Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Nuthin' says lovin'...

...like an electric ball winder! 
 Here is a dark picture of my yarn swift and my electric ball winder.  This was Dave's Valentine gift to me when we were dating!  Actually he gave me a Joann's gift card and this is what I used it for.  Skeined yarn needs to be wound into a ball before it can be knitted.  If it is a small skein, I can hold it on my knees or usually talk Dave into holding it on his hands while I wind it with my hand crank winder.  I put large or fuzzy/grippy skeins on my swift.  If they unwind nicely, I use my hand crank winder but if I have to untangle and separate while winding, I use my electric one and feed the yarn.
I'm currently on ball 3 of my Zen Yarn Garden for my Crocus Blanket.  Each skein has 400+ yard but it looks like so much more once it's wound into a ball!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yarn Bomb!

 I had to run to the grocery store yesterday and I noticed this on the mailbox!  It's a yarn bomb!
I don't think I've ever seen a yarn bomb here in St. Paul! 

Bowl Cozies

 Melissa brought a tutorial on how to make bowl cozies.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  They are basically a fluted potholder that you set your bowl in when you're microwaving and then instead of burning your hands on the bowl when you remove it from the microwave, you grab it by the bowl cozy.  What a great idea!
 These are a fabulous little project because there is no pressing seams and each piece is made from 10" square pieces of fabric so fat quarters are ideal.  The only thing is you have to use 100% cotton fabric, thread and batting so you don't start a fire in your  microwave!  I use Warm and Natural cotton batting in all my quilts but apparently it is 88% cotton and 12% poly.  Pellon makes a Wrap and Zap 100% cotton batting and it says "microwave safe" on the package.  We made a special trip to Joann's and asked about microwave safe batting and I thought they'd think we were crazy but they knew just what we were talking about.  The other big project making the rounds with this batting is potato bags.  You microwave potatoes in these cotton quilted bags to make baked potatoes and there is a pattern on the bag for it. 
We  used a combination of several patterns to make this project.  Just google bowl cozy and you can't go wrong. 


 We also took Melissa to Ax-man Surplus on University while she was here.  I just don't quite know how to describe this store!

 I can remember coming here as a kid on the way to the Europe Reunion when it was more of a bona fide military surplus store.  Now it is a much funkier hardware/junk store.  This place reminds me of my dorm room in college because we had signs and pictures and garland and all manner of crap hanging from the ceiling and walls.  I say all the time that I like BUSY.  This store certainly is BUSY.
So far I've purchased paint brushes, a variety of scissors, empty bottles and jars, all kinds of lab glassware, plastic bags, patterned duct and packing tape, shipping envelopes, magnetic clips, pleather, silver plated pickle forks, self adhesive fake mustaches, measuring tapes, craft wire, gift bags, etc.  Even though I find all kinds of things that I think are useful, there is still plenty of junk to be purchased here.  You can get all kinds of electrical components, old VCR's, gauges, obsolete electrical items, etc.  We brought my dad here last month and he could appreciate this store.  Whenever we'd go to Fargo as kids, we'd always go to Mac's for an afternoon activity.  Mac's was on about the same plane as this store but not nearly as funky, at least as far as I can remember.
 Half the fun of this store is just wandering around looking at everything!  You find all kinds of things you never knew you couldn't live without.  For example, I paid 95 cents for a Stress Kitty.  It is a cute little stuffed cat toy....and when you feel stressed you can rip it's head off because it is velcroed on.  I thought that was hilarious.  They also have all kinds of gag/kid stuff like switchblade combs (remember those?) and whoopie cushions.  The only caveat is that Dave has to drive us because I'm too nervous to drive downtown.  Maybe someday I'll be confident enough to do it which will be good for him because after one trip, he'd seen enough.  He is such a good sport though!

That Melissa!

She's going to kill me but I don't care.  Melissa is one of my absolute dearest friends.  I talked her into walking across my pond so I could take these Olan Mills caliber winter glamour shots of her.  Isn't she gorgeous?
She and  her daughter came to visit and stay at our house this week!  We had an aggressive 2 days of crafting as well as a full day of shopping at The Mall of America.  Here we are in my living room painting and embellishing dominoes for ornaments/key chains/necklaces/pins.
 I love when she comes to work on things because it forces me to dig out components and findings from my various satellite craft caches around the house.  I found all kinds of stuff I'd been looking for!  Later when we were cutting out fabric, I agreed to cut out her batting and in exchange, she organized all my craft stuff for me!

