Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday funnies

A few Friday funnies to let you know I am thinking of you.


And for those who observe the holiday this weekend...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I have dust bunnies and a long to-do list

I have a long to-do list. Sometimes it is an actual written list, most often it is carried in my head. And dropped occasionally and lost for days on end.

Don't get me wrong, things that MUST be done get done. In decades of paying bills, I think I've only been late 2-3 times. I have only missed one appointment that I can recall, and it was due to a death in the family. What I am saying is that I truly am a responsible person, but the older I get, the less important some things seem.

Is your refrigerator spotless? Mine is if you mean do I have a dog named Spot who is not sitting in the refrigerator, therefore rendering it Spot-less.

Are your floors free of lint, hair and cracker crumbs? They are? You don't sew or knit, do you? Or shed? Or have a 3 year old grandson who loves crackers?

Could your furniture pass the white glove test? Who the heck wears white gloves anymore and shame on them for running their hands over your furniture! Dang imperious busy bodies!

* Ahem * where was I?

Oh yes, I was talking about losing my mind to-do lists.

Don't you ever have a day where you plan to clean bathrooms, mop the kitchen floor and cook a spectacular dinner but something more interesting comes along?

Lunch with a friend! Sorting old photos and walking down memory lane!  Making a pacifier for a snake!


I think I saw smiles and head nods until I got to the snake part. Surely I can't be the only person with a snake that needed a pacifier?

This silly snake was a prototype for snakes that I made for a friend who was in charge of vacation Bible school a few summers ago. The snake is made of green fleece with felt eyes and tongue. I'm not sure why I kept him. Perhaps I knew that Colton would one day be in my life and would love to chase and be chased by the snake. Colton now hisses almost as well as Papa does!

Papa teases Colton that his pacifier is really Papa's pacifier. This is partly to encourage Colton to give up the pacifier and partly because everything becomes a game between grandpa and grandson.

If the pacifier is lost, Colton calls for it "Paci! Paci, where are you?" One day Papa and the snake found it but the snake had to give it up for nap time. The poor snake felt so left out, not having his own paci.

I simply could not wash a tub when there was a snake feeling neglected. Not as long as the snake was made of fleece and felt.
Isn't it better to have a gleam in a felt snake's eye than to have a spotless house? (Please, please, please say yes!)

The next time Colton comes to visit, I will have a new excuse to not get anything done. I now have a pet dragon named Smoulder. Smoulder is part of the Melissa & Doug puppet line. According to the hang tag, puppets teach manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination and encourage speech development and imagination.

Huh? Is this supposed to be for kids? I bought Smoulder for ME, but I will play with Colton with him. I just hope I don't have to teach him about sharing. Not him sharing...Me. I don't wanna.

"Smoulder the Dragon: No matter how hard Smoulder tries to breathe fire, he is unable to ignite a spark. All he is able to produce are tiny smoke rings and an occasional mouthful of ash."
Tell me that description is more fitting of a 60 year old than a child!
Move outta the way dust bunnies, I have puppet practice coming up!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Piccadilly scarf

Last Friday I traveled to Mary Maxim's with more of a need to get out and about than a need for anything within the store. That didn't stop me from spending though. I did my bit to stimulate the economy. You are all very welcome for my contribution. 

One of the items I shopped for was a particular brand of yarn which I did purchase but haven't played with yet. There were numerous items not on my list that came home with me, but none as surprising as this:

This isn't yarn, nor is it ribbon. It is a 100% polyester fabric strip with evenly spaced holes along one side that can be used in knitting or crochet. If I hadn't seen a sample scarf in the store, I may not have even noticed these odd bundles among the traditional yarn skeins.

This was done in one evening. The technique is the same as working with what is generically called "ruffle" yarn, but it does even faster because the yarn requires a little manipulation of the fibers (spreading them open) to see where you will insert the needle or hook.
The color choices are limited to five, and while this look won't appeal to everyone, I have worn it out to two different locations and been stopped, complimented and questioned about it. An internet search for this product may show you a little girl's done with this and a traditional yarn on the Ravelry site.

The pattern is available as a free download, sized for 0-3 months, 3-6; 6-9; and 9-12 months. The design in this fabric is a different pattern and is marketed as Covent Garden. Both fabrics are by Estelle, called Frill Seeker Fantasy Fabrics.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Senior Moments

This made me smile, hope it has the same affect on you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Knitted pillow in the works

Knit, knit, knit,, rip, rip.

Such is the life of a knitter who sometimes talks too much or pays too much attention to TV while knitting.

