29 October, 2011

Cars Herding Cows

Here is my find. A plan to create a dolly bed with linens (patchwork quilt?pillow? embroidered sheets?) for my great-nieces for a handmade Christmas present. It's the perfect size for a 3 year old to play with.

I went to a church rummage sale in Clarkes this morning after work. To get there, you basically ascend the foothills (of the cascade mountains!) to get up on top, rounding many 10 mph blind curves along the way.
After the sale  - yes - I scored several items - I headed downwards - loving my manual transmission. As I rounded one of those 10 mph blind curves, I came across two cars - one of which was wildly driving backwards. But then I saw the cow. The cow that was loose. The cow that stood taller than my car. The cow that was being herded towards me. Having grown up a polite rural person, I calmly assessed the situation and wisely stopped my car. The cow trotted past, the backward-facing car careened around my car and I finished my journey off the hill.
You never have your camera when you need it nor could I  have reacted fast enough to get a clear shot of what was going on. The cow was taller than my car!

My husband is borrowing my car to drive to Fresno this week (better gas mileage). I gave him cash to go get the oil changed before he leaves and I looked outside to see this.

Do you think he will give me back my cash?

Next Saturday after I get done with work I will head back towards Beavercreek for the first holiday bazaar of the season. I know at least one friend with quilted items at this bazaar. If Molly is reading this, maybe we could meet at the Beavercreek Grade School for the bazaar?

28 October, 2011

Love This Scarf

I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon making this scarf. It was sewn on my serger as well as the coverstitch machine. I learned some new tricks and I love the way it turned out.
I had no idea my coverstitch could be used to add ruching. Thanks to this post. She also pointed out a better way to do a rolled hem and it worked like a charm on this semi-sheer prone-to -fraying material.
All I had to do was cut my scarf wider and turn over 1/2" - 3/4" and serge the rolled hem on the two layers of the fold. If you turn over less than 1/2" it's difficult to keep control of the edge. Afterwards, a quick trimming of the excess material provides a super clean edge and a rolled hem with substance.

I bought this material along with it's cousin at Sewexpo a few years back. I made a Catch & Release scarf with the red/rose  material utilizing another new-to-me trick of using elastic thread in the bobbin. That was fun to do and to wear. The elastic thread keeps the scarf bouncy and full.
It's for sale in my Etsy shop.

This fabric is my favorite of the two and I am so glad it turned out. I left it extra  long with the idea that once I added in all the rows of ruching, I would trim the length. I ended up just leaving it ( just over 2 1/2 yds long). I used a white/gold metallic wooly nylon thread in the upper looper of  my serger to help finish the edge pretty.

The Coverstitch machine does an even ruching.

Photo of the coverstitch stitching on the front

And the coverstitch seam from the back side - which I love. I wish I had done this onto the front of the fabric as it is a cool design element. However, realistically speaking - only I can tell the material front & back sides. It's nearly identical.

26 October, 2011

Put The Garden to Bed

One of the great things about being sort of laid off/not really/way less hours is that you have  time for tasks that don't always get done.  I  am usually happy to ignore the garden until the balmy two weeks in February we get in the Willamette Valley that sucker-punches you into believing Spring is just round the corner.

But - really - it is better to put away the tomato cages, take the hoe and shovel back to the garage, and tuck the plant detritus away into the compost pile
This year, we had an almost-frost last night where the Dizzy Lizzies were limp this morning but perked up later. The Nasturtiums also almost laid down and died but they are still with us.

We haven't had too much in the way of rain so far this fall so I wanted to clean up the garden before it got too wet to do anything.

Tomato cages stacked neatly on left. Compost pile is contained. Weeds turned over.

I wanted to spread a pile of lime on the garden this year. I think (but I never test) my pH is off. Some of my tomatoes had a brownish spot at the end. I think if I spread lime this fall for the winter rains to work in and then spread it again in the spring - well - who knows - I might even test the pH.
Last of the Mohicans. I'll leave them in the garage so we can enjoy some for the next month.
We won't stay at freezing temperatures  after another day or two. I'm not sure what the mean temp. is in Canbyland but it's usually nearly 50' during the Winter.

