Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Turquoise Twist Lurleen

Here is Lurleen:

Here she is helping with the laundry to earn her keep:

Lurleen is coming with me on my quilting retreat this weekend.  I hope she has as much fun as I will! :)  But don't tell anyone that she is a gift for Michelle, the coordinator of the retreat!

Pattern: Lurleen the Laundry Monster by Rebecca Danger from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 - Turquoise Twist
Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) on 40" Cables

Monday, September 24, 2012

Almost Amish - Kathryn Cushman

Summary from GoodReads: Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She's overwhelmed and burned out, and in today's unrelenting society, her kids are, too. When her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series promoting simple living, and needs another family to join her, it seems like the perfect opportunity.

The location is an idyllic farm outside an Amish community in Tennessee. Julie, with her two children, joins Susan and her teenage daughter for a summer adventure. Susan needs to succeed in order to become self-sufficient after an ugly divorce, Julie needs to slow down long enough to remember what her priorities are and regain a sense of purpose and meaning. It becomes clear from the start that "living simple" is no simple matter. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. With each new challenge, their season of "going Amish" gets more and more complicated, as each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.
Julie is growing tired of her super busy life.  Between caring for her house and family and all the committee that she is involved in, life needs to be simpler.  So her sister-in-law, Susan, talks her into joining her and her daughter to live almost Amish for the summer for a new reality show for TV.  This may be just what she needs.  While they are living the simple life, there are weekly challenges that the families must accomplish like no electricity and cooking on a wood stove.  During these months, everyone learns more about themselves than they had anticpated.  Will everyone make it?  What will they all take away from this experience?

I found this book to be a fun read.  Although I read lots of Amish fiction books, this was a nice change from them.  It makes you think about what you have, what you could easily give up and what you could not live without.  Simplier is not always easier!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hubby's First Socks

Here is the first pair of socks that I made for my hubby:

I feel so bad that it took so long to finish these socks!  I started them in August 2011 and just finished them this week.  Although they took a while, my hubby loved them and they fit perfectly.  He even wore them to work already!

PatternBeginner Toe Up Socks for Magic Loop by Liat Gat
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 100 Noble Color with Angora
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) on 47" Cables

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kat the Pink Kitchen Monster

Meet Kat the Kitchen Monster:

Be careful, do not play with knives:

She's taking over my kitchen:

I really like how she came out!  She worked up very quickly too!

I have posted directions to make her no-sew apron on her project page on Ravelry.  Click here to view them!

Pattern: Kat the Kitchen Monster by Rebecca Danger from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Solids #9719 Soft Pink
Needles: US 5 on 40" Cables

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baby Shower Pictures

This past weekend, Jay and I traveled 5 hours up to Waterville, Maine to be with my cousin Jessica for her baby shower.  She had no idea that we were coming!

When we got to her apartment on Saturday, my aunt and uncle went in first while we waited in the hallway.  Dave, Jessica's boyfriend, said she was in the bathroom getting ready.  So I went in, put down my gifts and walked to the bathroom and said "Are you freaken ready yet?"  Jessica shreaked and gave me the biggest hug ever!  That alone was worth the 5 hour drive up to spend the weekend with them!!!

Here are some pictures from my cousin, Jessica's, baby shower.  She opened gifts from the family at her apartment before heading over to Dave's mother's house for the shower.

Jessica meeting Jerry the Monkey:

With all of the baby washcloths:

Opening up her quilt:

When she read the quilt label, For Pig Rolls, she almost cried!  I am so glad that Jay thought about putting that on the label, it was perfect!

Here are the four of us (Dave, Jessica, Me and Jay):

Here are Dave, Jessica, Aunty Dee and Uncle Bob:

We had such a wonderful weekend!  Thank you Aunty Dee and Uncle Bob for letting us stay with you so we could spend some time catching up with you.  While we were there, we were also able to Skype with my cousin Jeff, his wife Alicia and his two year old son Julian who live in Virginia while we were there.  Man, when did I get so old???

Monday, September 17, 2012

Aqua Harold

Here is my first Harold monster:

Here's Harold hanging around the house:

And making friends with my only house plant:

Here is my collection of knitting monsters in my craft room:

Don't you just love those feet!!!  I tried knitting the hands according to the directions but I messed it up so I made normal hands without a thumb.

