Wednesday, December 31, 2014

'Tis a loovely day for a walk, they tell me

Hello, everyone.

I woke up this morning to weather that even the dogs and chickens don't want to go out in: 48F, north wind, and drizzle/rain from time to time.

In weather like this, the Irish ladies assured us that it's a "lovely day for a walk!"  

The poncho kept the pack, and contents, dry! And I needed it a lot that day. (Zubiri)
Quick comments on the rain poncho: this is the taffeta type with the extra long back that will cover the pack. It doesn't reach down to cover the lower legs, but if it did I'd probably trip over the hem. The snaps at the sides are easy to open, sometimes by accident, and if you don't use them, the whole poncho can turn around to where the long parts are down the sides instead of front and back. Especially in wind! It's also very noisy to wear--hey, it's taffeta!--and since it is water resistant and wind resistant, it will keep heat in.

I wore it over the green windbreaker because it was a day like today, and over my green sun hat, to keep the rain off of my glasses.

Note that the snaps came undone and the wind has worked its magic. (Alto del Perdon) 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

...And another one down!

Hello, everyone.

The Red Quilt is finished!

From miscellaneous squares in need of a home in September
to UFO with strong diagonal elements and sashing (the dark blue strips) to separate the squares
to completed baby/lap quilt at the end of the year.  (Which I am unwilling to wait for the final wash to complete before posting this, so y'all can refer back to the last time the Red Quilt was discussed to view the navy blue satin blanket-binding borders, instead of seeing a new picture here. There are no changes from the last picture except the final hand sewing.)

This means the decks are cleared for the Peanut Quilt: which I already have the fabrics for. I'm thinking something in the tesselated crosses line, maybe with an accent square in the center of each cross--a pieced fish square?--and with the colors being: soft greens, yellows, some oranges and golds, some purples. The fish squares, being pieced from two fabrics, will either mirror one another across the quilt--allowing me to use the "solid" prints economically--or be a mix of "solid" print and white. I haven't decided yet.

It's also possible that a pieced boat or two will materialize inside one of the tesselated crosses.

The one thing I do know for sure is that it must be completed by the middle of February!

I wish for everyone a happy and prosperous new year.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Quilting progress

Hello, everyone.

I have made progress on the Red Quilt.
Side bindings done! End bindings half done!
I hope that this will be finished this weekend. (All it needs is the hand sewing and the final wash.)

Then I can begin on the baby quilt for DD1, and none too soon as she's due in less than 2 months.

My sweetie and I  have been talking about walking, too. We find that we're drawn to return to Santiago--or maybe to try the walk from Switzerland down to Rome. All we know for sure is that the trail calls to us. We shall see what becomes of this yearning over time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas greetings

Hello, everyone.

It's 60F and my sweetie wanted to show off our mandarin oranges!

Merry Christmas to all, and may you enjoy all the blessings of the season!

Friday, December 19, 2014


Hello, everyone. I was clearing off a flat surface in my “office”—that being the room that the computer, the sewing machine, the beading stuff, and a lot of books live together in—and it occurred to me to discuss some of the books that I referred to during the Great Dress Project.
The Great Dress Project was my daughter’s wedding dress, which included a shrug and many assorted false starts. During the adventure, I bought a number of books about various embellishment techniques and formalwear/wedding projects.

One I had on hand at the beginning of the adventure was Bridal Couture, by Susan Khalje. This had been my assistant for various sewing projects over the years. When my daughter got engaged, I pulled it off the shelf and went through it again. When she settled on a shape (the first time) I used it and some off the shelf patterns to come up with the prototype strapless bodice. When she changed the bodice to include band sleeves, it was back to Bridal Couture again! I cannot say enough words about how helpful this book is. You can use it for bridesmaid dresses and high school formal dresses just as well as for wedding dresses. And its discussion of various fabrics is a good start on the process of creating the whole project.

She decided on a beaded dress, so I accumulated books on beading, to go along with one I had already: Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples, by Yasuko Endo; Beading on Fabric, by Larkin Jean Van Horn; Beyond Beading Basics, by Carol Rodgers; Fine Embellishment Techniques, by Jane Conlon; Bead & Sequin Embroidery Stitches, by Stanley Levy.

