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Saturday, January 23, 2021

So Far, So Good!

It is day 23 of going "Cold Sheep" as the group that I have joined calls it. I have not purchased any yarn at all this year and I have dumped all my subscriptions except for Potomac Beads Best Bead Box XL and Simply Earth's Recipe Box. When I joined Simply Earth's Recipe Box subscription, I got a $40 gift certificate to use. Now they are giving $50 gift certificates! If you are interested in trying this box and getting the $50 gift certificate, use the code THERESAD504.

I have a 31 day goal tracker in which I am using to create some good habits. So far, I have not missed a day on any of them. They are simple goals: 

  • Bible Reading
  • Work on my reviews
  • Take my vitamins
  • Work in basement
  • Clean cat box
  • Drink at least 32 ounces of water
Like I said, nothing earth shattering, but necessary. One thing I'm finding is that I am doing much better when I have a daily to-do list. 

Spinella Scarf
I also have some finishes for this month so far. I've made 2 bottles of a wonderful citrus foaming soap (recipe from Aromahead Institute) and a bottle of Sunshine Body Wash (recipe from Simply Earth). I have some more things I'll need to make this month in the Bath and Body department.

I was subscribed to Mary Maxim's Crochet of the Month Club as well as their Knit of the Month Club. I cancelled that for a number of reasons, but mostly because of all the stuff I had to do. I was getting behind on the kits. This was from the last kit I got - November's Crochet kit. I decided to knit this, as I couldn't see the stitches easily enough to crochet. This was a no think piece to knit on - just a cast on of 30 stitches and then knit each row until I ran out of yarn. 

Included in the kit was Lion Brand's Spinella Yarn of the most "not me" colorway. The colorway is 602 Vintage. I knitted up the scarf and even though it's soft and really long - well over 6 feet, it just doesn't do it for me. It went into the donation box. Maybe someone will love it more than I do.

Crater Lake Hooded Cowl

My next finished project was from Mary Maxim's September 2020 Knit Kit of the Month Club. This one is called the Crater Lake Hooded Cowl by Grace Akhram and the pattern can be purchased on Ravelry if you are interested in making one. Personally, I was disappointed with the pattern. It was super, super easy. From what I saw from the photos on the pattern, I thought the top of the hood was rounded in the back to fit the shape of your head. Nope - it's pointy and looks like an elf hat. In the photo I pushed the point down and in the hood. It looks better, but you can still see the hint of a point. Even though I'm disappointed, the hood itself is comfortable and I'll be wearing it - it just not what I really wanted. With that said, the yarn that came with it was nice, though. It was Louisa Harding's Pitturissimo in the colorway 218 The Scream. 

Viola Earrings
My January subscription box arrived from Potomac Beads and although I love everything in it, I decided to go back to an older one and make the Viola Earrings. They are a post earring that has a cabochon in the middle. There is beadweaving around the front and back to hold everything together and they are so pretty when finished. I wish my photo would show exactly how pretty they are in person. The nice thing about Potomac Beads is they always have a tutorial online, so if you like the things I post here, you can go to YouTube and you'll be able to get the supplies list and follow along with the tutorial. The colors in the tutorial are different than the colors I received in the box and I like the colorway I received a LOT more.  


3 in 1 Handwarmers
Now down to my latest finish. These are the 3-in-1 Handwarmers designed by Marly Bird for Red Heart yarns. The pattern is free from Yarnspirations and there's even a YouTube tutorial and CAL that goes with it. These were a little of a challenge for me because of the new-to-me stitch that it uses. I decided to make the crocheted version of the mittens and after a bit of working the split crochet stitch, I was really thinking of ripping the whole mitten out. It was stiffer than I thought I'd like a mitten. I was already past the thumb gusset, so decided to just bite the bullet and make the pair. If I didn't like them, I could always donate them, right?

These mittens really surprised me. I think they will be warm and after crocheting both, even though they are still stiffer than knitted mittens, I think they will soften up after washing. That's usually what Red Heart yarn does. For these mittens, I used Red Heart Super Saver in the color Ecru and Red Heart With Love Stripes in the color Fiji. 

I do have on more finished item - but it's a test, so I'll need to make sure I get the OK from the designer to post it. 

That's all for now. I know this was a long post, so if you've made it this far - THANK YOU!!! 

Friday, January 1, 2021

HELLO 2021!

 


For me, it's not vows, but plans and goals that I'd LIKE TO DO this year. Nothing is written in stone, but I do have a list written in my notebook. I wrote down some places I'd like to go, books I'd like to read and things I'd like to make. Then I started a list of things I have on hand, especially kits that I've purchased in the past that haven't been touched. Well, that made me realize how much I really do have here and I need to start using it. I'm older and need to start working on things because I don't have as many years ahead of me to craft as I used to! 

This year is going to be all about handmade. I'm going to try to make everything I want and need (well... as much as possible) and not purchase it. If I need new pants, sweater, etc. - I'll be making it. I have a decent enough amount of supplies here to do them. I am also going to be making my own bath and body products. I've found that they are so much nicer than the store bought versions and actually work better! Plus I can customize to exactly what I need by changing the carrier oils, essential oils or other ingredients. 

