Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

Ahhh, the New Year is fast approaching.  This is both the time to reflect and the time to look forward. 
I’ve had a busy year.  I’ve traveled to visit the wineries (and a fabulous restaurant One Block West) in Winchester, VA and an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. 
I’ve connected again with Alina Kay.  Gosh I love you and have missed you. 

I’ve had the opportunity to grow closer with my fabulous friends, and I’ve had the opportunity to make some new ones.  I’ve also reconnected with some people that I missed out on knowing all that well the first time around. 
As an introvert with some minor social skills friends are massively amazing to me every day.
Isabella has grown and flourished.  She’s a social animal who loves to travel, visit and even be boarded at her favorite Kennel, Indian Bridge.  The ladies there spoil her rotten. 

My husband remains my true love and I’m thankful and appreciative of him and who he is, even when he‘s wrong.  LOL  For our first year of marriage, I think we’ve done quite well adjusting and growing. 
I’ve made strides with my crafting and discovered that Craft Shows can be quite successful for me.  I’ve created a website and then recreated it, so I’ve even improved my web skills.  You can check out Two Crafty Women and let me know what you think.
I’m thankful for all of you who are in my life and I consider myself blessed each and every day.

For the New Year ahead, I have made my goals and resolutions. 
My first one is to be more diligent about organizing my time and activities.  I have so many things going on in my life, that sometimes; things get missed (such as this blog).  I also want to make sure I make time for my friends, my crafts, craft shows, volunteer work and of course my husband. 
I also want to strive to continue my connections with all my friends and get to know each and every one of you even better.
I want to travel even more.  On my short list is a trip to Memphis to see the King.  Hopefully we can swing by and see Alina Kay and her family on the way.    Here’s my mom before she passed away, at the gates of Graceland.
Another one came as a reminder from someone who suffered a tragic unexpected loss this past year.  I’m putting this on my list of things to do early in the New Year and it is actually a good idea for everyone.  I’m going to prepare a checklist and contact information on what to do if one of us passes away.  Insurance doesn’t help if my husband doesn’t know how to claim it.  Bank accounts and savings are not any help if he can’t access it because the state has it frozen.  As much as many of us don’t want to think about passing, I know we all don’t want to leave our loved ones unprepared. 

Love and Best Wishes for a Safe and Happy New Year. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Isabella's New Harness

As you may (or may not) know, Isabella is my five pound Papillion. 

Little dogs should never be walked with collars, as their bones are fragile - one yank on the leash and you could accidentally snap your dog's neck!

So when Isabella was much smaller (one point five pounds) I started looking around for harnesses for her.  Factor in that little dogs stay cold, even in the summer, and I needed to keep her "dressed" as well, so I was looking at clothing options as well.  In the search process I discovered that there really isn't a lot out there for really small dogs, and what is available is outlandishly expensive!

Enter my stubborness, sewing machine and some hardware purchases and Isabella's custom made harnesses were born!  When she's out and about, I have had many people remark that I should sell the harnesses I make ( I even had one local lady who runs a hair salon that I do not frequent, offer to display them)!  So, since I had to make Isabella some new harnesses, I made a few extra this month and will list them on my website, and I will not be ripping people off. :o)  If there winds up being enough interest, I'll make more.

 Here is Isabella modeling her newest harness!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I think Pink, especially every October.  In case you don't know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This year is the 25th year!  Why haven't we found a cure yet?  Though I do know medical advances have certainly given women (and men - yes men can get breast cancer) a fighting chance, and I'm thankful for that, I just wish people were less ignorant about self-exams, and even mammograms (though if the government has their way this will no longer exist).

You can find out more about National Breast Cancer Awareness month here.

This month, I'm supporting the cause by shopping for my garden, (GARDEN FOR THE CAUSE) and thought I would share some of the fun and fabulous garden items I've discovered.  These websites give a percentage to various breast cancer charitable organizations.  (I'm NOT reimbursed in any way for mentioning these products/websites). 

