Monday, March 31, 2008

Call Me Crazy

Here is my first-ever attempt at a crazy quilt block. Well, I've always said sewing isn't my forte! LOL Needs a little work before it will resemble an actual square! So far, this block contains three of my favorite hobbies: cross stitching, knitting (the lace border on the bottom left), and stamping. I stamped those little apples on the white fabric, then painted them with textile paints. I plan to add embroidery along all the seams where the different fabrics meet up, and I have a selection of beads and buttons I'd like to add, too. Once this block is done, I will sew it onto the denim purse I am making from Avi's old jeans. So the finished project will include yet another favorite thing of mine: recycling!

I got what seemed like a fabulous idea for a gift for Liat, then started having doubts. So yesterday, while we were out shopping together, I casually mentioned that my friend Tama had sent me a link to a cool project, where you make a big tote/hobo bag out of the top of a pair of jeans. I wanted to see what her reaction to the concept would be. She thought it sounded cool, and told me she had some old jeans, and maybe I could make her a bag out of them.

Well, little did she know that I've already started a bag for her from an old pair of my jeans. I'm going to do the whole front with a Maccabi theme, for our family's favorite basketball team. She is a devoted fan, and I know she will absolutely love what I have planned (I was really only worried she wouldn't like the idea of using jeans). My jeans are much better than hers for this project, since all of the jeans she no longer wears are the "low rise" style, where the zipper is about 2" long (so you can imagine how little fabric there is for making this kind of bag). She brought me one of the pairs this evening, and I told her I'd see what I could do. But I know she will like the larger bag I am planning, because she can fit school books and notebooks inside and show off the bag at school. Now I'm impatient to finish my bag so I can start hers. She will be going off on an overnight field trip for school on Wednesday, so I hope to get a lot done while she's gone.

And that adds another of my favorites to her project: making surprise gifts for my girls.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Never Fails

Whenever I take the time to think about it, I am amazed all over again at how versatile knitting is. With the same basic equipment, you can make something that is thick, sturdy and warm:

or something that is delicate and lovely:

The top photo is the start of my first "Mittn" for the "Mittnz 2008 Blitz" at Native American Support. My goal is to make 8 pairs at least, before mid-September. The colors of the mitten are truer in the second photo.

The second photo shows a bit of lace trim I started making last night. I found the pattern on Sarah Bradberry's fabulous site, If you've never visited this site, you are in for a real treat. She's got plenty of things to interest non-knitters, too.

As radically different in form and function as those two items are, they are made pretty much the same way. You need two "sticks" (size 10.5 U.S. and size 00 U.S. knitting needles, respectively), and some "string" (bulky weight yarn and cotton thread size 8, respectively) for each. You use the same basic stitch (the knit stitch) with a variation or two. But the fundamentals are the same. Isn't that amazing?

Today has been wonderfully productive. But there's a catch. In all my web surfing and reading and admiring and dreaming over the last couple of days, I've added two more things to my list of needlework forms I want to try: silk ribbon embroidery and tatting.

Am I nuts? Well, of course I am. But I might just try to learn them, anyway.

Friday, March 28, 2008


An irresponsible, flighty person.
~ Webster's

Not sure that term fills the bill. If you're a knitter, no doubt you've heard of the Yarn Harlot, which is the name Stephanie Pearl-McPhee gave herself in an attempt to convey how easily she is wooed away from one knitting project to another.

So, that makes me...what?

As you can see in the photo, I've started a new cross stitch project. It's pretty small, in fact, what you see here is over 50% of the design, and I worked all those Xs today. Mother's Arms has yet to see the light of day, today. Likely she won't. But then, as one of my favorite heroines says, "Tomorrow is another day."

I used to be a one-project-at-a-time knitter/stitcher/stamper... But I am easily distracted; tempted, if you will, by the allure of something new and different. Most, if not all, of the items in the photo, together with one or two other little things, are destined to adorn the tote bag I am making from Avi's old jeans. I have become obsessed with crazy quilts, and am going to try my own version of a crazy quilt patch as an adornment of the denim tote. If it works out, I will make similar bags for the girls.

I spent a fair chunk of the day working on the cross stitching. Whenever I needed a break from that, I worked on my milk carton project. Oh, and I also worked on Meital's sock during my early morning sock time. I gave a passing thought to baking something, but in the end I didn't get around to it. (Should I quote Scarlett again? Nah...that'd be overkill).

