You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day Love


Recently, while going through some things in my basement I came across a bagful of lovely doilies that had been my grandmother’s. Some, I am told, were made by my grandmother herself and others crafted by her mother and aunt.   Either way they are very old and were offered to me when my grandmother died in 1994. I happily accepted them as I easily envisioned these vintage treasures framed or even made into pillows.  Of course I was certain I would get to the task eventually.  I love crocheted doilies; they remind me of giant snowflakes each one unique in their own right.  I imagined my ancestors using skill and patience as they created intricate designs and patterns. As a child I recall them decorating our home, often used as “dresser scarves “ in our bedrooms or on end tables in the living room. My mother placed them underneath lamps, bowls and ashtrays; their elegance dressing up an otherwise mundane living space. With Valentine’s Day approaching I knew it was time for me to put “ good intention into action”. Unfortunately the doilies were filthy; I hadn’t taken care of them and it showed. I started by soaking them in my old standby  Fels Naptha laundry soap and then blocked them back to shape.  Next I found the perfect piece of fabric and made the envelope style pillowcase. On the day before Valentine’s Day  I brought the elaborately wrapped pillow to my 87 year old mom’s house and presented it to her. Nothing could have prepared me for her reaction. Clearly she absolutely loved it. She remembered the doily well and it brought her back to times gone by.  We spent a good amount of time talking about her life and  the “good old days”. She shared her memories with me; some I had heard and some I had not but all were pleasant and heartfelt.
 
It was a
Wonderful Valentine's Day!
 A day of Love,

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snow Day Cowl

Not far from my house there is an awesome second hand shop. Not only is it filled with unique and interesting items for sale at ridiculously low prices, it is non profit organization; all proceeds go to the local food pantry and the hot meals program serving those in need. Fortunately I have to pass by the store on my way to and from work so naturally I stop by when I can as the prices are just  too good to resist. I start by making a beeline to the yarn bin (why I don't know because God knows I won't live long enough to use the stash I already have). Then I make my way over to the furniture. Next stop jewelry, purses and accessories. I finish off at the book section.( If I ever go missing just look for me there.)
As luck would have it, about six months ago I "hit the jackpot". I scored 8 skeins of Cocotte Lainer du Nord wool yarn, all for only $5.00. This yarn retails for $8.25 per ball in stores, a whopping savings of $61.00. Cha Ching! The yarn was brand new with label and price tags intact. Of course I grabbed it. Once home I admired it, imagined the beautiful items I would make and then eventually like everything else I put it away for "safe keeping" and forgot about it. Well, thanks to the third New England Blizzard in as many weeks I have come down with a bad case of Cabin Fever. To keep from going stir crazy I went looking for a project and found one. Hence the

Snow Day Cowl.

The crochet pattern was easy and it worked up quick. I have to admit the yarn isn't really "my color".
Luckily I know someones who's it is. 
 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Only Fools Rush In.......

Of all the projects I have attempted, the hat that I made for my daughter for Christmas was by far the most challenging. This was a new project, something I spotted on her Pinterest page. (Yes I am a Pinterest  stalker, always looking for great gift ideas.)  Anywhoo...How does this fit into  my "finally finishing" criteria of completing old projects you ask?
Well it does.... read on.
At first glance  I thought the hat pattern would work up quickly and I could easily "sneak" it in between the unfinished ones. That was not to be and  I soon found myself in a quandary. First off  I couldn't figure out the pattern. Partly because it was new to me but mostly because I tend to dive into things without reading the pattern through. Mostly though I tend to think I am smarter than the pattern writer. If  I have a problem understanding instructions, I  will often "chalk it up" to typos or other technical mistakes.  I know, I know.  Well, I probably knitted and re-knitted the blasted hat 10 times.  Now the old Jackie, out of sheer frustration,  would have stuffed this item in a bag and forgotten it forever or even "gasp" pitched it in the rubbish. The new and improved Jackie with the vow of combating procrastination, persevered.  At my "wits end" I finally sat down and read through the pattern line by line. There it was, as plain as the nose on my face. In the appendix, a short note  clearly explaining the intricate stitch pattern.
Whewwwww......
 
Here it is!
 
 
Finally Finished
and greatly appreciated by my daughter!
 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I SPY, With My Little Eye..Christmas Smiles, My Oh My!


