Sunday, 4 October 2015

Must be Crazy

As I was driving into the city for the second time today, I couldn't help thinking, "I must be crazy." No, not because I was heading into the city for the second time in one day (although that may not be considered entirely sane), but because I was taking along my 3-year-old grandson, Damian, and my 9-year-old great nephew, Richmond, on a trip in which I planned to go to Michael's and Fabricland. Not exactly places to which you normally take little boys. Sure I was going to Home Depot first, but that was just to drop off the nailer we had rented on the first trip in that didn't work. More about that in another post. 
I grew up in a family of girls - 6 of us with only one brother. I had only had one child, my daughter Sophia, so dealing with little boys is not something I have a great deal of experience with. And here I was taking two of them to stores that are more traditionally women's turf. And definitely not children's turf. And then there were the more practical things like how was I going to manage going to the bathroom? 
It started when my niece's husband came over to install my baseboard with Richmond in tow. Richmond is old enough to stay out of his father's way while he was working, but Damian is not, yet he wanted to be where Richmond was. I couldn't be downstairs watching him as I wanted to return the non-working nailer and make the most of the second trip by visiting Michael's and Fabricland. Sophia had a friend visiting, so she didn't want to have to sit downstairs in the "construction zone" to monitor her son. Damian is almost always game to go wherever Grandma goes, so he was willing to come with me, but wanted Richmond to come along. After getting permission from Richmond's father and making sure he had a jacket on, we headed out on the road. And it wasn't till we were well on our way to the city that I realized what a crazy thing I'd done. It was as I was listening to the interesting noises emanating from the back seat. Those were definitely not little girl noises... 
In spite of my trepidation, the trip went well. At Michael's, Richmond decided he wanted some yarn, so I asked him if he wanted to learn to crochet. After receiving an affirmative response, I let him pick out some yarn and I selected a crochet hook for him. Crocheting lessons coming up... Damian, of course, couldn't be left out, so I allowed him to select a skein of yarn as well, even though I've already given him a ball of yarn and a hook. So nice of Michael's to be having a sale on Red Heart Soft yarn, exactly the yarn called for in the pattern for October's Fair Isle Crochet Cowl. Here's my haul from Michael's. 
The yarn on the left is for the cowl. The purple variegated is the one Damian selected and the Red Heart Super Saver in fiesta is Richmond's. Now I need to find a single skein beginner project for Richmond to start on. 
Fabricland was our final stop. Let me explain the purpose behind this particular Fabricland visit. A couple of friends at work have been admiring my quilts and wanting to learn how to quilt themselves. Initially, I was going to invite them over once I get my studio finished. But then I got to thinking that there may be others who would like to learn. I remember I looked for a quilting class in town way back when I wanted to learn and ended up having to learn from books and magazines. So I decided to see if there would be interest in a class. I contacted our local "Learning Network" and offered my services as a quilting instructor. Now I have to draw up a proposal outlining the materials needed, how much I would charge, how many nights, etc. So I figured I needed to start by designing an appropriate quilt for a beginner and then making it. I actually decided to make two samples. For the first sample I decided to use some fabric from my stash as the feature fabric and bought some coordinating fabrics at my LQS. Here's the fabric for the first quilt:
The fabric on the left is the feature fabric, Snowflake Stripe by Michael Miller. The other fabrics are Michael Miller as well. While at the LQS, I finally decided to break down and purchase an annual membership. It's rather expensive, $100, but it gives you 40% off everything all year, even on most sale items. I calculated I need to purchase $250 (pre-discount) worth of fabric and supplies to pay for the membership. I plan to keep track to determine if the membership is worthwhile. With the increased exchange cost on the Canadian vs. US dollar, I won't be buying as much online. And trips to the city can get costly in both time and money as well. 
So back to my trip to Fabricland... In the latest flyer, they had some animal prints on sale and I wanted to do the second quilt where I fussy-cut the feature squares. So I wanted to see if these animal prints would work. Unfortunately, my closest Fabricland did not receive any of these prints. But they did have some other ones on sale for a couple of dollars/metre more. I opted for an African animal print. I'm hoping the other two prints look sort of "African native." And the third embroidered fabric just more or less coordinated with the two prints. 
I also picked up some serger thread in bright colours as I want to use them to edge the samplers I made in my machine quilting class.
By the time I was paying for my purchases, Richmond and Damian were starting to get on each other's nerves and Damian was getting a little hyper as he was overdue for a nap. Once on the road back home again, he was asleep within 5 minutes. 
While I was taking these pictures, my grandson wanted to get in on the act and was quite enjoying piling the yarn on his lap. Then I sat him in the chair with the animal print in the background and the other fabrics on his lap. He was quite happy with that, but got rather tearful when I took him out to take a shot without him. He has decided that that fabric is his, especially the animal print. So he's back in the chair with the fabric. I also got out the Go Wild quilt to see if he'd take that instead, but he just wanted that added to the pile.
He's now contentedly making animal noises in the chair with all the fabric and the quilt. I guess when the new quilt is not being used as a sample in class, it will likely be his quilt. Unless I can convince him to take a dinosaur quilt instead. My LQS has a kit with a dinosaur panel and 6 - 1/2 metres of coordinating fabric. He really loves dinosaurs and I was thinking of making him a twin-sized quilt for his bed out of that. 
Meanwhile I finished the Entrelac Crochet Cowl a week ago. It calls for a 4 (worsted) weight yarn, but I was in Michael's and they had Loops and Threads Charisma yarn, a 5 (bulky) weight on sale and I was inspired by the Bouquet colour. So I decided to give it a try in this pattern. Since Entrelac uses single crochet, it is pretty dense and stiff, especially with the bulky yarn. I was hoping that rinsing it would soften it up, but when I took it out of the washing machine, it was almost plank-like. LOL! Here it is being blocked.
After sewing up the seam, I tried it on and snapped some pictures.
It's a rather long cowl and the pattern showed it wrapped around the neck twice. 
This is definitely a warm cowl - see my glasses steamed up - and I joked about it being able to double as a cervical collar in case of whiplash. Hopefully, the stiches will relax more after several washings. My daughter suggested that I try fabric softener, but that can also "bulk up" fabric, so I opted not to try that. Here's a close up of the stiches.
That's all for now. The good news is the renovations to my "studio" are almost finished. I need to hang the pegboard on the wall and the window casing needs to be done. But I can already start moving the furniture in. I will share more about the renovation process in another post. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Vivaldi Throw & Craft Photography

