Friday, February 27, 2009

You Might Be A Redneck If...

you lay wall to wall carpet in your front yard.

I'm not really a redneck - well, maybe a little - but old carpet is great to use as landscaping fabric. This is some of the carpet that came out of an empty store and I asked if I could have it. Not only does it work great to keep the weeds out, but it spares the landfills from more discarded stuff....and it's free! And you all know how I love free :) In my effort to reduce the amount of mowing I have, I am making more and more "natural" areas in the front yard.

I know - there is a trashy dresser in one of the pictures. That's a solid walnut dresser somebody threw away last summer and I dragged it home. It was very ugly and at first I just wanted the back panel to use for making bird houses. Then I decided to take the whole thing home. It was actually quite cute last summer when the drawers were overflowing with flowers. I need all the large structural things I can get, trying to turn this field into a yard :)

I managed to get some tidying up done out front from all the winter winds. I've got tons more to do but it's supposed to get cold again this weekend, so I'll stay inside and work on some other projects.

(Note - don't use carpet for weed control if you're growing things to eat due to chemicals leaching from the carpet.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

St. Patty's Day Design

I've been visiting other blogs and came across this cute little quilt at Kim's Big Quilting Adventures. She has generously posted a tutorial on it and I for one will definitely be making this within the next few days. I've been collecting green fabrics for a while now for another project, but think I can spare enough for this small quilt. It sure will look cute in the middle of my kitchen table!

I'm still painting in the new shop today but will be able to stay home tomorrow and work on some sewing projects. I need to get my Appalachian quilts together. Darn - I don't have enough batting. I'll just have to force myself to go to JoAnn's....:)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eggs for Sale

I have several pets and a source of entertainment. If you've never kept chickens, you're missing some opportunities for good laughs. They actually aren't stupid, like they've been made out to be. And they actually do have individual personalities.

Anyway, a couple of my hens lay the most gorgeous eggs. They are blueish/green and I have the hardest time using them because I hate to crack them. About three years ago I decided to blow some of them out and paint on them. Many years ago I bought a beautiful tiny egg that had a rose painted on it and that's where I got the idea. Now, I about blow my brains out every time I do this, so don't have as many empty eggs as I'd like. Before I painted them, I speckled them with a little watered-down umber. When I sold these in a shop a while back, I wanted the presentation to be really special. I bought those small white gift boxes from Michaels and had a border stamp that fit perfectly on the lid. Then I stamped a feather inside the lid and made a nest for the egg with green spanish moss. I punched some holes around the box top and wove some rafia through them and tied a bow in the front. I was very pleased with the way they turned out and sold every one of them. I've decided to make more this spring and have a few finished to show you. I listed them on Etsy with hopes of selling something :) Now I know when you click on the pictures and they're magnified, the egg color doesn't show up and all my brush strokes look horrible, but when seeing them in real life, they are pretty - if I say so myself.

If I could just figure out an easier way to get the egg out of the shell....

Happy Wednesday; I'm off to do more painting in the shop!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Miscellaneous Monday

Thanks to everybody for their suggestions on how to reproduce Alissa's little art piece. They're all good ideas and I might just do several different pieces and keep all but the plain pink and white. It would make her mommy such a sweet birthday present in April. I'll definitely post pictures of whatever I do.

I've got several small projects going - some sewing and some not. I've been working in my nasty woman cave garage doing some much needed reorganizing. Gail (my friend with the flower farm) gave me a huge handmade desk over the weekend that was made from a door; it made a perfect work table for the back of my garage. Of course, before I could get it in place, I had to pull a bunch of other stuff out. I knocked down a shelf that held charcoal lighter, Windex, goop cleaner and other chemicals and about had a fit. It was so cold that the plastic bottles broke and made the biggest mess. None of the chemicals ran together and I poured kitty litter all over everything to absorb the liquid. Everything is fine but the garage still smells like petroleum; I'm sure it will air out in a couple of days.

I did manage to start a potholder today from the Pretty Little Potholders book I bought last week so will post a peek at that.

I've also added a shot of a shadow box I started a few weeks ago using some of Dawn's images. About three years ago I bought a nice wooden drawer organizer for this purpose and put it aside and there it sat. I finally dragged it out and started on it - haven't gotten very far, but it's on the wall with one of many tiny birdnests I've found on my property. I swear I have ADD because I jump from thing to thing, and get so distracted in between. I have to force myself to stay focused on one thing in order to complete it. I'm trying to get better about that :)

That's it for my Monday. I sure hope I get more done tomorrow!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pink Saturday - Altered

My contribution on this Pink Saturday isn't all pink, but I wanted to post something else too. The first picture is of a drawing Alissa did late last summer - I could kick myself for not writing the date on the back! She is really into the Disney princess theme and this is her as Rapunzel (notice the artistic detail in the writing!). Anyway, I want to duplicate the drawing either by copying it onto white muslin and embroidering it, or making my own applique pieces from it and making an adorable pillow out of it. If I make applique pieces, what colors should I use? Should I keep it all pink like she drew it? I'm afraid if I just embroider it all pink on white, it won't be as cute as it should be. Suggestions from my friends, please??

