Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our new baby...or why I still haven't finished my sweater

I recently "liked" the local animal shelter's page on Facebook and ever since I've been looking daily at the dogs up for adoption there. This shelter takes in all strays for our county as well as dogs and cats that have been surrendered by their owners. Last week I spotted a little cutie who looked a lot like our sweet Pepper--in fact, she looked like Pepper's long lost twin. We've been wanting to get Pepper a friend, but kept putting it off. When I saw this little cutie, I told B I thought it might be time. After several dogs got euthanized because the shelter was full, I decided I had to go save a dog. On Thursday, I went down to the shelter. I was introduced to Payton. She was such a sweetie, but bigger than expected. Only 48 pounds, but on a big frame. I was torn. That was more dog than I was expecting. But after spending some time with Payton, I couldn't leave her there. So here is our newest baby:

She came with the name Payton which B and I weren't crazy about, but we couldn't think of anything better and now Payton has stuck. So Payton it is. She is between 1 and 2 years old and is a "shepherd mix." We think of her as a bigger, goofier, floppier version of Pepper.

The girls have been getting along great! They love playing in the backyard.

They will even sit together and give me this sweet look.
Payton has blended wonderfully into our family. She appears to be house-trained (no accidents yet), knows "sit" and goes into her crate willingly when we have to leave her. She gives kisses whenever she gets a chance and follows me around like my shadow.

I feel so lucky to have found such a sweet addition to our family.

But unfortunately, both my hands have been busy petting dogs (Pepper on one side and Payton on the other) so I haven't done much knitting. One day I will finish that sweater I'm working on.

Until then I'll just keep enjoying my girls.

As you can see, N is enjoying them too.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ysolda Teague

This week Ysolda Teague came to Texas and taught four classes through my local yarn shop, the Woolie Ewe. This morning I was lucky enough to take a 3 hour "Perfect Sweater" class taught by Ysolda. It was my first ever knit class and it was awesome! I learned a lot. The info was all from her latest book Little Red in the City. It's a great book and I highly recommend it.

I wore my Summer tank that I designed and knit this summer to the class. It was chilly this morning so I wore it as a vest over a button up.

Anyway, I got to talk to Ysolda briefly about my sweater before she signed my copy of Little Red in the City. This is a close up of what she wrote:
Pretty awesome, huh?

Yes, today was a good day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Partridge and a Pear Tree

This year B and I got invited to an adults costume-required Halloween party. The theme for the party was Nightmare Before Christmas so we decided to go with Christmas themed costumes. B came up with the idea of a partridge in a pear tree and then I decided he could be the pear tree and I would be the partridge. My costume took me a few weeks to complete, but B's was quite quick and easy to make.
Getting ready to head out. As you can see, N was quite intrigued by my new shoes. He really wanted to wear them.

My partridge costume was inspired by this owl costume I found on Pinterest.

I took an old full slip and shortened it. Then I cut out lots of "feathers" from a faux silk material. I started with larger feathers and sewed them on in rows starting at the bottom hem of the slip. Once I reached the waist, I switched to much smaller "feathers." I continued in this fashion until the whole slip was covered in feathers. I added additional rows of feathers over the straps and the dress was complete. I used a bit of fabric glue to attach the sides of the feathers together to keep them from flapping too much and showing the white slip below.

For the wings, I used this tutorial that I found on Pinterest. I cut out two quarter circles for the wings and sewed the top edge of them to a long length of sheer silver ribbon. I made loops with the ribbon at the end of each wing to slip my hands through.
Inspired by a photograph of a partridge, I decide to do stacks of feathers (silver, white, dark brown, gold). Then I sewed them on in rows starting on the bottom edge of the wing. After I finished the rows of "feathers" I sewed over the feathers back along the top edge of the wings (where the ribbon was) to keep them from flopping down.
Finally I added two snaps to the ribbon where the wings rested over the straps of the dress. This way I could snap the wings to my dress to keep the top edge in place.

I also made some feather earrings and two feather hair clips. I ended up wearing one clip in my hair and one on my dress.

B's pear tree costume was fun and much easier to make.

