A Little Too Much

Hi, there, dear reader.  Glad you could drop by after my long absence.  It’s been awhile, I know, so let the excuses begin!

The last several weeks I have been caught up in spring.  This season makes me feel light-hearted and yet, ready to take on the world.  Out in the garden everyday, buying flowers, potting soil, and seeds, spring cleaning, clearing out the fountain and raking away the tons of pine needles that threaten to take over my roses, and in general, just being outdoors; enjoying the sun after months of a typical gloomy Californian winter.  Granted, in just a very short while, I will be posting about summer’s relentless, grinding heat and moaning for autumn; however, in the meantime, I will bask in this mindset and weather.

I finally finished the flame stitch bag and gave it a strengthening liner to turn it from a bag to a purse.  I didn’t do the pom-poms because I am really tough on my purses.  They’d need to be taken off after a week!  For the handles, I purchased some at Joann Crafts and Fabrics.  Attaching the handles did turn out to be problematic, but I went with it anyway!

Malabrigo Sea Green yarn
I was supposed to get the $2.99 rings only. $65 later….eeesh!

With the temperatures climbing higher on the thermometer, all the fresh, new growth has attracted deer, especially to the aforementioned roses.  I’ve babied those bushes because they have to Floribunda rosesbe; the pine trees block all but about 5 hours of sun, even on the summer solstice, so I’m always sure to prune them, nourish them, ensure they’re disease-free.  Anyone who has had a serious interest in roses knows how hard this can be.  With the drought conditions we’ve been having, my roses have become a food mainstay for the hungry deer.  To combat this, I’ve been using Must Garden natural deer repellent.  During the winter, it didn’t work so well.  The deer were starving.  So my poor babies were beat up. I didn’t think they would make it this year.  But lo, and behold, they’re blooming.  Not a whole bunch, but it’s a start.

So pretty
Colors are Malabrigo Ravelry Red and Spun Right Round Newsprint

And now that we’re finished with my easy purse, I’ve moved on to another Malabrigo project.  I know, I know.  I love that yarn and it was on sale.  At least, today’s purchase was on sale….But I digress.  I’ve been working on a pattern for a sweater that I bought on Ravelry, Zweig, and I can’t wait to finish it.  I’m realistically shooting for November, when I’ll need it!  I intend to do some more planned pooling on a new brand of yarn – I will report the results!  I’ve also got some more fan art to do.  Never thought I’d be that kind of a fan at my age!  LOL  Life’s too short not to do the things you want when you can.

See you in the funny pages!

Review on Red Heart Scrubby yarn

Aaaand….we’re back.

I purchased this yarn several years ago with the intent of making it my “next” project, as soon as I was done with whatever I was working on at the time.  Oops.  I’d actually started this particular post around then.  Its been languishing in the Drafts section, silently accusing me every time I wrote about something else.  Why haven’t you whipped up this easy project?  I’d skim over the Drafts option and choose New.  Sometimes, that’s the way it goes.

So, what did I think after the two year wait?  The yarn is nice and scrubby, textured enough to make finding stitches a little difficult.  I can definitely see its value as a household cleaning item.  But this is a double-edged proposition.  For the yarn to be effective enough, it has to be coarse enough, and that can make it rough on your skin as you’re working it.  I had to stop twice before chafing started!  I will also add that I already have dry, rough, older skin, so this may not be an issue for all of you who try it.

As for the particular pattern I used, Fancy Flower Scrubber, that sucker is big.  I won’t be making a second blue one because I can’t see using them for their intended purposed.  It’s way larger than my hand so it wouldn’t be ergonomic for me.  I may whip up a simple square in hdc just to use it up…but later.  Need to give my skin a break.

From Rug to Table Runner; OR, I Didn’t Buy Enough Paracord

Sometimes I remember things or objects from my youth that have literally been forgotten for decades.  One of those bits of flotsam and jetsam that recently floated across my consciousness was the rag rug from my childhood we had on our living room floor.  The colors were drab and muted, very utilitarian in nature; however, put on the old wood floor, it really fit.  Around 1975, my mother decided she’d had it with her young daughters cleaning the floor by using Pledge and creating a dangerous, slick surface for her stockinged feet – don’t do it! – and she had the standard gold shag carpet installed.  Goodbye wood, goodbye rug.

