Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday (Pretty Dasher)

I should have taken a picture of Helena, because I finished all the lace! I am working on the hem now; it's a picot hem that's sewn up in the back...a first for me; should be exciting.

I did manage a bit on Pretty Little Thing:
It's slow going because I can't work on it when it's dark (like while watching TV).

I don't know, though; am I in knitterly denial here? I'm not sure if I should've gone down a needle size so the fabric would be denser. What do you think?
Also, EXTREMELY exciting, all the sparkles on Dasher in that nasty pearl braid are done!! It seems like they took approximately forever.
Since I took this picture, I've also almost finished his reins, and that means that all that is left is...BEADS BEADS BEADS!!! Woo hoo! He just MIGHT be done for Christmas THIS year.

Unpictured is progress on an ornament for an exchange (mailing tomorrow...I'm nothing if not last minute. =)

For more WIP Wednesday eye candy goodness, head over to Tami's Amis!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Geekend That Was, 11/27

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Loooong weekend. I love it! We spent Thanksgiving with my parents, which is usually a big to-do, but my three sisters were all elsewhere. So, my parents just took Michael and I out for dinner to their local club, which had a fabulous buffet. I was ready to leap into the middle of the sweet potato casserole they had and eat my way out. The bad news: THIS MEANS NO LEFTOVERS. *sob!*

That night, Michael attempted to get us Dance Central 2 and Kinect Sports 2 for $15 at Wal-mart. After two hours, the manager finally said they hadn't gotten any Xbox games in at that location and refused to sell the ones already on the shelf for the lower price. I had a friend tell me today that his Wal-mart DID sell the ones off the rack for the advertised price. So, there is a strongly worded letter in my future and we won't be patronizing Wal-mart next year. I did manage to score Assassin's Creed II for ten smackers on Amazon, and some clothes at Anthropologie (but that was on Wednesday). It didn't feel worth it to try to brave the crowds for the 50% off sale prices, but even at 25% off, I got $546 (original price) of clothes for $112!

Friday we spent the afternoon at Michael's parents playing Settlers of Catan, eating crazy good cake, and wrapped the evening up with Christmas Cantina at the Aurora Theater. If a show that combines rock-n-roll tricycle-riding, a heartwarming military tribute and giant men in pink bunny suits sounds like your kind of thing, check it out! (It was definitely our kind of thing. I never, Never, NEVER thought I would see Triplets, from The Band Wagon, performed in real life. But there it was. Hit this link if you've never seen it. Triplets cannot be explained; it can only be experienced. And yes, that really IS Fred Astaire.)

Saturday...let's not talk about any football that may or may not have happened on Saturday and talk about us seeing The Muppets Saturday night. Definitely good; definitely some belly laughs...and NPH (Neil Patrick Harris, donchaknow?) had the best line of the movie.

Sunday both Michael and I had massive headaches (impending sinus infection, anyone?) which did nothing to make our mandatory nursery duty at church any more enjoyabletolerable. For me, it's kind of like being locked in a room with small aliens for a couple hours. What are they DOING? What do they WANT?!? WHY CAN'T THEY JUST TELL ME??!?!????


We spent the rest of the day belatedly watching the parade, trying to make our heads stop hurting by consuming chocolate (maybe that was just me), and finishing up Clone Wars season 3 (excellent).

In closing, allow me to share this very inspiring comment left on my last post:
UGG boots the narration of the principal snow from Australia, but it is the honest American brand. When we beginning saw UGG boots snow, do manual arouse is deeply honest, but the character how to see is a abundant feeling. But UGG boots amiableness retention feature, the snow super standard work not only make the Hollywood star upon, more let a grouping of MM lining up.

I hope abundant feeling that someday I feature amiableness retention and deeply honest narration of the principal snow. Or at least make the Hollywood star upon.

So say we all.

Tryptophan-induced nonsense!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for the TUSAL

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(What's a TUSAL?)

Soo many sparkly jewel-colored threads in there from my class with Tony Minieri! Pictures are coming! (Yeah, I always say that, don't I?)

