Friday, January 29, 2016

Feathered Friday {Loggerhead Shrike}

Loggerhead Shrike
January 24, 2016

I was out observing the land and the cats when I spied something white huddling among the dormant grape bush vines along the fence. I grabbed the binoculars and yelled for Dan once I realized what it was I was seeing. I then grabbed my camera.

This one was not shy at all. He allowed me to approach slowly. I managed to get approximately 25 feet away before he finally flew off. I felt blessed because I was able to hear him which is very unusual for me with birds (due to the fact I am profoundly deaf).

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fabric Frenzy Friday {on Thursday}

Minions By Despicable Me for Quilting Treasures
Kevin Tonal Blenders

When I saw these fabrics, I knew I had to have them. I also knew, from past experience, that I could not wait for a sale or clearance because Minions fabrics sell out quickly! I am a HUGE fan of the Minions.

You can see Kevin in this closeup picture. This fabric is perfect as a blender, solid, or even a humor insert in quilts. I did this with Dad's quilt by using chicken fabrics. As long as the color, hue, etc., and etc. is perfect, why not use them?

These fabrics currently can be found at:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

DIY: T-shirt Wall Art

As promised to a friend, here is the process or "tutorial" on how to make a canvas wall art out of a t-shirt. But first, I must tell you that I started out with a different t-shirt. I even had an annoying helper, Abby Gail.

And then, I totally got distracted and forgot about taking pictures. So, y'all are fortunate that I wanted five of these things. Yes, five!

I was able to start the process all over again. I was successful in my endeavors with the fourth one I made. So, here is the process. By the way, this is in no way a professional "how-to" with pictures. I did the best I could under the circumstances. It is what it is.

You will need the following:

  • T-shirt. New or used. Mine was 50% off from Kohl's making it $10.00.
  • Spray Adhesive. Nake sure it is good with fabrics.
  • Staple Gun.
  • Scissors.
  • Canvas. Mine was 12x12 and purchased from Hobby Lobby at 50% off.

If you plan to do this indoors, I would recommend

  • a decent sized cardboard box. Flattened.
  • a respiratory mask. I didn't use one as I had a well ventilated area with a humidifier. Plus, I was lazy and took frequent breaks.

Step 1

Cut the shirt along the sides, seams of sleeves and shoulders. Keep the back of shirt.

Step 2

Spray the adhesive onto canvas (after following instructions on the can).

Carefully lay the back of shirt onto canvas and smooth down.

Note: You do not need to do this step. However, I preferred to do this to keep the white of the canvas showing through the top of the shirt itself.

Step 3

Dry fit the top of shirt onto the canvas.

Step 4

Once you have the top of shirt positioned, carefully lift it and let it puddle at the top on cardboard.

Step 5

Spray the backing of shirt on canvas with adhesive.

Step 6

Carefully lift the puddled shirt and lay it back down onto the canvas. Smooth it down in place.

Step 7

Flip the canvas over and cut away extraneous fabric leaving enough on all four sides to staple to the backside of canvas.

Step 8

Begin by lifting one side of shirt onto backside making sure wrinkles are smoothed out. Carefully place a few staples through the shirt onto the canvas. You will need to leave room near the corners to be able to manipulate and fold the fabric to make the nicest corners possible.

As for the corners themselves, I pretended I was wrapping presents. It is a little difficult and you need patience to do this part. I ended up making two creases per corner. Once I had the corners just right, I stapled the fabric in place onto canvas. There was no easy way to show how this was done via pictures. What I really needed was an assistant to help out with the photography part. Abby Gail was completely useless. Ha!

Step 9

Trim off excess fabric. Do not cut too close to the staples. It is better to leave too much fabric than not enough.

Finito!

And, here is all five!

