Where We Are

Where We Are

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Hi dear friend!

I know...no fainting, here I am two days in a row.  I am going to try to be better about posting here.  
As you know, I had a little vaca down to Austin to visit my family.  It was busy and oh so fun filled. I have tons of pics to share!!  I like pictures if you haven't figured that out yet.  Pictures of people, pictures of the sky, pictures of random things...  So, here is your days entertainment.

Here are my two crazy kiddos on the way down.

 Star Trek version of Settlers of Catan.  My nephew LOVED it and we played every spare minute.

Random yard art at my sister's house.  So cute.

A couple of views from the neighborhood swimming pool.

A nature trail in the neighborhood.

MEAT!!  We Texans love our BBQ~

More crazy pics of the kids.

We went to a place called Krause Springs.  It was so gorgeous.  A natural spring that makes pools and the kids swam and jumped off cliffs and rope swings.

BIIIIG spider

Yummy meal Saturday night!

Movie time.  Except the women are apparently more interested in their phones!  :)

Got pedicures

My daughter is pregnant, so we took a four generation picture.  My mom, me, Cate, and Zeke.  
She is due in late October.

Had to get the dog in there!  :)

Monday, 20 July 2015


Hi all....Michelle here.  Caution:  link heavy post, but you'll see why.

I troll Ravelry almost everyday for new and exciting patterns.  Today I clicked on this Borderline Mandalas pattern.
Which subsequently led me Raising Robertsons Crochet.
Upon reading the blog post, I ended up at a creative being, only to learn that Wink lost her long battle with depression at the end of last month.

In her original post about Wink, Kathryn at Crochet Concupiscence admits an emotion that many of us might feel....fear.  Fear that it could happen to anyone we know, or even ourselves.  I have struggled with depression, maybe you have too.

Here's how you can help:  Crochet a Mandala in honor of Wink.  All mandalas and written notes will be presented at an art show, and subsequently made into a book.  Don't crochet?  Here are some knit pattern ideas.

Fiber arts are documented as a stress reducer, fun, relaxing, and even a life saver, as written in Kathryn's book Crochet Saved My Life.

The Craft Yarn Council's take.

Take care of yourselves.  Don't be afraid to seek help if you or someone you love is struggling with depression.  <3

Thursday, 16 July 2015

A little more knitting

hello Dearest Friend,

What are you up to? I know you are getting ready for you big move and new job...how exciting for you, and a little scary as well. I think you are very brave.

I have been doing nothing brave, but have been a little creative. It was my friends 84th Birthday so i decided to knit her a shawl. She is such an amazing woman and so full of life. She tells great stories and has lived through so much, fascinating woman and always very kind to me. My childrens adopted Grandma. and every Grandma should have a shawl. I took up my stash of wool to show here the lovely colours. I love having balls of wool in a fruit bowl in my bedroom...colours so yumy i could eat them. 

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She was particularly taken with some pink chunky  Drops Big Delight in Rose Garden  Its an Aran weight, very soft 100% wool. It knits up beautifully. I kinda worked out a variation of the previous shawl i had made but added some more stitch patterns. I tried knitting 'flowers in a row' . I found great patten instructions at knittingunlimited. The video was a great help.  For a first attempt it didn't come out too bad and I am definitely going to incorporate it into  other things i work on. I also used a yarn over twice dropped stitch pattern as well asn simple eyelets with garter stitch in between. Have become addicted to picot edges...may have to add them to everything. i will try to get around to writing out the pattern in full but i probably wont remember.  

Here it is..all blocked. Friend was very very happy 

Inspired by the Doctor Who face clothes you made me I made up some little lace face cloths in a lovely cotton silk i had in my stash...there will be for another friends birthday at the end of the month. The ones you sent me are so lovely to use. i wanted to share with everyone the cute dish towels you made me too...
Darlek dish clothes...you are a genius . 

That's all for now. hugs to you xxx

oooh Bertha!

I forgot to tell you about Bertha!

