Monday, September 17, 2012

Creamy white roses to lift the spirits

There's simply nothing like flowers in the house to brighten the spirits when you're not feeling good. For me, the flowers can be real, silk, or the ones I crochet into afghans. Going through a string of nonserious, but aggravating maladies for the past couple of months -- ranging from vertigo that needed treatment to resolve itself to a doggone nasty first cold in years -- my spirits can rise when I've bought a nosegay at the local supermarket.

Most of my life, I didn't care much for roses, because the ones I saw were a depressingly dark burgundy color. But after drawing a rose in a drawing class, I've learned to appreciate their sculptural attributes, and now I especially love white, peach, and yellow roses.

The half-dozen creamy roses from Trader Joe's have graced our breakfast room table for at least 10 days or so. When I first brought them home, I left the stems fairly long and had them in a green glass vase. Per a friend's advice, I crushed the stems with a hammer, and that seemingly destructive measure seems to prolong the lives of flowers. After about a week, I decided to cut the stems short and place them, more fashionably, in a small, square vase with glass pellets. They're still perky -- certainly perkier than I feel.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A trip back to the '40s via my crochet hook

This project had its genesis on the addictive website,, I love popcorn crochet, the way designs emerge magically from my hook, lending splendid texture to afghans. When I saw the beautiful -- almost ethereal -- photos of this on pinterest, I knew I had to give it a try. It started when somebody found a vintage afghan in a thrift shop, took it home, and tried to reproduce the pattern.

 A Korean crocheter posted her version of the pattern in universally understood crochet symbols.
Aren't those blue,  yellow, and green hues lovely!

Pinned Image

Then the discoverer of the pattern translated it into written directions.

I capitalized on both these ladies' efforts to come up with my version, winging it on the joining round, then choosing to add a popcorn edging instead of bordering the afghan with whole motifs in a different color. Here's the result:

My corner joinings are less than perfect, and I toyed with the idea of covering them with some four-petaled popcorn flowers, but then decided they might spoil the circular flow of the design.  For the background color, I used Michael's Loops & Threads Impeccable Heather (l wish the earthiness of the color showed up better in my photos). The green and yellow flowers also are Impeccable colors, and the third color is Red Heart's Coral (which, disappointingly, looked more orange than coral when all was said and done).

As I was crocheting this, I kept having feelings of deja vu. It made me think of those sweet chenille bedspreads I remember from the little house nestled in the Virginia mountains that my mother and I lived in while waiting for my dad to get back from dangerous missions over the Himalayas during the great war. The puffy, raised swirls and flowers did indeed look like fuzzy caterpillars winding their way around the bed (chenille is the French word for caterpillar). Even the entwined wedding ring design itself seemed familiar, so I googled it and found there are very similarly patterned vintage chenille bedspreads for sale, and thought we must have had that pattern covering one of our beds, too. Anyway, crocheting this was really a trip, and I think I'll have to keep this little coverlet for myself, because of all the memories it brought back.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A $3 project, courtesy of the dollar store

Whenever I have a couple of tables of canasta at my house, pencils are always needed for scorekeeping. To make them easier to find, not to say prettier, I made a little vase of floer pens. All it took was three items from Dollar Tree: a pack of stick pens (they need to have caps), a roll of green florist's tape, and a bouquet of six flowers and six leaves. And, a couple of things I had on hand:  wire cutters and craft glue. I just cut off the stem of each flower to about 2 inches, attached it to the top of the pent (flush with the bottom of the bloom) with some green floral tape. I found I needed a dab of craft glue to make the starting end of the tape adhere, then wound it round and round, almost to the place where the top of the cap would be. Then, another little dab of glue to make sure the end sticks. When I found I still had six leaves on the stems, and they were too pretty to throw away, I attached one of them to each flower pen, in the same way.