Friday, December 18, 2015

Thrifting Finds

My boyfriend is kind of hard to shop for. He says he doesn't want anything and if he needs something he just gets it. He likes painted or carved wooden boxes, so I decided to check the charity shop - they've moved to a bigger building and I hadn't yet checked it out. Well, no luck finding something for him...but I found myself some goodies!

I love old craft books. How could I resist a sewing book with "the 70s greatest looks" on the cover? I've flipped through it and it's full of tips and information. The Crafts and Hobbies book is crazy. It includes not only macrame, spinning, and tie-dye, but sculpture, bread baking, preserving fruit, and wine making. The knitting books seem to be for beginners but have some nice basic patterns. The needlepoint one is just pretty. Maybe I'll start doing that again someday.

They had so many patterns. I looked through all of them. There were A Lot of great 70s ones but for a person smaller around than I. Maybe I'll go get a few for inspiration, though, or to put in frames as decoration. I was surprised to find sewing patterns. When I volunteered there the general thought was to toss them. The new bosses obviously don't feel the same way. Thank goodness!

Fabric! The pink is a thin fleece and there's five yards. I don't have any ideas right now but something will eventually come to me. The black is four yards of a light cotton and the blue is seven yards (!) of a similar light cotton. The cashier was impressed that I like to make clothes and we talked a bit about how sad it is to think of the working conditions in clothing factories. I really need to get in there more often. They have it planned out nicely and it was easy to move around and look at everything. When I picked Kerry up yesterday I noticed three second-hand stores near his dad's house. (Kerry is staying with his dad. I'm heartbroken but he's doing great in school and that's what really matters.) I've noticed a small fabric store and a couple of "junk" stores, too. It seems like I should plan to spend a day checking it all out. Who knows what kind of goodies lie waiting for me?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weaving In Circles

When I was about five years old I had a boyfriend named Michael. I went to his house once. It was amazing. They lived out in the country because his dad had a small airplane with a runway out back. Inside his mom was playing a Jim Croce album and had a huge floor loom. She wasn't using it but it had a project on it. That image has stayed in my brain - a big loom against the wall, music playing, smiling people. Sadly I don't remember Michael's last name or know what's happened to him. I just have that one memory. Ever since I've been fascinated with weaving. It's amazing what can be done with a loom and thread. I once had a small table loom, made for children (I was about ten), but it disappeared through the years. My stash of things for being creative does include some small hand looms, but they're kind of awkward to use so I haven't done much with them. So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, recently on Cassie's blog she showed some CD weaving that her students had done. They look so neat. Then, by shear coincidence, CD weaving was all over my pinterest feed. I listened to the hints and found some unwanted discs in my son's room (he's notorious for not putting them back in their cases, leading to scratches). Add some scraps of leftover sock yarn and voila!

I had such a good time making these - and of course I started thinking about other color schemes - ombres and rainbows and striped monochromatics - and things to do with them - magnets for the fridge, glue a pin on the back for a brooch, hang lots on the wall, string together as a window screen - and it hasn't stopped. I even wondered about getting some crappy albums from Goodwill to weave into a huge design. I think they would be really nice around one of those great "God's Eyes" that are yarns wrapped around crossed sticks. No, it's not exactly the same as sitting at a big loom making large wall hangings or blankets, but it's sure fun. And, of course, it's helped me procrastinate more - those gifts still aren't done. I really need to get going on that...after I sew the zipper into the dress I'm making, of course.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Getting Ready For Chills

I decided to get a jump on my Christmas knitting since I only have two gifts to make. One is done. The other is stalled out because it's for someone who doesn't like me. I'm knitting it as a sign of affection for someone else...and I'm really having a tough time finishing it. Instead I've made a couple of things for myself. The first was inspired initially by this project on the Up Sew blog. I selected this scarf labeled cashmere but cost five dollars so it's mystery fabric - but it's soft and warm and I love the wine color. I had the buttons sewn on but the fabric is too delicate and loose for button holes without stabilizer, which I don't have. So I took the buttons off and just sewed the ends up. It turned out pretty cool.

