Monday, August 31, 2009

Checkered flag cap

After my daughter-in-law had me work with her to make her daughter a "Checkered flag" fleece jacket my granddaughter asked me to take a small piece of fabric that was left over and make her a cap. She is a real "racing fan" , and I had to laugh because I told her Mama that at least she could find her in the store because nobody else had a jacket that stood out like that. LOL

I really did enjoy this project because it was just a very few pieces and it was so nice and soft on your skin.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sewing Machine Potholders

While I was on my search for Christmas presents I was pondering what I could give my teaching friend? She can sew circles around me , but I wanted some way to show her that I was learning thanks to her , and I wanted something that she could use .

I know there are a million ways to make potholders and that is one of the things that makes them so special. I have seen so many beautiful ones that you "quilters" have come up with -thanks to all of your quilting patterns and I really love that idea also.

But when I ran across this remnant with the sewing machine on it - my eyeballs popped out and I thought this would be absolutely perfect.

I cut out the size I hoped would be ample and sewed right sides together along with a triple piece of old towels that had been cut to fit. That way I knew it would be soft and easy to manage while trying to wrap it around pot handles as I hate potholders that are too stiff to use . Then turned the pieces back right side out and top stitched around, plus some quilting to make everything stay in place. I think she really got a kick out of her dumbest student trying to express how much I love and appreciate her.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A wonderful give-a-way

I just visited Ryan's blog and he is having this wonderful give a way of a sewing calendar. Can we ever have too many ideas for sewing?? Not me - that is for sure.

Just thought I would share it with you.

Did you guys know that Micki from the Irish Muses took a tumble and she is recovering, but stiff and achy. I hate for my friends to get hurt because we just don't have enough good time as it is. ~smile~ Get better real quick Micki so you can keep on inspiring us!!!!!!!!! You are truly one of the flowers in our "Blogland Garden"!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blanket for Granddaughter

Have you ever noticed how lovely fleece is and how many varieties of colors there are to call to you? It seems to whisper - how many projects can you work with me???? At one time we had a Hancocks Fabrics in our area and I used to love to go in their store because they had a two tables piled high with fleece of every description and I would stand and let them all whisper to me. Lovingly I would let my hands caress each bolt like a beloved friend. When someone told me that fleece was manufactured from plastic bottles it really blew my mind - how in the world could anything so soft come from something so hard? Well, I have an answer for you:

How Plastic Bottles are Recycled to Make Fleece by Michelle Miley

Plastic bottles that are going to be recycled into fleece are first sorted by color and type of plastic. The sorted bottles are then examined, and any debris mixed in with them is removed. The bottles are then sterilized and run through a machine that chops them into small pieces and then puts the pieces in water. The water clean the plastic flakes and removes any dust from them. The bottle pieces are then run through a blowing dryer that blows off any dust or remaining pieces of the labels that were on the bottles.
Melting and Mixing
When they are dry, the plastic pieces are melted in an oven. The plastic must be heated to 250 degrees Celsius (482 degrees Fahrenheit) before it will melt. The melted recycled plastic is mixed with new melted plastic that has not yet been used to produce anything. This new plastic is called "virgin plastic." The melted plastics are forced through a device known as a "spinneret." A spinneret is a metal disk with holes in it. Then the plastic is forced through the holes it is shaped into threads. These threads harden when they come in contact with the air as they leave the spinneret.
Drawing and Finishing
The plastic threads that emerge from the spinneret are referred to as "tow." The tow is wrapped around a warm spool and is then run through the drawing machine. A drawing machines is a device that stretches the strands of tow until they are over twice as long as they where when spooled. Drawing the tow makes it longer and increases its tensile strength. The longer threads are now dried and cut to the desired length. The process of drying the threads changes the texture of them to a texture more closely matching that of wool than plastic. The finished strands of plastic thread are rolled into a bail and then woven into other strands of thread to make yarn. This yarn is dyed and then used to make fleece clothing.

How is that for blowing your mind- take junk and turn it into a useable product. For once something is not being wasted!

So, I decided to try my hand at a blanket for my granddaughter. One of the features I wanted to learn how to do was to be able to use "Decorative Threads" in my serger- so I got my wish in this project.

