Saturday, December 29, 2012

Catching up...

Christmas was hectic but fun.  Had a chance to go antiquing with Linda and Duane.  Linda struck gold.  She found a lovely nightstand for $27 at one of our favorite places to go antique shopping -- D&D Antiques. Solid wood with a pretty design and storage space. She may eventually paint it another color but she's decided to live with it awhile first.  Linda also found a piece of Japanese porcelain that she liked.  Lovely.  It was definitely her day for bargains.  Duane and I actually ended up only spending money on our lunch which is fine since we love the 'hunt' as much as a 'buy.'  We had lunch at one of our favorite places -- The Front Porch.  Great food and nice atmosphere in an old house that was converted to a restaurant. 

In the days leading up to Christmas I was busy working away on various 'yarn projects.'  I finished the three Santa ornaments for my nieces and then I started on two kitty toys for my nephew Sam's cats.  Then my sister Pam asked if I'd mind making a third toy for her to give to her boyfriend's cat, Smudge.  So I ended up making three goldfish (with catnip centers, yum).  They're crocheted and they actually worked up pretty quickly although I felt like I was getting down to the wire time-wise.  The black string coming from the mouth of the goldfish is there so that you can dangle it in front of your cat to pique his/her interest.  Hope it works.  Here's the pattern I used.

I'm also getting back into recording.  I'm currently working on a mystery.  Have to get cracking on chapter 3 on this one tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pre-Christmas Estate Sale -- Status: FAB!

As usual, the really good estate sales seem to take place in Duane's part of town or at least in one of the surrounding neighborhoods.  Linda couldn't join us today since she's just returned to work after being out of town so Duane and I set out on our own.  This sale took place in another one of those deceptively small looking houses that, in reality, meander much further back and are much larger than they appear from the front.  There was a lot of stuff and it was good quality.  Duane overheard the woman holding the sale (not the owner of the house) say that the owners took what they wanted from their house (must have just been mainly their clothes) and left the state to live in North Carolina.  Yesterday.  They sure left a lot of nice things behind.  We think at least one of the owners taught at the university, possibly in the theater department, judging by the books that were left behind.  Lots of beautiful glassware and, boy, did I wish I had been looking for furniture.  There were so many nice pieces and they were fairly priced. 

Needless to say, neither of us left empty-handed.  Duane found quite a few CDs and a beautiful piece of Delft china that was not in the usual blue and white color scheme. 
I was able to feed my enamel addiction with two cooking/serving dishes made in  Yugoslavia, the larger one is yellow enamel and the smaller one is blue.  I also found a signed print that I was drawn to and continued to stare at so I bought it.  It's a monoprint by an artist named Vladimir Strutinsky.  I was only able to find out a little bit about him on the Internet.  But, that's fine since I did the usual -- I bought it because I liked it.  For now, I think I'm going to hang it in the newly decorated guest room.  I also found two beautiful English silk pocket squares in fantastic condition along with an old rosary attached to some beads on twine.  I may pass this along to a friend who's Catholic.

After this score, Duane and I headed to Starbucks for a light snack and some 'talk' time.   Whoever the owners of this house were, they had great taste and we thank them for leaving their 'leftovers' for us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where did the time go?!

Every year I vow to have everything that can possibly be done for Christmas finished ahead of time.  Sigh.  It's been a long time since that's actually happened.  I just realized a couple of days ago that Monday is the deadline to mail items to The Humble Stitch Project in order for them to meet their deadline of getting the clothing to people who need it.  All I have finished for this last shipment for the year is the hat and scarf pictured.  Then I suddenly remembered that I had specifically bought some bulky weight yarn in order to be able to whip up some scarves and/or hats or gloves quickly and easily.  AND I finally get to use my size 35 vintage knitting needles, too.  The second pic shows one of the size 35 needles
next to a size 11 which is a standard size that many people use.  Quite a difference.  Using them reminds me of those huge pencils we were given to learn to write the alphabet in Kindergarten.  Only I'm using two of them and I've found some great patterns that work up super fast.

Here's the scarf I'm almost finished knitting with the
size 35 needles.  It's a bulky (6) yarn called Red Heart
Light & Lofty.  This color is called Salt & Pepper.  I found this type of yarn a real pain to work with when I made a pair of slippers for my mother last year.  However, it makes a big difference when you're using needles this large.  This is a great dropstitch scarf that only requires casting on 7 stitches.  The pattern can be found here.  It's called the Marley Scarf and the pattern is free.  There are other free patterns on this site that also work up quickly that I may try.  I do have other bulky yarn that isn't 'fuzzy' like the Light & Lofty so I may be able to squeeze in another couple of items before the Monday mailing date.

