I’m nothing if not persistent

AKA – It will be mine . . .

There’s a sweater I’ve wanted to knit for a long time.  It’s by Alice Starmore, who designs beautiful sweaters, some with complicated cables and others with beautiful color work.  She lives on a croft (small farm) in Scotland where she raises sheep for wool.  She began her career designing for a company and now she and her daughter have their own business selling their knitwear designs and the wool to knit them.

The sweater I want to knit is named Malin.  It has a gorgeous cable on it that looks like rope. (You can see it best here on the sleeve.)

The pattern is in a book titled In the Hebrides, which was published in 1995 and is now out of print.  Alice has since redesigned Malin with a few little changes and she sells kits on the Virtual Yarns web site.  One of the changes is that the rope cable has been replaced with a simpler one.  I wrote to them asking if they’d send me the chart for the nice rope cable, but they won’t.  (I wondered if maybe the design belongs to the company that she was working for when she designed it.)  So I went looking for a copy of the book.  People are selling them for over $150 since it’s out of print.  No way!!

Discouraged but not defeated, I submitted a request to borrow a copy via inter-library loan.  They found the book in Delaware and I got to borrow it!  It only cost me $3.10 for postage.  When the book arrived, I tried out that beautiful rope cable on matching vests for my granddaughter and her (then) yet-to-be-born little brother.Now that I had my hands on the book, I realized there were several sweaters in there that I really wanted to knit, so I kept looking for a copy and finally found one on Ebay for a $38 buy-it-now price!   Snapped that right up!

Since I’ve gotten the book, I’ve already knit one sweater from it, the Reef.  I’ll post about that another time.  I’m still completely smitten with Malin!  I went to the Virtual Yarns web site and chose the color I wanted: Foinaven.  It’s a deep, dark red.  I didn’t have the time or the money right then so I didn’t order the yarn.  You guessed it.  Now that I had the book, the yarn was out of stock.  I contacted Virtual Yarns and asked when it would be back in stock, and Jade (Alice’s daughter) wrote back and said they’ve discontinued that colorway and don’t plan to bring it back!!

I was lamenting my bad luck in the Starmore Junkies group on Ravelry and someone contacted me saying she had Foinaven yarn.  Would I like to buy it from her?  Yes!  Unfortunately, we couldn’t agree on a price.  (‘nuff said about that . . .)  Months went by with me still swooning over Foinaven.  I took to looking in people’s stash pages on Ravelry.  Most had one or two skeins that they listed as “not for sale or trade.”  One person had 13 skeins, enough to make the sweater, but also listed as “not for sale or trade.”

I took a chance and messaged her, asking if she’d be willing to part with it.  Eventually she got back to me and asked what I would make with it.  I explained my obsession with Malin in Foinaven.  She (reluctantly, I think) agreed to sell it to me because I would be knitting a Starmore design from it.

I sent her a check right away and have been swatching ever since.  Here’s my first swatch, made with the same yarn in a different colorway that was left over from a sweater I made for my granddaughter.   There’ll be some tweaking, most significantly for size.  I’ll write a separate post about my modifications as soon as I figure out all the numbers.  I’m working feverishly to “clear the decks” so I can start as soon as my yarn arrives!!


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Cut it Up – Your Favorite Color

For this challenge at Cut it Up, we’re asking you to create a project that features your favorite color, with a die cut, of course. My favorite color is brown!

We received some dies from one of our sponsors for this challenge, STAMPlorations, and they were awesome to work with.  They cut like butter, and all the tiny pieces came out without effort.

I always have several teddy bears from the Cricut Teddy Bear Parade cartridge cut out at 3″ and all inked up so I can dress them when I need them.  I cut out five reindeer outfits and dressed five teddy bears to make some Christmas cards for 2020 loosely following a sketch saved on my computer.  It’s #160 from a pdf entitled CAS-FTL147_162.  I think I remember a sketch blog for cards and scrapbook layouts called Fall to Layout and I assume the sketches are from there, but I can’t find that blog on the internet anymore.  Hmm.

Anyway, here’s the sketch:

I made five cards.  The paper is from a very old 8 x 8 Colorbok paper pad called Natural Beauty, and every paper in there is really pretty.  Mostly browns, tans, and blacks.

