29 September, 2012

September is GONE!

September sure zipped on by.

Thanks to the Rural Mail Carrier Mail Count, begging people to mail stuff to me, I received two packages as well as several letters.
I received other packages but they were the boring vitamins & fabric purchases that I made.
These were from friends.

The first one, I did not expect at all. All I did was comment how lovely the table topper turned out and the following week, it was in my hands!
My Japanese/Oregon friend, Crafty Tokyo Mama, loves to sew too and is constantly making the most amazing creations. I love the blues in this. She was fiddling around with matching fabric on the center motif as she could only make it whole by sewing the half motifs together. Her seams are perfect and one would never know about the seam if she hadn't of said something.

My before photo was boring cream - lamp and knitted doily.
One rarely sees a knitted doily but the sister of a neighbor makes them.
It can find another home because I am loving the blue fabrics that Crafty Tokyo Mama chose.

My second package arrived from a finnish friend when I confessed to withdrawal symptoms of Salmiakki. Salmiakki is a particular finnish taste for salted licorice. The Fazer Salmiakki bar is salted licorice encased in chocolate. Rather addicting. And if you can't read finnish then there are probably no calories or anything that I am terribly allergic to. lol.

I did not buy enough to bring home while traveling there this summer. Most of my haul went to neighbors who watched the dog, the kids, and other deserving people.
The Fazerina bar is truffle filled chocolate. The geisha bar which contains hazelnuts also contains wheat.

I have a stash to keep me happy for a few months.

My work situation grew another mile in the good & bad categories. I am now in charge of my office which, unfortunately,  curtails my other life. Big grumble there. However, it will be good for me as I will be learning lots of new government rules to confound you with. The other flip side is that 60 man-hours per week is being pushed onto me at 45 hours per week. The pressure of being hung out to dry is pretty fun too

I do have a much better boss now. She's going into Portland on a detail assignment that is perfect for her but that leaves me with no help.

This is my Saturday haul from the garden. All of my potatoes are now dug and more tomatoes picked. Hubby is going to try making V-8 juice.

I can't eat Tomatoes (nightshade veggie), although I can usually tolerate the occasional one. I suspect it is because my garden tomatoes are not genetically altered. In any case, we still have stewed tomatoes from last year and because of my new-found workload, I had decided to let the tomatoes go.

But "Waste not, Want not" hubby decided to make the V-8 juice.
Tomatoes were picked over a week ago.

Which sat there.

Probably moldering - hence the newly picked tomatoes which were next to the potatoes.

This project is threatening to suck me in big time but I am holding firm.
Hubby has watched me can but never participated. He is already knee-deep into his amazing whining act of, "I need help." (double whine).

Part of my marriage behavior is to help my husband but he returns the favor rarely and seems not to value my help enough to respect my available time. To keep me sane while I am trying to learn new jobs at the paying job and retain some time for me, I need to get better at saying, "NO".

I have a work sewing friend who is also trying to understand the mid-life depression her hubby has sunk under so I made a card for her this morning.
Basically it was a red fabric heart sewn  onto my stationary with a note written, "Sewing is necessary to keep the insanity at bay. Knitting & Crochet count."

I mailed it today as a little pick me up note while she is going through a rough patch. She's working 12 hr. days whilst hubby is unemployed. Working long hours leaves practically no time for her creativity to help keep her on an even keel.

Sewing certainly keeps me sane.

*** As far as the Rural Mail Carrier Mail count goes, it ended today. Results should be in next week. My carrier, who is a total jewel, did great with only his letter count decreased. Everything else is up.

24 September, 2012

Keyless Locks

My parents are getting 'older'.
Last week my dad spent some time at the emergency room and in the ICU for pneumonia and some heart problems discerned on the hospitals monitors.
When I brought my mom back home after a long time waiting for hospital stuff, it was pitch dark.
My mom had her keys but it was totally dark outside their home. Thank goodness my smarty pants phone is a flashlight too!
My mom also had trouble turning the deadbolt with her arthritis.
So noted - trouble with night-time lighting and locks need to be graphited.
Bear in mind they are in with the sun. They don't ordinarily scamper around at darktime.

Two days later, my older sis picked up my mom and off they drove to go pick up my dad from the hospital. They arrived back at my parents place with NO keys.
They called a locksmith and my brother who both arrived at the same time. My brother remembered how to jimmy the basement window open and they were in.

WE siblings all decided we needed  to implement a better plan for helping my Mom & Dad remain independent.
For me, I wanted to fix their locks first.