We set our clocks ahead last night, and I'm feeling pretty tired today. Liat was smart, and went to bed earlier than usual. I didn't. Neither did Avi, but he had a nap this afternoon. Meital asked, at about 3:00 this afternoon, "Did we change the clocks?"

I'd say that pretty well gives you a picture of our family.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What I Did Today

Knit. Today I finished the first sock for Meital, and started the second. The second sock is actually quite a bit longer than this by now; I've been working on it while watching the basketball game on TV.

Work. No photo, because we all know photos of typed documents in English or Hebrew (or both)would be mind-numbingly dull. That, and Avi would give me no end of grief if he caught sight of them in the My Photos folder.

Stamp. Here is a preview of what's ahead for my milk cartons project. I'm really tipping my hand here, giving you a huge clue as to where this is going. Just remember, this beast has four sides, and this is just the plan for one side...

Bake. Meital has a thing at her school tomorrow, and all the kids need to bring something. The teacher asked for healthy food, but Meital insisted I bake brownies. I used the same recipe I've posted about (and photographed) before.

Play. I spent a pleasurable hour or so looking through my various stashes: fabric, cross stitch patterns, buttons, beads, ribbons and trims. I'm still percolating ideas for my project using Avi's old jeans, and I am pretty sure I have enough denim that I can make similar items for the girls, in addition to the test project (which will be for me). Right now, I'm planning to make a largish tote bag for myself, and smaller bags for the girls. That may change, but it probably won't. Progress photos will be taken and shared.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Better Day

Not long ago, I showed you a single flower that seemed to be signalling the start of Spring. Now we have a whole bunch of them! And what really makes this amazing is that these flowers were planted several years ago, and after they faded and died, the plants got all brown and leggy. So I ruthlessly ripped them out; they were an eyesore! And now we've got all these gorgeous new plants in their place. Guess I must have accidentally done the right thing. (I'm an even more inept gardener than I am a seamstress.)

I got the two cards finished today, but neither one is ready to mail out. You can't see it, but the backgrounds of both cards are sponged with pink ink through a piece of screen. First time I've done that, and I really liked it. I will definitely do it again, hopefully next time with a darker color so you can see it.

I stumbled across a couple of very interesting blogs recently, and my head is whirling with all kinds of new ideas. Dot's Life and Art is just a feast for the eyes, and has me thinking about sewing (believe it or not!) some art dolls. Pam Kellog is someone I originally heard of years ago as an extremely talented cross stitch designer. When I discovered her blog yesterday, I was bowled over. The crazy quilt button squares she has been making lately are simply gorgeous. Of course, I want to try to make some of those, too.

With all these beautiful things on my mind, I sat down to stitch on Mother's Arms today, and came up with an amazing idea. One that, if all goes well, may possibly fulfill my dream of being able to combine my many diverse hobbies into one cohesive project. I started experimenting this afteroon on a scrap from Avi's old jeans, and I'm cautiously optimistic. We shall see!

Meanwhile, Avi laughed at my neglected milk carton project and told me I'm an ever slower builder than the contractor who built our house. Guess the gauntlet's been thrown, eh? I actually have been coming up with ideas and searching the paper stash for things to use, but I guess the time has come to get on with it, already! There is the small, insignificant matter of a translation project to complete in the morning, but I fully intend to put in some time on those milk cartons tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Sometimes I spread myself out over too many projects, and I end up feeling like the White Rabbit in the Alice in Wonderland movie:

I'm late! I'm late!
For a very important date.
No time to say "Hello," goodbye
I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!

As a result, I dabble a bit here and a bit there, and end up accomplishing very little.

Today was just like that.

I worked on Meital's sock, which is about 2" shy of the toe decreases now. I started two cards, but finished neither. I did a bit of stitching on Mother's Arms. I put something to prevent fraying on the edges of some fabric that I'm planning to stretch over the seat of one of our dining room chairs. We've had this dining room set for nearly twenty years, and the seats are embarrassingly threadbare. S0 I cut the fabric for one chair (there are 8 chairs all together) and treated the edges, but so far, in practical terms I really haven't accomplished anything with that project. I spent about an hour dissecting an old, worn out pair of Avi's jeans, cutting off the legs and trimming off the seams, and ripping out the zipper to save and use again. I also spent time pondering quilt patterns, and researching online the best way to use denim in a quilted project. I'm thinking a possible tote bag, or another project bag for knitting. Or maybe I won't quilt it, but will embroider it instead...

