Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Butterflies!

OK, there still aren't any butterflies outside but I have been making butterflies and I am going to share them with you! 

This project started with me cleaning out some of my craft boxes and trying to organize the closet in the studio just a little better.  Trying to make my creative space a little less cozy for the upcoming, anticipated warming that is bound to occur sooner or later!  :)  Cozy was very nice through the winter though!  So there I am cleaning and I find this sort of pathetic little creature.

He is a refrigerator magnet that my grandmother made for me, you can maybe even guess the time period due to the 'kitchen' colors? was the late 70's, poor little guy is getting old but he held up pretty well considering he was still on the fridge door through 3 little boys!  He got kind of dingy looking and I put him in the craft box of 'things I can't throw away'!  (this box waxes and wanes along with my messes and intentions!)

I have been looking for small boutique items for the Christmas sale and this guy just looked perfect.  I very carefully unwound the pipe cleaner (chenille stem!) and laid him out to get a look at the pattern, he is crocheted and it turned out to be a simple hexagon that was folded in half. 
I came up with these directions - bear in mind I only read directions as a rule, if I left something out feel free to question!

With the first color chain 6 join with a ss to make a ring.
Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as dc), 1 dc in ring, ch 2, *2 dc in ring, ch 2, rep from * 4 more times, join with a ss and fasten off
Round 2: Join next color in the last ch-space made (I do this so I can start crocheting over the ends), ch 3 (counts as dc), 2dc, ch2, 3dc in same ch-space, *ch 2, [3dc, ch 2, 3 dc] in next ch-sp, ch 1, rep from * 4 more times, join and fasten off
Round 3: Join next color (you don't have to switch colors at all) in the last ch-sp made, ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc in same ch-sp, ch 2, 6dc in next ch-sp, ch 2, *3 dc in next ch-sp, ch 2, 6dc in next ch-sp, ch 2, rep from * 4 more times, join and fasten off.

I have read the directions over 3 times and I think I got it right, I am using the abbreviations that I know and there may be others, if you see an error please point it out (gently-thank you)

This is what you should end up with.  (they are very forgiving these butterflies)

Then they can be folded in half.  Take a chenille stem that has been folded in half and twist the center to make a loop for the tail, insert the folded hexagon and twist the two ends to make the antennae.  I took a pen and wrapped the antennae around it to give them a curl.

Voila - Butterfly!        

They are quick and easy once the pattern is in your head and I did a bunch waiting for hubby at the eye doctors office the other day!  Here they are migrating across the craft table!

Glue on some magnetic tape and they are ready to fly across the fridge at your house,  I also thought they might make a cute wall arrangement but hadn't thought that idea through yet, maybe a mobile as well,  I just think they are fun and it made me feel like the cloudy skies and rain will not be here forever.  What was it Little Orphan Annie always said - The sun will come out tomorrow?  But until then I have my own butterflies!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Almost Spring! - I can't Move!!

I have been neglectful of the space here.  My time has been getting away from me and moving even faster than usual!  

We are in that time of year when you dress in layers  :)  if you want to go out you have to take a coat if it is warm and make sure you can remove a layer soon if it is currently cold!  Sunday we ate out on our friend's patio and Monday we had a fire in the wood stove it was so cold!  Thursday is the first day of spring and it looks to be pleasant.  I have been reliably informed by old-timers that I should have my peas planted by St. Patrick's day and I did - which is how I ended up being unable to move without great physical discomfort!  This is a yearly event for me, you would think I would learn but I don't.  Each year the first really lovely day that doesn't require even a jacket I go outside and work in the yard.  I always plan to stop before too long, I never plan to keep working past the point when common sense says "stop".  I even warn Hubby of the pitfalls of doing too much on the first day.  Then like a woman without a brain I soak up the sun and forget all my good intentions, smell the fresh air, listen to the birds and spend hours pulling weeds!  I currently make the most horrible groaning noises whenever I stand up, sit down or try to move one of my thighs!  The backs of my thighs are letting me know that I am no longer 20 (I knew that!), should have exercised more during the winter, (I knew that too!) and should probably set a timer or something for the first few days! (sigh)  The good news is that since I can barely move I can catch up on what has been going on around here in the last 2 weeks. (I swear I thought it was only one)

Our quilting group has been working madly on the quilt that is being raffled for the school fundraiser, every Thursday afternoon is workday and some Saturdays.  This is so much fun and I think I finally got the hang of the multi-stitch 'rocking' technique!  Much quicker!  It is going to be really pretty I think!  We are selling tickets for $1 per and hoping to sell 1000 tickets - We can do this!  :)

I got sidetracked in my genealogy work and went down the proverbial rabbit hole, lots of fun to do but just eats up the time.  I ended up with a genealogy website for the static information and a new genealogy blog.  I think I need more projects.  Not!!!!

Signs of spring are here, leaves and some of the herbs coming back, the leaves are the corkscrew willow tree.  I am so hoping we don't see blossoms on the fruit trees for a little more, last year we had early flowers, late frost and no fruit - I would sure like to have some cherries and apples this year!

The chives think it's spring!

And here is the progress on the addition of 300 sq ft of garden space, hubby has been digging out the grass and making real progress, he makes funny noises these days too!  :)

Hubby and a friend went fishing today and he has just come home with fresh fish, however I must clean them.  He can clean them but does not think they need to be as clean as I do - so I do it and it just saves time and arguments!  Fresh fish for supper, hooray!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly Nine - February

Everyone I know is walking around talking about how February is a 'short' month and "didn't it just fly by so fast"?  Welcome to my world - every month seems to fly by and the days are not getting longer I don't care what anyone says!!!  February is only 2 days shorter and I think it's all in my head...sigh.   Whew!  Glad I got that off my chest.  I seem to have gone from crocheting to crotchety fairly quickly, it must be hormones. Is anyone else warm?

