Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, New Blog

I've been super quiet for the past couple of weeks. It's been a nice time of rest and relaxing with the family. I've gotten some projects done and had a great Christmas with a few stitchy gifts given to me:) More on that later...

One thing I've been wanting to do is change my blog name/address. I'm not sure why other than the 'Homesteading' title just doesn't suit me anymore. Do we live on land which would allow for homesteading? Yes, we have 10 acres, we still garden - though on a much smaller scale than before, we've even raised some farm animals for meat and eggs (as well as 4-H projects:). Currently, however, we have gone away from the 'homesteading' lifestyle/goals and really paired down on the animals - if you consider 12 cats, 2 dogs and 2 rabbits paired down!!

Also I am becoming more and more focused on my handwork at the moment and even have some design ideas in mind that I would like to try and make something out of. Not sure it will become anything big, but as I look forward to my next stage in life (dd is getting close to being done with homeschooling and it is getting time for me to decided what is next for me), this is really the direction I'd like to try and go.

With all that said, I will be closing up this blog and be starting another one. Tomorrow I will be posting the link to it, and would like it very much if you'd join me on my 'move'!! I'm super excited about this change, however little it may be, and can't wait to see what direction it may take me!! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Swap

As you know, I participated in Chaotic Goddess Swaps' 12 Days of Christmas. THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the Chaotic Goddess team, this was so much fun!! Not only getting goodies to open for the last 12 days, but putting together a package for my exchange partner was super fun as well.

Here are some pictures of what my partner sent to me...

Lots of fun goodies!!

 The cutest little sewing kit:)

 I love these fabrics and buttons!!

And I just LOVE that April's kids drew me a picture!! So cute!! This was such an enjoyable exchange, I plan on doing it again next year.
As I mentioned last week, I forgot to take pictures of the items I made for April:( Oops!! *Maybe* if I hadn't been still working on one of the gifts in the parking lot of the post office, 20 min before they closed on the last day to ship out, (this in NO WAY proves that I'm a procrastinator!!), then I might have remembered to take pictures, but I guess there's no way of knowing. ;) Hopefully April will post on her blog some pictures of her package of surprises. She blogs over at 'It's Just April'.
Tomorrow is CHRISTMAS!!! So I will bid you all a Very Merry, Peaceful, Happy Christmas and other seasonal holidays!!  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Oh, WOW!!!

Okay, I was going to wait until Dec 24th to post anymore about the 12 Days of Christmas exchange I participated in (hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps), but what I opened today needs to be blogged about!! :)

I received hand-dyed floss from my exchange partner, April Knap. And it isn't just any hand-dyed floss, April hand-dyed it herself! The colors turned out beautifully...


This is so cool!! :) Okay, just when you think you've learned all you want to learn with fiber art, you go and find something else you *need* to learn how to do!! I'm thinking dying floss is my next endeavor, after I learn a bit more about knitting!! Or maybe dying fabric? Hmm...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Few Things

Took a little time off of blogging in order to get some of those extras done that always pop up this time of year. I'm just about done with all the shopping but still need to do the decorating!! I've never waited this long to put up the tree, but we kept thinking we'd get a small live tree and well, we waited too long and now the trees available are drying up and not looking so good. So we will put up our artificial tree and be happy with it:)

I've been getting a bit done in the stitching department too!! I've gotten two ornies done, but I can only post one of them as I know my sister-in-law checks out my blog every now and then and one of them is for her:)

This is 'Snowbirds' by Country Cottage Needleworks and can be found in the 2013 Christmas Ornie issue of JCS. My mother-in-law loves birds and so this one will go to her.

I have one more ornament I'd like to stitch up for my brother and his wife, but I have a bit more time for that since we aren't getting together until the Saturday after Christmas.

I've also been having lots of fun with the 12 Days of Christmas exchange that was hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps. I got a package in the mail from my exchange partner, April Knap of It's Just April,  early last week, but we were to wait until Dec 13th to open our gifts. When I opened the box this is what I saw...

And here are the first few gifts I've opened up...