The next picture is of my dry sink I bought ages ago - typical Early American style pine with white knobs. About three years ago I finally decided to paint it kind of wild and crazy and this is what I came up with. I found some cute decorative knobs at Lowes for $2 each and couldn't make up my mind which ones to use, so I bought two different kinds.

And I thought of something I can finish right away for the Appalachian quilt project. When my girls were very young, I tended to decorate in more of a country style and had managed to make one quilt top, which I never put together for so many reasons. Anyway - I came across it while reorganizing last week and thought I'd go ahead and finish it now while I had the time. It's a full size quilt top and I've decided to cut it in half, finish as two separate quilts, and donate them to the Applachian quilt project. I want to make several smaller items, but these will be so quick and easy to finish. I'm really excited about it; they will be put to very good use.

And last but not least - I GOT MY PRIZE! Yes, the sweet print I won from Diane's drawing last week has arrived. I knew I'd love getting any of them, but this one is so pretty. Along with the print, she sent me two beautiful tags, which I know she made herself, and a piece of sheet music entitled The Return of Spring. At first I thought I'd use the tags as gift tags, but they are far too pretty for that. I've been wanting to try my hand at an altered art piece and now have the perfect pieces to get me started. I'll have to wait till I figure out exactly what I want to do so they are shown off perfectly. That's gonna take me a while to figure out though :) I have several fruit pieces in my kitchen and I think the print in a frame will be a perfect addition to them. Thank you so much, Diane; I'm so glad mine was one of the names drawn!

Well, gotta get ready to go help a friend paint her shop. Have a great day, everybody.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Helping At Home

Did any of you watch Dianne Sawyer's special last Friday night about the children in Appalachia? She's from Kentucky and focused on that area and western West Virginia. I was born in West Virginia and grew up very poor, but not as poor as those people in the special. The level of poverty there is unbelievable. After watching the show, I wanted to do something, but what? Well, I've just come across a great project coordinated by Rachel to make blankets to send to those people who desperatley need any help they can get.

Since so many of us like to sew, crochet and/or knit, why not put those scraps to good use and whip up something small and simple to help somebody that needs basic items!?!

I'm so excited to be helping others who really need it. With so much negative talk about the economy tanking and all those high-profile, multi-billionaires whining about losing money, we forget that some people don't even have three meals a day and a warm bed at night.

Please go to Rachel's blog and get involved today; she has all the details and specifics on her site. It will make you feel so good. Please consider mentioning this on your blogs as well. I know our blogging community is such a giving group of talented and caring women, that we can help make a very important difference in other's lives.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Miscellaneous Post

I read Dawn's post yesterday and was looking through pictures to post a few of my yard last summer. I know I have tons but they aren't digital and since I don't have a scanner (it's on my wish list), can't share them yet. I really would like a scanner; it would come in so handy.

Anyway, I did find one picture that I especially love of my granddaughter reading a story to my dingbat dog, Zoe. Now bear in mind, Zoe is a typical terrier mix - jumps around all over the place, submissive tinkles when I approach her (she is getting better though) and will barley listen to me. However, she adores Alissa and will do anything that child tells her to do. Alissa loves to have Zoe with her and tries to dress her up with necklaces and capes frequently. Last summer they were both on the front porch and I looked out to check on them and saw Alissa reading to Zoe, with Zoe quite content to listen. It's one of my favorite pictures.

I hope you all have a great day today!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Couple of Humorous Pictures

OK, I had to get permission to use these so am now posting a couple of items that cracked me up.

I told you all that my oldest daughter, Erin, just had her first baby a week ago. I've been getting some pictures of little Ginny but this one cracked me up. Daddy is taking paternity leave to help mommy and he is evidently exhausted from his duties.
Aaron is going to kill me for posting this - I love you Aaron.

The next pictures have a little story to go with them. My sister, Susan, is a very talented gal with fabric and thread. She kept telling me about some kitty beds she had made and I wanted to see them. What she wrote when she finally sent me the pictures made me fall on the floor laughing. Caleb is her grandson; Foster and Lucy are the cats.

