Teacher Tote

Okay, I have to say this is too much fun. My second complete tote this week and it is so cute!

I have been wanting to make this tote since I ran across it on the front of Quilts and More Magazine . I just wasn't sure what fabric to use. I found this leftover teacher fabric, from another teacher project, and went to work. It will be the perfect end of the year teacher gift for one of the Elementary school Teachers. Actually, Emma has already claimed it for her teacher! Ms. Crews will be one stylin' teacher!

I am so Excited. I can hardly wait to start another tote! I think I will try to make one tote a month as my new years resolution. (better late than never)


Tote-aly Awesome

Here is the finished version of my "Chubby Charmer Tote" (And my new barstools!)

I am so very excited to use it! I think it will be just perfect for boating, or any other outing with my family. Basically any time a "Mom, could you hold this?" is necessary. I am so inspired that I think I am ready to make another tote. Not the same one! My general rule is never make the same thing twice. To boring for my ADHA persona.


Quilted Things

I don't believe I have shared the quilting that I did in December. I actually quilted all of these in a space of about 2 weeks! And then, NOTHING.

I really need to get back on my quilting machine. I still have several quilt tops, that I made this summer to quilt, then maybe a friend (Mary) will get it in her head to send me a few more to practice on?!?

Regardless, I am so happy with the results of these quilts. I was quite anxious about the amount of time it would take me to relearn my machine, but never fear, It was like riding a bike. Okay, perhaps not that simple but you get the idea.
My ultimate goal is to get them all quilted and bound along with the 4 others I have up on the etsy site before summer comes an I have kids to entertain once more.


All Buttoned UP

Do Not Adjust Your Monitor!

It just so happens I have finished another project. Here is the sweater I finished knitting in March of last year! OMG has it really taken me that long to sew buttons on? I am a bigger slacker than I thought! Sad, just very sad, there are only four!
Anyway here they are looking mighty pretty sitting on this gorgeous Philosophers Wool. Aren't they pretty!
Now, I just have to figure out who would enjoy it the most, since it unfortunately is made of wool and I have just recently sworn off the stuff. It really is a beautiful sweater but, since my last anaphylactic reaction to wool I just am not that excited about having it anywhere near myself.
Hmm. Who do I know who lives north of the Mason Dixon line and needs to stay warm? Right! Everyone. Send me and email if you are interested.


Zipping along

OK here it is my first zipper in a knitted item. TA-DA!

I was hesitant to start it because I was doing it for a friend. (HI AMY). Somehow I expected it to be more difficult than sewing a zipper in a fabric garment. It wasn't difficult but it did present some interesting learning experiences. Here are some things I learned while researching and sewing in the zipper.

1. It is easier to hand sew a zipper in a knitted garment. Not only can you control the stretch of the yarn but you also can see the stitches clearer if you need to remove them.

2. Long sewing pins, and needles are necessary, the thicker the better. I used corsage pins to hold the zipper ends in place.

3. Instead of using a facing or button band a I-cord edge covers the zipper edge without adding bulk.

4. Do not finish tacking the neck band edges before zipper is installed.

5. Blanket binding or hem tape can be used to cover the zipper on the inside to give your garment a smooth inner edge.

6. Basting your knitted garment fronts together helps keep zipper even over both sides.

7. Stitch markers, for crochet or coil-less safety pins can be used to hold knitted garment fronts together, in place of basting.

8. Make sure you have a very patient and understanding friend before beginning an undertaking of this sort. (Thanks AMY!)



I have been wanting to get down to making a few totes I've had my eye on. Trouble is yes, winter doldrums. Since the weather hear has become warmer in the last week, and we have actually had SUN I have finally gotten down to business. First let me say, I LOVE FAT QUARTERS! (fat quarters for all of you non-quilty people are 18x22 in piece of fabric) Hmm. put that way it really doesn't sound to wonderful. Oh, but they are! All of the colors and textures just sitting there begging to be made into something, anything. The best part for me is that it solves the problem I usually take with me to the fabric store, "How much fabric should I buy if I don't have a specific plan to use it?" (Ignoring the obvious, why do you need to buy more fabric.) Fat quarters fold up small, for storage and can be thrown into just about anything fabric related quilts, clothing, curtains, and even TOTES!