Happy Holidays my faithful readers. Yes it has been a while since I've posted here but my absence has not been in vain.  I've been on a secret mission and couldn't risk being exposed.  I should have known when I dragged out the enormous bin of long forgotten fabric scraps that I would be in trouble; yet, as is my way, I jumped in with both feet and began the execution of the "long ago promise" of making an "I Spy Quilt". I first learned about these awesome children's blankets when I bought one for my firstborn grandson 13 years ago. Because of it's popularity I purchased another 4 years ago when baby #2 was born. I vowed then if I ever had another grandchild I would create my own quilt rather than " pan out"
the lofty asking price again. Last year when news that grandchild #3 was on the way I began collecting more fabric scraps in anticipation of this day. As the saying goes, "the rest is history". I measured, cut and stitched until I thought I would go blind. (I quickly learned that these blankets are worth every "red cent" that I had paid. )But it was too late; I was in too deep! The blanket is a plethora  of children's themed patterns, designs and colors. It is both pleasing to look at and educational. Like the popular children's book series I Spy, written and illustrated by the talented  author Walter Wick the game is simple. One simply chooses an object, color or shape from the blanket saying "I SPY"..........(whatever). The participants, young and old quickly scan the quilt in an effort to find the hidden object.  The winner is the one who finds it first. It has been reported to me by my daughter that the gift was a huge success in her home on Christmas morning!
 
Merry  Christmas
Baby Drew
.

                             MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
 
Happy New Year
 
OXOX




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Halloween.....my human Gnome!

The problem with trying to finish every project that I have ever started and abandoned, is that it is an unattainable goal. You all know that I have a mountain of projects just waiting to be completed and if I never started anything new sure, I guess I would eventually finish all of them. But at what cost?  Certainly I would have missed out on this little gem. So now and then I take a break. I begin something new and I actually finish it. Here is my little grandson Drew dressed as a 
Garden Gnome for Halloween.
I couldn't have been easier to make either. I made the felt hat, fleece tunic and even crocheted the soft beard.
 Nothing but the best for this little guy. 
Happy Halloween Baby Drew

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sweet Dreams "Little Spidey"


I first came across the Spider-Man Web blanket a few years ago while perusing the web. It was love at first sight. I loved the way the red and blue colors looked together and was swept away with the embedded, black web outlines. I filed the project away in my head with a million other things I would never remember nor get to for that matter. After all, at the time my only grandson Dylan, was a bit too old for such things and little did I know then that Grant, 
grandson #2 , would come along with a love of all things 
"SPIDEY"
A few weeks ago the little Spider-Man blanket pattern resurfaced on a favorite blog that I follow; http://www.theharrissisters.blogspot.com . This time I was quick to action as I realized that time was of the essence. I knew I had to make it and make it quickly before that "fickle" little boy of mine changed his mind about good old “SPIDEY” and moved on to another action hero. So with the Christmas just around the corner I got right to it.  Here it is and thank goodness I’m done. While there was nothing hard about crocheting this blanket I must say I grew good and tired of the repetition of the pattern. Unfortunately for me there was quite a bit of finish work to be done, i.e. weaving in multiple yarn ends and marking out the web. As you all know I am not good at finishing things. I tend to be excited about new beginnings and bored with  endings.  That my friends is changing  (I hope). Anyway, I  finished it.  I've even added an appliqué spider for special effect.  (I think it might scare the dickens out of him though and if that is the case I will be removing the little critter sooner than later.)

I’m excited about giving this to my grandson Grant for Christmas this year.  He will love it for sure. 
  Please keep your fingers crossed my faithful readers.
 I fear that by December Grant might be all about BATMAN instead and that will be a problem as 
 I don't crochet with black yarn.....
Caped Crusader or Not.
Peace Out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Sample of Love

Back in 1967 when I entered Junior High School, like all 7th grade girls I was required to take Home Economics which at the time consisted of one semester of sewing and one semester of cooking. I couldn't have been happier.  My mother and grandmother both did amazing needlework and I was eager to learn too. Our first project was a cross stitch  "Country Sampler" which read
"Bless This House O Lord We Pray"
and under the watchful and often critical eye of our teacher Miss Bradstreet we learned the fine art of hand embroidery.  Even before my needle hit the fabric I knew that I would make this special sampler for my grandmother and would give it to her for Christmas. I did just that. The gift was received with much love, admiration and appreciation of all the hard work that had gone into it. She loved it and treasured it for many years, displaying it proudly in her home until the day she died nearly 20 years ago.  At that time my mother took down from the wall and gave it to me; she knew I would want it.  Of course I had every intention of cleaning and reframing it "another day".  But by now you know "another day" never came. Instead it stayed packed away out of sight and out of mind. A few weeks ago in search of something else, I  came across the handstitched little sampler. I was surprised  and dismayed to see  how discolored and worn out it had become. It made me sad to see the once cheerful sampler that had brightened my grandmother's home look so dreary. I knew then that this was to be my next project.
 

I carefully cleaned it the best I could using a bar of the old fashioned Fels Napa Laundry Soap and it did wonders. As I gently hand washed the old fabric I recalled my "12 year old self " laboring over the tiny stitches a lifetime ago trying my best to make this gift beautiful.  Only now, through the adult lens can I see how crude and uneven the stitches are. How the back is sloppy, knotted and frayed. Funny how I never saw these imperfections. I had never thought it was poorly made.


My grandmother saw the true beauty though, and to her it
WAS
 perfect.