Monday, February 29, 2016

Macro Monday

It has been awhile since I have done a macro Monday. I am sort of out of touch as it has not been a great spring for wildflowers here at the "homestead". But, I have this:

A Daffodil about to bloom. Taken on February 22, 2016

I planted these daffodils as one defense against gophers. I have seen evidence of a gopher coming above ground and digging towards the roots of one plant only to stop short of reaching the roots. I plan to buy daffodil bulbs in bulk in the Fall.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weekly Recap #8


{February 21 through February 27, 2016}

Gardening

  • We finished planting the trees (a Lemon hybrid and an Gala tree) and the rest of the daffodils. I am concerned for the daffodils which decided to bloom after it rained two nights in a row giving us a total of 3.25 inches of rain because the temperatures dropped to 33 degrees one night leaving frost on the ground.
  • We went outside to check the grounds for gopher activity when much to our surprise, there was a gopher above ground acting funny. I have since learned via research online that they can wander above ground gathering food in their cheeks to store below ground. We didn't mess with it too much; but, when it started digging into my garden area, Dan got a bucket and a shovel, got it inside the bucket and dumped it at the back of the property. Hopefully, it will learn to stay away. Ha! We speculated that it was one of three things that caused the behavior. 1) poison (daffodils) - gophers usually avoid daffodils though, 2) sonic confusion (I have solar power sonic spikes that is supposed to drive them away from the area) or 3) it was actually searching for and gathering food.

    Anyway, I have been checking the grounds for new gopher activity as I have taken measures against them. There is evidence that what we have done for the trees is stopping them dead in their tracks. There is also evidence that they definitely do NOT like daffodils. I actually saw evidence of one gopher coming above ground and digging down to the roots of one daffodil; but, it stopped short of doing damage to the roots itself. So, I am resolved to keep the existing daffodils healthy and prolific not to mention to add more daffodils this fall.

Quilting; Crafts

  • All three sewing machines are now set up for their intended purposes.
  • Started planning for the Gypsy Wife Quilt and even picked out and started cutting fabrics for the first block; but, ended up quiting due to the fact I crashed (sickness).

Miscellaneous

  • I finished re-stocking the newly renovated extended pantry and am extremely happy with the results of our efforts. It brings me peace now every time I open the door. All we have left to do is painting which means we will need to empty the pantry once more in the future. I am also thinking about replacing the light fixture. But, for now, it is a wonderful space. The painting will have to wait until we redo the hallway floor which includes two of the three hallway closets.
  • I finished reading The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks and started reading the second book (The Elfstones of Shannara) of the trilogy. Like the first, I have read this dozens of times.
  • We are taking this weekend off and doing a staycation of a sorts. We went to Fredericksburg yesterday (February 27) for the sole purpose of attending the HIll Country Home and Garden Show. We had lunch beforehand in town and stopped by a quilt shop called One Quilt Place which is a nice shop. I did not get a single thing though as I go for sales (clearance) and there was no evidence of a clearance section in the store.

    Anyway, the home and garden show was small but fun to peruse. I love going for ideas and the like not to mention getting names of businesses. I ended up buying some honey and salts from a local business that grows her own herbs and whatnot. I have always like supporting local businesses and farmers markets.

    We stopped by Kerrville on the way home. I wanted to go to another quilt shop called Creations. I went there years ago and it's a lovely store. Again, I did not buy a single thing. I am way too cheap! But, I do love going for ideas and whatnot. I ended up making two trips around (inside) the store before leaving as it was filled with everything under the sun a quilter would want.

* edited to correct a link
.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Feline Friday {Grounded}

Abby Gail got herself grounded recently. Literally. This was more for my own sanity's sake than her own.

While we were outside planting some new trees and daffodils last Sunday, she quickly and absentmindedly crossed through the fence and into the neighbor’s yard while hunting butterflies; but, I managed to grab her leash before she could get too far. She can be like a Cheetah and go from 0 to 60 mph in nanoseconds. I also discovered that I am either too old to run or badly out of shape.

