Author Archives: Melanie

A special gifts and finds

Over the weekend, hubby found all the fabric and yarn bins that accidentally got put into the garage and I’ve been putting things away. Nothing is organized but that’s ok for now.

In one bin I found a few items I’d been looking for at the old house. For new readers, I lived in one place 2015-2019 and then had to move out for reasons not worth going into. We moved to another place for about a year (Aug 2019 – Oct 2020). Well apparently this bin got tucked away at the last garage and was never unpacked. Until now!

buttons for a quilt I’m hand quilting. and all the special floss and quilting thread and extra fabric I’d tucked away into the bin.
project bin of my finished blocks for my wool applique quilt

And my light box that I forgot to take a picture of.

I had gotten to a point on these projects where I needed these items in order to move forward and it’s been months since I last worked on them. I’m really happy to have found them. It actually forced me to start working on my old Hawaiian block that I’d been hand applique’ing since 2013 or so.

On Sunday, my quilt guild friends were on our Sunday zoom and I used to the time to put things away. During the move I got some hand me downs from some fellow crafty friends. I love all kinds of tins and use them for various things… stitch markers, project keepers, needles, etc etc. So I got a bunch of tins and in the bag I found these:

Aren’t these just awesome!

I got a bunch of books and knitting patterns from another friend and I kept a lot but still passed a few things as well as a quilting ruler that I had a duplicate of to a fellow knitter and friend who wants to learn to quilt.

This item was in a bag full of needlepoint and bobbin lace supplies. I had no idea what these were and showed it to the zoomies. They told me that they were used back in the day to pull shades and things. Well, I’ve been having trouble with this particular ceiling fan. I couldn’t reach it to turn it on and off. So I attached the pull and ta da!

Now I no longer need to call the hubby or the boy to turn it on or off for me.

Lovely…

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Melanie

Birthday thoughts and self awareness

Today is my birthday.

We bought a house and we are finally moved in.  Everything is still in boxes around me.

It’s been difficult the last few months. I’m not going to lie.

But I don’t want to be a downer so I’m not going to go into it.

My family and I are healthy. We have a place to live, food on the table. My company still has income (reduced, yes, but it’s steady). So there is a lot to be grateful for.

As I unpack I want to get rid of stuff.

I want to finish projects – quilting, knitting, cross stitch.

I don’t want to just finish, I want to expand my craft to do things that I’m inspired to do. It’s hard to explain. I enjoy my crafting. I find it meditative. I find it exhilarating when I’m learning a new technique. Or even when something goes right the way it’s supposed to. It’s so satisfying.  But at the same time, I feel like I’ve locked myself in a box to finish the stuff before I can start the stuff. I go back and forth on this all the time. If I have too many projects I get overwhelmed and I go a little insane. And yet, I feel like I have to start things when I’m inspired to start and in the last few years I’ve been pushing that impulse away so I can minimize the amount of projects I have. So I don’t go a little insane.  I don’t know. This goes around and around in my head when I think about what I want to do.

I do want to learn bobbin lace. And I still want to sew garments. And I want to garden. So much I want to do and there’s just not enough time. ugh!

These are my thoughts… as the year ends, I’m preparing for my 2021 goals. I’ll keep rehashing it until I figure out what I want to do. I used to do the Sunday Stash report and I just stopped. I don’t remember why now. For a long time the numbers stayed the same. And I think I was going to report when something changed, but then I didn’t and then I just started adding fabric. I may start doing that post again. It helped to keep my numbers honest. And I was a little more mindful of when I added fabric in.

My favorite podcasts

Here are my favorite audio podcasts and YouTube channels. These are not the only ones I watch or listen to but this is what I am loving right now as I craft.

Audio:

Off Kilter Quilts

Hip To Be A Square

My Creative Corner 3

Simple Handmade Everyday

 

YouTube Channels:

Off The Grid Needlearts

Epic Gardening and Epic Urban Homestead

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

The Dawn of Vanlife

 

 

 

Sewing Room …

We needed a break from moving. The old house is mostly empty. There are a handful of items that can go in a single car load. And that’s it. All we have to do is clean and patch anything up. But we were so tired that we decided to take a break from that today. Instead, I connected all the computers my team and I will need tomorrow for work. I also unpacked and got my sewing room in some kind of order.

I discovered while unpacking that the movers (cuz my hubby would never do this) put some of my fabric and yarn bins in the garage. I was a bit upset. Ok a lot upset but there was nothing that could be done. The bins are all the way in the back corner of the garage with a whole lot of boxes around it.

After I got what I got done I realized in hindsight that it was probably a good thing the bins were in the garage. It probably would have overwhelmed me. I currently have no place for whatever is in the garage but I have space in the moddle of the room. I am thinking of making a pressing board for that area and putting more fabric underneath. Nothing will happen soon but I’m playing with my ideas. I’ve never had a sewing room like this before and Immsioer excited. I really want to start quilting now but it’s late and I got to go to bed.

