Monday, October 29, 2012

A Garden Cloche and a Rock

A couple of weeks ago when I took the trash to the recycle center, somebody had thrown away a rusty, pink birdcage.  The bottom was missing and the top where the hanger used to be was just a big hole.  I immediately saw the potential as a cloche and grabbed it from the dumpster.

I spray painted it with hammered bronze paint and bought some washers - 2 medium sized and 2 large - to cover the hole and fit the pretty "finial" (actually a drawer knob from World Market).  I am very pleased with the way it turned out and can use it in so many places.  For now, it's setting on my concrete tree table.

Here's the before...

Here it is after some spray paint...

My poor angel vine - the deer keep eating it down to knubs.  It will be safe on my patio instead of in the front yard.

Here's a close up of the beautiful glass knob.  You'd think I planned that the green pot was going under this when I bought the drawer pull but it was another happy accident

I have been admiring Tammy's beautiful crochet jackets for stones and asked her how she made them.  She didn't really have a pattern but sent me a link to Purl Bee, which got me started.  I'm not really happy with the results of my first attempt and need to figure out how Tammy makes hers.  They are much more open and delicate looking than what I made.  But considering I didn't even think I could crochet with this fine thread, I guess it isn't too bad.  I need some smaller stones though and will be searching for them at the home improvement stores since I don't get to take walks around here.

The big storm named Sandy sure has brought cold weather with her.  We are safe here but I am concerned for my older daughter and her family near D.C.  Their power has been flickering all day and she's worried that a large tree in their yard may fall on their house.  And my dear friend on the Eastern Shore of Virginia - they already had flooding begin last night before the high tide at midnight tonight.  I'll call them both in the morning to see how they fared.

It's been an exhausting day at work with all the travel cancellations.  Both of my managers travel a lot and all flights were cancelled today, which meant setting up video conferences and change a gazillion meetings from east to west coast.  It's only 8:30 but I'm going to be going to bed shortly.

Hope you are all safe where you live!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crafting Again!

I get so much inspiration from blogland and Pinterest and friends and have been creating gifts for Christmas. 

I recently discovered a newly opened quilt shop in my town and took a class a few weeks ago.  Yes, I could have made this table runner without the class, but I want to support this independent business.  I mean, I love JoAnns Fabrics and Crafts but do get so tired of that as my only convenient resource for purchasing fabric.  Find X Designs is a great little shop that stocks high quality quilting fabric, beautiful yarn and some sewing accessories.  She also is a Pfaff dealer and has a long arm quilting machine.  They offer classes in quilting, knitting and crochet and stay open a couple of nights a week so that you can come in and work on any project you have.  What a great way to meet other folks who have similar interests. 

Here is my runner that I made for myself and a second that will be somebody's Christmas gift.  Mine is complete except for the binding; the other needs backing, quilting and binding.  I was really drawn to using the black print for the binding but it seemed a little formal for me, so I've chosen a red coordinate.  I might go back and get the black though.

I know burlap wreathes have been all the rage for the last two years but I'm not one to jump onto fads.  While I love burlap, I didn't have the desire to make a wreath until last Saturday when I visited my friend, Gail's, nursery.  They have been holding seminars on making burlap wreaths and when I saw one in person, I was really excited by them.  A few years ago I had made myself a lined burlap valance for my living room out of the bleached burlap and have really enjoyed using it in the summer.  I had some of that burlap left so purchased a straw wreath form and went to work making my own wreath using this tutorial

My plan is to leave it up all year round and change the ribbon and embellishments for each season.  I haven't added my fall ribbon hanger to this yet and have made one of three burlap rosettes to attach to it.  This wreath took me about 3 hours to make over two evenings.  The most tedious part is cutting the 4 inch squares but other than that, it goes together pretty quickly.

My next project is also a Christmas gift for somebody.  I've been bitten by the crochet bug again and love all the free patterns and projects found on line.  Darned if I can locate the exact site I used to make this one but if you search for free crochet soap on a rope pattern, you'll come up with several patterns.  Here's my little creation complete with a yummy bar of verbena scented soap.   I'll be making one for myself and a few other people.

Somebody threw out a bent birdcage a few weeks ago and I immediately saw the potential in it.  I did a makeover on it yesterday and couldn't be more pleased with it.  I'll show you that and another make over next time. 

Right now I'm getting ready to take Pete to another adoptathon.  He needs his own home so I can save another life.  He's had a bath and looks as pretty as he's going to.  I made a little Halloween collar for him and am going to take an angel headband to put on him to attract lots of attention - wish us luck!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fresh Apple CAke

I love to bake and now that cooler weather is here, spent some time in the kitchen yesterday.  I have two cake recipes that I make every once in a while and this one is a favorite - fresh apple cake.  Somebody gave me the recipe almost 40 years ago.  It's easy to make even though I don't have a lot of patience when it comes to peeling the apples.