This scarf measures approx. 5.5 inches by approx. 70 inches when it's finished and I have to say that the Light & Lofty yarn is incredibly soft to the touch and should keep someone very warm.  After I finish with the last of the Humble Stitch items, I still have a few gifts to make.  I'm on my last Santa ornament mentioned in the previous post.  I'm also making a bracelet for my niece and a couple of goldfish that I'm going to fill with catnip for my nephew's cats.   I've been assured that they'll like them. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Solo estate sale and Amigurumi Santa

When I received my weekly email regarding estate sales in my area, I noticed immediately that one of them was Friday (today) in Duane's neighborhood (big surprise).  However, poor Duane has been sick as a dog since just after Thanksgiving with a horrible cold and cough so, although she feels a little better each day, she's still not up to going out.  Linda couldn't take time from work so I went to this sale solo.  Just me and Mrs. Peel. 

The house was an adorable little bungalow, similar to Duane's house.  Neat as a pin and just about everything for sale including a Cadillac in the driveway.  There was some gorgeous midcentury furniture including an absolutely beautiful wood parquet coffee table in the 'surfboard' style that was popular in the 1950's.  If I had room for it, I would have considered it because it was so eye-catching.  However, none of the rooms in our house (where we would put a coffee table) could accommodate one that length.  Whoever bought it got a lovely table at a fair price.  I did find a couple of little treasures, though.  One is the white porcelain vase that caught my eye.  It has a beautiful flower on the front and is in pristine condition.  I thought it was unmarked until I got home and took a better look at the bottom (with a little help from a magnifying glass and good lighting) and discovered that it's signed and made in Hawaii.  I'm going to do a little research on it.  I also picked up the cute set of vintage cocktail picks in their original container and a ruler that was a promotional item put out by Coca-Cola.

I also came across an array of knitting supplies that had been put together to sell as a lot for $40.  The biggest reason for the price was a complete set of nice circular needles (including their case) along with some extra circulars and various other items like vintage straight needles and crochet hooks.  I asked the lady holding the sale if she would consider selling me just a few items from the lot.  She didn't want to do that, though, because her mother (apparently it was her mom's house) wanted all of it sold as a lot.  If I had thought about it at the time I would have asked again before leaving about selling me a few of the items.  I was only interested in the plastic straight knitting needles and the crochet hook.  She could have made more money by selling those 2-3 items to me for a few bucks and still kept the bulk of the lot for $40.  The set of circular needles was worth that much alone.  I just prefer to use straight needles and didn't think about striking a deal with her until I was driving away.  It never hurts to ask.

On the yarn front, I just finished the second of three Amigurumi Santa ornaments that I'm making for my three nieces for Christmas.  The first two turned out really cute but I don't think I'll ever make this pattern again.  It's always a little tough on my hands to make Amigurumi items because they have to be tightly woven (in the round) since you stuff them and you don't want the stuffing to be visible on the item.  However, I've never worked on a pattern that caused my hands and arms to feel so sore.  Yikes.  I felt like I had been hauling cement after making the first one.  Luckily, I only have the third one to make and I have plenty of time before Christmas.  Good thing because I'd hate to end up in traction due to a hook and a few balls of yarn.   Here's the pattern if anyone reading this is interested in making one.  I did leave off the little wire rimmed eye glasses.  I thought they were cute without them.  All I have to do to the one pictured is run a silver or gold cord through the top of his hat and he's ready for hanging on the tree.  

UPDATE:  I researched the info on the little porcelain vase with the flower and I did score a nice find!  The artist was Hawaiian. Her name is Dorothy Okumoto (now deceased) and it's signed and numbered.  There's a nice array of photos of her porcelain pieces on a Pinterest page here. Woot!

Monday, December 3, 2012

New audiobook release -- a Christmas story!

My current audiobook narration of Christmas at Alpine Village by Maralee Lowder was released today on Audible and Amazon.  If you're looking for a fun holiday listen that is short (less than 1 hour), this book is for you.  Edna, new owner of the Alpine Village lodge in a tiny California town, is determined to win the annual prize for Best Business Christmas Decoration.  Each year that she doesn't win, she becomes more determined to nab the honor.  With the help of her friends, both human and canine, there is almost no limit to what she'll try.  (Based on a true story!)

Hope you enjoy listening as much as I did recording this one.  It can be purchased here at Audible.  Cheers!