Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Soap: Matchless

 Last week The Mister came home with a candle. SIL wanted to know if I could make a lotion bar to match its fragrance. I was pretty worried about pulling it off until I took a sniff.

 It was vanilla. Pure and simple. The candle is called Vanilla Sea Salt but I only pick up the warm vanilla scent. After doing a lot of research, I ordered a bottle of vanilla fragrance oil and hoped for the best. This time I got lucky. SIL is getting a bunch of stuff because it was just too much fun once I got going.

 Vanilla can be difficult because it turns everything brown over time so I only added the scent to the dark bits. It still smells amazing.

 The lotion bar is so yummy I want to eat it. I can't stop using the one I made myself.

I finished up the little bottle by using it in a cold processed soap that is the most delicious thing ever. Meet...what else, Vanilla Sea Salt. It has Himalayan Sea Salt on the top along with my obligatory glitter. I can't wait for it to cure. I can already tell it's going to be heavenly.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Christmas in July

 Now that my travel socks are off the needles I had to go stash diving to find some yarn to replace them. Remember when I was laughing about my stash last week? Well, here is just the sock yarn hidden under the bed. Once I counted 70 skeins in there. I have no idea how many are in there now. I don't want to know.

 I went looking for this. Elns inspired me to start a holiday pair. As slow as I am knitting these days I better get them started soon.

 But wait....there is this pretty Koi from Knit Picks.

 And..Renaissance from their handpainted collection.

 Then there was all this pretty gifted yarn that came my way recently.

 Decisions, decisions.....just look at my Felici stash. And that was just my top layer. There is Malabrigo, Regia, Opal, Kaffe Fassett and goodness knows what else in there. Now I don't know what I want. It's all going back in time out until I figure it out.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Done and No Fun

My MDSW Miss Babs socks are done. Yay. Me. After the Tour I needed something mindless to get back into the knitting thing and these were it.

It is a very interesting colorway. I would have never thought about putting those particular colors together but they work. I really like that pink and lavender stripe in the middle of all that green chaos.

 When I was done I had to laugh at myself because the whole time I was standing in that ridiculously long line waiting to pay for the yarn I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be enough for a pair of socks. It was such a tiny skein and the label didn't give me what I usually go by. I asked people in line and they assured me it would be okay but I wasn't sure.  Look at that. Some to spare. I could have made them even longer. Oh, well. I'll know next year.

I'm down to one pair of socks on the needles now but I only work on these while I am visiting Daddio. I hate working the double strand but he likes to hold the yarn for me and keep it straight while we visit. Little things like that are all we have left and those are on his good days. Man, I hate this. As sorry as I feel for myself sometimes, I can't even imagine what it must feel like to be on the other side of this nightmare.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

July Cards

The invoice came for my August card kit and I hadn't even touched the July kit. Yikes. That's bad but there was the TdF and that giant submarine in the living room.

 I did manage to spend one evening in the card room and came up with a handful.

 Here are the published inspiration cards from Youtube and the Simon Says Stamp blog. You can see they are all pretty similar this month. Lots of watercolor and embossing.

 I made these two up on my own using paper I had in the stash and the stamp kit. This was a ho hum month so I don't think anyone was too inspired. I've seen next month's kit and I won't ruin the surprise but I will say you won't believe your eyes. It's pretty crazy.

The big lesson I learned this month is that the hybrid ink that came with the kit can NOT be used like distress ink. I tried to use a watercolor brush with them and the ink ate the bristles. I didn't realize there was that big a difference in stamp ink so I think it's time I do some homework on that matter.

 Some new things that came my way this month were Lawn Fawn's speech bubble stamps and dies.

 Some Zig Clean Color watercolor markers.  Very pricey but very cool. Hopefully I'll get to try them out in the near future.

 Some subdued Distress Ink colors. I have lots of brights but nothing subtle and I love these for watercoloring.

Finally a sheet of birthday sentiment stamps. We've got a lot of birthdays next month so let the August card making begin!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In My Dreams

Every time I watch The Quiet Man I fall in love with this shawl and go looking for a pattern for it.

I'm not the only one wanting one of them. There is/was a whole group on Ravelry dedicated to the shawl but they haven't been active in 5 years.

 The one Maureen O'hara wore is in a museum in Ireland. Supposedly it's a Galway Shawl and it was woven on a Jacquard's loom and the director, John Ford paid locals next to nothing for as many as he could buy to dress the extras. As a result there aren't many originals left in Ireland.

That's the loom in question and there is a video on YouTube here.

Monday night when I should have been watching convention coverage I was watching TCM instead and darned if Maureen O'Hara didn't prance around in that very same shawl in another John Ford film. This time it was The Thin Grey Line and she called it her Shawleen. It had even more air time than in The Quiet Man. It made me twitch with envy.

 I spent wasted hours researching it and trying to figure out how to reproduce it by knitting it.