Fresh apple cake is full of freshly diced apples so I consider it a health food - he-he.  There must be as much, if not more, nutrition than found in the granola bars I eat regularly Monday through Friday at work.  While it's baking in the oven, the entire house fills with that yummy smell that just makes me feel good all over.

I couldn't even wait till it was cool before cutting a big slice to enjoy.


Fresh Apple Cake

1 C corn oil
2 C sugar
3 eggs beaten
3 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 C chopped pecans
3 C fresh apples - peeled and diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp soda

Put apples with sugar and set aside
Sift dry ingredients together
Pour oil and beaten eggs over apples
Mix dry ingredients with tat
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or till toothpick comes out clean

This is an old recipe and there is a note to mix with a wooden spoon.

Make a nice cup of your favorite coffee and sit down for a tasty treat!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What I Did Saturday

Way back in 2008 when I saw that the economy was going south and the company I worked for was starting to struggle, I cut out all unnecessary expenses.  My satellite TV service was the first to go.  I used to love watching all the DIY shows, but HGTV had become real estate TV and it just didn't do a thing for me.  All my craft shows were pretty much gone too, so it wasn't a big sacrifice.  Since getting a permanent job over a year ago, I've been very tempted a few times to sign up for the service again.  I get really irritated at the frequent freezing and stuttering using only rabbit ears, but being the practical person I am, have tolerated it...till now.

One of my neighbors has a large TV antenna in his yard and he say it works great.  I started looking on line for TV antennas and found a very small one through WalMart on-line and ordered it a couple of weeks ago.  With taxes, it only cost $43 and I thought it was worth a gamble ordering it.  I started looking for instructions on how to install a TV antenna on-line (don't you just love how you can find any instruction you need on the WWW?) and watched a couple of videos.  I was a little intimidated by what I learned and started looking for somebody to install my new little antenna professionally.  Well, I spoke to a real nice man locally who sold those huge antennas and he told me he'd install mine for $100.  I really don't like paying anybody to do something that I can really do myself and told him thanks, but no thanks.  During our conversation he gave me three important pieces of information that I didn't have - that my antenna did not need to be grounded, make sure there is a direct connection from the TV to the antenna and I just needed to point the antenna east/northeast.

My coaxial cable was still connected to my small satellite dish that I used to use, so up onto the roof I went.  I'm not crazy about crawling around up there was determined.  So, I removed the old dish and disconnected the cable.   Then I bolted the base for the mast to the roof and connected to cable to it.  This took many trips up and down the ladder - I was very slow and deliberate while up that high with nobody around to help if I should fall.  Next, I connected the coaxial cable to the antenna with the other end onto the back of my new flat screen TV I bought with part of my raise last month.  Then I had to let the TV go through setup again and search for all the stations.

OMG - it worked!  And the picture was incredible!  My neighbor explained to me that that is because the signal is pure and sent at a much higher frequency than satellite or cable uses.  Last evening, I was able to watch my British sitcoms without any freezing or stuttering.  Was I happy or what?!?  Now some people wouldn't want this on their roof, but I don't care - it's very small and looking at my house from the front, you can't see it.  All that climbing and crawling on the roof was exhausting.  I was so tired and sore last night and still am today.

My next purchase will be something called a Roku - a small device that I connect to my TV that will turn it into a computer.  Any free service like Hulu or Crackle, will stream straight to my television set.  I think I'm going to subscribe to NetFlix and those will stream directly to my television too.  I don't sit down to watch movies very often so may not do that, but I love all the old cartoon shows on Hulu and now I'll be able to watch them.

There isn't much in my yard to take pictures of right now except weeds and a few straggly flowers.  My asters aren't in bloom yet but I did find my black eyed susan vine had recovered from being eaten by the deer.

 A close up of my jasmine tree.  It has fragrant white flowers on it in the summer and they turn magenta in the fall and hold a beautiful blue berry in the center.  I don't know the name of it; it was given to me by a friend.

There are always critters though like my old girl, Princess, waiting to go inside.  Pete (my foster) is inside looking out. And you can see another set of eyes in the lower left corner of the door.  That's Topaz, one of my black cats.

Beauty - my crippled little rooster.  He sleeps in the garage at night!

Big Rooster - the sweetest bird!

And my little goat family eating their dinner.  Lola is the one with her nose in the air - she doesn't miss anything!

It is very chilly and overcast today.  I'm glad I got some mowing done yesterday after installing my antenna.  This week is going to be brutal at work so I think I'm going to cook myself a nice dinner and relax for the rest of the day.  I hope your week is a good one.