My biggest challenge is going to be not buying any yarn. I'm hoping to make it through the whole year, but right now my goal is one month at a time. I'll tell you - it was difficult to not take advantage of the sales at the beginning of the month! OHHHH! And there were some good ones, too!!! I really need to get this stash of yarn under control. I was down in the basement and was going through the boxes we hadn't unpacked after moving. (I hang my head in shame). Well - I swear I'd come across another box of yarn and then another. It got to the point of me saying, "ANOTHER ONE?!" 

This year is also going to be getting the basement done so I can have a craft room. I really need a dedicated crafting area. That will prevent surprises like I had going through the boxes in the basement. Hopefully by summer I will have one - or more realistically by the end of the year. 

So these are my goals for the year. Nothing too difficult and nothing written in stone. The kits list is long and the yarn stash is huge, so I should do ok with no shopping. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Good-bye 2020!

Looking forward to 2021!
HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE!!!

 Finally - the end of a very long year of challenges and changes. I can't say I'll miss it any.  My daughter and her fiancĂ© had to cancel their wedding, my best friend passed away and we had to cancel our trip to see my daughter over Christmas. Actually, many other of our plans were cancelled because of the virus. The lockdowns and restrictions certainly put a damper on things! Hopefully the coming year will be better.

I had a lot of changes here at home. One of the biggest was dealing with hubby and son both working from home. There was no longer any ME time. I loved the quiet day, and now there is none. That's OK, though. There are other advantages to having someone home all the time. 

Even with everyone underfoot, I did OK in the crafting department. I had some finishes and learned some new things. I am thrilled to have tried and succeeded at beadweaving, designing my own crocheted top, completed both a short sleeved and a long sleeved cardigan and made 2 different types of ponchos. I learned some new stitches and got a nice amount of items to donate finished. I also finished 17 items off my project list - many of which were added from the previous year. Not bad, overall!

In other areas, I took a few classes on herbology and aromatherapy as well as class on CS Lewis that is not completed yet. My reading goals suffered as I was studying and reading lots of class materials, so I didn't really feel like reading a pleasure book most times. 

I will be posting my goals for next year tomorrow. I've been planning them for the last couple of weeks. Some are quite ambitious - so we'll just see how it goes. Like every other year, if I don't make all the goals, no biggie. It's more like a bucket list than a list of resolutions, so I don't feel guilty if I don't do them. I'll roll them over to the next year's list IF they are still relevant. 


Friday, October 30, 2020

It’s A State of Mind

Beautiful autumn colors

Here I sit after having an epiphany. Something so simple, but to me, something so profound. You see, I have come to terms with realizing that I’ve had almost everything I’ve ever wanted at my fingertips.

You see, I grew up in a tiny town surrounded by mountains. It was not my favorite place by a long shot. There was no sunrise or sunset and the neighbors were way to close for my taste. On weekends and summer, I’d go to my grandparent’s farm and stay. I was a country girl, through and through. The farm was my love, my sanctuary. I spent almost all my time outside, with the animals, in the fields, and in the woods. Those were the times of happiness throughout my childhood.

When I grew up, I wanted a farm. More than anything in the world, I wanted a place in the country. Farm loans were not possible, since I really didn’t grow up on a farm, nor did my husband, so the bank wasn’t interested in lending us a dime. We’d try to save and every time raise time came around, the prices around us went up, too.

Long story short, no homestead. No dream would come true. No fulfillment – and some underlying sadness/depression. Then hubby got hurt – and definitely, definitely in no shape or form would we get any type of country place to retire on. End of story.

So, where is the epiphany? It hit me one day that I can do all the things I wanted to do, except raise livestock and have no close neighbors. Do I really need livestock? NO! Do I really need no neighbors? NO! We have almost an acre of land and can do quite a bit with that little bit of land.

New raised beds being installed.
New raised beds being installed.
At our age, we went the raised bed route for gardening. This makes things more manageable and I’m less likely to grow a garden that is too big to take care of. There’s only 2 of us now, so putting away food is not the chore it used to be. Hubby made me some new frames out of cement. He cast them himself and the first 2 were installed this fall. They are beautifully made and look so much better than the wood frames behind them. He’s done a total of 4, but the last two many not make it in before the winter weather sets in. I now have garlic planted in the one pictured.

Relaxing by a the fire with family
We have a nice little area where we can have a fire. Our property is surrounded totally on 2 sides by trees in an “L” shape, so at the corner, we have a very nice and private area where we have a relaxing area with a fire ring. Every time family and friends visit, we seem to gravitate to that area. Everyone seems to love sitting around the fire and there have been many late nights and stories told. We are blessed to have such a lovely area to call our own.

