Just "Sun"

This is Sunny Sunshine. 
Or at least that was her name until I gave her to Leia, who said "Grandma, her name is just Sun!"
So, please meet Sun Crocodile,
cover model for "Crochet One-Skein Wonders" and the main reason I bought the book that has since become a favorite.
This was an easy project, with well written instructions - I love how the designer used different stitches to shape the body parts, especially the legs, which look like little booties before they're sewn on. The hardest part of the whole thing was sewing the cute little ridges down Sun's back.
Green would have been a more traditional croc color, but yellow is Leia's current favorite (not princess pink or purple any longer!) so yellow it had to be. I think Sunny Sunshine Sun was a hit. And the best part?
Crocodile butt! 



We took the little girls to Topanga Mall today to ride the 2-story carousel, or "carouswheel" as Leia called it.

Leia has riden a double-decker before, but when Leanne first saw it today, her eyes got about the size of dinner plates and she headed for it at a dead run.
Leanne was content to ride on a bench both times,
but Leia rode an elephant and a dragon - a hummingbird and teacup are on the list for next time. The carousel animals were beautiful, some of the nicest I've ever seen.
We'll definitely be back for a return visit.


Oldest FO in History

Oldest FO in my history, anyway. When my mother passed away in 1988, I inherited her fabric stash, including some quilt blocks she'd hand-pieced and a pelican panel.
Mom loved pelicans and had them all over her home, so this panel was special to me. It needed to become something equally special, so I packed it away while I thought about it. 
Maybe 15 years ago, I got it out and started a "quilt" (I use the term very loosely), 
but that was before I had taken any quilting classes and it was pretty much a disaster. 

Eventually, I gave up, carefully packed the panel away again, and there it sat. Until this month.
A bit of sisterly sadness got me thinking about Mom and the pelican panel. So I got it out, carefully cut away the previous quilting attempt, and started over.
My quilt holder needs to be taller; can you see her toes peeking out underneath?
 Better but still not tall enough . . .
There she is! 

The border batiks are from my stash; both were purchased - separately - on a whim within the last year, just because they were pretty.
The backing fabric (flowers on the left, below) was also patiently waiting in my stash, purchased last year from the end-of-bolt bin at my favorite quilt store.
The long-arm quilting was done by My Pal Debbie and it's gorgeous. The curves look like air currents for the birds to glide upon.
To say I love how this turned out is an understatement. The way all the elements came together was like Mom watching over my shoulder as I shopped, whispering in my ear that she liked "this one" and "that one".

My goal for the month was to complete the top and send it to be quilted; getting it back so quickly was a bonus. I'll hand-stitch the binding next week and then it will go in the mail - to a sister who has no idea that a gift from Mom and me is headed her way. And that's the part I love most. This 26-year-old FO has finally found its home. 


French General Necklace

Friday afternoon, Melinda and I braved LA traffic and headed to French General for a jewelry making class.
I've taken several classes there - and enjoyed them all - but the necklace and bracelets workshops are my favorite.
Maybe because, after just a few hours playing around with beads, 
I come home with a pretty-pretty all ready to wear and admire.
Not bad for 3 hours work.


My Crafty Girl

I apologize for the less than stellar cellphone photos, but this was just too sweet to pass up.
I'm making an amigurumi cat for Leanne and I was at the point where the body needed stuffing. Leanne wanted to help, so I showed her how to get started, fully expecting her to get bored and give up after a few minutes. Nope. She was quite content to sit beside grandma, stuffing polyfill into the tiny cat body until it was nice and fat.
She was a bit annoyed that there wasn't something else to stuff, so I handed her a crochet hook and a bit of yarn, but explained that grandma needed to keep working on her kitty so she could have it to play with soon.
So what's a girl to do? Go sit with PopPop and make ask him to help you crochet.
And when a 3-year-old asks you to crochet, who could possibly say no? (He's such a great PopPop and all around good guy.)


Kitchen Milestone

We've Hubby's been working on remodeling the kitchen for awhile, and Monday we hit a big milestone.
The granite counter tops are done!

Hubby did all the set-up and prep work, with construction-grade plywood installed on top of the cabinets he just finished building.
I had no idea how much work was involved in installing counter tops; turns out they are just 'rough cut'/shaped at the factory.
It took 4 guys, working hard for over 8 hours, to do the final shaping, polishing and placing everything just right.
It was amazing to watch - the center section under the window, where the sink will go, was carried in and out of the house at least three times before it was right. That's what, 400-500 pounds of awkward, dead weight being hauled in and out? Not an easy - or fun - job.

We loved this granite when we saw it in the slab yard and we love it even more now. 
So many different colors and movement patterns. Makes me smile every time I walk into the kitchen.

Which was exactly the effect we were going for.


Summer Fun

Last week was a bit slow, craft-wise. Leia and I made "snow" (baking soda and hair conditioner)
that was mold-able and cold to the touch. 
She had a blast playing in it with her horses and "Brave" figurines.
We also tried magic sidewalk squirt paint, made with water, food coloring, cornstarch and baking soda.
The girls weren't crazy about this one, probably because I made the paint too thin and it poured out of the squirt bottles too quickly. 
They liked making a mess - 
on the driveway and their feet -
and they liked cleaning it up 
(those $1 sponges were a GREAT investment.)
But the "surprise" spray bottles of vinegar that were supposed to make the paint bubble?

Total bust. No bubbles, no reaction at all. Bummer.
We hit the Santa Barbara Zoo on the perfect day - cool, cloudy and not crowded.
A lot of the animals were out where the kids could see them, including the female lions who had just finished a "roar-off" when we got to their enclosure. 
Even though we do the same things every time we go, the zoo never gets old. 
 Leanne is still too short, but she loves trying to see out of this sign.

We were in the first car on the first train of the day, 
feed Michael the Giraffe, 
(he's going to be a daddy again very soon)

slid down the grassy hill over and over and over  . . . 
Leanne has gotten much braver, and more coordinated at staying on the cardboard slide. 
Given a choice, both girls would spend their entire day on this hill. 
They like the animals, but sledding? That tops everything.