Pattern: Harold the Houseplant Monster by Rebecca Danger from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters
Yarn: :oops & Threads Impeccible #01201 Aqua
Needles: US 5 on 40" Cables

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sunny Lanes Quilt

Here is the quilt that I made for my cousin Jessica's baby boy for a shower:

Here is the quilt label:

This is part of the homemade gift collection along with the crocheted baby washcloths, embroidered baby bibs and knitted monkey.  I coordinated the colors in this quilt with the bedding set on her registry from Burlington Baby Factory called Jungle Babies Collection.  This is my first attempt at making a quilt using half triangles, which I have avoided for too long.  I am very happy with the way it came out!  I know she and the baby will love it!

So you must be wondering about the meaning behind the quilt label.  When Jay and I were still dating, we would go up to visit my aunt in Maine once or twice a year when my two cousins were little.  We used to do pig rolls with them.  We would wrap them in a blanket with their heads sticking out and tell them to get out of it.  To this day, they both talk about that when they think of us.  Since I did not know the name of the baby, I had to personalize in a special way for Jessica!

The pattern for the quilt from E-patterns Central called Sunny Lanes.  This website offers lots of patterns for quilting, crocheting, knitting and other crafts at reasonable prices that are available for immediate download to your computer or tablet.  It is very dangerous especially when they frequently send coupons!  Check it out!

We are heading up to Waterville, Maine after work today to be with her for her baby shower on Saturday afternoon.  We are staying with my aunt and uncle for the weekend.  They have not told her that Jay and I are coming up so she will be totally surprised especially since we have not seen her in over 6 years.  I can't wait to see her face!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Embroidered Baby Bibs

Here are some embroidered baby bibs for my cousin Jessica's baby shower:

#1 - Embroidery Animals

#2 - Fun Sayings Part 1

#3 - Fun Sayings Part 2

I just thought these were so funny that she would enjoy using them on her son!  All of these designs were done on my Brothers PE-180D embroidery machine and the designs were purchased from Embroidery Library and Artisitic Threadworks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Murder - Vannetta Chapman

Summary from GoodReads: In this first book of a three-book series, author Vannetta Chapman brings a fresh twist to the popular Amish fiction genre. She blends the familiar components consumers love in Amish books—faith, community, simplicity, family—with an innovative who-done-it plot that keeps readers guessing right up to the last stitch in the quilt.

When two women—one Amish, one English—each with different motives, join forces to organize a successful on-line quilt auction, neither expects nor wants a friendship. As different as night and day, Deborah and Callie are uneasy partners who simply want to make the best of a temporary situation. But a murder, a surprising prime suspect, a stubborn detective, and the town's reaction throw the two women together, and they form an unlikely alliance to solve a mystery and catch a killer.

Set in the well-known Amish community of Shipshewana, Falling to Pieces will attract both devoted fans of the rapidly-growing Amish fiction genre, as well as those who are captivated by the Amish way of life.

Callie Harper comes to Shipshewana to settle her aunt's affairs by selling the quilt shop.  She did not want to be here, never mind getting the store ready to re-open.  In her mind, she was hoping to head back to Houston, Texas as soon as possible.  But the friendships that she is building in Shipshe help her realize that she has nothing to go home to since she has no job and no family to return to.

After a negative editorial in the local paper rages Callie, she decides to face the editor personally only to discover that he is dead.  She is being questioned as a person of interest as the investigation continues.  Other events then take place that question Callie's involvement.  But Deborah Yoder knows better but they have not connected the pieces.  Will Callie stay in Shipshe?  Will they figure out who killed the newspaper editor and why?

I really enjoyed this first book of this series by Vannetta Chapman!  I loved how the friendship developed between Callie and Deborah.  As a dog lover, I really wanted to hug her dog Max too!  The characters were very realistic to me as one the small Amish town of Shipshewana, Indiana.  I am looking to continue reading this series with A Perfect Square and Material Witness.  Thanks Vannetta for writing another great book! :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Emerald Slipped Basket

Here is a new dishcloth pattern that I discovered recently:

This pattern was easy to memorize and has a nice firm texture which I like in a dishcloth.
I am going to take a break from making dishcloths for a while.  I have tons of dishcloths that are packaged and ready to sell.  I am going to start working on some UFOs (unfinished objects - including hubby's socks - LOL!), more monsters and even some Christmas presents.