Fun, Fun!! I love that April's kids drew pictures on my card:) I can't wait to see what else I have in there:) I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of the few things I made to give to her, but part of this exchange required that we all post the results on or around Dec 24th, so I'll put a link to her blog once it's up.

Hope you are all having a very blessed holiday month!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Relaxing Sunday Morning

This past Sunday morning I dropped off dd at church and then headed home to a nice quiet house. Hubby had gone to his parent's house to help his nephew work on a truck, so I got some much need alone time to work on some hand-mades.

But alone time is pretty rare here and after a short bit I decided I needed a buddy to share the quiet with...

This little guy is named Cloud (it was storming when dd named him and his siblings. They were named Cloud, Thunder and Lightening:). This one is smaller than his siblings as he got sick late this summer and stopped growing for a time. He's all better now and catching up in size pretty quick!!

Cloud doesn't like to sit still!! We aren't suppost to bring cats in the house since we are all allergic to them, but dd and I sometimes like to sneak one in now and then. This one is usually the one we bring in, but since he gets into EVERYTHING, he can only stay in for a short time!!

You can see how helpful he was trying to be. :-/

I was working on some knitting and some stitching. One of the stitched pieces is mostly covered up since it's for an exchange partner. I'm not sure if she checks my blog or not, so I don't want to give too much away. 

Hope you are able to carve some peaceful crafting time into your schedule too:)

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Goals

It's the last month of the year!! Can you believe it? I was just thinking on how fast 2014 has gone by this year and to think that 2015 is just around the corner!! Of course, with the holidays this past week and ones coming up in just a few weeks, December ends up being one of the busiest times of the year. So I decided that I should write down my goals for this month in hopes that I can keep my head above the water:) (hoping that won't be snow!!!)

Craft goals-

-Finish up with a few hand-mades that I have going for my 12 Days of Christmas exchange partner.
-Decide if I need to make any other hand-mades for friends and family.
-I had hoped to get a few blankets done for my friend's foster kids. I'm not sure this can get finished at this point, but I will add it to my goals:)
-Get my scarf knitted before my neck freezes!!
-*MAYBE* knit a hat for my dd.

House Goals-

-Get the tree up - usually this is done the weekend after Thanksgiving, but we ended up at my parent's on Saturday and then hubby went to work on a truck at his parent's house on Sunday. It not only takes getting the tree out of storage, but some re-arranging in the living room as well. So maybe this coming weekend?
-Umm, clean? Or not, not sounds better:) Okay, I really do need to clean up some. I have a schedule made now, and it sounds really good, I just need to actually follow it!! LOL
-Help hubby build a better shelter for the outdoor/stray dog. I'm thinking he's not a stray anymore:) He won't come in the house for more than a few minutes at a time (and this is after really working on getting him to come in at all). We have a temp shelter for him to get out of the wind/cold, but it needs to be insulated better. Actually he could go to the lean-to, it has straw bales and it protected from the wind, but it isn't very close to the house and he likes being right by the front door. The cats all have a few places they like to go already, so now it's the dog's turn.

School Goals -

-Have dd finish Health, get ready for Science for next semester.
-A couple of Math tests.
-Finish 'Early American History', be ready for Modern American History
-Actually work on German!!
-Continue on in English

4-H Goals -

-Finish up enrollment
-Turn in the last of the paperwork for the year
-Christmas Caroling/meeting next week
-Gather donations for local Soup Kitchen
-Pass out and collect money for T-Shirt orders

Okay, I think that'll  do. Obviously I didn't add things like shopping for Christmas and all the extra holiday things, but this should get the 'have-to's' out of the way. It always makes me feel better to get it all written down:)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nov Mega Monthly Challenge - Part 2

Mega Mini Month Madness is now being hosted by Justine at Justine's Cross Stitch. It's all about getting some 'smalls' done in time for the Christmas holiday.

