Monday, December 26, 2011

How I Spent Christmas....

I know normal people spend Christmas Day with family enjoying the festivities, but as its just 'us', meaning me and my boys with no family for a few hundred miles, we don't normally leave the house on Christmas Day.  So as to be expected, once the gifts were opened, the turkey was in the oven and I was orphaned to the XBox I decided it was time to tinker with a recent Etsy purchase (oh and enjoy my amaryllis which has four of the most magnificent flowers).
 You see the evening before I decided to give the my little Singer 99 a 'go' after Big J had rewired the motor and foot pedal for me. It's a little beauty of a machine which I purchased for the pricely sum of $20 on Etsy.  Quite similar in size to my Featherweight 221-1. 
  Of course, despite all my cleaning, oiling and TLC there was still a problem with the tension. So I took it upon myself to take the tension button apart.
A huge mistake!
I mean H U G E
and I knew it the second I did it.
I scoured the Internet, swore profusely at it, stomped my feet and even shed a tear and I still couldn't get the button back together properly.
One major melt down later I decided that even though it was Christmas Eve, and most people would not be reading email, that I would email a very nice gentleman who had pestered in the past with my endless questions about old sewing machines.  He's a lovely chap and I do encourage you to stop by his blog if you're even the tiniest bit interested in purchasing an old machine.
 Much to my surprise and luck, he replied most promptly on Christmas Day!  I was thrilled beyond belief and with his clever guidance and pages he sent from an old Singer manual I managed to get my old sewing machine humming along quite nicely within a couple of hours.
Isn't it just amazing who you can meet and what you can find on the internet?  It really is the most resourceful tool ever and you can meet the friendliest of people.  I never would have gotten this machine fixed if it wasn't for my internet 'friend'.
So while the men-folk fought the evils on the XBox and the turkey browned up nicely (perhaps a tiny bit too brown) in the oven, the Singer 99 and I finished up my little Christmas Quilt. 

 A wee bit late for this year, but it will bring fond memories for next year.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

Toodles...L x ♥



Saturday, December 24, 2011

♥ Merry Christmas ♥



Merry Christmas!
All the best to your and your family on this wonderful day.

Toodles...L x ♥

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sweet Stitching

 I believe this festive season has made my arms long and my pockets short. Normally it is quite the reverse.
After looking longingly at many many issues of the 'Molly Makes' magazine I finally succumbed and bought a copy. 
It was the little 'free gift' of embroidery that really got me.
The magazine is very sweet, but at $12 it's a wee bit pricey for me. Of course as it has travelled across the pond, I quite understand the high cost in this country.

I loved every  minute stitching these little girls.  I really wish we had a magazine like this on our side of the pond.  Or perhaps that it was more within my budget.
I promise to be back before the 25th, but in the meantime I will wish you all a very merry holiday season.

Toodles...L X ♥

PS - I must do more embroidery in the dark winter months.  Scanning wins hands down over trying to take a photo with dodgy light!

Monday, December 12, 2011

**44**

It was 8:07am before I realized today was the first day of my 44th year on this planet. 
I only remembered because Little J said
"Mummy, what's the date today?".
Yes, the Mister had forgotten too.  But that's OK, there was ice cream cake when I got home and the most wonderful pressie ever!!!!

Toodles...L x ♥

P.S.  It was a 'well planned in advance pressie', not something he picked up quickly on the way home, so he hadn't actually forgotten.

Friday, December 9, 2011

From No. 23

The other day, perhaps just a few weeks back I discovered the most delightful blog.  The lovely lady behind this fabulous blog has the most adorable dog, Milly, is super talented at quilting, knitting and many many more crafty creations and of course writes the most delightful blog.  I love her writing style and her posts always make me smile. 
Anyway, after reading this  post I fell in love with the little guy.  I was overwhelmed with joy when his creator offered to make one just for me! 

Yes! 

Just for me!

He arrived today, along with his travelling companions. 
There were tears when I opened the parcel.

I was lost for words.
The Mister was in awe.  I don't think his smile could have been any bigger.
I'm thinking this little group will not be stored away after the Christmas.
I'm thinking this little group will ALWAYS have pride of place on my mantel.

Thank you No.23!