 We went to the aquarium in the Mall Of America.  It costs $25 for adults and $18 for children 3 years and older.  I'm a tightwad and nearly soiled myself but they DO give you a free return ticket with your ticket purchase.  I gave mine to Melissa because my husband would never shell out $25 to visit the exhibit with me. 
I have to say I think it was worth the price of admission!  Everything was beautifully exhibited and arranged and it was just enough to hold your interest.  You start in an area where you can touch starfish and sea urchins and then you move through to large aquariums where they have jellyfish and sea horses and all the Finding Nemo fish before you head towards the aquarium tunnel.
The tunnel was awesome!  All the animals swim over and around you and you get a much closer look at them.
They had several different kinds of sharks.
I think the manta rays were my favorite.

I think Serenity enjoyed the aquarium!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dog Shaming

Lopi was a very bad dog yesterday.  I walked in the house after work and Dave had put the new Joann Fabrics sale flyer in front of the door so I had something pleasant to temper the bad news he had for me:  Lopi had chewed up and wrecked my digital camera!!!  Until recently, we always kenneled her for the hour between me leaving for work and him returning from work and I always felt bad locking her up like that.  We slowly began shutting her in downstairs in the living room after "dog proofing" the area and she's been so good.  She's spent up to 8 hours at a time alone down there with no problems but I guess she just had to remind us again that she is a dog and we need to be better dog parents.  I always put away my knitting and any pens (she chewed up a Harry Potter wooden pencil too yesterday!) but now I guess everything will have to be put in a basket and put up while we're gone.  I don't understand what was so appealing about that camera that she felt she needed to chew it up.  AND I'd even filled her Kong with treats before I left the house!  Bad dog!
She knew she was in trouble too because she was skittish and darting around and not making eye contact even when I got home hours later.  She'd chewed the strap and zoom/shutter control off the camera and chewed up the body a little.  You can still turn it on and toggle through the pictures but you can't take any pictures.  Not a lot of damage but enough to render it useless.  Lucky for her, Target has this very model on clearance this week and I just ran out and bought the display model--the last one left--to replace it.  I am picky about my cameras because I don't trust one with a rechargeable battery.  I'm always afraid I will run out of juice and I like knowing I have lithium batteries in my purse.  This is another reminder that children, whether 4 legged or 2, will eventually destroy all your nice things and I really like my stuff.  I think children with opposable thumbs can wreck more stuff! 

Monday, February 09, 2015

I spent Saturday baking and frosting 10 dozen heart sugar cookies.  I love these small foil
'carry out' containers from the dollar store because they make perfect little baking care packages.  One of these went to my parents in law yesterday and I packed up and froze 2 more for my Grandma Helen and Uncle Doug.  Normally I mail these to the Fargo relatives but this year I will get to hand deliver them when we go see her next week!  2 dozen cookies went with my brother up to Duluth for him and my nephew and niece in law to eat.  The rest were packed up and frozen and will be doled out during the week as work treats and next week as travel treats.  I fuss and gripe the whole time I'm frosting these and I make thousands of them, but I'm always happy I did and there never seems to be enough to give away to everyone on your list.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

 I'm taking a break from my black hole of a Crocus Lace Blanket to make a dent in another vacuous hole of a project.  This is The Beekeeper's Quilt.  You make literally hundreds of these little "hexipuff" pillows that are stuffed with polyfil and then you sew them all together to make a "quilt".  I think this is much more practical as a seat or couch cushion/liner rather than a blanket.  I'm starting small and shooting only for a seat cushion for my sewing room chair.  The pattern says a 2 x 2 foot quilt requires 102 puffs.  I have 11 and it takes me about 45 minutes to make one.  I have a way to go!  I do love this project because it is mindless and portable, plus I'm using up all my beautiful Koigu and various sock yarn scraps!
I spent Monday in bed with the dog and that flu-been-hit-by-a-truck-feeling.  I felt awful and accomplished absolutely nothing and I can't stand that.  Dave surprised me by bringing me home a donut and these roses!  I don't think he's given me flowers since we moved into the house and I just love them!  What a guy!