I still want to make one with buttons to make it like the inspiration project, though. Good thing my scarf collection is big! I just need to stop at the fabric store next week after court if I'm in a good enough mood, of course. The second one is a similar style - big rectangle sewn on the ends. I used some yarn that's been in my stash for around ten years. I'm glad I found a project for it finally. As I was knitting I thought of ways to add different stitch patterns to change it up, but the plain knitting was perfect for watching television.

I may make a couple more of these, too. I have other yarns that would be good for something this simple. I suppose I should finish this gift, though. After I finish the Patti Smith - inspired project that I've been working on...and find a sewing project to restart my mojo...and maybe knit a sweater vest to satisfy the strange urge I've been having...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

They Grow Up So Fast

Yesterday was my baby girl's fifteenth birthday. Fifteen. It seems like so recently when she was the tiny bundle with big blue eyes that charmed everyone. Now she's in high school and last weekend went to her first high school dance.

Isn't she beautiful? She went with a group of friends and had a really fun night. I'm glad she's enjoying school so far this year. In less happy news, I no longer have my job. I'm very heartbroken and depressed about it but won't talk about it further. It's back to the stress of looking now. Back with some finished projects soon, I hope.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


It's been a while since I've posted. The change from stay-at-home mom to working full time has been exhausting. Having to be awake at 4:30 and be thinking and learning for eight hours has taken some getting used to. I'm still in training for two more weeks, which is good. The company I'm working for makes medical equipment and it's all very, very tiny and exact. It's also a clean environment, so I've had to wash my hands nearly a dozen times a day - and my cuticles look horrible. We can't wear makeup or nail polish (contamination issues) and wear hair nets, so there's not much getting ready time in the mornings. I tried to dye my hair purple for some color but it didn't show much over my brown hair. Next time there will be bleach first so the purple really pops. I only have one picture for you - a project that I worked on slowly over a couple of weeks. I was inspired by button art on Pinterest and can't wait to get more canvases to make more. What do you think?

Well, that's all for tonight. Bedtime is approaching fast and I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

That 70's Skirt

My kids and I watch a lot of That 70's Show...some might say too much. Kerry and I laugh and laugh at the silly jokes and use the characters as descriptors, for example, "You're so Kelso" or "Stop being Red." My favorite character is Kitty Foreman. She's hilarious and reminds me so much of Molly Weasley - if Molly drank lots and lots of wine. Kitty often wears a wrap skirt and, after a bolt of lightning, I realized that it's the same as Tilly's Miette skirt. I'd been debating the pros and cons of digital patterns (the cons were winning!) when I got an email from a pattern seller with a discount code. I decided to browse and found this baby

on sale! With the discount code it was just over a dollar. Score! I picked out some fabric from the stash and got to work. When I tried it on to mark the hem I found a problem. The wrap didn't cover my backside! Yikes! I traced the pattern piece and made an extension, cranked some tunes (new Pat Benatar Greatest Hits cd, soundtrack of my youth) and got to work. Now my skirt is done and fits and, well, what do you think?

The fabric is another score. It's Robert Kaufman quilting cotton. I got the whole bolt for five bucks at the charity shop. Five. Bucks. I cut off a bit chunk for mom, who quilts, because I share. It's great for this type of skirt - comfortable and fairly light and washable. The design is really busy so my add-ons in the back don't really show. It's covered with flowers, fish, birds...I wouldn't be surprised to find a Tardis! Maybe I'll embroider one. Hmmm... Since I have so much of the fabric I did some dye experiments. I like dyeing things. It's fun to see what happens. Unfortunately, my dye selection is a bit sparse right now, so there will be more experimenting later. It was fun watching the color remover turn the swatch from blue and black to white and gray to cream and orange which dried to cream and tan. You'll see this fabric again, though, in some incarnation. So, in other news, remember the day of testing a couple months back? Well, they hired me! Yay! Monday I start a really great job. I'm super excited. The day starts at 6 a.m. so I've been gradually getting up earlier and earlier even though I've not been sleeping late this summer (except for after my surgery). Maybe by next summer I can go on vacation - I've been dreaming of a trip to the Grand Canyon for years. I'll even go alone if the kids and boyfriend don't want to go. I have lots of trips in mind - Orlando and the Wizarding World, some tropical beach, and maybe even a shopping trip to the mecca of secondhand shoppers, Second To None, that Vix and Curtise frequent. (That trip will most likely be just me since Eric has no interest in Europe at all.) It feels good to be optimistic again. This morning I have to go to court again. My ex doesn't seem to know when to just do what the judge says. I don't want to get into all of the problems I have with that piece of crap. I just hope that this time will be the last time. Okay, time to get ready to go. I'll be back, though, never fear! Have a lovely day!