Toodles...L x ♥

P.S. These guys are teeny tiny. Baby Jesus has to be smaller than  my little finger and I have very small hands!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Camera in a Coma

I have found that since the nights are drawing close earlier and earlier - meaning by the time I get home at 5:30pm it's pitch black - that this early darkness, along with my full-time job that barely lets me see the light of day during the winter, as set my camera into a sleepy little coma and I find little to no time to take photos that are worthy of my blog.  Those two days a week when I am home seem to slip by entirely too fast before I get my camera clicking.
However, I have used a few of my precious weekend hours to do a little early morning quilting before the men-folk of the Gephart rise.
I use the patterns from this book which I ad♥re!  If cyou are ontemplating venturing into the world of quilting, starting small is the way-to-go.  It's what got me hooked.

 I love to sew/knit/crochet and listen to a good movie, usually one I've seen a few thousand times before, so watching the screen is not always necessary.  At the moment I'm hooked on Larkrise to Candleford. I've downloaded all three of the seasons currently available on iTunes and I have watched all of them numerous times.  Yes all three season at least twice each - working from home has its advantages.
 I'm enjoy putting together little stars to make a teeny tiny little quilt. They come together quickly and are easy peasy to make. I'm not wild about the fabric - not sure what I was thinking when I bought these patterns, but oh well. I might try a little tea staining to age the quilt abit when I am done.
 What I am really L♥VING is the machine I'm using to put them together.  As you may or may not remember, I have two vintage machines already (this one and this one), both of which I find far more pleasing to use than my modern electronic one that has been banished to the cupboard.
  The other day, while the Mr. was perusing the dusty shelves of a newly found flea market he spotted a sad and rather grim looking Singer 66 on a bottom shelf looking rather forlorn, but with the wonderful price of just $20.  I was dubious about the purchase - it was covered in dust, grime and cobwebs and the cord had practically disintegrated.  But the Mr. was certain that she was worth her price tag and perhaps a few bob more.  Before I knew it she was bought and in the boot of my car.
After some serious cleaning and removal of her motor, we found some wonderful shiny bits, quite a few scratches and not much left of her decals, but that was all forgive once we discovered she's been around since 1925!!!! 
 It took quite a bit oiling to get her bits moving again and after a little rummaging on the WWW I was able to find her a little hand crank, so her motor was no longer needed.
Yes, she looks a wee bit rough (better in real life, the photos are crap due to lack of sunshine) and I believe she has been well used, but if I look this good and still operational when I am 86 years old I think I'll be quite happy.
She sews like a dream with her new hand crank, even though it has taken some getting use to on my part.  I still find my foot looking for the sewing pedal each time I use her!  It makes me chuckle.
The mister has promised to fix her little box, it's looking quite tatty, but he assures me it's all fixable.
I have not admit that she is not the first sewing machine 'we' (that being me AND the Mr. - I will not accept responsibility for our 'collection' alone) have rescued this year.  Yes there are more, well just two, but I'll show you those another day.
So if your in the need of a sewing machine, I highly recommend searching the shelves of your local flea market/thrift/charity shop.  These old beauties sew like a charm.

Must be off!  I smell the dinner burning.....again....

Toodles....L ♥ xxx

P.S. Speaking of burning the dinner.
I made Green Bean casserole last night, a special request from Little J.  This is something that I normally only make on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but he was persistent in his request for his 'favorite' dish.
Two bites into he says "Mum, this doesn't taste like the one you made on Thanksgiving. Did you do something different?". 

One guess what I did different?

Yes, that's right, I ever so slightly over-cooked (they were dark brown not black, so I shan't say I burnt them)the french fried onions which I put on top and then hastily mixed them in!!!
Needless to say Little J didn't want to eat his green bean casserole.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lantern Embroidery



I've been struck down by the dreaded lurgy this week, but I've been fortunate to be able to work from home whilst overseeing the various workman going to and fro.  They've been  making every effort possible to leave as many muddy footprints in my house as possible.  I swear they searched out every muddy puddle in my garden before traipsing through my house.
Oh well, my house is toasty warm again with a fancy new heating system.
Anyway I've just popped by to ask your ideas on the lovely linens I found the other day at a flea  market for the pricely sum of $6.00.  Hard to believe such beautiful handwork could be bought so cheaply.  This little set is three napkins and a table cloth. I'm not sure what to do with it, I fear using it for table coverings living in a house with 1 boy and 3 men.  They have no regard for such beautiful stitches.
Do you have suggestions?
I would love to hear your ideas.

Toodles....L x ♥


Thursday, November 24, 2011

All Set

 Now I have some very simple fingerless mitts to go with my hat!  As much as this yarn made me cry when I bought it, now I'm really really really in l♥ve with it!  Just need to win the lottery before I can purchase more.....
Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are enjoying the day!

