Category Archives: Creativity

Making Calendars

For the last four or five years I have enjoyed making personal calendars for my family and it’s a gift that they can enjoy all year-long.  I’ve started calendars for this year but they are a work in progress.

I have an old computer program that I got years ago called “Greeting Card Factory”  and I use it to format my calendars and I also use it when I want to make “special greeting cards.  It’s awesome and I’m not sure there is a newer version on the market or not.

Once I get the main format set up I can add photos, special dates, different fonts,  and the list goes on and on.

This is an image of a month I did for my Granddaughter last Christmas. I had all sorts of photos on it of her and her animals. I think she liked it!!

The format is so easy to use and I use all sorts of special papers with the calendar as well but most of the pages are using card stock.

This apparatus is used to punch holes in the pages so they flip easily.

The plastic coil that holds the calendar together fits on this apparatus making it easy to put the calendars together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calendars are great stocking stuffers and as I said previously they’re a gift your family and friends can enjoy all year round!!  Adding family birth dates and anniversaries is a great addition and make the calendar date blocks a little large makes for a day planner, too!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making My Own Cleaning Supplies

I honestly can believe the last time I posted was in September but I promise to get caught up if not by the end of today but definitely by tomorrow!  Over the next two days you’ll receive several emails of my/our hectic life which has been full of hard work, fun, a few trips, more work and preparing for the winter that is sneaking up on us quickly.

For several years now I’ve been making my own cleaning supplies.  I do this because over half of my grocery bill is expensive cleaning supplies and I only buy groceries maybe once a month!!  I even make my own body wash and I do love it.  I want first to let everyone know that I’m not the creator of all of these recipes, I follow some very frugal ladies and gents that share their wisdom with the world.  Some recipes have been tweaked to meet my own needs.  Tip Junkie is my favorite at the moment but I get ideas from HGTV, Real Simple, and a lot more.  All you have to do is “google it”!!!  My favorite make-your-own blogger is https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/homemade-body-wash.html

Today’s recipe is for body wash and I love the commercial Dove Bodywash.  I have very dry skin as I’ve grown older and my OB/GYN told me years ago that Dove was the mildest soap you can buy over the counter.

To make a gallon of bodywash you will need nine bars of Dove soap (other soaps tend to vary) and 18 cups of boiling water.  I like to make a gallon at a time so I don’t run out as quickly!!  All you do is get an old vegetable grater and grate the bars of soap into a pan.  I tried to use a food processor and burnt it up, don’t do this!!!

This is the food grater I use ONLY for making body wash and the wooden spoon is used for stirring it as it cools.

I use a large stainless steel bowl to grate the soap into. Large so the soap shavings go in the bowl and not on my table.

The ratio for making the soap is three bars of soap to six cups of water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you get down to the last bar of soap to grate, put your pan of water on the stove to boil.  The harder boil and hotter the water the quicker the process of melting the soap takes.

Pour the soap flakes quickly (without spilling on the stove top, yuck) into the boiling water and use a wooden spoon to stir. At this point turn off the heat and move the pan off the stove to a cool spot. Left on the heat could cause it to boil over and boy is that a mess and burnt soap smells bad!! Stir the pot several times until the mixture is completely cooled. If you feel like it’s too thick add a cup of water before it cools completely.

I’ve saved three of my Dove bottles to use for refills. Place a funnel in the top after popping off the lid and fill to almost full and replace the top.

I used a clean gallon vinegar jug to hold the remaining bodywash. I label it with a piece of tape which includes the ratio for future reference. The old mind doesn’t hold that information as well as it used to and this helps me remember how many bars and how many cups of water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bodywash makes my skin feel silky but not sticky or greasy and it lasts a lot longer than the commercial packaging!!  Smells so feminine!

I’ll post more homemade products I personally use in future posts including my favorite window cleaner, furniture polish and floor cleaner.  Let me know if you try the recipes and if you like them!

Crocheted Dish Towels

Do you like the convenience of a dish towel hanging close by in the kitchen?  For years I’ve made my own hanging towels and they’re quick and easy and only take half a towel.

This one is hanging on the top drawer of my kitchen sink this morning.

I have lots of them and change them about every other day depending on how much they’ve been soiled.  Here’s how I make them:

I go to the Dollar Tree and pick out a full hand towel designed for the kitchen. They’re only a dollar and you get two towels out of each one.

Then I fold them in half and cut them in half.  Then I turn down the cut edge about a 1/2 inch and using a large darning needle threaded with a matching yarn, I blanket stitch the fold down.  The stitches are usually about 1/4 – 3/8 inch long, longer stitches will show more and not fill in the top of the towel quite enough.

