Friday, December 31, 2010

Felting - A Success????


 I bit the bullet, made my little coin purse and gave my best attempt at felting.  As I have a front loading washing machine, I thought I give the 'boiling' method a go.  However, after about 30 minutes in the pot, all I managed to create was some delicious electric purple water!!  It really was the most brilliant shade of purple I've ever seen.  The purse didn't shrink one tiny bit.  I double checked the yarn I used and confirmed it was actually wool!!!
(before)
So, Middle J offered up some white socks, which upon inspection of the boiled water he thought might look nice purple and we decided to bung the purse and socks in the washing machine, cross our fingers and hope for the best!
One hot wash cycle later, this is what emerged.
(after)
It's ever so slightly smaller.  It maybe shrank 10%?  But its ever so soft and the wool is definitely thicker and less shiny, although the photos don't show that very well.  I must say, I am pleased with the results and may try this again.  It's probably a good thing it didn't shrink any smaller, or as Jane commented, it might have ended up a 'coin' purse, holding just the one coin!

 Thank you all for stopping by and visiting.  I appreciate all of you and the wonderful advice and support I've received through your comments and emails.  I've thoroughly enjoyed my blog this year and am so thankful for the friendships I've made through it.

Happy New Year!

♥  All the best to all of you in 2011  ♥ 

Toodles...L x

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Felting Phobia

Hello!  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  We most certainly did at the Gephart, although it was relatively quiet, with zero relatives in the area it's just Mr. VW, the Boys and me.  I've been enjoying a few blissfully quiet work free days - those work free days are the best you know!  So rather than continuing progress on the various woolly projects I have on the go right now, I decided on a whim to start something new! 
Based on Lucy's bag pattern, I whipped up this little bag with some woolly wool given to me by my MIL and some left over bits of Icelandic wool from this hat.  It literally took me two evenings in front of the telly to hook this up. 
Of course, we all know the last thing I need is another bag!  Even I am starting to think I have some weird sort of bag addiction. 
Anyhow, the last few days I've been picking up this sweet little bag, admiring it (I do quite love it), researching the Internet on felting and contemplating bunging the thing in the washing machine and crossing my fingers.  Even though it took just one ball of yarn, which was gifted so there will be no great loss if it gets screwed up, I just can't bring myself to do it!
Hopeless, I know.
Perhaps I should start with something smaller?

Right, I'm off to make a matching coin purse which I'm determined will be my first felting project!!!!!
Wish me luck........

Toodles Lx.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!  May your day be full of joy, wonder and love.
Take care,
Louise x

Monday, December 20, 2010

:: teach ::

The swearing has ceased and this years present for Little J's teacher is completed.




On the list for next year's gift for the teacher - a box of chocolates.
Toodles, Lx

Sunday, December 19, 2010

One Scarf Down, One to Go!


The scarf I debated on back here is finally done!  I ended up using Caron Super Soft yarn, which although is acrylic, is SUPER soft!  I'm really happy with how this turned out and was relived when last week my boss picked up a scarf in an identical colour at the shops!  Nothing more nerve racking (least not for me) than making something for your boss :-)
Hope you all have a lovely last week before Christmas!
Now I must get cracking on the scarf for the Big Boy....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bowl of Trees




And the little trees became a bowl!  The question is, should I add two little handles, one on each side or one big one going from side to side?
Happy Weekend!
Toodles...Lx

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lemon or Lime?

Not very christmassy I know, but I'm sure the dishes won't mind.  However, even though I made this to wash the dishes, Mr.VW said it was too nice!   Bit of shock that he even noticed....

Reminds me of some sort of citrus fruit, not sure exactly what type of citrus though.
Toodles....Lx

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stitching

Thank you for all your lovely birthday wishes!  I had a fabulous day cleaning out the Big Boys room for his return home from college for the holidays!  Two days to go and I am praying for him hourly as his sits his first round of college exams.....
To keep my mind occupied while waiting for his arrival and keep it off the disaster then ended my  adventure of knitting on dpns (I can knit on dpn's, but I cannot make thumb holes or cast off neatly), I've been doing a little stitching.
Not exactly sure where this is going, it's an experiment.
Happy Monday!
Toodles, Lx