Welcome to my new followers, and to those signing up for Theme-a-licious 2012! Michael (the hubby) is working on a graphic for us! I saw his first draft...needs more cowbell. Or sparkles. But we're getting there! I'm already mentally picking out projects for Jardin January. =)

I blame the turkey coma for the tardiness of this post. Yeah, that's it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chocolat Weekend

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I know you've all been waiting to see WIP pictures of Chocolat after my class in Arizona! Well...the WIP pictures aren't going to be as thrilling as we all might have hoped. Also, I suffered from a severe case of camnesia, but let's work with what I have.

Teresa and I arrived in Arizona Thursday night and immediately set out to get some Mexican food.
Carnitas fried tacos
YUM. Probably the best carnitas I've ever had. We walked back to the hotel, while I marveled at the local flora. See, I do this. When I go someplace, I ogle all the "exotic" (i.e., "ones I've never seen") trees and plants and continually ask people, "Oooo, what's that? What's that bush over there? How big do they get? How often do they bloom?" and so on. I am told this is not normal behavior. However, any kind of geeky behavior is normal for me, so there you are.

It rained a little that night, so the next morning, the "weird green trees" we saw the night before were sporting yellow flowers.
But no one knew what they were.

We found out when we got back to the hotel that we really didn't need to have the copious prestitching done for class. SAY WHAT??!? Apparently, "people" demanded prestitching. Who are these people? Anyway, also not-so-apparently, the prestitching directions subtly and indirectly made an allusion (or "said") that the prestitching would be used by you at home to finish the project. I don't feel so bad since it seems everyone missed this!

The next morning after a leisurely breakfast, we headed to The Attic. I'll have another post with stash pictures, although no stash was purchased that day, since I was way overwhelmed. There are sooooo manyyyyy fibersssss there...they have all the colors of Gloriana, Dinky Dyes, Weeks, Crescent Colors...and the FABRICS!! Never seen so many Lakeside Linens in all my days. Teresa wanted to run in and take a picture of my first look.
Not an accurate portrayal of my awe.

Then came class. Now, I had my prestitching done, and I could have actually done something with it if I'd wanted to approach one of the scary mechanical beasts crouching in the front of the room (these would be called "sewing machines" by people who aren't me). I actually don't think anyone used them in our class. Instead, we ironed and cut silk fabric (or, if you were me, ironed and conned someone into cutting your fabric for you. ROTARY CUTTER!! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!) I did man up and use the rotary cutter to cut some mylar. That...was not the funnest thing I've ever done. The next step was to iron some more with stitch witchery, but we didn't know that was in the room. So at the end of the day, we ended up with some cut silk and cut mylar, and a lot of oh-so-pretty ribbons and goodies.
Let's all pretend this is a really impressive WIP.

The Attic's owner, Jean Lea, was there for all the classes, I think. She's a really nice lady and we all had a packet of goodies with a ruler and this cute little kit, including the lavendar to make it into a sachet.

The next morning Teresa and I had another leisurely breakfast while being completely freaked out that there was college football on at 9am. I think we freaked out some male hotel guests by daring to be both female and interested in football (Fact: I will probably yell something akin to "Are you going to dance with him or tackle him?" within minutes of starting to watch any random team I've never seen play before.)

Then came the real fun! Annette (who stunningly almost had her prework done even though she only registered for the class, like, less than a week before?) graciously picked us up for lunch. She gave us a "look" when we told her where we'd had dinner...a look that meant we were about to get some reeeeally good Mexican.

She drove us to Rancho de Tia Rosa.
Atmosphere out the wazoo.
Still more atmosphere.

I got some killer chicken mole.
And for dessert...
Sopaipillas and flan! Mmmmm...doughnuts....

After lunch we went to The Fiber Factory where I scored some recycled sari yarn and some Knitter's Price size 4 DPNs (because I may or may not be thinking of getting into that whole Beekeeper's Quilt nonsense).
I'm planning on making a mobius with the yarn.

Then we headed off to The Attic again!

