Am I getting too fussy?

I stopped at two craft fairs today – both were really disappointing. One was a church craft fair, and I was sure the ladies would have wonderful stuff – but it all looked like they bought it at the dollar store and added red and green paint to make it “handmade”. The other one was to benefit the fire department. At least this stuff was handmade, but it really was cheap and icky. That is the technical term! All I bought was some whoopie pies for A, and she said they weren’t very good. Not even tha baked goods pass muster.

It seems like this year, the craft fairs are just not up to snuff. In past years I have seen wonderful handmade products, pretty and creative. I always was able to buy several Christmas gifts at these shows, but not this year. It’s disappointing as I love to check out other people’s creative work. 🙂

I also stopped at the ReStore to drop off a bucket of nails and saw several pieces I could imagine bringing home, painting and using. But we don’t need furniture… we don’t need furniture…we don’t need furniture.

I also went to the local craft store for two things – paper and Stickles glitter glue. (I told you the Christmas cards have glitter. 🙂 ) They had the paper, but not the glue, so, sadly, I had to go online to get that and of course, got a few more colors than I exactly need. Have to get that “free” shipping, right?

Other than time spent running around town, I was in the craft room all day, getting Christmas card pieces together. I think tomorrow I will be able to churn out lots of them – until I run out of glitter,that is. 🙂

Friday afternoon list

Sorry, gang, I am really late with the Friday list, aren’t I?

Since I did everything on the list already, I will just fill you in on how my day has been so far!

While yesterday was a day of traveling to brother N’s and overwhelming family and fabulous food, today was a quiet feast. I cooked the whole traditional Thanksgiving dinner on a small-scale for us and A’s 2 sisters. So – got up this morning, cooked the turkey, baked a few potatoes, made a green bean casserole and stuffing, set the table with Gram’s dishes and then we ate! Sisters brought dessert, and A did the cleanup – it is all eaten cleaned up, put away and we are sitting watching a recording of yesterday’s big parade.

holiday table

I love having the leftovers for supper tonight and all week-long… A isn’t into it like I am but she does appreciate the meal the first time, which is great.

Still recovering from a day with family yesterday – I love them all, but I often leave those huge gatherings feeling emotionally beat up – I can’t figure what that’s about, except that it is too easy to revert to old, established roles, no matter how hard I try not to, and don’t want to. It’s exhausting, I am so glad it only happens once or twice a year. It was good to see the kids though, as always – though of 1 nieces and nephews, we only saw three this holiday – not a great percentage!

But nieces C, N, and little E are all looking fabulous and growing up so much. C, in fact os totally grown up and has a “real” job, which makes everyone happy! SHe seems happy living at home, and her parents seem happy to have her, so she is a lucky young woman! Her little sister N is amazing – she is wearing her independence much more comfortably now than ever before – very sure of herself, where she wants to go in life, but she seems to have gotten to a place where she can enjoy the family gatherings, and answering the unending questions about her studies and job, future plans. Both girls were very graceful and welcoming hostesses yesterday. Little E (as opposed to big E, whom we did not get to see this year) is getting BIG – at 7, she is 50 inches tall, which her mom (Sister C) says puts her on track to be taller than C by age ten or eleven, and in the 5’10” range as an adult. So funny as mom and dad are both petite. E had a good day, not tantrums or accidents, she answered nicely when spoken to and asked lots of questions about people who weren’t there. She renamed the cranberry sauce “Slippery Berries” and she ate it in huge quantities, even chose it for her dessert over all the baked goods available to her. So she was the lucky person who went home with the spare pint of sauce, and I do believe she will get some for Christmas, since we have so much of it. 🙂

We were home and settled in with our cats all fed and played with by 7, which was nice, no late night!

I did start the chemo on my lips last night, so far OK – it doesn’t hurt, and while I do notice redness around the edges, no-one else noticed yet.

A and L put together a bag of gifts for me to open as I go through this – they had talked about it a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t sure they would do it – and S did a set of her own for me, so I get 2 per day! I opened one up this morning for yesterday’s dose, and I got a pair of wax lips from And and L (I suspect a theme with those two) and S gave me “craft coins”, a couple of dollar coins. She and I each struggle to make craft supplies part of our household budgets, so she knows I appreciate every yarn-stash dime.

Now we are relaxing, and thinking about what to do this weekend, while avoiding the madness that will be the stores in Bangor and Ellsworth. We think that the dump won’t be too crowded. 🙂

L will come back to work with A on their never-ending basement projects, and I will work on Christmas card assembly and go check out the new store in Bucksport – Davy Jones’ Locker. And we will all eat turkey! 🙂

At last, a plan!