These were fairly cheap to make. I purchased the t-shirts for $10 each (50% off at Kohl's). You can use gently used shirts that you have on hand too. I bought the canvas on sale from Hobby Lobby. I already had the other supplies on hand. So, I guestimate that it is approximately $15 for each t-shirt wall art.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekly Recap #3

Quilting, Crafts

  • I have been hand quilting Dan's quilt sporadically. I am still struggling with sickness; but, I am doing what I can when I am feeling somewhat okay. It made me happy to be able to do what I could which was a lot in my book. I am struggling with Abby Gail whenever I try to quilt; but, she is learning to wait until I am done and put the quilt away before getting on top of me.
  • I have been wanting to make a Gypsy Wife Quilt for quite some time now. I even bought the booklet (much cheaper than what the price is now) and have chosen some fabrics. One of the bloggers I follow, Splish Splash Stash: hydeeann plus a needle and thread, is co-hosting a Gypsy Wife Quilt Along with her friend who also blogs. This quilt along (QAL) begins in March and I am seriously thinking about joining!

    splish splash stash
DIY

  • I went to Habitat for Humanity Restore store for a specific purpose. I was looking for doors, including bi-fold, that I could use to hide a litter box from guests. This trip was very successful. I found a bi-fold door for $9.95. I also found a solid wooden door for $5.00.

    Anyway, I plan to sand down and paint the bi-fold doors and replace the handle. I also plan to make a couple of "feet" to make the doors more stable. And yes, the bi-fold doors are upside down; but, I like it best that way. Ha!

    Note: I purchased the solid one in case the bi-fold one did not work. Dan stole the solid door to re-purpose into a workshop table.

Books

  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls happens to be one of the best memoirs I have read in a very long time. I gave this book four stars (out of five) on Goodreads. It is a heartrending book about the author and three other siblings who was raised in an unconventional environment along with the fact their father was an brilliant alcoholic and gambler and their mother was a brilliant artist and a dingbat (my words). Three of the siblings became prosperous while their parents chose homelessness.

Happiest Moment

  • Abby Gail came to me as usual one morning wanting attention while I surf the 'net. She was not only laying on my arm; but, she also adjusted herself where she was belly up with hind legs spayed along with a roaring motor. A first for this spoilt little brat.

    By the way, She is still a chest (not lap) kitty. I hold her in my left arm and she usually rests her head on my right shoulder. This can leave my arm aching. But, at least, I can claim it (the arm) is strong. Ha!

Miscellaneous

  • I "Shined my Sink" aka Flylady. I mean, deep cleaned the kitchen sink! It made me happy to be doing this again. I now keep it clean daily. However, I encountered a problem when I started this task. I apparently lost the sink plug for the garbage disposal side of the sink! Dan got me new one from a trip he made to Lowe's and I finished this task the next day. So, it took me two days to do this one little task! Ha!

Quotes

Closets become land of forgotten things.

{A random thought that came to me while doing chores one day. I am sure others have thought of it before; but, it was unique to me! }

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekly Recap #2

Food

  • My oldest niece posted on facebook a picture of Lance gluten free sandwich crackers and said "Take my money please!". Everyone, more or less, in the comments said Target had them. Well, Target was too far away for me to go looking. So, I went looking on Amazon. I found and ordered some of the sandwich crackers. My. people. were. NOT. kidding! These are delicious and I wanted to cry because they do not sell crackers only. But hey, I now have some delicious snacks to snack on. So, I am passing the word on about these excellent sandwich crackers that are also gluten free.

Books

  • I started and finished Curse of the Bane (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #2) . I gave it 4 (out of 5) stars on Goodreads. Surprisingly, I felt that this was a much better read than the first one in the series. In spite of this, I will not be getting nor reading any more books in this series. I have way too many books on the shelves that I have not read yet and would rather read. Ha!

DIY, Quilting, Crafts

  • Finished making t-shirt wall art. The above picture is a sneak peek and I plan to blog a DIY (how-to) soon due to the fact a friend asked me too once she learned I was making some for the guest room.

  • I discovered that I did not have enough batting to completely sandwich a quilt. Dan suggested that I get a roll (bolt) of batting to use on the "longarm" frame. So, I went shopping online and found Jo-Ann was having a 50% off sale on batting online only. I nearly had a heart attack discovering the regular price for a bolt of batting. 50% off helps out so much! Even then, I had to ask Dan because I do not think he was expecting it to be so much money. I ended up purchasing a bolt and am now anxiously waiting for it to be delivered at our house.

  • Finished putting fabrics on "bolts" I purchased during our vacation. They are now residing on the fabric shelves in my room. That reminds me, I need to do a tour of my studio and blog it. But first, I need to tidy it up a bit and I have the perfect reason to do the next couple of weeks. Guests are coming to stay the last weekend of January and at least one will be sleeping in my room.