Dan was inside for about five minutes while I gently struggled with a hissing, growling Abby Gail trying to get her to cross back over to our side. Dan joined me in the effort and ended up getting a scratch on his wrist. In the end, she managed to get out of her harness. I thought she was going to bolt and I would lose her.

In the meantime, Gracie, our tripod, saw the hullabaloo and ran to the fence to watch. She can run fast if she wants to. I ignored (forgot about) her because I trusted her to not cross the boundaries.

I ended up having to trespass our neighbor's yard to get to Abby Gail. While I was running/trotting to the neighbor's yard, she was running back and forth along the fence but not crossing back over (through). Dan remained on our side of the fence to keep an eye on her (and Gracie). He thinks Abby was more scared than anything because of her behavior. She was just freaked about being on the wrong side of the fence and could not figure out how to get back to our side even though there were tons of openings she could have slipped through easily.

When I arrived near her on the neighbor’s land, I squatted. She immediately approached me hissing and growling. This was not the defensive kind of communication with hair raised and ears flattened; but instead, it was her expression of displeasure, fear, unhappiness, etc., and etc. kind of communication.

She has been my weirdest unusual cat in terms of body and vocal language which is why I think she's extremely unadoptable. Most people, even cat fanatics, would be scared of her. It is just a matter of knowing and learning the cat’s language as no two cats are alike. Plus, I believe Abby Gail does have some “wild” cat in her genetics. In other words, I think she is a close descendant of a wild cat (e.g. Bengal) unlike those of domesticated cats which are many generations from a wild cat.

As soon as she sniffed my fingers and subtly relaxed, I got up and gently lifted her using both hands around the chest under her front legs. She was growling and hissing all the while; but, just hanging in there (relaxed).

Anyway, I took her over to the fence, said a quick prayer that she would go straight home and dropped her on our side of the fence. Upon landing on the ground, she immediately ran for the back door. When I arrived back in my own yard, I remembered Gracie and looked for her. She was already calmly and slowly working her way back to the immediate back yard area. I think she was highly entertained by our (and Abby’s) antics. She's a good cat that knows her boundaries.

Dan said Abby was hissing and growling with front paws on stoop. He said it was like she was cussing and swearing wanting the door opened NOW. She became grounded. She was not allowed back outside while we worked. I did not dare let her outside again until Wednesday and even then, I stayed with her as it is that time of the year when birds and butterflies are a huge attraction for her and she does not realize what she does (such as slipping through a fence) until after the fact. I just cannot stand the idea of losing her.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Mother's Sewing Machine

I inherited my mother's sewing machine which included the cabinet it resides in. My mother kept all the books and my dad kept the receipt.

As you can see, it was purchased in 1961, 3 years before I was born. And, the amazing thing is that it had a 20 year guarantee. You do not see that these days.

The confusing thing is that the instruction booklet says model 46, the receipt says 20 2002 above the word model and a plate on the back of the machine has 1120 beside the word model. So, what the hey? I do have to say that the instruction booklet matches the machine perfectly.

I have been calling it Ken which is short for Kenmore. It is now all cleaned up and ready to go. I am amazed at how well it runs. I plan to do some piecing using this machine.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Not So Macro Monday

{To see a larger image, go here.}

I had a lot of fun shopping amongst my fabrics. This is what I finally ended up with for the Gypsy Wife quilt. There are two or three fabrics buried in this mixture. Now, the real stress and fun begins. Picking and cutting fabrics and making the blocks and strips (stripes).

splish splash stash

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Weekly Recap #7


{February 14 through February 20, 2016}

Gardening

  • We went to a nursery I have wanted to go to for over a month now. I purchased some strawberry plants. These tend to be hard to find around here and I have missed having them last summer. We also got some advice about how to ward off gophers concerning plants and trees. So, I am going to attempt growing trees once again.