I checked around the internet and found out some options.
1. keyless entry - hardwired
2. keyless entry - install into existing hardware holes, powered by battery
3. hide-a-key

Our problems:
1.Dark back there.
2. Mom's arthritis
3. no access for the no key scenario

I looked at the hide-a-key options which basically is like a realtor's lockbox, accessed by code and mounted near the door.
This is the cheapest option but did nothing for our two concerns.

I elected to go with the battery powered keyless entry.
Kwik set Powerbolt 1000 looked interesting and even has a  youtube video.

Home Depot carryied both the powerbolt 1000 and the Schlage  brand. I liked the number pad on the Schlage better. Straight numbers. The kwikset one doubled up on the numbers -- possibly confusing  my mom.

Home Depot keyed both of my locks the same. They also offered this generous refund policy. Except for the keys made, they would refund the entire cost if these didn't work.

What we found? Yes, these tyoe of locks are backlit but there still might not be enough light at their back door.
2. We traded a  hard to turn key for a hard to turn deadbolt on the Schlage. Part of this will get fixed as deadbolt hole in door frame is rubbing. My dad can file this down a bit.

Deadbolt is at top.

3. My mom loves the code. She 'got it' before my dad. But we'll see if she can remember it tomorrow.
4. the battery in the Schlage powers the backlighting and the 'engagement' of the electronic lock hopefully for three years. The kwikset lock uses the battery to also move the deadbolt  with an estimated one year battery life.

5. We used a simple code because as I explained to everyone: The chances of them being burglarized while both are usually home all day are in the 0.5 - 5% range. The chances of them remembering this simple code are over 90%.
6. That said: there are some techniques that are not common to open the locks. Even if said burglar guessed the code, they would have to move things a certain way. Not easy.

7. Installation was done by screwdriver. And jigsaw and file. The deadbolt lock's hole was smaller than we needed. The frame's deadbolt hole is rubbing. If you pull the door while turning the lock's knob, you are good.
8. Setting the code was easy. However because of Schlage's free-turning knobs (I'm sure to foil those pesky burglars), we spent some time second guessing ourselves about the istallation.

9 For my mom & dad, we exchanged tit for tat. The previous locks were known in their peculiarities. The new locks changed those items. We could not solve the arthritis issue for example.
10. For the rest of us, WOW!
We can now access our parents home. If one of them falls but could still reach the phone, a neighbor or emergency personnel can be given the code to get in. We children are all 30 minutes away so access to mom & dad was vital.
If they get a ride somewhere and forget their keys, they can still get inside the house.

Mom & Dad have embraced list making as 'forgetfulness' settles into their daily life. This keyless entry is one thing that won't be on that list. "Everytime you leave the house, make sure you have your keys". They can get in by code.

11. Over all, I am liking this Schlage keyless lock very well and plan to install the same on my back garage door soon - well  - as soon as we replace the frame where dry rot has set in.

As far as the lighting goes, we can put some solar lighting back there. I looked at battery powered lights but very few were rated for outside use. Those that were  were motion sensors. Which I personally dislike, living in dog, cat, racoon, possom, nutria,  coyote & cougar land.

My brother offered to help me install the locks and we decided on 1pm after his church time which worked out very very well as my dad had laid down for a nap meaning there was no supervision!

Just in case, my brother brought his daughter - granddaughter numero 3 - as diversion tactic #1. I brought pizza as diversion tactic #2.

I don't know how your dad is, but my dad can do anything and everything himself.

 These locks got on my short list because I will be working six days a week with lovely overtime for the next while. May I remind you we have one week left of Rural carrier mail count where every letter, flat and package is counted towards paying your mail carrier. Please send a letter.

23 September, 2012


Sorry --forgot to show you what I found at the Flock & Fiber show.

Roving is used for needle felting. I have colors that are solid but few that are dark background shot through with blues & greens.

I also found chapstick made with good oils & no chemicals.
I bought some goat cheese from an elusive dairy that is just south of me. The proprietress was a tad haughty which may explain my inability to track her down. As in, her cheeses aren't for the hoi poloi.

I like Juniper Farms in Redmond better.

22 September, 2012

Flock & Fiber

What a great afternoon. My friend, Pencil Girl, brought along a well-rounded crafty gal (not rounded friend - she's skinny and tiny) and we met for lunch at our local 'hotspot', the Thriftway deli in Canbyland.
Then we walked two blocks to the fairgrounds to the Flock & Fiber Festival.

This is the first time we have gone together so we had a fine time talking and dreaming amongst the roving, the wool, the spinners, the loomers, & of course, the sheep and llamas. Don't forget the angora rabbits.

I also met up with two friends from my hometown who came to take classes in nuno felting (Sandy) and  I believe Nancy was taking 'Beginning Spindling'. While I have attended many times, I have never taken classes. They liked them so I may see if I can get time off work next year so I can take the class on Indigo dyeing.