Nourish - Used up some of the canned apples from the fall and made a cool coffee cake with a cinnamon, sugar and butter topping - it was gone before the camera could be found.  This is not really big news but after spending an hour or more looking for the recipe I used last time and not knowing which it was I started writing in my cookbook that I liked it and the changes I made.  Old dogs can too learn new tricks.  There are some obvious rude comments there that I trust will not be made!  ;)    I have also been having fun with a new acquisition - this lovely green marble mortar and pestle, I have been wanting one forever and finally had the perfect combo of right one and right coupon at the same time!  This is wonderful with my dehydrated herbs.

Prepare - We have been out in the back area doing some garden prep lately and hubby has done really well on his digging out the grass for some more garden space.  I am cleaning out the areas around the house where old damp leaves have built up, these are just potential bug slums and then they will all want to come insideWe are very glad to get out and work a little here and there when the weather allows.

Reduce - I finally bought the large crochet hook that is necessary (smile) for my new pattern.  I am sitting down to make a crocheted rug out of those old plastic bags I've been saving just for the purpose.  We shall see how this goes, it seems like a really good way to recycle and my grandmother made these rugs out of bread bags and they scrape mud off shoes very well.  I think I have enough bags to do two.

Green - We have been only setting our trash cans out for pick up every other week during the winter.  We have gradually gotten to the point we just don't have much trash, we are adding a new in-ground compost 'pit' to the new garden area as well.  Pine needles and twigs are great kindling, leaves and grass clippings make good compost, some of the kitchen peels etc. goes into compost and we are really doing well I think, at reducing our trash that leaves us as unproductive 'stuff'.

Grow - Still nothing growing but we are set up ready to start seeds in the house now so they are ready to be set out around the first of May which is a pretty good bet for no more frost.  Or the old reliable "When the snow is gone off Mt. Baldy"!  I did clean out the refrigerator so that 'growing stuff' is gone. :)

Create - I have documented my crocheting obsession fairly thoroughly this month I won't make you sit through it again, suffice it to say, I have been creative, even a little overboard!

Discover - Hubby and I were out and about on Valentines day and we went out for lunch and then hit two as yet unseen by us thrift shops!  What a fun day!

Enhance - Our quilting group continues to just bless my soul in so many ways.  The learning from these women who are old enough to be my mother is awesome, and the fun and fellowship is a blessing and we are getting to know each other and forging some strong 'women of faith' type bonds, this is just so much fun.

Enjoy - Knowing that my days of primarily indoor activities are sure to end eventually I resolved to catch up on one of my favorite authors, I have not read an Anne Perry novel for several years and so was behind.  I have spent the month checking the novels out from the library in order and am almost caught up completely.  
 Is it spring yet?   Happy March to all!


Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

All you hafta do is.....

The words in the title are a toss up for me, my reactions to them can go a couple of ways.  The most common reaction I have is to simply tune the speaker out the minute those words come out of their mouth,  the less common but more productive thing for me to do is to try to understand what they are saying, this usually results in me with a headache and still unable to accomplish the task!  I'm pretty sure this is partly because I am primarily a kinetic/visual learner (if I see it and do it or read it and do it) hearing and doing is tougher for me.  There is however another aspect to this problem that is not my fault.  People (most people) are just not very good at giving directions!  Now having said that I am posting today an attempt at a tutorial for a project that started with me asking "do any of you know how...?" and ended with a friend who said "all you hafta do is".  And I think it turned out pretty well so here goes...
This is the potholder that started the whole thing, made by my grandmother for me years ago it is really pretty sad - this is what it looks like fresh out of the washer, and yes those are burn marks!  I don't usually use it but I started looking at it closely and realized it was crocheted and this is my latest obsession and I needed to make one like it. 

It is double thickness and it looked like the seam was in the middle on the purple side. 
Honestly I looked and looked and could not figure out how it was done.

I was going to the quilt club working  afternoon we have every Thursday and decided to take this ratty old thing and see if one of the ladies there (half of whom have been doing these sorts of things longer than I have been alive) knew how it was made, not really surprisingly they all did  :)...sigh.

They all agreed it was easy and then they all said the same thing...."all you have to do is"...!  I paid attention I really did but when I got home it just didn't make sense, so I wrote out what they said and thought I had it - even though it didn't sound like it would work.  It does!

Chain 33 (this is adjustable depending on the size you want) starting in the first loop sc (single crochet) all the way to the end do not turn, without increasing, go to the other side of the foundation chain and sc down the other side.  If you keep going around like this you will end up with what looks like a pouch (I used different colors - it can be done in one)
I just kept going around until I could do this with it.....

and sort of estimate how many more rows I would need...

till it looked like this.....
and I used a tapestry needle and the long tail end of the yarn and stitched the loops together in the center of the blue above.....the other side looks like this...
I am very pleased with this - it took a couple of hours to do in front of the TV (!) and turned out a neat little potholder that I can use or gift!

I know this is not a 'how to crochet' thing and I do assume you have some stitches already, if not I really recommend this you tube channel New Stitch a Day  the videos are good and that was where I did a lot of studying - there are a ton of how to's for crocheting on you tube.  Remember to use cotton or 'kitchen' yarn as acrylics can melt or burn.  (I have used acrylics and am careful but I never give as a gift!)

Let me know if you try one I would like to know if the instructions are understandable, because really, I just told all of you "all you have to do is"!!!   ;)