Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I really am back this time!!!

This time there really is some crafting going on round here!!  I've mostly sewn the lap blanket I bought fabric for before christmas (just need to quilt it) and I'm cutting out purses.  I don't think I've made a frame purse since I left Canada in 2011 ... let's see if I can remember how!!

So, what has been happening round here?  Umm ... not much!

Any excuses?  Yes, loads!!

I set my sewing machine up in our spare bedroom early in December, sewed something quick and easy and then had to tidy everything away for visitors.  I really do miss having that dedicated craft space!  After Christmas and visitors it got really cold (did you hear about the polar vortex?!) and there was no way I was going to sit next to a very draughty window to sew.  I also didn't knit or crochet over the winter due to ongoing problems with my neck and arm.

So the weeks went by and nothing much happened round here apart from lots of shivering!  I decided to get to grips with the US health system at last and registered with a dentist, primary care physician (that's a GP in English!), ob/gyn and optician.  They all wanted to do lots and lots of tests and, in the dentists's case, lots and lots of drilling.  Round three with the dentist is next week! Gulp! It's been quit an expensive few months, but I do have two new pairs of varifocals and I can actually see to thread the needle on my sewing machine again.  It makes a difference, you know!

Then we've been doing our taxes in various countries.  The less said about that, the better.

We went on holiday last month too and now that I have new specs I'll probably get round to editing my photos from New Orleans!  Having upgraded my photo editing software I've just realised that I need to create a new watermark brush tool before I post any of those photos online and I remember what a pain that was to do last time round, so it may take a while.  

And, of course, the baseball season started!!  Go Cards!!

When I finally thought about doing some sewing again the other week and sorted through my fabric, I realised my cutting mat is being used to protect the coffee table from all the electronics that currently reside on it whilst we wait for our new media centre to arrive (hopefully by June) ... so I've been out to JoAnn's this week and treated myself to a new one along with a few other essentials that I haven't found since we unpacked.  I've got to go back tomorrow as there were a few things I forgot, but I'm definitely in the mood to sew.

Watch this space!!

Friday, 6 December 2013

I'm Back!

We moved in about 3 weeks ago and slowly our apartment is getting sorted out.  The realities of moving to a small apartment mean that my sewing table is now in the guest bedroom, but at least I still have a dedicated table.  

The sewing machine is already in use - I made a blanket for my mate, Mack, who comes to visit and isn't allowed to sit on my leather sofa.  He doesn't quite understand that yet, but I'll forgive him as he's a real cutie and I think he'll know the blanket is for him, don't you?!

Mack - adorable, isn't he?! (And yes, he knows it!)

The next project will be for me and I bought some lovely cheerful fabric to take my mind off winter (it's snowing outside right now - not my favourite weather):

The one on the left is an Alexander Henry design (Oska) and the one on the right is Michael Miller's Stitch Circles.  They are destined to be a simple lap blanket for me.

We get some great sunsets here - this is a photo from the old apartment just before I moved - it's also the best I've seen Andy's office building looking!!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Just Stopping By to Say Hello!

It's been a bit quiet on this blog for a while, but I am still here!  Our container of furniture has just made it to St. Louis from Germany and so we'll be moving again shortly - can't wait to have a bit more space and to be reunited with our own things.  I've been thinking about all the things I can make once I have my sewing machine set up, but I guess I've got to get the apartment straight first as we have visitors coming for Christmas!

In the meantime I've been making the most of some glorious autumn days. Yesterday I went and climbed the bluff above the Meramec river (above).  Beautiful views!  I've been enjoying living in the city for the last few months, but it is nice once in a while to get out into the countryside!

And there is no shortage of autumnal tones in the city - the Gateway Arch park is turning a lovely shade of russet (above: from the top balcony of our building). 

Now I really should think about packing up some of the stuff that we've accumulated in the last 6 months ....  I'll be back after the move!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Catching Up!

I'm back from Europe, still slightly jet-lagged, but there is a little bit of crafty activity going on as I get my head round being back in the US after a month away.  Last night I picked up my tunisian hook that I had meant to take with me to Germany and started re-learning tunisian crochet stitches.  I signed up for a class on Craftsy before I left, thinking that I could do the course in the evenings after sorting out cupboards and generally doing moving type activity.  Of course, forgetting to take the hook put paid to that!

So the last month has been a bit hectic and slightly stressful.  I had a short time to decide what furniture and belongings to ship to our US apartment and what to leave in storage in Europe.  I have occasional nightmares that the stuff I labelled for storage will turn up at the end of October in the US and we won't have any of the things we need (like my sewing machine!), but in general I think packing went relatively smoothly.  