I bought a green t-shirt at Old Navy ($5) and some fake pears (one bunch of 8 pears) and fake ficus branches at Michael's( I used 3 ficus branches at around $0.75 each). I attached the branches onto the t-shirt by tacking each branch on at various points. I used wire cutters to separate some of the branches into smaller parts as needed. Then I used the wire cutters to cut the pears off the branches they came on and sewed them onto the ficus branches. I used a bit of fabric glue on the thread to make sure the pears stayed secure.

For B's pants, I bought an inexpensive pair of khakis at Wal-mart ($10) and used acrylic paint to make them look like wood/tree trunk.

This is my favorite part.
As you can see below, we had fun wearing our costumes at the party.

So that's how I've been spending my crafty time. Now that the party is past, I can go back to knitting. Hope to share some of that soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

State Fair! (Warning LOTS of photos)

So we finally made it to the Texas State Fair. In fact, this was our first state fair experience. B's parents are in town and J had a free ticket so we decided now was a good of time as any.

We started by heading straight for the iconic Texas Ferris wheel.

J got distracted by the Alpine ride and decided to go on that instead. He loves anything that spins around--the faster the better. Here's a pic of J and B on the Alpine ride (from my view in line for the Ferris wheel).

N and I on the Ferris wheel.
Looking down at the ride J and B were on.

Next stop, the whale ride N spotted from the Ferris wheel. I love how happy my boys look hanging out together.

Next, J and B went on this roller coaster, the Zillerator. J LOVES roller coasters. N likes them too, but he was too short to go on this one.

After checking out the rest of the midway, J, N and I decided to ride the Sky Way to the food court. This was probably my favorite part of the day because I had my two boys all to myself. It was a fun, peaceful moment in the day and the boys loved seeing the fair from this aerial view.
The food court was my next stop where we enjoyed Belgian waffles, corndogs, gyros and fried beer. Yes, fried beer.
There is actually liquid beer inside this fried outer shell. Unfortunately, beer isn't really meant to be fried and it tasted a bit stale. But if you put enough cheese on them, they were kind of good.

Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed their whipped cream covered waffles.

Next we decided to check out some of the traditional fair venues including the Creative Arts building. Outside of the building, we saw this lovely crochet covered golf cart. LOVE it!
Inside we found this intricate butter sculpture.Yes, this is all carved out of BUTTER.
Some of the lovely, award-winning knit items on display:

Next, we had to check out some of the animals. My favorites were these adorable little piglets.

At this point, it was over 86 and around 2PM and the grounds were PACKED. So we went on one last ride before heading home. The boys loved lining up next to the Big Tex You-Must-Be-This-Tall signs.
LOVE those smiles!

Bye-bye, Big Tex! See you again next year.We'll need to head back. I didn't get to get any deep-fried cheesecake. :)

Creepy? I think so.

So when we were on our trip to Portland, we stopped at a pumpkin patch on our way home from a yummy lunch at Full Sale brewery in Hood River. Anyway, the pumpkin patch had this whole display of pumpkin and gourd fairy tales. Check these out, this is just a small sampling of the fun.

The seven dwarfs:

Cinderella and Prince Charming with her two evil stepsisters.
Cinderella's carriage with mouse footmen:

Mary had a little lamb:

Humpty Dumpty:

Little Miss Muffett and the spider:

And Little Red Riding Hood and the super scary wolf:
I found the whole thing to be quite creepy? What do you think?

Trip to Portland: Lots of photos

A week ago, we spent the weekend in Portland, Oregon visiting family. Here are some of my favorite pics from the trip.

My adorable niece Isla in the sweater I knit for her older brother when he was her age.

J, B, Isla, N, Oscar and Kristin (B's sister) at a fish hatchery.

At the pumpkin patch! Stripes!

Such lovely colors!

N and J posing. Luckily, J didn't realize his was a girl. :)

J found his pumpkin right away.

Love the gorgeous setting of this pumpkin patch. SO lovely!

Oscar and Isla.

Fun on wheels. N, Oscar and J.

Look at this tough looking group.


Heading home through the airport. Yes, N is in his pjs, but doesn't he look adorable pulling his own suitcase?

It was an exhausting weekend, but SO much fun. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family.