I'm not doing so well getting these posted, but I have been getting some stitching done on them. I even have a FINISH to show off this time!! :)

This is a freebie from Little House Needleworks that can be found on her blog HERE. It was a really quick and fun stitch and will be sent off for an exchange with a 'Winter' theme. And yes, I know I said just yesterday that I was sticking to Autumn themed stitching to encourage warmer temps, but this was already done when I said that, and I can't be trusted when it comes to stitching!! :)
I think I can get the next Ornie done in time for a post early next week and I have still yet to see if I can wash out the dye from the stocking Ornie, I need to get it over with and try!!
Tonight is Friday Night Sew In, so I'm off to gather together what I'm going to sew on:) I think I know just the project!! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

IHSW - November 2014

IHSW is hosted by Joyce over at Random Ramblings. This stitch along is all about staying home and stitching as much as possible!! :) You can join in any month!!

Coming in a little late with this post:) I did get a little stitching done last weekend, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. Isn't that always the case? At least for me it is, never enough stitching time:)

I decided to work on Prairie Schooler's 'Harvest Time' from book # 93. Last time I posted about this I also posted about the 'Home For Christmas' chart as well. I was wanting to work on both at the same time, however after the cold snap that came through I thought I would stick with an Autumn chart in hopes that the Autumn weather would come back. And it worked!! Well, closer to Autumn weather anyway. Instead of highs in the mid 20's we are getting highs in the mid 40's now. And the weather man is saying that Saturday may get up to 60!! So I'm just going to keep on stitching Autumn charts and see how long we can keep this going!! :0)

Here is the super tiny amount of progress I got done on this...

I'm stitching this over one on 28 ct? 32 ct? Not sure, it looks like 28 ct to me, but I found a slip of paper for the Christmas one that said the fabric was 32 ct. And I know I bought the fabric for both at the same time. I'll keep plugging away at it until the next chart catches my eye:) 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Little Knitting Progress

There has been lots of running dd to different activities this year!! But this gives me a bit of extra time to bring along my knitting. Actually I bring along my stitching too, but the knitting is usually what is calling my name (the gym doesn't call my name nearly loud enough!!!). Here is my progress so far...
I've been working along on the red scarf (I put the dark blue scarf away for now so I can focus on getting at least ONE of the projects done:), but am getting close enough to needing to switch out yarn balls that I started thinking that I didn't even know how to do that!! So I gathered some small scraps of yarn I have and started a washcloth. I knew I would need to change from one ball of yarn to another in the middle, so this made a perfect trial on something that wouldn't matter. I had also only ever cast-off on a small practice piece, so that was something else I needed to do. I think it turned out okay. You can't see it in the pictures, but I can tell where I switched out, it's not too bad, but I think I will practice with another wash cloth before I have to do it on the scarf. Oh, my, ANOTHER project. How will I ever live with myself?!?! :0)

The scarf is only around 3 feet long right now and I would like it around 6 feet, so I still have a ways to go, but the process is starting to feel more natural and I'm learning how to fix little problems without having to take out row after row, so that is helpful.

I had mentioned on the last knitting post that I had found a video showing how to hold the yarn in the left hand instead of the right, and someone had asked if I would post the video. I'm sorry I didn't get back with you sooner!! I can't find the exact video I watched, but have learned in the meantime that this form of knitting is called 'Continental Knitting' and you can Google that and get lots of videos!! I'm still not sure I'm holding the yarn exactly like that either, but it's pretty close. :0)
The weather has turned frigid around here this week, so I'm off to work some more on my scarf, because now I really need it!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mega Mini Month Madness

The Mega Mini Month Madness SAL was originally hosted by "Pull the Other Thread' and has been taken over by Justine at Justine's Cross Stitch for the month of November. It is a SAL for small items that will hopefully help us get ready for the holidays:)

I forgot to post on this last week!! I got a bit sidetracked and more than a little frustrated with one of my projects. As you can see in the following picture, my progress on 'Christmas Stocking' from Plum Street Samplers (2013 issue of JCS Ornaments) has gone backwards. Just after I posted the last time (last month) I noticed that the spacing seemed a little off and when I checked, sure enough, I was off by 3 stitches. I thought about ignoring it, but I wanted it to be right, so I pulled all the stitching out under the house. Then my next and biggest problem showed itself. The red and the green floss bled a little onto the fabric. I think I can dab it out, but I was frustrated and I haven't even tried yet.

