Thursday, September 30, 2010

A family party ~ baby shower coming up this weekend

Depending on your personal role, baby showers can be fun, entertaining, or lots of work. We are going to help get food ready for the couple's shower being given to our darling daughter's brother and sister -n- law. Her dh's brother is working in Alaska for a local company, and they moved to Anchorage back in June. Not so long, but since I still haven't figured out how to Skype, my dh and daughter both tell me all I have to do is turn on the camera, but I've been so tired this summer.(heat, heat, and more heat) Anyway, it seems lots longer since I saw them. Especially as they are expecting their first child.

Last I heard, there were more than 60 folks coming to the shower, lots of family members + friends, so even if I'm just chopping celery for the chicken salad sandwiches...(don't know what we are making) they'll appreciate an extra set of hands. Livvie and Jen will be there too, so part of the time may be just my regular Friday with Livvie, which will also be fine with me. Son in law was supposed to get the pinata today, I bought some of the candy for it yesterday. There will be lots of kids at the party too. So, this is a really exciting event, and as usual my imagination has been working overtime.

It seems like a lifetime since I had my baby shower for Jen, and it was 30+ years ago, so a few years short of half of my life. Just about 3 years ago this sister in law and her sister gave Jen's baby shower for Olivia. A blink of time...

At that shower we played two games that were partly gross, but mostly fun so here are quick directions for them. Who knows who may be planning a baby shower out there.

First, was the name the baby food game. The plastic containers of baby food were passed around, and we got to guess, taste if we wished, then write down the veggies each of the numbered containers contained. It wasn't as easy as you might think, as many of the foods contain blends of fruits and veggies....

If tasting baby food doesn't seem all that bad, this one was fun but definitely gross. I wished I'd thought to take pictures of the contestants gently sniffing the diapers. In about 8  diapers, the hostesses put a different  fun size chocolate candy bar. (think Baby Ruth, Milky Way, Snickers) Then they stuck them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just enough to melt the candy into a glob. The diapers also had a number on them, and we had a list of candy used and had to figure out which was which. Not telling who, and it wasn't anyone I'm related to thank heaven, one of Jen's friends stuck a finger into one glob and then tasted it.... she didn't win, but we all teased her about it!  This game was much harder than the one with the baby food. Many of the candy bars look a lot alike when they are semi melted!  Wonder if we'll play that on Saturday?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Too sweet not to share...

Olivia asked to email you. the below is from her - good luck!
xxxxxxnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ( I love grandpa)
7777777 (I LOVE GRANDPA!) she was yelling
all498888888833333333333333333333333333333311477 (I LOVE Grandma!)
ooozddddddddddddddddddwwwwaaaa,,,,,,, (hello)
66644waaa,////////////////////000000000000000000000099999999999-pppppp (I love YOU!)
222ttttrrrrrpmmwwwwww (ice ice baby)
on this note. hope you guys are having a fun day :)
Our daughter typed in the translation of her message. Hoping all the time she spent on the keypad is an early indicator of a love of math! ♥

Know what is scarier than finding a Black Widow in your storage unit?

Finding a black widow spider and her egg sack.... to be continued if I survive! Off to mail a package, and spray the daylights and black widow(hopefully the only one) to infinity and beyond!

Didn''t mean to tease, but didn't want anyone worrying if I don't post till Monday. Still now that you know, I wouldn't mind you saying a prayer for me to drive the beast and her progeny out! (Actually, I took care of the egg case already.) But wasn't dressed for battle when I discovered the spider under a rolling hand cart. Flip flops not being my considered best footwear for battling poisonous spiders. Which turned out to be against more than I'd hoped.

Within minutes of getting the door open on the unit, out of the corner of my eye, (Thank you, Lord) I caught a furtive movement on the back of the ladderback chair I keep over there. I'd stopped at the store and had a new broom(to sweep clean with) and a gigantic can of bug spray for crawling insects. Grandma was ready to bring it on!

