Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Bootie Story

At the baby shower (Baby Booties of Past):

Three months later (Baby Booties of Present):

And for this baby, Baby Booties (and more) of Future:

Overdue Wedding Flower Photos

Here are some photos when I played Martha Stewart for a good friend's son and his bride.  (See "What Is It About Weddings?").

Here I am with the bride, pointing out the crystal heart bead I put into her bouquet that corresponded to one in the groom's boutonniere.  Her bouquet was made with hydrangeas, roses, peonies, stefanotis and lemon leaves.
I made the groom, best man and family of the bride and groom's boutonnieres from roses and gave the groomsmen thistles, which perfectly matched the color scheme.  I decided on the thistles hurriedly as I went through the flower market the day before and the mother of the bride -- who wanted final approval on all decisions -- sounded a little doubtful when I told her about them on the telephone.  By that time, there was no time to change our minds, so I assured her she was going to love the look.
Next day when I pinned a thistle on the first groomsman he was kind of steeling himself to wear a flower.  You would have thought that he was going to be giving blood instead of getting a boutonniere pinned on him.  When he opened his eyes and saw the "flower," he looked surprised and said, "Hey, what's that?"  I told him it was a thistle, and he puffed up like a rooster and strutted away, all proud of his boutonniere.
Then, when I pinned the roses on the brothers and best man, they asked why they got roses instead of thistles and I explained it was because they were family (and did not explain that it was what the mother of the bride insisted on).  They seemed to feel like they'd been shortchanged rather than honored. 
Note to self:  make boutonnieres out of the manliest "flower" you can find!
The bridesmaids carried bouquets of hydrangeas with a deep purple calla lily in the center.  This allowed me to tie the bouquets into the bride's bouquet and still make them different and less elaborate than the bride's bouquet.  We were really lucky with the hydrangeas.  I'd had the bouquets in the refrigerator overnight, but I took them out and put them into flower vases with a little water in the bottom to wait for the wedding party.  As in all weddings, there were some glitches and the wedding party was over an hour late.  Hydrangeas won't last for much over three hours.  I am happy to report that these lasted through the wedding and until the last photo was shot.  By the time the bridesmaids made it to the reception, their bouquets were very droopy and even spritzing them with water didn't help much.
I made wrist corsages for both the mothers.
The bride also wanted me to decorate the top of the cake with flowers, sight unseen.  She ordered it plain but I only had a description of what it would look like.
The mother of the bride insisted that she wanted hydrangeas on the cake to match the bride's bouquet.  I had to explain to her firmly that there would be no hydrangeas on the cake because hydrangeas are highly toxic and we wouldn't want the wedding day to turn tragic.  We opted for silk hydrangeas with roses.
Unfortunately, with little funds and no time to experiment, I followed a tip I found online to freeze fresh flowers the night before if they were to go onto the cake.  By the time the white roses thawed, they had begun to brown.  No one noticed but me, it seems, but I will never freeze roses for a cake again without testing the result the week before.
The photographer was a friend of the couple's and she did a fantastic job on the photos.  I have her to thank for allowing me permission to use the photos on my blog.  (Thanks, J!)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ravelry Swap on a Budget Great Reveal

I got my package yesterday and my spoiler was no less than Beth Bowles of Needle Bling fame!

She started out by wrapping almost everything in this gorgeous rose patterned tissue paper. Very pretty.

And what goodies were inside! Of course, you can see the wasabi cashews have been almost all eaten up in the photo and I can't for the life of me find that square of Ghiradelli chocolate....

Those are Pilot gel pens on the left, my favorites. And those two gorgeous chunks of chocolate in the center? Those are bars of SOAP! What a guilt-free way to indulge myself. There is a luxurious wooden crochet hook that I can't wait to try. And handmade stitch markers from her shop.  I'm drinking some of that moroccan mint tea right now.

The thread and navy cotton yarn she included only add to that "stalked" feeling -- the one that makes you feel loved and not eery -- and that skein of variegated blue-greens? That's soy yarn that she dyed especially for me!