But I did get a little work done on 'Snowbirds' from Country Cottage Needleworks (also found in the 2013 issue of JCS Ornie mag) and I started a new project called '7 Pines' from Little House Needleworks. This is a freebie from her blog found HERE. It will be for an exchange I'm in.

So even with the setback/frustration thing, I did make some progress and am still having a lot of fun with this challenge:) Hoping to have another update on this later this week!! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

WIPocalypse - November 2014
WIPocalyspe is a monthly challenge to get work (any amount!!) done on our stitching:) It is hosted by Measi over at Measi's Musings. You are welcome to jump in and join along at any time.

A little late on this posting. I've been busy, busy stitching and knitting away. And that really is the best kind of 'busy'!! I've been in an Autumn/Holidays mode this past couple of weeks between working on a scarf to keep myself warm and working on ornaments for myself and as gifts. So I decided to switch gears for a bigger project(s) as well and I pulled out some older charts to work on.

These are both from Prairie Schooler and I think I started both of them back in 2011!! Yikes,  I guess it's time to work on them again:) 

Hoping to make some good progress on both of these this month as well as get a couple gifts worked on. It's that time of year for frantic stitching!! I enjoy it though, so I guess it's not too much of an inconvenience. :0)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Swap

I'm joining in something different this year. A Holiday Swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps!! I've been wanting to do one of their swaps for a while now, but am just getting to do this.

Sign-ups for this swap are open until Monday, November 10th, so if you want to join along too, there is plenty of time, just click on the banner above and it'll take you where you need to go:)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Embroidery Sew Along - Part ???

For the past 2 months I've been following along with other bloggers stitching and sewing from the book - Patchwork Loves Embroidery by Gail Pan. Martina at Sunshine Quilting hosted this sew-along and it was lots of fun. Not only are the patterns and ideas in this book beautiful and easy to follow along with (really, the instructions are really well thought out), the group of ladies in this sew-along were very inspirational with their talent and super encouraging as well. Thank you, Martina, so much for putting this together for us!!!

With that said, umm, I just couldn't keep up!! I did the stitching pretty well, but the sewing tripped me up every time. I guess it could have something to do with my LOVE of hand stitching and my not-quite hate of sewing:) I'm getting better at it and these projects really did help me learn some new sewing skills:)

So this is what I FINALLY got done....

Secrets and Dreams journal cover

I got a *bit* better at sewing on the binding on this one, but I still have wonky ends. The last end I sewed in was the best, so it looks like I still need to practice this part:)

The other problem I was having was drawing the wavy lines that was quilted on the front of this. I just couldn't get nice, even waves. So I went to the quilting store, to Hobby Lobby and to Walmart looking for a stencil to use, but I couldn't find one. I did find some blank stencil sheets though, and after printing some wavy line templates from the internet, I made my own:)

Here are the three projects that I completed...

And here is the stitching for the next project I want to do...

This sew-along is done, but Martina is planning on doing another sew-along including any pattern by Gail Pan in 2015, and I think I will join along with that as well. I have a couple more patterns in this book that I want still make:) Until then, I plan to keep going with the one above at a much slower pace. The stitching above is a panel for a bag and I'm hoping to have it done mid Nov. I'm planning on using the bag (that will have no zippers, buttons or Velcro) as my knitting bag. I'm super excited about getting it done:)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mega Mini - Post 4

These days and weeks are just rushing by here lately!!! I was doing so well with this challenge that first week or two, but WOW, just so much running around has really cut into my stitching time - well that and my new found knitting addiction!! Maybe you can't really call it an addiction if you haven't even finished your first project yet? My book pile from the library speaks more of dreaming of knitting and less actual knitting:)
This is the last week of the Mega Mini Monthly Madness challenge put on by 'Pull the Other Thread'. And like I said, the first week or so went so well, but has slowed to almost a stand still. Here is the progress I've had this past week...