Friday, June 12, 2015


I've had problems with my sinuses for years. My doctor, after many prescriptions for antibiotics that didn't help, sent me to a specialist. This past Monday I had some surgery inside my nose. I've been spending the rest of this week healing up. It's a strange feeling - inside my face feels swollen and tingly but nothing shows on the outside. I couldn't bend over for a couple of days or even move too fast. I was prescribed some pain medicine but haven't really needed much of it - I've had better results with an icy cold washcloth across my face. Today, so far, I'm feeling pretty good. I can breathe through my nose and nothing hurts more than mild discomfort. Yay! I've been keeping myself a bit busy making things, though. Last week I got out a few of the crochet booklets that were my great-grandma's and great-aunt's and have been making doilies. Some of them will be finished like this:

but I've been thinking about clothes, too, like these that I found on Pinterest:

I've seen so many variations of these ideas and I'd really love to try it. It also gives me something to do with the doilies that I enjoy making. Do you guys see many crocheted things when you're out thrifting?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Finished Sweater!

I finally have something to share - I finished a little cardi that I'd started a couple of years ago. At the time I couldn't decide on buttons so I put it away and just pulled it back out. Originally I was going to take it apart because I've gained a few (or several) pounds, but I tried it on and it fit so I finished it.

I also managed to get a haircut, too. We have a beauty school in town and cuts are cheap. I spent two hours getting shampooed, cut, and styled. The student was a bit confused about layering long hair, so the instructor showed her what to do - so I helped her learn something new. She then straightened it so I could see how it looks. Khloe really liked the straight hair and offered her flat iron for my use. Eric, however, prefers the curls. I do, too. I am aware that I don't take good pictures. It's strange trying to take pictures with the timer, running back and forth to reset it. I'm still working on posing, too. So for your viewing pleasure, here's a picture of Joshua sharing a pillow with Khloe:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I'm Back!

Sorry to have been MIA for a while there. I was studying. See, there's a company in town that requires eight hours of testing to apply to the - yes, just to apply. I had to go to the testing office first to get into the system and create an account in the practice site. Then I had a month's worth of practice testing and studying. At first it was no problem, but the more I did the harder it got. By this past Sunday I was crazy from math. I'm usually pretty good at math, but for some reason this really stressed me out. Tuesday was my test day. I did fairly well with high marks on all but one of the tests - I messed up on one of the dexterity ones. Now I get to sit and wait to see if they're interested. In March or so I finished this skirt and today the stars aligned just right to get a picture.

It's a lightweight cotton blend from, I think, Walmart that's been in the stash for a couple of years. The pattern is New Look 6382
from 2004. I got it at Mom's charity shop last year. The skirt is three pattern pieces and took no time at all to put together. I'll be using this again to make something like this outfit

from the movie CBGB. Have you seen it? I've watched it about a dozen times. I would love to have been able to actually go there and see some bands, but I was born too late. The soundtrack is great, though, and will eventually be mine.
I recently finished reading a book called Just Kids by Patti Smith (speaking of punk music). It's her memoir of her early years in New York city with Robert Mapplethorpe. It's touching, sad, beautiful, and inspiring. They really had a special relationship. It occurred to me that I hadn't heard much of her music besides the couple of songs that get radio play, so I got her CD "Horses" from the library. I rather enjoyed it and wish I had heard it earlier in my life. Her vocal style would have really helped me overcome my fear of singing in public (thanks to years of being told how bad I am from friends and family, thank you very much).
Joshua thinks I've been on the computer too long - he just nudged my arm out of his way and curled up on my lap. It must be rough being a cat.
I have to go and finish all of the chores that I didn't do while stressing and studying. I'll be back soon!

