Monday, July 31, 2023

A Change of Season In a Box


As predicted we noticibly cooled off yesterday but it came at a cost for those just north of us. Like Valerie up in Canada last week, the DC area suffered one of those down burst things resulting in lots of destruction and power outages. It whipped up here for a few minutes but we really only got the downpour and the thunder. What I did get in the middle of all that rain was this box.

There was a change of season in it alright. I've got five fall scents and two winter scents to play with. Now I need to inventory my other supplies, get them ordered and get back in business making some soap.

I went with the supplier of the spring/summer scents and although I wasn't too fond of them at first they did grow on me. They also come in a smaller bottle than my old supplier which is a plus since I hate having to discard  leftover fragrance oils. They are not something you can just throw in the trash. Along with the fragrances they sent me a pretty pink sample of mica and this card. I've seen this meme used for a lot of things but never for soap. 

And.......the black vultures aren't the only thing helping me keep leftover stinky kitty food out of the trash this summer. Mr/Miss Turtle has also been a member of the clean plate club. I've seen our outdoor kitty, the turtle and the vulture all eating side by side. I've just never been fast enough to get a photo of it. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Hot Stuff


It's been interesting trying to find shady spots to walk Pup during this heatwave. 

The boardwalk is too hot so we're always looking for grass. 

We hadn't been to the wetland park in a while and we discovered they have a new cute little nature center. 

And a big butterfly out front. 

The waterlilies at the koi pond across from the beach are all in bloom but the sidewalk's been too hot to walk on. We run from shady spot to shady spot.

That doesn't stop these crazy people. The beach was packed. The water temperature is 84 degrees right now.  They had a cooling station set up which was a mesh tent that put out a mist of water. I'd never seen anything like it. I want one. 

My black vulture friend has also been feeling the heat. She/he showed up with two white tufted babies again this year and I've been keeping plenty of fresh cold water outside for them. They are not shy about coming for a big drink and a tin of leftover cat food every morning. My little flock will be flying away at the end of the summer but until then it'll be fun watching those babies grow. I know I'm in the minority but I think they are the cutest things.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Beating the Heat


Things got ugly here yesterday. We're under a heat advisory and it's been HOT. We've been getting Pup out early-like last game World Cup early which usually ends around 9ish. Then we spend the rest of the long day rattling around the house trying to find something to do. 

Since I now have a designated messy room in the cool downstairs I've been doing some print making using my gel plates and some Distress ink. 

Ages ago I had a really nice art journal. This one. It got ruined by a certain kitty when a certain kitty got locked in the craft room by mistake one night. Years of work gone in a puddle of....well, you know. Ugh. While going through my stuff during the big room switch I found another blank one so I thought some prints would be a nice way to start it off

This mandala's been sitting on my work table for months and months. I was stuck on the last rings but it's finally done. I bought a white gel pen and it made all the difference.

I've started another by first adding some watercolor. I do one ring at a time and it takes forever but it's the drawing equivalent of stockinette in the round. Mindless and soothing.

And....I've been suffering over these building sketches. I've done the same facades over and over and still can't get those angles right. I was hoping to watercolor them one day but that's a long way off. I see a lot of perspective exercises in my future first. As long as I'm inside and the AC is running it's all good. Unlike most of the country our heat wave looks to be short lived. We're back in the 80's by tomorrow. I hope.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Friday Fluff


Well, Trinidad it seems our journey is over.

And it was quite the journey from fleece to skein. I just wish I had something better to show for it. It's bumpy. It's lumpy. It's pretty wild and woolly. It was over spun and under plied. I actually had to ply it twice to get it to stay together. 

This is the sum total of it all. I spun the three two ply whites ones last year and the three ply dyed ones this year. None of it is anything to brag about. I think my fleece washing days are over. I never get anything of real quality out of it. I just don't have the skill or patience. 

To add insult to injury, I tried to dye two of the biggest white skeins for some cold weather Croc socks. I got clown barf. The mason jar dyeing that works so well for fiber doesn't work well at all for skeins. Maybe one but definitely not two at a time. What was I thinking?

They were supposed to be mostly red and gray with just a touch of gold and teal but that gold took over and gave me all the secondary colors-which I should have expected Maybe it's the way the fleece takes color or maybe my dyes are too old but I don't see any red or gray. It's a good thing I like wild and crazy socks because once again I dyed something wild and crazy for a pair of socks that most definitely won't match.


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Squiggy and Shorty


Take a good look at this quilt top.  Notice all that pieced sashing in between the white blocks. It's what I've been machine quilting for the past few days and I am so over it. 

I finished all the white center blocks last week. I put a fancy thing in the middle and just outlined the white. Ages ago I started stitching a wiggly thing down all that pieced sashing not realizing how much work it was going to be. I have to mark every section as I go so it's stop and start. Stop and start. Yesterday I tried to freehand it to lighten the load but as you can see it didn't go so well. I had to pick it out and go back to marking it. 

Then I broke the needle. I spent a half hour trying to get the new one in. I couldn't find the little hole and when I did it just wouldn't stay in. It took me that long to figure out that the needle holding thingy doesn't work if the pressure foot is down. Who knew? I know now. 

While searching for my needles I found Shorty and Squiggy two machine quilting rulers I spent a fortune on ages ago. I found the special foot that you have to use too-also very pricey. I've never tried them. Maybe they could be the answer to all this stopping and starting you have to do through when you mark a quilt. I'm in too deep now with that Fall Batik thing but I'm thinking The Big Ugly might just be good for some experimenting. I've heard there's a pretty steep learning curve with these things but as awful as I am with all of this machine quilting stuff it couldn't hurt. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The Summer of Soccer Socks


I had no socks on the needles and I've been reading everyone's Summer of Socks posts so I came down with a bad case of startitis the other day. I've been watching late night and early morning Women's World Cup games so I needed something to keep my hands busy. 