    I purchased an apple (Gala) and a Lemon hybrid (Lemon Drop) tree. We needed to go by Lowe’s to get more dirt and I ended up getting another pecan tree. We need two or more (pecan trees) to cross pollinate and I have only one surviving pecan tree growing. If the one lone pecan tree we have survives this summer, it most likely will stay alive for a very long time. I will be thrilled if the new one we purchased survives too. (general rule around here is that if a tree survives three years, then it most likely will stay alive in spite of the gophers).

  • We managed to get my new gardening plot dug up and tilled with added soil amendments. We also covered it with hay I purchased last year from a local person selling hay through facebook to protect it until planting day. It took us approximately two days because it was hard work digging up the land. I am very much thankful that Dan was willing to help because it was extremely hard work!
  • We used the advice we received about warding against gophers and planted the one pecan tree we purchased. I also purchased a bunch of daffodils and planted those around the trees. We are planning to plant the remaining trees and daffodils today.

  • I took the time one day and made twenty-five seed starter pots out of empty toilet paper rolls. They were so easy to make. The cats completely enjoyed being outside while I did this task. I have a few seeds that need to be started a couple weeks before planting and I plan to get them started today.
Quilting; Crafts

  • I continued to shop amongst my fabrics for the gypsy wife quilt and I had a blast! It was Like being in a quilt shop. I took my time and came up with what I thought is a wonderful combination of fabrics.
  • I managed to get more hand quilting of Dan's quilt done. I am getting closer to being done with this thing!
  • I worked on getting my mother’s sewing machine which was an old Kenmore that is older than me! It had some old duct tape on the plate (base) that was deteriorating. It was like fine sand. I think she used this as a guide. Anyway, I cleaned it all up and got it running smoothly. Dan helped me oiled the machine because it was so darn heavy! It was tons of fun loading the bobbin and I found a needle threader my mother had that was totally cool. I used it to thread my Brother machine too! Yes, I worked on getting the Brother machine set up and running too. I think I am all set to go with the exception of my Janome. I need to replace a part so that I can do some free motion quilting on that machine.

Miscellaneous

  • Abby Gail caught another gopher. This time (her third), she was pure huntress and killer. The last time she caught one, she still behaved like a kitten – curious and wanting to play with it. This time, not so much. I got the feeling if I had not gotten to her in time; she would shaken her head violently and killed the thing. I got a good look at the gopher and it look just like a rat. They are just rats that live below the ground. Ugh! Dan and I have talked and we have pretty much come to the conclusion that we do not care if she kills them; we just do not want her eating them. So, I will not panic so badly next time.
  • I started reading The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I have read this book dozens of times and this book about had it. The pages are falling out. I first read it when it was released in the late 1970s. In fact, it is the first fantasy book I ever read and it was just before I entered high school.

    I am reading it once again due to the fact the Shannara Chronicles is on TV. The TV series started with the second book (The Wishsong of Shannara) of the trilogy. I have been reading the book while I am down and out due to sickness (had stomach troubles one day and a minor cold with an ear ache and sore throat another day). I also tend to read while outside with the cats. I would stand out there with Abby’s leash attached to my wrist and just read. Gracie is usually so well behaved that I do not need to have her leashed up and almost always, she listens to me and stays within her boundaries that I have established.


Turning down the volume of life allows you to listen to God. .

~ Our Daily Bread ~

Friday, February 19, 2016

Feline Friday (The Love of Paper)


This house often looks like a mess simply because I spoil my cats. Both of them love packaging paper that comes in boxes. I will often throw them down on the floor in their play areas. And then, just before we head to the recycling place, I will gather them up, fold them, and place them in boxes designated for the "dump" (a place with a recycling dumpster).

Back in December, I caught Gracie resting amongst some of the packaging paper in the den in between her insanity moments. Just yesterday, both of them played in and around some packaging paper in my room and it was highly entertaining watching them. It is a rare event to see them chase and play with one another.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A List of Quilt A Longs

Here is a list of current, about to happen, or future quilt a longs {QAL} that you may or may not be interested in joining. All are free. There may be options in which you can purchase fabrics and the like; but, I prefer to choose my own.