'A Christmas Stocking' from Plum Street Samplers and
'Snowbirds' from Country Cottage Designs
Both found in JCS Christmas Ornie Issue 2013
I have one other project/challenge to finish up by tomorrow and then ALL my attention will be on these two (even if it means hiding the knitting project!!). I will be back on Halloween to show these off, hopefully all finished.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mega Mini - Post 3

Well, I just about fell off the face of the (on-line) world this past week!! I missed several postings that I had planned to do, but I needed the break and it was worth it:) Now I'm back and have a little catching up to do. I'll start with the Mega Mini Month Madness hosted by 'Pull the Other Thread'.

Last time I posted I had finished the bunny from Brittercup Designs and had a bit of progress on Snowbirds from Country Cottage Needleworks, but I was still waiting to get some supplies for 'A Christmas Stocking' from Plum Street Samplers. I haven't gotten much more done since then, but I did get the supplies I needed, and got them from my (not so) local needlework shop!! I like shopping in the actual store when I can, but I don't get there very often, so this was a treat for me:) And I did get a start on the Plum Street design as well...

I just love stitching on 36 ct fabric!! Loving how this is turning out so far:)

Hoping to have another up-date later this week!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mega Mini - Week 2

The Mega Mini Month Madness is hosted by Pull the Other Thread.

It looks like I just might make all my goals for this challenge!! This is what I've gotten done so far...

I finished the BritterCup Bunny. I showed it to my dd and she said it should have been brown like one of her rabbits!! ACK!! I told her she'd live;) And then I got a start on Snowbirds from County Cottage Needleworks.

I still haven't gotten the supplies I need for the third project, but am hoping to make it into 'TOWN' (ie not the small town I live closest too, but the bigger town an hour away that has a needlework shop:) tomorrow and be able to pick stuff up. Otherwise I will need to order it soon so I can get that one done too. At this rate I may have time for a fourth project!! *Fingers Crossed*  :0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WIPocalypse - October 2014
Hosted by Measi at Measi's Musings

Just a quick update on what I'm spending most of my free time on right now (of course I have lots of little things I'm doing too:).

I'm working away at my LOVEQUILTS project. Remember this is what it will be...

I only show this to you because it looks nothing like this right now:)
And this is where I was before...

 And where I am now...

Yeah, it's going to take a while!! It's coming along, but super slow and there are SO MANY color changes!! Thankfully there is very little in the way of half stitches or back stitching so that will help quite a bit:)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Learning Something New

I tend to be one that is never satisfied with the projects I already have started. I always want to know more, do more and keep learning new things. This can be a great thing, but I do tend to want to move on to the next thing before ever really mastering what I have going on at the moment. Take crochet for example. I'm completely self-taught, and I taught myself just enough to be able to make blankets and scarves and the very popular wash cloth (popular because they are quick and easy!!). I can do a couple different patterns and have learned how to read the very basics of the crochet 'language'. But that is as far as I've gotten. Quilting is the same way. 

And I plan to continue to do more crochet and quilting, hoping that in time I will be able to build my skill in both. I love to cross stitch and have picked up other types of embroidery as well. But there is one more handiwork that has escaped my ability that I have long wanted to learn. And that is to knit:) 

I have tried a time or two. I have made a square or two, but they all turned out wonky and the process felt very awkward. About a month ago I decided to give it another try. As I watched yet another You-Tube video, I noticed that the 'instructor' held the yarn with her left hand instead of her right. She had been a crochet-er before learning to knit just like myself and found it more natural to hold the yarn like when you crochet. Well this worked wonders for me!! I will say that my knitting technique doesn't look pretty, more like someone trying to stab their yarn to death, it is at least making it to where I'm slowly learning to enjoy knitting:)

Here's what I've accomplished so far...

What will (eventually) be a scarf along with some knitting based reading:)

And of course I couldn't leave it at just one knitting project!! This blue yarn will also be a scarf, but using the pattern pictured below. 

Hopefully I'll get at least one of these done before it gets cold out!! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mega Mini SAL - Week 1

The Mega Mini Month Madness is hosted by 'Pull the Other Thread'.  I'm so excited to get started on this SAL!! Hoping that this can help get me ahead a little on Christmas gifts, which is always nice:)

So here are the projects I have picked out so far...

