March 31, 2016

Spring Flowers in Kunming

March 30, 2016

Local Wildlife
 On a recent walk in a nearby park, we were able to capture some shots of local wildlife. This little guy seemed perfectly content to hang upside down for a bit.
 Geese? I think they must be although I didn't realize geese were sometimes white. I thought that was just a duck. Except for the weird head knot thing.
I've no idea what this fellow is, but he is so pretty among the cherry blossoms, isn't he?

March 25, 2016

Granny Stripe Afghan

 Lucy of Attic 24 has a terrific tutorial for a Granny Stripe Afghan. I worked on this afghan last year and when I came back from the States, I was looking at it and just really felt that it wasn't moving along as quickly as I felt it should. So, I draped it over the bed and I had puddles of afghan on both sides. It would have been huge on a king-size bed and we have a full-size. No wonder it was taking so long!

Ripping out what I had already done because the yarn I'm using is acrylic and tangles easily. I would not recommend this, but I cut it in half. Yep, took out my scissors and chopped it down the middle. Then, I stitched up the sides as best I could and called it done. It works great as a couch cover that I don't care if the cat or dog sleeps on.

Now, however, I want to make another afghan. This next one's going to be a bit smaller than the last one though.

Ravelry page.

March 24, 2016

Pleasant Words
One of my favorite cross-stitch pieces at home.

March 22, 2016

Dragon Screen in Beihai Park

 These pictures are of the dragon screen in Beihai Park, but I've also seen the one in the Forbidden City. There are others as well. I find them fascinating both for their historical and cultural value as well as their aesthetics.
 Historically, it is said that the Chinese people descended from the dragon or the emperor and that there were nine sons of the dragon. These screens each depict nine dragons. Incidentally, these nine dragons are represented differently and are used in different ways. The crying dragon is found atop bells and the musical dragon on musical instruments, for instance. There is even a turtle-like dragon that is said to like carrying heavy things and these are often placed under tombstones as if they were carrying them on their backs.

Also, the Chinese dragons are more snake-like in body than their western counterparts. These dragons are said to have parts of multiple animals such as the antlers of a deer and the head of a horse or the scales of a carp. Supposedly when the dragon descended from heaven he was very promiscuous and had many mates which resulted in passing down multiple forms to his children.
 Chinese dragons are also said to have dwelt in the water and to have had control of water, floods, rains, and storms. And the small ball most Chinese dragons are depicted with are said to be flaming pearls representative of wisdom and power.
But, most fascinating to me at least is the detail and color in these screens which are made up of many tiny tiles. The work and craftsmanship as well as eye for detail is amazing. They almost look as if they could come to life at any moment.

March 18, 2016


 Rubber stamps and mini cookie cutters make terrific tools for using with Paperclay.
 Paper clips inserted through the top of cut-outs make great loops for pendants or charms. After these dried, I painted them with watercolors. Somewhere, I have pictures.

Paperclay really dries out your skin, so I kept a damp cloth nearby. It was really easy to work with and I was very happy with the results.

March 17, 2016

My I-cord Bracelet

So, I had some Koigu fingering leftover from a neck scarf that I have since lost in America or China, or perhaps somewhere in between. So sad.

But, the leftover yarn made a lovely bracelet. I did a three-stitch I-cord long enough to create three loops around my wrist before I connected the ends with Kitchener stitch and sewed a pretty wooden button over the connection.

I wish I could remember what size needles (dpns) I used, but, alas, I can't. So, I shall need to experiment if I want to make another one. I wear it quite often as it is both comfortable and warm, but not too warm.

March 16, 2016

Going on a Nature Walk
Well, not really. Actually, I just walked the dog around the courtyard of our apartment complex. But, I did pick up a few nature items on the walk anyway and decided to sketch them in an art journal. Drawing the boxes and adding background color helps everything to look finished.

March 15, 2016

Mirepoix Mix

 This simple starter can be made a whole potful at a time and stored in the freezer for quick additions to casseroles, soups, fried rice, or pizza/pasta sauce.

All it is is carrots, celery, and onions. You can adjust the amounts to fit your taste, too. I love making a large batch of this because it is so easy to put together a meal with this mix of veggies.

Mirepoix Mix

1 bunch of celery
2 onions
3-5 carrots
1-3 cups of water
wash and dice all of your veggies and put them in a large pot. Use just enough water to cover and cook until veggies are just softened, but still have a little bit of crunch to them. Allow to cool and add to your dish or place in containers for the freezer.

This really is a versatile mix and can liven up so many dishes!

March 14, 2016

Mini Canvas: Bunting

After seeing all the different buntings--crocheted, quilted, felt, embroidered--I decided to paint one on a mini canvas. It's about 3"x 3" and turned out quite cute. In fact, I may have to paint a few more. So much fun!

March 12, 2016

Knitting Bag

I love my knitting bag. It is great to hold larger projects like sweaters or several smaller projects. The only downside is that my knitting needles poke through. The handles are felted and were from some scrap yarn.

I ran out of the purple and used some multicolored scrap yarn to finish the bottom. And, I had to add some embroidered pink dandelions.

On a school bus trip, I even used it for a pillow. Although, I had to watch out for the needles!

Ravelry page here.

March 2, 2016

Making a Keychain Pouch

 I cut a long piece of fabric first.
 And then, I added a scrap piece of cotton interfacing.
 I hemmed one edge and created a tube around the interfacing.
 I folded the tube in half and folded both ends around a hook.
 I ended up creating two key fobs because they were just so much fun.
Then I used scraps to create a small zip bag out of pieced scraps with a loop of fabric to attach to one of the fobs. It is perfect for holding my bus card, house key, and some change for a quick trip out. I can keep it in a pocket or place it in a tote bag.