First is this adorable garden Gnome, which can be found here.  I've always wanted a gnome of my own (groan) and she raises money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 

Everybody needs a garden stake, and this one helps raise money for various organizations in an effort to find a cure for cancer, assist cancer patients, and reduce cancer deaths through education.
And every gardener needs tools.  I did hear that Target even carries some of the BOND tools.  Click here to find out a little more about NBCF and Garden for the Cause

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sotterly Wine Festival

On Sunday, during rain, wind and cold temperatures, I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteeer to work a booth at the annual Sotterly Plantation Wine Festival

First, I want to say that if you have never had the opportunity to visit Sotterly Plantation, I totally suggest you do so if you are in the area.  It is the only remaining Tidewater Plantation in Maryland that us open to the public.  Sotterly Plantation is older than other famous plantation homes such as Mount Vernon and Monticello.  It's worth a tour, even if there isn't an event ongoing. 

You can find out more about Sotterly by visiting this link.  You can see more old photos, find out about upcoming events, learn the history, and even find out how to volunteer.    I find one of the most fascinating things is the evolution of the mansion itself and the plantation site map gives you a great idea for how vast this plantation truly is. 

You can also Facebook friend Sotterly Plantation. 

Back to the Wine Festival, even though the weather was frightful on Sunday, many people braved the weather and came out.  There were vineyards and wineries from all over the Maryland area in attendance, doing tastings, and selling their wares.  The giant and I visited many of the tents set up to house the vendors, and even purchased a couple of bottles of a really fun wine.  Also in attendance were several area food vendors and the most fabulous band to keep us company throughout, along with various other merchants and vendors.  There was even an art show in one of the barns!

For a few hours, the giant and I had the opportunity to man the booth for Running Hare Vineyard.  Owners, Mike and Barb Scarborough were absolutely fabulous to us.  Even though I had worn long sleeves and a jacket, I was freezing, and Barb loaned me a coat to wear.  Running Hare Vineyards had the following wines available for tasting:
Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Jack Rabbit White, Rabbit's Foot, Sangiovese, Malbec, Shiraz, and Chambourcin

We had a fabulous time pouring tastings for visitors and all too soon it was time to help pack up and go.  The giant choose to take home the Shiraz (his favorite) and I choose the Malbec and Sangiovese.  The giant has already cracked open a bootle of the Shiraz. 

Another thing I recommend to visitors is visiting the Running Hare Vineyard.  They hold wine tastings every Wednesday and Sunday from 12:00pm to 6:00pm.  The location is wonderful and the new building they've built feels just like Tuscany.  You can Facebook friend Running Hare Vineyard as well. 

If you see a bottle of their wine for sale, you can't go wrong with picking up a few bottles for yourself.  The Jack Rabbit white is a sweeter wine, but not too sweet.  The Malbec would be a perfect accompaniment for a cigar, and the Chambourcin would be wonderful as dessert.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Dominican Republic

My new screensaver

If you have never been to the Dominican Republic, and even if you have, I highly recommend it.  Sandy white beaches, warm sun, palm trees swaying in the breeze, clear sparkling water and beautiful people...I know you are getting the picture.

In the Palm Tree Shade

We stayed in Punta Cana at the RIU Macao Resort.  An all-inclusive package is the ONLY way to travel.  We ate so much glorious food, and there were many restaurants to choose from.  We had excellent wait staff and cabana boys, bringing us our hearts desire in beverages, a well-kept room, massages, and more.  Words truly cannot do this place justice. 

Swan Towel with Fresh Flowers

BTW, I am so tight with money that I squeak sometimes, but this vacation was extremely affordable, and after comparing with some of my friends who do the "cruises", I had the much better deal and an even better experience.  I made the travel arrangements through a local travel company, and they were able to get me the best deals, best rates, best flights, and best guidance and direction.  I think in this internet age we forget about travel agencies, but it saved me time, frustration, money and got me in the best place. 

Ahhh Vacation

If you are local to the Southern Maryland area...Call Stephanie at Cole Travel and let her know I sent you.  I don't get a bonus or anything, but I think it's wonderful to recommend things to people.  She arranged my travel to and from the airport, updated the American Embassy on our behalf, and arranged for goodies to be left in our hotel room and half a million other things that I wouldn't have thought of on my own.

