Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

In case you didn’t guess it from the title, we will have a little boy join the family soon. My daughter is having her second, and he will be my 4th grandchild. Holy Cow! Four grand children! I still don’t understand how that could be true when I am only 29! {in my mind}

Don’t you just love little babies? They are so sweet and precious. Their little toes are so tiny and cute, and their little cheeks so ripe for kissing. And in a short month, I’ll be able to hug and cuddle him. In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to make a few things for him.

We went on a cruise in June, and for most of the drive to FL and back I worked on a blanket from a free pattern I found on ravelry. After the first couple of rows, the pattern was pretty easy. However, it was super important that I count the stitches each row — missing just one would throw the other rows off.  I love the waves, and the popcorn stitches make it a little more thick than a typical blanket but not too heavy.

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Next up were some burp cloths and onesies.  I usually make burp clothes from pre-folded diapers and add some flannel.  This time I used flannel on one side and terry on the other.  They were super easy to sew up.  I hope they are absorbent.

DSC_0806 DSC_0808And the onesies I embroidered with an adorable little elephant and dinosaur that I digitized.

DSC_0800Up next, a quilt.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.  This little one is going to be ‘hooked-up’.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I must have been crazy to think I could vacation outside of the country for a full week right before Christmas.  We went on a cruise last week and returned this past Saturday which left me just 10 days to finish making and buying gifts for Christmas.  It was a beautiful and relaxing week.  We had ports of call in Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau.  But seriously, WHAT WAS I THINKING??!!

Grand Turk

Grand Turk

Wild Donkey on Grand Turk

Wild Donkey on Grand Turk
Oldest Church on Grand Turk (1840s?)

Oldest Church on Grand Turk (1840s?)

I was able to get all the crocheted gifts done to and from the drive to Miami.  At least I could mark that off my list…

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And I started on a knit shawl that I just LOVE!  I found the idea from Expression Fiber Arts using scrap yarn pieces.  So I decided to try my hand at knitting again and use up some of my yarn scraps. Since I’m a bit bigger than her, I’m planning on making mine a bit longer.  So far I have used 20 different yarns — all types and sizes.  I’m going to call it my “Shawl of Many Colors”.  DSC_0305

Other than that, I’m still working on THE quilt with the quadrillion half-square triangles.  I have most of the top done — but I keep having to stop assembling to make more blue half-square triangle units.  So far, I have had to make about 150 extra units.  All I can figure is that I seriously miscounted when I first made all of them.  I was supposed to have the sandwich done by Friday noon so I could start quilting it on the long arm I rented, but that’s not going to happen.  Maybe if I didn’t have to work I could do it, but otherwise I’m looking at Sunday before it’s finished and ready for quilting.  I love how the many different fabrics are giving it a marbled look.

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I really have to wonder if I was crazy to try to make a quilt this large when starting just 6 weeks before Christmas, or if I was crazy to go on vacation for a week. On to sewing a little more, and online shopping a little more.  I WILL BE DONE IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

1 Year Blogiversary

I can’t believe it!  I missed my blogiversary by 3 days.  One year ago, I posted my first blog.  And boy, was it scary!  Since then blogging has become easier, just as I knew it would; but that first blog, that first time putting myself out there, was really scary.  But, it’s always good to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.

Since then, the blog has seen a few changes.  Originally it was going to be a little bit of quilting, a little bit of homesteading, and a little bit of activities with the kids.  And there has been some of all of that.  But my passion really is with quilting and crochet, when I can find the time, so that is the direction I have been heading in lately and probably will continue down that path.

It’s really neat to read some of the older posts to see what was happening back then.  It was 79 degrees outside today — in December! — in North Carolina!  Our normal this time is year averages around 45-50.  So 79 was a true blessing, and I took my computer outside and worked most of the day to take advantage of it.  Then, I found it quite hilarious to read my first blog and see that it was 73 degrees that day — in December!  — in North Carolina!  I guess 70s aren’t all that uncommon in December after all.  And in two days, they are calling for the high to be 38 with a chance of sleet and freezing rain.  That is going to be a huge shock to the system!  But I won’t be here… Nope, in two days I will be heading to Florida and will have this view from the deck of the cruise ship.  I can’t wait!!!

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Otherwise, I can’t believe how fast time is flying.  I am no where near ready for Christmas, and my 13-year old continues to count down the days for me.  Only 19 more days to go!  Oh, joy!

I did finish one thing this week. We do an angel tree each year at work where we sponsor and buy Christmas presents for an under-privileged family in the local community.  So, among other things, I crocheted a hat for a 5-year old boy in the family and that is my finish for the week.  Yes, it’s a crochet finish again.  Sorry, it’s just that the quilt I’m working on is HUGE and it’s going to be 2-3 more weeks before it is finished.  But I am working on it as much as I can each week.

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Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

 

Oh! Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is up, the stockings are hung, and the snowmen are playing in the snow.  And it appears even my blog is in the Christmas spirit.

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The annual job of decorating is mostly done. It is certainly not a job I look forward to, although I really like the end result. My two oldest boys are living on the other side of the country this year, and don’t plan to make it home for Christmas.  I was missing having them here and shed a few tears when no one else was watching.