We'll talk about what happened there later. But here's a preview...Jackie du Plessis had some things for sale at the class, but this little gem was back at the shop. Meet Percy and his jewel-toned fibers of fantasticness:
And here's the bit that put me over the top with purchasing him.
Pin butt!

Seriously, I did go to Mesa to stitch, not eat. No, really.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Geekend that Was, 11/19 (Late Night Edition)

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Maybe we should back up to last Tuesday.

That was the day Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary came out. I took a half day off work to go to a good old-fashioned LAN party that included a few guys I played the original with on VGA monitors after work on our small company's LAN! As you can imagine, that was a late night. Especially since when we got home, I found a Kindle Fire on my pillow!

Finally, I can play Angry Birds like everyone else.
I'm not sure I was really recovered when I started my four day class with Tony Minieri on Friday. That class just ended today at 4pm. It was 9:30 - 4:30 or 5 every day, although I left early Saturday to go to a wedding that lasted until late. We even had homework during the class! I'm pretty much comatose on the couch right now. I can't believe that before this class, I thought, "Gee, what the heck are we going to DO for FOUR WHOLE DAYS??" BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Yes, that's right...I had ANOTHER class before I've even blogged about the class in Arizona. (Yes, Annette and Teresa, I promise the post is coming so you can just link to it. ;)


Also, welcome new followers! I promise pretty WIP pictures are coming.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Make That Five

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Yup, another one this morning. Michael took it to work with him in case it's the same one. I assume he's going to release it (and not train it to bring him tea). Had to leave a note to the cleaning lady to explain why the kitchen trash can is gone.

Mouse (say hey, that's capitalized, not just because it's at the beginning of the sentence) reminded me of a mouse I encountered in New Orleans with her comment.

While walking along Bourbon Street, we came upon an overturned beer can. Well, we came upon many of those, but this one had a small mouse lapping at the stream proceeding from the can. We were amazed that the little guy didn't seem to care how close we were getting. Finally, I stomped about two inches away from him. I've never seen a mouse stagger before, but there he was. He took almost a full minute to "escape" from us. Come to think of it, we may have saved his teeny life!

Still not sure if it's really five mice or just the same two over and over...

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Geekend That Was, 11/13

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We have had a couple of unwanted visitors this week. We're pretty easy-going people, but when a guest shows up uninvited, then proceeds to run around defecating wherever he pleases (near my stash, even!), we draw the line.

We attempted to give them a graceful egress.
The basic premise, here, is that there is a little spring-loaded ramp that the critters run up to get to the bait (peanut butter! Better than cheese!). The ramp descends under the weight of the pest, allowing him access to the bait (PEANUT BUTTER!), then snaps back up, trapping him until he can be relocated.

It worked great! Michael dropped me off at home, then rushed to a meeting. I checked the trap. We had a check-in. Like the girly girl I occasionally am, I left it on the stairs for him to deal with when he got home.

The problem? When he got home, the mouse was gone.

That's right, folks, so close to Georgia Tech, the mice are clearly smarter. We thought it was a fluke; maybe I had jostled the trap so that the ramp was down? So we set it again. When I checked later, half the peanut butter was gone, there were little peanut butter mouse footprints, but no mouse. Next check: peanut butter gone. We moved the peanut butter farther in the trap, thinking he was able to balance on the ramp and get the bait. The next morning: no peanut butter, no mouse. Clearly, we had turned into the In 'n' Out of the mouse world.

I was ready to go all Red Queen on his tail ("OFF WITH HIS HEAD!"), but my tender-hearted spouse decided to...wait for it...
build a better mousetrap. (Please to ignore all the mess in the closet; focus on the white trash can and cardboard tube.) You can just make out the blob of PEANUT BUTTER at the end of the tube, yes?

You balance the cardboard tube oh-so-precariously on the edge of a ledge, and when the mouse reaches the end, he gets dumped into the trash can.
The magic is the quarter counter-weight.
Which has to be at least two feet tall, because those suckers can JUMP. Also, you're supposed to put a little water at the bottom because a wet mouse can't jump or climb as well.