They say a brave soul dies but once, but a coward dies a thousand deaths. To that I'd like to add that an old lady who gets the creeps from spiders and yet loved Eight Legged Freaks, and Arachnophobia(both great spider movies) will suffer at least 500 imaginary attacks during the scourging of a storage unit. I only had one real battle today, and that was with a male black widow.

Before leaving to do battle, I mailed my witch rug to its new owner. She had been out of town, I'm not just that tardy about getting it into the mail. Went to the store to stock up on spider nuking items, and had googled for:
Black Widow Spider Bite Symptoms The black widow spider produces a protein venom that affects the victim's nervous system. This neurotoxic protein is one of the most potent venoms secreted by an animal. Some people are slightly affected by the venom, but others may have a severe response. The first symptom is acute pain at the site of the bite, although there may only be a minimal local reaction. Symptoms usually start within 20 minutes to one hour after the bite. There are several pages of info, and none of it made me feel better. Who is most vulnerable? Elderly and children are the most likely  to die from such a bite.

Now some- THATS GOOD, they aren't very likely to bite humans, NO THATS BAD unless they are tending an egg sac... THATS GOOD I smooshed to smitherins the egg sack several days ago, NO THATS BAD WITH NO SIGHT OF THE FEMALE BUT A SIGHTING OF A MALE..... BTW males can mate several times before being devoured by the female. Me, Oh My, why did I have to google about them?

In the end, it was the TX heat that forced me to abandon my Search and Destroy mission for today. We are supposed to get a cold front in tomorrow, but today after 45 minutes in blazing humid sunlight, I felt dizzy and  weak. She who runs away, lives to fight another day. After returning home, I showered and put every stitch I was wearing into the washer. Now I can relax and work on finishing my ATC cards for October 1st.
I really would appreciate your prayers of protection for my next foray into the storage unit early next week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A new season is starting!

Today was still muggy and humid when I went out to go to Livvie's today. It was a great day when we came back over here for lunch and about an hour of pool time. Around 2 pm we had a typical summer downpour...

And yet, there is a real cold front coming to us on Sunday! I endure Houston summers for the pleasure of the remainder of the year. We will have some fall color in December, and a few cold days in February when chicken and dumplings might be considered a must. Chili is acceptable at any time of the year in Houston, but we generally save it for cooler weather.

Best of all, we've been enjoying new tv shows! My favorite so far is Hawaii Five - O  A friend ;) told me it will be rebroadcast Saturday if you missed it on Monday(CBS). Bluebloods the new one with Tom Selleck and Mark Wahlburg is due to start in a few minutes.

I may have an exciting adventure to share after tomorrow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sunrise Sunset Swiftly Fly the Years....

Today is our daughter's birthday, and since she is older than 29 I won't say by how much. But last Sunday as we were sitting next to each other at church I was thinking that it really doesn't seem that long ago that I was going to church with my mom and grandmother. My attention was on the sermon, so that thought just skittered through quickly and was gone for then.

Later, my dh and I planned a dinner for our daughter and her family. Today*Thursday* is the day she stays late at her office. So we had the dinner last night. I fixed chicken and rice, a dish she'd liked as a girl, and one that can stay in the oven a little longer if traffic is heavy. Peas a veggie Livvie loves, salad and her favorite cake.

Every week on Thursdays she gets to sleep a tiny bit later, because her hours are shifted so that she can answer the phones in the office until 6. She works for an international company, and although she talks to people around the world, the majority of the business for her office is here in the US. Sleeping in is a good way to begin your birthday. I made sure to post a HBirthday to her Facebook, and called and left a message on her was busy for all of us. :) The world has changed so much since I was the granddaughter until now, when I'm grandma.

My Grannie was born before the turn of the twentieth century. She grew up in a time completely different from the time I  did. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no cars, no tv, no lots of things that I consider pretty good stuff now. My infancy was filled with illness, in fact if there hadn't been antibiotics it likely I'd never have survived. Life is so fragile in those early years.