  • Started a tangle challenge, It's a String Thing #127. The deadline is not a hard and fast rule for me. I tangle when I feel the need to tangle and calm myself (Axiety and worry is a problem of mine). I have been practicing Puchong and am ready to draw it on the string.

Miscellaneous

  • We attended a Pet Adoption Event in a nearby city that waived adoption fees. If we adopted a pet, which we did not, we would have left a donation. There was only one dog appealed to my heart and he was a very calm puppy among a bunch of them. He just sat patiently gazing at us both while the rest were scrambling about and over one another, yipping and whatnot. But, the puppy would have been too much for me (us} and he most likely would have an easier time finding a home than the older ones. We are wanting a young dog but not a puppy either. So, we will continue looking.
Quotes
Yeah, I need to unstickify it.

(I said this in response to Dan not liking the residue left behind by a label on a jar).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vacation {December 19, 2015 - January 3, 2016)


Our vacation was a combination of a staycation, a road trip and a day trip. We did some work on the house including the hallway. After all, a hallway is a room too. That will be a separate blog post.

{Most of the loot from road trip to Granbury, Texas}

On December 23, 2015, we went on a road trip to Granbury, Texas stopping along the way at a few old town squares. We first stopped at Georgetown, Texas. I absolutely loved this square and want to return in April for the Red Poppy Festival. There were several antique stores. And, I was pleasantly surprised to discovered that Thundercloud Subs popped up on the gluten free radar. So, we went there for lunch.

We also stopped by Salado, Texas. I am not going to lie. I was disappointed with the town. There didn't seem to be a legit square! However, we did find two antique stores and a quilt shop.

We took off from there going through some small towns along the way (not stopping). We went through Meridian because they supposedly had a courthouse. Let me tell you, they did have a courthouse; but, the town itself was depressing (dead). Maybe the atmosphere had something to do with my initial impression of the courthouse; but, as much as it is a nice old building, I was not impressed.

We stayed in Granbury, Texas over Christmas and shopped the square. I loved their town square. They had a variety of shops including a quilt store which I will not be returning to due to the fact they snip and tear their fabrics instead of cutting them. I know there is tons of debate (pros and cons) on this method of cutting fabrics. I am not going to argue or debate about it here; but, it always makes me cringe inside. And, I dislike all the little strings it leaves behind not to mention one of my fabrics is now skewed from the force of tearing. I just prefer cutting with scissors or rotary cutter.

Anyway, did you know that Granbury, Texas has a beach? Yes, a beach! I was shocked. I made Dan stop by on the way back to the hotel Christmas Eve. We walked along the shore for a few minutes and it was peaceful. There is just something about being by a body of water that brings peace to my soul. A beach is a plus!

We visited my brother and his family on Christmas day. I had an absolutely wonderful time and was so happy to see the young kids again. My oldest grand-niece (11-years old) gave me a lovely little candle she made herself.

We returned home on December 26, 2015 stopping along the way at a few places. We first stopped in Clifton. Texas. A town square was not present; but, old style town buildings existed along with a couple antique shops. I picked up a cheap bench that I plan to re-purpose for the cats. Once we put it in place, the cats immediately started getting on top of the bench and looking out the window. And no, it's not going to look like this when I'm done.

By the way, I love looking in storefront windows. One of the shops in Clifton. Texas had this humorous Snowman scene. It just made me laugh and I had to snap a picture.

We had lunch in Waco, Texas. While there, I went searching online for antique and quilt shops. I discovered there was a quilt shop called Tomorrow's Quilt nearby and their facebook page indicated they were having an after Christmas sale. So, I told Dan that we are going and I am so glad we did because I ended up purchasing fabrics for 50% off which included clearance fabrics!

And then, we went to McGregor, Texas. There is a store called Cedar Chest Antique Mall. Holy Moly! That place is HUGE!

I ended up grabbing a three legged table for $20 at a booth in "The Market" part of the antique mall. I plan to clean, strengthen and either paint/stain the table. In the meantime, Dan is using it for what I intended which makes me happy.

By the way, I found a mini lane chest that had an image by Patty Butters with a 1996 copyright by Lane. It was Dan who saw the tiny copyright and determined that was legit. I never seen anything like this before and assumed someone ruined the box. You can see a hint of the image on the box between the his and her signs in the top picture.