Yarn Cheat Sheet

I'm  sometimes asked how much yarn is needed for a particular project.  The answer is, "It depends!"  The amount of yarn used depends on how much yardage is on each skein, what size crochet hook or knitting needle is being used, pattern design, and how big the porject is going to be.

Here's a rough estimate of yardage needed for your various projects.

SocksGaugeChild S - M - LAdult S - M - L
  Foot length 5, 6½, 8Foot length 9½, 10½, 11½
Sock - Fingering wt.6 - 8 sts per inch150 - 225 - 275 yds.325 - 425 - 525
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch125 - 175 - 225250 - 325 - 400
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch125 - 150 - 200250 - 300 - 350
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch100 - 125 - 150175 - 225 - 275
HatGaugeChild - Adult 
  18" - 20" - 22" 
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch175 - 225 - 275 yds. 
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch175 - 225 - 250 
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch125 - 150 - 175 
MittenGaugeChild  5",  5½"Adult  6",  7",  8"
Fingering Wt. YardsYards
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch75 - 100125 - 150 - 175 
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch75 - 100 125 - 150 - 175
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch50 - 75100 - 125 - 150
Afghan-ThrowGaugeBaby60" x 60"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch1351 yds.3500 yds.
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch1200 yds.3,150 yds.
DK  Double Knit5 sts per inch1100 yds.2800 yds.
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch1000 yds.2,660 yds.
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch850 yds.1,875 yds.
ScarfGaugeChild 6" x 40"Adult 8" x 54"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch440 yds.660 yds.
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch350 yds700 yds
DK  Double Knit5 sts per inch250 yds450 yds
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch190 yds380 yds
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch125 yds250 yds
Vest ChildAdult
  24" - 28 "-  32"36"- 40"- 44" - 48"- 52"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch400 550 750 yds.950 1125 1300 1450 1650 yds.
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch300 400 600 yds.700 850 950 1100 1250 yds.
DK  Double Knit5 sts per inch275 375 550 yds.650 800 900 1000 1100 yds
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch250 350 500 yds.600 750 850 950 1050 yds.
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch175 250 400 yds.450 550 650 700 800 yds.
Sweater ChildAdult
  24" - 28 "-  32"36  "-  40"  -  44"  -  48"  -  52"
Sock - Fingering wt.6 ½ - 7 sts per inch750 100 1450 yds.1800 2100 2500 2700 3000
Sport wt.5 - 6 sts per inch550 800 11001400 1600 1900 2100 2300
Worsted wt.4 - 4½ sts per inch500 650 10001200 1400 1600 1800 2000
Bulky wt.3 - 3½ sts per inch350 500 700900 1000 1200 1300 1500

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Fourth Wrap Up

I hope everybody had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend, with great food, surrounded by friends and family and of course explosive fireworks.  Most of all, I hope you all remembered that our freedom was not "free" and to never take it for granted. 

I was lucky enough to have enough holiday activities to keep me busy that I hardly had time to put my hook in my hand!  Of course I didn't do much but have fun.

The giant, friends and I went to St. Mary's College River Concert on Friday, to hear the USMC President's Own Band play for us and watch the fireworks.  You can find out more about this event here.  If you are in the area, it's well worth the visit.  Pack yourself a cooler with some snacks and drinks, bring a chair or blanket, and just sit back and relax. 

The giant also set-up a tent and assisted with a booth for the future State Senator for our Maryland district, Steve Waugh.  He and his wife are such great people. I scored a pretty cool shirt (even if it was a tad bit big, it gives me some wiggle room).  LOL  The giant scored his awesome Waugh 2010 hat. 

On Saturday the giant and I went up the road for dinner and movie.  If I type to much about it, I'll give away  the plot.  But suffice to say, it was nice to squeeze in some time for us.  It had been a while.  The last movie we went to see in a real movie theater was Transformers in 2007!  Actually the 4th of July is the our unofficial anniversary.  :o)

Then Sunday was another event driven day.  We were able to eat our fill, listen to some great music and watch fireworks over the river coming from Solomon's Island.  An absolutely wonderful time.