The one that was already here was Designer Bead Embroidery by Kenneth D. King. It was helpful, but other than the very wise advice about underlining to give structure to the fabric and using an embroidery frame, I didn't end up using actual words in it much. It did get me started on prototyping various stitch ideas, though, and that taught me a whole lot! In particular, that less can be so much more in design, and that sequins really weren’t going to be needed.

Sequins and shapes--oops, too busy! Loopy stitches--totally not needed!

Test of various floral elements and bead combinations.
This bit of testing became the springboard of the final design. (The pinkish part on the left was the keeper. Done, of course, in ivory like the dress and silvery-white.)

Here is part of it, being added to the bodice-front pieces. (3mm Swarovski perles, Miyuki size 11 seeds and size 15 rocailles)

The blue lines are the tracing lines, which are not on the actual fabric. They're on Sulky Solvy! Which, conveniently, dissolves in water. And that's what it did at the end of the beadwork.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Hello, everyone.

I suppose y'all can tell that the Christmas seasonal rush has been keeping us busy. The group activities are done, but there are still many family things. Gift shopping. Cookie baking. This year, for my first time, cookie decorating. (I think I don't like almond extract.) Fruitcake baking. Wrapping. Checking the delivery progress of mail-order things that haven't come yet.

Today, as I was getting ready to roll out a ball of dough, my sweetie said, "What are we having for dinner?" Umm. So we pulled an octopus out of the freezer and put it into the sink to thaw. Then, because the food that goes with octopus is baguette bread, pulled the two frozen loaves out to thaw and rise. And when I sat down at the computer and riffled through the pictures in it, I came across this:
The old fortress of Carlos V--or is it San Carlos?--in Fisterra. The nice man who showed us around the Fishing Museum inside is on the right. Check out the gorgeous hydrangea bush!
 And especially this:
Lobster traps/octopus traps.
The man told us that these round boxes are lobster traps. They put the bait (chicken necks or something like that) into the trap and leave the little door open for the lobster to go into it. Apparently the lobster can't figure out how to get out again. Or he is trying to take the food with him and won't leave it. At any rate, it developed over time that the fishermen would pull up the trap and find, not a lobster, but an octopus. The octopus would come along and either go for the lobster bait himself, or even more likely, go for the lobster. Then he would look around and say, "hey, nice cave. I think I'll just live here." And he'd stay. He'd even stay while they pulled the trap up. All because he's greedy (for the food) and lazy (just moves in on this little "cave.")

I wonder, now, how many of our bad habits that we get are basically us acting like octopus? We do something because it's easy and seems to solve a little problem. Then we get comfortable in it, and don't even think about changing. Even if the little habit turns into a bad problem, often we don't open our minds to getting rid of the habit. And all the while that rope is getting tighter on the trap, and pulling it up and up...until our self-created bad habit make a big wreck of some thing that we really care about.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Frutas del bosque remembered

Hello, everyone.

The Camino lives and grows in your soul, and at the oddest times you find yourself missing one particular moment. That happened to my sweetie this weekend. He went to HEB and saw the ripe (imported) cherries and came home to say that I should pick them up. It's a great deal, he said. Well. Maybe, for midwinter, but they were still about $6/pound. (4-plus euro for the half kilo, ouch!) I didn't get them. But I thought about it--and here is where my thought led me:

In the last part of the Camino, in Galicia I think, we were walking along over green and often woody hills. We passed one particular bit with some houses, my sweetie walking ahead as he so often did, and I looked up and found I'd caught the eye of the sweetest little old lady. She was sitting on her chair in her drive, just off the trail, and arranging frutas del bosque (raspberries) in baskets for sale to the passing pilgrims. She smiled at me with the brightest twinkle in her eye...I caught up to my sweetie a few steps later and said, "I can't believe you passed that up." Well, he didn't know what I was even talking about, so he went back, and there she still was. He got a basket of berries and we munched on down the trail, quenching our thirst with the wonderful berries.

And that was what he was really after with the cherries. He wanted to be there again, on the trail, meeting this nice old lady and getting a basket of berries to eat.

Once I figured that out, I looked around for something that was a little closer to frutas del bosque. And there were fresh blackberries there, marked down to about a dollar for 6 ounces. I got two packages of those and handed them to my sweetie with "I got your frutas del bosque at the store."