"Here are a couple pictures of the kitty beds I made. Not real good pictures I don’t think. The 1st bed is a little skimpy around the sides so I made the 2nd one a bit more puffy thinking the cats would like it better. Foster is sleeping in Lucy's bed and Caleb fell asleep in Foster's bed and Lucy won't sleep in either of them - ha ha."

Today I will have my Alissa Rose with me; she's under the weather, poor thing. I won't be able to paint but think I can make one of those pretty memory boards for my craft room. I hope you all have a good Monday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Modem Died!

Hi everybody,

I've missed blogland like crazy! My computer wouldn't connect Friday evening and I've been w/o my computer all weekend. I'm so glad it was only the modem, which Windstream just replaced a little while ago.

Yay - I won one of Diane's prints; I'm so happy and excited!! I'm one of those people who rarely win anything. In fact, I can't really remember winning anything before. I can't wait to get my prize :)

I didn't work on my painting Friday. Instead, I started cleaning and reorganizing my work room. After going through all those old magazines, it kind of got me in the mood to go through other craft supplies that I haven't used in forever and donate/trash some of them. I don't know if the local thrift shop accepts craft supplies, but I'm going to be making a trip there tomorrow with a bunch of clothes, housewares and other things. I guess spring cleaning fever has hit me early this year. But to show you that I actually can paint, here are some portraits I did several years ago. I really wanted to paint all the time like I'm sewing all the time now. I'm glad I'm interested in it again, but I keep jumping back and forth between sewing and painting and end up in front of my sewing machine most of the time.

I met my friend, Alyce, for a movie yesterday and then went to JoAnn's - such a dangerous place. I bought some fabric and the book, Pretty Little Potholders, and can't wait to get started on some. While I was there, I applied for a p/t job; they're hiring! I think it would be a fun place to work. I used to work at Michael's p/t years ago, in addition to my f/t job. I really liked working there except for the late hours during the holidays. Of course, I probably won't bring much money home, but at least I could pay for my habit! I hope they call me soon.

Have a great Sunday, everybody. I'm so glad to be back on line!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Fires in Australia

I'm sure everybody has seen this in the news, but I wanted to post it on my blog too. I know the fires are devastating to people and it's horrible and very sad. Whenever I hear about a big fire though, I immediately think of all the animals - especially the wild ones - who get caught in the smoke, confused and trapped, with no chance of surviving. These two little ones were so lucky and I'm thankful for that. I hope they find the jerk that set these fires and give him the toughest penalty their laws allow.

On a differnt note, I struggled with my painting today. I knew in my head what I wanted to paint, but I need to have an actual photo to go by; I'm not very good at getting the image from my own mind onto a surface. So, I started digging through my old painting magazines and being the spaz that I am, spent hours going through each and every one, ripping out the pages that I liked and stacking the rest for the recycle bin. I had just read a very funny post on The Quintessential Magpie about magazine addiction yesterday and couldn't help but think of it and chuckle while I was doing my own sorting. I used to do a lot of painting and these magazines were from 1999-2001. Lately, I've really been evaluating what I actually need and am happy to pare down some of my "stuff". I'll work on my painting again tomorrow and hope it turns out like I want it to. Here's all I've got so far; I've got a long way to go yet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Want a Little Spring?

I know a lot of you are still in the middle of wintery weather. It was very nice here today - 72 degrees. I took advantage of it and worked outside all afternoon (sometimes it's nice being layed off from work). I've been feeling rather aimless the last couple of days and not motivated to do anything, so working in the yard has helped me a little. Now that evening has come, I'm again feeling aimless so decided to just visit blogland. So here I am, clicking away on authors of comments and low and behold am finding some gorgeous new places. If you want a healthy dose of spring, please visit The Painted Garden. I am so happy to have found this beautiful place to visit. I was just thinking last night that I'd like to find as many painting blogs as I've found sewing and crafting ones. I definitely hit the jackpot with this one! This is just the inspiration I've needed. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and I think it will be a perfect day to paint.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Changing Mat and a Green Cabinet

Hi folks,

I wanted to give Allison credit for the changing mat tutorial, but needed to wait till my daughter received her package so the surprise wasn't completely revealed.

Allison has a cute blog all about sewing and crafting called Cluck Cluck Sew and I saw the changing mat the night my daughter was in labor. I knew that I wanted to make one for her baby but wanted to wait though, to find out if it was a boy or a girl so I didn't have to use gender-neutral fabric. So, click here for Allison's tutorial for this useful and very easy little mat. The pocket at the bottom is to hold a package of wet wipes.