Flash forward 41 years, and here I am, wanting to make a rug similar to the one from my childhood.  This transmogrified into wanting to make an outdoor rug for our new deck; a rug that wouldn’t require washing and was durable.  I’d read somewhere that it was possible to use paracord for certain crocheted objects and the said material could be purchased at a craft store.  Without further thought or research, I did just that.

I purchased 120 yards (really?) and a more ergonomically friendly size “N” crochet hook.  With only a vague notion as to how I should proceed, I powered through it.  I’ve done enough crocheting through the years to improvise, even though I’m not a big fan of it.  As you can see, the yardage fell far short of the imagined rug, but at least it made it outside.  It’s sturdy, a bit rough on the hands, but it will last quite a long time out in the elements.  My family was so impressed by this little place mat that now they want me to make a bigger one.

Will I?  Yup.  But later.  My fingers got callouses from this!


A Pattern Emerges

Oh – snap!  I have neglected my miniscule part of the internet far too long.  It’s not that I don’t think about it…on occasion.  I do miss it.  Somehow, my life has become busy.  Well, at least more cluttered than it was when I started blogging.  Work (that’s a biggie), buying the house and all that entailed, keeping up with my MeetUp, my Facebook page, bookclub, thinking about knitting (!), helping my sister to plan a move up here, a parent visitation….it goes on.  You know, life.

In the midst of all this “life”, I discovered a pattern, if you will, that I use for my particular lifestyle.  It must have occurred when I was scrambling around for a pair of socks.  I don’t know about you guys, but I am soooo not a foot person.  I don’t have a separate closet full of shoes, I don’t hoard sexy socks or whatever, but necessity has me using them.  If it were up to me, I’d run around barefoot like a yahoo.

One hole is fixed, and another is formed
One hole is fixed, and another is formed

So there I am rummaging in my delicates drawer, looking for a pair of good work socks.  Partially through my quest for frugality, and partially through my neglect and disinterest in this department of clothing, I find that my repairs to this particular set is failing.  Note the salvaged heel (which I used blue thread to repair, NOT an appropriate color, which I do own) and see the gigantic hole at the bottom.  What would you do?  Throw them away and continue your search, or wear them one more time and buy some more socks immediately?  Not only have I NOT done that, I’ve worn them twice more since starting this article!!  They’re still in my drawer because I just put them there this morning as I was sorting laundry.

At this point you may be thinking, Damn, Glenda, are you that broke?  We’ll send some money, just put up a PayPal link and promise to get/make some new socks!  Thank you, really, but it’s not necessary.

This revelation lead me to search other areas of my closet/bathroom.  I discovered two refugees

Disco lives!
Disco lives!
Back to stateside, where I had to find a real job
Back to stateside, where I had to find a real job

from the 80s that have come with me on every move (14 times for the sparkly evening shirt I purchased while I was active duty in Air Force!).  The Liz Claiborne was used over and over and over and over…I’m getting dizzy…Suffice to say, it was used up to a few years ago, and then I got too fat to wear it.  😦  I’d still be using it if I could!

This made me wonder about other departments outside the wardrobe closet where my parsimony was employed.  I didn’t have to wander too far, for lo and behold, right on my bathroom counter, I found two more examples of my thriftiness.

Yep.  You know this brand...
Yep. You know this brand…

I do advocate using the store brand on many sundry items as there is virtually no difference in composition, only in the perception of the consumer.  Not on everything, mind you, but on most.

I was starting to feel that my teacher in Home Economics class I had taken in junior high had done an exceptionally good job in subliminal techniques because it had taken me 35 plus years to realize the importance of what she was teaching and that I was finally incorporating these values.  Yessirree bob.  I felt so Suzy Homemaker, that I reached for my most recent knitting project.