This all is starting to seem pretty random to me. Premiere episodes of my tv shows are about to begin, so guess that is enough for now. I wonder what the world will be like when Livvie is the grandma.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tra La the Witch Rug Sold, Oh Happy Day~ October sold! :)

I just got an email saying that my witch rug of Lori Brechlin's October design, as made into a backing by Kris Miller of Spruce Ridge Rugs sold for its opening bid!  I am so excited, I could dance! I had a great time hooking this rug, and hope it brings much happiness and fun to its new owner. Now what new pattern of Lori's will I get?

LOL, well, maybe I can put off shopping for awhile. I do have those wonderful birdhouses to hook.

Sometimes things just work themselves out

Okay this is a TERRIBLE picture, but I had to take it while I still had some of the wool left! I've been sitting here looking at my unfinished brown wizard rug. Unhappily, because the  background needed to suggest a deep forest to match my mental picture of what I was trying to create. The wizard has stopped and is looking behind him, before turning to disappear from sight. Once I began cutting strips and filling in the areas of the background it was perfect to me. Isn't that a wonderful feeling when your mental picture and reality converge? It has been sitting for a long time, because I couldn't find the right background wool. Then rug camp came along bringing the wonderful stacked jack-o-lanterns rug from Maria, and I also worked on the rug that will be for our granddaughter's birthday next February, the Karen Kahle design, Waterlilies. In fact, this summer was the first for a long time, where quilting didn't eclipse hooking.

I finally began palette dyeing in May. It has taken me 5 months to get to Yellow Green, so this wonderful wool nearly was overdyed several times earlier... but it would always have disappeared in my "creative piles" just at the time I needed to find it to presoak. I can be looking right at something and not see it. If you are the same you understand. If not, well although there are times it is a curse,  but sometimes it saves something special from being used or thrown away. Of course this wool was never a candidate for the trashbag. ;)

What is he looking at? I hope you will feel he is searching your soul. His face is the merging of a human and owl face. I especially love his eyebrows, which are somewhat like proddy, but merely very long loops cut to twist this way and that.

This jacquard wool is a piece of Pendleton wool, that was transformed via my Jam Jar with extra Khaki Drab added to my yellow green formula. The large white area will be a luna moth, my nod to LOTR movie where a luna moth is a messenger to Radagast, the brown wizard. This design is an adaptation of April DeConick's Santa for 2009. She used that rug to teach us value hooking at the Kirby Circle. I hadn't started dyeing my wool yet, and had more brown than anything. A brown Santa seemed sad. So with April's permission, I adapted her pattern to be a wizard instead. The beautiful lavenders of his cap were a swatch pack from April, to add an extra memory of the class and her teaching for me. This rug will be finished as a pillow most likely.

Quick and Easy Breakfasts from Grocery Store Staples

Ok, so not everyone keeps flaxseeds in their fridge. We do have them and so do people who are aware of how good flaxseed oil is for their heart.  My favorite breakfast didn't make this list, Honey Nut Chex, blueberries, and a cup of vanilla yogurt or soy milk. It just says summer, and starts the day off with a smile.

 Quick and easy breakfasts    For those of us on the run first thing in the morning, it will taste great and take less time than the drive-thru!

A thank you to Cheryl for her Generosity

Cheryl  McKenzie had a contest for at picture finished of one of her rugs  to be sent to her. I really didn't remember, but had finished her rooster from the Peaceful Valley series for my sis in March, and wanted to show Cheryl how I'd done it. I love Cheryl's designs and also have the sheep from Peaceful valley and a couple of her quilt square designs. So after a couple of contacts by email and Facebook, she told me I'd be getting a rug pattern from her as my prize. Her next series of rugs was based on Bird Houses, so I requested one of those, expecting a smaller pattern of one of the individual houses. Wow, did my face light up when the package arrived this week. This is the largest of the rugs, that shows the individual 4 small houses altogether in one rug. This rug is almost as large as my retirement rug, so it will be awhile in the working. But what a fun rug this will be to work on! My dh and I have been birders(backyard variety) not checking off a lifetime list(other than verbally to each other). Still we have always fed birds to draw them in.

