Thursday, December 20, 2018

I Like #96

The last week of I likes before Christmas.  I'm leaving on Sunday for a whirlwind 10 days visiting lots of different family, starting with my beloved sister and co.  I've been doing lots of crafting in the background but it's all for Christmas presents so I'll wait to share it till later.

1. I like my Christmas lights!  I never get very compelling pictures of them, but I love them all the same.  I set my light timer to come back on around 5 every morning so that I see them on when I go for my early morning walk and they make me happy every time we get back around.

2. I love choral music!  Several of my good friends are part of the Norman Singers, a local Choral society, and I got to go to their winter concert this last weekend.  They sang Rutter's Gloria as well as a bunch of other Christmas and Advent carols.  There were enough familiar ones to be really heartwarming and enough new-to-me ones that it was super exciting.  Really wonderful event all around.  They held the concert in the First Baptist Church in Norman.  I'd never been there, and the sanctuary had some really beautiful stained glass!

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate Christmas, and Happy Holidays to everyone else.  I hope you are warm and fed and with family and people that love you.  Special prayers and love to anyone who is struggling or lonely or ill or in need.  I'm so grateful to my online friends and my in person friends and my family (including the large furry monsters).  You guys keep me going!

Linking up with LeeAnna, who keeps us positive every week.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

I Like #95

Another week of I likes.

So many wonderful things to like this week that I didn't get pictures of.  I love spending time with my friends,  and getting Christmas cards in the mail, and knowing that in a couple short weeks I'm going to be with my family.  I love making things for people I know they'll love and I love snuggling with my pups.  I love singing along to the radio and singing in the choir.  I love the getting ready.  Many years, I love the getting ready even more than Christmas.

But there are a few things I did get pictures of, so here are a few more.

1.  I love my pups!!  They were waiting so very (not quite) patiently for me to get their leashes on before the walk this morning, I just had to snap a picture.

2.  My Christmas cacti are in full bloom.  I figured it would be good when I saw the big buds, but I'm always overwhelmed by their color.

3.  I love our Christmas decorations at work.  They're hard to get good pictures of, but most of the people on our floor (it's sort of a catch-all floor with people from lots of different departments) get together and decorate and it's lots of fun.

4. I love Liz Climo's cartoons.  They're super cute, and this recent one seemed especially relevant.  Big Sigh.  Definitely check out her work 

I hope everyone has a good week, and head over to LeeAnna's to see what everyone else is liking this week.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I Like #94

Welcome to another week of things to like.  I like this time of year in general, though my house feels strangely empty with no tree.

It's been cold here but no snow yet, which doesn't bother me at all.  The other day I was out walking a little later than usual and I got to see the sunrise.  It was subtler than it often is and I thought it was quite pretty.  I love the colors.

I finished my neon knit socks right before Thanksgiving and this week I got to wear them for the first time.  They came out exactly like I wanted-  super 80s feeling!  I blogged about them here if you want to see more of them.

I also got to wear my new handknit socks from my friend Kristin for the first time!  She made them as a birthday present, but as my birthday is in July, it wasn't really knit sock time.  I love them too!

The buds on my Christmas cactus are getting bigger and very very intense in color.  They haven't quite opened yet, but I think it's going to be another great year for them.  I can't think of any other plant that gives as much color and beauty with so little effort.

 I was so happy to see Bentley and Blue playing together the other evening.  Bentley was the one who started it too which is great since he's often an old fart.  They were super frisky, but of course stopped as soon as I picked up the camera.

Blue is allowed on the sofa but not the bed.  But almost every morning when I'm in the shower he hops up there because he knows I can't see him.  Alas, the tell-tale bed disturbance and giant plop of him getting down are sure signs he's been at it again.  Such a big dork.

I did some Christmas crafting this week too.  I had to retire my beloved C9 lights after they kept blowing one fuse after another.  It was sad, but probably time to switch to LEDs anyway.  They certainly make me less nervous.  But I couldn't bear to throw out all the C9s, so I decided to make a wreath!  I just have to be careful-  if I ever drop it it would be a catastrophic mess as those bulbs are super fragile glass.

I hope everyone else is enjoying December!  Thanks to Lee Anna for linking us up!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Knit Socks: Finished!!!