Contentment
We used to have chickens years ago. We originally had them for eggs and meat but our daughter decided to name them all and turn them into pets. Well, at least we had lots of eggs! I guess you could say we still had lots of “livestock”. The kids had rabbits, hamsters, cats and a dog. We still have 2 cats. My daughter had to leave her cat behind. She moved to the other coast and her cat was too old to travel that far. It was a hard decision for her, but was the right one. Her cat is almost 19. The other cat decided to adopt us. He was haunting our compost pile and I thought he was just the neighbor’s cat. He wandered down to the house and has been here ever since. I tried to find his owner, had him scanned for a chip and posted everywhere, but no one claimed him. He’s now part of our family.

My conclusion – It’s all a state of mind. One can be content anywhere as long as they decide to be. I’ve marked most things of my bucket list – things that I wanted to learn to do one the homestead. I still can’t go out and wildcraft on my own place, but I can do almost everything else. Life is what we make it, and I finally chose to find contentment and happiness here. I wasted a lot of time living for a dream instead of living in the moment.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Cherry Blossom Earrings

One of my favorite places to find tutorials is at Potomac Beads. They have very detailed videos that will walk you step-by-step on how to make all different types of projects. There are hundreds of videos on their YouTube channel.

While browsing the different channels, I came across an earlier subscription box that had the pattern for the Cherry Blossom Earrings. I was absolutely fascinated by them and really wanted to learn how to make them. I went to their site and found that they had a video tutorial, list of all the materials needed, so I immediately ordered the petal beads to make them. I love the options for these earrings – besides the tutorial, they also have kits, a written pattern as well as the past bead box all for purchase.

As soon as the beads arrived (they are really quick to ship!), I dropped everything and beaded my little heart out. In no time at all, I had a new pair of earrings!

Materials used
  • 8x7mm Czech Rose Petals “Metallic Mix” 
  • 11/0 Miyuki Seed Beads – unknown – mint colorway 
  • 15/0 Miyuki Seed Beads – unknown – Potomic Beads #77060 
  • 6mm flat earring posts 
  • .006 Wildfire white thread 
  • Beading Needle size 12 
The seed beads came from the July Best Bead Box XL from Potomac Beads. They were the leftovers from the Bonnet Bracelet “kit” that was included in the box. The earrings were quite easy, but a little fussy when putting the first petals on and trying to keep the post, petals and beads all together. It gets easier after the first 2-3 petals. I love that there’s no glue or anything except thread, beads and posts. So cool!!!



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Trinket Earrings


I finished the earrings and am quite pleased. I did have some problems with the second one. I ended up accidentally wrapping the thread around the earring and ended up having to pull some of it apart. After doing that, I couldn’t get the bottom bead point to sit as nicely as the first. Of course, I didn’t notice it until after I had finished and I wasn’t pulling it back out again. It isn’t perfect, but I’ll wear them just the same.

I’m finding that I’ll have to pull out the camera instead of using my phone to get a more clear and true photo. I had an awful time trying to get pictures of the earrings. The phone kept adjusting and making them silver and turning my black background to a grey color.


These earrings are so much prettier in person. They really sparkle and the picture just doesn’t do it justice! I had to put them on and see how they looked. They are a little more true to color here, but Monday’s post is probably the most accurate of all of the photos. I do like these earrings and will be making them in more colors combinations to practice putting colors together. I think I need a course on color theory – actually I need a brain that can actually put things together like my daughter does!

If you want to make your own or see what else Deb has available, you can find the pattern along with many others here: https://www.aroundthebeadingtable.com/index.html

Monday, July 20, 2020

Trinket Earrings On Hold

I accidentally stumbled across a FANTASTIC blog that has tons of free beading patterns. I was so thrilled with what I found, that I had to start reading her blog from the beginner. If you're interested in beading or just seeing gorgeous jewelry, you really need to visit Linda's Crafty Inspirations! She has posted so many lovely projects - and not just beading. It really is worth the visit. 

While on Linda's blog, she had shared a project she had made using a free pattern from another website called Deb Roberti's Around the Beading Table. Oh my! This is another source for free as well as paid beading patterns and another place that has a wealth of information. I spent another few hours on Deb's site and found many patterns I want to make. Unfortunately, with just starting out, I don't have a lot of beads yet, so I combed through the site looking for something I could make.

Trinket Earrings progress
I came across a lovely pair of earrings called Trinket Earrings that I wanted to try and had beads I thought would be appropriate to substitute since I didn't have any 4mm pearls. I thought I had everything as I had jump rings, the fish hooks, thread and needle as well as beads I picked out to test to see if I could truly substitute different colors and beads and make them look good together. I was beading along when I went to put the jump ring on and found that I didn't have any 4mm jump rings! UGH!!! So I had to set the earrings aside and order some from Michael's. We have to run to town tomorrow, so we'll do a curbside pick-up then. 

I'm using:
  • Black Wildfire .006 thread
  • Size 12 needle
  • 11/0 Miyuki Seed Beads - Gold
  • 4mm Cryistal bicone beads - Marine Blue Iris
  • 4mm Faceted Glass beads - Aqua

This is a very simple pattern and I was really enjoying it. Sadly, I had to stop. I really can't wait to finish these. I think they will turn out nicely - even with my own color choices!!