Japanese Indigo plant grown locally - Vancouver, Washington.

I did some easter egg dying with red onion skins but I can see more possibilities with working in the blue tones on eggs. My house will smell better.

Pencil Girl bought some Indigo plant seed which are supposed to grow here. I bought a hunk of beautiful dark grey shot through with blues and green roving so we are trading some roving for some seeds.

knitting pattern in my colors

Hairpin Lace

Goat cheese samples

For another blog post I wrote about felting thrifted sweaters:
Felting the Easy Way

 Funny little zippered sheepy pouches

The fringe has little crystals twisted onto it.

 And finally - one last photo for my gerbil shearing friend (lol) from Tales From the Sheep Shed.


18 September, 2012


My first post about the thrilling falcons was here.

We saw three  different  types of falcons at the Anchor Heart Ranch.
First up was "Ginger Rogers", an Aplomodo.

She is called Ginger Rogers because she likes to dance. These three birds were raised in captivity. For more reading, try the Birds of North America web page.
Here's another link.

Gyrfalcon. The one the kings want.

There are about 3000 falcons like these, here in the US.
In the Middle East , there are about 50,000. Falconry is a bigger sport over there.

They eat a carnivorous diet. Jim cuts up starlings amongst other meats for them.
They can obviously see much farther than we can. Into the ultraviolet spectrum.
Jim has done presentations for the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon.

I forget what type this third one is but he is very tame and flew some wedding rings to the groom at a recent wedding event at the ranch. The guests were thrilled.

There is speculation about how fast they can fly. There is a skydiver on Whidbey Island (or was that Orcas Island) who skydives with his falcon. Since humans are heavier, it makes sense that humans will travel faster to the ground. His bird not only keeps up but can surge ahead. Incredibly aerodynamic.

Just two weeks ago, my local paper, The Canby Herald, published a story about a local blueberry farmer utilizing falcons (sorry - link died when Pamplin took over Eagle Newspapers) for small bird (starlings) control. They had tried numerous other methods to keep starlings from maiming their crop with little or no success.

"Methods included visual deterrents, such as images of large eyes, auditory deterrents, like distressed bird calls and propane cannons, and even people with shotguns. "

The falcons have proven the most effective and the lest expensive deterrent. Plus they are popular with the neighbors.

Maybe when I grow up I'll become an ornithologist..

17 September, 2012

Great Weekend

Saturday, we flew falcons at the Anchor Heart ranch. Amazing and thrilling.

Sunday, we were going to go canoeing. What with the forest fire smoke and the girls sleeping in, we changed plans for a reconnaissance hike around Lake Walton.

This lake is a few miles past Prineville on hwy 126 - the same road that goes near Lookout Mtn.


Just past Prineville were signs for a garage sale. Not just any garage sale but a 'Destination Garage Sale'.

We drove past thinking we would stop on the way back.

Walton Lake turned out to be small and nearly ambulatory.
A little "On Waldon Pond".
The well-maintained path around the lake was only 1 1/4 miles on flat compacted gravel or 1 1/2 miles on asphalt.

Definitely something older folks could hike --plenty of benches.

Circling above us was an osprey which suddenly plunged into the lake, emerging with a fish in it's talons. A perfect sight following Saturdays falcon fest.

By the time we drove past the destination garage sale - I had to make the driver pull a U-ey - it was half-past 2 pm and everything was freefreefree.
Amazing timing.

All four of us stuffed many boxes of fabulous finds into the car.
A perfect end to our time in central Oregon.

15 September, 2012

Anchor Heart

Over in Redmond this weekend.
As a special treat, we went to a ranch where my friend's friend is staying with his hawks.


14 September, 2012

Another Orange Purse

I finished this purse on Sunday night but work and a family crisis reared their time-sucking heads and I only managed to get photos today.

This is the Two-Zip Hipster purse by Erin Erickson of The Dog Under My Desk blog.

There is a zippered pocket on the outside and a top zipper closing the main compartment.

A slide in pocket on the outside (kindle or Ipad size) AND a double pocket (smarty pants phone) on the inside.
I love all the pockets.

The adjustable strap allows you to wear it from your shoulder or cross-body style.
This pattern with incredible detailed instructions was a breeze to sew - even the almost complicated sewing in of the top zipper. Very good instructions. I had zero quibbles about Erin's excellent instructions.

I'm looking at this photo thinking I could embroider something random across the black band. What do you think?

Put a bird on it . . .

My other orange purse utilizing this lovely Ikea bird fabric is here.

10 September, 2012

Spoonflower Fabric

I was lounging around the internet over the labor day weekend looking for cool fabric doodahs when I stumbled across a cool sale at Spoonflower; a free fat quarter of fabric for $1.00 shipping. It arrived today.
I've been on Spoonflower before so this showed up in my favorites and promptly was ordered.

