Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Happy (Belated) 4th!

Chris’ parents just left this morning after a weekend visit. They usually spend every July 4th with us.

So, this post is a little late, but, nonetheless, I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!

Here’s some visual goodness from various 4th of July celebrations we attended. (All photos by either E.A. Seagraves or Christopher Brooke. Do not use without permission.):

Fancy Gap, Va. (July 3rd)

Chris (left) samples some kettle corn at one of the first booths we came to.

This isn’t a great picture, but I posted it anyway. I like the birdhouse, the bowls and cutting boards.

Local woodworker Tod Price makes a wine stopper. (The wood products above are not his.)

A crowd shot.

This lady (right) is originally from Arizona, but now lives in the Twin Counties, Va., area (Grayson and Carroll Counties and City of Galax).

Another vendor (right) talks about some of her products.

The music got started in the early afternoon, right before we headed home.

Hillsville, Va. (July 4th)

Members of the local VFW

More local veterans

A local Girl Scout troop. They won the award for best overall parade entry.

A local Christian Association of Bikers club.

At least four dogs participated in the parade, including this patriotic dachshund.

Classic cars are always a part of local parades.

The Kazim Hillbillies is a regional Shriners group. They’re usually a lot of fun.

Crafty vacation week

My husband, Chris, and I couldn’t quite agree on what to do for our vacation the week of June 29.

Chris wanted to go camping and give our new tent and supplies, which we received as Christmas gifts last year, a second time out of their bags. And, boy, was it beautiful weather! Perfect for camping. Chris imagined sleeping under the stars somewhere in the North Carolina mountains.

Although I like to camp, I really wanted to spend a week at home relaxing and crafting. With all the commuting I do on a weekly basis, I really longed to stay at home and enjoy the homestead.
Understanding of my feelings, Chris agreed to take a staycation. He worked in the yard, planting new shrubs and flowers while I happily got busy completing projects I’ve had laying around for weeks.

One of those projects was a pair of shorts I had cut out of a thin blue, yellow and pink plaid material my grandmother had given to me. Double lined with the same print, the project taught me the new skills of pocket making and belt carriers, or loops.

I quickly whipped them up, wanting to wear them for the upcoming July 4th weekend. Unfortunately, the waistband was too short. But, impatient me, I tucked and pulled at the shorts to make them fit, causing a pucker in the front right of the shorts. Pretty unsightly.

I also had trouble with the hems. I couldn’t figure out what made the material pucker. With both problems, I couldn’t bring myself to wear the shorts as is.

Consulting with Janice Saunders Maresh’s “Sewing for Dummies,” my trusty sewing Bible, I learned how to expand the waistband to make it fit better and learned to taper the leg seams so that the hems to prevent puckering. I haven’t tackled either technique yet but am happy that the shorts aren’t a total loss.

Another techinque I’ve been wanting to learn is knitting socks. The idea of knitting with five double-pointed needles scared me. How in the world would I be able to keep stitches from slipping off of the needles. That seemed like it would be a pretty common problem with a sock project. Using a size 4 set of double-pointed needles and Cindy Guggemos’ “I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks,” a Christmas gift from my mom, I decided to give it a go.

I was certain I’d be all thumbs, but so far it’s been fairly easy. I’ve got a couple of holes here and there, but that’s most likely from dropped or stretched stitches. I hope to soon graduate from the basic sock pattern to the basic chevron pattern, which I think is by far the prettiest pattern in the whole book.

I can’t wait to get good enough to knit some socks for my mom and sister for Christmas. I’m thinking the little arrowhead socks in pink for Mom and the crest o’ the waves, my second favorite pattern in the book, in a purple, red or black for my sister. Or maybe knitting them up with some verigated yarn would be nice.

So, lots of progress this week. There’s nothing like getting some creative time in and catching up on some projects.