Darning needle threaded with scrap yarn.

I use a beige or tan yarn most of the time because it matches everything and I have a lot of “almost empty” skeins of yarn.

Tie off the end of the towel with a couple whip stitches and knot.  From here I make a single crochet using a Size F crochet hook in each blanket stitch across the towel.  At this point you can use any crochet stitch you want throughout the towel until  it’s about five to six inches wide.  I mix the crochet stitches on some and single crochet throughout, just depends on my mood and how fast I want to make up the towels.  At the end of each row, DO NOT chain and turn.  This is how you will decreast the rows to go into a point.  To decrease the row, pull the yarn through two or three stitches.  My instructions aren’t great but if you crochet at all you will know how to do this.  For more details just comment on this post.  When I get towards the end with about 6-9 stitches on the row, I add that turning stitch until I have a tab look at the end.   At the end of the last row you crochet make a chain of about 10-12 chain stitches and carry it back to the start of that row and pull through your first stitch several times to make it stay.

This is the point I spoke of earlier where you make the loop which will go over the drawer handle. Then you hook the loop over the button to keep the towel in place when you need it.

It’s really simple to make and great to have so you don’t have to go searching for the hand towel.

Fold that tab over and place your button in the middle of crochet work to meet the chain.  Your done! Not sure I would make a very good crochet instructor unless it was a one on one session!!

Imagine these hanging on your kitchen sink with red or green toppers or even chocolate or bright yellow.

I made these in February and saving them for gifts.

 

Handmade Gifts for my Grandson

I still haven’t seen my grandson and he turned 6 months old yesterday.  He’s growing like a weed and Grandmother Malone told me weighed almost 13 pounds at his last checkup.  She also tells me he smiles all the time!

I made these little sets for him for Christmas and my son will take them to him in two weeks.  I hope he’ll still be able to wear what I made and the things the family bought him for Christmas.

Yellow toboggan/beanie and mittens.

Yellow toboggan/beanie and mittens.

Dark blue toboggan

Dark blue toboggan

Baby blue toboggan & mittens

Baby blue toboggan & mittens

Crocheted coverlet for bed, carseat and floor to play on.

Crocheted coverlet for bed, carseat and floor to play on.

I want to make some bibs, which no baby ever has enough of, a quilt and some more hats and mittens if he’s grown out of the ones he gets very soon!  I want to make him some booties but need to wait until his Dad can measure his foot for me.  I’ll mail them to Grandmother Malone for him when they’re made.

2017 Bucket List

My Bucket List for 2017

1st and foremost, meet my baby grandson that lives in New Jersey!

Declan Bryant on his first New Years Day!

Declan Bryant on his first New Years Day!

2nd Finish the snowman quilt and sampler quilt in my sewing room.

Block for Snowman quilt

Block for Snowman quilt

Blocks for Sampler Quilt

Blocks for Sampler Quilt

3rd  Dinner once a month for my kids at our house.

I love family meals!!

I love family meals!!

4th  Paint or have my living room renovated and painted.

5th  Clean up and clean out my laundry room which used to be the pump room/milk house that our ancestors used to keep the milk products really cold.

6th  Build up my rose garden.

The rose garden isn't very pretty in the winter time.                                  The rose garden isn’t very pretty in the winter time.

7th  Landscape my gazebo and put in a fire pit at the gazebo for nightly star-gazing!

Gazebo summer 2016

Gazebo summer 2016

8th  Move my chickens into their new abode.

9th  Have one more yard/estate sale at the mansion with my daughter.

Image may contain: indoor

2016 sale went quite well and we’ll have just as many treasures in 2017!

10th  Take a one-day road trip with hubby just to get away!

This doesn’t seem like a big list but finishing it within 12 months will be a huge undertaking.  Wish me luck!

Burlap Wreath

I made my first ever burlap wreath yesterday and it turned out really fluffy.

 

First try and it only took about 15 minutes to complete just the wreath.

First try and it only took about 15 minutes to complete just the wreath.

The wreath was very simple to make by using a wire wreath and burlap.  I used this link to watch a two-minute tutorial:  https://www.burlapwreath.com/how-to-make-a-burlap-wreath/.  It’s so simple and to think I’ve been putting this off since last fall because I didn’t know if my brain could handle one more thing in it.

I wanted to do something patriotic for the front porch but this was just a little too plain so I decided to add a little more red, white and blue.

Simple, yet elegant!!  July 4th, bring it on!!!

Simple, yet elegant!! July 4th, bring it on!!!