  • As you all probably know, I am desiring to be a part of the Gypsy Wife Quilt A Long. The quilt is unique and fits me to a T. I have been wanting to make one for some time now and even purchased the book. This may help me get into the groove and start making the quilt.

    splish splash stash
  • I have been following the Ugly Christmas Sweaters QAL even going so far as to color in some free coloring pages whenever a new block is posted. I think it would be fun and humorous to have a quilt for the guest room in December. If I do make one, I'm going to try to include just a tad more reds and greens along with the orange/gold to make it more "Christmasy".

    Sew Fresh Quilts
  • Craftsy has a block of the month (BOM) that is free! The instructor is Lynette Jensen (founder of Thimbleberries). Check it out here: 2016 Block of the Month.
  • If you like stars along with a variety of other blocks, Starry Night Sampler Block of the Month might be the one for you and it begins on February 15th.


  • The Splendid Sampler Sew A Long by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. A mystery that consists of 100 6" blocks. Two blocks are released per week (Sundays and Thursdays) with two holiday breaks. There are 83 designers and a variety of sewing techniques.

    Spledid Sampler Sew A Long
  • If you or someone you know loves mincraft, this QAL may fit the bill: Minecraft Sew Along. A block is posted every Monday and they are currently on block 5.

    Minecraft Sew Along
There are tons more quilt a longs out there. It is just a matter of finding them and picking one (or more) that fits the bill for you.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Not So Macro Monday

Top Three Rows of Fabrics are Stonehenge by Northcott. I just love the colors and whatnot and thought they would be perfect for the Gypsy Wife quilt. However, I do not tend to stick with a line of fabrics. The bottom row are from shopping amongst my fabrics and thought they go well with the colors and whatnot of Stonehenge. This is just the initial stage. It is a work in progress.

splish splash stash

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Weekly Recap #6

{February 7 through February 13, 2016}

Gardening

  • I continued a little more breaking of ground during the week; but, the majority of the work was done on Saturday (yesterday). It is hard, hard work as it has been years since the plot of land has been maintained. We still have a little more to do which we will do Sunday (today).
Quilting; Crafts

  • We finished setting up the quilt on my long arm frame! It was a little complicated; but, we got it done. I’ve been busy researching and setting up the mid-arm sewing machine and ran into complications.

    I have also researched a bit on my regular sewing machine because I have decided to give free motion quilting one more try as I want to quilt the black, white and red quilt too. The last time I tried was years ago and after research , I discovered that my machine needed a few parts to make it (free motion quilting) work. I have them on hand and am in the process of gearing up courage to change out the few parts so that I can try free motion quilting on that machine again.

    Yes, I am slow. I am methodical. And, I tend to need to gather up courage to mess around with the machines because I am still very much a newbie when it comes to sewing machines.

    Anyway, I managed to fill up bobbins (five total) for the mid-arm machine; but, threading that machine was a failure until I finally figured out what I did wrong. In case you don't know, the mid arm is brand new to me and never been used. Hopefully, I will be more successful this coming week.

Miscellaneous

  • I burnt the top of my hand – the knuckle of the middle finger Tuesday night. It caused me quite a bit of panic; but, since it was so small, I figured there was nothing that can be done. The skin was immediately crispy white with a busted blister. What was unusual, I felt no pain. My index, middle, and third finger swelled up a tad too. It seems to be healing fine albeit slowly. I am now beginning to feel some pain. The sore is also itching a little. Mom always said itching was a sign it is healing.
  • I sold off a bunch of cooksbooks along with a few regular books and DVDs at Half Price Books. That made me feel real good because it was something I needed to do for a while now. It is just quite a trip to make though and one that I do not make often unless I have a coupon which I did (20% off entire purchase).
  • I hate to confess; but, it has been kind of a lazy week. I have neglected jotting down notes too. I felt off all week long not to mention frustrated with myself concerning the sewing machines. It's okay to have an off week, correct?
Quotes
Faith is not about everything turning out okay.
Faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out.