Now I want to be back there, smiling at that sweet lady, and then tasting the lovely juicy berries. (and as with so much we saw toward the end, neither of us had a camera out!)

This and the next one were both on the same day. The path was slanted and rocky, so we walked on the road instead. That bright red speck is my sweetie, up ahead.

We saw so many different pilgrim statues. You can see, he has his staff, his water gourd, his Cross of Santiago on his coat, and his shell on his hat.

Top of the pilgrim monument at the overlook Monte de Gozo just before Santiago.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Doggie love

Hello, everyone.

This morning, at our doggies' cookie time, the bag was almost empty. Oops. Forgot to put dog cookies onto the grocery list.

So--rather than going back to the grocery store for the second time in two days--it was dog cookie baking time.

My Bo Friberg pastry book has a secret recipe buried in the introduction; it's the dog cookie recipe he makes for his own dogs. I adapted it a little. Our dogs love the homemade cookies.

 The cookbook--actually the link is to the 4th edition, mine is the 3rd. I'll bet the dog cookie recipe is still there.
His recipe is basically milk-flavored. I substitute beef bouillon from the cube, and use the saved grease from frying various yummy foods on the stove instead of just pouring plain vegetable oil.
Flour, gluten flour, whole wheat flour, a wee bit of salt

The oil has been poured in.
The finished dog cookies. My buddies will love me tomorrow morning!

I used the dough hook instead of the mixing blade. I'm not sure why--just did. It worked fine. You can see below that I skipped using the spiffy dog-bone shaped cookie cutters. Strips are fine. The dogs aren't particular about the shape.
I used 5 small eggs instead of 3 large ones--drilled them with the Dremel so the shells can be used in the future. (Possibly for an Easter decoration, we'll see.) And the bouillon cubes instead of the milk powder. Because my doggies like beef-broth dipped cookies!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving food pictures

Hello, everyone.

I did take a few pictures while cooking for Thanksgiving this year...I think it's all pies. (Yum.)

Ripe Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced, with cranberries, sugar, flour, and a wee bit of cinnamon
 I gave the apple peels to my birdies. They weren't quite sure what to make of them.
THE pie book. Which should be brought back into print! 
 Last year I scoured the internet to find a copy of this for my sweet DIL. It has great dough recipes, fruit pie recipes, and a wonderful after-turkey-meal pie recipe. (Calls for cooked chicken, works great with turkey.)
The Cranberry-Apple pie recipe. I followed their crust instructions this time, but in future I'll stick with a solid crust, so the fruity juicy stuff won't dry out in the top half of the pie.

Completed Cranberry Apple pie. Crust for Lemon Meringue pie in background.

The 6 separated eggs for the lemon pie.

The foolproof lemon pie recipe. When the card looks like this, you know it's been loved.
The lemon pie is from the Blue Ribbon recipes book, hand copied years and years ago. And unlike most of the lemon meringue pie recipes I've tried, this one always thickens. It has a bit of flour to go with the cornstarch.
My sweetie made a pie, too: Bourbon Pecan pie from the Encyclopedia of Cajun Cooking. The flavor was superb, but in my opinion the filling recipe needs another egg yolk so it will thicken properly.
(I see while hunting up the link for this book that the price has risen. It's still worth it! There is a corn salad recipe, too!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Remembering Margaret Leonard

Hello, everyone.

I wrote yesterday about Mrs. Beckley. Her beautiful eggs certainly led me to want to make elaborately decorated eggs like hers. (My sweetie finally gave up trying to get all the egg white out of his Dremel and gave me one of my own for Christmas. Thank you, Sweetie!)

Another influence on my crafting was my mother in law, Margaret Leonard. She was always very particular about her work, and because she was meticulous, it was beautiful.

I thought I had some good pictures of her bead-woven ornaments, but this is the best one I found. And the camera apparently decided that it liked the tree branches better than the ornament! But even in this picture, you can see that her tension was very even and the colors harmonious.
She was not only a meticulous artisan, she was also very generous with her knowledge. She gave me the instruction sheets for this and many other lovely Christmas ornaments--and one of these days I'll figure out which of my beads are the right size to make more like them.