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Snowy OWL

I've been in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup since it started in the fall of 2008. It's a knit-a-long group based on the classes of Hogwarts. The OWLs are bigger projects that take about three months to complete. I've tried three times to complete my Divination OWL but the fourth time was the charm.
I crocheted seventy snowflakes. Most of the patterns are from Snowcatcher and a few are from pinterest. They will need to be reblocked and starched next fall. Since my tree is white I want to tint or glitter the edges, too, but I'm going to experiment a bit to see what looks best. The kids don't like them too much, but I'm using them anyway. I mean, I do all the work! Completing this makes me an OWL Mistress, meaning that I've completed every subject. It doesn't matter much in the real world, of course, but I'm quite proud of myself. I have to go back to court in two weeks. Yep - my ex once again filed to modify his payments. I guess he'd rather keep seeing the judge than just send payments. I'm so frustrated. But! The sun is shining and the grass is turning green again. Before long there will be flowers everywhere and the world will be colorful again.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Sorry, no pictures today. I have a few things to share but have been too stressed to get out the camera. My final (for now) court date was Wednesday. My ex lost and was incredibly horrible and ugly to me as a result. The ruling doesn't mean that we'll get support any time soon, though. He hasn't paid since September and I expect him to stretch it out as long as possible - he's that kind of asshole. Kerry will be sixteen in a couple of weeks. He's so excited. I can't believe that my baby boy is going to be driving. So that's all for today. I'll soak up some sunshine (it's actually above freezing today) and get my head back on straight. Then there will be pictures of my latest makes. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Silver Lining of Sorts

Last week at this time (10:30 a.m.) I was sitting in a room at the courthouse waiting for my ex to show up for our third meeting with the state's attorney about his inability to pay support. He didn't show so I get to go back in two more weeks. Not happy. He has accused me of lying when I say that he won't be honest about his income and doesn't pay what he's supposed to or at all since September, but it's all true. But enough about him... after we left, Mom and I decided to check out the Goodwill in Peoria because we hadn't been there in ages. Holy crap. They barely had anything and it was all so out of our price range - I mean, $15 for shoes. Fifteen. Dollars. I can get new shoes for that! I did, however, find a couple of patterns that needed to come home with me.

The one on the left is one I've seen on a blog somewhere. I think my love of Stevie Nicks and her old stage costume of a leotard and chiffon skirt are coming to the front on this. Of course, that's a look only she can pull off, so I'll wear the leotard like I did twenty years ago - with jeans and crazy hair. I may try the pants and top, too, if I can find the right fabric. And on the right is another vintage shirtdress for my collection. This is from 1979 and looks pretty cool. It will also require just the right fabric, but I may have something to use for a first try. So I managed to get something good out of the day after all. Hopefully the next court date will be the last one, at least for a while. Today I'll be in another waiting room - both kids are home with fevers, sore throats, and headaches. Yay. A mommy's work is never done!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Button Cuff

You know I have a love for buttons. I've spent more than a little time on pinterest looking at beautiful things that people have made out of them and have seen an amazing array of cuffs. I decided to give it a try.

The large main buttons were made into a bracelet before but the string broke - these are rather heavy and I shouldn't have just threaded anything through them. I placed them first and added the rest a couple at a time. The larger red ones are the extras from a Halston III blouse, his line for J C Penney in the early 80s. I was surprised to find them in one of the jars that I got for Christmas. My original plan was to only use red but the fabric, silk from a vintage tie, is very colorful so I decided to add the white and blue.