Sunday, December 12, 2010

43 & DPNs

Yep, its the big day :: 43 ::  enough said.
Thanks to the PurlBee I taught myself last night to knit in the round.
Let's hope Middle J would like a pair of fingerless gloves to match the hat I made him for his birthday! ☺
Luckily I had some yarn left over, it's the most amazing electric purple and green which he chose himself. Lovely lambs wool and mohair blend, which is amazing to work with.  Unfortunately the terrible light doesn't do the colours justice. 
Thank you Alice for the inspiration.  I figured if you could learn to knit on dpns whilst on a long bus journey, then surely there was a slim chance I could too with the aid of the Internet and the peace and quiet of a comfy chair!
Toodles and Happy Sunday!
L x

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tree's Up

Actually, it's been up for almost two weeks now.  I think I might be quite pleased with it this year, for a change.
I really wish I could figure out how to take a photo of it with the fairy lights on, but I haven't yet.
Have a lovely weekend.
Toodles....L

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Sneakiness of Bloggers

Someone has been very very sneaky! Someone has made me squeal very loudly with delight very early on a Sunday morning!  Louise thank you SO much for your lovely surprise!  Yes, I know it isn't my birthday yet, but I simply couldn't resist opening the little red pressies after reading your beautiful card.    The postman must have stopped by quite late last night for me to miss this little package, so I was surprised and completely delighted when Mr. VW handed me a package this morning. 
Luckily, for a change, I had the forthought to take photos before ripping into the package....
Lovely little red parcels.... and considerable debate as to which one to open first!

FABulous crochet flower!!! Louise you are too clever, I wish I could make one of these.  This has pride of place on my mantle.
The sweetest little tissue package with adorable cherry buttons!  (Needed a couple of these to dab up the tears, I was overwhelmed that someone had been SO very thoughtful and damn sneaky all just for me!)
OMG !!!  The cutest little folder with cards and envelopes!
OK these are seriously, I mean SERIOUSLY, the cutest little rabbits ever!  I can't put them down, I just want to admire them all day long.
Well I have to say I was quite overwhelmed at the generosity of someone I've never actually met.  To think that someone would take the time put together this adorable package all just for me, it just leaves me speechless.  I cannot thank you enough Ms LallyLouLou for your thoughtfulness.
 
***Sending you a virtual hug!!***

And you were quite sneaky, but am I correct in thinking you mentioned your sneakiness in this post?

All I can say now is, GAME ON!!! 

Happy Sunday folks....hope your day turns out to be as wonderful as mine!

P.S.  I just have to add this, as only bloggers will really understand how we make these connections in cyberspace without actually meeting or speaking, but my first thought after opening the package was that I wanted to ring Louise and thank her in person! Because I felt like I've made a good friend, without even speaking to her.   So instead I quickly grabbed the computer to start a post instead.... 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time Warp

Finally, after an hour  blogger has been gracious enough to let me load the photos I couldn't load yesterday.  So, are you ready to see the 'Summer House'???
Firstly, let's take a look at the best bit about this summer house.....The View.  Right on the water and what a view.
History of this house:  Purchased by Mr. VW's folks in about 1973, visit regularly (twice a month) right up through the 1980's and then occasionally by various grown family members perhaps four times a year at best through the early nineties.  Then left and abandoned, except for a few racoons who moved in when the roof eves rotted.  We live quite a distance away, so for many years we weren't able to go down there and Mr. VW's folks are in their late 70's and their health isn't brilliant.  Anyway, when we finally decided to go down there in the summer of 2009, it was apparent no-one had been there since about 2001.  You could barely see the house from the road.  So we spent a few weekends in the summer of '09 cleaning up the yard.
Now the details.
This house has four bedrooms, one living room, two bathrooms and two kitchens.  Apparently two school teachers or sisters or someone lived there, one on each side sharing the common living room.  So if you can imagine, two bedrooms, one bathroom, one kitchen on one side and the same on the other - joined by the living room.
Renovations:  NONE.  This house is a complete time warp from the day it was purchased.  I'll add a note here to perhaps explain why it is the way it is.  The main family home were the IL's live, purchased in 1952 in a very nice suburb in outside Washington DC is practically identical to the day it was purchased.  Same grass green carpet, same magnolia walls, same everything, I mean nothing has changed. Gobsmacked is the way I would describe my reaction the first time I saw it.  Oh and I'll add to help you understand why people let their homes fall into disrepair, there's a hoarder in the family - practically NOTHING goes in the garbage and the hoarders has motto, "Why buy one, when I can buy three".  Their main family home is jammed packed with stuff.  You can't swing a cat in their house, heck you can't barely sit down!  We don't go there often, which to me is unfortunate.
Let's take a look shall we.
1.  The water side in desperate need of a coat of paint.
2.  The Fridge.  Circa 1955.  Fully functional.  Yes it works and I wish I had taken a photo of the inside as it has those sweet little spots to put your eggs on the door along with a special compartment for your butter.  It rocks.  (please excuse the bags of rubbish)