I miss her dearly, especially at this time of the year when I am cooking the recipes she gave me and hanging the ornaments she made on our tree.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Remembering Mrs. Beckley

Hello, everyone.

When I was young, and my grandmother was still alive, she had a dear friend, Mrs. Beckley. I'm sure we all met her a couple of times at my grandparents' apartment. One year, when I was about nine years old, a package arrived in December. It was from Grandmother, and it contained gifts from Mrs. Beckley: three eggshells, each decorated differently, for the three grandchildren. I still have my egg from Mrs. Beckley.

Mrs. Beckley's art
You can't really see it from the front, but the egg has not one, not two, but three edge decorations around the opening in the front. There is the golden fringe, there is the strand of graduated pearly beads, and there is a rope of velvet cording. Which is accented by the bejeweled flower on top. There is another bejeweled flower on the back of the egg, too. As well as the glitter surface behind the angel. All in all, a beautifully decorated egg. (And you should have seen it when it was newer!)

Mrs. Beckley's art took root in me, and in later years I made my own scenic eggs.
A pearl in the midst of the sea?
This egg is simpler--there is only one edge decoration. It's a woven strand of pearl beads. I don't think I put any decoration onto the back of the egg, either. (It's been quite a while since it was made.)

This year, we have a pair of guineas. We have a collection of guinea eggs in the refrigerator, all of them in their hard little shells. Who knows? Maybe it's time to get out the Dremel and blow out eggs again. (Or cut a section off with baby nail scissors, to get the pretty oval hole on one side.)

It would use up some more bead stash. That's it! A reason to decorate eggs again.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas season is rushing up at us

Hello, everyone.

Since we came back from the Camino, we've been trying to simplify. There's just too much stuff! You have, no doubt, noticed that I'm trying to use up stash. And we've got a pile of things that need to go to charity, or a garage sale, whichever comes first. (It's a lot easier to drive over to the Salvation Army place!)

We realized Christmas, and Christmas decorating, was come upon us and looked at one another and said, hey, those natural Christmas trees are doggoned expensive. How is that simplifying things if we have to drive all over every year looking for one, and then drive all over getting rid of the dried out tree after the holiday? Especially since on "black Friday" this year we encountered a fake tree that costs less than we typically spend over two years of natural trees. If this thing looks good for three years, we win.

You see that there is a bow instead of a more normal star or angel on the top. We have a lovely Moravian star, but it's too heavy for the tree. We also have a smaller, flatter shell star and it's too heavy too. The top of the tree just folds over! So I looked on the web and watched some Youtube videos and got out some of my stash of ribbons and tied a bow. A delicate, small bow, not one of those monstrosities that is almost as wide as the base of the tree and with gewgaws stuck into it besides. (Really?)
And, instead of putting it into the dining room on the buffet, which is full of centerpieces for the Altar Society potluck pretty soon, I put the Nativity on the floor under the tree. We won't need room to water it, after all.
We even have a trumpeting angel on top of the shed! As long as he perches, that is. Often no matter what I do with him, he tips over.
Speaking of those centerpieces:
The underpinnings: a slice of foam that has been spray-painted silver so it won't show too badly through the tinsel.

One of the finished centerpieces. 
Dollar store supplies for the win! 3-packs of candles for $3, silver colored trays for $1 apiece, box ornaments 8/$1 and round ornaments from our stash. Also bought silver tinsel, and used up a package of gold tinsel we had on hand. Bows were in the stash, too, and bits of floral goodies. I don't reckon in the batteries that we need to put into the candles, but the centerpieces are coming in at around $3 each. Add batteries and it's still way under $5. Because the point of Christmas decorating is not to see how much money we can spend, but to give a visual "Merry Christmas!" to all who see it.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Beading developments

Hello, everyone.

We made it through the Thanksgiving crush! And we managed to keep our pie collection down to five this year. (I like putting pies together--some years we have a lot of pies. But we're trying to embrace more simplicity these days, so I really tried to keep the pie making down to a reasonable level.) My sweetie made Bourbon Pecan from the Encyclopedia of Cajun Cooking. I made Apple-Cranberry and Lemon Meringue. DS brought Mrs. Sheets's Buttermilk Pie and Pumpkin. Which was a pile of pies, and most folks tried a couple of kinds for dessert.