So far we've caught four.
The Perp. Don't let the innocent face fool you.
Or possibly two twice.

You really can build a better mouse trap.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And I Win, Too!

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Picture if you will, my excitement when I learned that I had won a prize in Daffycat's blogoversary giveaway. Then double that when I learned that my prize was some of her hand-dyed fabric! This cheery package arrived on Saturday:
And inside...
Omigosh, not one, but TWO fat quarters of lovely fabric (they're folded in half here). There was also a cute card in there that got flung aside during my victory leap, so it didn't make it into the picture. I had to use a light flash to try and capture the lovely lavender color of the Belfast, but I didn't quite get it. It's sooooo pretty. And it turns out the super-cool tea-stained linen is's featured in this post that explains how it's made.

The day before, some yarn arrived that I won from Knit Picks. It's their new Stroll Glimmer yarn. I've tried Dream in Color's Starry, so I can't wait to see how this compares.

Speaking of stash, I promise pictures from my trip to the Attic in Arizona are coming! I had to wait until today to try and get some decent light!

Lucky month! Now to figure out how to fit this nifty new stash into my Theme-a-licious 2012 plans...March Madness, if nothing else! =)

Fall Giveaway Winners!

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I had the wonder-husband draw names from a ruffly bowl! First, for the knitting goodies:
The winner is...
Mostly Nerdy Creations! (My online imaginary friend. =)

And for the needlework goodies:
The winner is...

Congratulations, ladies! Please email me at heather at lottloft dot com with your mailing address so I can get your goodies to you while it's still Fall. ;)

I hope my new followers will stick around now that the giveaway is over. And maybe join me for Theme-a-licious 2012?

Fall Tea

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The last Saturday in October, we had tea at my sister's house. My sister hosts fabulous teas, and this one was no exception. Michael and I were given a cute little love seat to sit on while we had tea. Perfect for snuggling together and enjoying tiny delicious treats.

The view from the love seat. Don't you adore the flowers? And the red fall leaf that is protecting our sparkling black cherry water? And yes, the pansies in the wee tussy mussies by our places are real!

First up, cream scones with chocolate chips and gingerbread cinnamon scones.
SO GOOD. And get a load of the teeny scoops of ginger butter in the pear dish! Also, my sister makes THE best clotted cream and lemon curd on the planet. I used to not like lemon curd because it tastes too "eggy" to me. But hers is perfect!

Next course was hot apple soup, replete with oak leaf crouton and little cinnamon muffin with crumbly topping, just perfect for nibbling between sips of soup.

Then, the Tower of Yummy Goodness came to the table.

It was hard to ignore the sweets on top and start with the savories, but we managed.
Clockwise from the top: pumpkin leek tart, Brunswick stew puff, curried egg salad moon, and pecan chicken salad shell. NOM.

Time to switch from black tea to herbal...and dive into the sweets. Not literally dive. But I wanted to.
Again from the top: pumpkin bread pudding with rum cream sauce (omigosh), rum-soaked acorn pound cakelet (zomigosh), fig jam thumbprint (best. cookie texture. EVER.), orange cream brownie petit four (OMIGOSH), and the classic Bakewell Tart.

Just take a look at the teensy layers in the orange cream petit four.

Nobody, but NOBODY, does tea like my sister!

And hey, if you're in Atlanta, she has upcoming Christmas teas on December 3rd and 10th. Check out her blog for contact info. Scroll past the Fall tea menu and you'll see the invite with dates and prices.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life of Flowers

One of my sisters sent me this link...super-cool, super-zoomed time-lapse video of flowers blooming. You might want to click to make this one full screen!

Life of flowers from VOROBYOFF PRODUCTION on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Theme-a-licious 2012

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One upon a time, a few friends and I decided it would be fun to have some monthly themes to stitch on during the year. You know, shake things up, get us out of our stitching rut every once in a while. It was a lot of fun and had us visiting some WIPs we hadn't seen in a while, and finishing up some we should've a long time ago. I haven't done it for the past few years, although I usually observe some form of March Madness (so. Much. FUN!)