Elegant yet country, don’t ya think!  Now I need to come up with some just as patriotic at our mailbox at the end of the driveway that won’t get blown away by the storms like we’ve been having! Oh well, I’ve got nine days to come up with something!

The brain is already full of ideas for the fall and winter and have you seen the different colors of burlap out now???  It’s amazing!!  Happy crafting!!

 

 

Crazy Month of May, the First Chapter

I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I decided to have an Estate/Yard sale and for the entire month, we gathered, took pictures, priced, organized and prepared for the largest yard sale I’ve ever seen that was for one family. Of course, it was four generations of collections of one family, the Caldwells. It was a history of the Caldwell family that was taking up too much space and after watching my daughter dealing with my mother-in-laws estate and the clean-out of her house,  I decided I would not do that to my children after I’m gone.

We cleaned out my house, the Mansion, and the remains of what Heather and her Dad cleaned out of her grandmother’s “stuff” and had our sale on Saturday. It included, antiques from three or four generations ago, household items from our home, Heather’s home, my husband’s grandmother and aunt & uncle, and his grandfather and great-grandfather, tools, and we filled three entire rooms of the Mansion, the front  porch and the yard.

We advertised on Facebook, our personal email contacts and asked everyone to share the details. We did really well and I was blessed to see so many old friends and acquaintances including my Dad’s best friend, Bobby Rose.  What a treat to have him here on the farm.  There’s a wonderful family story behind this which I will share at a later date.

We worked the sale with the help of a very special friend, JoAnn, my granddaughter and one of her best friends.  We were too busy to take pictures during the day but I will share a few pictures of the treasures that left the farm.

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Wood cookstove in excellent  shape.

Wood cookstove in excellent shape.

Antique churn

Antique churn

Old toys

Old toys

quilts

quilts

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Box after box of bottles, jars, insulators.

Tool sharpener

Tool sharpener

Pottery

Pottery

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two.  We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Stoves of all sorts but we only sold two. We still have propane, wood, wood/coal stoves.

Bowl & pitcher

Bowl & pitcher

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This is just a teeny-tiny bit of what left the farm.  The rooms of the house were as full as we could get them.  It was a beautiful day and the cleanup has begun!!

Keeping the Face and Ears Warm

I’ve crocheted some more warmth during the winter and these were made for me.

Wide headband and a infinity scarf

Wide headband and an infinity scarf

The headband is perfect for around my ears and the infinity scarf fits over my hoodies and  around my face to block the wind.  I used a heavy yarn and did a half-double crochet using double strands of yarn to make them thick and warm.  The scarf is wide enough to cover my mouth and nose in the frigid air.  They were quick and I did them both in one night.  I even made a pair of mittens to go with them but they’re not very usable when  carrying in the firewood, gathering the eggs or bottle feeding calves so they stay in my dress coat for non-work events.

Here’s a closer look at the stitches I used and I got both pieces out of one skein of yarn.

Half-double crochet stitch

Half-double crochet stitch and the ends were stitched together using single crochet but that can’t be seen in this picture.

Working in the Guest Room

Corner shelving after a nice bright coat of paint.

Corner shelving after a nice bright coat of paint.

Some painting, re-arranging and cleaning and it’s almost done!  The built-in shelves in the corner of the room are now a new  bookcase for my favorite authors and my audiobooks.  The top five have been there all along but never painted.

Guest room bookshelf paint job 022016 (2)

It looked bare until I filled it up with my books but the bottom needed something and with all my books it was just wrong not to add more shelves which my wonderful hubby did for me.

Bookcase with added shelves and painted.

Bookcase with added shelves and painted.

Nice addition to the guest room.

Nice addition to the guest room.

The Red Quilt

Quilt number two for 2016 is pieced and ready for my quilter.

The Red Quilt 03032016 (6)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (7)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (1)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (2)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (3)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (4)

The Red Quilt 03032016 (5)

Cross Stitch

Several years ago I started a new project and didn’t finish it. Old Salem Mill cross stitch project (3)I recently picked it back up and wanted to share where I am now and will share the finished project in a couple of months if all goes well.

Old Salem Mill cross stitch project (2)

Old Salem Mill cross stitch project (1)

It’ll take some time but I love the look of the linen fabric and the colors just pop with that background.  When finished I’m hoping to put it in a barnwood frame made by hubby.

Jennie’s Christmas Quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in November I had asked my son for some ideas for his fiancée and he told me she love hand/homemade.  I knew she love green because she is a true Irish lady.  So I decided I would  piece together a quick quilt for my soon to be daughter-in-law, Jennie Olera Malone.  I knew I didn’t have much time to make a complicated one so I chose to do a simple stripe of most of the green fabric I had on hand.