These lovely colors all came from a fat quarter bundle I picked up in Grove City while I was there. You didn't actually think Mary and I would not go to the fabric store together. (Incidentally the name of this wonderful world of all things quilting is Always in Stitches, just an FYI) These are a Michael Miller fabrics line Pillow and Maxfield. (Again FYI just in case anyone wants to pick some up) While there I also picked up a tote pattern.
It's called the Chubby Charmer, designed by Penny Sturges. I am quite excited about this tote because it is exceptionally large. I plan on using it as a tote for boating. This is the one place we go where my tote never, ever seams big enough. This one measures 14 in. tall, 18 in. wide and 10 in. deep. Should be big enough to put in a few boating related items. CAN'T WAIT!



What a beautiful weekend. I'll admit we did get our fair share of rain, but when it wasn't raining it was warm and wonderful and 66 degrees! It is amazing what a day with sun can do for winter doldrums.

Sunny days are meant for outdoor projects, building forts, riding bikes, lawn projects, clearing away the remnants of fall, long walks with your dog or just sitting in a warm sunbeam and enjoying. Just the quick peek of spring was enough to boost even my dark and dreary thoughts. It was warm enough that the kids put on their shorts! The blue sky and sun even enticed Ginger into a game of fetch.



Lately I have been having a creativity slump. It is not at all unusual for me to have ideas flowing so fast I cannot keep up, but recently I have fallen short. I seem to be moving in a slow gray fog. I have spurts of activity and mild creativeness only to become exhausted and need to take a nap. Pretty pathetic. I am not sure what is the root cause, post-holiday wind-down, the cold Arctic air, the new home or just general malaise. Whatever the cause, I am really looking for someway to 'SNAP OUT OF IT!' It is not that I don't have things to work on, because believe me the projects are everywhere, but the motivation is severely lacking.

Looking for some source of inspiration I traveled to the local library. While there I picked up a book I have been looking for, it is called No Sheep For You by Amy R Singer. I know those of you who may be allergic to wool, as I am, have seen it. I for one love the smell, texture and colors that knitting with wool bring to a project. Every time I start a project that calls for wool, I think, "This brand, or combination won't bother me." it does. The poncho I am currently knitting makes my nose itch every time I pick it up. It is so frustrating. This book is so Wonderful. For anyone who is allergic to wool I highly recommend it. It explains all of the fibers you can use to substitute for different projects. Not only that, but it explains why certain things work and others don't. Ms. Singer goes into just enough explanation to make sense without boring one into oblivion. The best part about this book is the author is so funny. I usually avoid books like these because they are dry and full of facts only scientists and chemists can appreciate or understand. Not here. Ms. Singer who just happens to also be the founder of Knitty.com and write for Interweave Knits is quite enjoyable. She also happens to be a "non-wool" knitter and allergy sufferer. And here is the best part. The book has patterns. Not just any patterns, but patterns for things made without wool. HA. She has done all the work and experimentation for us and come up with substitutions that will work so we can actually wear what we make. How novel?

I heard somewhere that January is Self-craft month. The month where all of our holiday projects for others are finished and cleaned out. Now we have time to make something for someone who we may at times neglect, ourselves! Isn't that just a great thing, permission to make ourselves something. CRAZY! Now, I believe, I have my inspiration, I just need to decide what to knit myself. Hmmm.



Lying in bed one night I heard the loudest crash. It hit just as I was starting to drift off to sleep. I was startled awake. For a moment I was unsure if I had dreamed it. I stumbled out of bed to investigate. I walked out into the hall and looked around. Nothing seemed out of place, all the messes were just as we had left them. I was a little relieved to notice Ginger at the top of the stairs starring down at me. Apparently, she had heard it too. Okay, so it was real. The night progressed without further incident.

The next day I heard another crash. I yelled up stairs to the kids. "WHAT are you doing?!" Imagine my surprise when the kids were not upstairs but in the kitchen. "What was that crash?" I demanded. Well, they were just as baffled as I was. All 4 of us crept to the bottom of the stairs to notice Ginger once again standing at the top of the stairs starring back. Hmmm?

Ginger and I spend a lot of time together when the kids are at school. We go for walks and pal around the house together. It is not unusual to have her follow me around the house. Most days she is happy just to "BE". Occasionally she gets annoyed when I move around a lot. But, she is loyal and reluctantly will pick up her bone or favorite chew-toy of the day and follow me when I move to the next room. Such was the case on Friday. She happily followed me from room to room and up and down the stairs for most of the morning. By early afternoon it was obvious she was annoyed with the uneventfulness of the day. She had brought me every slobbery toy she could find and placed it ever so cautiously in my lap. Lucky me. We played a few games, but I just wasn't the good time she was looking for. As I descended the stairs, for what had to have been the 100th time that day, I heard the crash. I barely had time to side-step and miss the tumbling rawhide as it whizzed by my kneecaps. Ginger, much like your average 10 month old has discovered gravity. It appears that she has tired of carrying her toys or rawhide down the stairs and now prefers just to drop them and watch them bounce down all 12 steps. Did I mention they are wooden steps? All the while the toys roll down the stairs she stands at the top, head slightly cocked to the side and watches them. Now daily we listen to the BANG, CLANG, TUMBLE and THUMP of Gingers toys as they bounce down into the great room. All the while she sits peacefully at the top watching.