There's more to being a good photographer than just snapping a few pictures.

Years ago when my sister-in-law was married, she and her groom hired a friend who was an amateur photographer to do the wedding pictures. Now, I have nothing against utilizing the services of an amateur or hobbyist. My brother-in-law Lawrence has done numerous weddings for family and friends, with good results. He finally had to refuse to do wedding photography so that he could actually relax and enjoy the wedding. While even professional photographers will have a few duds (why do you think they take so many shots of the same thing?), this particular photographer didn't seem to have a clue about staging a photo. He didn't seem to know how to use the environment to its best advantage in the pictures. And I distinctly remember him taking a lot of the outdoor pictures with the subjects facing the sun. Having fancy and expensive camera equipment does not a photographer make. It also requires some skill and know-how. 
I have never claimed photography as one of my skills or hobbies. However, I do like my pictures to have an overall pleasing effect. Whenever possible, I like to compose them so that they have eye appeal. While I like to have at least one "whole project" picture of each of my craft projects, I've also started to try some shots with more interest. It started with this peacock chair. 
I really like this chair and bought it at a yard sale. However, it's not really practical as a chair. It's not particularly comfortable and it takes up a lot of space. I considered getting rid of it. But it makes an awesome prop for taking pictures of my quilts and afghans. And so I kept it. Then I picked this chair up at a thrift store. 
However, I soon learned that this one would not work for anything bigger than a crib quilt,
as the chair pretty much disappeared. Here it is with the Scappy Shine quilt, my childhood teddy bear, Yogi, and a tin I have for sewing supplies. 
When I started the Sophie's Universe CAL, someone on the Official CCC Social Group on facebook suggested that we post pictures of our Sophies outdoors. So, once she got to a reasonable size, I dutifully took my Sophie to our local park. 
It was a windy day and I didn't have anything to hold Sophie in place, aside from her own weight,
so some of my picture-taking attempts were not that successful. Nevertheless, 
for a small town park, it did provide me with some good venues for photography.
I used the picture below (or was it the one above) as my cover photo on facebook
and a friend responded that it was such a good picture that it should be on the cover of a quilting magazine. I will forgive her for not recognizing it's an afghan, not a quilt.
Next I posted my progress on the Vivaldi Throw
with pictures taken in my own yard. 
Another friend saw these pictures on facebook and offered to buy Vivaldi. Instead, it became a gift for her 50th wedding anniversary. When it was finally finished, I blocked it in my holiday trailer
and took the first picture of the completed afghan (my grandson in the foreground). Here's a closeup: 
I took it to the park as well.
And snapped a few photos.
While I was taking the photo below, a woman called out from the other side of the river (over which this bridge spanned), saying what a beautiful afghan it is and could she take a picture as well. 
So I allowed her the privilege, and encouraged her daughter, who had learned to crochet, to continue the hobby. The following is my favourite of the Vivaldi Throw.
So if I ever get tired of nursing for a living, maybe I'll try craft photography. :-)
Update on other projects: I've finished both sides of the Feileacan shawl and just have to finish the celtic knot butterflies for the centre back. For the choo-choo train afghan, I still have to add fringe to one end and crochet and applique the train cars. I haven't made any recent progress on the train cardigan and the cowls are on hold until I get these other projects done. As far as the renovations go, I supposedly hired someone to finish them, but he said he said he'd get to them in a week to a week and a half and that was about a month ago. I haven't heard from him since. I may just have to go ahead and try to complete them myself if I ever want my house in order again. Now that Sophia and Damian are living under my roof, it's even more important. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Another Fair, More Ribbons

At the next country fair in our area, I entered even more items than at the previous one and brought home 6 red (firsts) and 3 blues (seconds). Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, which is too bad because they had the larger quilts displayed nicely at the fair. I took these photos at home afterwards. 
The Florence Nightingale quilt and So You Think You Can Quilt both took red ribbons again,

while this time the Scrappy Shine quilt and the Firecracker Throw got reds as well. They both placed second in the previous fair. 

There was a Paper Pieced class at this fair, so I also entered the Dreamweaver Quilt 
which was awarded a blue ribbon.
I entered two different cowls in this show, the two dropped stitch cowls. The knitted one took a blue ribbon
and the crocheted one was awarded a red. 
In the Small Crocheted Article, I entered my Argyle Crochet Pot Holder, which won a red ribbon.
And finally I decided to include my first attempt at an acrylic painting (outside of the practice ones I did in class). 
Surprisingly, my Painted Trillium won a second. 
That's it for fair season this year. Now that the "fair bug" has bitten, I intend to plan better for next year's fairs. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