First I cast on some Felici in the Olive Juice colorway in a man size. I used doublepoints because I have a tendency to ladder Felici with Magic Loop for some reason. 

Then I picked up a ball of Regia's Arne and Carlos Lofoten colorway and cast on a ladies size. I can Magic Loop the heck out of Regia-which is my favorite way to knit socks anymore. 

Finally in a midnight case of insanity I got the bug to cast on two at a time on the same needle using the Knit Picks Muse in the Presence colorway that I just bought. It almost went in the trash. It took me over an hour and a half to untangle and wind up the skein which was no fun that late at night. I have no idea how such a well tied off skein managed to get itself so mixed up but it did and it was a painful to sit there and untangle it inch by inch so I could wind it up. I can say that this yarn has a lot of energy in it. It twists back on itself so that may have been why it was so naughty. All's well now and it might not be the last of the casting on. I've always wanted to knit two different socks on one needle and if I can find another 40 inch one lying around here somewhere I just may try it-for a laugh

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday


I now have a tiny needle corner. It's where the soap used to be. Now that mess is downstairs with the other messy things. 

As I was moving the stitching stuff upstairs I found this. 

Inside were some very old projects that never were finished. 

This one in particular got my attention. I had started it for a friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer but that's as far as I got before......well. You know. It's a terrible disease. Last week I was also reeling from some terrible news about another friend. Her 39 year old son, her only child, collapsed and died from a pulmonary embolism. No warning. Just gone. A week later her husband collapsed at their son's funeral and died later at the hospital. No warning. Just gone. We were making plans for a reunion of the ladies I lunch with from our old school at the time. We've postponed it until the fall since we are all still in shock. Life changes in an instant. Every moment is a gift. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

Moving Day


The thing about being stuck in the house when it's hot outside is that you have too much time to think about rearranging things. Over the weekend the soap corner of the sewing room got moved downstairs.

It didn't make any sense to have all that messy stuff sharing a space with all my sewing stuff so I ran up and down the stairs all weekend moving it all around. Now it shares a space with all my painting stuff.

In the move I found a container of tea tree oil melt and pour soap so I melted and poured it into a loaf. The Mister is very fond of tea tree oil soap so it made more sense to use it up than store it. I added color and a wee bit more tea tree oil then chopped and grated up the colored bits to put in the mold.

Well...I'm a bit rusty at all this so it's not exactly the prettiest soap I've ever made but in the muggy buggy summertime glycerin soap is very light and soothing on itchy skin. 

And........the best thing is that we've got bubbles again. The water softener guy showed up as promised on Thursday and by Sunday we had water that acted like water is supposed to. I washed my hair. I washed the dog. I washed everything I could get my hands on. It's been a very busy couple of days. 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Aux Champs-Elysées


Whew...what a three week ride it's been and what a morning. I got up at 6 to watch the France women's team play Jamaica then watched the first stage of the Tour de France Femmes and then the last stage of the men's. I've got way too much to show for the past three weeks. I'm supposed to be depleting my handspun stash and now look what I get to add to it. 

I wish I could work as quickly on my spindle projects because this is their THIRD YEAR with the same fiber and I'm sick of them. I am going to try to continue watching the TdF Femmes but I will ONLY be using the spindles during the remaining 7 stages. The Barbie BFL on the Ladybug will have to wait.  I'm in no hurry to finish it. 

The big loser is the Garter Squish. Who knew we would have the hottest temps in the recorded history of the planet this month? Honestly, it's not been that terribly hotter than normal here but hearing about it all day makes it seem so. 
I'm usually totally bummed on the Monday after the Tour but this year I have the Ladies World Cup to give me an excuse to ignore any and all housework and play with my toys. It's going to be the Summer of Soccer Socks around here starting tomorrow. I'll tell you about it later. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Running Out of Road


It's been a wonderful three weeks of watching the Tour every morning. I'm sad to see it end tomorrow. I'm always sad to see it end. Last week I was all in a dither over my BFL project. I wasn't feeling all the blues but after going to all the trouble of dyeing more colors......

...I changed my mind. When I started to spin it I realized the blues were more than enough.

Voila. It's 5 whole ounces of three ply sea glass inspired BFL. 

What's going to happen to all those other colors I had dyed? 

How about some Barbie Dream House inspired stripes? The whole world has gone gaga over Barbie this week so why not. 

Unlike the primarily pink houses we see today, in 1979 her house looked like this. 

When we cleaned out the attic I was surprised not to find my old Barbie. This is the one I had. She had a red bubble cut and that dress. That amazing black dress. Of all the dumb things I managed to hang onto over the years why couldn't I have hung onto her? 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Friday Finishes


I finally finished the latest set of placemats and hot pads. Theses were supposed to be my July set and July's half over.

It was the search for the backing that held me up. I'm glad I held out for a piece from the original collection. If I ever make anymore I will make sure to order backing material at the same time. I doubt I will need this particular piece of wisdom because I do believe that these finish off the holiday/seasonal sets. I've got fall and Halloween covered and Christmas, winter, Valentine's Day and St Patrick's Day. Spring is done but not Easter....hmmmm. Do I really need to go there? Sigh...we'll see.

And.....the socks are off the needles too. These are Regia's  Arne and Carlo's Gargia colorway in a man size. I'm not casting anymore on until after the Tour. I've got enough on my plate right now. 

Not exactly finished but one sleeve down is the Big Gray Blob. I started the second sleeve yesterday. I haven't knit any of the ribbing until I get a human body to fit this thing on so it's all on cables and attached to different balls of yarn. You'd think that would make it hard to work on but they don't. I've got my fingers crossed that this pattern works out because it's been a pleasure to work on.-so far.