~happy Sunday

Melanie

Mostly moved

There is only a handful of large items left at the old house and the hubby plans to grab those over the weekend. Then we need to clean it up and hope the property management do not ding us too hard.

But here’s the state of my sewing room at the new house!

I thought you’d like to see this chaos.

Happy quilting. By the way, I used this opportunity to take my big machine for her annual spa treatment. That way I only have to move her once. By the time I have her back I should have my sew-ezi table in place to set her in.

Happy Friday friends

Melanie

internet day…

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been trying to install internet at the new house. We had 4 cable lines, one in each room, none in the living or family rooms. We tried each and none of them worked.

Because of Covid, a tech couldn’t come out until today to figure out why. And he discovered it pretty quickly.

All of the lines had been cut from the outside. Why would someone do that? We assumed to make it look pretty. But then why would they leave the ugly cables inside and on the roof with the old dishes and extra lines? Who knows what people think…

I’ve found so many surprising things in this house but those will wait for a later day.

~keep on crafting my friends!

Melanie

Going off Social Media

Lately, I’ve been feeling down. I’m sad, frustrated, upset, and immobilized.  The pandemic, quarantine, loss of people, friends, and family and the social things that kept my small tiny little life happy has really gotten to me.  The politics and obvious blatant racism and pain in the world. Just pain everywhere.  It’s awful and horrible. 

I am on Instagram and Facebook. I have a Twitter account that I don’t really use but periodically get pulled to when I click on something that brings me to it.  I watch YouTube and I do not even know what qualifies as social media anymore because just being on my computer or phone brings up notifications that pull me away from what I want to do and draws me down into a rabbit hole.

I am reading a book called, “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport.  I loved his book, “Deep Work” and I’m enjoying this book.  It’s about our digital life and how we no longer have control over our actions, thoughts, uses.  He’s much more eloquent than I am and I’m probably saying it wrong.  But I realize that I’m letting social media control my moods – I get sad, upset, jealous/envious, and angry after I check Insta/FB to see what’s going on.  I know I should know better than to feel this way when I see friends post certain things.  I know I should be better at putting my phone down, shutting my computer off, and doing the things that really matter.  I’ve often thought of deactivating my accounts and I still haven’t done it.

But some things have got to change. I am tired of this unmotivated, sad, angry feeling that has consumed me recently.

I can’t go off completely. I run the Facebook group for my quilt guild. I am also technically in charge of the guild’s Instagram account and by technically, it’s because I created the account and I monitor it. But since Covid, I’ve not really posted anything on it. I also run our zoom weekly quilting bee on Sundays to help keep the guild connected to each other.  I moved the apps on my phone to another page further away from my home screen that is slightly more difficult for me to get to.  That way it’s more of a conscious choice to get to it.  I may apply more rules to myself but so far, I’ve decreased my contact on social media and taking back more of my time and becoming more positive.

As part of my evening ritual, I am not allowed to check Facebook or Instagram after 7pm. I just started doing this in the last couple of weeks and my sleep has improved dramatically.  My fit bit broke a recently so I can’t give you real numbers but in terms of feeling, I’m waking up much better each day more regularly than before. 

~always,

Melanie

My weekly crafty update

So much has gone on over the last week.  

I finally finished this quilt top. As a reminder, it’s Area 4’s mystery quilt from the 2012 SoCal Quilter’s Run.  And, I somehow got all the kits except the finishing instructions. I pieced all the blocks last year (2019) at a little Sunday quilt gathering at my friend, Tova’s house. We met every Sunday for a long while. Then I started taking garment sewing classes and other friends got theater season tickets, then Covid happened.  We now meet on Zoom and our little 5 person group has expanded to about 12-13.  Anyway, every week I worked on these blocks until they were finished. I didn’t document when I started although I could probably figure it out if I truly want to (I don’t).  All the blocks were done and then I put them away to tackle at a quilt retreat. The best things about retreats are the collective minds who help puzzle through problems.  I didn’t have the finishing instructions so at the first and last retreat I went to this year in early March “BC” (before covid-19) I put the blocks up and figured out how I wanted it to go.  I took a picture and carefully put them back in my project bin in order with careful instructions as to how it supposed to go.  I actually found a place I want to pick out.  It’s the second row on the top. the second from the left and the second from the right need to be switched so that it would match the bottom.  I don’t normally correct things that I find if I find it this far along the process.  But my eye is drawn to it and I cringe so I’m going to take it apart.