It fastens with two loops made from a pony tail holder. They are perfect for use as a fastener since the skinny elastics don't work for my thick hair at all. I wore it today and it's really comfortable. Tomorrow I'll be going through my buttons again to start on another one (or more!) in some other colors. This first one isn't great since I didn't really know what I was doing, but it has really sparked my creativity. I should really get to work on some new dresses to go with my bracelets!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Socks For My Boy

I told Kerry that he should be wearing his wool socks to keep his feet warm. He replied that he couldn't find them - not surprising since his room is a disaster. He requested a new pair in Dallas Cowboys colors. He's a good boy for me, so I got out the dyes and had some fun.

I'm not sure how one of the gray stripes turned out a bit wider, but he doesn't care. He put them on right away and is excited to wear them.

Now if he would only wear a heavier coat...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Book Review, Kind Of

Back in 1989 my dear friend Debra and I each bought a copy of The Andy Warhol Diaries. She, being an artist, was a fan of his work. I was aware of who he was and trusted Debra's taste. We read it then. I don't remember a lot about my thoughts from that time. I'm sure I was shocked at all of the talk of drugs. I was probably more interested in his friendship with Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. Well, I pulled the book out early in December to reread since I've been in a 1970s state of mind. This time through I've noticed so much. He talks a LOT about drugs in the 70s. Did any of the celebrities get angry and try to file lawsuits? I don't know that I'd want the world knowing that I did all sort of substances in front of my kids, for example. He didn't go into detail about the rumored debauchery at Studio 54, probably because the person he was talking to already knew all about it. I would like to hear more, though, being a bit curious as to how bad it really could have been. Andy worked so much. His work days seem to be twelve or more hours a day, sometimes even on Sundays. I've seen pictures of lots of his paintings, but there must be hundreds more for me to see, not including the private portraits that he did. I'll have to check the local library for some books of his art collections. After working until nine or so he'd go out with his friends for dinner and clubbing until the early morning and the get up and do it again. He must have been used to it, having lived that life for twenty-some years. There are some people, like Bianca Jagger, who are in the entirety of the diaries. He talked of a different group of people as he got more into the Eighties. Up-and-coming stars must have sought him out for publicity since he knew so many people and was seen everywhere. He seemed lonely, though. There are several entries where he spoke of wanting a romance. I imagine his schedule made having a boyfriend difficult, especially in those days of hedonism. I was very aware, this time through, of how many people died from AIDS. Living in the middle of nowhere, we didn't get too much news of AIDS until later in the Eighties. Andy starts talking about it in about 1982, although he referred to it as "gay cancer" because it didn't have a name yet. He was really worried about it, even without a lover. I wonder if people wouldn't give permission to have their pictures in the book. There are two sections of photos, but they're both small and the pictures are kind of blah. Andy talked about having a camera with him all the time. What happened to all of those pictures? Maybe they're all in another book somewhere. I guess the review part is this - it's an interesting book, especially if you're a fan of that era (mid-Seventies to 1987) or are a Warhol fan. The editor claims to have left it mostly intact, so if that's true it's a close look into the mind of an artist and celebrity. It's made me wonder, of course, what he would have thought of today. A person can become famous for a picture on Instagram. The internet has created a new world of celebrities. And reality television...Warhol's movies Eat and Sleep kind of started the "reality" genre in a way. I'm sure all of the Real Housewives would have loved having portraits painted by the same man who painted Jerry Hall and Liza Minnelli. Now I need to decide what to read next. Should I hit the library for a biography of one of the Studio 54 crowd? Maybe back to Sherlock Holmes? Dragons and wizards? I always have a tough time deciding. A final note for today...yesterday I was browsing CVS while waiting for a prescription refill and saw, in the Valentine's Day section, a gift set of Halston cologne and body lotion for $14.99. I wonder if it smells the same as it did when it was new. I let Eric know that I'd like to get it. It's a bit sad, though, that Halston is on the shelf while Coty Musk is locked up. Okay, that's all for today. No pictures, sorry. I'll share some knitting next time as soon as I get this project finished.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Planning Projects

Hi again! As I type the temperature outside is 1F. The wind chill is around -20F. School was cancelled all over the area because of the cold, and not just in Illinois. It's crazy cold in a big chunk of the country today. If it affects you I hope you're bundled up!
I have big plans for projects this year. I'm continuing last year's plan to knit up some of my big shawl patterns. I'm also knitting a lot of socks because I love my socks...and a couple of my favorite pairs are wearing holes in the heels. I'm going to try a sweater or two, too. I have some purple yarn that really wants to be a cabled cardigan.