The knitting project I’ve been working on forever because I’m using fingering weight yarn that’s composed mostly of cotton but also has bamboo and silk incorporated into its lovely strands and

Beautiful cotton...mostly
Beautiful cotton…mostly

takes forever to make any significant progress.  The yarn that cost $11 per skein, and I got 6 skeins.  A $66 tank top.  Feeling a little dizzy at the excess, I rationalized that I rarely purchase such extravagant yarn.  Then I walked back into my closet where there before me lies all the yarn I had to have, stuffed in projects bags, on the shelves, hanging from their original store bags on clothes hangers, and it hits me.  The pattern emerged.

Am I the only knitter/crocheter who forsakes such finery as socks that are in good repair for the love of yarn?

The Smell of Gasoline and the Stress of Not Knowing

All right, you guys: fess up. I am not the only regular, non-whiffing human who really enjoys that first sniff of gasoline when it’s being pumped into the tank.  You know, that first little hint, and then it become overpowering and you’re done.

My heinous secret!
My heinous secret!

I’ve told others of this, and I’m always looked at askance, like, “Ahh…that explains it!”  For all you smart asses out there, it’s not a recreational thing, I don’t huff/whiff/whatever, because it’s something I’ve honestly never thought of doing, even if it wasn’t illegal.  Yuck.  Even when I was a young hot-head looking to experiment with mind-altering…uh…experiences, this was never an option.  Ever.

And I cannot be the only one who has this olfactory quirk.

So what does this have to do with the stress of not knowing?  Well, it’s a tenuous connection at best, but I know that whenever I’m fueling my car, I can always expect that little, secret pleasure.  As fun and/or miserable as life can be with all its whacky twists and turns, it’s nice to know that if, in a
very particular circumstance, you do a, it equals b, not f or qx!

As for what I’m stressing on, in my last post I said we had pulled out of escrow on one house because a house I really wanted had come back on the market.  We were one of two bids on the house, and we didn’t have any contingencies, they did, and we were waiting to hear back from our realtor.  We were fairly confident that our bid would be the winning one and were mentally re-designing the kitchen, which colors the walls need to be painted and in general talking about what we’d need to do to make the house really slick and cool (you know,when you first move into a new house and you have all these great ideas, and only 10% of these go through as planned!)  Imagine my surprise when the next day our realtor called to let us know that the other offer had been accepted, even though it was a lower bid, because they wrote a sob story about their children needing a home.  Son of a b…well, you know.

The owners of the house I’m currently renting are really cool.  As a former home owner and landlord/lady/whatever, myself, I have always kept them abreast of what is going on, especially with the house hunt, because it’s a good thing.  And not only that, Staci has some of the most photogenic children I know, and you’ve probably seen them modeling my stuff in earlier posts.  She has been a sympathetic ear throughout the process, but she didn’t know that the amount we qualified for had been raised, because I didn’t think it was worth mentioning.  So when she heard of my latest disappointment, she texted me back and said, “I wish you could just buy the house!”  After several back and forths and all sorts of other stuff that would bore you, we are know in escrow to buy the house we’ve always wanted from the beginning, the one we’re already living in and loving.

With our track record going here, I’m on pins and needles.  I expect something to be too much, such as insurance.  Homeowners insurance here is quite dear, because we’re right in the middle of the forest during one of the worst droughts in California history and summer brings a rash of forest fires that puts one on their toes during this time.  This is included in our monthly payment.  That’s what is worrying me.  I have several insurance agents searching for a not so god-awful expensive policy.  I am keeping my fingers crossed!

As for my knitting, I’m plodding along at a snail’s pace, snatching what time I have to do a couple of

Figuring out how long to make the ears and how to place them.
Figuring out how long to make the ears and how to place them.

rounds and then regretfully, putting it back in my yarn satchel.  Yes, I have a yarn satchel for my WIPs, don’t you?  Even though this is a relatively easy knit, because I’m making so many modifications to the original pattern, written by Cassidy Clark, it moves very slowly.  Backing up, doing knitting math, and seriously trying to envision what you’re going after.  These take time.  Hopefully, I will have a bunny wabbit that looks somewhat cuddly.

See you in the funny pages!