I knit and knit and knit over this past holiday. As a testament to how busy my holiday was, I am just now getting around to blogging about it. I finished the bamboo pullover I was working on. I must say it is quite gorgeous. I love the yarn! It is so soft and cuddly.

It is unfortunate that the sweater was much to small and now Emma has a wonderfully cute tunic. Quite disappointing really. I was sure that the finished measurements would fit me. The sweater has the exact finished measurements the pattern specified. I can only assume that my measuring tape, not unlike my scale, measure me much smaller than perhaps I am willing to admit.

Emma requested a poncho in early December. Since I didn't have much going on last month, haha, I decided to oblige her. It is a pattern I adapted this from a pattern I found in The Yarn Girls Guide to Kids Knits. It is a pattern for a much smaller child. I knit it in Lion Brand Suede in a lovely plum color. Emma was quite proud of her mama and showed off the poncho throughout our travels.

It was during our travels up north that I really began to want to knit a sweater. A really warm sweater. I haven't been knitting much in the south. There hasn't been enough of a cold spell to make me want to cuddle up on the couch with multiple yards of Hot wool. Never fear. It is cold now. I dug into my stash and found some Lion brand Thick n' Quick and a pattern for a poncho. It is actually a pattern for a capelet. With the recommended modifications it should be long enough on my petite frame to be a poncho. If not, it looks like Emma will inherit a nice wool cable poncho.

I also received a knit ornament kit from an awesome friend (HI MARY!) and started knitting ornaments on the trip. This was the advertised kit from KnitPicks. They are just too darn cute. I knit just enough to hang an ornament, stuffed with a Thank You note, on the tree of every home we visited. (If you haven't found yours yet. You might want to think about taking down your tree now.)

This I did not knit. Amy knit this gorgeous sweater. It is just so beautiful I wanted to share. Hopefully I will be able to get the zipper sewn into it this weekend and maybe one of us will have a project that fits us.


Art Show 1/2010

Creativity abounds. Most of the projects you see here were given to me as Christmas presents by two of my favorite people.
This is Emma's Turkey Project from all the way back in November. She was given a pattern of a turkey and had to "dress it up" for Thanksgiving. Many of the kids made rock star turkeys or ballerina turkeys. Emma and I got creative and added fabric. Since we both enjoy sewing and playing with fabric we sewed him up quickly. Added batting and googly eyes and Voila! Our Turkey with Stuffing! LOL:)
Following on the bird theme. Here is an owl, complete with googly eyes, Emma made in art class.
"Keeping busy." is what Emma said she was doing when this creation was produced. Looks like she did just that.
Jack calls this "Crazy Hair Dude." Another art project.

Nothing says Christmas quite like a handmade ornament. This particular ornament was made with love by Emma. It came wrapped in the cutest little reindeer bag, which unfortunately I did not get a picture of. rats.
One of the 7 Christmas ornaments Jack made for me. Their teacher must have been feeling particularly crafty during this past holiday season.
Ornament number two from the same collection.
I think this is just the cutest little snowman jar. I cannot wait to fill it with goodies next Christmas. Again a present from Jack.
This is Jack's interpretation of a "Funky Chicken" In his spare (haha) time this chicken enjoys a quick round of golf.


Christmas Pictures

We are back from out Christmas Travels north of the Mason-Dixon and I can tell you that it gets seriously cold up there! I began to wonder why I didn't pack more sweaters.
We had a blast at all of our Christmas stops! A big THANKS to all who put up with us and put us up. Here are a few pictures of the chaos that ensued over break.

Emma, Grammy and Jack pose during our Christmas opening in Cincinnati.

Mark and Audrey (his first cousin once removed, I think?) sharing a minute in between board games.

The kids playing baseball in the 1 inch of snow we saw in Cincinnati.

Emma modeling the Skywalk in downtown Cincinnati.

Skating in Detroit. Our New Year's Eve Tradition. Mark, John, Jack, Emma, & Abby form a train. Mark was "lucky" enough to be voted engineer.

One of the few nights the kids got to bed before midnight. (I think it was 11:30). All in all a very exhausting, enjoyable and entertaining holiday vacation!