Spoonflower is an online site where you can design your own fabric. Tres cool. Except they don't tell you how easy it is to get sucked into the website and before you know it you have spent bucko dollars on a really cool print - designed by you.

I didn't design this jetliner print but I love the soft blue and the alternating 2" squares. You can choose to have your design printed on cotton, knits, canvas - I believe  there are about ten different fabric weights you can have Spoonflower print your design onto. Really cool service and a quality product.

There is a two-week  rural carrier count starting on Monday, September 17th (through Sept. 29).
I have written about this before. How your rural mail carrier gets paid? 
 and this post: and Letter Writing.

I am asking you to write a letter during those two weeks, maybe even two! The USPS is not doing a city carrier count, it is only the rural carriers. Even if you don't know whether your carrier is a city or rural mail delivery person, write anyway. It's a good habit. Not only that, it totally makes my day to get a letter or small care package in my mailbox.

  • Write to your nieces or nephews ( I have little candygrams ready for carrier pick-up for next week on my kitchen counter). I  gave out some good ideas on my post here.
  •  Go look at the USPS website and see how many FREE priority products there are ( I just ordered 12 different supplies. Flat-rate boxes, the Padded Flat-rate envelope, the shoe box, the bigger priority box and the newer Regional rate boxes.) I recently used the regional rate B box to send $40 of groceries to my son for $5.40. Way to go mom!
    The Priority shipping supplies are free to order and free to get.
    Each package counts for a better paycheck for your carrier.
  • You can print Priority postage at the PO website, saving yourself some money as well as getting tracking for free.  Free carrier pickup at your front-door.
  • When's the last time you wrote a thank you letter?
  • This would be a good time to order yourself some treats as received packages help your carrier counts too. I need to re-order my vitamins (amazon.com).
  • Sign up online for a free catalog or magazine. Many magazines give you the first issue free.
  • Write to me.
    Last Spring I sent off about a half-dozen letters with a favorite tea bag enclosed. The quick note inside said, " Have a cup of tea with me". My friends liked these. Some smiles were heard.

Why is the PO doing a count so soon after last years? Well, the rural carriers have been working without a contract for close to two years now. Some contract language has changed. The PO Mgmt.'s depressing media blitz that mail volume is down and they have run out of money is not true. Mail volume continues to rise with the exception of first class which is holding steady.
The PO is mandated by a 2006 law to pre-fund retirement benefits for people who haven't even gotten hired yet. These payments are going into the General fund where they are used for ???
The PO has over-payed these benefits but congressional peoples aren't close to fixing this little problem.  Meanwhile, rural carriers are perceived by mgmt. to have it too easy and they are looking for ways to make rural carriers do more in less hours. Where have I heard that before?

09 September, 2012

Still Sewing

 Yes, you heard me, I am still sewing.

 I'm knee deep in a purse project and it is coming together, rather well.
I'm missing the hardware for the strap but DD picked up something at Bolt today while she was out and about.
I have a graveyard stash of old leather purses and the assorted cast-off hardware but no rectangular slider piece for the strap.
Which just goes to show you - your stash will never ever be big enough . . .
{Currently my stash is threatening to take over parts of three rooms}. 

This is the front. It's got a slip-in pocket big enough for an Ipad or a Kindle as well as a zippered pocket. Originally, as directed on the pattern, the black band on the pocket would have been orange Ikea fabric also, but I decided black would break up all the blatant orange. The lining is a striped ticking that is peeking over the pocket - only because when I was pressing, I liked the look of it.

After picking my meandering stitching out of my strap and then re-stitching it, I decided to go with some black strapping I had in my purse hardware stash instead.

I'm working on the inside lining now and made some changes there as well. I don't think I have ever sewed a pattern where I followed directions to a tee.

I like the ticking in use for the lining. Light enough in color to be able to find stuff in the pockets but sturdy enough to hold up to the rigors of being stuffed full.

 A medium-small purse. Just right for me.
Today I will finish the lining and then await the slider thingy to finish attaching the strap and then it will be mostly finished.
The pattern I am using is a PDF pattern. These type patterns are all the rage because you can download them right to your printer and get started right away. This purse is 32 pages. Some people do this with clothes patterns and I seriously cannot fathom how. It's easy to print on the wrong scale and tape the wrong page to the wrong page creating a pattern mutant.

This one was okay. I wanted to try out this pdf pattern 'process'.
Mixed bag as far as I am concerned.

The pattern, Two Zip Hipster, comes from the Dog Under My Desk blog.
The pattern goes together very well and is well-instructed. I've had zero problems with it other than printing out 32 pages.