Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Changing Seasons

Well, my trip to daughter Eleni's over the week end did prove to show that fall really is here and winter will follow close behind.

There were very few bright colored trees (I'm sure because of the dry weather we have had here) on the trip over the mountains on Thursday, but on the way home, the leaves were already gone! Must have been quite a windy couple days.
I did get a couple shots in the foothills on the South Carolina side of the mountains.

In a few days, I'm hoping this view from my sewing room window will have a little more color.

But winter coming? Besides the pretty cool Sunday morning temperature in South Carolina, and frost on Tuesday morning here in East Tennessee, getting ready for Christmas is a sure sign that winter is coming. I had lots of fun in Eleni's shop while she was gone and the children were in school. I got to unpack a lot of her Christmas items. I'm not really sure which were my favorites. She has some of the most beautiful florals I have ever seen.

And while they look pretty good just stuck in a vase the way I did it (although, even the photos don't do them justice) her arrangements are so much better . . . absolutely fantastic.

She also carries Mark Robert's "Fairies" which have apparently become quite a popular collector's item in some circles. This is just one of the many that I unpacked.

I remember how much I liked this Nativity set when I was at "market" with her in January. (The light streaming in the shop window made it a little difficult to get a good photo, but I just had to share it with you.)

OK, if Christmas is coming, I'd better get back to work on those jammies!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yep, it's a funky fall

All right, this is getting ridiculous. I wanted to show you a photo of our fall leaves, but alas, they are not "fall" leaves just quite yet. I will be taking a trip through the Smokie Mountains tomorrow (on my way to grandchild--they are not babies--sit in Columbia, SC.). Perhaps I can get some good photos of an Appalacian fall for you after all somewhere along the way. We shall see.

If not that, I will at least be able to show you some of the fun things in daughter Eleni's shop. Most of you know my daughter Anna Maria; I thought I'd like to show you a little of her big sister's artistic talent as well.

On the home front, I am hoping to return to some real fall colors on the trees. I admittedly do have some nice mums, but along with them I also have

a springtime shamrock,

a summer rose,

and my crazy Christmas cactus . . .

Everything is so crazy with the flowers of nature, let's just make our own beauties knitting or quilting. Oh, that reminds me, I need to go put some yarn and needles in my suitcase! I think I'll even take my quilt with me and try my hand at quilting with the work on my lap--that is when I'm not holding Eleni's miniature dachsund, Fiona.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ah, fall in the air! Even if it is nearly 80 degrees out, you can still just FEEL it! As I look out the laundry/sewing room window and see the leaves blowing and slowly changing from green to beautiful yellows and reds (I'll share a photo of that when there is just a bit more color.), it's for sure that autumn is beginning. But with the fall winds blowing, it means that winter and Christmas can't be to far behind. That tells this "Nani" that it's time to get crackin' on those PJs for the grandchildren. (My husband swears I'll be making them PJs when they're 40. Not to worry, I won't be around that long.) Just how long will I keep making them? I don't know. Granted the oldest is almost 16; perhaps she thinks it's kind of a"lame" gift, but if she does, she doesn't let on. And of course she doesn't mind the little gift certificate tucked inside the package, either. I guess it may be time to start that with her 12 year old cousin, too.

You've seen some of the fabric. Well, I've got the rest now and did some more cutting today.
My daughter-in-law mentioned that her 5 year old is really in to night gowns now instead of pajams. So, the 4 younger girls will get gowns:

This for 6 and 3 year old sisters.

And this for their 5 & 8 year old cousins.

This fabric is so nice. I got it at a quilt shop and the quality is so much better that the sale flannel I used to buy. Not as many novelty prints to choose from, but I thought this might be a little change. The fabric just feels so good that I couldn't wait to get it cut out to see how much fabric might be left for a quilt. I'm thinking a "hearts and flowers" quilt. Hmmmmm, like I don't have enough not-even-begun-quilts in my stash closet!

Speaking of quilts, I am still plugging away on the hand quilting I started a few weeks ago. I finally have a comfort level of "rocking" the needle, using an under thimble.