We are having a big storm today, as predicted. Unlike the millions who have had this storm already, we are just getting rain, it is nearly 60 degrees out there! The wind is absolutely howling, and there really is nothing to do but work on the Christmas cards.

Late this morning, I went upstairs, and after procrastinating a little (taking final photos for the post on bubble blowing), I settled down with all my scraps of Christmas papers from past years’ cards.

I have a plan. I made a prototype and A approves.

It has a few steps, but none really tedious. It has glitter, so there will be drying time. I do love glitter.

It has steps I can do in the living room with A and the TV. It uses supplies I already have. It is relatively simple. So. Here goes – card making craziness. Can’t share it with you yet, but as soon as I mail the last one, I will. And I will take some photos along the way.

Here’s a teaser, though – sofa work ready to go!

card still life

Can you blow bubbles? altered paper

I read lots of paper crafting and card making magazines, and in one recently was a card which featured paper altered by blowing bubbles. It looked intriguing, so I began messing about, and thought I would share it with you. I have been working on this post for a while, you will see it is not a fast project, but I thought it a fun experiment. Perhaps when someone in my household says I am just playing up in the craft room, it is true?

I am trying to make a nice red and gold that could be used for Christmas cards.
So, first, I gathered supplies. I am using three colors of paint – a bright red, a dark burgundy/maroon color, and a gold metallic.

You also see a small plastic cup, mod podge, dish detergent, waxed paper, a straw.

paper painting supplies

Put a layer of waxed paper or other protective surface down on your table, and lay a piece of water-color paper on it.

In the cup mix a small amount of dish soap and paint, in about equal portions. Then a tiny bit of water, and stir.
paper painting mixing

Take the straw and blow some test bubbles. If you need to add a bit more water, go ahead, but it is better not to add to much. Once you can really blow bubbles, do it! Let the bubbles over flow into a heap on the paper. The more bubbles, the more paint you will have at the end, so don’t go overboard (like I did).

paper painting bubbles

Then go away and leave it alone. The bubbles will pop, and settle, and the paint will pool. That’s good!

paper painting waiting

paper painting and waiting

Now the hardest part – wait for it to dry before repeating with the next color. I used the gold here for the second color. I did pick the paper up off the waxed paper before layering the next color, and I used a new piece of waxed paper before the third color.

paper painting gold bubbles

Same process, then the burgundy, just for depth, so not many bubbles on this layer.

paper painting burgundy bubbles 2

Let it dry thoroughly. I cut mine to the size I wanted at this point, then put two layers of mod podge on it, letting it dry between layers. This is a step I added to the original directions, because I used a scented dish soap, and it was unbearably perfumed. The mod podge sealed that, but it also gave the paper a really nice texture, almost leathery.

paper painting done

Now, do whatever you want with it – cards, labels, hang it on the wall as is, use it in a collage. I made some earlier with other colors, and spritzed it with tattered angels shimmer spray – it settled in the brush strokes of the mod podge and gave it a totally different look.

Here’s what I did with mine:
finished card 1

I am not sure I will do this often, it takes forever, with all the drying time, but I do like the finished product, even if it is hard to photograph because of the shine on the mod podge. It is very textured, more than just a smoothly printed paper.

Off the camera – at last! – and what I have been up to so far this week

So, sometimes it takes me a week to get through the Friday list, what can I say?

One of the things I did this weekend was make the cranberry sauce for Thursday. These are the beautiful berries we got from Sugar Hill, a local grower. They were so beautiful that I thought they deserved to thaw in a crystal bowl. I used two pounds and got about 4.5 pints, two of which we need for Thanksgiving, and 2.5 we don’t. 🙂 We will use some Friday for our second Thanksgiving with A’s family, but that will be a small gathering, so I think we will have some for our own future use. Plus, I have 2 more pounds of berries in the freezer, so I can make more… unless I decide to make my favorite cranberry duff with some of them.



cranberries label

cranberries done

While I was making the sauce, I managed to crush my pinkie in the hinge of a cabinet door. I still am not quite sure how I did it, but it hurt like a son of a gun. We got ice on it fast, and A even bought me a splint when she was out, so I taped it up over night, and it recovered fairly quickly.

I have been knitting up a storm lately – these mitts are with the leftover yarn from the Pi shawl that I waited so long to finish – which also shows how little yarn I was short. 😦


These were pretty basic to make – I cast on 40 stitches. knitting back and forth, I used k2 p2 for all but the center panel which was a two stitch cable on either side of a four stitch horseshoe cable with a purl between the cable panels.