My First Fair Entries

This is my last day of vacation. During my vacation, my daughter and I took Damian to the local fair. It was kind of a bust for a toddler, not quite 3 years old. Most of the rides are too advanced for him. And the bouncy castle had too many bigger kids in it for it to be safe for him. The petting zoo had so many other kids that Damian found it overwhelming. And the bench show was rather disappointing for me as well. Only 4 quilted items total, all of which were small items. No large quilts.There was only one knitted afghan which was barely baby size, no crocheted afghan, and a few smaller items in those categories. And that for a town of 6000 with the largest fair in the area. It got me to thinking about entering some of my projects. 
I first started thinking about entering my projects many years ago when I was still living in London, Ontario. While visiting the Western Fair, I noticed a cake that had won a ribbon that was just covered with stars (different colours, according to the desired design), which is one of the simplest ways to decorate a cake. And I knew I could do better than that as I was into cake decorating at that time. However, I never followed up. Then, when my daughter was younger and we were living in Alberta, I helped her enter several projects in the local fairs. It seems almost every little community in rural Alberta has a fair or rodeo. So my daughter entered in the bigger fair in town, and a couple of smaller fairs in other communities. 
After seeing the rather dismal display at the local fair, I remembered that the two other area fairs were around the same time as our fair. And decided to investigate. Sure enough, today was the one in the small hamlet and this coming Wednesday is the one in a nearby village. Since I had never entered anything in a fair before, I had a collection of projects that qualified to enter. (You cannot enter the same item in the same fair more than once). I managed to come up with 7 items to enter: a large quilt, a crib quilt, a small quilted article, a knitted article not listed (cowl), crocheted doll clothes, crocheted afghan, and a crocheted item not listed (another cowl). And I brought home a ribbon for each one!
You may remember that I have said before that I do not make "show quality" quilts, so I did not expect to win much, if anything for my quilts. However, entering a quilt in a quilt show and entering one in a local country fair are not the same thing. 
Here's the rundown of my ribbons, just note that red ribbons are first place in Canada and blue ribbons are second place. 
The Florence Nightingale qult 

won first place in the Large Quilt class.

The Scrappy Shine quilt

won second place in the crib quilt class.

So You Think You Can Quilt
won first place in the Small Quilted Article class.
Candi's Checked Cowl
won first place in the Other Knitted Article Not Listed class.
My toilet paper doll won first place in the Crocheted Doll Clothes class (second place winner in the background).
The Firecracker Throw
won second place in the Crocheted Afghan class (first place in background, third place on the left).
And the Twisted Cowl
won second place in the Other Crocheted Article Not listed class (seen here in the background with the first place item in the foreground).
On Wednesday, I will enter some items in the next fair. I haven't decided if I'll enter all of the same items or not. I have other cowls that could be entered that I will not have the opportunity to enter again as they will be given away at Christmas. 
This was fun. There was more competition in this small fair than there would have been had I entered the one in town. And I earned a little money, too, as there are small cash prizes along with the ribbons. Next year, I will likely have entries in all three fairs, but I might be competing against my daughter as she is resuming her hobbies of quilting and crocheting. And that will make me proud. And I intend for my grandson to begin his fair entries as well. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Camping with My Grandson