I called a friend of mine that does machine quilting and asked her if we had time to get this ready for a Christmas gift and she assured me it would not be a problem.  She said if I had everything to her by the second week of December we would be in good shape and she would have it back to me by the week before Christmas.

I pondered over the look of the quilt to be pieced and what to use for a backing which I knew would have to be ordered.  After deciding what I wanted I went online to Joann’s thinking this would be my quickest option and should have it by the first full week of December.  WRONG!!!

I placed the order online on November 28th and didn’t get a confirmation until December 4th.  It was to be shipped FedEx from Michigan, okay this will work coming FedEx.  Long story short the fabric arrived on Christmas Eve and we had our Christmas get-together on Saturday before Christmas.  I took a picture of the pieced quilt and put a note with it in an envelope for Jennie under the Christmas tree.  This was not a very good first Christmas from the Caldwell family to her but I think she understands.

These are some pictures I took of the finished piecing and the quilting is underway at my friends.  I’m hoping Jennie will like it when she FINALLY receives the gift.

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (2)

I pieced the quilt with light and dark green fabrics.  It’s made to fit a king-sized bed with hangover on the sides and the length will hang over about a foot with room to tuck in pillows if she likes.

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (4)

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (5)

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (6)

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (3)

The backing will be solid and quilted with ivy quilting.  It’s also the fastest quilt I’ve ever put together.  I’m hoping to make everyone in the family a quilt this winter.

I’ve learned a great lesson from this.  I will not order from Joann’s online again but go to the store  and I will definitely avoid FEDEX!!

 

Crocheted Bath Rugs

I’m crocheting a lot at night now. Over the last two years I’ve found and been given some white feed sacks.

Old feed sacks that have been unseamed and washed.

Old feed sacks that have been unseamed and washed.

100 % cotton feed sacks. They don't make these anymore, everything is plastic.

100 % cotton feed sacks. They don’t make these anymore, everything is plastic.

I decided since they were cotton they would make some strong and easy to clean scatter rugs. First I pulled out all the seams, washed them and hung them out on the clothesline to dry so they would hold their shape. Then I pressed them out with my iron just enough to be able to cut fairly straight one inch strips. I connected the strips as I rolled them into five-inch balls so they would be easy to handle and not get knotted up while crocheting.

Feed sacks cut into 1" strips and rolled into balls for easier hangling.

Feed sacks cut into 1″ strips and rolled into balls for easier handling.

I decided I wanted them to fit perfectly in front of the camode, shower and the sink. I took the measurements and started crocheting with a simple single crochet using a size N hook.

Single crochet stitching

Single crochet stitching

On the second row I started hooking in the back look of each single crochet.  This gives the rug a layered look.

The sacks were in several shade of white, cream and a peachy tone. This is the results of the first rug I completed and before it was blocked.

The sacks were in several shade of white, cream and a peachy tone. This is the results of the first rug I completed and before it was blocked.

Sink and shower finished rugs.

Sink and shower finished rugs.

Camode rug

Camode rug

Sink rug

Sink rug

I decided not to dye them because I liked the look of the old feed sacks and the finished product will work in any room.  I’ve washed them one time and got a sort of rag look from the pieces which makes them look even older.  These rugs will take a lot of washing and last for a long time.  They’re not so heavy that I can’t dry them in the dryer or hang them on the clothesline.  I love the end results.

Christmas Gift From Dean

I wanted to share with you the gift that my younger brother made me for Christmas all by himself.

My homemade Christmas gift from Dean for 2015.  He was so proud of it but not near as proud of it as I am.  You just can't beat handmade!

My homemade Christmas gift from Dean for 2015. He was so proud of it but not near as proud of it as I am. You just can’t beat handmade!

Clear ornament with mini red pompoms in the ornament and a ribbon tied on the hanger.

Clear ornament with mini red pompoms in the ornament and a ribbon tied on the hanger.

I think someone helped him write 2015 on the outside with a silver marker.

I think someone helped him write 2015 on the outside with a silver marker.

I’m so proud of it that it’ll probably be displayed all year!

Crocheting

Two shades of blue

Two shades of blue

I’ve been doing some crocheting since I retired and loving the quiet calm it provides.

Infinity scarf for Norfolk friends

Infinity scarf for Norfolk friends

Two strands of yarn

Two strands of yarn

I’ve made some scarves for some wonderful friends in Norfolk and just finished a pair of mittens and a scarf for myself.

Neck scarf and mittens using Red Heart yarn.

Neck scarf and mittens using Red Heart yarn.

Orchid and lilac in the scarf.

Orchid and lilac in the scarf.