I also found a wonderful site with more information on this for you:
One of the tips I really liked was the feature they called a "rabbit ear" way of doing the fringe! They also spoke about a "hounds ear" by cutting the fringe just a tad longer! I can never get over how people come up with these wonderful ideas. Can you tell that anything sewing just makes me glow with enthusiasm?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Customizing Jeans?

I was feeling the need to "stretch some new brain muscles" , so I decided to tackle a new project I had never attempted before.

I have granddaughters and all of the young ones I know are into jeans, so I bought a pair and had my first attempt at "ripping" out the side leg seams so I could get in there and attempt some embroidery work.

I decided Jeans fabric is really fun to embroider on and had really good luck with this project. I wasn't too thrilled with sewing those side leg seams back up , but I got it pulled off and it turned out to be some of the kids favorite gifts.

Magic Pillowcases

This was a project that I discovered online . They had talked about making pillowcases for gifts and how you could customize the colors for the individuals. The thing that REALLY got my attention was when they began to speak about your would make the cuff and you rolled the entire pillowcase up in the cuff and then when it was all sewed together you would turn the cuff inside out and the project would be completed.

This is the link and it is a pdf download.To me , it is amazing.

I really thought they were dreaming so I decided to give it a try . I was very careful as I rolled the body of the case up into the cuff before sewing it and then when it came time to turn the cuff inside out - JEEPERS - it worked like a charm! It was a miracle for me BECAUSE it really worked and it worked for ME! I was so thrilled. Now that was what I called a great , fun project - something that was useful and it actually worked FOR ME! No blood , sweat or tears and no waste of fabric and threads. It was amazing and I was thrilled - Talk about a high!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had one post that said the link didn't work , so I looked it up again and hope this works better!

Cat Wallhanging

While I was on one of my Knit searches one day, I ran across this lovely cat flannel and I absolutely fell in love! Something about it just called to me and made me so happy just to run my fingers across it - but I was mystified about what I could do with it? Well, a wall-hanging came to my mind. Since it was a Christmasy theme I decided you could hang it on your door at the holiday to cheer everybody up. Then I thought of all my buddies and remembered a conversation I had with my animal control buddy ? I had said she mainly worked with dogs and she said , but she loved cats too and told me how her last one had gotten old and how hard she had worked to support him in his disabilities and how difficult it was to give him up. So, I decided this might cheer her up . I bought some batting and inserted and then did some quick quilting stitches and whoopee , I had a very festive piece of art, and had a fun time doing it since it was Mainly straight stitches or at least some "drunken" straight stitches because I still had not mastered perfectly straight stitches. That is a goal I am still striving for.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More crochet

I will always love crochet - it is just my shoulder that does not. Sometimes I would just spend an hour looking at all my books and dreaming ?

I ran across the froggie rug and thought he was so cute - plus so usable and I love things that are usable. I made it for a dear friend of mine that lives in Tenn. and loves frogs too. After I finished with Mr. Froggie I got brave and decided to work on a piece of something that I would design so I laid out my plan to make my oldest son a set of truck mats. He is a Dodge fan and has a little Dodge pickup so I drawed the ram head on a piece of paper and then proceeded to "chart" how I would crochet it. I used triple threads to make it nice and stout and durable. While I was being brave I drawed the little vehicle and then turned it into a rug. I was very proud of myself for trying something that I had never done before. ~smile~

The Most naked neighbor I know

This is more from the Butterick pattern. I have a neighbor that if you ever go visit him and his wife in the Winter- time he will Always meet you at the door in shorts - so I decided that he was the most naked man I know and I decided to make him a pair of shorts to race about in. LOL

I worked with a piece of flannel fabric and that was fun. While I was in the shorts business I also did a pair for one of my grandsons also. I guess I got both of them kinda "Covered"! LOL

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Butterick pattern experience

This was two of my next projects that I worked on for my oldest son for Christmas. Maybe it is not fair to use them as the "guinea pigs" to learn on? But I love them so much that I just have to try to make something that they can enjoy and be useful-until I get good enough they will be proud of what I make for them - I HOPE!

Since it is a cold weather time I went with long sleeves and the gray shirt says -"Need for Speed" with a little hot-rod and the green one says - "I can be a bear".