I am currently working on a knitted pillow, the free pattern is available here from Sarah Gasson at Knitables. The pattern is not difficult but you need to keep track of your rows. I did that.  Unfortunately, at one point I didn't pay attention to row 5 having a different cable than row row 13. Patterns rows 3-18 repeat throughout the pillow, a 16 row repeat. I was 12 rows past my mistake in the middle of the pillow when I saw what I had done wrong. Undoing knitting is humbling.

Here is the front, or maybe the back since they are the same.
The yarn is Aimee by Laura Harding. It is 90% cotton, 10% cashmere.

The red pillow in this photo is close to the size of the pillow form I will use. The length of the knitted pillow will only be stretched a little, the width will block to the correct width and the pattern will appear a little flatter.

I will start the back tonight. Don't hold your breath waiting for a finished pillow. I have spring fever despite the 20-something degree temperature and have been flitting from project to project.

Anyone with excessively warm weather right now is encouraged to send it north. Sometimes there is a spike in population 9 months after very cold weather.  By mid march that is no longer the case. Crabby, housebound people are less likely to canoodle and more likely to kabong.

Don't remember what or who kabong is? Here is Quick Draw McGraw's alter-ego, El-Kabong.
If Mother Nature doesn't adjust the thermostat here in Michigan soon, I am getting a guitar with her name on it, right after I knit a cute cape and mask.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Copic Marker bin

I've mentioned before that I have always liked to color. Copic Markers have become an addiction.

On various blogs and Pinterest sites, I saw bins that had been customized to hold these markers in an upright position so that you can easily read the color name and number. My husband is very handy with projects like this so I showed him examples. The large bins began with a ArtBin (brand name) Super Satchel Double Deep. I bought one at Joann's with a 50% off coupon months ago.

The examples I showed hubby Bill used plastic lighting grates to to hold the markers. He willingly went to Home Depot (not as if I needed to twist his arm to go there!), measured and cut a piece of grate to fit the bin. The bin has slightly sloping sides with a ledge inside where the handle is located. This ledge was perfect for holding the grate on that side, but something would be needed on the opposite side. Hesitant to drill into the plastic, Bill experimented with various props but none pleased him. He also felt that another grid would be needed at or near the bottom to keep the markers from slouching. Ok, technically markers don't slouch, but the would lean.

During this process, I learned of a smaller bin being sold that would hold markers. I priced it at a scrapbooking store. It was roughly $22 for a bin that was half as wide as mine and had a grid that would hold 64 markers. The grid covered half the bin which is ok if you wanted something stored in the other half, but not ideal if you have become addicted to Copics. An additional grid could be purchased for $8. I came out empty handed.

Back online, looking for more helpful hints for this project, I discovered that ArtBin sells the grid, correctly called a tray, that fits in their products. I ordered 4 of them from Dick Blick ( for less than what the smaller bin with an additional tray would cost. I do not fault the local store for their pricing which was inline with other stores. I really do try to shop locally but occasionally a better deal online means more money in my wallet to support the local stores with other purchases.

This photo shows the difference in the tray and the lighting grid. The tray offers just enough depth to keep the markers upright.
The ArtBin Super Satchel Double Deep comes with removable dividers. The long one that runs from handle side to hinge side is used with the trays.
I have 70-some markers so far, sorted by color families. I anticipate these families will grow throughout the coming year.  
The trays are easily removed if I ever decide to store markers elsewhere and use this bin with the original dividers or just as one large, deep bin.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Moaning

Lettuce begin the week on a healthy note. I hope you relish these veggie photo puns. Do me a fava, they really can't be beet so don't turnip your nose at them or try to squash a smile. Chive got a feeling I should stop now, so I yam.


There is no caption for this last one, but I'm including it for my knitting friends. I don't know what the wool would be like from cauliflower sheep, but they sure are cute, don't ewe think?


Saturday, March 16, 2013

No news, weather or traffic for you

It is Saturday, the day before St Patrick's Day and should be a reason to rejoice, but my head feels like the day after the holiday for one who consumed way too much beer, green or otherwise. Did I drink yesterday or the day before? No. I rarely drink alcohol. I get more than one person's share of headaches thanks to being a human barometer.

Before birth, I think I asked to be such a stunning beauty that any man not worthy of me of would wither and ache with longing. Somehow I didn't phrase that request correctly or merely got in the wrong line. Instead I got weather (not wither) headaches that stun (not in a good way) and last a long time. I should have been a meteorologist. My headaches are more accurate than Doppler readings on the local channels.