I haven't decided for sure, but think it would be fun to hook this as if the season is autumn. The colors would be wonderful to work with, and because we have lived in northern states it would whisper to us of lots of memories of our younger lives. Winter would be fun too, but it would change the look of this rug so much... I remember looking out the dining room window at my grandparents home at their bird feeder. Once that opens, it can bring several versions, grandpa filling the feeder, or feeding his "pet squirrel", snow swirling around and lots of hungry birds at the feeder or eating off the ground, and so many others.

Cheryl was in the midst of family illness and injury at the time this was all going on. She went the extra mile at a time when she was already dealing with so much. So gratitude for her gift really doesn't seem like enough. I can be such a drama queen, that her quiet dignity was quite touching to me, and inspires me to try harder. I do thank her with my heart and will enjoy working on her design. Nostalgia will be with me while the loops are pulled one at a time. The good old days of our life...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catching up with a much overdue thank you!

I received a box filled with wonderful treasures a few weeks ago. I'm not sure if it even got mentioned here. Our AAPG An American Primitive Gathering celebrated it's 2nd anniversary and I receive gifts from my friend Merrie. She was stupendously generous, and I've long admired her work. She gets some of the credit for the beautiful red in my TX palette, as it is based in part on her favorite shade of red.

She sent me lots of wool, what hooker doesn't love that. But she sent two categories of it. Some for hooking and a couple of good sized pieces for the dye pot. I'll make sure her generosity is returned with one of the tertiary colors that will be coming up soon. Or maybe a neutral. She sent me a new color of dye that I haven't had a chance to use before, but it was on my list for my next order. A wonderful np of lavender, filled with lavender and backed in the most wonderful upcycled tweed from a gent's coat. She know what I like!
Charm squares, a kit to make a cat toy, the market bag itself, walnut shells for filling pinkeeps, even a swimsuit for our granddaughter. One of those great ones that help prevent sunburn... Tags, a pin for my hooking apron... well, a girl couldn't possibly ask for more. All of it "artfully" arranged on a rocking chair made for my husband's mother by one of her uncles. So now 4 generations of toddlers have rocked and used it like a very tricky step stool. Plain and simple, we'll keep it till she's older and has a babe of her own.

Not sure if these are less expensive, but way cool Solar lights

Handmedown House Blogspot  has some great directions for making nifty hand crafted solar lights. I'm telling you, ya gotta go see these. I think this project could even be done with a scout troop(girls or boys) and I'm definitely gonna go looking for out door Mod Podge. We already have some solar lights similar to the one shown, now I just just gotta talk DH out of one to try it out!  :)

Another road to success with this project is to see how to tint glass. This tutorial is from Gingerbread Snowflakes  She shows the process of coloring the jars and used some tea lights in hers. This technique is great! The blogger about solar lights also gives this link, if you are like me and likely to go clicking quickly.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prairie Schooler xstitching for Artisans of Houston Show on October 23rd

It will be awhile until I start showing finished pieces, but I've been having so much fun x stitching this year. I hope lots of people like Prairie Schooler's style. It is somewhat primitive and definitely an old fashioned look, with lots of variety in Santas, Old World style too.  Fun for me, as I'm only doing one of each design, hopefully fun for shoppers too. Each piece at my booth will be one of a kind for that show....

Because she has given me permission to sell her designs, with the request that I provide a link to her website. I'm going to do that right here, inventory form. The inventory form is very well designed. The titles are linked to a picture of the front of the chart(s), so if you aren't already familiar with the designs, you can view stitched samples.

You might prefer to look around at the whole site, before hitting the inventory form, so here is the home page of     Most of the charts don't include finishing tips, although the later charts sometimes do have a tip or two.

