilter

I'm on a roll here, posting another card today. This one was made for a dear friend who is a quilter. The dies used to create the image on the front of this card are Stargazer Layering Dies from Birch Press, item #56089. 

The stitiching line inside and out, plus the sewing needle are from My Favorite Things, a stamp set called Stitched With Love.  The script Happy Birthday inside is a die cut from a Lawn Fawn set of dies.

Art Deco Anniversary Card

I recently made this card with items from Hero Arts' Monthly Kit for February 2019. The Happy Anniversary sentiment is from another source. That greeting and the inside sentiment and image were embossed with gold powder. The car in the bottom photo was simply stamped in black on an envelope.

I have really enjoyed all the components of this kit. The black die cut on that shiny gold paper made me happy but was difficult to photograph. I was wearing a red plaid shirt the day I took the photos and I kept showing up in them. Oops!

Pyramid card / mini photo album

Thanks to Create with Cayleigh, I was able to make this card for a good friend. The directions are
here. Her blog page has the cutting instructions spelled out and there is a video to watch for assembly. This went together very easily. It is a bit time consuming but not difficult, and worth the effort in my opinion.

Because my friend hasn't received this yet, I haven't been able to ask for permission to share the actual photos. I've covered faced with bits of paper and Post-it notes. All of the pages open on the right as a book would do, but some pages have extra flaps to them.

The upper most layer opens to show these two photos first. The part under the Post-it Note opens to the right to reveal one more photo.

The next page (next larger size square to the pyramid, opens to reveal these two photos. The right side is an accordion fold that reveals more photos, including photos on the back side of the accordion pleated paper. 

The next level is a standard pair of pages without extra flaps. I stamped some sentiments on vellum so that the photos could still be seen. Originally, these added sentiments were only attached on the left sides of the photos but I thought the loose ends could get in the way of folding the card closed again. The blue hearts seen on the vellum strips only have adhesive on half of them, allowing the vellum to be tucked under the free end.
The next level has a plain page to the left and gatefold on the right side. It opens to reveal one large and two narrow photos. That is me on the left, the only photo not obscured.

This layer has a plain page to the left and a half page flap on the right.

Plain page to the left again, and two large flaps on the right, giving the right side 5 photo areas.

The card/album ends with two plain photo pages. Any of these pages could have held ticket stubs, pages from programs or flat pieces of memorabilia to make a special album. A pocket could have held loose photos or stubs, but that didn't apply to what I was doing here. My friend doesn't know this is coming. I copied her photos from Facebook to make this. Mostly they are images of her, then her with her various family members. I think she will love this.
I think for the presentation, I will tie a ribbon around this to hold it closed. Despite the extra layers of paper, it is remaining closed well, I tried to keep bulk down to a minimum.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Bunny jumping through a wreath

When I saw this on Maymay Made It's site, I argued with myself for a week before buying it. I have no idea where I am going to store it after Easter but I love it and will figure out storage later. Heck, I haven't even figured out where to hang it yet! MayMay's website is here: Maymay Made It  The link to her YouTube directions is here: Maymay's tutorial on how to make this

For a general overview, here are my photos taken during the process of creating this wreath.

The kit (currently on waitlist) included the bunny butt and ears, both wired for assembling onto the wire frame; three rolls of mesh; 24 chenille stems; and a 16" wire wreath form.
You begin by rolling out the netting, stacking the three colors for easier cutting.
Per Maymay's directions, I cut them at 11". Precision is not necessary, I took a rough measure and cut with scissors.
 You will need 24 sets of cut mesh. They look like old fashion hair curlers, don't they?
Roll one of each color into a cylinder from cut edge to cut edge. The top and bottom edges are the selvages of the ribbon. Wire these units together with a chenille stem.
Doesn't look like much of anything yet, right?
Here is the pile of 24 units, ready to be tied onto the wreath form.
 Four units are wired onto each section of the form.
This is 12 of the units in place. They fill in the form quite nicely.
Here is the form with all 24 in place.  Time to get the bunny butt and ears!
The bunny body has four pairs of wires to attach to the frame. This is the underside of the wreath. The bunny is designed for this purpose and finished off flat with the wires embedded.
This view against the carpeted stairs shows the colors clearly. 
This is the wreath on my craft room door. That glow around the left side of the door is sunshine. Or maybe it is the awesomeness of my craft room glowing away. 😊 Either reason for the glow makes me happy.
And temporarily, on my inside back door. The mesh ribbon would hold up to weather but not the plush bunny so he will stay inside. I have one more place to try but I need to a ribbon for hanging this on a wall and I'm not convinced that is what I want to do.
Total time, start to finish was 75 minutes.