I used Quince and Co Finch (fingering weight, very stretchy)on size 7 needles. I knit both at once, so that they would be the same.

For each, cast on 42 stitches. Set up rows are as follows:
mitt 1: k2 p2 place marker k2 p1 k4 p1 k2 place marker p2 * k2 p2 repeat from * 6 times
mitt 2: p2 * k2 p2 repeat from * 6 times place marker k2 p1 k4 p1 k2 place marker p2 k2 p2

pattern, working back and forth:
outside of markers, follow k2 p2 ribbing as established. Inside of markers, work cable pattern:
row 1 and 3 – p2 k1 p4 k1 p2
row 2 – place first stitch on cable needle in front of work, knit next stitch, knit stitch off cable needle (first cable made over 2 stitches), p1, slip next knit stitch onto cable needle, hold behind work, knit next stitch, knit stitch from cable needle,place next stitch on cable needle in front of work, knit next stitch, knit stitch off cable needle (horseshoe cable made over 4 stitches), p1,slip next knit stitch onto cable needle, hold behind work, knit next stitch, knit stitch from cable needle (third cable made over two stitches,)
row 4 – place first stitch on cable needle in front of work, knit next stitch, knit stitch off cable needle (first cable made over 2 stitches), p1, k 4, p1,slip next knit stitch onto cable needle, hold behind work, knit next stitch, knit stitch from cable needle

repeat until as long as you would like (mine are about 6 inches), bind off in rib knit (don’t work cables in bind off row)

Fold, sew side seams, leaving at least a 2 inch gap for thumb opening.

If your hands are larger or smaller than mine, you can add or leave off sections of k2 p2 ribbing, but if adding or subtracting a lot, you might want to adjust where the center panel sets.

I also have been knitting hats, can you believe it?

1 hat

I love this side button hat, I think I have shared the pattern before – Kaleidoscope side button hat. I used the extra yarn from the CAL striped blanket, and made these beauties. Now, to figure out how to sell them. the ones with no buttons are waiting my creative genius. While I love the glass buttons on them, the buttons actually cost more than the yarn, so I can’t keep using them if I really want to sell them. My sister is going to think about making pottery buttons, and I am going to think about other options as well. Meanwhile, I have finally used up all the leftover yarn, so will stop making them for a while. Until I make my big red sweater and maybe have some more leftover bulky yarn…

warm hats

I also made a couple more hats for charity – one for work (the variegated) and one for the Nest Maine box (the bulky striped one) which I am working on filling. I use the flat rate shipping box, and want to pack it full, to maximize my shipping dollars. So, I will be making a few more before I ship it, but I want to ship it this week if possible, so I will keep on knitting hats.


more warm hats

I did block the Pi shawl, but haven’t gotten a photo of it yet – I will say that following E Zimmerman’s instructions to really stretch it make a huge difference, I would not be surprised if it grew half again in diameter. And became lovely and lacy in the process. So – 6 skeins of Quince and CO Finch on size 8 needles is perfect.

Other things on the camera – proof that the three cats are getting along better – all on the bed playing with A. (favorite game, fingers under sheet). While Allie requires the safety of the box to play with Tigger, she at least is willing to stay on the bed and play, which is very good for all of us.

3 cats

And the jade plant is blooming like never before – I would not say covered, exactly, but certainly there are many blossoms on it, very pretty! Too bad I have to keep it locked in the guest room away from the cats.



Now, what else have I done this week?

Well, I cleaned the kitchen – the “wash the cabinets” kind of cleaning. It took two days, which is embarrassing, but I did take frequent breaks for knitting. 🙂

I did get upstairs to begin the Christmas card process, but I really am NOT feeling inspired this year, not sure why not. I have an idea for them, but it is complicated, and two years ago I did really complicated cards and I remember what a pain that was, so I want to simplify the idea. After all, I make at least 60, and usually closer to 100 cards… simple is good! Last night I was up there, cleaning up from Halloween cards, and when I came downstairs (in my stocking feet) I slipped on the stair and fell down a few steps. Made a loud crash, banged up my back and feet (against the wall at the bottom) so we got the ice out AGAIN and I relaxed and knit for the rest of the evening.

Not sure why I am being so clumsy lately, but I was sure to wear shoes when I went upstairs today.