The need for speed is because he has a real mechanical talent and I am so proud of him for that. That is another skill that I wished I could have learned, but I could not learn from my husband because he was always to busy throwing tools and having his little "mechanical fits" and I did not want to get hit in the head with flying screwdrivers. ~smile!

The - I can be a bear- is because he is one of those people who is very laid back and you really have to push him to get him upset-but when you do - watch out. LOL The little bear in that design is kinda bandaged up and that represents to me that his little wife knows how to handle him and she knows how to "mop up with him" when she feels the need to. LOL Just because you can have a "bear-fit" does not mean that you never will feel the need for some TLC!(tender loving care) lol

The disgusting part of these projects was that I used the size XL and they turned out to be too large for him. ! GRRRRR! Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get it right?????????????

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Different idea?

Give a gal a little bit of knowledge and we become a "dangerous" force. I was in the fabric store and ran across this "tan - friends are angles" piece and I just fell madly in love with it, probably because all of my friends are angels to me. I went and searched in the quilted fabrics and there was NO piece anything like that. I went and asked the little girl if she thought I could "quilt" a piece to do my purse with and she said yes? So I had the pattern and I had the fabric , but I did not have any quilting knowledge, but I plunged ahead by grabbing the fabric and a piece of batting . I was so careful to iron my fabric and lay the batting in between the pieces and PIN everything a hundred times??? I also drawed lines on the fabric so I would , hopefully, sew straight lines and then I put it all to the machine. I managed to make ONE straight line and when I started on the next line it all started to go wrong? IT seemed to have a mind of its own as it went the opposite direction I wanted it to go in . It got even worse with each swipe I tried to make and it started to look like such a mess, but I was too stubborn to just give up. I ended up with the biggest mess I had ever seen and I just could not figure out what was going on?

I was almost in tears as I sent a note off to Lynne asking for advice and she wrote me back asking if I had ever heard of a "walking foot"????? DAAAAAAAA! NO? So I went searching for a walking foot that would fit my machine and I was on pins and needles until the day it arrived.

Well, I pulled it out of the package and stared in amazement at this new "friend or foe". I sat for an hour trying every way in the world to try to just figure out how to attach it to my machine , until finally in tears I took a break and told my hubby about it. While I was fixing us something to eat - he took it in the sewing room and the next thing I knew he had it on the machine ready to go.

My next dilemma was to rip out all of those stitches I had made and that took me quiet a while. It was with much fear and trepidation that I laid that piece of fabric before the machine once again and VERY carefully started this new foot on its path. WEll, I almost jumped out of my chair as this thing made me think of a grasshopper as it seemed to pull the fabric toward itself as it jumped and planted stitches as it went on it's merry way and the fabric seemed to co-operate with it???

I was torn between laughter and tears. Laughter that it was working and tears that I had worked so hard the first time and been so defeated. I did embroider a rose on the purple one for my daughter-in-law #2 because she is like a rose to me- so beautiful and so sweet. The tan one I kept for myself - to remind me how truly precious all of my friends are to me.

I have carried mine for almost two years now and it is starting to fray all around the edges.I really hate that because it seems that anything that I love wears out much before I want it to.I still despise the handles because they like to smack me in the face when I try to open them to get into the purse and I still have not figured out a solution to that .But that is just life to me .~smile~

Quilted purses

This project came about because I fell in love with the "quilted fabrics". They were so beautiful and I was so amazed that someone had "quilted' fabric and now all you had to do was use it? I thought the chicken fabric would be perfect for my "country" friend who had chickens. When problems used to over whelm us - we would take a glass of lemonade out to the chickens and just sit and watch them solve problems and it seemed to always lighten our load?

The red and white fabric made me think of my daughter-in-law#1 because she was always talking about wanting to paint a red rose on the hood of her car, so I thought I would make a Mother/daughter double for her and her daughter.

I was amazed that a project so small could have so many pieces and of course there was a zipper involved-another one of my "secret fears". For some reason you just mention zippers or buttons and my heart still sinks.I am beginning to think it will take my entire lifetime to "maybe" overcome these fears.

On this project Lynne introduced me to a product that was a zipper that you bought as a roll of what ever length and you purchased ever how many zippers and then when you cut a zipper of what-ever size you wanted - you just added your zipper? I was amazed. One time Lynne made the comment that it took so little to make me happy and she was SO right - all of these amazing features just AMAZES me when it comes to the sewing world?