I started doing handwork when just a girl. Beautiful colored flosses, stamped goods, and later counted cross stitch charts provide a way for me to transform a blank piece of cloth into a sampler, Christmas ornament, or a decorative pillow... like the sampler I made for my friend Debbie St. Germain(Woolen Sails). She is one of the leaders of USA PRIM, and my recipient of the alphabet sampler I showed in progress a few weeks ago. I finished it with some jam jar wool, stuffed it with wool, and was pleased with it overall. She let me know she was happy to be the owner! :)

Haven't been doing cross stitch recently, and have discovered or rediscovered the technique. One favorite trick is when doing a single line "frame" or a long line of stitches in a row, it is easy to keep track of what stitch you are on by actually crossing every 10th one. :) Senior moments or a houseful of kids, can mean easily losing count, but that little trick makes finding your place in the count a cinch!

After completing a chart, I sometimes add a sticky note, or even write on the card something that could make it easier the next time. For example, the size count of fabric I did it last time, the size of the whole piece of cloth I actually used, and for example with the alphabet sampler, grid count was 21<-> but only 15 up and down... Right now, it seems easy to remember, but a year from now? And next time will definitely start by stitching the entire grid first. Instead of working some grid, some letters, and discovering a big OOPS again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Liberty's Crown Rug selected for Etsy Treasury! :)

Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue,

Whos doesn't get a thrill seeing the Red, White, and Blue?  If you don't check your pulse! :)

ETSY TREASURY  GRAND OLD FLAG I LOVE YOU!   A rug of my own original design, it is available in this one finished, or as a rug pattern on linen. Design area approx. 14 sq. inches.  Love each other, fellow citizens! It's fine to take different positions, but respect another's rights as much as you guard your own.

TX Palette has two new Colors Pumpkin Patch and Wine Cup

Just in time for some fall pumpkins, I've finished the Yellow Orange strips in my TX Palette Color Wheel.
 For a primer look I just increase one of the dyes in the formula. I do love clear colors a lot, but at times one needs to change it up to achieve a different look!

Driving along the highway in the spring is a real treat for the eyes. One of my favorite blooms to spot is commonly called a wine cup, and comes in a whole range of shades. This is the purple from my palette. You can see how the effects of my strong red are still bringing the secondary colors into a redder version. It's going to be fun to finish this set of colors, then explore more. After all, after dyeing 12 different colors, in 8 shade gradients I'll finally be able to say I'm no longer a beginner! And I'll have 96 colors of wool that work well with each other, from the lightest to darkest values. Because of the way I've formulated this palette, all strips in a 2 jar have the exact same value, although the color varies... :) Should be fun to "play" around with that and see where it leads. And unlimited supplies of my favorite colors...wowzers!

It is still only partially done, as the only tertiary color dyed so far is the Yellow Orange shown above. But, here's a pic of the partially done color wheel for my TX Palette hope you like it as much as I do!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Items Good Enough for the Fair!

The smaller photo gives a more accurate picture of RedlocksCreation's Prize Pumpkin, but kinda hard to see. I enlarged it to show more details, but then it get blurry.

C&PLG is having a launch all through the month of September for Items Good Enough to take to the Fair. Maureen, is our resident ribbon winner. Each year she enters items in an Ohio Fair, and comes home with ribbons.  Our launch items aren't actually ones we entered at a fair, just ones good enough to enter!

This launch has Maureen's wonderful  doorhanger of a witchy owl! I've already put in a bid, but if you beat my bid, I'll understand... I've also bid on a set of hand dyed bottle brush trees from Barefoot Primitives. All of these wonderful treasures and more can be found by searching EBAY for C&PLG! Hope y'all will take a look and do some shopping. You couldn't buy them at the fair, but these items are all yours for the right bid!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jam Jar Dyeing ~ Easy Peasy but only if you like mottled wools

This may be something those of you who dye do all the time, but I've had some great results using up the remains of the dye solution, once I set up my 8 jars. April suggested using all the dye or pouring the remainder down the drain, so I wouldn't have to worry about Livvie getting into it. Couldn't even imagine pouring it down the drain, so I've been using my big ole pickle jar that I did koolaid dyeing in. (Vlasic Dills about 60 oz or so ~ found 'em at Wallyworld.) It's still technically summer for awhile, so they might still have some.

