Getting Inspired…all over again. August 2008

The Face of Summer

The Face of Summer

It was Christmas that snowed me under, and left me without a thought of my own.  I was burned out on everything and went into survival mode.  No creative juices flowed, no real time even to wonder why.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep this blog going, but I am going to give it another chance and see how it goes.  So, hang with me and we will do this together. 

It was Dish Rag Tag that modivated me to start a blog and step out into the world of the internet via knitting.  What a community it is and growing all the time.  I feel a bit overwhelmed by the speed of it and all the “new” that is added on a daily basis.  And so, it is Dish Rag Tag: the sequel that has me back here again trying to get on track and learn a few more tricks, and share the journey.


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December 21….It just can’t be!!!

Cats in mangerfireplace with stockings

How did it get to be so close to Christmas……but, I’m just not ready to do this.  Oh, Dear!   I guess that was a thought Mary might have had as she prepared to take a donkey ride at 9 months pregnant.  The birth happened anyway, whether she was prepared or not….and so it is with us also.  Expectations and dreams of the perfect Christmas will be set aside, and the simple and meaningful will take its place.  Mary was with the one she loved most.  It was quiet and peaceful.  The animals I am sure gave them warmth and company.  Hoping yours do also.  What is done will have to be just right.  Mary’s plans of having her baby in a familiar place with the things she had prepared had to be put aside.  What she had with her would have to do.  Food this year will be simple, and the gifts will be more meaningful because there are fewer of them.  

Babt Jesus
A few years ago, I found this Cabbage Patch preemie with his blue lamb pajamas.  He became the perfect prop for being Baby Jesus in the manger.  I made the gauge-type blanket from an old mattress cover and bound it with white cotton that had gold stars on it.  This year I changed his manger bed to a flat rectangle basket, and added shredded paper for a softer place to sleep.  This pleased the oldest Gkid greatly, since he thought the traditional manger was way to hard for a baby.  The Gkids find playing with Baby Jesus and taking care of him a part of the meaning of Christmas.  The kittens keep climbing into the manger for a look, and the sleeping lambs keep the baby warm.  Baby Jesus gets fed often, and held, and kissed, and put to bed a dozen times a day, and even lost somewhere in the house.  Then the hunt is on to find Baby Jesus……so it goes in life……we lose sight of the Babe and the meaning, and go on a hunt to find the true spirit of it all.  Seeing Christmas through the eyes of children is the only way to go.  And making it fun and meaningful puts life back into the Story.

Cats in manger

mice in tree #1

I decided that there must have been mice hiding in and around the straw and hay that fed the animals in the place where Baby Jesus slept.  So, there are a few mice hiding in the Christmas tree with its many straw ornaments.  The Gkids have not found them yet, but talking about how it might have been will help make Jesus’ birth more real.  

mouse in tree #2

There is still time to get a few things done, but I will keep Mary in mind, and not stress.  It all turned out just fine.  Mary’s newborn Son came into this world of ours with all He needed.  The gift of Jesus alone is all we really need.  I guess I am ready after all!   Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you!  Sip some tea and enjoy the ones you love.

tea set


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The “Sunflower”…dishrag that is..

sunflower dishcloth

 The MasonDixon Girls of keep me intertained quite often, and every once in awhile there is a gem on their blog that just makes my day.  And so, it happened one day, when the sunflower dishrag made its appearance.  I am just nuts over sunflowers, and this pattern just had to be a part of my ever growing collection of dishrags.  The best part was that it was a part of a dishrag calandar,,  that can be downloaded with each month of the year having two dishrags to knit.  The calendar comes complete with instructions for making each dishrag.

Little did I know, that I would play a very small but important part of this very calendar.  In the wee hours of the night, I downloaded my copy of the calendar on cardstock and after some sleep , got busy on the dishrag.  Determination mixed with excitement motivated me, but three trial runs later I knew something was wrong.  There was a little mix-up in the pattern, and once I figured it out, it was an easy knit.  I  had received an e-mail from Kay about testing out the pattern earlier, and so I shoot off a quick e-mail back with “the fix”, and all is now well with this pattern. 