Another thing that I really adored about the quilted fabric was the fact that you did not have to plan for a lining inside your project because the fabric is quilted on both sides and looks nice on both sides - a real plus for me!

A second feature that stuck me while I was working was the fact that the pieces looked so small while I was cutting them out, but the finished purse really held a lot-yet it was lightweight to carry and was soft on my bad shoulder?

The one thing I did not like was the straps? I liked the soft part - but when it came to opening the purse those dumb straps were always in my way?????????? I am still trying to figure out that part of the equation. +

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

After my flop with my previous pattern I was visiting a local thrift shop and I ran across a pattern with a similiar look to my previous failure -except it was suppose to be easier??? Yea - Right? But it was only a quarter so I decided to take a leap of faith and take it to Lynne to get her opinion on it. She did study it and agreed that it would be a much easier put together.

The pale green on the left was my first attempt and I had picked up a fabric on a discount bin at a Jo-Ann's to experiment on as I liked the way the fabric had "give" to it. I believed that it would make it more comfortable to wear -IF - it would give as you moved? The pattern was much easier because you just inserted a band inside all the way around the front edges and folded it to the inside and - yipee- you were almost finished - except Those Buttons once again. Buttons still terrify me because IF you mess up on your buttons - your whole project is down the tube. Let's just say -"I got lucky" . I have a girlfriend that I was dieing to make one of these shirts for because she has been an angel to me and she dropped by one day and I asked her if she would mind to try the shirt on for me so I could get a feel for sizes on different body types. When she slide the shirt on - it fit her like a glove and I was amazed. One thing I learned was that we were not the same size as I had belived and I do love learning something new. It would be nice If I were not so dumb, but I have to learn everything the hard way . I had never noticed that her arms were longer than mine and it made the sleeves 3/4 length on her, but she said all the store-bought shirts fit her that way ! I went ahead and completed the project and embroidered a "Celtic " design for her that Christmas. It turned out that she loved the shirt and I was so honored. So, this year I decided to try once again , except this time I have added the three inches length to the sleeves and again I got lucky and found a piece of fabric that again has that "give" to it that I really enjoy. I have a sneaky feeling that it is some kind of latex, but since I find fabrics that have no labels it is a hard education -when you can only go by feel. I am also sticking close to earth colors since she loves that. She is definitely not a flamboyant person, but she is a strong personality that I love with all my heart. When God sends friends into our lives he only picks the very best .

Monday, August 17, 2009

This is another one of my companions , her name is Midnight and my first granddaughter gave her to me when she was 8 years old. She is now 18 , so Midnight is 10 and fat and sassy. My granddaughter's father had given my granddaughter 2 kittens - both alike and that night they got in the trash can and the step-father throwed them out the door. The following morning one of the kittens was dead in the highway - so my granddaughter brought the last one to me and asked me to keep her so she would not get run over. That was 10 years ago - I just do not know where time gets to???? After you get out on your own and start paying bills it really pickes up. Next comes your family and it goes even faster as you attempt to keep up with them.

I always thought AFTER I got my family raised it would slow down , but so far EVERYBODY that I meet thinks it goes even faster. I am beginning to wonder if it is because we have lived long enough to figure out what we enjoy and so we plunge into it , making time fly even faster?

This is one of my next projects , which I thought took a lot of courage for me because I had not worked with many fabrics that were not knits and forgiving. This was one of the projects that I had seen Lynne do. She had showed it in class as an example of things you Could make for your personal wardrobe??? Yes, I fell madly in love with it, but never dreaming I would ever tackle it. But one day I worked up my courage and asked Lynne IF she would consider guiding me through it. It is a Vogue pattern # 7063 and I worked from size 16 , using suiting fabric that I REALLY liked. I knew I would love it so I worked on two different colors - just for the experience and hoping to cram this new knowledge into my wee little brain.

I was amazed how nicely it went together and with Lynne's help I even worked my way through Buttonholes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was another one of those learning lessons that makes your heart just beat out of your chest - so it HAS to be good for your cardiac system!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That front fold on this project covers up your buttons and it ABSOLUTELY drives me nuts everytime I try it. For some reason my brain just does not accept it and it HATES me -probably because I think this is what makes the entire project so special , in my book.