I also spent this weekend cleaning up and purging some old clothes, toys, books, and stuff. In fact, I have a whole car full of stuff to take to the thrift store tomorrow. Really, where does it all come from? I wish I could do that daily until I get the house and storage areas uncluttered, but earning a living requires that I spend most of my time each week working for someone else instead.

So, due to all the other extra curricular activities this weekend, I haven’t gotten as much sewing done as I would have liked on the quilt top I’m making with the HST’s. Hopefully I’ll make a little bit of progress this week.

Otherwise, I did want to show you the flannel blankets I made. Remember the elephant and robin I spent forever and a day trying to digitize? Well, I did finally finish it and was able to get the blankets embroidered and made. And I won’t share any of the pictures of the baby with the blanket since it is not my family and not my right to share them. But the baby was adorable with her blankets and the mom was very touched. The robin was meant to be a reminder of her grandmother, the baby’s great-grandmother, that has passed and wasn’t able to be there for the birth.

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I also finished crocheting another baby blanket. But of course, I forgot to take pictures outside today so you’ll have to live with an indoor photo.
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I would say December is off to a good start. Now, if I can just get my Christmas shopping done and presents made before the 25th. Haha, that might be pushing it.  I would like to request a few extra weeks…  Do you think we could delay it?

Oh, and I keep forgetting to mention, I added a few things to my etsy store and everything is 18% off thru 12/2 and 15% off the rest of the December.   Check it out.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeyNeedle?ref=si_shop

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

Friday Crochet Finish

I’m so excited!  With busy season through mid-September, and then my daughter’s wedding in mid-October, I feel like I haven’t had much time to craft.  Therefore, I’m so excited that I finally finished something.

I’ve haven’t really shown you much of my crochet work prior to now.  Just know, that I always have at least one (read this as 2-4, some more difficult than others) crochet project(s) in the works at one time.  However, I typically only crochet when I don’t have access to my sewing machine.  So, I’ll crochet when riding in the car, waiting in the doctor’s office, etc.  Meaning that a project that might normally be pretty quick for me to push out, ends up taking quite a bit longer.

So during my trip to Charleston, I was able to finish this beautiful baby blanket.  This is one of the simplest crochet projects I’ve done in a while.  The pattern is from the booklet “More Circular Baby Afghans” by Leisure Arts and was very easy to follow.  I thought I would take pictures of it while I was here in this beautiful city.

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As much as I love to make my own quilt patterns, designing my own crochet patterns is much more challenging to me.  About 2 years ago I made an angel for our tree.  This is an original design.  I made it up as I went along, but converting this into a pattern for others to follow is beyond my skills.  Wonder if there’s an app for that?

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Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Best of Show!

Each year for the past 4 years I have entered my handmade items into competitions at our North Carolina State Fair.  The first year I entered just crocheted items.  I have been crocheting many, many years and knew that I did good work, but I really didn’t know how my work compared to others.  All three items that I entered that first year won ribbons — 2 first place, and a second place.

(I looked for and could not find a picture of the christening gown I crocheted that year.  I’m sure I have a picture somewhere, just not sure where.)

After that first year, I was hooked.  It’s not the prize money — each first place wins just $6-$8 and second and third place win even less than that.  It’s the thrill of the competition!  It’s exciting to see a ribbon on an item you made.  It’s exciting to see others appreciate your hard work.

2012 Fair Win

2012 Fair Win

Since then, I have expanded my entries into other areas.  I usually win several ribbons, and usually do best with the items that I made throughout the year rather than the items I try to make at the last minute. And these are items I would be making anyway — they are baby gifts, Christmas presents, birthday gifts, or usually just something I wanted for my own use.  This year I focused on quilting and embroidery more than crochet.

The first quilt I entered 2 years ago, didn’t win anything.  It is still one of my favorite quilts though, and I have kept it for myself.

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The Mexican Rose original design quilt I entered last year won 4th place.  I was very happy with that because there is stiff competition in all the quilt categories, and it was my first quilting win.

Mexican Rose

Mexican Rose

My entries for the 2013 fair did great…

Torreya Turtle won 1st place in the stuff toy category.

Torreya Turtle

Torreya Turtle

Ellie the Elephant came in second place in the baby quilt category.

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My nativity embroidered quilt won a first place ribbon.

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And last but not least, my goose tracks quilt won BEST OF SHOW.  Finally, that Best of Show award is no longer evading me.  I was so excited, I was giddy.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  YAY!!

IMG_3250I’m still shooting for a best of show in the crochet/knitting category too.  Maybe next year…

Cutest Kitty!

K – 18 months old

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UFO #2 is done.  I crocheted a Hello Kitty cap for monkey #3.  She came to visit today and we got some great pictures of her in it.  This was supposed to be a Christmas present, but I got sick right before Christmas and didn’t get it finished.  I used a pattern posted by Crochet in Color.  It was very easy to follow.

We played outside and played with the baby bunnies.  It was a nice break in my work day.  She turns 18-months old in just 2 days and is talking up a storm.  I think she liked the hat.

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