I had originally planned on being at Campmeeting this week. However, I was unable to book a serviced campsite at our church campgrounds, and I wasn't about to stay at an unserviced site. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a trailer in the first place if I can't use the washroom, lights, furnace... There never seems to be a surplus of money in my budget, plus I had finally decided to hire someone to complete my renovation project for me, so this was going to be a "staycation." However, having my trailer sit idle on a friend's acreage for 2 or 3 years rather defeats the purpose of having it as well. I looked at the calendar and was reminded that the coming weekend was actually a "long" weekend, August 3rd being Civic Holiday here in Alberta. And I really hadn't done anything special for a long weekend in a long time. So I contacted my daughter and asked if she and Damian would like to go camping with Grandma for the weekend. So we did. 
Since it was pretty much a last minute idea, I basically threw everything together. Planning on a weiner roast, I remembered the hot dog buns, but not the weiners. There were a few other things I forgot, but we got by. And mostly had a good time. I brought along Damian's bike and his bubble lawn mower, which he drove so hard that it was "foaming at the mouth." He wasn't sure what to make of this "little house" and a couple of times asked to "go home." 
I didn't know what Sophia would bring along for him to play with, so bought a few things at the dollar store, both for inside in case of rain and as well as outdoor toys. Sophia brought some of each, too, so he had enough to do, even though it rained one whole morning. Unfortunately, the camp site was very gravelly, so not the best play site. And Damian did end up with scraped knees as a result.There was a playground in the camp, but after meeting up with the same "brat" there twice - first, when he tried to take off with Damian's bubble lawn mower and second, when he carelessly smacked Damian in the face with a stick, narrowly missing his eye - we decided to mostly avoid the playground. But having both Mom and Grandma to play with made up for that. Damian would want to be outside from before breakfast in the morning until last thing at night, outside of nap time, which we had to enforce when he got grumpy. He was quite thrilled with the water pistols that I bought him. At one point he jumped into what Sophia referred to as his Mission Impossible stance: legs spread, water pistol held front and centre in both hands. He was seldom without one of his water pistols, taking them along as we walked and squirting every stone or stick that we saw along the way. He took one of his water pistols with him when we went hiking, which turned into dinosaur hunting. In his world, dinosaurs are friendly and we weren't hunting them to shoot them, just seeking them out. And we brought one home to have lunch with us. Ah, the imagination of a toddler!
Conveniently, I had purchased a set of 3 water pistols, so we did have one water pistol fight between the three of us. I decided to try Damian's Mission Impossible stance, shouting "Freeze" as I jumped into position. But what does a not quite three-year-old know about "freezing?" Instead, he imitated me, jumping into position and shouting "Freeze." And promptly fell down. Sophia remarked that he should be on one of those gag cop shows.
We only had one campfire during the weekend. Campfires don't work very well with toddlers. Toddlers like to run and jump and play, not sit still gazing into a fire. Roasting marshmallows or weiners wouldn't have been a good plan as he'd want to do it himself and it would be too great a safety hazard. We did find a compromise when Grandma demonstrated making water sizzle by spraying water from the water pistol on the metal fire pit. He sat still for a while to join me in that activity, but it also highlighted the hazard. Instantaneous vaporization meant that fire pit was very HOT! It's amazing the silly things you find yourself doing when you have a grandchild. After he got up and started blowing bubbles with his mother, I suddenly smelled melting plastic and looked down and saw a spark had landed on his lawn chair. So thankful he was not in his chair when that landed. 
Blowing bubbles was another activity we pursued on the weekend, even in the rain. I got a set of various bubble wands and was able to produce some pretty big bubbles with some of them. One of these new wands looked like a smoker's pipe. I filled the bowl with bubble fluid, but the results were less than satisfactory. Damian decided he wanted to try that one. Unfortunately, after blowing out, he then sucked in and was pretty disgusted with the mouth full of bubble fluid he got as a result. 
I did get a lot of exercise this weekend and not enough sleep. The dining table that becomes a bed is just not comfortable enough for my middle-aged body. And I've got a mountain of laundry. So I feel like it will take the remainder of my vacation just to catch up. 
After this weekend, I have concluded that, while my trailer is perfect for just me, it's definitely crowded with the three of us. But we will make do. We'll have to because money is going to be tight for a while. Sophia and Damian are moving back in with me so that Sophia can pursue the practical nurse program and become an LPN. I'm very proud of her.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Knitting, Crocheting, Cooking and Vacuum Cleaners

