the craft gene

My daughter likes to craft.

She made glasses the out of paper.

She made a paper penguin.

and she made a stuffed toy monster

The paper things she made without any direction or guidance from me.


The stuffed toy, I suggested what kind of fabric (polar fleece because it doesn’t fray, is soft and was on sale at Joann’s).  And I showed her how to thread a needle, and knot the ends.

Otherwise she did it all by herself.  I don’t know what possesses her to make these things. My friend Cynthia says she just has the craft gene, and I should stop worrying about her future, because she is awesome.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why I hate July 4

I’ve been just too too busy to get on the computer since July 4.

Every year there are July 4 concerts.  They happen outdoors where bugs live.  Bugs like me. My blood is more appealing to bugs than other peoples’ blood.  But during these July 4 concerts I can’t swat away the bugs because I’m being paid to play the damn 1812 Overture.

I also dislike July 4 concerts because the music the is the same every year and the viola part tends to be very very uninteresting to play.

I also dislike July 4 concerts because there are fireworks and I dislike being close enough to the fireworks that my bones rattle and my ears hurt.  But I can’t stop playing the 1812 Overture to run away from the fireworks and cover my ears.

But every year, I end up having no gigs in June.  And the email about needing a violist to come play the July 4 concerts for a measly $500 usually arrives just as I have my checkbook out and am trying to figure out how to pay $1000 worth of bills with only $500.  So every year I agree to play July 4.  And every year I swear this will be the last year I play a July 4 gig.

This year there was one bright spot.  We played on the ball field at Metro Park Stadium.  Right on second base.  I’m no baseball fan, but even I felt the magic of the baseball field.  They even let the musicians borrow the hometown baseball team’s jerseys.

I sent a friend a copy of this picture.

She said I looked happy in that picture.  I said I was happy because the bugs had not started swarming  and I had no idea there was going to be fireworks fired just 20 feet from my head yet.  Believe me, I was plenty grumpy about 30 minutes after that photo was taken.

But that is enough about me complaining about my gig.

During the July 4 weekend, I also got a chance to see Marcia’s Noro Log Cabin Afghan in progress.

Isn’t it gorgeous.

Almost makes me want to do one too.  Almost.

I HAVE to finish something first before I start something else.


Posted in knitting | Leave a comment

woman cave?

A few weeks ago I took the kids to NYC while my husband stayed home, worked and took care of the pets.  This weekend my husband took the kids to West Virginia while I stayed home, worked and took care of the pets.  It gives both of us a little break from each other and the pressures of taking care of young children. We do it every summer.  I take the kids somewhere without him for a few days, and he takes the kids somewhere without me for a few days.

When I take the kids out of town without my husband does things he likes to do that he can’t or doesn’t want to do when everyone is at home.  He makes a huge pot of ratatouille and eats that for all three meals for the entire week.  He folds the kitchen table so that it can only seat two people instead of four. He drinks beer and watches horror flicks all night. He seems happy when we get home, but he also seems to enjoy his alone time at home too.
There is the term, “man cave” to denote a living space that has been created with the comforts and interests of a stereotypical man in mind. I know someone who had a “man cave” custom built in the basement of his new home.  He had a bathroom with a urinal. A HUGE tv and gaming system dominates the room.  There is a fridge and microwave in this basement room for the express purpose of storing beer and heating up nachos.  It is a room designed expressly for the comfort and interests of a “man”. (The word man is in quotation marks because I know some men who don’t like to watch sports, drink beer and play video games all day. but that is another story)

This weekend with my husband and kids out of town I moved my sewing machine in front of the tv and spread fabric all the room.

I was basically setting up my “woman cave”.  It is comfortable for me to live like this. I can’t leave my sewing machine here when the kids and hubby get home.  I’ll just have to enjoy one weekend of sewing and watching the tv at the same time.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Someone at work told me yesterday that she feels she has to distance herself from me because I’m one of the most negative people she has ever met and my negativity is soul sucking.

Needless to say, I was surprised and hurt by that comment.  So I did what any woman would do next. I asked two friends outside of work if they felt I was a negative person. Being my friends, they said no.  They think of me as easy going and pleasant to be around.

But then I got to thinking, maybe it is all about context.  Maybe just like when ecru fabric is next to a brown fabric it appears white, but next to a white fabric it appears tan.   Maybe next to the other happy worker bees I’m dour and mean, but if I were in a Kafkaesque office situation I’d be considered upbeat and positive.

