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. 

Pimento Cheese

The giant and I were watching a TV show, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate", and Tyler Florence brought up Pimento Cheese.  My mouth has been watering ever since.  I had no clue though, that Pimento Cheese was a "regional" food, particular only to the Southern US, and no where else.   So I asked the giant, and sure enough, he's never had it.  Oh the sorrow of not experiencing a pimento cheese sandwich.  :o(  So it's on my list to make for my darling husband, and most especially for myself.  I'll share my recipe with you.  Give it a try, either on white bread, or served up with crackers and veggies.  Trust me, everybody will be wondering where you found this fabulous cheese. 

Did you know "Pimentos" are actually red cherry peppers? 

1 pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated)
1/2 pound Monterey Jack Cheese (grated)
1 4-ounce jar of Pimentos
1 3-ounce container of Cream Cheese (softened)
2 medium sized Kosher Dill Pickles (chopped fine)
2-3 cloves of Garlic (adjust to your taste, mashed up)
3 heaping tablespoons of Duke's Mayo (okay you can use another mayo, but Duke's is best)
Cracked black pepper to taste
Chopped parsely / or nuts for garnish if making a cheese ball

I love to use the food processor for this, as it makes things easier, to grate the cheeses and pickles, but you don't need it.  Whip up your softened cream cheese and mix/fold in all the other ingredients, except the chopped parsley or nuts.  Then place the mixture in a small bowl, cover, and store in your fridge for a few hours (or go ahead and make your sandwich).  This will firm up your cheese (though it will remain soft).  Then you can pull it out, and roll it in chopped nuts or parsley to make it pretty, wrap with plastic wrap and store.  As long as you keep it in an airtight container, your Pimento Cheese should keep for 6 weeks. 

Pimento cheese is awesome as a dip, as a sandwich, spread on top of a hamburger, baked in the oven on some toast points, topping deviled eggs, spread on celery sticks, and much much more.  Gosh I can't wait.  I hope I leave some for my husband to try.  :oP

Friday, June 4, 2010

Zen Kitchen: Chopped Greek Salad

Look At This
It's what was for dinner last night. Yum. 
Even the giant had seconds.
To make this yourself, go where I went
And let her know I sent you!
Though my salad isn't as beautiful as hers,
Trust me, it was fabulous. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quilters Fabric Terminology

Yard of Fabric
A yard of fabric is cut 36 inches long as it comes off the bolt.  Fabric width varies, but most quilting cottons measure 42 inches by 44 inches.  This is called from selvage to selvage.

Regular Quarter Yard
A regular quarter yard is a quarter of a yard, or 9 inches long and as wide as the fabric.  Regular quarter yard cuts can be useful for strip piecing.  That is when long strips of fabric are sewn together and cut into segments.

Fat Quarter
A fat quarter is a one fourth yard cut of fabric that usually measures 18 inches by 22 inches.  The longest sides dimension will vary if your fabric is not 44 inches wide.

If you look at the above illustration, you will see that a fat quarter gives you the opportunity to cut larger chunks of fabric than what would be possible from a regular quarter yard.

Fat Eighths
A fat eighth is half of a fat quarter and can be cut as shown or in the other direction. 

Easy Quilt Pattern

I was asked today if I sewed quilts.  Why, yes, yes I do.  Though with all of the other crafts and projects that I enjoy doing and sharing, quilting takes up way to much time to be anything other than a labor of love.  Of course I feel that way about every blanket I crochet, but quilting really is a time eater.  I just don't have enough hours in the day to finish everything I want or need to get done. 

However, if you have the time, and inclination, the following pattern will get you started and make you happy.  It's perfect for beginners.

Big Block Quilt
Completed Size is 50 inches by 65 inches

1 Fat Quarter* each of 8 novelty prints in your choice of colors
2 Yards of fabric for sashing, borders and binding
Twin sized batting (yes this is sold in a fabric store, ask the lady behind the cutting table for assistance)
3 Yards of lining fabric

* A Fat Quarter is a term a quilter will hear a lot in her (or his) lifetime.  I'll update (Here) and try to give everyone a better understanding.

Cutting Directions:
From each of the 8 novelty print Fat Quarters, you will need to cut 2 (Two) 10.5 inch squares.
From the remainder of the 8 novelty print Fat Quarters, pick one and cut 4 (Four) 5.5 inch squares (for the corners)
From the sashing/border/binding fabric, cut 8 (Eight) 5.5 inches x Width of Fabric (WOF).  Subcut 5 (Five) of theres strips into 5.5 inch x 40.5 inch strips (top and bottom border).  Then cut 8 (Eight) 2.25 inch strips for binding. 


Join the blocks as illustrated above into 4 (Four) rows of 4 (Four) squares.  Join rows with the 5.5 inch x 40.5 inch strips.  Add the top and bottom borders with the remaining strips.  Piece the remaining 3 border strips end to end, and subcut into 5.5 inch x 55.5 inch pieces.  Add the corner squares to the ends of these to strips.  Now sew your pieces all together.  Once that is done, place your batting on the backside, attach your lining, and sew all together.  You now have made a quilt!

Weekend Away - part 2

This is a view of Veramar Vineyards from their terrace area.  Look at those gorgeous rolling mountains.  Honestly, the mountains made me feel a little seasick.  I'm such a flatlander.  But I truly appreciated the beauty.  Once again, if you have the opportunity to visit a vineyard and haven't done so before, do it!  It really was a great experience.
This may very well be my favorite picture so far of our little excursion. 
The giant's out walking the grounds at
Veramar, taking pictures, with Isabella in tow.
This is just one view of that huge Rock Harbor Golf Course.
And the driving range where I hit a bucket of balls.    
And finally a few snaps of Isabella cruising in the car.
Are we there yet?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend Away

So the giant, Isabella and I went to Winchester, VA.  Having never been before I found out that Winchester is the home of Admiral Byrd and Patsy Cline

While there, we went on a picnic and wine tasting at Veramar Vineyard.  Isabella had a blast prancing around the grounds, and she sat happily in her carry bag throughout the tasting.  We left enriched for our experience, and with a few bottles of wine. 

We also went to the driving range at  Rock Harbor Golf Course.  My arms are still insanely sore.  However, I was very glad we didn't play a round a golf.  I am far from a professional golfer and the holes were insanely long.  The longest is 7,200 yards!!

Another highlight was having dinner at One Block West.  It's worth making the trip just to eat at this restaurant.  If you go, make sure you have reservations.  I'm still drooling thinking about the fabulous food we had there.  The service and waitstaff was the best I had experienced in years.  Please consider this a rave review and put this place on your must eat list.

A real treat was exploring Old Town.  The architecture was amazing, the shops adorable and the people friendly.  The only downside was that due to it being a holiday weekend, not a lot of shops were open when we went through.  The shame of it was there was an adorable yarn shop, Knit 1 Purl 2,  that I really wanted to jump into (with full support of the giant).  However, the giant did encourage me to shop in The Potomac Bead Company, and he even helped me pick out some beads for upcoming designs!  How I wish we had a place like this local to where I live.  But on further thought, it's probably a really good thing there isn't one closer.  I'd break the bank in very short order. 

All-in-all a fabulous experience and one that has encouraged me to 1) get to the driving range more frequently, 2) visit more vineyards, and 3) go back and eat at One Block West!

Of course since we were on the go the entire time, all that care I put into packing my craft bags was wasted.  We didn't do anything other than enjoy ourselves exploring the area!

I have pictures that I can't wait to share.