Aside from yesterday's devotional, I realized it's been over two months since I last posted on my blog. So this may be a long update. I'll start with vacuum cleaners. In order to take some of the pictures for today's post, I wanted to vacuum the carpet first. With two cats in the house, one of which is long-haired, cat fur accumulates rapidly in my house. However, when I started the vacuum cleaner up, it was leaving most of the fluff behind. I also noticed a peculiar "whine" to the motor and the smell of burnt rubber. I turned the vacuum cleaner off and checked all of the extension wands for plugs: nothing. Then I remembered that the last time I had used the power head, I had problems with it and determined to take it apart and clean out all of the "stuff" wrapped around the roller. I hadn't done that yet. So I got my tool kit, sat down on the floor and took the power head apart. Yuk! What a mess of dirt, hair, cat fur, thread, yarn, tinsel, whatever! The dirt was caked on so thick that I was scraping it off with a flathead screwdriver and I was still not getting it all off. I finally resorted to spraying it with Fantastik and got it relatively clean with that. I didn't even know that there were instructions for changing the belt embossed on the inside of the top until I got it clean enough to see them. I was calculating and figure I've likely had that vacuum cleaner for about 8-1/2 years. And I've never taken the powerhead apart. I'm not sure where the instructions are for it, but I don't remember reading anything about taking the powerhead apart regularly to clean it. I guess I'll have to add that to my spring cleaning tasks. Hmm, just remembered that I've got a powerhead on my central vac as well. I probably should take that one apart too... And, in case you're wondering why I have both a canister vac and a central vac - I had the canister vac before I bought my house and the central vac came with the house. The central vac is really old, though it still works, and I just seem to alternate between the two of them. And currently the central vac is "out of commision" as I have taken the cannister off to get behind it to finish the drywall. It's in the sewing area of my basement, which I'm supposed to be renovating. 
And on the topic of the renovations - not much progress there. I just find it very difficult to work full time, cook, clean, maintain the yard, pursue my hobbies and complete renovations. And I'm a little bit intimidated about doing the flooring myself. So I have determined to get an estimate or two to see if I can afford to pay someone else to get it done. I'm really getting tired of not being able to quilt and having all of my supplies stacked in the living room. Kind of puts a damper on having company: "Just pull up a box of fabric and have a seat."
On the crafting front, June's "Learn a Stitch, Make this Cowl" was the Le Papillon Cowl. I'm not sure what "Le Papillon" has to do with it because I do not really see anything reminiscent of a butterfly in the cowl. I bought the suggested Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable yarn and began the cowl.
It really wasn't going well. And I have decided that I really don't like this yarn. While it comes in beautiful colours, it is not fun to work with. It's marked as a 4 weight, but it's unevenly spun and there are long sections where it's probably only a 2 weight between slubs of 4 weight. It also has a bit of a nap (I know that's a fabric word, but I don't know what to call it in yarn) which makes it really difficult to frog, and I ended up breaking it at least 3 times as you can see in the picture above. I'd had enough. 
And I'm puzzled. Red Heart has so many different yarns, so I don't know why they would choose to use the same yarn in more than one cowl. March's Lovable Cowl was also made with Unforgettable yarn. I had problems with that one, too, but I blamed that on my knitting skills. And both January's and April's cowls called for Medley, though I didn't use it for April's. And I decided not to use Unforgettable for June's either. I bought a skein of Super Saver in Monet and proceeded with that. 
Meanwhile I was having issues with the pattern.
I really didn't like the way the pattern said to do the bobbles. You end up with 11 loops on the hook and then have to yarn over and draw through all 11 loops. That is an awful lot of loops to get your hook through. I tried it and ended up with what looked like messy balls of yarn. You can see that in the Unforgettable yarn in the foreground of the picture above. Not only did I not like the look of it, but I thought all of those loose loops of yarn would be easy to get caught on something. So I decided to do the traditional bobble stitch with the Super Saver yarn, as you can see above, and I'm much happier with it. 
And here's the final product:
Super Saver was much easier to work with than Unforgettable. And I love the Monet. And here I am trying it on:
I also made progress on my grandson's cardigan:
This is the left front and I've still got a lot of ends to work in, as you can see. I've got the right front done to just below where the picture starts. His birthday is August 30, and I'm hoping to have it done by then. It's the first time I've tried Intarsia knitting and I'm not unhappy with how it's turning out. 