 

Moving Again

And we are moving again. It’s been a little over a year since our last move and it’s that time again. I love where we are living but the house is on the older side and hasn’t been kept up. So I am looking forward to moving to a home with dual pane windows that we can easily open and close.  It’s also a bigger house with a room for my sewing. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always had a room for my sewing.  In actuality it’s usually my office that I stuff my sewing in.  But now, I get to separate my office stuff and my sewing.  The computer and office stuff will be in my daughter’s room. Since she’s away in college she’s only home during the summer and school breaks so when she’s here, I can work from my laptop in my sewing room . And when she’s not home I can work in her room.  I love being able to separate my office and my craft room. I’ve worked from home for 15 years now and I still run into problems stopping working.  Having that separation will help a lot.  In addition, computers are loud. It will be nice to not have to hear it all the time.

Project bags

I’ve started packing and pulled all my project bags from my cabinet.  This is where I stuff them when the yarn is matched up with a pattern and is simply waiting for the time it gets space in my knitting rotation.  Every bag contains a wonderful surprise for me. 🙂

 

RBG fabric

In honor of RBG and her passing, I purchased this fabric. I can’t wait to get it and make masks for the strong young women in my life.

Happy Crafting!

~Melanie

 

Finished knitting projects

Every morning I knit a bit on my sock. The current one I’m working on, as detailed on this post,  is a lot of purling. And I was doing the toes (I knit socks two at a time on magic loop) and it just messed up my thumb and wrist. I probably do not purl correctly. But regardless, as a result it’s been tender and I am restricting my sock knitting (or purling at this point) to 1-2 rows a day. During the weekdays I do 1 row but over the weekend I do 2 rows because I have the time to do it slowly and not hurt myself.  I hope this will be okay with my recovery without having to completely stop knitting (purling) on it.

Every evening I work on my husband’s Weasley sweater. My goal for Q3 (which ends at the end of this month) is to finish the sleeves. I had about 20 rows of sleeve to do when I had hubby try it on. The sleeves seemed long. Now, I think that it might be the way he tried it on and the fact that none of the seams have been done but I have a feeling, he may want it longer once we’ve got it all put together nicely.  So, I started the cuff now and when I get the cuff to the length I want the sleeves to be, I plan to put them on cables and not bind off.  I will finish up the rest of the sweater in Q4 and then when everything else is done, we’ll do a try on and see how those sleeves are. By not binding off, I’ll be able to knit more cuff or tink back the cuff, knit more sleeve and then put the cuff back on depending on how much more I have to knit, if any.

I usually get to everything else on Thursday’s during our knit night on zoom.  Over the last few months I finished this cowl.

Mix Wave Cowl
9/12/2020

And last week I finished this pair of socks. All I needed to do was take a picture of it. The picture doesn’t sow the pattern very well but neither does the yarn. I love these kinds of yarn and my stash is filled with speckled, variegated, striped yarn that just do not show off cables or lace very well.  Of course, I love to knit socks with cables and lace so… they don’t go well together.

Dragon Pox
Designer: Knotty Gnome
Finished, 9/4/2020

On my sock knitting post, I wrote about pulling out my sock knitting books and knitting socks from those patterns once I finish the 5 kitted up projects that waiting patiently for their turns.  The problem is that my stash is what it is and the socks I want to knit are what they are and I have decided that I will need to appropriate my yarn to more suitable projects.  And since I do not need more socks and I do not want to buy more yarn, I am not planning to knit socks out of one of my books at this point.  I am thinking of knitting hats or mittens or shawls.  I will pull out my yarn as we get closer to year end to evaluate what I’ve got and what I want to do with it and then kit them up so that I will have my plan ready to go once my sock kits are finally finished up.

Happy knitting, friends!

~Melanie

Cross Stitch, progressing along

A Kiss for Snowman
A dimensions gold kit
9/17/2020

I finally finished the cross stitch on this Dimensions kit. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I still have to do the back stitch so that will come around at it’s next rotation. This is not my favorite WIP to work on.  It’s a 6″ square but there are a lot of blending floss together and using 1, 2, or 4 strands at a time so it took a lot of paying attention.  I’m really happy to have gotten the cross stitch done and I hope to get the back stitch finished soon as well.

Titania
Mirabilia
9/17/2020

I worked on Titania this week and got a few stitches done before I got bored and moved on. Most of my cross stitch I stitch to finish a diagonal but this is one of those exceptions. So I don’t think I get as much done because after a couple of days I want to move on.  I may have to count stitches on this one and make it so that I get a certain amount of stitches done when it comes up on the schedule.

Gamer Nouveau
09/17/2020

And then I worked on Gamer and got another diagonal complete. This is my favorite project to work on. The kit is offered by GeckoRouge and the designer is Medusa Dollmaker. My goal for this year was 6 pages and I will have to check out where I was in the beginning of the year to figure out how much I got done. I would be really happy if I could finish the row this year.

Gamer Nouveau
09/17/2020

 

Gamer Nouveau
09/17/2020