Pattern: Slipped Basket by Laurie Kelley
Yarn: Peaches N' Creme #62 - Emerald
Needles: US 7 on 24" Cables

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hippi Ladder Stitch Dishcloth

Here is a new crocheted dishcloth pattern:

Here is a close up:

This is a great crochet pattern!  The dishcloths are thick and dense, just the way I like them!

Pattern: Ladder Stitch Dishcloth by Brian McGaunn
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton #W260943 Hippi
Hook: US H (5.0 mm)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Quilter's Apprentice - Jennifer Chiaverini

Summary from GoodReads: After moving with her husband, Matt, to the small college town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, Sarah McClure struggles to find a fulfilling job. In the meantime, she agrees to help seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate, Elm Creek Manor, for sale. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this cantankerous elderly woman, who is a master of the craft.

During their lessons, Mrs. Compson reveals how her family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, and her stories force Sarah to face uncomfortable truths about her own alienation from her widowed mother. As their friendship deepens, Mrs. Compson confides in Sarah the truth about why she wants to sell Elm Creek Manor. In turn, Sarah seeks a way to bring life and joy back to the estate so Mrs. Compson can keep her home -- and Sarah can keep her cherished friend. The Quilter's Apprentice teaches deep lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood, and about creating a life as you would a quilt: with time, love, and patience, piecing the miscellaneous and mismatched scraps into a beautiful whole.

Matt and Sarah McClure are new to the area of Waterford, PA.  Matt transferred to a new job and Sarah is out searching for one.  One for Matt's new clients, Mrs. Compson, is having him restore the grounds of the Elm Creek Manor getting it ready to be sold after her sister's recent death.  Mrs. Compson employs Sarah temporarily to help her clean and restore the inside of the manor for a modest income along with quilting lessons.  Mrs. Compson teaches Sarah how to make a sampler quilt and learns about the family history along the way.  What will become of Elm Creek Manor?  Will Mrs. Compson stay in Waterford?

As a quilter, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  I loved reading about the history behind each quilting block that was incorporated into her sampler quilt.  I am looking forward to reading more from this series soon!  I only wish that Elm Creek Quilts was a real place but I guess I will have to be happy by attending my quilting retreat for the first time at the end of September!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jessica's Monkey

Here is another homemade gift for my cousin Jessica's baby shower in September:

Here is the monkey working it with the camera:

And finally, here is the monkey enjoying his quiet time before moving into a house with a crying baby:

I know Jessica will appreciate him; I just found out that she knits too!  Now I need to make myself a monkey to keep since he is just too cute!
Pattern: Jerry the Musical Monkey by Rebecca Danger
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Baby #169 - Sweet Pea & #157 - Duckie
Needles: US 5 on 36" Cables

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ella Finds Love Again - Jerry S. Eicher

Summary from GoodReads: Bestselling author Jerry Eicher concludes the Little Valley Series with one more glimpse into young Ella's Amish world. She loves the widower Ivan Stutzman's children and enjoys caring for them. Although she is genuinely devoted to Preacher Stutzman and keenly aware of his desire to propose, her feelings for him stop short of romantic love. Yet Ella yearns for marriage and wonders if what she and Ivan have is enough.

When the handsome Englisha stops by and asks about converting to the Amish faith, Ella is intrigued and warily agrees to meet with him. Soon Ella realizes she's torn between her devotion to Ivan and his children and her growing feelings for the Englisha. With dire consequences at stake, Ella must determine what the truth is, if her feelings are dependable, and how to stay faithful to the will of God.

Ella Yoder is caring for Preacher Ivan Stutzman's three motherless girls during the week and he begins courting Ella.  Although she is currently does not love him, she feels that she could grow to love him since she is in love with his girls.  When she meets Robert, an Englisha who is collecting information about joining the Amish faith, Ella starts having feelings for him like she did for her first love Aden.  Will Robert become Amish or is it just a passing thought?  Where will that leave Ella and Ivan?
I enjoyed how this series ended!  I am so glad that things worked out for Ella and that God's plan worked out favorably for her.