It would be crazy to try it-even for me and I am known to try crazy things.

It would take a lifetime though and I'm already pretty old.

It's a pipe dream I suppose.

 This is the third or fourth time I have seriously given it thought but it's not happening even if I could figure out a way to double knit it. Right?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

So How Hot is it?

 It's too damn hot but there is a bright side. The heirloom tomatoes and basil seem to love the hot weather and oh, my they make a nice sandwich on a whole grain artisan baguette. This has been breakfast, lunch and dinner since the heatwave took over on Friday.

I allow myself a glass of sangria with frozen fruit at noon on any day the heat index is over 100. It helps. I know we have AC but there is still something oppressive about the "heat dome" sitting on top of you regardless. It sucks the spirit right out of you.

Knowing how much I hate the heat, the Mister surprised me with these mini ice creams. Me and ice cream have not been on speaking terms for a while but a tiny spoonful in a tiny cone is just enough.'s going to be a long summer-but it's not all bad.

Monday, July 25, 2016

TdF 2016: Post Race Wrap Up

 Bear with me here. I took a lot of pictures yesterday during the last stage and none of them make any particular sense but I liked them all so I'm using them. I started getting ready to document this year's projects while Froomey and team enjoyed their victory beer at the start of the last day of racing.

The jets were early this year. I almost missed them. This is a crap shot of the stuff but just look at those planes. So close and so precise. Right down the Champs d'Elysee. Zoom. It was a hair raising moment.

 Of course I had to have a photo of all my stuff with the golden Joan of Arc. I look forward to seeing her every year. Not as much as the riders do though, I'm sure.

 Here is the ply on the fly mini skein. It's about an ounce. It was all the spindle would hold. I doubt it's enough for a mitt. I'll have to start another. As soon as my hands recover.

 With the peloton as a backdrop, here are the spindle single collections. The cotton in the back center is all this year's Tour, the rest were started earlier. Some were begun three Tours ago. I do take my time.

Speaking of the cotton, here it is. That's all the Spindolyn would hold before it started getting all unruly. I'm not sure yet if the cotton is going to let me add to it like wool does but that's an adventure for another day.

 Here is Joan again with the finished skeins. Right now Finley and Mr. Ply on the Fly are drying in the hot sun on the deck.

Whoosh. The riders fly by. Time is almost up. The group is back together for a final photo or two or three.

 Froomey has it. That must feel good. I know I am glad to be done but I also know I'll be sad in the morning. I think I have a crush on Phil Liggett.

The wheels are all empty. I'll have to console myself planning new projects and digging through the fiber stash.

The spindles are all empty too but I know what's going on them. More of the same but I'm not complaining.
Congrats to everyone who participated this year. It was a wild ride-as always!

PS: To those who commented about getting a peek at my stash yesterday. Hahahahaha....what's on those shelves is just a tiny drop in the bucket. If you only knew!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Soap: A Cutting

 Whew. Last day of the TdF! While I am spinning into Paris let's talk soap. Remember this one from the rest day?

 I thought it would be fun to document the big reveal. After making soap it has to sit for 24 hours to harden enough to take out of the mold. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve when I know there will be soap to cut in the morning. I can't wait.

 My new wood mold and silicon liner set is amazing. It just pops right out. No more squishing and squeezing. The problem is that is makes a lot of soap. The smallest mold that I can find like this one holds 2 pounds of batter. That's 7-8 bars per loaf. Yikes.

 Here is the loaf out of the liner. It doesn't look very promising at this stage does it?

 Anxiously, I cut off a thin slice on each end. The ends are always ugly so I use those slices for testing. Now you get to see if your design plan worked. This one did. I can breathe a sigh of relief.  This was a very luxurious batter meaning I used lots of pricey butter and oils in it. I would have not been too happy if it had been ugly.

 I can't cut straight at all even with my handy dandy cheese slicer.

 Look at that. The inside looks pretty good too. Whew. I had my doubts with this pour. Things got thick rather quickly and thick batter does not make nice swirls.

 Meet Baby Buttermilk with yoghurt and sal butter. It's supposed to smell like baby powder. I'm not so sure about that. I was expecting something more like Love's Baby Soft and I think this smells more like the plastic powder jar than the powder.  As usual I used only a hint of fragrance so we'll see if it holds true over the six week cure.

 Now it sits on a tray for 24 hours and then gets transferred to the drying racks tomorrow. I can avoid the rack marks on the bottom if I let it harden for a while on a flat surface. I go and turn it every few hours so all sides dry evenly.

There it is way up there, out of reach of curious kitties lording over my unruly knit stash. That cabinet is full of wrapped soap waiting for a good home. I can't wait for the hot weather to break so I can start mailing it off again. Hopefully by September I can start my monthly giveaways because I sure have a lot of good things to give away!