We'll gloss over the incident of the steel bar and the two gashes on my head that required super-gluing together, OK?  That lost me 4-5 days of prep time and hurt quite a bit, but I did eventually get everything done before the packers arrived including blocking the lace shawl that I crocheted earlier this summer but couldn't block here due to lack of space in our tiny apartment!

It's hard to photograph but you get the idea!  Blocking really does make such a difference - see how it looked before by clicking here.

The pattern is Summer Breeze by Eclat du Soleil (Ravelry link) and the yarn was The Natural Dye Studio's Precious Lace which is 100% silk and a dream to work with.

So, now I'm just waiting for my sewing machine and my yarn and fabric stashes to arrive.  We get to do moving all over again at the end of October when we move into a larger apartment, but in the meantime I've some crochet to keep me occupied!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Countdown to Moving

There really hasn't been much productive going on here lately ... and there won't be for the foreseeable future as I'm disappearing back to Germany soon to arrange our 'more permanent' move over here.  More permanent because we'll be here in sunny St. Louis for longer than the original 6 months ... but our moves are never anywhere near permanent.  I think we managed 3 years in one place once!  We have a dream of staying somewhere for a really long time (you know, five years or so!), but Andy's work never allows it and you've got to go where the work is!

I did get round to some crochet last week in front of the TV. This little bag is a pattern called The Crocodile Stitch Bag by Zoom Yummy   I used up some spare yarn I happened to have with me.  The pattern gives very detailed instructions and was very easy to make.  Next time I'm around a sewing machine I'll add a lining with the odd pocket and maybe a magnetic snap closure... I'm not a fan of knitted / crochet bags without linings as I think they tend to sag out of shape very quickly.

Right - back to my spreadsheet (yawn!).  Have you ever tried to list everything you own when you're not at home to see what you've missed?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

My Summer Breeze

Finished, but not yet blocked!

I have finished crocheting my shawl, but it won't be blocked till I have more space; either when I go back to Germany to pack up my house there or when we move to a larger apartment here this autumn.    It needs to be blocked to open it up and reveal the pattern more clearly - the border is spectacular when blocked.  

So this won't be worn for a while ... mind you, in this heat who needs a shawl?  

The pattern is Summer Breeze by Eclat du Soleil and is available from Annette Petavy and I've made it once before in the larger size as a present.  But this one is mine!!  I used a 100% mulberry silk yarn called Precious from The Natural Dye Studio in Devon and it was lovely to work with.

So, I've actually managed to finish a crochet project this year ... at last!  Time to find a yarn store and plan the next project!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Postcard from Washington D.C.

Early on a Sunday and there actually wasn't a crowd outside the White House - the day before it was hard to move out here!

A few weekends ago we went to Washington D.C. for 3 nights.  We realise now that we should have planned a whole week there, but we'll just have to go back sometime!!  There really is that much to see and do.

Great scaffolding on the Washington Monument!

The weather didn't really play ball for our trip - we either got soaked (probably the wettest I've ever been fully clothed!) or got sunburn.  The humidity was tiring and the crowds were horrendous.  But we'll happily go back!

WWII Memorial

Part of the Korean War Memorial

We did a lot of walking.  On the day we did the National Mall and Arlington my Fitbit (similar to a pedometer) recorded almost 25,000 steps ... that's a lot of steps!  

Lincoln Memorial


Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is huge.  We only managed to see a small part of it before the rain hit which is why I don't have a photo of the tomb of the unknown soldier (we saw the tomb but the rain was bouncing so hard I didn't want to get my camera out - it's hard with an umbrella in one hand!!).

Columbia Memorial

We seemed to be in museums when the weather was nice and outside when it wasn't - completely the wrong way round!  I didn't take my camera with me when we were visiting museums as it's far too heavy to carry around all day since I had that problem with my neck / arm last year - so I have fewer photos than normal.

In terms of museums we visited the American History Museum, the Air and Space Museum and we had a quick look at some of the side exhibitions in the Holocaust Museum.  The Air and Space Museum took up almost one whole day and was excellent - we have to go back to D.C. just to see the other part of the museum out near Dulles!!  The Smithsonian is fabulous - I'm sure it would take a long time to visit each of their museums and galleries!

No sooner were we back than it was the long Independence Day weekend.  In St. Louis that meant three days of air shows, firework displays and live entertainment.  

The sun was out and everyone had a good time.  Now it's back to normality - this is going to seem like a very long week!!!