The mittens look large but they fit wonderfully and are very warm!  I don't think they'll work real well doing farm work though!  ;)

The mittens look large but they fit wonderfully and are very warm! I don’t think they’ll work real when doing farm work though! 😉

Beautiful and next project

Beautiful and next project

Bulky yarn for a sweater for myself!  Hope I start and finish before winter is over!

Bulky yarn for a sweater for myself! Hope I start and finish before winter is over!

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Now it’s time to teach myself how to knit!!

Idea Book

I love to blog about things I make or decorate with and most of those ideas come from this book.

Journal of Ideas

Journal of Ideas

The book is almost three inches thick.

The book is almost three inches thick.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

I started this one in October and it's almost full.

I started this one in October and it’s almost full.

Everything from decor, useful tools, and so much more.

Everything from decor, useful tools, and so much more.

There's enough ideas in this book to keep me busy the rest of my life and then some.

There’s enough ideas in this book to keep me busy the rest of my life and then some.

Ideas found on Facebook, Pinterest, and magazines I receive monthly.  I don't keep a lot of magazines anymore.  I copy the ideas I want to make and pass the magazines on to my daughter and she passes them on to her friends.

Ideas found on Facebook, Pinterest, and magazines I receive monthly. I don’t keep a lot of magazines anymore. I copy the ideas I want to make and pass the magazines on to my daughter and she passes them on to her friends.

Projects pasted into the journal.

Projects pasted into the journal.

Journal of Ideas #2

Journal of Ideas #2

Indoor and outdoor projects.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

My bookshelf is my keeping area for all of the project ideas.

My bookshelf is my keeping area for all of the project ideas.

As I pull ideas from the book I’ll post about them with details.  I sure hope this resolution proves to be beneficial to me and ideas for someone else.

Beautiful Gift from Friend

I have a friend that lives down the road from me about a mile and she is the sweetest lady you would ever want to meet.  I’ve known Linda for years and her boys and their families live close by to.  Linda is also retired from Virginia Tech and we both have so many interests and hobbies alike.  She is so talented and is willing to help anyone at the drop of a hat!  We need more people like her in our lives everyday!!

Linda has, I think, two looms in her home and she weaves rugs, beautiful rugs.  I have a loom that I bought at a yard sale for $25 but have never sit it up.  Linda has told me that when I’m ready she and her husband Gene will help me and figure out if all the parts are with it.  This is one of my resolutions for 2016 but first I have to clean out a room in the mansion to set it up.  Looms take up a lot of room.  She said she would teach me how to sit it up and give me all the basics to learn how to complete this old craft.

Last year when I was doing some “cleaning out” I found several totes full of upholstery fabric that was taking up too much space in my storage room. I gave Linda the fabric and she said she would make me a rug which was not necessary since she was helping me out by adopting all the fabric that I needed to do something with.

For Christmas, Linda made me this beautiful rug from some of the fabric I shared with her.

This is a "Linda Smith" original.

This is a “Linda Smith” original.

Handmade on her loom for my Christmas present!  It's inspiration to get mine set up!!

Handmade on her loom for my Christmas present! It’s inspiration to get mine set up!!

Linda Smith Creation

Linda Smith Creation

Linda made this for me with upholstery fabric I gave to her last year.  The pictures don't do the rug justice.

 The pictures don’t do the rug justice.  This woman is so talented and I’m very proud to call her my friend!!  The rug has taken up residence in my family room entryway so that everyone can see and enjoy as much as I am.

I’m hoping that 2016 will make me a weaver too!!

The Dirty Old Box

A couple of months ago my daughter was cleaning out the house that belonged to her deceased grandmother.  She and her friend, Cary Melvin, were either working in the attic or the basement of the house and found two of these wooden boxes.  Heather and Cary just knew it was a treasure I would love!

The box was quite dirty and Eddie thinks they were purchased in the early fifties. They held cans of corned beef.

The box was quite dirty and Eddie thinks they were purchased in the early fifties. They held cans of corned beef.

I found the top or bottom for the box.

Fortunately the lid to the boxes was found too and we’re not sure why they didn’t throw them away but I’m so glad they did.  I love to repurpose old things and some new.  I scrubbed the inside and outside of this one and re-attached the lid.  Dirty Old Box (1)

Then I attached some picture hangers to the back of the box and hung it in our living room.  It made a perfect display shelf for hubbies retired or unused turkey callers which made a great “turkey wall”.

Dirty Old Box (5)

The repurposed treasure looks pretty good beside the painted turkey feather hanging beside it along with a turkey beard.

I s

Turkey calls retired or never used on display.