~ unkown ~

Friday, February 12, 2016

Feline Friday {Blending}


{February 3, 2016}

I could not find Gracie and looked everywhere for her. Much to my surprise, she was eventually found in an unusual spot. She looked so content that I did not disturb her.

By the way, the crochet clown doll on the left is the very first one my Mother made. She was going to undo her work "because it was just practice"; but, I would not let her. I grabbed and stored it in my room and never let it go.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

DIY: Game Room Sign

(completed January 30, 2016)

I purchased the sign for less than six dollars. I wanted it to stand out when I hang it above the door; so, the only scrap wood we had that worked was leftover flooring. Dan cut the piece of flooring down to size and stained the edges with a walnut color. The sign was placed on top of the flooring and viola! We now have a sign above the Guest / Game room.

I do not think I ever posted about the sign that hangs above my room (the studio) which was put up eons ago. Here it is:

Signs above doors happens to be a thing of mine lately. I plan to hang one above Dan's office, our room, and the guest bathroom in the future.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekly Recap #5

{January 31 through February 6, 2016}

DIY

  • We emptied out one side of the extended pantry. We are replacing the old shelves with a better system -- one that will save my sanity. We already did one side last year and we are now finishing up the other side since The Container Store is currently having a 30% off sale on all elfa systems. We only purchase the hardware from the store. The shelves are from Lowe's and we are cutting them down to size. The pantry is not quite finished due to the fact that Lowe's only had four shelves. We are hoping they will restock more shelves sometime this week.

    I plan to re-purpose the scraps from the shelves to make smaller shelves on what I call the "wonky wall".

Gardening

  • We broke ground for a nice sized garden. There was a rectangular spot on our land that was constantly green whereas the rest of the land was brown. I speculated that a garden once was established there. Once I started the work, I discovered that it was going to be much harder than I thought. The roots of the grass, weeds, and more were extremely dense. I was initially discouraged because it was tough and hard work. Dan joined in and helped and I am so thankful for his help. After we dug quite a bit, we think the green stuff is doing so well in this spot is due to the that fact some clay is present in the soil. It is not present elsewhere. So, my assumption must be correct; the former owners had a garden in this spot once upon a time. Anyway, We managed to get half the plot done. And we were both tired and sore from the effort. The other half of the garden will be done next weekend weather permitting.
Quilting; Crafts

  • I did some more hand quilting on Dan's quilt. Making more progress!

  • I got started on getting a quilt established on the long arm quilting frame. I needed Dan's help due to the fact that the DVD was not closed captioned. This week, I will be focusing on learning on how the machine works and practicing until the tension is right. At least, that is the plan.

  • I just discovered that the Gypsy Wife Quilt has partial seams. Egads! I haven't started on the process yet as I am concentrating on a few other projects first. But, I plan to get started soon. You do know how plans go though, correct? They often go awry. Ha!

    splish splash stash

Miscellaneous

  • There were tons of recipe books in the extended pantry. I took the time to go through them all. I weaned out more than half of the books. This is mostly due to the fact that I am now gluten free and many of the recipes are just calling for ingredients I cannot have. Plus, we now have the internet to find excellent recipes these days. So, why have recipe books? Ha! Anyway, the one category in which I could not throw in the half-price books pile was the canning books.
  • We went through a hall closet in a fit of organization and used Space Bags by Ziploc to store sheets, blankets, pillows and more. Those bags rock! I am now much happier with the tiny little hole-in-the-wall closet. I still need to think about how to add lighting in all the closets in the house. (Most of the closets have no lights whatsoever an we have to use a flashlight at times.)
Quotes
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

~~ adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns

Friday, February 5, 2016

Feline Friday (My Tired Little Girl}

Abby Gail, January 30, 2016, Shot with Phone

My tired little girl. She ran up to the top of the cat tree without begging to have her harness taken off. I think she was hoping for another outing later. And yes, she did go outside again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Quiltmaker's Designer (Original) Blocks


Around the fourteenth of December 2015, I won five of Quiltmaker's Designer blocks from their 100 Blocks, Volume 12 magazine.