This year, I wanted to stitch (and maybe knit) with some themes again. And I thought some of you might want to join me. Here are the themes I'm thinking of for 2012 (special thanks to Teresa for helping me switch things around and get jiggy with the alliteration):

Jardin January
The holidays were a little stressful...let's relax in a nice garden. Work on any piece with flowers or gardens.
Fangirl February
Send a Valentine to your favorite designer...or at least work on his or her designs for the month!
March Madness
Stitch or knit on something different every's madness...of the funnest possible kind.
Amazon April
Dip your needle into the vast swath of fabric dedicated to your BIGGEST projects!
May Memories
Remember when you took that class? Or decided to commemorate that event? And then abandoned your poor WIP? Take a stroll down memory lane by working on it again.
Jumanji June
Is it a jungle out there in your stash? Give some love to the projects with animals or birds.
Jolly July
It's a jolly holiday with your can concentrate on Christmas designs, ornaments, or even pick a different holiday to render in stitchy goodness.
Altius August
Embrace the Olympic motto--Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger)--by elevating your mind. It's the perfect time to learn something new! Or maybe achieve some goals...
September Smalls
We all love gadgets, and none better than the teensy tools and holders we make ourselves. Let's stitch some smalls--needlebooks, fobs, biscornus, scissors keeps, pincushions--or knit some teensy things--amigurumi, jewelry, sachets....
Obligation October
Wow, the holidays are only a couple months away! Avoid that last-minute crunch and work on some gifts now.
Nail It November
What's lying around that's so close to being finished you can't stand it anymore? Get to it and finish it!
Delightful December
The holidays are a time for least, that's the theory! No stress on whatever you want and enjoy!

Interested in joining me? I'm thinking of two posts a month, one on the 1st to share your plans and show progress from the previous month, and one on the 15th to share progress. You can participate in the theme however you want--all month, a couple weeks a month, weekends, even just one week a month! I don't want this to be troublesome or restrictive; I want it to be FUN...and maybe a leeeeettle bit challenging. The great thing is that you can easily fit this in with whatever challenges you're doing for the year...WIPocalypse, Year of Projects, One at a Time, Crazy January...whatever! I might even have some theme-related goodies to give away to participants. =)

If you want to play along, sign up on Mr. Linky on the Theme-a-licious 2012 page. You might want to use a tag for your posts, like "theme-a-licious", and link that tag there. Or you can just link the main URL for your blog. I'm not choosy. I'll just be happy if anyone plays along. =) I can't wait to see how you all interpret the themes!

I'll host a Mr. Linky on the 1st and 15th of each month so we can all visit around and celebrate the themey goodness together. Eventually, Michael the wonder husband will do a nice banner graphic (and blog sidebar graphic) for us. I promise it will be cool, although Nathan Fillion may not appear in it. =) I also toyed with the idea of doing three posts a month--on the 1st, 11th and 21st. If you think that's a better idea, or have another suggestion, hit the comments on this post.

Come work on monthly stitching/knitting themes with me in 2012! Please? =)

WIP Wednesday (not Chocolat)

I was able to knit almost a full skein of Lydia's cardigan while I was in Arizona...I'm over halfway done with the lace section!

Since I had switched project bags for the trip, I gave a little love to the project whose bag I borrowed.
Urban Necessity Gloves in a very yummy Malabrigo Rios I got at Stitches South.

And I did a little on Lapland Santa, since I had taken him to Arizona.

Don't forget my Fall knitting giveaway! There's a needlework one, too!

For more WIP Wednesday eye candy goodness, perhaps with more engaging commentary, head over to Tami's Amis!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Geekend That Was, 11/6

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So you may remember I was away all weekend in Arizona (which, by the way, does not go on Daylight Saving Time, which means my shiny extra hour got dumped somewhere in a Colorado lake as I flew back home). The class was...overwhelming. More sewing than I am really capable of (like, with a MACHINE, oh noes!), so I am going to have to figure out how to bribe someone to help me or something.