All of this is well and good, except when I remember the Top Secret Gift For Someone Very Special, the quilted border for the Four Seasons Bunnies, the mysterious milk carton project, the Mittnz blitz, the long-ignored scrapbooks, and so on and so forth.

Usually, I find multitasking exciting and enjoyable. But sometimes, I get discouraged at the slow pace things get finished around here. Hopefully, tomorrow some things will get done and I'll feel better again.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day...

Today I went into downtown Netanya on two important errands. First, I dropped off The Wave to be framed at a place that came highly recommended. I had a bit of a disagreement with the owner as to whether or not the glass should actually touch the stitching and fabric or not. I had read online that there needs to be some space between the two, to avoid mold growing on the cloth. The owner insisted that he had been in the framing business for 20 years and knew what he was doing. Phooey. I insisted on at least one mat, and he reluctantly acquiesced. If I didn't trust and respect the woman who recommended the place, I would be a great deal more worried. As it is, I'm nervous enough. After spending that much time and energy on a piece, I hate to entrust it to a stranger. We'll just have to wait and see how things turn out.

The other errand was to pick up more embroidery floss for Mother's Arms. Now I am all set and can work without worrying about running out.

I got this fabulous card in the mail today from my sweet and talented friend Beverly. Isn't it great? She has had her art published in stamping magazines and on-line. I used to be very much into scenic stamping, which is how I came to know Beverly. I was lucky enough to meet her in person, too.

All the knitting I have done lately involves this sock for Meital. I'm using yarn leftover from some ankle socks I made for Liat last year, and I'm worried about running out of yarn. The leg is only 4", so hopefully that won't happen! The socks are a mere 52 stitches around, and now that I'm on the plain stockinette foot, it's coming along very quickly. I will likely finish this pair in short order, assuming I don't get distracted...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Can See!

I got my magnifying lamp today! It's unbelievable how much easier it is to stitch with it. The magnifying glass is great, and having a light that shines directly on my stitching makes a huge difference. Now, if only I could manage to take pictures that are in focus!

Aside from stitching, I worked a little on my milk carton project. Soon, very soon, I will start to do interesting things with it.

And then there's this pair of Waving Lace socks in Opal Uni for my niece. I finally finished them!

We've been having extremely hot and dry weather here. It's definitely time to put away my raglan sweater. Yesterday and today I worked on some short cotton socks for Meital. I still need to finish up the secret project I started in January. I've made lots of progress on it, but it's not done yet. I want to make a few more cotton dishcloths for the kitchen, and get started on my contribution to the Mittnz Blitz for the Cheyenne River Reservation. You can read more about it here. And take a gander at the lovely button my friend Lizzie made (in my sidebar on the right, up at the top of the page).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Today is the Tomorrow You Blogged About Yesterday

Or not.

For the first time that I can think of, I'm going to tell you not what I did today, but what I did yesterday. I guess that means that tomorrow, I'll be blogging about today. Hmm, at some point, I'd better play catch up.

Anyway, yesterday was a school holiday, and we drove to Jerusalem to see Avi's family. Liat's good friend Eden came along. We ate, the kids played cards, I knit, we ate, the kids played word games, I knit, we ate, the kids read, Avi cooked, I washed dishes, and we did a little (very little) sightseeing.

We drove to a promenade not far from my in-laws' home, where we could enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Avi pointed out various sights to the girls.

The view is gorgeous, but almost always hazy. Here you can see the Old City, with the mosque known as the Dome of the Rock shining golden in the late afternoon sunshine

Avi took this photo. I believe this building in the foreground is the Church of Gethsemane. Somebody please correct me if I am wrong!

So many trees were in glorious bloom.

I like to take "artistic" photos.

There were lovely sights to see in my MIL's garden, as well.

See what I mean?

Yes, Meital at age 10 is the same height as her grandmother; Liat is taller. My MIL is very petite, very smart, and very loving.

In short, we all had a great time. And, I got a lot of knitting done.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I finally have stamping, knitting and stitching to show you! I'll wait while you recover from the shock. Okay, here we go:

These are the "twinchies" or 2 x 2" squares I made for a swap over at ATCs for All. My former ATC hangout closed down suddenly and without warning when the guy who owned the site decided to take his toys and go home, and to heck with all the hundreds of people who used and enjoyed the site. As I've told my daughters over and over, men are babies.

