Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dessine-Moi Un Mouton

 Daughter usually brings me yarn home to thank me for kitty sitting while she is away. This time she brought me a new little friend. Two, in fact.

“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

 This Little Prince comes with the fox. The fox is my favorite part of the book.

“So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--

Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . ."

Yes, that is so," said the fox.

But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

Yes, that is so," said the fox.

Then it has done you no good at all!"

It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

Now my old Little Prince has a new buddy and a pet. Cool. You can't have enough Little Princes.

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

See? I got them all and in lots of different languages.

"The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep. If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

I want a sheep. Don't you?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Yet Another Moving Day

 I am always packing Daughter up and watching her drive away. This is her 8th move in 10 years. She must have some Gypsy in her.

 You'd think she would just stop unpacking and live out of boxes.

This little house is now history. The For Sale sign will be going up next week.

She put a lot of money and energy into making it adorable but her and hubby aren't really house people. The recent break in sealed the deal so away they go once again.

She's trading the suburban life to head back into the city. She's on the 5th floor, courtyard side. Major shopping is just an elevator ride away. Metro's just minutes away. She's got a year's lease in this heavily secured posh new complex but we've still got bets on how soon and where she lands next.

Elns: English paper piecing is when you buy a pack of paper pieces from this online shop and spend a ridiculous amount of time covering all the little paper shapes with fabric in hopes of one day putting them all together to make a quilt. It's oddly addicting to make all the little shapes but tedious to put them all together. I have made a few table runners this way and one baby quilt. The paper pieces hold the fabric together so you can whip stitch the shapes together without a machine making it a very good travel project. You take out the paper when you are ready to turn the thing into a quilt sandwich-a step I have been known to forget.

  Here  and here are some posts that show some runners in progress.

Here is a post about a paper pieced tumbler project of Daddio's and here is his last project that is still in the works. He was the master of piecing.
I hope this answered your question!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Staycation Part 3

 In spite of installing this fancy alarm system the day after the break in, Daughter has her mind set to go.

 I don't mean going gently.

I mean bugging out. As in, like yesterday.

 Since they have been in Boston all week hanging with the glitterati of the skating world, I've been here all alone kitty sitting and packing for her.

I think they know something's up.

 Let's just say that we've gone through a lot of kitty treats so I can get things done.

The Mister's been dropping in to do some repair work. Shelves have to come down and counter tops need re-positioning. I did some mowing after the packing was done.

 There has been a bit of knitting during the down times. I have one sock finished and another on the needles.

The heel has been turned on this one and I'm heading down the foot.

I also always bring a project that I've grown weary of back at home. I'm a captive audience so I'm enjoying some paper piecing with renewed interest. Truth be told, I haven't gotten much sleep here so staying up all night with a project-any project seems like a plan. I'm going to need a real vacation after these two creepy staycations. I'm pretty much worn the hell out already and the moving truck will be here Saturday.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Staycation Part 2

 The Mister finished up last week over at his mom's house leaving me alone again for three days but this time it was not a happy affair. Far from it. I made a mess in the kitchen again but this time it was to distract myself from some major issues at hand.

 First I made a bunch of different colored glycerin bars. This is a simple melt and pour project in the making. I was trying to make myself happy about being alone in the house when I was anything but.

I shredded those bars into a mold reserving a bit for shaving into curls for the top. The day before The Mister left, Daughter's house was broken into. She was out for a couple of hours in the morning and returned home to find everything topsy turvy. They kicked in her door and ransacked the place breaking up her furniture and even pulling a panel out of the closet wall. They were looking for something and they seemed to know where to look. It was like something out of a movie.

 I made something happy and fun with lots of color and glitter. It was hard to be here all alone in the woods in the dark for those three days The Mister was gone. Daughter's incident scared the you-know-what out of me. The bad guys walked off with all their electronic doo dads. The really scary moments were when she couldn't find her cats. The bad guys left the door open and they could have escaped. Luckily they must have been scared by all the ruckus so they hid in the house like good little kitties. The police found them and secured them until they allowed Daughter back in. It was a long day. The Mister and I hurried over to help them clean up and fix the door and broken furniture.

 I got a bit carried away with this project. That's a lot of soap for just personal use. I used a very happy new scent called Island Nectar. It's really yummy. It smells like passion fruit and jasmine. Daughter and her hubby got a fancy new alarm system the next day. I want one.