Also for my grandson's birthday is the Choo-Choo Train Afghan.
No choo-choo train on it yet, however, but the main body of the afghan is finished. I have to finish adding the fringe on each end, then crochet the train cars and stitch them on. You can see how little space I had to spread it out because of all the sewing room clutter in my living room.
You'll remember that I've been working on the Vivaldi throw. Here it is to date:
Still a long way from being finished. And it needs to be done by August 16th. I had a friend offer to buy this one from me, and I told her that I don't sell my projects, but I kept the fact that she liked this one in the back of my mind. I didn't have a recipient in mind for it when I started, but when I found out this same friend is celebrating her 50th anniversary this year, I knew who the recipient would be.
One Sabbath morning when my daughter and grandson were visiting, my daughter was wearing a sundress for church. As it is usually a little chilly in the mornings, I asked if she wanted a wrap. But most of my wraps were more for winter and she said that they were all too heavy. I ended up giving her a large muslin scarf, but said that I would need to make her a lighter weight cotton wrap. I later bought some Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Lotus Blossom, but needed to find an appropriate pattern. As it is intended to be a summer wrap, I did not want a very densely crocheted pattern. It's not that I don't have patterns at home, but decided to look at what was available while I was at Walmart.  I found the summer issue of Crochet! Magazine, which had 3 wraps in it, none of which were done in 4 weight. But it's just a wrap, so I figured I could adjust the pattern. I really love the Feileacan Shawl, which has Celtic knot butterflies down the back. The pattern calls for a 2 weight yarn and so I decided to try the butterfly to see if it looked acceptable in 4 weight. I was happy with it and proceeded to make the right half of the shawl.
This is the completed right half of the shawl and the one butterfly. I haven't finished sewing the butterfly yet. I actually completed the whole right half following the pattern, but it ended up being much too long in the back, so I frogged enough rows to eliminate one butterfly down the back. Or was it two? Anyway, not all of the pattern was working to my liking - the rows weren't lining up the way they should. So I made my own alterations, but don't ask me now what they were. Hopefully I can remember them when I complete the left half. The Ravelry link that gives pattern corrections (but not the ones I wanted) can be found here. There are supposed to be beads added along the bottom edge of the shawl, but I haven't decided if I'm going to add them or not. The only ones I found that were the right size with a big enough bore hole are silver and I'm not sure if that's the best colour for this yarn. Besides leaning back against beads on a wooden pew might be rather uncomfortable. Feileacan, by the way, is Irish for butterfly. This is the first time I've attempted a crochet pattern with a rating of 6 (challenging). My daughter's birthday is September 5th, so I hope to have it finished by then.
July's cowl is the Love this Lacy Cowl. It's a knitted pattern and just emphasizes the reason why I prefer crocheting over knitting. Somehow I got my stitches out of order and the pattern doesn't line up like it should. But frogging when you're knitting is more trouble than it's worth. So I've left the mistakes in there and figure it will still be pretty. Just not perfect.
The pattern called for Red Heart Sparkle Soft, but I'm using Bernat Satin Sparkle in coral. I generally go with what I like that's available locally in the appropriate guage. I can't always make a trip to the city and don't necessarily want to have to pay for shipping if I order online. It's less than half finished and, by next weekend, the August cowl pattern will be available. For a pattern that's rated "easy," I'm not really finding it so. It will likely have to be set aside until September as it's intended for a Christmas present, whereas the above 4 projects have more imminent deadlines. However, my vacation starts Friday, July 31, and I'm hoping to get at least the Vivaldi throw finished during that time. I can't afford to go anywhere, especially if I end up paying someone to complete my renovations, but will hopefully get some serious crafting time in. 
July 31st is also the 7th anniversary of my divorce. Maybe I should do something to celebrate!
Meanwhile I actually had time to do some real cooking this week. By "real cooking" I mean more than just boiling some pasta and pouring on some sauce from a jar. I made Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burritos. The filling is made overnight in a crockpot.
Yummy! This is from one of my new favourite cookbooks.

This cookbook is perfect for me. I love slow cookers and the recipes are for one or two people. 
Now it's time for lunch. I have a lawn to mow and a handyman to find who can give me an estimate on my renovations. Not to mention a powerhead to put back together now that it's had a chance to dry out after cleaning. So that's all for now.