Okay, enough of that! The new site is great, a lot friendlier and prettier, too. There was no theme for this twinchies swap, so I decided to use my new stamps from Sunday International. I really like them. I don't know if you can see it, but in the background is a grid pattern. I can't wait to play more with these great stamps. They're by Dee Gruenig, of course. Hers are almost the only stamps I use anymore.

One of the last progress photos I showed you of Mother's Arms was the one above. I forget when I took that photo, but it was likely a couple of weeks ago.

Here is how it looks now. Lots of beads, and a fair amount of stitching, too. The beads and blending filament (the sparkly threads) are very time consuming to work with, but they sure do provide gorgeous results. Now that I look at this photo on the computer screen, however, I suspect you won't be able to see much difference. Sorry! I'll try to do better next time.

And finally, lest you think I've forgotten how to knit, here are two of my current projects. The top-down raglan sweater for me is coming along slowly. I stopped working on the body so that I can do the sleeves and see how much more of this color I'll have left to add to the body before I need to start doing colorwork to complete the sweater. The second Waving Lace sock is now past the gusset decreases, and it's just a matter of knitting away to get it done.

Tomorrow we're going to Jerusalem to see the family, so I should get a lot done on the sock.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Purim!

Actually, today isn't really Purim. But it is the day that most kids in Israel celebrated Purim at school. As I drove through Netanya today, I saw kids of all ages (even teenagers) dressed in a wide variety of costumes. Even grown-ups join in the fun. Meital's teacher, for example, dressed up as a doctor. And I saw a woman pushing a baby stroller who wore a shower cap, green goo on her face, a bathrobe with a towel thrown over her shoulder, and slippers.

I made the chef's hat using this pattern. It was made using more of Avi's former shirt, and what used to be a homemade curtain in Meital's room when she was a baby.

A vital part of the Purim celebration are mishloach manot, which are rather like goodie baskets. Here, we use a plate or some other container to heap the goodies in. Most people wrap it up with colored cellophane. The mishloach manot usually includes a variety of candies and some kind of salty snack like potato chips or Bamba - arguably the most popular snack food in Israel. However, the single most important part of a mishloach manot are the osnei haman (better known in the rest of the world by its Yiddish name, hamantaschen). The traditional filling for this cookie cum pastry is poppyseed, though as a kid I loved the prune and apricot fillings the best. But my fabulous mother-in-law came up with a strawberry-pecan-cinnamon filling that is absolutely the best thing ever! So that's what Liat and I made last night. About 4 dozen of 'em.

The plastic "toys" you see in the photo are actually noisemakers; groggers in Yiddish and ra'ashanim in Hebrew (you're getting quite the Hebrew lesson here, eh Laela?). During the reading of the Book of Esther (a required feature of the Purim Holiday), listeners make all the noise they can every time the evil Haman is mentioned (a common Jewish curse is to say after the mention of an evil person: "may his memory be erased.")

In America, I celebrated Purim at Sunday school in the synagogue, mostly by wearing a costume and participating in a Purim carnival. We have those here, too, and our neighborhood carnival will take place on Saturday evening. So the fun's not over yet.

But, thankfully, the sewing is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hodge Podge

Today Avi and I attended a ceremony for tenth graders at Liat's school. By law, all Israeli citizens over the age of 16 must carry an I.D. card. Today, Liat and her classmates received those cards. The photo shows Liat with her teacher. It was a special moment, made all the more enjoyable by the opportunity to see so many of Liat's wonderful friends.

I forgot to show you a couple of wonderful gifts I received recently. This gorgeous card is from my wonderful friend, Debbie. It's a great day when you get something this pretty in the mail!

My friend and neighbor, Michele, came by the other evening with her daughter, who is Liat's closest friend. She brought this stunning clock, which she painted herself just for me. Michele has been trying to teach me to paint like this, but I'll confess I have not been doing my homework! I finally have the right brushes and paints, so it's just a matter of finding the time.

Yeah, that'll happen.

Oh well, you never know. Meanwhile, the costume is sewn, the cookies and hamantaschen are baked, and tomorrow you'll get to see what I've been complaining about for the last few days.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Awful Truth

I'm scared of my sewing machine.

There. I said it. I'm inimidated by an inanimate object. I have no idea how to use about three-quarters of the features. Plus, I think it's out to get me.