3.  The phone and a bit of the kitchen we use.  It doesn't work, but only because it isn't hooked up.  Old school rotary phone that used to be on a party line.  I had to demonstrate to boys how it worked!!!  Note the wood paneling?  In every room, except the bathroom.  Real wood, so it will be painted white as it makes the place very dark.
 4.  The Bathroom.  All original and with the exception of the floor, the tile is in pretty good condition.  We only use this bathroom, the other is filled with 'stuff' (hoarder style).
 5.  The kitchen we use.  Both are fairly identical.  The other of course full of 'stuff'.  Take a look at the stove.  Yes it works and I LOVE IT. If I could slip it out the door and put it in the boot of my car I would!!!!  The curtains on this side are new, but in the other kitchen they are brown, orange, cream barkcloth - straight from the 60's.
6.  The coffee table!  Isn't it cool?  Just love the mosaic tile.  Not sure how old it is, but definitely from the 70's.
So you may be wondering what we've been working on at this house.  Remember the hoarder?  Yep, clearing out 'stuff' and repairing ceiling which have collapsed when the roof leaked (roof now replaced).  Most of the stuff goes to the dump, but there's been some treasures.  Cool wooden 50's school desk.  The American kind where the desk and chair are one piece and there's a cubby underneath for your stuff.  We hauled it home and Little J uses it.  A string of party lanterns, still sealed in their box, but clearly pre-barcode vintage.  Loads of stuff, too numerous to mention.  Two kitchen tables, the chrome and formica kind right from the fifties, with chairs.
Remember the cool fridge?  Yeah, there are three of them!!!! One definitely doesn't work, but I don't know about the other.  Mr. VW is pretty sure it does.
Anyway enough. 
Here's the reason why I endure the four hour car ride and the piles of stuff.
That view.
Hope you enjoyed that sneak peak - I won't be offended if you didn't read the words :-) (I just did and it bored me silly). I  know most of us love a nosey in other peoples houses :-) 
I know I do!!!
Before I go, a super duper big THANK YOU for your supportive comments on yesterdays post.  Much appreciated.  The cloud is gone and the sun is shining!
Perhaps tomorrow I'll let you have a bit of a nosey in my house????  Would you like that???  The tree is up you know.......
Toodles, Lx

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back Again & 10 Things...

Back.  Didn't mean to be gone for so long.  There's been a bit of a grey cloud hanging over my head for a few days, but I'm slowing digging my way out of the dumps.

We spent our Thanksgiving on the road to the house above, so no turkey for us, just a luke warm tin of raviolis. I'll never get citizenship to this country unless I can learn to embrace this holiday! Not that I want to :-)
So I had BIG plans this evening to upload photos of the summer house, blogger on the other hand, had others.  I've tried three times to upload more than one photo, but to no avail.  My patience is gone and the grey cloud is looming overhead again.
So rather than sneak peaks of the above house, which a few of you have asked for, I'll have to move on to something else involving just words.

Brace yourself.....

I have to thank the lovely Alice for giving me the Beautiful Blog award.  Thank you lovely Alice, you are too sweet.  So you ready for the ten things about me???