Or is it me?  Am I super negative when I’m at work.  Do I turn from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde when I arrive at my workplace?

Either way this is a problem in my head and I’m sure I can work it all out by spending a day knitting and sewing.  Cotton and wool are my prozac.

Here are some pretty pictures of what I’ve been sewing lately.

I’m still working on the blooming nine patch quilt.  I’m a little unsure that the striped fabric was a good choice.   Not because of the color, but because I’m confused by how I should line up the stripe.

Here are some 16 inch blocks I made using Westminster fabrics.  There is mostly Kaffee Fassett fabrics, but some Philip Jacobs and Brandon Mably thrown in too. In my humble opinion Westminster fabrics has the same addictive qualities as Noro yarn.  It has amazing color combinations that just grab you and your attention. I’m always amazed at how a Noro yarn looks great with a simple pattern and how Westminster fabrics look great with simple blocks.

Posted in blooming nine patch, kaffe fassett, sewing | 2 Comments

a road trip to NYC

I took the kids to New York City for three days to visit family.

That definitely isn’t the skyline of good ol’ Camp Hill PA in the background there.

While in NYC we got cupcakes at Cafe Magnolia.



we visited Nintendo World.








And we went to the Natural History Museum.


But most important of all…….


I got to leave the kids with my brother for an afternoon and make a pilgrimage to Purl Soho.OMG!  What a beautiful shop!

Everything was so artfully arranged and displayed.  I came home with some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.  No fabric.  Just a small purchase of yarn. If I weren’t saving up for a full size bass for my son, I would have come home with fabric and lots more yarn.

Overall, it was a nice trip to NYC.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

almost there

The knitting is finished on my Aidez Cardigan (free pattern on the Berroco site).

All that needs done is the sewing up. Sewing up always surprises me in how long it takes. I’ve also discovered a pleasant surprise in that the yarn called Comfort is an excellent choice for sewing up a knitted garment. I stumbled upon that fact out of sheer laziness. I had a ball lying on the coffee table from another project and was too lazy to get up out of the sofa to get another yarn. Usually the advice is to match the sewing up yarn’s properties to the properties of the garment’s yarn. In other words, use superwash wool with superwash wool, feltable wool with feltable wool, etc. But I think using comfort with this wool will be fine.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments


My daughter’s second grade art teacher did a very interesting experiment.  She had the second graders sit in front of a mirror and draw a picture of themselves in September.  Then in April she asked the kids to do another drawing of themselves while in front of a mirror.  Here are my daughter’s results.

I wonder if this is a mirror into her growth in self awareness.  Or is it just improvement in fine motor skills? Do the portraits show a happy child progressing toward a moody pre-teen?  Is she more aware of eyelashes, lip color and having hair that does not defy gravity six months later? She included her whole body standing on a blue ground in September.  In April we see only her face and shoulders. Does this mean her perception of how much space she occupies in the world has changes, or is her eyesight just better?

On the sewing front – I got another row attached to my blooming nine patch.

It only occurred to me this week that my husband might not like the finished quilt.  He loves the color green and this definitely isn’t a green quilt.  Someone suggested that I make this quilt reversible and make the back a green quilt.  Since quilting is a lot faster than knitting, I can see myself either doing that or making a second quilt altogether and just alternating them.  (I can’t see my husband ever making the bed though).

I’ve also been playing around with applique.  I didn’t think I liked applique until I tried it.

Cynthia at Stitch Your Art Out turned me on to a product that has the applique shapes printed on it. To work with it, you rough cut it out, and stitch around the solid line with interfacing on top of the right side of the fabric.  You have to make sure the rough side of the interfacing is touching the right side of the fabric.  Trim following the dotted lines.  Cut a slit along the dotted line in the middle, being careful not to cut your fabric.  Turn the whole thing inside out, and iron onto your background fabric.  From there you have a choice of sewing techniques.  I choose to use a nylon thread, and a blanket stitch with both the width and length setting at 1.

The end result is this:

I think I like the look of this method better than when you use a paper backed double sided fusible webbing.  It gives the edges a little bit of a raised look and makes the whole thing look almost like needle turned applique, which is something I never thought would matter to me.

If I did the same self portrait experiment my daughter did,  would my self portrait from 6 months ago somehow be able to indicate that six months ago I didn’t even know what needle turned applique was, and didn’t care.


Posted in blooming nine patch | Leave a comment