Dirty Old Box (3)

Hubby was pretty impressed at this point because he was ready to use the box for kindling and couldn’t see why I was so excited about the dirty thing.

Thank you Heather and Cary for doing some treasure hunting at the home where your father was raised.  I’m sure Papa Caldwell would be thrilled to know we used something he had saved for one reason or another.

Bluebird Houses

I’m trying to catch up on a lot of posts that I wanted to do and just now finding some time to do it.

On Mother’s Day my children and granddaughter presented me with some awesome gifts.

My son, Shawn, handmade me some new bluebird houses and the best part is he made them with his own hands.  Those are my most favorite gifts!!  It means they took the time to think about what I like and gathered it for me!

Birdhouses made by my son , Shawn, for Mother's Day!  He's putting his new garage to great use!

Birdhouses made by my son , Shawn, for Mother’s Day! He’s putting his new garage to great use!

My old birdhouses are starting to come apart and now they'll have condo's to live in!

My old birdhouses are starting to come apart and now they’ll have condo’s to live in!

I painted them and hubby hung them for me.  The purple martens are using them first but I think next spring the bluebirds will take possession.  Eddie hung them all around the garden and in one of the small apple trees and the birds are loving them.  My next post will show what my daughter presented me.DSCN6898 DSCN6897 DSCN6896 DSCN6895

 

Thank you Shawn Edward!!

Feed sacks to rugs

I recently inherited over a hundred old feed sacks made of muslin fabric.  They had been washed but I gave them another good bath in really hot water to get them good and clean and to get rid of the aroma of being packed away for a very, very long time.  They held up marvelously and now I have a huge treasure to do something with.  They are not white but sort of beige/peach/pink shade of fabric.

This is a large basket holding the sacks after they've been washed and ready to cut in strips.

This is a large basket holding the sacks after they’ve been washed and ready to cut in strips.

I love to crochet and have decided to use some of the sacks to make some bath rugs.  I can always dye them to suit the decor of the room or possibly bleach them to a lighter shade.

First, I cut the sacks into a continuous 3/4″ strip of cloth and wind them into a ball which gives me a 3″-4″ ball for each sack.

Three of the sacks have been stripped and rolled into balls to make handling the strips with ease as I crochet.

Three of the sacks have been stripped and rolled into balls to make handling the strips with ease as I crochet.

I’ve decided to use a single crochet stitch for the first one and use the back of the stitch for the pattern.  If you crochet you know what I’m talking about and it give the line of stitches a “layered” look.  For a 4 x 5 bath rug it takes about six balls of the fabric and I think it turned out pretty nice.

I use a wooden size N crochet hook and single crochet.  I make enough stitches to make a 48" rug this time.  Notice the different shades of beige/peach in the sacks.

I use a wooden size N crochet hook and single crochet. I make enough stitches to make a 48″ rug this time. Notice the different shades of beige/peach in the sacks.

They’ll be sturdy and wash up nice and last FOREVER!  They’re also thick enough that it’ll feel nice to step out of the shower onto it.  It took about four nights, an hour at a time to finish the rug.  The best part is you can put it down to take phone calls, do some laundry, give some attention to Sassy or most anything and go right back to it without missing a stitch.

Almost finished, need to add one more ball of sack strips.

Almost finished, need to add one more ball of sack strips.

I've rotated the different shades of sack strips in this rug and used 6 balls.  One ball contains one sack.  Finished rug.

I’ve rotated the different shades of sack strips in this rug and used 6 balls. One ball contains one sack. Finished rug.

All I need to do now is square up the rug which is so easy to do with this fabric.  I just stretch the sack out and spray with lukewarm water and as it dries  the shape retains itself.  I don’t think I”ll dye this one and will make two more in the same design and color to use in the bathroom.  I keep a rug in front of the shower, sink and the camode.

I think the next group of three, I’ll make my fabric strips a little more narrow and see if I get the same look and feel.  I’d also like to make a couple of aprons from the sacks.  There’s so many uses for a good quality fabric to re-purpose.

 

Bowling up some ladybugs

I’ve done a little crafting in my absence.  Don’t you just love ladybugs that AREN’T alive!!

Bowling ball bags for another project.

Bowling ball bags for another project.

Normal bowling ball with holes to fill.

Normal bowling ball with holes to fill.

Saw the ball in half.

Saw the ball in half.

Wipe clean of all dust with a wet paper towel .  I do this a couple times and let dry between dustings to make sure they're clean of all dust.

Wipe clean of all dust with a wet paper towel . I do this a couple times and let dry between dusting to make sure they’re clean of all dust.

It’s much easier to handle the balls to fill the holes and to paint them if they’re cut in half first.  Those suckers are HEAVY!!