Unfortunately, I have not been home while it is light in order to take pictures of the stash that followed me home (I am NOT responsible, I tell you), so for now, all you get is...

This is our new Prius, only three days old in this picture (taken at the Dwarf House--the original Chick-fil-A grill--just before Michael dropped me off at the airport). Michael is now obsessed with raising the fuel consumption over the life of the car. He's already up to 50.5 mpg!! Hilarious. I guess if you're going to obsess over something, fuel efficiency ain't a bad thing.

New car! And jet lag. Don't forget the jet lag.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday (lacing along)

Helena is coming along nicely! Still no morning light (I think I have to wait 'til next year for that), so another flashy picture.
I've finished the bodice, put the sleeve stitches on holding yarn, and started the lace pattern. The lace pattern is easy, and it flies, but I've had to fix a few things due to my inattention (I blame Grimm and Once Upon a Time). Last night I ripped back a six stitch wide by five row deep section and reknit it...yarn-overs, k2togs, ssks and all!

I did a little work on Random Thoughts, and it was truly thrilling to be working on something that was NOT Chocolat!

Speaking of Chocolat, I finally got it ironed and took a photo. I suppose this is technically a Finished Object, but since it will turn right back into a WIP on Friday, when it should be parading as a FO, it's here:
I'm super-excited about this class! I can't believe I leave TOMORROW!!! And of course, I am not packed. But like I told my boss yesterday, I can always throw some underwear and a toothbrush in my suitcase and buy clothes there! Hmmm...sounds like a good excuse to go shopping. ;)

Don't forget my Fall knitting giveaway! There's a needlework one, too!

For more WIP Wednesday eye candy goodness, head over to Tami's Amis!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Better Knitty Printing

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The first step to starting a great pattern from is, of course, printing it out. Unless you're going to knit it straight from the screen, of course. Newer knitty patterns have the "Print only the essentials" button, which removes most of the "alternate view" pictures from the pattern to save paper space and ink. Older ones, like the one I wanted to print, don't have that feature. Besides the increased paper/ink consumption, those additional photos can sometimes cause layout problems on the printed page...text can bleed on top of a photo, or even be obscured by it.

Michael happened to be walking by as I was about to print, and I said, "Ugh, I wish there was a way to print without graphics. Wait, that wouldn't work because I still need the charts. I really just want to remove the photos."

His response? "Oh, that's easy." So I thought I'd share what he told me.

This only works with the Google Chrome browser (so you'll have to download it if you don't have it, but it's so much faster, I'll bet you'll keep using it). And it may not remove all extraneous spaces, but it'll probably do a better job than just printing willy-nilly.

Step 1: Right-click on top of a picture you want to remove. Pick the "Inspect element" menu option.
This will open up a separate window titled "Developer Tools". Don't panic.

Step 2: There's a little HTML here, but don't worry. If you mess this step up, you can always "reload" the page and start over. The "img" tag (short for "image") corresponding to the picture you right-clicked over should be highlighted. You can see in the background that the picture is highlighted, too...that's how you know you're in the right spot. If you accidentally click somewhere else in that window and it's no longer highlighted, just close it and repeat step 1. Otherwise, right-click on top of that highlighted "img" tag and pick "Delete node".
(For advanced users, i.e., those that know some HTML, in this particular case, you might want to remove that entire table row ("tr" tag), or "div" tag if it's around the picture...that's what I did, thinking it would readjust spacing better.)

Voila! The picture has disappeared. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for any other pictures you want to remove. When you're done, close the Developer Tools window, print the page, and the pictures won't be there! Remember if you mess up, just "reload" the page (although you'll have to start over with removing pictures). There's a chance, due to the layout of the page, that there will still be a "space" as if the picture was still there. If you know some HTML, you can probably figure out which node to remove to fix it. If you don't...well, you're going to have to use that extra paper. =)

Hope this helps someone out! (I'd love a comment if it helped you. =)

Don't forget my Fall knitting giveaway! And hey...there's a needlework one, too.

Print from without alll the pictures!

Old Geek-outs