1.  Dental Floss makes me nervous - I had a very bad experience at the hands of dental technician many moons ago.  Drill all you like, keep the dental floss far far away.
2.  I LOVE sausage rolls - YUM.  They are the food I miss most about home.  I'd give anything to have one right now, but the Americans haven't figured them out yet :-(
3.  I'm not shy, perhaps overly reserved.  I am very uncomfortable around people I don't know in social situations. 
4.  At the ripe old age of 41 I finally got my drivers license.  Better late than never I say.
5.  I am the third of four children - older brother & sister, younger sister.
6.  I wear bifocals and have dreadful eyesight, but I rarely wear my glasses unless I am at work or behind the wheel. I am squinting as I type this and probably have crows feet the size of small islands :-)
7.  I learnt to knit and crochet when I was 10, but only ever the basics.  I wish daily that I had asked my Mum to teach me more before she was gone.  She was brilliant at both, just brilliant....
8.  Ginger Ale is my drink of choice.
9.  I used to smoke, but it is now a filthy habit I quit 5 years ago - YUCK, I feel sick just thinking about it.
10.  I love my boys more than anything (but you probably know that already :-))

Ok that's me.  You still awake????  Hopefully I haven't sent you into a coma or off to sleep.

To be honest, I'm nervous about passing this award on as many people find them a wee bit annoying. But at the risk of being annoying, I will pass this on to the lovely Louise and Jane.  They have been reading my nonsense for almost an eternity now and I appreciate their support and of course they have Beautiful Blogs! 

Right that's me done for this evening.  I promise I will battle the photo upload again tomorrow.

Toodles....L

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Day Is It?

Did you notice I started yesterday's post with a "Happy Tuesday" when in fact it was Wednesday?  Now I should have known it was Wednesday, because I was watching my favorite show - Ghost Hunters.   But nope, missed it completely.  I actually woke up this morning and realized my error!  But I think it explains how my brain has been working lately - it hasn't!

In case you were wondering how the mandala turned out - it's not too bad actually.  Still a tiny  bit ripply, but I am sure I can flatten it some more.  Alice was so kind to provide some simple tips on how to make it flatter.  Thank you Alice, you are quite lovely.

Anyhow, I'm not defeated and will try again - THIS time I will READ the pattern and study the photos.  And let me reiterate that Alice writes the EASIEST TO UNDERSTAND patterns and provides extremely  helpful photography.  My wonky mandala was ALL my own fault.  I know the pattern works perfectly, because a few months back I made a wonderful bag using her first tutorial!

I might even try her tea cosy pattern - this time READING the instructions :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How's That Done Then?

Hello!
Happy Tuesday!
Sorry I wasn't very clear in my last post what exactly it was I had made for Little Z.  Obviously the blue item with the pink heart was a pencil case.  The other item, not so clear, was a book cover for her writing journal/drawing book.
Here it is!
 Now back to the business of this post.
Alice, if you're reading this, you may want to avert your eyes. 
Somehow  I have managed to create the wonkiest Mandala known to man/crochetkind.  Not sure how, but I will say I frogged this sucker three times!  Don't get me wrong, Alice's pattern could not be any easier.  However the cosmic brain meld that allows me to read the words of her pattern without actually reading them must be broken or suffering from some sort of serious disruption.  And for reasons unknown to me, even after I frogged it once, I still refused to actually stop and
R E A D
the words or look at the photos.
Sorry Alice, I deserve a good smack.     
So how many pins does it take to block a wonky mandala and make it round???  Many more than I own.

 What's that you say?  Why don't I frog it and start again?  Because I suffer from a severe lack of patience and an over abundance of stupidity.
And I'm VERY hopeful the entire contents of my pin cushion and copious amounts of spray starch will do the trick....

Of course if you want to know how these lovely mandalas really should look, pop over and see Alice.  Hers are quite simply brilliant.

P.S. I think the sludgy photos due to the lack of light only add to the crappiness.  Even if it isn't round, the colours are really quite lovely, honest! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

For Little Z

I love sewing for little girls, not surprising in a house surrounded by boys.  Nothing like playing with pink as opposed to boyish blue.

So when Little J was invited to Little Z's birthday party, I was excited to whip up something pink for her.

Of course, even though we all know I am nervous about presenting some homemade goodness, especially in front of a room full of strangers (the onlooking mothers) I had nothing to worry about. 

Her mother was thrilled and I was relieved.  I was thrilled when her mother told me this morning that mine was the first gift she played with when the party was over.  Guess I did something right!  I think I'm starting to get the hang of this hand made gift giving business....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Mrs. H.....

Dear Mrs H, 

Would you please excuse Little J from homework until, oh let's say the New Year?  You see the lovely Alice has posted the most fabulous new tutorial for mandalas and I simply must spend my evenings creating their rainbowy goodness.  This after school work you keep sending home which requires my motherly attention is seriously cutting into my crochet creation time.