In Kay’s comments about her dishrag, she said that it had not touched a drop of water.  I feel the same about mine.  It is a bit of folkart that may hang on the wall instead of shrinking in the wash cycle.  It will never mop up spilt apple juice, or a glob of strawberry jam that has slipped off the knife while making PB&J sandwiches. It will never grace the hot handle of a pot or lid, or be a coaster for a drippy mug of coffee.  It will never be held under a cold bowl of ice cream.  It will never clean the fingers of the 2yr. old after an attempt at cracking an egg, or scrub the top of the table where the playdough has been……OH No,…..this baby is ART!

sunflower face

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Scarf Done, but The Exchange has just Begun!


ise5 BOX

Back in October, I decided to apply for the International Scarf Exchange 5 to see if I would get an invitation to participate.  I was hungry for a new challenge after the Dishrag Tag, and thought it would be fun to do it with a few of my team mates from the Tag.  I got the invitation, and so did Laurie and Cathy-Cate.  There are 200 who are allowed to particpate in this event and we were all first timers.  This is how it works.  You fill out a questionairre about yourself with preferences for a scarf such as color and choice of yarn type, and also a style of scarf ( lace, geometric, long, or asymetric ).  There is a hostess who is assigned to a group of us, and that hostess plans the exchanges, e-mails you, and makes sure you get your scarf mailed before the deadline.  Each person has a Pal to knit a scarf for, and each person has a secret Pal that is knitting a scarf for them.  The exchanges are always in a different country from where the person lives.  I live in the US, and my Pal is in the Netherlands..Hi, Sarah-Katherine!  I have a secret Pal that is knitting a scarf for me, (Hi! Secret Knitter) and as of yet, I don’t know where she lives or very much about her at all except that she is somewhere in the world trying to finish and mail off the scarf before the Dec. 1 deadline.  The magic happens when the scarf is sent with goodies to its intented home and the person it was intended for receives it and all the treats that were sent as well.  That happened for me this week and what fun it was for Sarah-Katherine to get her box only 4 working days after I sent it….amazing!  The floral cutting and glueing on the front of the box were meant to keep the package from getting lost or ignored. I guess that worked and then some.

The box was sent on Friday, and received in the Netherland on Wednesday of the next week.  We both were in shock over the speed of its arrival……and delighted!  I have never received an e-mail with so many explanation points.  She was definately excited.  Sarah-Katherine got her craving satisfied for the time being for chocolate & peanut butter in the form of peanut butter M&Ms, and peanut butter filled Hershey kisses.  She also got the snack pack of Jif peanut butter par her request.  I think she likes peanut butter.  There were other personal goodies, and of course the scarf.

Trial Run #1


The scarf started out as a trial run on the pattern and the gauge.  Like all trial runs, you learn a lot about the pattern and how it looks, feels to knit and if this is the “one”.  In this case it was NOT the one.  The gauge on 8’s was way to big, and I wasn’t sure about the varigated yarn with the pattern.  This swach got frogged right after I took this picture.

Trial Run #2


The next try was the same pattern with a smaller needle (perfect), and the hand dyed red looked good.  It would have worked for a casual look with jeans, but that was not what I was after in a style.  I was looking for something more refined, but not too dressy.  The yarn choice ended up being a wool/soy combo from Paton in a royal blue with the pattern coming from the Holiday Gifts issue of Interweave Knit magazine, called Quiviuk Webs Tam and Scarf.  It was so fun to knit, my first time reading charts and there were four of them for this pattern.  It ended up being 70+ inches long and 5 1/2 “wide.  The yarn was shiny and a bit fuzzy and very soft to the touch.  I am so glad you like it SK. :0) 

The Real Deal…The “One”!



 The best part for me has been to finally reveal who I am and be able to be more open in our conversations.  It has been pure JOY to get to know this amazing person that lives half a world away, but shares so much in common with me and my family.  It has been extra fabulishious as SK would say.   So what started out as a scarf exchange, has developed into a full blown exchange of ideas, hopes, dreams, everyday happenings, and truly a desire to care about and support each other.  Our friendship has just begun!



Filed under Dishrag Tag 2007, ISE5 scarf

The Art of Gathering

October monster cupcakes

If you are a collector of anything, you have the “gathering gene”.  If you are a women and a collector, well, you “gather” a lot and this will reflect in your off-spring!  I am one of those, and the off-spring of the off-spring hatched a plan.  The Oct. 26th issue of  All You magazine hit the house with a cover filled with monster faced cupcakes.  It was my duty and job to hunt down and gather all necessary candy, cereal, fruit roll, chocolate chips, marshmellows, food coloring, and the all important decorating tips, to recreate the monsters on the cover and in the inside article.  The nine year old Gboy had spoken.

Caleb monster cupcake

This process went on for a few weeks and resulted in some fun finds.  Wilton has the silcone cupcake bakers with legs in four different colors.  I had not used a silcone mold for baking before and was surprised how great they worked.  Perfect monster fair.  The Wilton cupcake decorating kit was also helpful, and came with a long tip for inserting filling into your cupcake (later for that one).  We struck gold when the local grocery store gave you the decorating kit if you bought the silcone molds.  We were on a roll!  The next challenge was the cereal.   In the end, we decided to buy the small variety boxes in order to get the different kinds we needed without having to have lots of leftover cereal.  The candy was the easiest part, but much discussion went on before hand about just what kind would make the best eyes, for instance.  Since Gboy#1 is a collector, this process was just as exciting as making them. 