We arrived home real late but happy. At least, I was happy. Dan was just tired. Ha!

We took a day trip on January 2nd to Lockhart and New Braunfels on January 2nd. Again, the purpose was old town squares and antiquing.

I don't know how I ended up with six mini lane chests from our adventure of the day. But, both Dan and I were shocked! I often would never see one on trips like this one. And, all of them were reasonably priced!

There are subtle differences among them. Some have feet. Some have what I called a slightly raised bottom and others are extremely plain (no feet or ridges on the bottom).

I need to document what I have and share the history I have found on the chests in the near future.

We also purchased the above confusing item for $36. We cannot figure out if it is a nightstand or an end table because it has a weird cutout hole for electronics in the back of the item. but, we plan to replace the backing, sand everything down and paint the item re-purposing it in our house.

And on the last day (January 3) of our vacation which also happened to be Dan's birthday, we went to a RV Supersale Show. It was a fun adventure!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long Q1 {List}


I am finally at a point in my life where I feel like I can sew and craft. For the longest time, I was so busy getting healthy and working on the house. So, I decided to participate in the 2016 Finish-A-Long: Q1. This does not mean the house is finished. In fact, it is a long ways from being finished. But, I think we are at a place where we are taking breathers and just working on projects we feel like doing.

All of the quilting projects I listed below were projects I have put on hold since coming home (the move). Now that life has settled somewhat and my room is basically completed, I will be working on finishing them. At least, I hope to finish them! Of course, I most likely will start one or two projects too because I like to work on new quilts or crafts.

So, without further ado, here is my list:

1. Finish Hand Quilting Dan's Quilt

I was in the process of finishing this quilt late last year until an incident with Abby Gail made me panic and I put this project aside. I had briefly set it down with thread and needle attached to attend to something. I turned around and there she was messing with the quilt licking her mouth. The needle was nowhere to be found. I searched and searched and could not find it. I panicked and ended up taking Abby to the vet to get an X-ray to make sure she did not swallow that needle. She was fine. It was worth the cost for my peace of mind.

I shut the cats out of the room and searched and searched for the needle. I ultimately vacuumed up the entire space in hopes of finding the tiny item. Nada. Zilch. None. It is my prayer that it was sucked up by the vacuum and I missed it or it fell through a crack in the floor board. My cats insist on being in the same room with me and the idea of a loose needle scares me.

Both of my cats have issues that I have to be vigilant with. Abby has a love affair with strings, threads, and ribbons and chews them. This makes life difficult for me in the studio. Gracie's problem is plastic. She will chew and eat them. So, I have to make sure plastics of any kind are either discarded or put in a place where she cannot get to them.

Anyway, I plan on overcoming my fear concerning Abby and her love affair with threads and pick up this project again.

2. Machine Quilt the "Layer Cake" Quilt

This is scary because I will be learning how to use a brand new sewing machine in addition to a "long arm" frame that I never got a chance to use due to the fact we moved before I could!

3. Machine Quilt the "Modern Basics" {Red/White/Black} Quilt

I have not decided yet if I want to use the "long arm" or the regular machine to finish this quilt.

4. Cross Stitchery

This is something that I will work on when I am down and out or when I am on the road. Cross stitching gives my hands something to do and is not so bulky to take along in my rare travels.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weekly Recap 1

First of all, I think my "word of the year" or motto for 2016 will be:

Reject Apathy”.

I wrote this down on the 29th of December and the phrase has been with me ever since. It originally came from an Our Daily Bread devotional. I think this will be my “word of the year” or motto for 2016. On the other hand, when I see, read or think this phrase, I also think “survive” or “survival”. You know, some days, it is all I can do to just survive. So, maybe 2016 will have two separate words for me. Ha!

"Survive"

My previous words of the year were:

2011 – Do
2012 – Finish
2013 – Anew (Afresh)
2014 – Focus
2015 – Persevere [Endure] [Pursue]

2016 – "Reject Apathy" or Survive [Survival]

At this moment, I cannot decide which one to pick. So, I am going to use both.


source: B.C. Comic Strip on GoComics.com

Honestly, I do not think I will have a new "New Year" resolution list. I will just keep on keeping on what I have been doing in the past. I still do a #finishyear list started years ago. I carry it over to the New Year.