Regards,

Little J's Mum who might have lost her mind to crochet madness.

Who knew the third grade would involve so much homework???  I don't remember the other two J's with this much after school work.  Honestly, I can hardly expect the lovely Alice to put her fabulous tutorials on hold while I explain the times tables?

Perhaps if I sent Little J to school with a lovely mandala for Mrs. H she'll be a little more understanding???

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thank You!

Honestly, the bloggers I have met through my ramblings are the NICEST people EVER!!!  Thank you so much for your advice on my scarf dilemma!  Such a relief.  I'm ready to start on the new scarf and feel like a huge weight has been lifted.  I was so worried, I think I was going silly over the whole matter!  The only crafty friends I have are those I have met through my blog, so your advice and suggestions are so valuable to me.  THANK YOU

I'm off to start the new scarf and see if there is at least 1 way in my little book of 101 ways to improve my knitting that will do just that!  My MIL included this book in a stash of yarn, needles and books she gave me.  All vintage from the 50's and 60's, but the patterns are so simple and easy for me the beginner I was so happy to receive them. Hopefully I'll be able to knit something other than a hat or scarf after browsing through this book!

P.S.  Again please excuse the crap photos - with the clock change it's dark by the time I get home. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hmm......

So I have a bit of a quandary on my hands.  You see I often take my little crochet projects to work on during my lunch hour and my boss is always very interested to see what I'm up to.  We eat lunch together everyday, during which she reads books on her iPhone and I hook away.  So after completing this project a few weeks back, she mentioned she might like a scarf too and I suggested what I great idea for a Christmas present!  I instantly regretted it the nano second the words came out of my mouth. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to making something for someone else I often get myself in a tizzy. So to cut a long story short I toddled off to the LYS in search of the perfect yarn, thinking that would solve the problem.  After shelling out quite a fortune ($7.75 for 50g) on this lovely pink yarn I rushed home to create something wonderful. 
Now 14 creations later, 13 froggings, using needles and hooks and scouring the Internet and Ravelry, I have sort of settled on this pattern.

I bought six balls and it should barely be enough for this scarf.

 The pattern is so lovely and really quite fun to do.  Its coming together quickly and the yarn is just delicious to crochet with.  In fact even to knit with as I made three attempts to knit a scarf before settling on crochet.
 The trouble is this.  It's not very soft.  I mean it feels soft in the ball, but it doesn't drape well and I think it might even bit a tad scratchy?  Well at least I think my boss might think its a tad scratchy. Of course me knowing how much it cost and how lovely the wool is thinks its wonderful.
So here's my quandary.  Will she think it's lovely being a non yarn person?  She's the nicest person and so complimentary, but I worry it's not soft enough.  Has anyone out there used this yarn before?  Should I just go purchase the cheap, acrylic, but super duper soft yarn I used in the scarf she admired?  I think part of the problem is the amount of money I spent - please don't tell Mr. VW, he may pass out - or should I just get over it?  At this point I'm leaning toward keeping it for myself and buying new yarn.
Please, your advice needed!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Nine

Happy November.....
Little J is now the big NINE, just one digit away from doubles.  No fancy celebrations, just cake and construction on his Halloween Birthday.
Here he sits on the new roof of his playhouse reading the latest toy catalog and contemplating ways to bribe me into a trip to the toy store to spend the £10 his Great Uncle has sent from across the pond :-) (Unfortunately no currency exchange services within zillion miles from of house, so he'll be dealing with the "Bank of Mum" and another £10 note will end up in my Grandfathers tea caddy) 

Mr VW spend what was a rather chilly day replacing the roof on his clubhouse.  It didn't fair so well after the mountains of snow we received last year.  Speaking of the white stuff, I saw our first flurries up on the mountain at work last friday!  Little later than last year, when the white stuff arrived 2 weeks prior to pumpkin day.
I provided construction supervision from a comfortable chair with a warm dog whilst adding rows to my granny stripe.

And creating 'fowas' for our sweet almost 3 year old neighbor who pops over for a visit any chance she can get.  Any sign of my yarn and she asks ever so sweetly for more "fowas".  The girls got the crochet love already!
Well I  must be off, although I have a reprieve from homework tonight (school's out today and tomorrow) there's still more cake to eat and pressies which must now be constructed :-0
Happy Number 9 Little J, you've grown so much since last year.