I did promise to catch up on the beading stuff. So, freshly uploaded from my phone, bead projects:
Three projects--one abandoned--of making the Cross of Santiago in beads.
The cross on the left is the newest: Miyuki seed beads, in a new, less embellished design. By less embellished, I mean that the basic floral stems and spike base of the cross remain, but there are no added-in color spots. It's the Cross of Santiago straight-up, you might say.

The cross on the right was the first attempt in the Miyuki seed beads. I was working off of the same plan as the Delica cross (That was the charcoal on ivory one with the pink and gold accents.) The beads are a little bit of a different shape than the Delicas, and I was having some trouble with the outside shaping. I really should have skipped the green blob in the middle of the cross, I think. It does nothing for it really.

The partial cross at the top right is the one I wrote off as a lesson learned: the Preciosa seed beads just aren't meant for this stitch. Maybe they're meant for right-angle weave instead? I'll have to try that out some time.

I'm still going to try the two-drop peyote with the cross, and I think I'll try that in 15 count rocailles. It might finish off about 3/4 inch across. That seems a good size for a necklace pendant, less, um, imposing (not to say flamboyant) than the Delica cross worked out to be.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weather update: moisture!

Hello, everyone.

We got an inch of rain (2.5 cm.) over the weekend. Yesterday morning I got up early and saw morning mist outside my windows.
6:30 a.m., about, and foggy mist beginning to fade as the sun rises. Temp about 70F.
It was quite warm in the afternoon, got to the mid 80's, and then cool air blew in overnight. This evening, after a day that barely reached 70, we had a "cold night" sky, and it was time to bring in my sweetie's orchids again. We will probably keep them inside all week.

On another subject, I'm working on the UFO (Un Finished Objects) collection. The Red Quilt is about 2/3 of the way channel-quilted, and I've even figured out who I can maybe give it to.

And I'm trying out the third set of beads with the Cross of Santiago, this time a simpler version that isn't so huge it can't be included in something.
Newest versions of Cruz de Santiago, at bottom left of top sheet (nestled in below the arrow) and on top of bottom sheet (two-drop, and I want to try it in 15 count rocailles)
I'd like to also graph out a smaller scallop shell, something that would work as a pendant. But we'll see...this week is Thanksgiving and the whole in-town bunch is coming over to turkey and trimmings on Thursday. And since I'm likely to be too busy to post much this week and may not get to it again until Friday, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish a happy and blessed holiday to my US readers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thinking of O Cebreiro and weather

Hello, everyone.

I was thinking, this morning, about weather and the Camino. We were, after the 3rd day, often very fortunate in our weather. It rained, but it rained at night after those few days, almost exclusively. (Exception for the frightening thunderstorm en route to Los Arcos--nothing like being the tallest thing in the landscape and the lightning strikes less than 2 seconds before the thunder crashes.)  It was still rainy season in northern Spain, and the map tells me we were mostly parallelling the coast about 50 miles inland. We did have a couple rain periods during walking time, but the sun began to poke out more and more as we got closer to Logrono.

The sun still was afraid to show his face at noon. I don't know why, he would be out and pretty in the morning, but the day's high temperature for about a week was at 10:30 or so in the morning. By 11:30 the clouds had beaten him back. They grow strong clouds in Spain!

I was wondering today what the weather is like now at O Cebreiro, the restored Celtic village, church, and albergue at the second-highest part of the Camino Frances. And it was harder than I'd expected to find a webcam of it. This shows parts of O Cebreiro that I didn't see at all! (But there was a paved highway up to the top, and I did see a car or two that had driven up there, so it's not really a surprise.)

I have already posted what pictures we took there, during the trip recap post series in August and September.

O Cebreiro was where, having sunk to borrowing my sweetie's tee shirt for the day, I bought a new one at the little souvenir shop.
Almost the only tee in the shop that didn't declare itself to be a souvenir of the Camino--I just didn't feel right about wearing a Camino tee shirt while still on the trail!
Did I mention on the clothes post that I tossed out some of the entirely wrong things when packing to leave? (It was a panic thing, the pack was coming in over 20 pounds and I was tossing things right and left.) I should have kept the tee shirt! Then I found myself with only a couple of the lightweight woven fishing/camping type shirts, and the lightweight sweater that held no warmth at all--and wore out under the strain to top it all. (Tossed that, and the torn leggings from Day 1, before coming home!)