Here are my cards.  I used Lacy Edges and Borders dies (there are three) and Season’s Greetings Phrase die. Here are closeups so you can see each of the border dies.  I’ll be using these again and again!There are two sponsors for this challenge, so that doubles your chances of being a random winner.  Creative Embellishments is donating a $50 gift voucher, and STAMPlorations is donating a $20 gift code!

This will be an easy challenge, so I hope you enter!  Just create a project using your favorite color and a die cut.  It could be anything!  I can’t wait to see what you come up with and find out what your favorite color is.


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Owning my craft mess

I’m very lucky to have an entire craft room!  Why, then, is there no room for me to craft?
I have about a 2 x 1 ½ foot surface area to work on!!  I do paper crafting (mainly cardmaking and scrapbooking) and knitting.  I try to keep all of my supplies and equipment (minus my in-progress knitting projects) in my scrap room, and therein lies the problem.   There is stuff I no longer use or seldom use taking up space.  I try to be organized.  I will organize!  But what I need to do before I go any further is to take stock of what I have and pare down.

To try to be accountable, I’m going to show you what my craft room looked like this morning.  I’m working on Christmas albums at the moment.

When you walk in, this is the first thing you see.  Three of the shelves have photos and personal items.  See that black and white photo of the adorable baby on the top shelf?  That’s me in a little picture holder flanked by my bronzed first baby shoes!!  🙂
The middle shelf contains cards that I have made, there are two shelves of books –all the Bones books by Kathy Reichs, Dirk Pitt novels, useful college textbooks, and children’s books.  On the floor are all my knitting books.

Turn right and see this.  Right to left — wheeled drawer 12 x 12 paper organizers.  The black plastic drawer unit on top of the first unit contains extra adhesive, Creative Memories cutting tools and extra Cricut and Cameo blades, and eyelets.  The flat white organizer has brads and rhinestones.
On the table top behind the pink and green bear basket is an electric physical die cutter/embossing machine.  The top shelf has shoe boxes full of decades-old photos to be scrapped.  Oh, and my old, broken Cameo.  The bottom shelf has containers full of wool and finished knitted items.
Next is my red printer, a shelving unit with physical dies, my birthday card organizer, extra die cuts, and boxes of wool.  Underneath is 12 x 24″ cardstock, my sewing basket, some scrapbooks, and printer ink.  In the corner is my light box which I don’t use anymore so it has a box of stamps in there, tissues, and a box of vegetable seeds.My Barbies are on top.I have a couple drawer units under the desk that hold stamp pads, heat gun, punches, adhesives, watercolor paints, and envelopes.  My husband made me an awesome twine holder!A couple of shelves hold more stamps and some of my dolls.  There’s another plastic drawer unit that holds still more stamps, and you can see the black rolling computer table that I put my computer on when I’m in the craft room.

Here is my ribbon, two boxes of 6 x 6 paper pads, Cricut Explore (which sometimes lives on one of the shelves), Cuttlebug and embossing folders, postage scale, laminator (which I haven’t used since I retired from teaching), and my two Cricut Expressions.  On the bottom shelf are two boxes of scrapbook layouts that are finished and need to be placed in albums.  (I have another two boxes in another room . . .)Next is a jumble of things – paper trimmers, yarn swift and winder, score boards, and junk! Two tall, thin shelving units that hold most of my Cricut cartridges.  I really do try to use them with my Expressions every once in awhile for old times’ sake, sometimes even with my Gypsy!!

Here’s the inside of my closet.  Paper, books, recipes, candles, scrapbook supplies, more yarn, stickers.  It spills out onto the floor.  See that spool of white thread in the lower left-hand corner?  That’s on my sewing machine (which I brought upstairs to use on cards and haven’t yet.)

The top of this file cabinet holds more paper – scraps mostly.  Those large manila folders have xrays of my son’s broken leg.  He broke it in 1998.So that’s my craft mess, in all its glory.  I certainly won’t have a completely reorganized craft room any time soon, but I do plan to start.  I went to our local ACMoore store this morning.  They’re going out of business and “everything must go!”  I bought some of their wire paper racks, but they won’t be available for pickup until the store actually closes, some time in March or April.  I’m really stoked about it!!  In the meantime, I plan to go through my stuff and take the advice of my friend, June, who told me to only keep what I love.  I’ll try!  I’ll keep you updated.  Hold me to it!!  💕


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Love is in the Air at Cut it Up!

Well, with Valentines’ Day right around the corner, how could it not be?