Bowling ball holes filled with wood putty.

Bowling ball holes filled with wood putty.

Wood putty hardening

Wood putty hardening

Wood putty dry and sanded smooth.

Wood putty dry and sanded smooth.

Paint the bottom of the halves first and let dry overnight before adding the second and third coats.

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Paint the bottoms black with gloss paint about three times (let dry thoroughly between paint jobs) to get a good solid finish and protects the under belly.DSCN5002

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Once the third coat is dry, flip them over and paint the top side.  Also, the more coats you put on the longer they’ll last in your flower gardens or where ever you place them in the outdoors.  I take mine in during the winter months and it sits on a shelf in my kitchen.

Ready to add some spots and a face.

Ready to add some spots and a face.

Smear on some black paint in a "almost" oval.

Smear on some black paint in a “almost” oval.

Black gloss paintm wet paper towel for  "oops", newspaper to protect table surface.

Black gloss paint, wet paper towel for “oops”, and newspaper to protect table surface.

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Starting a face

Starting a face

polka dots

polka dots

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Big dots, little dots, medium dots, random or patterned, suit yourself and your whim!  Make it fun!!

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LOTS of polka dots

LOTS of polka dots

Different sizes of polka dots

Different sizes of polka dots

Now we wait for drying time to paint on the faces.  This is when I start preparing their legs and antennae.

Lag bolts are used for the legs.  In the past, I've used wood for their legs and attached little wooden feet and painted them like tennis shoes.  This year is a little different.

Lag bolts are used for the legs. In the past, I’ve used wood for their legs and attached little wooden feet and painted them like tennis shoes. This year is a little different.

 

I painted them black and put two coates of paint on the lag bolts.

I painted them black and put two coats of paint on the lag bolts.

2014 ladybugs ready for the garden!!

2014 ladybugs ready for the garden!!

There’s such a variety of faces you can paint on them and I may do a completely different design and color on the next ones.  I drill holes in the bottoms and screw the lag bolt/legs in.  Then I use a very small drill bit to put two holes along the black line of their face to affix their antennae.  The antenna are made from pieces of a heavy black metal clothes hanger.  I curl the tope end for cuteness.  They’re quick and easy as long as you don’t count the time it takes to wait for the several coats of paint to dry.  Everyone loves them and their cute on the end of my porch steps, coming out of the end of a crock laying on its side, sitting on a rock or paver in the flower garden or waiting at the entrance of the yard gate!!

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These two are from last year and you can see the sneakers they’re wearing.  I decided to go with the bolts for their legs this year because these little guys are throughout my yard in the flower beds and the wooden legs and feet didn’t last as well as I hoped they would.

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Aren’t they just adorable!!  🙂

 

Mansion craft room

We have a beautiful old house on the property that was the families original home in the 1800’s.  Right now it’s used mainly for storage, has no heat and no electricity within the house.   It’s been in the family for at five, maybe six generations.

 

"The Mansion"

“The Mansion”

The Mansion

The Mansion

It was and still could be a beautiful home if we were rich!

It was and still could be a beautiful home if we were rich!

Back of the house and looking into the kitchen window where the playing will be done!

Back of the house and looking into the kitchen window where the playing will be done!

I’m in the process of turning the kitchen into a crafting/DIY room for all of my projects that can’t be done in my quilting/sewing room.  Electricity could be used for small hand tools and some lighting but first I need to clean it out and get it organized.  I may have to call a friend in the fair state of Maryland for this undertaking.   Everytime we get together we find “treasures” in the mansion.

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From this picture you can tell I’ve started the clean out and still have some more junk and treasures to move.

 

Great table for working on and storage underneath.

Great table for working on and storage underneath.

Wood cookstove and chair that has possibilities.

Wood cookstove and chair that has possibilities.

Junk and treasures.

Junk and treasures.

Other side of the great work table.

Other side of the great work table.

Table and a cart for storage!!  YIPPEE!

Table and a cart for storage!! YIPPEE!

Kitchen sink covered with junk and treasure.  Storage under the sink in the way of shelving and drawers.  I see it coming together!!! :)

Kitchen sink covered with junk and treasure. Storage under the sink in the way of shelving and drawers. I see it coming together!!! 🙂

Through the door in the last picture is an enclosed porch where I start my plants and “greenhouse”!!  In the back of the room is a place for a woodstove but that would take up too much room.  This would be used mainly in the three warmer seasons of the year, when I’m not doing ANYTHING else!  RIGHT!!!

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This window is going to be one of the first projects I’ll be working on but that’s will be in a couple months, I expect!!