See the frost damage on the leaves?
My last crops to pick. The Butternut Squash and the Acorn Squash.
I grew up (Willamette valley) waiting until the first frost to pick these but I was recently told I should pick the butternut when there are no more green stripes. And pick the acorn when that little yellow-orange spot on the bottom occurs. As in, BEFORE the frost.   Any thoughts?

The raspberries still have a berry or two left for tasty breaks.

23 October, 2011

I Speak Japanese

I still have the remnants of a very bad cold/flu thing and I must be delusional thinking I can speak another language. However, after much swearing, and stomping back and forth from the computer to the sewing room, I have deciphered these fabulous directions. That must mean, I now read Japanese.

I am on a purse making brain wave. I had wanted to try these metal frame purses with the big plastic ball at the closure. Tracking down the importer wasn't difficult, signing up for an account wasn't difficult. Deciphering the catalog, while having great photos, took a bit more time. 12cm is still worth taking out a measuring tape.

Speaking of which - look what I received at the Pendleton booth at SewExpo for bringing in something I sewed with Pendleton fabrics:

A Pendleton measuring tape with its own jacket. In purple plaid, no less.

And look - it fits right inside my new coin purse.

Gold coins slipped inside for the next lucky find at a garage sale.

Here it is again - to test your Japanese. This is the sum total of the directions that come with the metal purse frame. Two pattern pieces and some instructions. I watched a couple of youtube videos when it became apparent that I could not read Japanese last night. I also looked at a couple of blogs regarding purse frames and finally came up with enough to make it work.

This was my sample coin purse. I have a few more frames and thought to put a couple of airplane purses together as well as working some wool into one. I saw this cool photo while trudging through cryptic directions and have to describe it to you as I don't know where I was nor can I find it again.
It was smaller metal purse frame and vintage grey plaid wool was used for the purse. The purse itself was longer than it was wide and was used as a necklace. Complete with chain. A large vintage key was hand-sewn to the front-side. This purse was a sort of amulet. Very cool looking with the wool.

22 October, 2011

I Was Planning On Taking A Nap

 I was.
Going to take  a nap when I got home from work and three garage sales.
Except, I couldn't.
This is a good thing as I have been sicker than a dog this last week. Last Saturday night, my left eye lid swelled closed but started unswelling a few days later. Just as I am thinking, "Great! I don't have frankenstein eye anymore", I awoke Thursday to a full-blown snotty cold. With a totally pressurized sinus headache. Now my eye was all goupy and cemented itself shut.
In any case, the fact that I did not need a nap today does lend credence to my belief that this too shall pass.
So, I sewed today.
I had this tutorial bookmarked a while ago and a friend e-mailed it to me today - why not? I asked myself, it's a easy project.

A little wallet with a snap closure. And I have a drawer-full of snaps to use up.

A cute place to put coins.
Or. . .whatever small things you need to corral.

Maybe  a sewing kit?

I had bookmarked the tutorial as interesting because of the amount of hand-sewing involved. Each corner needs to hand-sewed together. Not to mention the opening where you turn it after sewing it together. 
Actually - I'd like to make more of these. These are small projects to take with you when you need to sit around and wait and maybe wait some more. In fact, there is possibly a Sunday Christmas Bazaar coming up where the vendor needs to sit behind the table for an obscene amount of hours where a little hand-sewing would draw in the customers.

The backside shows the airplane fabric MUCH better. Note to self: Figure out the airplane placement before cutting.

 I went to a couple of estate/garage sales that were right past the
Dahlia fields. As you can see, they are still blooming profusely.

And, finally, a cell-phone pic of my great-niece, Phea, 
with a hand-me-down costume sewn by my sister.

19 October, 2011

So I Needed Some Insul-bright to Make Some Hot Pads. . .

Have you had one of these days??

So I needed some insul-bright to make some hot pads.