Must be off. 
I have a date with a rather large bird and the oven. 
Fingers crossed. 
Turkey + Oven + Me = Disaster.
Wish me luck!

Toodles...L x ♥

P.S. The lacy edge on my mitts/hat is just Stylecraft - love this yarn too, even more so because lottery winnings not required to purchase it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Almost Done!

My crochet sampler blanket is nearly done.  Despite the craziness of my life at the moment.  I think it is my all time favorite crochet blanket.  Every second of making this has been a joy and I've learnt a few new stitches which I just love.

But before we get on to my blanket, take a look at these beautiful trees on our street.  All the other trees have lost their leaves, but not these ones, they are just now looking magnificent. I don't ever remember these trees being so vibrant.
 I snuck these photos in today when the men I have in my house were up in the attic.  Yes I have a man in, actually men in!  Sounds exciting doesn't it?  But it's not, rather stressful actually. 
Anyway, they already think I'm a little nutso, so they didn't need to see me taking photos of my street and my crochet. so these were taken in haste. 
So please ignore their crappiness.
 Bobble Stitch is one of the new stitches I learnt, kinda fun, but a bit of a yarn hog.

BTW - Should you ever consider installing a brand new type of heating system into your 100 year old house, be prepared for stressful times. I never knew I would be so protective of my little house! 
Crochet Cable Stitches (those teal ones) - Loads of fun, my favorite new stitch I think!

 I also never knew that forced air heat would involve making so many holes in my hardwood floors and horsehair plaster ceilings - oh my!  I'm not sure if I would now prefer my rusty old hissing steam radiators over many many holes....hmmmm...too late now I guess.

 X Stitch Crochet (those blurring light purple ones), another cool new stitch.

I also never knew that a long brown sausage dog (Sally) could bark so much! Every time the workmen moved she barked - silly old goose she is.  Woof!  Woof! Woof! Is all I heard for 6 hours today whilst I was working from home.


 Random Crochet Stitching - every row is different, which I found starting a new row exciting every time.

Another thing I also never knew was how many wet leaves one workman can drag through my house. Don't workmen know how to wipe your feet?  Tomorrow I'm putting up a sign - either that or I'm going to the office to work!

Now I've just made it to the final round - the edge of my Crochet Sampler Blanket.  I'm attempting a picot edge, but I'm not sure about it just yet.  What do you think?
And here she is in all her glory! Almost done. Almost.....isn't she a beauty???

I have a feeling my life is going to be chaotic till the new year with two other projects which involve workmen scheduled for before Christmas and adult children coming and going from the house multiple times which require Mr. VW's chauffeur services. 

Oh and then there's Christmas. I believe someone said today it's only 38 days away!  Yikes!  I haven't even thought about it yet....oh my!


Well thank you for stopping by this evening, I hope your world is slightly less chaotic than mine!

Toodles...L x ♥

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life

Life has been seriously getting in the way of blogging these days, but fortunately not creating, only photograph taking.  So as I  left work this evening with my poorly neglected blog weighing heavily on my mind, the sky caught my eye and I took this terrible photo with my Blackberry. Honestly, the sky was gorgeous, but the photo is seriously crap.  Now I must admit I took this photo with great haste for fear of being caught by one of my co-workers - most of whom already think I'm completely bonkers.

I promise to catch up with you all in the next day or two. I love this little blog and refuse to let it suffer any longer.

Toodles.... L x ♥

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

That's That Then

Do you remember this post?   I honestly thought there was something wrong with the way I knit, but based on your lovely and very helpful comments I appeared to be wrong.  Then my lovely friend Louise sent me this link and I thought "Ah ha!  That's it!  That's how people knit so fast and don't drop their right needle." Not only was there another way to knit, called 'Continental', but my style of knitting had a name too 'Throwing'. 
I thought it was my "ah ha" moment, it looked easy peasy and sounded fancy, this "Continental" knitting.  I had visions of cardigans literally flying off my needles.  Rushed to grab my trusty needles and wool and set to work studying the video.

And my 'ah ha' moment vanished as quickly as it appeared.

So I am now FULLY resigned to my knitting technique.  There is nothing 'continental' about my knitting, no fancy sounding name for me, I am and will always be a "Thrower".
Rest easy knitting needle stash, there will be no bonfire, but you must be content with my no classy, needle chucking (throwing) technique.