Anyway, after the pickles are used(or down the garbage disposal if you prefer) or if you have an empty glass mayo jar, I do the presoaking of wool, yarn, embroidery floss, whatever... couple of squirts of plain Dawn dish soap and lots of warm/hot water. JAM as much as possible into the water. That is how I got the name.

Next step is to take out all the soaked items after 30 minutes. Approx half of the wool in the jar goes into my small jars, and the other half plus yarn, upcycled wide strips, etc get put back into the jar after  setting up my graduated strips. I'd say generally about 1/2 of the original solution(1 cbw+Cushing/Prochem dyes)

Add dye solution remainder to jar of presoaking water that contains a small amount of dawn. Stir. Jam the rest of the wool, yarn, etc back into the jar.  Leave it along for about an 45 minutes, and then glug in plenty of vinegar. I set mine outside like a sun tea jar. Usually leave it alone until the next day. Most of the time, the solution isn't taken up completely, as this isn't ever really heated, (except by the sun). So rinse the wool in washer, warm water, then dryer with a dryer sheet.

I've gotten good reactions from other hookers to my jam jar results, so you might want to try it with some upcycled strips, yarn hanks(I put mine in 10 yd bundles) or maybe some ugly floss that you'd like to alter. If you like the results, then take a formula you know and love, and risk some white wool. I can't guarantee you'll love the results. But then, life comes with so few guarantees, and most of them are from hucksters...

I visited with April at our last hooking circle, Stash Sisters, about how I do this. She suggested that the jar should be heated, as that is the way the dyes "take" in the wool. So from here on out, I'll be using one of my big pots, to simmer the jam jar for at least 30 minutes. :) Very fortunate girl I am, to be able to run it by her. I've had great success with my formulas, but really am still a novice at dyeing wool. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My October Rug is up for auction right now!

October Rug Auction

When I finish a rug for selling, it is near and dear to my heart. For that reason, and especially if I feel there is something special about it, my willing to part with it price is higher. It is now almost a whole year since this rug was completed, and it has been taken to the Green Market, and displayed at a couple of shows. It has not been used as a rug in my home. So it is new, even after celebrating its' first birthday. But it is also time for this rug to have a home. Starting bid is the lowest it will ever be, no reserve, and I'm seriously thinking about sending it to Lori if it doesn't sell this time...  Lori is the original designer of the artwork that inspired this rug. I got the pattern from Spruce Ridge Rugs who is allowed to offer Lori's designs as rug patterns. I'm interested in a couple of other patterns, and a piece of jewelry from Hannah Willow, so an old fashioned bidding war would be grand!

The right side of the rug is hooked with more control, and somewhat more muted colors. This side of the rug represents the little witch's everyday life. So lines are straighter, shadows realistic and so on. The left side of the rug represents a magical moment as this "witch draws down the moon". So the hooking is more chaotic and there is evidence of what is happening. Down her spine runs a brilliant blue line, where the power is flowing through her. Her hand is extended, but worked in a blue similar to the background so as to be somewhat camoflaged. Behind her the colors are swirling and richer, and the shadow she casts is the Triple Moon symbol favored by Wiccans.

I love to watched CHARMED  and fantasy has always been my favorite reading genre.(Lord of the Rings, Dragonriders of Pern, etc) but the thing I love best about Charmed is that these witches are on the side of good and vanquish demons. Plus the stories are often funny, costumes cool, and just the general concept intrigues me. Some of the music in my playlist is Wiccan, and that took a decided upswing after I went to Avatar. The spirituality of the movie may have seemed unlikely to you, but that was part of what really connected with me. Growing up on the plains of Nebraska, learning to do Indian beadwork, teaching about Native American traditions(very limited way) deeply connected my soul to the Earth. Sure, I don't really like to sweat,  so a sweat lodge would definitely not be high on my list. LOL As I said earlier, fantasy has always been strong in me.