Avi bought this Husqvarna 500 sewing machine for me about ten years ago. I use it for sewing up costumes, hemming pants, sewing around the ravelling edges of cross stitch fabric, and sewing souvenir patches onto Liat's denim jacket. That's about it. For now, it's costume time.

I took this old shirt of Avi's (the sleeves were hacked off a few months ago in an unsuccessful attempt to create a last-minute costume for a drama production) and cut it up even more, so I could use the fabric for Meital's costume.

The apron is made from the back of the shirt. The ties for the waist are the button and buttonhole bands. The neck strap I fashioned myself and the loop came from the top of the breast pocket. Everywhere I could, I used pre-hemmed pieces to cut down on sewing.

Because, you know... I hate sewing.

I also started the chef's hat today, but I have plenty left to do tomorrow. It needs to be done by 8:25 on Wednesday morning. It will involve gathering, interfacing, and other incomprehensible mysteries. Pray for me.

The sock is at the heel flap, and today I worked a bit on my sweater. I also added a bunch of beads to Mother's Arms. All in all, not a bad day.

Once I finish sewing the hat, I'll need to start focussing on baking.

Thank goodness.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Time Out

After a late night last night (our team won, in overtime) I started my day feeling fairly lethargic. I managed to finish up the last bit of work we still had left to do, then spent most of the rest of the day reading and napping. I worked a bit on Meital's costume, but aside from that and a bit of knitting, today was not at all about accomplishing things. Rather, it was about tuning out the world and just relaxing.

Tomorrow I'll pack up my sock knitting and head for Jerusalem.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another Day, Another 3.40 Shekels

Yes, today was another work day. I made some last changes on the resume, then Avi and I finished up the latest rental contract. Then I discussed a project with another client, but work on that will have to wait until tomorrow morning. With luck, I will get that done quickly and have some time to work on my own projects!

Last night and this morning, I knitted a few rounds on my top-down raglan pullover (the one I'd hoped to finish by the end of this month. As of now? Doesn't look likely). I also did a bit on the second Waving Lace sock, and am creeping up on the heel flap.

I also managed to work a bit on the infamous milk carton project, which I have decided to enlarge. I am getting impatient to really get started on that (so far, it's all been "prep" work). But before that, I need to get busy with my project-on-a-deadline: Meital's Purim costume. She wants to dress up as a chef. So far, the apron is nearly done, but I also need to make a chef's hat! Plus, she wants me to bake cookies (not exactly a traditional Purim treat, but then chocolate chip cookies are always in season, aren't they?)

Kids in Israel will be celebrating Purim at school on Wednesday, 19 March 2008. The actual holiday is a day off from school, so the costume contests and other festivities take place a bit early. This means that I now have less than a week to finish up Meital's costume. If we don't get too much more work in the coming days, I should be fine. Otherwise, it will be another pre-Purim all-nighter for good old Mom.

Meanwhile, tonight's basketball game is in Spain, so while we're gathered around the TV I plan to knit something. Anything! After the last couple of days, I need some knit therapy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

9 to 5

Today, for what I am pretty sure is the first time since we started our translation business, I worked a full day! I knew when I got up this morning that there was a project waiting; a resume. We got that done, and while I was proofreading/editing, some friends came over with a rental contract (nine pages!) they needed translated right away. Before we could get to that, another repeat client came by with a couple of pages he wanted us to add on to something we had already started for him.

I think that steady drip, drip, drip I told you about is becoming a definite trickle.

What's fun about what we do is that each job is different. Some are tedious, some are fascinating. But the best thing is when we have clients return with more work for us.

Naturally, the downside to all this work is there's less time for play! My project-on-a-deadline now has a week to go before D-Day. Thank goodness I've already done a bit of work on it. I hope to have photos and a full explanation soon.

And now, darn it all, I've got that Dolly Parton song stuck in my head!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Does anybody else remember this song? It's kind of stuck in my mind today, after what turned out to be my major accomplishment of the day.

A couple of days ago, I noticed there was a small hole in the knee of one of Meital's pairs of sweatpants. She is so slim and long-waisted, the only pants that are comfortable for her are sweatpants with an elastic waist, so these get a lot of wear. And we all know that holes like this never get any smaller.

So I set out to put a patch on the hole. Good thing I always save the leftovers whenever I hack off the extra length on, er I mean hem, sweatpants! Yup, I keep them for years and years in my fabric stash. Which is really odd, because I hate to sew, so what am I doing with a fabric stash?? One of the truly existential mysteries of the universe. But I digress. I have always added extra patches whenever I need to cover a hole, so that the result looks (or so I hope) more like a fashion make-over than a mending job. And since lately I am fascinated by the work of Kristin Nicholas, I decided that plain old squares just wouldn't do.