Two weeks ago, this adorable freebie from Treasure Box Designs arrived in my inbox.  I knew I’d make it that very day!  The name of the file is Valentinos Lion, and he’s super easy to change into a lioness if needed.  🙂  Just add a bow and more eyelashes!  I used the bow from an old TBD file saved on my computer.

This video inspired me to make the starbursts (which you can hardly see behind the lions.)  I used her measurements thinking I would make A2-sized cards, but after I assembled my lions, I saw they were too big; I wouldn’t have been able to include the sentiment, so I made 5 x 7s instead.

The blue papers are from the Pebbles Special Delivery paper pad, and the pinks are from a very old K & Co. pad called KP Valentine.

The sentiment stamp is from a set by our sponsor for this challenge, CAS-ual Fridays, called Heartfelt Sayings.  It’s going to be retired, so get it while you can, a steal at $5.99!
I love the size of the font and how they’re embellished with adorable little hearts.

Check out the awesome projects my team mates at Cut it Up made, and then link up your own “love”ly project!  The prize for this challenge is a $20 gift certificate from CAS-ual Fridays!


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Christmas album title page

I have a Christmas layout for every year my husband and I have been married.  They span several albums now.  I’ve also made albums for my daughter and son, granddaughter and now, my baby grandson for every Christmas in their lives. The layouts are one or two double-page layouts, so each album needs a title page.  The grandkids are just on their first albums and they already had title pages (my first Christmas) but my daughter’s, my son’s, and ours needed title pages.  Today, I made them – all identical.

Most of the elements in the layout are from the Winter Woodland Cricut cartridge, the Christmas title is from the Christmas cartridge, and the snow and snowflakes are from Designs on Cloud 9’s January layout.  I thought they turned out really pretty!

Now to scrap the 2019 photos . . .



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I’m not Kristie

but I sure am proud to have used every paper in this 6×6 paper pad! Kristie Marcotte from The Best Things in Life are Pink “disappears” an entire paper pad in just a few hours.  It may have taken several evenings, the paper pack may have been open with some papers already used, but I did finish the pack!  I cut the papers using two quilt dies, the Quilt Square Cover Up from My Favorite Things and the Quilt Die #3 Flower Burst from Gina Marie Designs.  And I formed an opinion on physical dies.

I prefer the open-type dies to the solid ones.  It was really easy to push the paper out of the open type Flower Burst die from Gina Marie.I struggled to get the paper out of the solid die from MFT.  It has tiny pinholes in it that you have to insert a pointed tool into.  I tried two pointed tools and finally had to resort to pushing with a sewing needle from the back side while pulling the paper off with my fingers on the right side.  For every single tiny piece of paper!So, even though I love the quilt squares made with both dies, I won’t be buying any more of the solid-backed dies.

So I created one card so far.  The Heartfelt Sayings stamps from CAS-ual Fridays are the perfect size for sentiments on a portrait style A-2 card.And don’t you love that black paper?  How long have I searched for the perfect black paper?  My criteria was it must be solid core and a 65 lb weight.  I finally found it.  It’s Astrobright cardstock in Eclipse Black.  Amazon sells it!

Here are the rest of the card fronts, just waiting for sentiments.  They’re probably going to be birthday cards because it’s a birthday paper pack with cupcake and party hat patterns on some of the papers.  I just love how they turned out.  Those colors just pop off that black.  And they were so much fun to piece together.  I ordered two more (open-type) quilt dies this morning!!  🙂


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Bicycle, bicycle

My friend is having a birthday soon.  She and her husband are avid bicycle riders, so I wanted to send her a bicycle card.  I chose the adorable bicycle image from the Cricut Summer Celebrations cartridge and a card base from the Wild Card cartridge.It’s got a little window opening for some interest.  You can see it a little better in the picture below.  The bold Birthday sentiment is a Sheena die.  It’s huge!  I absolutely love it and plan on using it on many birthday cards this year!  The grass is a border punch.

When I was filing this card away on my computer, I noticed another bicycle card I had made a few years ago.  This clean and simple card was made by using post its to mask a strip and then sponging ink between the post its, bordering the strip with a Sharpie, and stamping an image.  The stamp is from Unity Stamp Company and is called Happy Day.

I do love bicycle images, but I don’t ride a regular bike myself.  I limit my bicycle riding to the stationary bike.  I tend to fall off regular bikes . . .


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