The funny part of this lesson was that AFTER I had finished both shirts and was SO thrilled with myself - already imaging myself wearing them????? IT turned out that when I went to try them on they both were too SMALL!!!!!!!!!!! I was so shocked because Lynne is my size????? After some consideration - Lynne figured out that she had "customized " her pattern a couple of years EARLIER and forgot all about it! SO I am now the proud owner of two shirts that I really love that do not fit me! LOL

Tribute to my horse that passed

This is a terrible picture of my beloved Appaloosa , Princess. In tribute to her I made me this shirt out of the fabric that decided to shrink more than I had guessed it would- but I still pulled off something that I can wear and send thoughts of love and appreciation for all the good years we shared together. My adoration of my animals has been a lifetime quality of mine.

I am sorry I did not post last night , but hubby and I had to go to W.VA. to rescue his sister and brother-in-law .They had gone out riding on their utility vehicle and it broke down on top of a mountain - the rear end came out. By the time they got it pulled in and hubby tore it apart and fixed it it was about 4am this morning before we came dragging in and I was numb with exhaustion. But I did think of my beloved blog buddies and send everybody good wishes until today.

When I discovered it was raining today I was thrilled that I could escape to my sewing room while hubby curled up in his recliner with his beloved TV and we were both happy. I pulled off 3 more Christmas presents also and I was quiet happy that I had made some progress. ~smile~

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Granny Friend and a recipe

This is another one of my dear buddies . I rescued her from the dog pound in 1997. I was there when they brought her in and she was just a little skeleton. I feel madly in love with her and asked for my name to be put on her as soon as she could leave. They did not call me but I was waiting on their steps the day they said .She was a "city dog" but she turned into a "country dog". I named her Lassie because I always wanted a Lassie . Her only regret is that she is not smaller because she tried so hard to be a "lap-puppy" and she just does not fit, plus she loves to lay in the kitchen while I am trying to cook and I do not want to step on her. She is like us humans and she has trouble with arthritis now. But she is one of the "Queen Bees" at our house.

I tried a new recipe today and if any of you like cabbage - since it is garden season - you might really like this:

King Cabbage:

Thick slices of cabbage , crowned with onions and melted cheese, make this a "king" of a vegetable dish. 4 servings

1 small cabbage (3/4 pound) sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese (or lowfat Swiss or Muenster, if you prefer) (1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350degrees
Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish or spray with a nonstick cooking spray.
P;ace cabbage slices in bottom of prepared pan.
Sprinkle evenly with half of the sugar and half of the caraway seeds.
Place onion slices over cabbage. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and caraway seeds and teh salt and pepper.
Cover and bake 1 hour.
Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Each serving provides: 82 calories

It is from a book called Lean and Luscious by Bobbie Hinman

Even a sewing granny has to eat - especially since I purchased a Long piece of knit fabric and thought I would be smart and laid my pattern out to allowed myself 2 inches to shrink- then I cut it so it would be easier for me to wash and handle. BUT - when I pulled it out of the dryer and went to iron it - it had shrunk up WAY smaller than My project I had in mind!!!!!!!!!!! Why is it when I try to be so smart - I end up so dumb????????????? lol O Well, I have decided that my sewing angel wanted me to make 4 different projects than the 4 that I had in mind and I CERTAINLY will not cut the long piece that I have left - I put the entire length into the washer and dryer tonight and will just have to fight with it! ~smile~

Thursday, August 13, 2009

After Christmas- sigh of relief!

I don't know if you are like me , but after Christmas is over I always heave a Big sigh of relief - AND- then I rest up about a week - AND- then I am on the search for my Christmas presents the upcoming year. There will never be enough money to just go out and purchase all store bought presents - But - now that I have had the process of making gifts I don't think I would go back, unless maybe I get totally disabled. I start by making my list of all my loved ones and friends and as I run into the perfect fabric - sometimes the gifts just call to me - OR - sometimes while traveling all over the Internet - you never know what ideas will pop into your head.