Ah, well, experience teaches as they say.

If I am able to go again, I will certainly take a long sleeved fleece top and a tee shirt. The fishing shirt (that orange-sherbet colored thing with long sleeves) did well, though, and the sleeves have tabs to hold them rolled up if you want to do that with them. Even if we should walk a different route the next time, I think this lesson of packing will hold up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Beads--some have found their proper place, and the ones that haven't

Hello, everyone.

Some little while back, I wrote about having completed the Cross of Santiago pendant in Delica cylinder beads. That worked out pretty well--a little large, but not so big that it can't be worn.

And I wrote about starting to make the Cross of Santiago design in Preciosa seed beads. Today, I mention that because, as it says in the title, these beads have not found their true and perfect place in a peyote stitch bead picture. They're just the wrong shape! Instead of having a reasonably level side wall, they have a round profile. It's as if I was trying to line up miniature bagels on their sides. They wobble, they turn to one side or the other, and they just won't stay steady in their place in the design. And on top of that, I can see too much of the Fireline thread between the beads, and too much of whatever the bead fabric is sitting on.
The top part of the cross design. I love the colors, but the beads are fighting the project.
The red and black work together as colors, and the blue and gold accents are pretty. But for some reason these particular beads just don't go together in this kind of project. Rather than pulling my hair out for days on end, weaving and "unweaving" the piece over and over, I'm going to call it a lesson learned and move on.

The next thing I plan to do is to complete some UFO's that have piled up. Especially, I want to quilt and bind the Red Quilt, and get it out of here. And then sew some clothes.

While I'm thinking of quilts, a picture of one I made a number of years ago, for a baby-en-route:

I like to add satin blanket binding to my quilts, if possible. Babies usually like satin.

Another one from that time--babies come in pairs sometimes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

More weather talk...

Hello, everyone.

My DD in Lubbock sent me a picture of the snow up there, while it was starting out. There were small white drifts next to cars and curbs...

And mention of the S word reminded me of some favorite pictures from the famous Miracle Snow of Christmas Eve, 2004.

We've had this barrel cactus for decades. The snow didn't bother it.

Snow on the lemons!

Happy dog!
It looks like we're going to have a cold winter this year. Oddly enough, however, that may not mean any snow will arrive. The winter of 2004-5 wasn't unusually cold. Our rose blossoms that felt the snowflakes didn't suffer--the snow was gone by 24 hours after it had begun. And I don't remember much in the way of running around putting Christmas lights and old sheets on plants to bring them through.

Speaking of which, how are we supposed to do freeze protection if all of the incandescent tiny-light strings are gone from the market? The old strings won't last forever, after all. Even good ones are basically cheap stuff. And the teensy bit of warmth from the Christmas lights, when confined by an old sheet (weighted down at the edges with rocks) is enough to keep the overnight frost from killing a tomato plant.

Ah, well, the weather will be what it will be, and all we can do is cope with whatever surprises we encounter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winter is coming--practically here, in fact

Hello, everyone.

Y'all may remember me commenting, way back in late May or early June, or when I did the recap with pictures on our return, that we arrived to begin walking the Camino and discovered that it was so cold that we thought it was winter.

Well, the kind of weather that deep south Texas calls "winter" has arrived. We got our first sharp cold front of the new winter and the high today was expected to be around 51 degrees F. (About 10.6 C for those of y'all in metric zones!) We didn't quite get out our winter coats, but I did put on a long sleeved tee to wear and when we did go out we wore our flannel quilted shirt-jackets. (We scored those babies many years ago, at K-Mart in Alton, Illinois.) The shock was less great for us now because we didn't go straight from 98 degrees to 50 degrees as we had done in May.

We also brought in my sweetie's orchid pots.
With overnight lows expected to be in the 40's, we took no chances! (Dog bed on left, converted from old pillowcase.)
Just to keep our perspective in order, though, we learned from our daughter that Lubbock was 17 degrees (F) when she headed out to class this morning. Truly Popsicle weather! I do hope she had her winter wear unpacked before this front arrived.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rain! and then chores

Hello, everyone.