Instead, I think I will just have a weekly recap post. This effort will probably die just like the rest of my efforts do. Ha! But hey, I am going to try. At the very least, I am hoping to have at least one post a week if not more. There were periods of time on my blog where I was gone for months and this worried a few of my friends.

Anyway, this post will cover everything from the 1st of January through the 9th of January. So, slightly more than a week. From hereon, the weekly recaps will cover Sundays through Saturdays. And, the posts may cover anything or nothing. It will be whatever I decide. Ha!

  • Town Squares

    We went visiting town squares and did some antiquing on our vacation which was December 19 through January 3rd. In case you do not know it, I adore town squares. There is something about old towns that makes me happy. I love it when Dan decides to drive through an old town square even if we do not stop. I just love viewing the old courthouses and the buildings in the square. I have been taking selfies at courthouses whenever we deliberately stop and roam. I thought they would be proof that we were at those places! Ha! And besides, the pictures will be kind of like a picture journal of town squares.

    Anyway, we went to Lockhart and New Braunfels on January 2nd. Lockhart had a fairly healthy town square that I loved. If only the weather was more cooperative! It was raining and miserably cold. I have been to New Braunfels before and their "square" is extremely unusual. A gazebo in the middle of a oval roundabout with the courthouse on the outer edge. I would return to both towns again.

    We often stop at antique stores and I was delighted to have found not one; but, six lane mini chests on this trip! Getting six chests let alone one is a very unusual thing to do. We also found an upchucked nightstand (or end table) for $36. We will be fixing it up and re-purposing the item.

    FYI: I plan to blog about our vacation. At least, the loot I ended up with on our vacation! Ha! :-)

  • RV Supersale Show

    We are shopping around for a camper and trying to decide which one we would love to have and get. We do have a budget and it is not all there yet. Most likely, we will buy a gently used one because that is the best way to go within our budget. But, it does not hurt to attend these shows and get a first hand look at the campers we may be interested in. There were three campers that we liked. Now, it is a matter of research and looking at other models/brands. We had fun and it was a good "date" if you want to call it a date. Ha!

  • Sickness

    • I was sick from January 3rd (evening) through the 6th. I started to recover on the 7th. I am not sure what caused me to crash other than two out-of-town trips (three days at Christmas and the day trip I mentioned above) along with eating food that I do not usually eat including on New Year's Eve with some gluten free food that I never tried before. I did try to stay gluten free while out and about; but, it can be so dang hard! Anyway, I crashed with a terrible headache, body ache and stomach troubles. And, from then on, I slowly but surely recovered with bouts of stomach issues. So, because of this, most of my week was wasted.

    • An incident landed me in the local urgent care just after midnight January 9th. I woke up with my left eye screaming in pain from something - most likely a speck of dust. We tried flushing the eye which was successful in the past; but, it did not help this time around. Dan looked and could not find a thing. Because I was in extreme pain, he / we made the decision to to get me into local urgent care which is open 24/7. They put drops in my eye which deadened the pain and gave me immediate relief. I was still feeling like something was scratching my eye; but, pain killers helped me cope. They could not find anything and flushed the eye out. The doctor mentioned a variety of possibilities including an ulcer and we found that one unbelievable.

      Dan and I talked when we got up in the morning and we both think I must have been rubbing the eye in my sleep scratching the eye causing the pain. I still had aches and the eye area was puffy that morning; but, it was a heck of a lot better. I have medicated eye drops and if I still have issues, I will be seeing an ophthalmologist.

  • DIY, Quilting and / or Crafts

    • I framed the five 100 blocks that I won through a recent blog hop by Quiltmaker.
    • I decided to join 2016 Finish-A-Long: Quarter 1 and I will be blogging my list soon to officially join the "party".
  • Books

    I managed to start and finish Revenge of the Witch {The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles #1) while sick. I gave it a 3 (out of 5) on Goodreads. Maybe I am spoilt by all the good books I have read in both child- and adult- hood that makes me think this is not the best writing for young adults. Do not get me wrong. It was a good story with a good plot line and whatnot; but, I think it could have been better. Maybe the author improved with the second book? I will know when I read that one. Yes, I have it. I actually have Seventh Son which contains Books 1 and 2 of the series. By the way, the book is young adult fantasy.