Toodles... L x

P.S. I have to admit other names of my knitting have come to mind - Thrower - Chucka - Tossa???  Ok that last one isn't very appropriate, but it did give me a little chuckle.....

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Catching Up....

Actually, I'm not sure it's possible for me to catch up on anything these days, I have more projects on the run that I could be creating for the next 10 years it seems. If you dare, take a look at my current on-the-go nonsense:

:: My Sampler Blanket - which is coming along very nicely.  I love working on this blanket, the prospect of a different stitch each row is quite exciting. I've even managed to teach myself a few new fancy stitches.

 :: Granny Stripe Blanket - yes still a work in progress after more than a year (yikes).  To be honest I only work on this one when I catch it out of the corner of my eye and it makes me feel guilty.  I adore the colours and of course love the stripes and can't figure out why I find it such a chore.
 :: Sea Blue & Grey Ripple - after the disaster of a cardigan and the random purl row in the midst of all the garter stitch I did the least sensible thing EVER. I bought a ton of lovely grey wool and decided to have another go!!!! Like different wool would make a difference - WRONG. Well my second attempted lasted two days before it was thrown in the corner during a little temper tantrum.  In order to lift my spirits I decided to combine both lots of wool/yarn and get to work on a ripple, because there is nothing more soothing than rippling back and forth on a ripple. It's working and its taken my mind of building a little bonfire with my knitting needles.
 :: Little J Cascade Blanket - Yes you read that right, another blanket.  Well I haven't started it YET,although the wool is calling me......lovely Cascade 220 Heathers.
 So it appears I'm stocking piling again for some world blanket shortage.  However, if the weather we had yesterday were to continue for the winter, we're going to need all the blankets we can get.  I think we ended up with about 4 inches.
 Fortunately (or unfortunately for my blanket madness) the sun is shining today, although it's a wee bit chilly out.
Thank you for dropping by for a little visit today.  
I must be off as there are two big orange pumpkins ready to be carved as it's Trick or Treat night in our neighborhood tonight.

Happy Sunday!

Toodles . . . . L


Sunday, October 16, 2011

One of Those Days.......

Today has been "one of those days".....it's only saving grace, it was SUNDAY.

Today I have:
  • finally admitted defeat on my cardigan knitting project - I had added a safety line when I started the sleeves and all seemed to be going well until I removed the safety line and discovered a random row of purl stocking stitch on my ALL garter stitch cardie!  I finally admitted defeat.  Secretly though I think I was relieved as it was starting to become  a chore and I didn't like the way it was turning out.  I've started this instead with the yarn.
  • dropped a dozen eggs on the way home from the supermarket - yes they all broke. I salvaged 4 to make a quick omelet when I got home.
  • picked the final flowers from my garden, only to discover that it wasn't just flowers I picked - thank you Mr. VW from escorting the spider (eek!!!!) and ladybird outside.
  • discovered a horrendous crack in our front stairs which runs up one wall, across the steps and completely through the other wall - yikes!!!!!!  
On the upside, tomorrow is Monday and I have the day off. Yipppeee!!!!!

Thank you all for your well wishes for Linus.  He seems to be a tiny bit brighter today and this afternoon he even managed to bark at some deer which were passing by the  back fence, which he hasn't done in ages.  He has three more trips to the vet this week for fluids to help flush out his kidneys - my fingers are still tightly crossed.

Thank you SO much for stopping by today, your comments are so uplifting and really the highlight to my days. 

Toodles.... L x ♥

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Peas, Carrots & Pegs

It's been a busy two weeks here at the Gephart and my apologies for my long absence.  There just doesn't seem to have been a spare moment in the day lately.
I spent the last two weeks tending to our little Jack Russell, Linus who has been quite unwell - the vet even said he seemed depressed!  That has worried me to no end for some reason as I never know that dogs could get depressed, but he certainly has not been himself.  Hopefully now he's on the mend now, we have our fingers crossed tightly for him.
Today for the first time in days he had the energy to come out into the garden with me. It's mighty windy here today, so I had to make sure he was rugged up warm in his coat.  We harvested the rest of our carrots and while my back was turned I found him having a little munch!  A very good sign.