This is a photo taken mid-process. I ended up putting on three patches; one on the offending hole in the knee, one near the bottom of the opposite leg, and one on a front pocket. They are all double-layered stars, all with a lazy daisy in the center. Now, although I am only an occasional seamstress, and an almost-never embroiderer, it wouldn't have taken even me all day to complete this project. But we had a steady drip, drip, drip of small editing and translating jobs come in today. It seemed like every time I got my rhythm back with needle and thread, there was another rub at the lamp*. Er, I mean another job came in.

Naturally, I didn't get any cross stitching, rubber stamping, card making or just about anything else done today. But that's okay. I've been wanting to do some embroidery like this for awhile, and it was nice to have this excuse. I asked Meital if she thought the kids at school would tease her or think her patches were babyish, and she told me she didn't care what anyone else thought. She thinks her patches are cool, and that's good enough for her. What a kid!

In other news, I received a treasure trove from my friend Daylene. Being the wonderful stamper and friend that she is, Daylene responded to my plea a week or so ago for a single stamped image. But then she sent me approximately 28 of those images, in all different colors, with and without embossing. But that's not all! Daylene also sent me this gorgeous card you see in the photo, and the stunningly fabulous necklace made from a curved domino. How cool is that?!?! And that's not all! Daylene also included two beautiful bookmarks for my girls (do you hear that? It's the sound of my heart melting). I didn't get a photo of them before the girls whisked them off with cries of, "It's wonderful! Tell her thank you! Tell her I'm going to use it in my English book!" (Note: my girls read novels in both English and Hebrew, so they always have two books going at one time).

Yes, I'd say today was a pretty wonderful day. Patches and all.

*Lizzie, that one was for you!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Laughing Doves and Earflap Hats

You really never know what you're going to get here at Bag of Chocolates! As I was engaged in the meditative and ancient art of ironing shirts this afternoon, I heard a rustling sound outside the window. Grabbing the camera, I cautiously slid open the screen and snapped this photo. Once the ironing was done (I'm so disciplined) Meital and I tried to identify our winged friend by looking through her trusty bird guide book. In the end, she did an Internet search to confirm our suspicions. Turns out, this little fellow is known in English as the Laughing Dove. And if that isn't delightful, I don't know what is!

Since I had the iron out, I gave that quilt block I told you about a good pressing. The dark red color comes from the fabric you see on the right. It has wide stripes that gradually change from that wine color to a lovely peach. My thought was to surround the Four Seasons Bunnies with these pinwheel squares, maintaining the blue fabric throughout, but using the various shades in the other fabric so as to complement all of the various bunnies and their color schemes. But one pinwheel square is fairly wide, and I'm afraid a whole border would overwhelm the poor bunnies. My Plan B was to make only four pinwheels, and use them at the corners, going across the top and bottom, and down the sides, with something narrower. Now I'm contemplating Plan C, which is to use the pinwheels, but to make them smaller than the size shown here. I still haven't decided, so I thought I would share my angst and uncertainty with you. Don't say I never gave you anything!

When I started working again on Mother's Arms, I quickly decided I didn't like the way the designer left whole sections of the dress unstitched. The linen fabric just didn't look attractive to me. I decided to fill in the blank areas with a color that comes close to the color of the fabric. I think it will look a lot richer, prettier, this way. I got a lot more of this cream thread stitched in after the photo was taken, then worked in some more beads. Joansie asked if I string all the beads before adding them. No, that wouldn't work (as far as I know!). What I do is bring up the thread where I need a bead, thread that color bead onto the needle, then basically do a regular X, just with the bead in place. It is a slow and painstaking process, but fun.

Speaking of fun (and earflap hats), here is the finished Thorpe earflap hat! I think it's awfully cute. But ever since I discovered Kristin Nicholas by listening to a podcast over at Craft Sanity, I have become obsessed by the thought of trying out adding embroidery to knitting.

And here are the results of my first effort! I'm looking forward to trying this again.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What Month Is It?

These blossoms are adorning several overhanging branches of our neighbor Haim's plum tree. The plums from Haim's tree are delicious and juicy; in fact, they are as sweet and tender as Haim himself. Normally, we see blossoms on the fruit trees a bit earlier in the year (believe it or not; I know some of you have lots of snow just now!). But we had a cold spell earlier that probably delayed the Spring bloom.