Insul-bright is the stuff that makes hot pads stay cool. Except – I couldn’t find it. I thought I still had a whole package. All I found were some scraps and some chicken hotpads already cut out. . . hmmm. . .
Then I decided I couldn’t find this knit I
bought back in Minnesota a few years back which led to moving stuff around.
I did find my florist tape and my pens so I grabbed the fake silk flowers from the garage and made flower pens.
You take the end plug out and stick in a flower. A little glue and a little florist tape to dress it up - -except the caps would not come off (must be a choking hazard for those of us who chew on their pens). I had to get the drill and drill a hole through the slick plastic end cap. Then I fired up my glue gun, got the large blooms and some leaves and made six flower pens. Why? Because these last longer with customers. Why was I making them today? Because I found all the components. Making the pens? – got to do something a
bout all this stuff that is hanging around in this ‘craft’ room.

So I went through
boxes and even labeled stuff – still did not find the knit but I did separate the etsy/ebay stuff and get most of that out of the room. I also moved the suitcases and another box of treasures from when we put down the floors. I am past my irritation that we did not do the bedroom floors yet. My new plan is not to wait to take everything out but to only have the kids stuff (previous owner of room) and my craft stuff in there. Uh-huh. . .It’s a goal and a more positive one and more realistic than waiting on the getting the craft room floors done.

So now I have all this floor space. I put together all the parts for the blooming bag (from purse class), realized I don’t have the right hardware to do justice to the Pendleton fabric in the bag – but it’s all together - waiting for another day to finish.
I put the knits I just got at a  garage/rummage sale with the other knits – still haven’t found that knit from
Minnesota. I put the wools with the wools, the minky with the minky and generally made some sense of those two rooms.
I found the stash of heavy interfacings in my walk-in closet – the ones I was looking for last month – I left them there but took out the stiffer interfacings and put those with my new ones from Joann’s. Guess where the insul-bright was? In that
box. It’s now on my cutting table along with some selections for hot pads and Microwave potato bags – because I also found the Warm Industries 100% cotton batting with no glues/chemicals for the Hot Potato bags.
 Another big
box of fabric from garage/rummage sale got sorted to the Etsy/ebay room (aka den) and the rest put away by color. I now have everything ready to sew some gifts for Christmas/bazaars and might even sew tonight.

Well that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

16 October, 2011


I've discovered a new show to watch. It's on Hulu.
Yes, I know, hulu is difficult to understand these days. It's no longer free, but it is.
Certain shows do not require you to pay Hulu's monthly fee. Including  BBC-type shows.

So, I was watching a few episodes of Doc Marten - season 4 -  and Hulu offered up that I might enjoy Kingdom.
I'm already into episode two and I'm hooked.
If you have a passion for BBC tv, this show is about a small town lawyer named Peter Kingdom  who avoids court, solves mysteries, and has a brother, Simon, who disappeared at sea 6 months ago. His brother's clothes were found at the edge of the North Sea where everyone presumes he committed suicide.
Peter's sister, Beatrice, who has been in the looney bin, is now ensconced in his home which is over the lawyer's offices.
1967 Alvis TF 21 Cabriolet

"Kingdom is a British television series produced by Parallel Film and Television Productions for the ITV network. It was created by Simon Wheeler and stars Stephen Fry as Peter Kingdom, a Norfolk solicitor who is coping with family, colleagues, and the strange locals who come to him for legal assistance. The series also stars Hermione Norris, Celia Imrie, Karl Davies, Phyllida Law and Tony Slattery."

1965 Alvis TE 21

Of course, it might be the cool convertible that Peter drives.

15 October, 2011


Over a month ago I started juicing.
I had been thinking about it and researching it  for over a year.
I noticed a friend looking really good back in August and I asked what she was doing. She said she was juicing.
I asked her more because there is a theory circulating out there claiming those of us with auto-immune problems might benefit from having our food as smaller particles. My particular problem is every time I eat, my immune system turns  crazy and attacks my body. The idea is if the food is in smaller bits, some of it might get by my crazed immune system and actually give me nutrients.

Also - I have been sort-of, not-quite, kinda, laid off. Instead of working six days a week with split shifts every day, I am now only working three days a week.
My drawback was the price of a juicer. If it didn't work out, I didn't want to have thrown a few hundred dollars down the compost pile.
She said she bought the off-brand juicer at Bi-mart for twenty dollars.