You guys-  I'm so excited.  I finished my knit socks!!  I actually finished them right before our recent trip to Florida (which was my goal), and I'm so thrilled with how they turned out. 

You may have heard me say for years around here that I'm not a knitter.  Well,  I think I'm a knitter.  Alas.  :)  These were the socks I first made about ten years or more ago.  I made one of them actually, and disliked it so much that my mom caved in and made the other one.  But this time I enjoyed it way more.  Hooray.

I knitted them toe up under the guidance of my friend Melody and I really like that method.  I was just estimating how big they should be based on a pair of hers I tried on, and I think next time I'll use a few more stitches.  They fit, and the leg section is really stretchy, but they're a bit snugger than I'd like.

I did this very easy faux cable on the leg,  it was nice because it made me learn a couple of new stitches (like purling and some weird back and forth stitch thing) but was simple enough that I didn't have a hard time keeping track.

After I switched to speckle in the leg, Blue did this to my yellow yarn.  Complete with bits of backyard mixed in for fun.

My goal was to use the leftover yarn from making this shawl, and I had plenty for the socks.  All the speckle is gone now, but I still have a bit of pink and a lot of neon yellow (see above) left.

So now I have happy neon knit socks to go with the knit socks my friend Kristin and my mom have made me.   Hooray for knitting!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I Like #93

Lots of things to like since I missed posting last week.  I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

1.  I was so grateful to get to be with my family; my parents and I and my sister's family took a road trip to Florida to introduce the kids to Disney World, and I think we all had a blast, though my dad doesn't care for the chaos of Disney.

It was the first trip for my niece and nephew and they got a chance to meet lots of characters and go on all the fun rides.  It's so much fun to hear them giggling and laughing.  They even had turkey hats to wear :)

It was fun for the adults too- a lot had changed since I'd been there before and there were several new attractions at the Magic Kingdom in addition to old favorites.  There was also a whole new Avatar land at Animal Kingdom which was just amazing.  I didn't even particularly love the Avatar movie, but the Avatar world at the park was just everything that was wonderful and creative.  The whole landscape is filled with miraculous fantasy plants seamlessly blended with the real lush landscaping, and both Avatar rides were really really cool.

I loved these mosaics, the top one is from EPCOT and the bottom two are inside Cinderella's castle.

My mom and dad got matching hoodies for me, my sister, and my mom.  We did lots of scurrying around to find one we liked in the right sizes.  Of course by the time we thought to take a picture it was late the night before we were leaving and everyone was scurrying around trying to pack and clean up!

2. We also got to visit Homosassa Springs State Park which is a wildlife refuge for Florida animals and Lu the 59 year old hippo.  I'd remembered him from our previous visit 15 years ago- and he's super cool.  He was made an honorary Florida citizen so he'd be allowed to stay.  The park is also a haven for manatees, which are just awesome.

3.  I was also excited to have two days in the car on the way out there (I flew home separately), so my mom and I could start our new complicated knitting project.  It took a lot of ripping and confusion, but now we're both finally making progress on this shawl.  It's lots of short rows which I'd never done before, but I've got the hang of them now (knock on wood).

4. I got to visit my nephew's Montessori school!  My sister has asked me to make a banner for the kids to carry into Chapel; her son is graduating from the Montessori school this year and it's the school's 50th anniversary, so she thought it would be a great piece of art to donate to the school.  On the way back from the trip I met with the school director to look at the school and associated parish and it brought back tons of fabulous Montessori memories from when I was a little kid.

5.  And of course the monsters :).  I was super happy to get back to them, dog snuggles are always good.  In the process of arguing over the armchair in the studio the other day (and in spite of the presence of the pouf), Blue pushed the seat cushion off and Bentley promptly claimed it.

Wishing everyone a good week!  I love advent-  it really is a wonderful time of the year, and I've been enjoying getting out my Christmas decorations!  Linking up with LeeAnna who keeps us positive!

Monday, November 19, 2018

New Quilt: 33°20'N, 105°33'W

Late this summer, after I was done making all the pieces for the Capitol show, I decided to squeeze in one more large piece to enter into Quilt National '19.  Unfortunately, it didn't get in, but that's ok- I'll enter it into something else, and for now it gets to hang in my house.