But Monday was the best day of all.  We visited my sister-in-law, her family and her in-laws.   There was tons of food and some pretty fabulous people who made the giant and I feel right at home.  I want to be adopted into that family.  I guess in a way I was.  :o)  I have some handsome nephews and a beautiful niece.  Unfortunately, I can't claim credit for any of that.  I wish they all lived closer so I could make them go to the kids movies with me, even the college bound one!  I know he'd have fun too with his crazy aunt.  Each one of these kids has the most gorgeous smile.  And geniuses, each and every one.  I'm in no way prejudiced about this. Look at these smiles on the Future MIT Grad and the Dancing Queen!

Then I had an absolute thrill, an absolute awe inspiring moment.  My nephew, the Mini-Giant, came up to me and asked me to show him how to crochet.  It that not the most awesome thing ever?!  I say it is. 
 My father knew how to crochet, as did a few other gentlemen of his generation and older, but not many men seem to know how to anymore.  Of course, not many women seem to know how to either.  I fear it's a dying art.

So we sat down and started a granny square, and wow, did it explode from there.  He crocheted himself a granny square/hat/monster blanket/slingshot (depending on what he wanted to call it at that moment).  Then he crocheted a "monster" complete with arms and legs!  Next he began crocheting friendship bracelets, one of which he gave to his Grandpa.  His Grandpa let him know that he learned to crochet at the same age.  Everybody, this was a big "awwww" moment and made me all teary eyed.  :o)

I hope he keeps it up.  I gave him some yarn and a hook as a parting gift.  But even if he doesn't, I hope he always remembers this moment.  Now excuse me, I have to go wipe my eyes. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Glimmer Shawl

So I found this fabulous yarn hiding in my stash pile.  It's a very old Caron Yarn called Glimmer in a shade of Hyacinth.  I like alliteration, assonance and consonance, so that explains why I bought this yarn with its catchy slogan "Glimmer, for a Subtle Shimmer".

So I decided I must make a shawl with it - sometimes yarn speaks to you.  I have been worrying that I wouldn't have enough to finish the shawl, but I am now on the home stretch and am really thinking it will wind up being perfect. 
I'm using a V- Stitch to make this shawl and think it's working up quite pretty.  I love the light scallop on the ends.  (Pretend you don't see my husband's hairy leg in the background).
Here I am starting a V-Stitch - double crochet - chain one, double crochet.
I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow.  I'd stay up late and finish this shawl.  I love to finish projects.  Of course I also love starting new ones too!  I'm enjoying working on this shawl so much, I'm tempted to make a different style shawl next (though I did have a baby blanket next on my list). 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The New Towne Hookers

So twice a month I crochet with the ladies at the New Towne Assisted Living Community.  We all have a great time, and I think it does me as much good as it does them, to get together, crochet, knit, gossip and laugh.  Everybody's welcome.  So if you want to come and learn to crochet or knit with us, just let me know, we all would love to see you there.  So the ladies were requesting a name for our merry band and I suggested The Happy Hookers, which sent up peals of laughter.  Ms. Frannie, being reasonable, suggested the New Towne Hookers.   :o)
Here's a picture of some of the New Towne Hookers working on their projects!
Here's Ms. Nancy (aka Wiggles) winding yarn into manageable balls.  
And here is Ms. Margaret (aka Giggles) cracking up at something Ms. Frannie's said.
And here's Ms. Nancy.  Look at what she's working's a hat for me!
Ms. Frannie snapped a picture of me in my new hat.

Of course I didn't get pictures of all the ladies.  I'll try to snag some more next time, and get some pics of their various projects.  I didn't stay as late this week, due to my back acting up from my fall.  But next time, will be a full work night with the ladies.  I always have an extra hook and some stashed yarn in my project bag.  Remember you are welcome to come and hang out with us.  :o)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hooks & Needles

I fell down out the back door and hit the patio furniture on Sunday.  What a sad way to spend my Sunday, flat on my back on the heating pad.  The giant went up the road to spend some time with the family and came home with presents for me.  Seriously, fabulous presents, which I must thank my mother-in-law for.  So when he walks in the door, and gently gives me a kiss, helps me sit up and hands these over:

Do you know what I see?  Knit needle storage and crochet hook storage cases.  It was with a sense of joy that I opened these goodie bags.