 I love the way this project turned out but I was too scared to get into the tub with it while I was alone in the house. By the time The Mister got home, I was pretty grungy.

Right now I am up at Daughter's in the alarmed house babysitting the cats while she and her hubby are in Boston. She is getting an award from an ice skating organization at their yearly conference with her idol Michelle Kwan so she reluctantly had to go leaving me to hold down her fort until she returns.

We've got bets going about how many times I set off the damn alarm system. I'm more scared of it then of the bad guys returning for seconds.

I also made some lavender bars using lots of essential oil to take with me. Isn't lavender good for creating a calm and comforting environment? I sure hope so. I'm anything but calm. Yowza-and these are supposed to be my golden years.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Bags Full

I've been washing the new Texel X fleece lock by lock.

 I've got a box full of combed fluffs in the process of being spun.

It is a very short staple wool but it has lots of crimp and bounce making it easy to work with.

Among the well defined locks is a lot of riff raff that is not going to be able to be washed one at a time so I gathered up a few handfuls and stuffed them in a laundry bag.

 Two bags full to be exact.

 It is a very clean fleece without much grease so it got just a bit of a soak before it got its scouring.

It washed up well but then came the really hard decision of what color to make it. It's all going in the carder so I wanted a mish mash of colors.

Now I've got some red and silver gray which actually looks pink and white to me. Oh well,  I'll just have to keep washing and dyeing until I get a rainbow-or at least one handful of every color dye I own. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Moving Along

 On this past holiday weekend I finally found the time to sit down at the loom and start weaving my latest towel project.

 For the first time ever I used a yarn the thickness of sewing thread for the hem area. I loved the way it looked. I wanted to do the whole towel with it but realized the impracticality of that.

The body of the towel is woven with a two strands of a very stiff cotton which is another first.

Even though this pattern is not at all fussy I'm using lifelines to mark my pattern repeats. It is going to go fast from this point on so I should already be warping my next project if I want to keep something on the loom. Time to go digging in the weaving stash.

Monday, May 25, 2015

More Soap Tales

 The day after The Mister played with soap, I decided to try my hand with an oatmeal honey recipe. All went well until I noticed it was heating up and an ugly crack was forming across the top. That's a bad thing. You can end up with a soap volcano. I fixed the crack with alcohol, cooled it in the fridge and then popped it into a warm oven for a few minutes. Then I turned it off and left it in for the night to complete the gel phase that had started most likely from the addition of a honey based fragrance. I had no idea what I was doing. I just followed the directions I found on the internet and crossed my fingers.

 The next morning The Mister's soap was ready to unmold.

 This was a Crisco base soap so I had no idea what to expect. Did you know that Crisco was invented for soap and candle making and was never intended for human consumption? I read it somewhere in my search for cheap soap recipes. I eat a bucket of the butter flavored one at Christmas.  That probably explains what happened to my gall bladder.

I do love the shiny mica swirls. I'll be trying this myself one day.

 The oatmeal mess in the oven was cool, rock hard and ready to cut also. That process is called CPOP by the way. It's a real thing that I'll have to try on purpose some day.

 Look at that. I was expecting an ugly dark ring in the middle from a partial gel but I can see only a slight difference around the edges.

 There was no sign of the big crack either. Whew.

 The sea clay and mint loaf I made during my staycation was also ready to cut.

I used a simple technique called the spoon plop to layer the clay infused batter in with the plain batter. Not bad.

 After a week, the buttermilk/carrot bastille soap was finally hard enough to get out of the mold. It was still a bit sticky but I was anxious to see it cut. This almost all olive oil soap will now take months to cure.

 Yesterday I made a fancy peacock swirl using a doohickey I made from bamboo skewers and corrugated cardboard. This would have been a perfect except for the fact I lost half the batter in the squeeze bottles I used to make the colors. I ended up with a very thin slab and a lesson learned about how fast you have to work to get all those colors where they need to be before they harden up.

It was really pretty until it dried. To my surprise, the colors faded and turned grayish. I did figure out how to use the cheese slicer I bought months ago. It didn't work at all on melt and pour bars but is perfect for cutting odd shaped, sticky cold process.

Now we have to wait four to six weeks until all these bars will be ready to use. The sewing room has a ceiling fan that I keep on low to keep the air moving around the bars and the room smells heavenly. Every time I walk past it I want to make more SOAP! It's a sickness I tell you....