I started with pale purple shiny polyester fabric and painted it to look like this big abstract bouquet.  I really wanted to bring in some orange and red amid my favorite teal/pink/purple combo.  Like the last couple of times, I put the piece of backing fabric on the table underneath the front fabric so that when I painted it, the paint seeped through to the back.  I like doing it this way; the back mostly matches the front (though a little fainter) and I don't waste so much paint.

Of course Blue had to help me baste it for quilting,  I think I shared this pic before.  Luckily this was before the massive rain mud season, so his contribution wasn't terrible.

This is what it looked like after quilting.  he front is on the left, the back is on the right.  You can tell that the colors are more intense on the front, but generally pretty similar to the back.

After quilting I started cutting out holes and melting the edges.  I was looking forward to doing another openwork piece, and I like the way the cutouts came out on this one.  

After cutting the holes, I cut an irregular edge around the whole thing and then zig-zagged on my roving-wrapped wire for the edge.  I like this way of doing edging.  IT makes the edges feel finished, they're a little sculptable, and the irregularities in the roving contribute to the organic feel of the piece.

To sculpt the whole thing I covered it with fabric stiffener and then draped it over crumpled paper forms.  The stiffener works pretty well, but not quite enough to fully support a piece this big.  

33°20'N, 105°33'W,  c. Shannon Conley, 2018, 64" x 34" x 6"

Its name is the coordinates of the place near my parents' house where we go hiking, but I can never remember the actual title, so in my brain its just called Bouquet.  The hanging slat sits about halfway down because otherwise you can see it through the holes, but of course even with stiffener, the top flopped forward.  I designed this infrastructure for it,  each of the three wooden pieces (which are now painted white and bolted to the slat, not just held with binder clips) velcro to the quilt holding up the weight.

This was a fun project and I love walking in to my bedroom and seeing it on the wall!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

I Like #92

New things to like for this week:

1.  Most importantly,  an amazing shout out to our veterans in thanks for their amazing service to our country.  This year was especially poignant with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, and I found myself thinking more than usual about the horrors of the first World War.  I found this picture of my sister and me from Christmas 1982 with my father, a Vietnam veteran, my grandfather, a World War II veteran, and my great-grandfather, a World War I veteran.  I'm lucky that my father and grandfather are still with us (the latter was quite helpful regarding my fence situation when I called him Sunday), and my great Grandpa Cliff lived until I was 16 so I got to know him as well.  Thank you to all who serve!!!

2. Fall and early winter are here in earnest,  we got our first snow on Monday (which I didn't get any pictures of), but I did snap a picture late last week of the pretty trees at work.

3.  Blue had been breaking out of my fence constantly, so I had to get a new fence.  Unfortunately, they were scheduled to start it the same day as the first snow, but they guys came anyway, and got it in in two days.  The new fence is wonderful, and I appreciate their hard work.  It's really much nicer than my old fence, but Blue has already started chewing on it, so I'm going to have to put up the zap wire when I get back after Thanksgiving.  Mike is staying with them at the house next week, so hopefully he can keep an eye on the fence.

4.  I love the pups, even though-ahem-BLUE I wish they'd quit with the fence.....  Here's a dog selfie with Bentley.  He decided that even if I was in the chair rather than on the sofa there was still room for him.  Blue is blending in.  Of course he had to pull off the sheet I put on the couch to keep some of the mud off.

5.  I love my euphorbia!!  It's one of my favorite plants, and I thought I'd killed it earlier in the year.  It was a whole giant multi-month saga, but I think now that both the original broken one may be saved (there are some new leaves yay!!!), and the tiny ones I tried to propagate to salvage something might be saved!

6.  Finally I'll leave you with this picture of my neighbor who has decided that fall decorations and Christmas decorations can co-exist.  I have to confess the idea of the scarecrow visiting the baby Jesus makes me smile.

Hope you all have a good week and a good celebration next week for those who are observing Thanksgiving.  It seems suitable to me that our Likes fall on Thursday- for me at least, a weekly opportunity to find things to be grateful for.  Thanks to LeeAnna for keeping us going!