I have wanted a dress form or tailors dummy  for ages. A few years ago I bought a great Craftsy class - Plus size pattern fitting. It is a really easy to understand class on how to adjust any pattern to fit plus sizes. I cant tell you how much I learnt doing this class. The very lovely instructor gives instructions on how to make a dress form from parcel tape. Not duct tape but Parcel tape. Like the brown stuff on Amazon parcels. This stuff, she explains is way better than duct tape as you wet it while taping it on and it dries hard.

So I ordered some brown parcel tape from eBay and was all excited to go. Except... I was trying to lose weight wasn't I, so there was no point making one now as I would be thinner soon.... And you had to stand up for over an hour, on one spot... And it was winter when I bought the tape and who wants wet soggy tape all over the kitchen floor with the dogs walking through it and the cat probably puking hairballs on it. So I put the tape away. In a very safe place. A place I would obviously remember because it was safe.

 Now summer is here and what could be more fun on a Saturday night in with the hubby than taping me up. Now Now! Not like that, thank you. Just because that's how your mind works.... To be fair once i explained to hubby what this actually meant he looked a bit dubious.  After an hour of listening to me grumble and swear as i tried and failed to find the safe place i had put the tape, to be honest he looked relieved. Then dubious again when i asked him to pop to Tesco's and buy me 4 rolls of duct tape.

Now like a good follower of Pintrest. Pinning a thing does not necessarily mean going to the website and actually  looking at the instructions or all of the comments at the end, ripping into said instructions. I kinda knew in theory that i needed to wear a long t-shirt, have a wee before we started and a glass of wine on the way. What could be simpler?

Hubby kindly started to wrap me in tape. We tried wrapping me in one long stretch of tape with me turning on the spot but the tape seemed to slope off at an angle. Hubby did try to explain that this was simply maths, with the tape skimming my ample curves and being sent off in an other trajectory but soon went quiet when i threatened to tape his mouth shut if he tried to explain maths!

We taped in silence for a while, until i put some music on and then we were fine. Except i kept dancing about, which was throwing the lines again. So i stood still. I should say that hubby is very patient. Much more than i am and always, even unwillingly, but nevertheless always, helps me when i ask him to. So he carried on taping. Point to remember for future - getting your hair caught in the tape hurts as much the sixth time it happens as much as the first.

I am not sure, that as a 'fun thing to do on a saturday night',  i had thought this through . By the time hubby got back from sourcing the tape is was early evening and i am normally in bed by 9 ish. Also we had eaten a rather huge bowl of hubbys amazing curry. (Michelle, you have to try this when you come over here.) So i was starting to feel very full and a bit tired. And it is cold under the tape. i mean down to the bone cold. Cold from the inside.  I dont know why and to be fair, judging that i was getting a little bit crabby and tired, hubby refrained from explaining it to me. The rest of me wasn't cold but the bits under the tape were like ice. And it was quite tight. Not claustrophobic, 'oh-my-god-you-have-to-get me-out-of-here-now ' but well on the way. Tighter than squeeze-'em in knickers tight!

So there i am, all squeezed in . Tired, crabby, overfull, freezing cold and rapidly losing my sense of humour and hubby announces he cant find the scissors to get me out. I am not joking. I am standing looking like some supersized inner tube and we cant cut me out. As calmly as i can i give hubby directions to the scissors but his man-looking means he cant see them, even with super precise, extremely calm, thru gritted teeth instructions. I can hear him thinking 'she has loads of scissors in her sewing room' but we've had discussions on using fabric scissors for cutting out coupons for peanut butter before and he knows better than to suggest anything now. In the end he brings in the junk box from the cupboard and i sort through and find a pair of clothes cutters Son No.2 had left here when he was training to be a paramedic - exactly where i said they were.  We ignored  teenage son No.3's suggestion we could use a Stanley knife to cut me out, and that he is now scarred for life seeing his parents being even more weird than usual.