Late August is prime time for green stuff in your garden or my favorite store or your farmer's market. With nothing to lose, I started out with two times a day.
This machine is so easy to clean. After all, you are using it multiple times a day.
I had occasion to go over to Redmond this summer and the friend I was visiting  had a Jack LaLanne juicer. It did have a bigger motor but it was a bear to clean. I can see why a person would give up on juicing using some of these expensive juicers on the market.
Doing some research for this post, I find I got a huge deal at Bi-Mart ($20). Other stores have this Nesco model for $50 - $75.

My husband asks what my favorite is and my response? I don't really have a  favorite - they all taste like drinking your vegetables. I suppose, the one I make the most often is with a Granny Smith apple, 3 stalks of celery and zucchini. This one is easy to make in the morning. 
Much harder to make is with broccoli or collard greens. Actually, I don't believe I have ever eaten collard greens before this year. I've eaten swiss chard and beet greens but somehow I saved myself from collard greens. God forbid that a rutabaga ever turns up in this house though.
Now I am eating bok choy, savoy cabbages, any green vegy I can get my hands on.

I don't juice for every meal nor every day but I am sustaining it because  --
1. My eyes are clearer. They don't look so yellow - like my liver is sick.
2. I am eating at least twice as many veggies as I used to and believe me - I eat veggies.
3. With my particular auto-immune, I am actually in a starvation diet mode because every time I eat, I get sick. Getting me to eat more is one of my goals. Because--
4. I have more energy
5. I feel like walking for exercise. Because I generally don't eat enough calories, I have trouble with managing my energy levels. Wanting to walk is a big thing for me.
6. Drinking my celery is very tasty. I eat celery and apples every day. Believe me, you can get very tired of eating the same old thing. But these two things never give me immune reactions. Drinking them is novel.

You cannot juice everything. Broccoli just gums up the juicer. Better to cook it first. I know most of the nutrients are there right away and soon dissipate - but I steam my broccoli, throw some greens on top (collard, beet, whatever is dark green), then I use the blender that came with the juicer. First I make an apple, zucchini, celery mixture in the juicer.  I then attach the blender and throw my steamed veggies in and use the juice I just made to help liquify the other veggies. Pears are better in the blender. It's rather an experiment in progress.

I am trying for two juicings a day. I see some benefits. The blendering uses up most of the veggies while juicing creates pulp for the compost. You could throw the pulp into your 'smoothie' if you wanted.
I find I have to have an apple or pear or it really tastes like drinking your vegetables. The tartness of the granny smith apple works quite well.

I haven't made it to three juicings a day yet. I haven't lost weight with this either but I feel better. On a couple of days this week when I wasn't eating the best, I was not juicing. So - juicing does help me - both with energy and mood.

On the subject of apples - I eat them everyday. Every single day.  July and August are the apple desert months. Thank God for New Zealand and their Jazz apples during the summer (their winter). My particular favorites are the early Galas. They go mushy fast so eat them as soon as they appear. Right now? Honey Crisp is big on my grocery list. After those go, Fuji's become my winter standby.
For the first time, I am liking Granny Smiths because of the tartness. They play well with other veggies in the juicer.

13 October, 2011

Tiny Pies And Tomatoes

It's been a bit fragmented this week. Putting the dog down on Saturday, getting caught up in the emotions, not eating right - well - it's been interesting.
I feel whiny to boot. My sketchy work situation is coming to a head but I'm tired of waiting for it to get resolved.  Since April, I have been  playing a huge game of poker at work. I feel it coming down to the wire but  I am tired of keeping my cards close to my chest (even though I will win in  the long run).
Rocket's death has made it difficult to focus on any thing in depth and I feel aggravated at the slow computer, my husband, life in general.
I have done yard work, filled in at work when the other employee needed some medical time off, sewed a few gifts which were hurriedly made and then stuffed into their packages. I canned my last batches of tomatoes and my only celebratory moment  was when I ran out of canning jars .