I like this thimble for my stitching hand:

Still lots of frogging ("rip it, rip it"), here and there, but I'm slowly progressing.
Although these next photos are not very clear, you may be able to see how much smaller my
newer stitches are

compared some earlier ones!

Nowhere near 15/inch that a cyber friend told me that she gets! I guess I'll just have to keep at it! So I guess I'll close here and do just that!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


OK, I'm a little confused: it was almost 90 degrees yet again yesterday. I was even able to take a nice swim on Sunday and Monday.

But my front porch mum is looking really good:

and my Christmas cactus is beginning to bloom!

So I guess that means it's just about flannel time and I really can start on those Christmas PJs for the grandchildren (10 and counting--another due in Feb). My daughter, Anna Maria, suggested last year that for the older children I just make PJ bottoms and get coordinating knit shirts. What a time saver and the kids love them! So that's the plan again this year. I have already picked up a few fabrics

Oops, sorry about the blurry photos!

and shirts

over the last few months, so no reason I can't get started even before a trip to the fabric store.

So I guess instead of talking about it, I'd just better do it. Not to worry, though, sewing is my daytime work so I'm still able to keep up with my knitting and quilting in the evening!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Goodness, it seems like it's been forever since I have visited with you nice folks who are interested in the little projects that I work on now and then. I don't consider myself very adept at computer, digital camera, or blogging skills, so I was surprised just how quickly I was able to put this together today. Sorry it's been a while in coming; we have actually been home from our trip to Greece for almost a week--just takes me a while to get caught up.

We aren't the typical tourists when we go; we go mainly to keep up with a little piece of property their that my husband inherited from his father. There are about 90 olive trees on a section of the property, about 1/2 of them that my husband planted a few years ago. We typically go in late fall or early winter for the olive harvest, but because of a family wedding in August and a drought that will limit the olive production, we opted to go in the summer this year. Sorry, no photos for you from Greece; I didn't take my digital camera, only the "film" camera--to make it easier to share family photos while we were there.

We were blessed that we were not directly affected by the many fires, although we were able to smell the smoke some days; there was a smoky haze in our view of the mountains; and one day 7 firefighting planes flew over our little house. So tragic; my heart breaks for the people who have lost all that they have ever known. But they were blessed after the tragedy in that there was an outpouring of help from the throughout the world. I could write quite an epistle of my impressions, but it could not begin to convey my emotions of confusion as to why the arsonists think they have anything to gain, or my respect for the faith and resiliency of those affected--so I will spare your reading an inadequate account of those feelings.

Instead I will share with you how I spent my leisure time between family visits, basking in the sun, and trying to stay cool in the early weeks of our visit. (Many--actually most-- days, there was a prayer said with each knitted stitch.)

The early, hot days I was happy that I had taken my cotton with me. These are 6 of the 11 dishcloths I made. These came home with me and I left the other 5 there. I made 8 mini versions also--coasters.

Some of you may remember the "hoodie" that I made for my granddaughter. This is a scarf from the leftover yarn, that will no doubt be a Christmas or birthday gift for my son.

This scarf was going to be for my sister, but (not being accustomed to knitting with mohair) I somehow managed to go from 54 to 39 stitched in the rows. So I'll keep it for myself and try again for her. I found a couple of the "drops", and I actually don't know if the rest are dropped stitches or unplanned "decreases". I'm not willing to take the chance on having it unravel on her, though!

And yes, HOORAY, I knit myself a pair of socs:

I'll alter the pattern next time to accommodate my German ancestry large calves. I'll make the top shorter (I'll need to "bunch" these at the ankle), by using a larger needle until I get to the foot. But, overall, I'm pleased with my first attempt--so much so that I'm using the leftover for a newborn pair for our expected 11th grandchild:

And now that I'm home I can get back to the quilting--too hard to take that with me.

I need to get scooting to buy a birthday present for our dear Zoe and get it in the mail--it's not her turn for a sweater until next year. But, hmmm, I do have to choose a vest pattern for young Joseph. Gosh, a vest--no sleeves, I just might be finished in 29 days! I'll keep you posted.