This time my sister-in-law's gifts would come because we visited a Goodwill store far away from us and they had a barrel that had these two pieces of knit in them and since my sister-in-law can be a "wild and crazy " gal at times these pieces of fabric made me think of the "hippy era" when the colors were wild. Of course by picking up fabric like this I never know what the content is - so I am learning by touch and feel. These two pieces did not have an abundance of give and I am learning that means I can make the neckbands a tad larger because they will not stretch so badly. Plus, it usually means that they might have a tendency to shrink a tad more over time.

I picked the bird design because she had a bird like this one time and I picked the fishy because she does have a little pond in her back yard - right at her porch so you can really enjoy it.

Customized Jeans?

Well, Christmas was sure coming around mighty fast and each year as it draws close I start to panic and wonder how I can come up with fantastic gifts that are different??? I have a teenage granddaughter who loves racing so I was on the search for something for her when I accidentally stumbled onto a site: It said Denim redux:Add a crafty fabric cuff to your jeans.

They called it a fix for ratty- hemmed jeans - but I imagined a feisty racing theme for a racing fan. So, I called her Mom and asked what size jeans she wore? Next I made a trip to the Goodwill store looking for the perfect pair to experiment on. I did not cut the waistband off - I decided to just make a fabric belt to top it off. I was scared to death to cut the bottom off the legs and then I had the fight with the checkered fabric trying to keep it straight as I sewed it on and top-stitched it. Finally it was finished and I really hoped she would be impressed. The day finally came and she did love them - only when she tried them on - they did not fit???? I don't know who was more disappointed - me or her??????????????? This being human is really tough! The best intentions often do go astray!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I love crochet too

There must be something about us "creative types" that we just cannot help but "dabble" in all kinds of artistic endeavors.

When I was a little girl we had a neighbor that crocheted with threads and she attempted to teach me some of the steps to make a doily. I do remember it was with red threads and you went round and round . I got that part down and then went home to attempt some more roundy-rounds, only to discover that instead of a doily - it now resembled a cup as it curled up into the air? Well, she certainly could not take me to raise and my "crochet education" would have to wait until I was married and made friends with a gal who could crochet like lightening! I mean she could fly! So she put me on the crochet path and we made a little poodle that you inserted a can of Ajax cleaner into and I was now officially on my way. All those beautiful threads to tempt your appetite. There were so many wonderful projects to behold and one thing that I REALLY do LOVE about the crochet world is that there are patterns and inspirations Everywhere! But some of my favorite projects are things that you can actually USE! At one point I started cutting up those plastic grocery bags and making rugs out of them. One thing I learned about them was that DOGS absolutely adore them! I made them and gave a set of them to all my friends that had dogs and I just had to sit and laugh with delight as they would claim their new possession and not let anybody else near it - even down to my son's pit bulls! Plus they washed up so nicely.

I even worked on a beautiful lighthouse afghan for daughter-in-law #1 for a Christmas present . It was a wonderful project that you worked your lighthouse in the center and then filled small blocks all the way around it with smaller lighthouses. I started it in January and by June I had about given up hope of making it. It was just so time-consuming! Then I fell and broke all the bones in my leg and 3 bones in my ankle and I was "chair-bound"- so I pulled out that lighthouse project - knowing that this accident would be the only reason that project would get accomplished. I was so proud of it , but I told her that was a "once in a lifetime" gift. I would never tackle another one - I like fast items that you can get some satisfaction from - you know - that instant gratification??????????

So that is why these crocheted rag rugs turned out to be one of my favorite projects . Number one I LOVE butterflies and I love rugs - so it was a "Win-Win" project for me. I made them for Christmas presents and my only regret was that I didn't keep one for me. LOL

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Two of my dear Friends.

Even sewing grannies need friends - some need two legged - me , I need four legged, someone to tell all my troubles to and they will never breath it to a soul - so my secrets are save forever. Plus, they do not mind to be "bothered" - I love the way I can Always go to them and never have to worry if I will offend them or if they are too busy to be bothered. They are just there to offer me love all the time - I personally believe that they are angels with fur on them sent here just to console me and for this gift I am so grateful.