 Before Big J hopped off to college at the end of summer he sowed some more peas which we are now enjoying.   This is probably the only batch that made it from the garden to the kitchen.  Not many, but I'll pop them in the Shepard's Pie tonight along with the carrots.
 I had a few fleeting spare moments the other night to whip up a little peg bag for a dear friend's birthday. I made her one last year and this year she asked for another - one to take out to the garden washing line and one for her washing line in the basement. She's one of the few Americans I know that realizes there are ways to dry clothes that don't involve a dryer.
It's a gloriously sunny, but windy day here today and I have plans to plant more bulbs in my garden.  The trees are looking magnificent with their Autumn colours and I hope to be able to pop out for walk this afternoon to take a few snaps.  I haven't taken any this year and the leaves are falling fast.
Well I must be off.  Little Linus  is due for some 'afternoon tea'.  He's on five meals a day as we're under instructions to fatten him up and he's loving every minute of it.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend.

Toodles....L x ♥

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sampler Blanket

 Brrrrr.....
I've just come in from outside where I thought I could spend a few minutes working on my latest project.
Silly me.
It's freezing outside.  Probably explains why the Mister has turned the heat on.  Mind you, I'm not complaining.  After a long hot summer I'm loving this cool weather.  We've even had a few flurries of snow up the road about 8 miles on top of the mountain.
So I've hauled my new project and my *new* basket back inside and will try to block out the sounds of Little J blasting zombies on the XBox and enjoy a few more hooky lines on this lovely Sunday afternoon.
I must say, the nasturtiums are enjoying the cool weather.  After 12 years of living in this house and planting them without fail every year, this is the first time they have grown and flourished.  I ♥ love ♥ these flowers. They remind me of the cool winters in Perth and how they grew like weeds in our back yard. No annual planting necessary, they just popped up through the rocks of our terraced backed yard.
 In a real leap of faith this year the Mister and I decided to purchase an apple tree.  We don't have particularly green thumbs and our home is also occupied by a small boy re-known for severing limbs off of trees and other various greenery when he's outside pretending to save the world from evil.
It's sort of a fancy apple tree.  A wee bit pricey, but that's because it's been grafted.  It should, in theory grow 5 different types of apples.  Yes 5!  Thus allowing us to have just one tree in our tiny yard.  In fact it had the most delicious apple on it when we purchased it.  So fingers crossed that we will a/ follow the instructions provided by the nursery so it will survive till spring and b/ that Little J won't decide that we only need just 4 types of apples.
 We've had loads of rain these last two weeks.  The ground is very wet and soft, which a certain brown dog (Sally) is thoroughly enjoying.  She's dug the deepest hole known to dog-kind and even though her nickname is 'the stomach' she won't even break from digging to come and eat her dinner. 
There she is, bum in the air, digging like there is no tomorrow in our old veggie patch. 
 So back to my new project.  
Hmmm...I'm loving this one. 
It's a creation out of my head.  A sampler blanket of sorts.  Just random rows of stitching, making some of them up as I go along, practicing new stitches on find on the w.w.w, but which makes it very difficult for me to ensure I don't increase/decrease the stitches row after row. 
 A couple of times I've had to employ the counting skills of the Mister to ensure I'm on track.  That's because my counting skills are quite crap. It takes but a mere blip in my concentration for me to lose track.  It goes something like this for example if I count in two's - 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30...  You can see where that leads right?  Or when I get to 58, 59, 70...like the sixties don't exist at all.  Luckily the Mister is quite happy to lend a hand or a count in this case. 
Yes, yes, I've added a few stitches and lost a few row after row, but it's still fairly even.

Anyway.  I must be off!  Although it's Sunday afternoon I must still nip to the shops in order to feed my family this week.  They do like food you know.  ☺
Happy Sunday!

Toodles . . . . L x ♥

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Meant to Be



I'm having a wonderful Saturday today and thoroughly enjoying the coolness of September after our endless hot summer.  The leaves are changing already in our part of the woods and I've decided this could be my favorite season of all.  Tomorrow I've got some lovely plans to start planting more bulbs in the garden for spring and I'm actually quiet excited about it - silly as it may seem. The mister has picked out some lovely Irises and Crocuses and of course I'm going for more daffodils.

The delightful tin above was a fabulous find at the thrift store that I fell in love with a few weeks ago.  The pattern is sort of embossed and the colours are just so vibrant.  There's a few scratches, but I thought it was the perfect home for my latest project - The Red Mare - which I found here.  It's the most delightful pattern and the lovely blog owner has offered it for free.

Well I must be off. I hope your weekend is as pleasant as mine.

Toodles . . . .  L  x  ♥