I am delighted to say that we got about 2 inches of rain from this last spell. My sweetie went out to pull the dry cornstalks the next day, and the fire ants chewed him up one side and down the other. The ants had not only put their nests in the corn patch, we also found them crawling around on the corn cobs when we went to pick them. Darned ants.

Yesterday we let the chickens have a long walk and sicced them on the ants. Don't know if it helped or not, but it made us feel a little better about the situation.

And last night I bumped my toe--the toe that was really, really purple on the trail, and has lost its old toenail--in the night and it hurt all over again. I'm beginning to wonder if when I dropped the cutting mat edge-on on that foot, I might have broken something. And I'm trying to get it well enough to get out walking again and do some hiking, now that cooler weather is arriving down here.

Speaking of chores, today was our day to add another coat or two of varnish on the doors. (We do it every couple of years, when the weather is the right temperature and not too wet.) The doors always look so pretty right after the varnish has gone one, with the wood all shiny and reflecting the light. The wood lasts a lot longer this way, too.

Progress report on the beading: The completed Delica cross was strung onto a strand with assorted Preciosa beads (black fire-polish, purple oval-ish) and other black and pearly beads to make a necklace. Then, inspired, I made a pair of earrings to go with it. Is it still increasing the simplicity of life if when using up the bead stash I end up having more stuff in the jewelry box?

The second of the Cross of Santiago projects is started, the one made from Preciosa seed beads. The background is black, the main color of the cross is red, and the highlights are blue and gold.
Starting the second cross pendant in the fat part, so the shape changes are all decreases. This was recommended by various beading sites on the web, so I thought it would be something to try out.
The Preciosa seeds act like they're a lot of little ballerinas on point, trying to stand still in a line. They want to angle this way and that way, as the sides don't have a flat part to rest upon. I went with blue and gold for the accent colors this time--have no idea whether the blue and gold are also Preciosa brand, but they're more square in form, so probably not.

I'm of mixed opinion whether to write this off at the top as a lesson learned--forget using these beads for peyote stitch--or hang in there to the end. On one hand, the red and black really make the blue highlights stand out. On the other hand, I'll probably have to back the pendant with something else, like maybe a piece of felt, or it will be too floppy to use. And it's really easy to get the count off with the beads trying to slide out of place.

Another random photo from the Camino:
From Logrono, Our Lady with cherubs. Probably an Assumption statue.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New developments on the Cross of Santiago bead project

Hello, everyone.

I promised that there would be news on the Cross of Santiago bead project--since the last word was "starting over from the beginning."

I did redo the piece. There was an unfortunate excess set of rows that had to be removed just under the cross piece of the cross. That was fixed.
The start of the redoing is sitting in the white-beads dish on the right.

Now the cross bars have been done. You will notice that embellishing color bits are included.

Cross of Santiago, done. The color accents are dark rose and gold.
My plan for this is to use it as a centerpiece of a necklace, using various Preciosa beads I have on hand, and since there is a lot of stash bead stuff in the craft room, there will be some coordinating earrings, too.

Onward and upward with the next project, after this! (The next thing being to sew up some clothes from the mountain of fashion fabrics on hand, and to make a baby quilt for the expected grandchild. Possibly using either a sailing motif or some UT burnt orange--somehow.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bead project possibilities

Hello, everyone.

I was crawling around in my computer today--had downloaded a bunch of beading project directions files from Bead and Button magazine's online site--and discovered that I had, after all, saved the bead chart for the adorable cute waymarker at Leon:

Isn't he just the cutest little pilgrim ever? Well, except for any actual child pilgrims, who are by definition cuter than cartoons by far! But after I finish the Cross of Santiago, I think I'll try that one.

The Cross of Santiago, by the way, is almost finished. I did take some progress pictures, and I'll put them all up together. So you can see that every bead project seems to involve at least some "un-beading."

Kind of like sewing, in a way.

And one other picture, just because:
Filling water bottle at the Fountain of Roland, on the Route Napoleon, on the very first day of walking.
This was on the downhill side of the first day, after the border crossing into Spain.