I never really thought I had a "favorite" color but seeing myself through Beth's eyes has made me realize that I really do. In fact, when I got to the yarny goodness, my coworker gasped and said, "Look! It matches what you're wearing! Put it on!" So I put on the shawl (sorry, it doesn't show up very well in my photo. Hopefully Beth will have it in her projects section) and felt so taken care of! It's perfect for me. And, no, Beth, I'm not going to add fringe with that extra skein of yarn you send. I love it just the way it is. In fact, my coworker said, "You should put a pretty pin right *there*" and emphasized it by showing me how to close it, and suddenly I realized that I had bought the exact *perfect* pin for this shawl at a craft show over the weekend.

This was one loving swapper! I am very, very pleased. And warm.

Thank you, Beth!  Give my love to the ferrets!

Warm Ewe Up Winter Yarn Swap Questionnaire

Do you knit or crochet, or both? How long have you been at the craft?
  • Crochet. I learned when I was 5 or 6 and I am now over a half-century old, but there are decades-long gaps when I haven't been "at the craft," so I don't know how to answer. But I can do most anything I want to do with it. Most.
Do you spin?
  • Not that way you mean when you ask.
What yarns/fibers are your favorites?

  •  Soft ones like alpaca and cotton and soy.
  • Colorful crochet threads (no. 10 or 20).
 What yarns/fibers do you not like?

  •  Mohair. Too hard to crochet with it.
What yarns/fibers would you like to try but haven’t?

  • Hmmm. Surprise me.
 What are your favorite colors? Colors that you don’t like?

  •  Almost any color appearing in nature.
  • earth tones
  • heathery blues and greens and greys
  • jewel tones
  • coral and peach
  • not maroon
  • not so much the black and white.
What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet?
  • Anything for babies or children.
  • Anything gift-y for friends that they really appreciate, such as:
  • hats
  • scarves
  • market bags
  • Amigurumi
  • threadwork like beaded bags or
  • snowflake ornaments.
 What are you currently working on?
  • I'm finish up a christening outfit that should be done next week.
  • Then I've got an alpaca throw for a wedding gift
  • I must get started on and some stuffed toys for gifts: a monkey and a bear and a set of penguin bowling pins.
What is your favorite FO? (Please post a picture if you have one.)
Are there any techniques that you want to learn?

Eventually, but I have plenty to work on before then.
  • Hairpin lace
  • broomstick lace
  • Bruges lace
  • Irish crochet
  • And I intend to learn to felt without a washing machine, like with a little washboard or felting washboard that I've seen at my lys.
Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift?
  • Nope. Don't want one either.
How do you store your needles/hooks?
  • I have rolls that serve the purpose, one of them made by someone in an earlier swap which I will keep forever.
 Do you collect anything?
  • Egg cups. (I own only one but I would like it to turn into a collection.)
  • I have a collection of comb-bound grass roots type of cookbooks, like from church bazaars, but that is sort of accidental. See my blog post about it.
Do you like sweets?

  •  Oh, dear. That's Pandora's box for this borderline diabetic! Sugar free chocolates for me or the occasional bite of dark chocolate for me.
What are your favorite scents?
  • Allergic. Can tolerate some natural scents, but not vanilla -- it's usually not really natural when you get it in candles and the like.
 Are you having a birthday during this swap?
  • Nope.
Do you have any online wish lists? (Amazon, Loopy Ewe, etc.) Please include a link for your pal.
What is your living situation (Are you married? Do you have kids, pets, or both?)
  • Living situation:  chaotic
  • Married.
  • Pet kids (two cats)
  • Grown, married daughter lives 700 miles away
Are you allergic to anything?
  • Wool, most likely, but I kind of ignore that.
  • Molds, so don't send any bleu or Gorgonzola cheese or penicillin.
Is there anything else that you would like your pal to know?
  • This is probably not a welcome admission, but I really don't need anything at all. (Well, actually, I don't own a pair of fingerless gloves which I understand are good for typing.) I have more yarn than I can make into something in the next three years.  I join the swaps because I like giving. I guess if you want to send me something handmade, if you send something suitable for giving to my favorite charities, that would be welcome.  Just be sure to tell me that you're giving it to me for that purpose. For instance, lilybugs or Children and Family Services.