Check out all these crochet hooks.  Although some are hooks I already had, some are absolute classics, and all are cherished heirlooms as they came from the giant's grandmother and great aunt.
Look as these wisp metal hooks that look hand forged.  Tiny little hooks for crocheting lace thread.
And these hooks are remarkable.  Look it the little scroll work knobs. I'm not sure, but these feel like ivory hooks.  One has snapped at the top but it's still beautiful.  I think I'm going to frame them in a shadow box. 

And here's some metal hooks with detailed scroll work as well.  Unfortunately they are very rusty, but I think I can get the rust off and then will add them to my framed hooks.
This one is an absolute classic crochet hook.  Complete with an ivory handle, scroll work and a hook cover.  I feel as if I have been blessed with a gift from history.  I adore each hook, for the history they contain.  Think of all the things these precious hooks have made.  What useful and beautiful tools.

And then I opened the needle bag.  Wow.  Tons of needles in a wide range of sizes, including circulars and some that had never even been opened.  I now have no excuse to buy any more knitting needles!
Look at these needles that have never been opened, still in their original case and priced at 65 cents!  Nothing costs 65 cents anymore!!!There were several unopened containers of needles.
Did you see these old wooden needles hiding in the bag?  I've always wanted to try wooden ones, but they've been too pricey for me.  Now I can hardly wait to plan my next knitting project.

What a privilege and an honor to own this bit of crafting history. I can't wait until I can sit up a little better and can begin crafting new treasures with these treasures!

Almost Country Birds

Do you see the little baby bird?  It fell out of it's nest, and I had the giant place it back in, and it promptly hopped right back out.  It can't fly yet, so it's hiding out in the mulch under my rose bushes.  After the last check, with momma bird supervising, the baby bird is still doing well.

Look at this face.  He seems a little upset that I'm asking him to say cheese!

Here's Cluck Cluck in his little house.  He likes it fine, but would rather be roaming the yard with his little harem.
Here's another shot of the lower part of the coop.  I'm too short to get a good picture of the upper coop.  Next time they are all out in the yard, I'll go in and snap a picture.
Here's a picture of the second hen complex.  We are working on a hen neighborhood.  LOL


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Contests, Give-Aways and More!!!!

One of my favorite websites, FaveCrafts, is holding a contest give away for a set of Clover bamboo knitting needles.  Hurry and sign up to win.  In the process you can receive a free newsletter with crafty ideas and and even a free e-book full of craft ideas!

Then one of my favorite blogs, Low Tide High Style, is holding a contest to give away a free brand new Jellybean Rug.  I'd love to win this one myself!  You can look at more of these fabulous JellyBean Rugs here.

Last but not least, will be a Two Crafty Women give-away in the coming month.  The last item given away was the Aqua Choker necklace.  Right now, Facebook fans can suggest what item they would like to win.  The item with the most votes will be the give-away item.  If you haven't become a Facebook fan or a blog fan, do so for your chance to be entered for this great give-away!  Two Crafty Women on Facebook

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Two Loves

I love to bead.  I love to crochet.  What could possibly be better than combining my two loves?  Not much, honestly.  After experimenting with different gauges of wire, I've discovered 28 gauge is pretty much the best, along with a metal crochet hook.  Of course, if you try this, do not use a much loved crochet hook.  It will wind up getting scratched, and won't make a smooth tranistion back to yarn.  So, you have your crochet hook, your beading supplies, what do you do?  Bead your wire.  Place all your beads on the wire first.  Since this is a bracelet, once I had roughly 7 inches worth of beads on the wire, I then placed a toggle ring on the wire.  I then placed a lobsterclasp on the wire, and placed it in the center of my slip knot for my crochet hook.  I then chained until I had 7 inches of loops. I slid the toggle ring up and chained once more with the ring being in the center of the loop.  I then turned the piece.  Then I chained one, and then single chained into each one of the the loops, sliding a bead up onto the wire to be clasped within the loop.  To finish I wraped the wire around the end and used my wire pliers to ensure it was secured tight.  I have plans to do much more with combining my two loves into some fabulous crafty projects and accessories.  I love the look of the crochet loops in the wire.