I could give you traffic updates too, but according to Hermione (the name of my Chevy HHR) I drive around in circles, not venturing far from home.  That isn't my fault though. She has a mind of her own and if she wants to pull into craft stores, yarn shops, or my favorite restaurants, who am I to squelch her? She struggles with going to Kroger though and I can't say that I blame her.

I will never claim to bring you what passes for news on most TV stations. It is usually depressing. When it isn't serious but still news-worthy, it seems to be filled with stories of people all too willing to show the world how stupid and low class they are, and proud of it. But enough about Washington politics. 


In my ongoing effort to bring you happiness, here to brighten your day is a video of what security cameras sometimes catch:

Happy St Patrick's Day!  Happy Weekend! Happy Almost Spring!  and I'm happy you stopped by to read here!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Food themed bracelet fun

My inner child is an island girl who was kidnapped and brought to live in Michigan. Don't misunderstand me, I love my home and can't imagine living anywhere else, but Michigan's weather is all wrong this time of year. It is supposed to be warm. Tropical even. We are a peninsula surrounded by water, right?

Until Mother Nature rectifies this, I spend this time of year looking for ways to brighten spirits. The Busy Book was an involved project and the knitting on my needles is a somewhat involved pattern that I like but is progressing slowly. I needed something yesterday that would be completed in one sitting. What should I do?

Aha! On one of the trips to Joann's for Busy Book supplies I bought cards of beads on clearance. It was time to make bracelets! I'm sure these aren't appealing to everyone but I like color and I like whimsy...that inner child thing again.

Here is one about sea life. Sea horses and starfish aren't found in the water near me, but they could be once Michigan becomes tropical. I'm not holding my breath, but I do remain hopeful.
Despite my aversion to snow being on the ground, on top of houses and especially on top of car (my car! ), I think snowmen are cute. Add that I wear a lot of blue and you'll see why the snowmen beads needed to come home with me.
This card of beads has been in my craft room since before Christmas. I paid full price for them (gasp!) because the idea of coffee and donuts made me smile. Pink helped. I've been in a pink frame of mind lately, maybe to counterbalance gray skies?
And last we have fast food delight, burgers and dogs. I know the hotdogs don't show well in this photo but those somewhat oval things are dogs in buns. The red and yellow you see on them are ketchup and mustard.
Some women have what others may think is a surplus of shoes. Some might have a purse addiction. I have jewelry that dates back to when I was 16. Hmmm, does that make it vintage?

The sun has come out since I began writing this. Hubby has gone to an indoor driving range (he has spring fever too) and I see tulips and daffodils leaves have appeared overnight. If I had known making bracelets would have brought all this on, I would have made them weeks ago! Mother Nature must like fun bling too!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Busy Book for my grandson

Birthday busy-ness continued in my family with quiet acknowledgment of birthdays on the actual dates and parties (surprise and otherwise) fell on weekends. We are done until September with our branch of the family but have another great-nephew's birthday coming up next month. When Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake", do you think she had my calendar in hand and saw what the first 5 months of the year look like?

Before I get to the book, I want to share my daughter-on-law's cake for Colton. His party theme was Disney's Cars.  The cake is two 8" layers, one yellow, one chocolate, joined together by a thin slice off one side of each. The track is black fondant from Wilton. I must say that I am still not fond of the taste of fondant and it wasn't as easy to work with as some claim. My daughter-in-law and I both worked with the fondant. I'm sure practice would improve our results. Nonetheless, didn't her cake turn out cute?
The infield is crushed graham cracker crumbs with a few green sprinkles added for grass. Lightning McQueen is a toy car, the pair at the top of the cake is a candle.

On to the Busy Book, known by some as a Quiet Book. Back when I had the notion to make finger puppets, I didn't have plans to continue playing with felt. Little did I know that I would fall for a play house and make one for Colton for Christmas. I began pinning felt projects on Pinterest (I'm 'Charlene (Knitty)' there) and thus began the plans for this book.

I have multiple photos of most pages because each one is an activity. Here is the book courtesy of a Smilebox slide presentation. **Please note that an ad may appear below the Smilebox loading image. You do not need to to click on the ad to view the slideshow**

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My inspiration for pages came mainly from these sources
and I must give a huge thank you to this blogger who shared printable patterns that she lovingly created:
If I had started this project with more than 10 days lead time, I would have followed her lead and worked in greater detail. My grandson is a rugged little boy though, and I honestly don't know he will enjoy the book or not. That is from me don't come with strings attached and I loved making it. His mommy and daddy will know that time and love went into it and appreciate it.

I used the same little boy image from the cover to create a card for Colton.
Have I mentioned that I love coloring with Copic markers?

If anyone plans to make a page or book of their own and has questions, I will happily share more about this experience.