Here's another out-of-season occurence. Today I made a whole bunch of Fourth of July cards, for Keiki Cards. They are asking for Summer and Fourth of July cards, so I want to get these done soon and on their journey to Hawaii. I still have another 5 or 6 yet to finish before the package will go out. These are made by layering patterned paper, and using templates and some stickers. As you can see, I can get a whole lot more cards done this way than I can by stamping, which is why I like to use this method to make cards to send to Keiki. The photo is not the greatest because I took it tonight: no natural light. Plus I seem to have become an expert at taking a blurry photo while using the camera's auto-focus feature. Sigh...

Aside from that, I added a whole boatload (or so it seemed at the time) of beads to my cross stitching project, Mother's Arms. I worked on the second Waving Lace sock, and get a whole lot done on the earflap hat. I hope to have a photo of the finished hat tomorrow or the next day.

I tried to work on my project-with-a-deadline, but I broke my sewing machine! We're going to try to take it to be fixed, but it's over 10 years old. I have no idea if parts are still available, or how much we might be charged for labor. I'm fairly sure the problem is a fairly simple mechanical glitch, so we'll see. I can always sew this project by hand if need be. I've done it before. More on that in a future post.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Can't Show You

I got a lot done today, but there's not much to show. I finished two cards for the Club Posh birthday card contest, and sent them off. I'm pretty happy with them, but I can't show them to you.

I finished the first Waving Lace sock and started the second. I could show that to you, but it's not all that interesting.

I worked more on my cross stitch project, Mother's Arms, but you just recently saw a photo of that, and it doesn't look all that different.

I pieced and sewed together a small quilt square to see if it would work as a border for the Four Seasons Bunnies. It's pretty large, so I started thinking I would make four corner pieces, then do something smaller down the sides and across the top and bottom. But it isn't ironed flat, so I didn't take a picture yet.

I guess today I'm all talk and no photos!

Friday, March 7, 2008

In Which I Actually Show Progress

I'll bet you were starting to wonder if I was actually doing any knitting anymore! Well, I have been. This photo shows my progress on the Thorpe Hat, which I am making for the Cheyenne River Reservation. I have also been working on the first Waving Lace sock, which is rapidly approaching the toe decreases. I am hoping for some sold sock knitting time tomorrow, so I can finish the first sock and at least cast on for the second.

Remember this? This is the progress photo of Mother's Arms that I showed you about a week ago.

Here's what it looks like now (Friday evening). You can actually see progress if I wait in between photos! Unlike the Four Seasons Bunnies*, Mother's Arms moves very slowly. I didn't have time today to do any beadwork or stitching with blending filament. I am looking forward to doing that tomorrow, though.

Here's a card I finished today. I am making very slow progress on the card making, too, apparently. But now that this card, for a friend who could use some cheer, is done, I can work on a submission for a card contest. And possibly build up a stock of cards to have available when needed. It would sure make it possible to get cards out sooner. Shortly before Avi got his new computer, Meital told him that his computer moved "slower than a dying turtle." That's about my speed on most projects, these days!

From the comments: "I started reading your blog to view your knitting, but I am absolutely blown away by the cards you make! May I ask how you learned all the techniques you use? Thanks! ~Janet"

Unfortunately, Janet did not leave me a way to contact her directly. Janet, I hope you don't mind that I am responding here. I have been enjoying rubber stamping for nearly ten years now. Much of what I know, I learned in magazines (the Rubber Stamper - now defunct, and Rubberstampmadness) and especially, on-line. Most of the cards I've posted recently have been made using stamps by Dee Gruenig Signature Designs (formerly Posh Impressions). Much of what I know how to do, I learned from Dee's videos and books, or from the wonderful folks at Club Posh. My source for stamps, glossy cards and Marvy markers is Sunday International. Occasionally, I like to try things I've learned at Splitcoaststampers or on Craft TV Weekly.

If people are interested in a more detailed explanation of exactly how I make these cards, I would be happy to post a brief tutorial here on the blog. Please let me know in the comments (or by e-mail) if you would like that.

*Lest you think I've forgotten, I am hoping to work on the patchwork border for the Four Seasons Bunnies tomorrow. I also need to dust off the sewing machine to work on another project, one that has a rapidly-approaching deadline. Stay tuned for further details.