Hubby carefully liberates me cutting up through the back while i worry that he'll cut through my good bra. I cant tell you how good it was to be sat down with a big fluffy jumper on to warm me up. Or how weird it is to see a 3D model of yourself - all curves and lumps and bumps. Actually it was not as bad as i had thought. i decided to call her Big Bertha...for obvious reasons if you've seen a picyte of me

Sadly a night sitting on the floor did nothing for Bertha...even though i had taped her up at the back she was beginning to sag a little. And as for stuffing her...if i could afford to spend £60 on stuffing I would have bought a dress form not made one. So poor Bertha sat, all sad and saggy...a little like myself .

There is a happy ending. Another Saturday nite later and searching Ebay for bargains i found a brand new plus size dress form for much less than it would cost for the stuffing.  A quick message revealed it was onlu two hours away...and you know how good my hubby is....he drove up the next next and bought it.

Bertha has not gone to waste though...she is taped around the dress form until i get around to padding it...and she was so happy to be upright again i swear she perked up a little .

And here she is !

 Hugs to you xxxxx

My lovelies in their dresses

just a quick note, my lovely Michelle,

Wanted to share the photo's of the big reveal.... 
After all the drama with this fabric it actually came out beautifully. It needed a firm hand and some serious pressing. This one is unlined as the fabric was so fluid and the lining would have stiffened it too much. 

This one came out really well. made from the stretch twill it fit like a dream. Ged, reported it was like wearing nothing- the sign of a well fitted dress. 

This was the lovely cotton. Its lined which gave it a more structured feel..looks lovely on. 

All together xxx

And a little something I ran up for myself....couldn't go out to supper without a new frock,
 now could I ? 

Will write more soon xxx

Monday, 15 June 2015

Shawls, Oh My!

Hi Maya,

Sorry I have taken so long to respond to your last two posts.  I, too, began (and finished) not one, but two shawls.  The first one I made is from the delicious cotton you sent me.  I did it on straight needles....huge mistake as it was heavy and crammed on there pretty tightly.  It has little picots around the edge, which you were right, not difficult at all.
Unfortunately, it is summer here in the good ol' U S of A and I won't be wearing this anytime soon. And also, this picture is lame from when I was blocking it, but you get the gist.  Don't look too closely or you'll see my mistakes.  But, for a virgin shawl knitter, I'm pretty darn proud!  :)  You can find this pattern here.

This is my second shawl.  I started it on Friday and finished yesterday, so it was a quick knit.  Maybe because I used my brain and did it on circular needles!?  Again, don't inspect too closely.  Apparently I like small 'shawlettes' rather than the larger actual shawl size, but again, we'll have to wait and see in the fall.  Since I will be moving to Lubbock soon (fingers crossed), I wont' be needing these for awhile.  But the first is cotton, and the second is fairly airy, so you never know.  You can find the pattern for this one here.  I'm sending you to her blog post about it rather than the Ravelry page, because she is funny and you should explore her blog.  Of course, she is no longer blogging.  I have discovered that a lot lately, and it makes me sad.  I find someone's blog by accident, and read away, then click on the home button to get the latest entry and it's from two years ago.  :(  Oh well.

THIS is a gorgeous yarn and project.  The yarn is Drops Alaska in dark purple mix.  Oh my!  I love purple!  Heliotrope! Amaranthine! Violet! Plum! Periwinkle! Orchid! Mulberry! Bruises!  Oh, okay, maybe not bruises, but you get the idea.  
This is a shrug pattern that can be found here.  Isn't it great!?  It might take me awhile since I'm going to be doing stockinette stitch for about a year.  You know me and my ADHD, but I do love the purple and that it's so neat and tidy, so maybe that will keep me motivated.  Since this is worsted weight wool, I definitely won't need it until the winter.  Hopefully I'll have it done by then.  

As you can see, knitting has taken over and I have not worked on my POD at all.  But, hopefully when I get settled I will be able to more easily pull it all out.  

Hope you're well my sweet friend!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

One dress three ways - part two

My dear Michelle,

How are you doing? What are you doing? What are you making?