House Hunting and Teddy Bear Pattern

I’ve been terribly lax about posting anything these days and I apologize.  I’ve been in the middle of house hunting and knitting teddies.

The housing market these days – shees!  It’s definitely more of a seller’s market vs. a buyers market, and that’s been stressing me out.  I can’t speak for anyone else’s home buying experience, but living in California, you have a window of time to buy for the best value, but not especially the largest selection, and that’s in winter to very early spring.  We are on the cusp right now, and I have found a home I want to buy…after pulling out of escrow on another home I wanted to buy but thought better of only one week into the process.  Now that I’ve read that, I guess the market isn’t that skimpy on selection if I’ve been able to find two houses I like well enough to put in escrow!  Anyway, tortuous.

In the meantime, I’ve tried some new knitting techniques for myself and in the process have created  a cute little teddy!  Just click on the link for the pattern.  arrow

In the designer’s defense, I did make some modifications to her pattern and ended up arms a bit longer than I would have preferred, however, I am overall impressed and pleased with the toy.  Thinking of sending little Teddy off to my niece!

So wish me luck on my house hunt.  Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough if our bid is accepted.

Half Couch Cover or An Attempt To Save Money

As any owner of free range dogs knows your furniture can sometimes take the ultimate toll; for instance, us.  We used to have nice leather furniture about 10 years ago.  When it was brand new.  At first there were just a few scratches that we fretted over, and eventually, we ended up looking at this:

The victim.  The plaid lap throws just weren't cuttin' it anymore!
The victim. The plaid lap throws just weren’t cuttin’ it anymore.

A wonderful plaid lap throw became our quick fix for a bit, but the hole just kept getting larger.  With Thanksgiving a little more than a week away and the relatives coming to visit, I knew action had to be taken and fast.  I don’t want to spend a lot of money on another couch whose fate would be the same as above.  I understand that inevitably, I will have to make the investment, that this couch will not function, but until then, I’m milkin’ it.

I’m not a skilled seamstress who can tailor fit a whole couch cover, and honestly, the top part isn’t so bad.  We had been using a lap throw (which slipped around and came undone a lot) but that didn’t look too good.  My husband came up with the idea of using a dowel stick to help keep a cover in place, so we ran with it.

Jo-ann Crafts Store had a Veteran’s Day special for 60% off all decor fabric – yea! – so we ran down there and got what we needed to the tune of $38.  That’s 1 3/4 yards of nice upholstery fabric with a 54″ selvedge.  Don’t you love it when you get a deal? 🙂

This is the real pretty material we found!
This is the real pretty material we found!

Our search for a proper sized dowel stick turned into a search for a closet rod, which we found at the local DIY store where they cut it to size for all of $3.

Since I’m a beginning seamstress, I did what seemed right, and the first step was to measure the seam allowance the for the dowel and mark it off.

Figure out how much leeway you want to give the rod.  I went with a loose fit; you can always tighten it up if it doesn't work
Figure out how much leeway you want to give the rod. I went with a loose fit; you can always tighten it up if it doesn’t work
Make sure to mark where you're going to pin with chalk or colored pencil or anything that will stay around long enough to get your stitches done.
Make sure to mark where you’re going to pin with chalk or colored pencil or anything that will stay around long enough to get your stitches done.
This always happens when I first start a project for one reason or another - grrr!
This always happens when I first start a project for one reason or another – grrr!
I was so proud of my cheap little Singer!
I was so proud of my cheap little Singer!

For the edges I sewed an inch allowance, and the bottom I think was like 6 inches.  I know, a crappy tall seam, but it was really hard to figure out that particular measurement.  If you make this, your allowances will most likely be different.

Almost there.
Almost there.

Of course, on the last 2 feet of the last seam, the bobbin ran out.  *sigh*  I always try to overshoot for the amount of thread I’ll need, but it never seems to work in my favor.  The closet rod was a tight fit and needed some coaxing, but my daughter and I finally got it into a fairly good position.  Et voila!


I think we have hit the solution for our problem.  I hope it lasts, but for $41 dollars, I think we can update this look every year!

See you in the funny pages!