The first is 'Bunnies Galore' from Brittercup Designs. For this one I am just doing the small Ornie project. I switched fabric to just a 32ct plain white linen and sub'd with some threads I already had. (and sorry, but I faced the project upside down for this pic!!) I was able to make a small start on this one this morning. This project will be a gift for my dd who has a couple Holland Lop rabbits.

This one is 'Snowbirds' by Country Cottage Designs found in the 2013 JCS Ornie mag. I will be using the fabric shown just below the picture. It's much darker than in model used, but it's what I have and I think it will turn out very nice. This Ornie will be for my mil who loves birds:)

And this one will be for me!! This is from Plum Street Samplers and is called 'A Christmas Stocking'. It can also be found in the 2013 JCS Ornie issue. I don't have any of the supplies for this one yet, so I will be making an order soon:)

If I can get all of these done I will choose other projects, but I'm just hopeful I can get these done!! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NewFo - Sept 2014

2014 NewFO Challenge
Hosted by Barbara at Cat Patches
Okay, yes I know it's October now:) This is being posted a day late because I really thought I couldget more done on it today. Didn't happen, but it was a nice thought:)

I started out on Monday morning scrambling around the house looking for a project to start. Let's not discuss that I waited until the day before the end of the month to even start looking for a project. It needed to be something I already had the material for since I can't make a quick trip into town (town is around 25 min away) and then get back and wash material, iron it, etc, etc, etc.

So after a mad dash around the house I came up with this pile of fabrics...

I had originally bought some of these fabrics to make a summer-time beach bag with. I knew these weren't the colors I would normally choose for myself, but I did like how bright and happy they are. But I never did end up making a bag with them. So I decided that these bright, happy fabrics would make a great cuddle blanket for a toddler:) My friend that does foster care has three little ones right now and I am thinking about trying to make each of them a little blanket for Christmas gifts.

This project started out so good too!! I got all the blocks (4 1/2 inches) cut up in one sitting and then a little later on Monday evening I started sewing them into rows. My plan was to do a simple patchwork style that is truly random in placement. I got all the blocks sewn up into rows in almost another setting.

I want to stop here and say that I must be getting more patient with sewing with a machine. A few months ago I don't think I could sit at the machine long enough to have gotten that much done (even though it really didn't take that long). That is pretty exciting to me!! The whole reason I started this NewFo challenge was to build my sewing skills - which are pretty basic - and to build my patience with machine sewing. :)

Okay, so now just to sew together the rows and I would have had the top all done - in ONE DAY!!! That would have been a major accomplishment for me!! But here is where things started to become a challenge. In trying to make the pattern random, I didn't pay any attention to what order I was sewing the blocks together, other than to make sure that the same fabric didn't touch. When I went to putting the rows in some kind of order so that the same fabrics didn't end up right on top of each other, I found that I had inadvertently put the brown fabric in the center of about half the blocks. Then I saw that I had the white fabric be either the 3rd from the beginning or the 3rd from the end on about half the blocks. The pink was on either one end or the other of over half the blocks. So I couldn't put the rows together to save my life!!!

In the end, I deconstructed a few of the rows and found a way to make it work, but it was almost midnight by then. So I decided that I would just work on it for a bit today and still have a whole top to show off. Well.... :) This morning was dd's day to volunteer at the zoo. She got out around noon and then wanted to look at Halloween costumes, so we did that and I had a little grocery shopping to do as well. We got home around 1:30 and I took a short nap while she worked on some school work. When I got up dd told me that the costume had a little problem, a couple of the ribbons hadn't gotten sewn in very well and came all the way out. So I fixed that and then had some house work to get done (before hubby came home:). Then it was dinner time, and well, I was just done for the day, so.. No finished top, but I do hope to have that to show off soon:)

I even know what this month's project is going to be, and it's only the FIRST DAY of the month!! :) I will be working on another cuddle blanket, this time in more muted colors for the baby of the family of kids my friend has.