One of the podcasts I listen to is having a hat knitalong this year. I think hats would be a good way to use up some of my single skeins of yarn and will come in quite handy on these winter days. I've been considering keeping a box to put finished things in that I can gift to people - I do know a couple of young men who might like wool hats and mittens.
During one of my sleepless nights I realized that I have a nice assortment of shirtwaist dress patterns - ranging from the 40s to the 70s.
I'd like to make a few of them up this year. I've made the oldest one before and wear it fairly often, so another one would get used. I think it would be fun to have a similar dress from different decades. I think I have one from the 80s, too, somewhere in my pattern of the blogs I read regularly said something about an Eighties Sewalong. I wonder if she's still planning it. I have a few different wrap dress patterns, too, that will be in consideration to be made. If only the fabric fairy would leave me a present!
I'm going to keep making things from my "Project Ideas" Pinterest board as well. Recently I asked some people if they make the things they pin and they all said no. Do you guys make the things you find on Pinterest?
My final plan for this year is to get Joshua healthy. He's still not well. Eric thinks I should talk to a different vet for a second opinion. I just know that it makes me sad that the poor kitty doesn't want to play like he used to and only has energy to walk from one napping place to another. He's far too young to be a lazy cat.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Break Round Up

Happy new year! The kids are back at school after two weeks of being off for Christmas and I was so ready. They're much more manageable when they're on a schedule.
Our Christmas was rather small this year but nice. Both Kerry and Khloe asked for footwear - Kerry picked out a new pair of shoes from the Adidas website that were on sale with free shipping and got here in three days, just in time to wrap. I won't have any problems ordering from them again. He loves his new shoes and only took them off to sleep...although he was rather sick and may have slept in them a couple of times. Khloe has asked for brown combat-style boots since her birthday and I found a pair on Amazon that are perfect. She, too, has worn them non-stop since opening them. It makes me so happy when a gift is loved. Eric is not easy to buy for, so when he mentioned a cherry wine from Wisconsin that he'd had and liked I did a search and ordered a bottle from the winery and he enjoyed it. I also got him some cd's - Black Sabbath and AC/DC. He likes to rock. What did I get? Eric got me a sandwich maker, but mine is a double. I've used it several times and it's cool. The only tricky part is getting everything out without burning myself - it gets really hot. Mom gave me a set of Zephyr knitting needles from Knit Picks. They don't sell them any more so I think this was the set she'd ordered for herself a few years ago and doesn't use. I'll get plenty of use from them but knitting plans will come later. She also got me:
two new jars of buttons. She has me figured out!
Speaking of buttons, I spent Christmas Eve making these bracelets
inspired by some I've been seeing on Pinterest. The hardest part is deciding which buttons to use. I have a couple more planned, of course. The black and silver one is really long and can be used as a belt...once I tone up a bit. It fits now but is snug. I'm planning a brooch, too, but it's still in the "back of the brain" planning stage. Do you all have that? An area in your brain where ideas percolate until they're fully formed and ready to be born?
I'm going to be making this beauty soon
because it's gorgeous. I'm not sure what I have in the stash that will work. I didn't get any money for Christmas so new fabric will sadly have to wait. Doesn't it look like something Curtise would wear?
That's all for now. I'm in the house warming up a bit from shoveling snow out of the driveway. I can finally feel my toes again - and I'm wearing three pair of socks and winter boots. It's flipping cold out. I don't like it. I should go finish shoveling now before I get too comfortable...or maybe I'll save it for my son to do. Yeah. That's the new plan. I'll be back tomorrow to share my plans for this year. Stay warm, my dears!