Hobo is the one on the left and he is my orange Persian. I found him 11 years past while I was helping take care of my Mother-in-law after her fall. She lived in a little house between two roads and a railroad track, so there were LOTs of traffic of all kind around her house on all sides. One day I had stepped outside to shake a rug and there was a Mother cat and some little kittens following her around . My heart just sank because this was not a safe place for "fur-babies" of any kind to be. I tried to buddy up to them , but they were way too wild - but I had hunger on my side and soon with the help of food they were letting me sit at a safe distance from them as they filled their tummies. It took me a little while before one day this little angel that I had fallen in love with to actually come over to me out of curiosity.My heart was about to beat out of my chest as he let me gently stroke him and lure him into my lap to go to sleep. Finally I had my prize possession in my grips. I have been bringing a little cage and he let me put him in the cage and catch his orange and white brother also. I brought them home and showed my hubby and told him how I knew they would get killed if we did not take them in. They both lived happily for a couple of years until one night his brother got up in the window and clawed the screen out and disappeared into the night - only for me to find him dead in the road near our house the next morning. It really broke my heart, but Hobo was there to console me. I did not know when I brought him home that he would turn out to be what is called a "ragdoll" . It means when you pick them up they just Melt in your arms like a floppy ragdoll - it makes it real difficult to hang onto them. Since he has long hair it makes him doubly slippery as he wants to just slide through my arms and get away. He has the sweetest gesture of coming up to me and taking his paw and gently touching me on the cheek, so I really do adore him.

The one on the right hand side is called Cowboy. He was another "wild rescue" that my girlfriend gave to us. I really do have a "thing" for long haired cats - I just wish their long hair would stay on them . lol I named him Cowboy because when my hubby was a little boy he wanted to be a cowboy and he still watches cowboy movies every chance he gets. I thought this would be one way he would remember his name and come to love him. It worked because everywhere my hubby goes outdoors , Cowboy goes with him talking all the way! He will stand up on his back legs and really carry on a conversation with you.

Hobo is a complete gentleman and gets along with any and everybody - but Cowboy seems to despise the "sewing cat" - Rosie .Every chance he gets he grabs her and pulls out fur. If she sees him coming she starts spitting out threats - so he is banned from the sewing room as that is Rosie's main domain.

I do love my "furbabies" and have come to believe that saying - "Everything looks better with cat hair on it". LOL

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two Liter Bottle Butterflies

I seem to just love to create and when summer came calling that year I ran across this project that I thought was so sweet and at the same time I could recycle the two liter pop bottles that my grandchildren had put in my trash bag and I had dug out - just waiting for the perfect project.

Of course the fact that I love butterflies also - really helped to tied the project together for me. You spray your pop bottle any color you want and cut your butterfly wings out from the bottle to make your wings stand out - then paint your butterflies to whatever color - your little heart desires and whoopee - you have butterflies to hang in all your trees and bushes.

Little Engine That Could?

Did you ever read the childhood story about the little train that tried so hard and he would get to that hill and to not be overcome by it - he would steadily tell himself - I think I can, I think I can?

Well, that was my frame of mind when I decided I wanted a pond in our yard. I spoke to my husband about it and he told me that I could not DIG a pond in the yard Because of our sewer lines. But you know that saying - where there is a will - there is a way! I finally found a friend who had a dump truck and one day he was passing by our house and I gave him somewhere to dump his dirt. Then it was my job to DIG! Each day I took my shovel and I dug and I dug until I could dig no more . As I started to make progress I would tell myself - I think I can, I think I can - until one day I had a little pond. But now that I had a little pond - I wanted a bigger pond and now my son was working with heavy equipment and he brought me another load of dirt and dumped it beside the first pond. So here again I started all over with - I think I can , I think I can. Then the rains came and I played in the rain for most of the month - But I still kept on with my "I think I can - I think I can - until one day - I had a second pond . It was a very educational experience. AND a very Sore one!

So when your dreams come calling to you - do not be discouraged if they seem out of your reach - just take it one little step at a time.

Ruth loves pansies

This was another Christmas project for my beloved friend, Ruth that I was cleaning for. She has taught me so many things during our 7 year friendship. She is a very conscientious housekeeper who loves to care for her home and her family. She loves to work in her flowers during the summer time and that was how I came to know how much she loves pansies.They do look like a little smiling faces to me. Have you ever noticed how someone that you love can affect the way you see things at times? I will never look at a pansy and not think of Ruth for the rest of my life.