My next big project will be a special baby quilt. My daughter has asked if I can make one with a mostly white background and incorporate portraits of their two dogs and two cats. I've got it all figured out in my head and got the inspiration from an issue of Quilting Arts Magazine and will use this technique to make them, but it will be a while before I start this so don't hold your breath for pictures. :)

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was making a cabinet. Well, it's finished and it turned out ok. It's a lot bigger than I wanted and poorly constructed (I learned) but can hold my sewing accessories and a few decorative items. Originally, I wanted it much smaller to hang on the wall near my sewing machine, but I guess I'll just keep it sitting on top of my plastic cabinet. If I make another one for myself, I'll move this one into my craft room and hang it on the wall. For now, I have the shelves lined with old manilla folders, but I'm thinking of using some cute fabric - I just haven't done it yet.

I'm so happy that I've discovered all of you here in blogland. You keep me inspired and so productive!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Few Pink Things

Hi everybody,

It's too nice to stay inside today so this is a quick post for Pink Saturday. I actually have several items but don't want to put them on here yet. I'll be putting them in the mail for my new granddaughter, Ginny, and want her mommy to be surprised. I've had so much fun making pink things for her.

I hope you all have a nice Saturday, however you spend it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Big News!

Well, I have all the details now. My big news is that a new baby has joined my little family! Virginia Kathleen was born at 12:56 a.m. this morning and weighed 6 lbs 11 oz. Nothing about this little girl has been easy, from conception to delivery, but she's here and mommy and daddy are very happy.

I won't be able to see her for a month or so, due to distance, but I'm excited about meeting little Ginny.

Congratulations Erin and Aaron - I'm so proud of you and love you both so much!

Some Beautiful Stitching Sites and Big News

Hello, everybody!

I'm on the mailing list of the Stitching Cow and just received my e-newsletter. Well, Lenna has some beautiful things but her latest news is that she's added some new designers to her business, one of whom has a tutorial for a darling pincushion - please stop by for a visit and take a look! Leanne's embroidery design is so cute that you could easily use it for a pillow or a framed piece of art.

And look at these adorable tiny felt shoes from May Blossom.

Oh my gosh - there is just SOOOO much inspiration here in blogland.

On another note - I have some really big news but need to get the details correct before I post about it.

Have a great day, everybody!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cats in the House

Well, I'm a dog person...but you'd never know that these days. I now have more cats than dogs.

Poor Smudge, my #1 cat, has been so tolerant of all the dogs I've brought into the house over the years. He's only been afraid of one dog, and because he came up out of the woods at the ripe age of about 4 weeks old, I think he thinks he is a dog himself! He's never been around other cats until last year when I got Topaz.

Topaz was trapped at a local shopping center by my friend, Gail, and she had him neutered and vaccinated so he could be released again. Usually where you see one cat, there's an entire colony. After he was released she saw him again across the road in the parking lot of Applebees following people for attention and a handout. After she told me about how worried she was for his safety crossing the busy road, I told her that he could be released on my property if she was able to trap him again. Well, it wasn't long before she had him and brought him to me. He was so sweet that I brought him into the house and he's been a happy indoor kitty ever since. He wasn't very nice to Smudge for a while, but they worked out their differences and became very good friends.

Then Leo came into our lives. Same location, another cat, and Gail, the kitty angel. While I was helping Gail in her Christmas shop I met Leo and fell in love with him right away. He is gorgeous and not a big cat and so very sweet and loving. I told Gail I could foster him for her. He was just too sweet to be released in the busy shopping center.

Poor Smudge. Here was another cat upsetting his domain. Leo is half his size and picks on Smudge. Smudge, in turn, takes out his frustrations on Topaz. In the mean time, Topaz and Leo are starting to be good friends. Here is Topaz (the black one) grooming Leo. Please notice one of Dawn's images on the floor of my work room (sorry Dawn - the cats did it)

And here they are on the day bed. If you look closely, you can see their notched ears. That's how you can tell if a stray cat has been neutered or spayed and vaccinated.

Smudge trys to keep his distance from Leo as much as possible.

I have three more cats - my "outside/mouser" cats; two males and one female. You can't even touch the two males but the female is quite friendly. She started crying non-stop at the front door and windows and made me feel horrible. Then last week when we had all that snow, she wouldn't leave the porch and was freezing. Yes, now Wendy is in the house too. I don't have any pictures of her yet to share, but she is your ordinary, run of the mill tabby cat. She will play with Leo and Topaz but Smudge doesn't want anything to do with her or her friends. He's been insulted enough lately and wants to go back to being just one of the dogs.