And maybe tomorrow I will actually start making the cards…

A and I went to Ellsworth yesterday morning early to do a strange assortment of things, including dropping off donations at Good Will, and attempting to being some leftover supplies to Re-Store (not open Mondays) as well as a stop at the library to drop off and pickup books on cd. They have some nice long ones we haven’t heard before, they make the commute go faster. When we were all done, it was still breakfast time, so we went out for omelets before heading home. We were home by 10, with lots of time to do all those other chores.

How I did with that list today…

Was I crazy or what, thinking I could do all of that?

I finished the grant!
Did a few loads of laundry!
Did all the errands in town!
Ordered the catalog presents!
Did some knitting!

Did not:
clean the kitchen
empty the camera
make the cranberry sauce
go near the craft room
touch the mailing list.(Although, to my credit, I tried, but I forgot to make it available offline before i left the office, so I have to wait until I go to Ellsworth and stop at the office.)

So, my list for Saturday – very different from Friday.

Get up early, head over to Mom’s for her historical society’s craft fair. I will be helping her wherever she needs me, but still finding plenty of time to shop! My sister will have a booth, selling her pottery, so I will help out there as she needs me.

Help clean up.

Go home.

Depending on the time, I may stop in Belfast to get a Christmas present for A on the way home.

Then home, have dinner with A and play with the kids. With all sorts of new ideas and purchases. I love a good quality craft fair. 🙂

Join us for a New Year’s Knitalong!

this is really tempting…..

Sage Yarn

drops knitalongHave you ever participated in a knitalong?  This past summer my friends Kathy, Carole and I had a knitalong together, to work our way though what we thought would be a slightly challenging pattern.  We all knit the same sweater, in our own colors and got together every few weeks to touch base and hang out.  I’ve just blocked my sweater – blog post to come!

When it came time to pick a new project for our next knitalong we couldn’t help but ask more friends to join us!  By working together, we can keep each other motivated and help each other out if we get stuck on something.  If you’d like to knit along with us,  we would LOVE to have you!  Here are all the vital stats and some tips for getting organized.

Drops pattern

Timeline: Choose your yarn (if you need me to order it) by December 8th.  Cast…

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Made it!

And while I did not make it work free, I am close.

The grant that has to be submitted by next friday is all written and ready, just waiting for support letters from partners, who were asked to have them in by noon yesterday so I could submit the package. Two important ones did not make it, so we held off, and they will arrive today. So, I will wrap things up later today.

Then there is the mailing list that I have to get from a badly constructed excel document into a good one (using columns instead of rows, deleting duplicates and extra info), so I may spend a few hours doing some data manipulation. But not today.

Today I will:

Make cranberry jelly for Thanksgiving
clean kitchen
Grocery Store
library/bookstore for next month’s book club book, The Great Bridge, by David McCullough
wrap November birthday presents, and CT Christmas presents
get craft room ready for Christmas card production
go stash diving for quick present making
catalog ordering Christmas presents
clean off camera and load blog with photos
might get some knitting done, and a few other errands in town.

I might wind up in Bangor at the end of the day for supper out with A, but we are waiting to see if the “unsettled” weather forecast means snow…

We are both on vacation this coming week, and we have lots of things we want to get done, but we are NOT making vacation lists, since they seem to be bad luck. But I will keep you posted on what we get accomplished!

A Few Odds and Ends

First off – can you believe, I won another giveaway?????? This one is a copy of the Downton Abbey pattern book, which I have eyed in the store more than once, only to put it down again. Thanks very much to Rohn Strong over at Modern/Vintage for hosting the giveaway. I can’t wait to really check it out and make a few things.

I think I must have a friend with the random number generators. Now to take this good luck to the lottery ticket counter….

Other news – I had my appointment with the dermatologist last week, did I mention? Remaining spots on my back can stay. No more work there this year. BUT. Dry peeling patch on my lip has to go. And how it goes? A chemo ointment that causes sun damaged skin to blister and peel. It is simple – you just apply the ointment nightly for 14 days, and look like some canker-sored monster for a month. I start that Thanksgiving evening. Should be done and healed by Christmas. But it means for all the holiday parties, gatherings, etc., I will not be pretty. No holiday photos for me!

A and I are on vacation next week, and as a result, I am working long, late hours this week, trying to get everything done. I won’t make it, but I might get the critical things done. Just one more day….

So I should head home now, or I won’t have the energy to get up in the morning and do it all again. Friday list is shaping up nicely, I think. No work, I hope, but maybe something fun! Maybe I will clean photos off the camera and share with you – there are lots!

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