When I found out I won, I brainstormed trying to come up with how I could use these blocks. I mean, there were a variety of ways including making some blocks of my own and adding them to the winning blocks to the quilt. But, I could not really proceed until I had the blocks in my hand.

When the blocks arrived in the mail, I decided to frame and hang them up above my desk in my room. I do want to create a sign listing the block numbers from the magazine. I just have not decided how I want to do that yet.

And yes, my desk is a mess. Don't judge. Ha!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Look of My Blog

I am beyond frustrated due to the fact Photobucket is giving me grief (for over a week now). And now, I just noticed that the look of my blog is pathetic. I am feeling sick over this fact.

I took a look at my template and in the course of research, I discovered that policy of the hosting site, ImageShack, for the images of the blog has changed. I have also discovered that my account at ImageShack is considered "abandoned" as of February 1, 2016. Thus, the images for the blog are now lost. The sad thing is that I was never notified of the policy changes. If I had known, I would have taken measures to prevent this from happening.

I was content with the look of my blog which is why it has not really changed over the years. But, I am being forced to change the look of this blog and I am not a happy camper. You do not want an unhappy camper blogging. Ha!

I no longer consider myself to be a "newbie" at blogging, templates, and whatnot. However, I am extremely lazy. I like having a software that does the work for me. But, I no longer want multiple hosting sites for my pictures and images. Thus, the blog will look a mess for awhile until I get answers concerning the choice of the image hosting site. One site for ALL images, especially if I have to pay for it, is enough. To have multiple sites is ridiculous and could be potentially costly.

So, I am asking that y'all hang in there with me and this the awful looking blog. One day soon, hopefully real soon, it will be back to looking nice again.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weekly Recap #4

Not much happened this past week (January 24 - 30, 2016). I was focused on a variety of things such as chores and an early spring cleaning.

Animals

  • I witnessed what looked like a brutal beat down on Abby Gail by Gracie on the 25th of January. Abby Gail just stood there frozen and blinked every time a paw was struck on her side. It was rapid fire strikes of the lone paw with claws. It was pretty impressive on Gracie's part (considering she is a tripod with only one front leg). Abby had an attitude of "What the heck are you doing?" and "you're not hurting me."

    I have to say that Abby had it coming to her for harassing Gracie one too many times (jumping on her from behind). I checked Abby over when she calmed down. She is unhurt. Her fur may be short; but, it is rather dense. And, she is no longer bothering Gracie. I guess she got the spanking of her life and had her fill of violence. Ha!

Quilting; Crafts; DIY
  • I am still hand quilting Dan’s quilt sporadically. I am gradually making progress on this never ending project. Ha!
  • I “tangled” for a few minutes one day when I was feeling particularly anxious. It calmed me down a bit. I need to do more of this doodling since is tons cheaper than therapy. Ha!
  • Dan rigged up this sign for me to go over the guest / gaming / exercise room. We used a leftover piece of flooring and stained the sides a dark color. It worked fabulously and it was practically free. I am extremely pleased. Poor Dan though. He had a very difficult time putting this sign up!
Health
  • I began to start feeling much better Monday (the 25th). I think traveling, eating things I usually do not eat and whatnot around Christmas and the New Year really set me out of whack for a couple of weeks.

Company

  • My oldest nephews, a niece-in-law, and her brother stayed at our house beginning January 29th and left on the 31st. They used us as a place to crash while they attended PAX South. I enjoyed having them here and seeing what little I saw of them. I actually felt sad to see them leave. I think they had a good time.
Quotes
Unconditional love is an illogical notion but such a great and powerful one.

~ Seen on a church sign ~