I am feeling much brighter, with a little more energy so am back to working on the dresses. Do you remember, i am making dresses for my three friends? We meet up once a month for supper and gossip. We always dress up and eat lovely food - what could be more perfect than new frocks for my lovelies.

I am just about to do the final dress fitting for the last dress. It has been such a journey and a little bit love/hate to be honest. I have enjoyed the challenge of dealing with different fabrics and fittings (well I can say that now...at times there was quite a lot of swearing...a little like child birth really - only remembered through a rose tinted seam ripper!) The first dress was made from the cream patterned cotton. Making a muslin or toile (pronounced twaarl to rhyme with dahl as in darling...I think the darling is essential. Every time you read toile you need to add the Darling.) Where was i? Oh yes. Toile's an absolute revelation...literally. Making up the dress from the pattern in a very cheap cotton, I then marked the alterations straight onto the fabric with a fabric marker. I moved darts here and switched out sway backs there. Re-sewing those alterations in, i could get a pretty good idea of the fit. Then i experimented with first transferring those markings back onto the pattern and cutting the dress from there. Later i just used the altered toile as the pattern, pinning it to the dress fabric and cutting straight from this. A little nervously if I'm honest. That first cut with the scissors is still always a little bit scary. 

A toile, Darling!

Who knew backs were so funny to fit... i was thinking busts would be tricky but every dress toile had to have fabric removed from the back. Maybe my yoga/pilates loving friends are exceptionally sway (ooh isn't that fabulous...'you must meet my friend, she is lovely, exceptionally sway' that is soo my new catch phrase!) Sorry, back to backs. The interesting thing was that each back had to be altered in a different way, having fabric removed at different points. I have never noticed that i need to make alterations for my own back, but then i guess i wouldn't see. That is all to change now though as i have Bertha- Remind me to tell you about her later.  

Back to the dresses. The second dress was made from the stretch twill. It being stretch it made the toile of limited use. I could do the back fitting but not much else so had to keep calling friend no.2 in for lots of fittings. We decided not to line this one, what with the stretch and all and it does look stunning. I think i am most pleased with this one. I have to say i am now expert in sewing precision darts...each dress has 11 darts. Times that by 4 toiles  (did i mention that i am making an extra dress for my gorgeous daughter in law?) then each dress, plus lining means...well maths was never my thing but it is a lot! 

The final dress is not behaving well at all. The fabric is vicious and mean. Even breathing out, well huffing then, sends it into a puckering sulk. It slips and slides under the needle even when pinned to within an inch of its life and then if i dare to have made a mistake, even the tiniest of error, it pays me back by showing every needle mark and pin prick as if declare to the world that i am butcherer of fabric of the worse kind. 

My daughters opinion, when i asked her to look at the zipper stitching was, 'If you didn't sew you wouldn't notice. But, if you sewed you'd think you'd ( as in me) had been drinking while sewing.' Not only does this fabric hate me, it's trying to convince everyone i am a drunk! Friend no.3 is coming around in the morning. I will let you know what she says. I think in reality i might have to take out the back, re-cut it and try to put in a new zipper. I might need a stiff drink after that or the very least medicinal chocolate. 

Do you want a sneak preview of the dresses?  Oh go on then, but don't tell anyone else.
Dress No.1 I am very pleased with the
 pattern matching
on the darts.

Dress No.2  This fits like a dream...
my rubbish picture does not do it justice.

Dress No.3 The difficult one. To be fair I am not
 showing her at her best. She is unfinished and still sulking a little.

The trouble is The Big Reveal is on Friday. When we all meet up for supper so i need to get my sewing skates on. I have learnt so much from sewing these beauties and enjoyed, (erhem!) spending time with them but I will equally be happy to have them out of my head and out of my sewing room so i can get back to sewing my Project of Doom.  Did you hear an echo?

God! The Big Reveal is on Friday. I've just realised. I haven't a stitch to wear.