 

Looks like I got some great things to work on this summer when I can’t get out in the sun!!  Updates on my progress will be coming soon!!

 

 

 

 

What’s a hankie for???

 

 

 

 

 

For several years I’ve been collecting dainty ladies hankerchiefs and my mom made sure I got some that belonged to my grandmother.  Some belonged to my husbands aunt and some I found at yard sales still in their original packaging.  I’m working on some ideas about using them in a quilt for my guest room.  This quilt would not be used a lot and the hankerchiefs will match the feminine decor in the guest room.  I may use some of them in a shadowbox as well.  I’ll probably continue collecting them for more future projects.DSCN5063

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The Man-Cave

I’ve made a few changes in our main living room.  A lot of our male friends that come to visit never go past the living room so I decided to make it more “male pleasing” with conversation pieces and moved all the frilly to our family room.  I wanted to keep it comfortable enough that anyone would enjoy sitting and talking without feeling like they were in a taxidermy shop.  Here’s what it looked like before:

 

Living room 3

Living room 3

Living room 2

Living room 2

Living room 1

Living room 1

 

It’s a small room but seats four comfortably and of course it has my crafty/country adornments.  I wanted to give the new look a more man-ly, outdoors look and to show off hubby’s trophy and pictures.  I started by taking out the “non-hunting” wall decor.

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The picture on the right is gone now too!  It’s hanging in the family room.

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN4681 I took all of the primitive dolls and floral piks away.

DSCN4680  Not much left on the mantle with the floral, fluff and “my thing” gone.

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DSCN4678I’ve decided now to wait until late spring to do any decorating in here so that I can paint the room a delicate ice blue to keep the room bright.  We also had a disaster with the woodstove and stove mat the night we finished the maple syrup.  Hubby’s last run to the sugar house produced about 6-8 more quarts of syrup so he emptied into a pot and filled the sugar pans with just clear water so the pans wouldn’t scorch.  He decided we would just let it cook off on the wood stove while we slept. At 4:00 a.m. I was awakened by the smell of burning sugar!!  Guess what??  It cooked into a rolling boil and out the pot it came, down on the top of the stove, down the sides of the stove and onto the stove mat when I found it.  Hubby was sound asleep from being up since 3:00 a.m. the previous morning so I let him sleep while I quickly carried the pot to the kitchen.  It took two rolls of paper towels to get it up and I ruined two metal spatulas scraping the burning syrup off of the stove.  The stove mat was ruined but I got all of the syrup off of the stove and think it will be polishable when I spring clean and paint.  I definitely have to get a new stove mat.

A new post will come as the “man-cave” makeover begins and ends.

Spring cleaning and Granddaughter’s Help

I spent my entire Saturday, March 22nd, “starting” the spring cleaning in my kitchen.  By starting, I mean those beautiful shelves my hubby put up on both sides of the length of my kitchen up near the ceiling is where I’ve started this year.  I didn’t get to them at all last year and decided they would be first this year.

Shelving runs lengthwise in my 30 ft kitchen on both sides.

Shelving runs lengthwise in my 30 ft kitchen on both sides.

The shelves hold a lot of my antique kitchen items and farm animals (ceramic of course).

The shelves hold a lot of my antique kitchen items and farm animals (ceramic of course).

Several crocks and lots of roosters and hens.  The shelving boards came from lumber we sawed from the farm and I finished.

Several crocks and lots of roosters and hens. The shelving boards came from lumber we sawed from the farm and I finished.

It took all day to clean and put them back and my granddaughter climbed up and handed down everything to me and I washed and dried it all and she put it back.  It was work but we had a good time catching up.  While I was washing everything she was crafting for me.

First she twined a bottle for me.  This will be placed in my family room.

First she twined a bottle for me. This will be placed in my family room.

She used polymer clay to make this flowers and bows to attach to some of our projects.

She used polymer clay to make this flowers and bows to attach to some of our projects.

This clay was white but when it baked it turned to a very light beige which made it look old.

This clay was white but when it baked it turned to a very light beige which made it look old.

Some she embellished with a light blue and some with white.  They're very delicate looking.

Some she embellished with a light blue and some with white. They’re very delicate looking.

Victoria enjoyed doing them so much she took a picnic basket full of bottles, twine and clay home with her to make me some more and I’ll post them when she is finished.

I'm so glad she loves crafting almost as much as I do.

I’m so glad she loves crafting almost as much as I do.

Those fingers working the clay just perfect.

Those fingers working the clay just perfect.

She has a delicate touch!

She has a delicate touch!

The spring cleaning in the kitchen is an on-going process and now it’s time to do the other shelf and all that it holds.