 I feel out-of-sorts in spite of accomplishing quite a few tasks.
Is it the full moon? The rain?

 I think I need some serious chocolate.

My husband had a hankering for apple pie so I made him two small pies which were just the right size for one person. I used a mixture of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp Apples.  I have two of these vintage pyrex personal pie dishes that I picked up at  a garage sale many years ago.

10 October, 2011


We put Rocket to sleep. He lived 11 1/2 years. He was larger-than-life dog.

As a puppy, he loved to cuddle in your lap. He quickly grasped all the basic dog tricks branching out into some unique tricks as well. He was a super-intelligent labrador retriever.

The kids taught him how to climb the slide and then turn and slide down. When the kids were doing 4-H for dogs, it was held at the elementary school where Rocket liked to show off his sliding skills on the big slide.
He actually dropped out of 4-H for various reasons. One being the leader who raised labs declaring Rocket to be fat. He needed to go on the green bean diet and lose weight. All this did was cause his incredibly sensitive nose to find other food and helped cement his wandering adventures. He had many doggy friends, including, Rocky, the dauschaund who lived across the pond. He could be found in about four reliable places but once left home for four days while some kind family, taken in by his happy attitude tried to adopt him. His nose led him on many adventures.

When we got another puppy, he was happy to include him in his adventures. Rusty had a barking problem so I bought two electronic collars; one a barking collar for Rusty and the other a stronger one to try and keep Rocket home. While the barking abruptly ceased, I can remember hitting the wand repeatedly while Rocket looked back at us and kept on trucking.  He may have felt the collar but it wasn't about to keep him from his appointed rounds. He was adept at maintaining his disappearing act. He could be right next to you on the patio and the minute you turned your back, he was gone. As in, don't know which direction. He was a master at stealth. The kids like to play hide and seek with him. He particularily enjoyed this game and was successful finding them 100% of the time. "It's all in the nose."
He was also known as Houdini. He was the only dog I've known with thumbs. He once caught the spring connector on his chain on his toenail (trying to escape) and had to have a vet cut the connector off. We then switched to a screw-on connector and he was able to unscrew that a couple of times.
His companion, Rusty, was willing and able ( and a little jealous) to go on adventures with Rocket but soon became uncomfortable being away from home. Rusty would show up back at home  long before Rocket.

Rocket's most endearing trait was a love of costume. He loved to dress up for Halloween and occasions in-between. He is a white lab that went trick-or-treating as a Dalmation, Army Dog, Red-Hot Chili Pepper, and SuperDog.
He didn't mind wearing big glasses either.

He liked to sleep on the couch as it was super comfy.

He was smart enough to figure out if you threw the ball, if he just stood there, you would eventually go get the ball yourself.

The last few years, since the kids left home, he liked to be in the jungle moment. He would go through the hedge and turn around so only his head was visible. Then he would lie down. Once in a while, he would pop his head out. He also like hanging out beneath some trees in the front yard with overhanging branches. He liked to peer out at you. He also developed this habit of wedging himself underneath the furnace duct in the garage. He would curl up and sleep there but maybe that was to save himself from Rusty.

This last year, his hind legs started getting pretty stiff and finally a little loose. He awoke stiff and had to go through an elaborate stretching ritual. I used to put both dogs into the laundry room so I could back my car out of the garage to go to work, Then I would close the garage door and put the dogs back into the garage. Even though he was a white lab (Yellow), he could disappear into the night quite easily.
But in the last few months, he would sleep through this morning ritual.

He especially like peanut butter in his Kong - about the only toy he could not chew up. He did like to demolish his toys. He is also the first dog I had who would bury his bones. And remember where they were later. We first saw him bury a bone during a camping trip. Which he loved - except at night, when every little sound caused him to whimper and growl.

He had a massive stroke/seizure on Saturday morning and never really recovered. I had to go in to work for a few hours and while I was gone, he had two more big seizures. It was difficult seeing him in so much pain with no chance of recovery. Our vet came out and put him to sleep. Rocket had a good long life.

I buried a chew bone with him so he would always know where to find it.