Well, the night finally arrived for “the baking” and ” the making”.  The result was quite amazing.  The cover picture ended up being a mere starting point for the decorating mini-chefs.  The adults got involved, and all in all, it was a great gathering of artistic handiwork. 

witch bunny cupcake

pirate and guel cupcake

cat cupcake

I love it when a plan comes together!   

The spooky trio




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A Glimpse of the Knit-life.

Mother Bear Project

 For most avid knitters and craft people in general, their chosen passion is squished in between the everyday of life.  It is always on our minds, and more often than not, we orchestrate our day around those times when we know we can steal some time and get “away” through that which we L-O-V-E to do.  Errands and even food shopping always include a side trip to the LYS or craft store.  If you are food shopping, there is the magazine rack that can be fruitful for ideas and projects.  It becomes part of the food budget….how devine.  Supermarkets should carry Noro, what a killing they would make!  And so it is with me,  I fit knitting into the everyday frenzy of a very busy household with many balls being juggled in the air at any given moment.  Sometimes I do great with it, and other times I am so desparate to have time to knit that I have been known to take my knitting into the “ladies room” and shut the door for 5 minutes.  After all, it is cozy and quiet, and has a fairly decent seat….for 5 minutes anyway.  The projects I attempt under all this busyness are rather small.  Anything long term might never see the light of day, and find itself buried under the bed keeping company with the dust bunnies that live under there.  It feels good to get a project to its end and see something finished, unlike the dishes that keep finding their way from the cupboard back into the sink.

As you know,at times this blog is a tribute to the ladies of Quakertown Quilts in Friendswood, Texas that were willing to put it out there and learn to knit.  Their final project was to knit a bear for the Mother Bear Project.  This was no small feat!  It has taken many months to get all the smily faced bears finished.  The face being the hardest part for many, including myself.  Each bear has its own unique qualities and quirks, and for sure, no two are alike.  The best part of all is that each bear spent a lot of time with its maker and will be sent off to some place of need in Africa with lots of love to share.  With great delight I placed each bear in the box, 18 total.  It is now ready to send, and a project started is now finished. 

The information for making these bears can be found on the website above, or found in Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen.  I have this book and recommend it for gift giving for the holidays ahead.  It has some amazing stories and patterns, and certainly enough ways to give of your talents to meet many different tastes.  And giving back really does get you in the “mood” for the holidays, unlike the overwhelming row upon row of lights and ornaments, blow ups, greenery, and glittery blinking blarring bobbles and bows in every corner of every store. 

Good bye sweet Bears……go make a friend and share a hug or two with a small  someone who really REALLY needs you!

Mother Bear Project

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For the love of GREEN

Laurie’s box for CCSS

 Laurie, our Dishrag Team Captain, knew I liked green and that is why she knit me a varigated green dishrag for our reverse swap.  Many of us did this for the person who knit us a dishrag in the TAG relay.  We also got to add other goodies to the box that we thought would be fitting for that person.  So that is why I got green stitch markers that remind me of sea glass, and a BIG bag of peanut M&Ms.  The yarn is especially wonderful because you can dye it any color you so desire… favorite dye for yarn right now is Kool-aid (maybe lemon-lime with blue rasperry).   I haven’t knit with this particular kind of yarn for socks before, so I am delighted to get the opportunity.  THANK YOU, LAURIE for the wonderful box (just like a Christmas sock in a box)!

The color green seems to make its way into every corner of my life.  It is in the garden of course, in my knitting and sewing, in my dressing and jewlery, but most of all in my decorating.  I grew up in a green house on the inside.  Ivy dishes and ivy wallpaper with green walls…..a decor that stayed in that house forever.   I like to mix my green with reds and a touch of blue here and there, and that also hasn’t changed much over the years.  The intensity has but the basic colors have not…..just like me.  I use to be more shy and quite, and now I am more outgoing and …..should I say it…..LOUD!  Ouch!  I really do love to laugh out loud now than ever before!  That is the beauty of getting older and just being more secure as a person.


Since I am very creatively busy, I think the green around me that I can see grounds my ever increasing desire for creative expression.  Here are some walls that I look at every day, and love to feast my eyes upon for affirmation that yes, this is indeed my home.

Kitchen wall

I hope there are places in your home that speak of who you are and what you love.  I love dishes and miniture tea sets, sunflowers and things that say,”There are children around this house”.  My oldest Gboy made the pretzel house done over a small milk carton……I’m not sure he will ever get it back….I adore it!

Dining room wall


A Finished Project off the needles… 

Christmas Sock

I am presently in decorating (sewing) mode….finished some valances in the bedroom and an upholstered-type top for the upright piano, and I am now onto the piano seat…pics to come….stay tuned……

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