When I found this design online I knew it was destined to go to Ruth's house and since it was Christmas time. To put a smile on Ruth's face means the world to me. I am just so lucky to have her as my friend.

Friendship Garden of Life

We meet our friends in such a variety of ways. I met this couple in a little church and yet they only lived a few short miles away from me.

They had been attending a little country church and it was about to go under when Lee took it under his wing and worked diligently for the next several years , all by himself just to save the little church . Sometimes there would only be a handful of us in attendance , but he never let it get him down. They were the kind of people who would give you the shirts off of their backs if you needed them. I have seen them take their own money and buy boxes of food for young families at Christmas and would never let anybody go hungry if they knew of anybody in need, or if anybody needed wood for their stoves he would be the first one out in the woods cutting the wood and taking it to them. He was tireless in his efforts of love - until one day he had a stroke- and his world ceased to exist as he knew it. It took a long hard battle for him just to survive. I knew he would because he knew how much his wife of 50 years needed him, but when I went to visit them that Christmas I was totally shocked . He was still Lee, but something was missing. He was just a little , quiet shell of himself and it absolutely broke my heart. No more laughter and smiles , no more twinkly eyes - only a quiet , whipped little man who was so frail. It was so sad - life is so precious and so fragile. We need to remember to be thankful for our health everyday .

I had made them tee shirts too. The pink one for her said "Angels Don't Worry - They Believe" and his said "I was going to waste but the Lord recycled Me.

I have another friend

who has worked so hard all her life. Her husband told her when they were first married that IF she wanted anything in this life that she would have to work to get it. And work hard she has. There have been times when I would not see her for long periods of time because of her working to pay the bills. She asked so little from life and she was so special to me.

The first time we met was a phone call. The husbands had told her to call me to tell me that they were taking a trip and would be gone that night. Well she managed to get the words out of her mouth and then when I went to thank her for her consideration - the phone line went dead. She told me much later that she was scared to death that I would bad-mouth her. That was funny because we became the best of buds for years always trying to keep each others backs.

We loved the simple things like walking in the park or canning our gardens together or just sitting watching our chickens digging in the dirt while we "solved world problems" - (usually our world problems) It seems when you have a friend - that just sharing the problem - lightens the load.

She is such a little short thing and in my opinion this oversized tee shirt that I love so much helps to cover a wide tummy - or like me - a wide pair of hips - and to make us look more slender. I did much better on this shirt when it came to the topstitching around that neckband and I was kinda feeling good about this shirt , although she did say she would rather I put a chicken on it??? lol

Ho Ho Ho for Sister-in-law

My dear sister-in-law has had back problems and knee problems for a long time. Since she is only in her 50's her doctors told her that she was too young for a knee replacement -but the pain she endures is a terrible thing. Add to this at this time in her life her Mom was now getting bed-bound and I don't know how she pulled it off, but she had to lift her from the bed to a potty chair and back - or to a wheelchair if she wanted to move her around. I filled in one day and when I got home that night I was in excruciating pain with my back. These human bodies can be such contrary devices!

I was on my search for a way to put a smile on her face that Christmas , so I worked on her a tee shirt with the kitty and the mouse. I actually discovered that I was somehow getting better at getting that neckband on straighter. I had taken a piece of Lynne's advice and sewed the neckband together longwise first so that one side or the other would not get away from me and it would end up more even all the way around.

My sister-in-law loves her yard and has a beautiful porch and loves the birds outside so I took a tip from a friend and decided to do her a terra cotta birdbath. I did not realize that terra cotta pots would be so expensive - I have decided I was just born in the wrong AGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How in the world are people suppose to live - how do we make enough money to feed ourselves and have a life also?????? I would be very interested in any "tips" that anybody has on ways to survive? I have learned how to make my own "detergent" and save money. I turn lights off when I leave the rooms- I never waste food . But I always have too much month at the end of the money??????????????????????? Well, enough - fussing!

I painted each pot separately and then stacked them all on top of each other and a beloved e-mail buddy gave me the tip to put the goldfish in the top of the bath part. I really liked that little touch. I love handmade gifts and my sister-in-law loved hers too. I had so much fun wrapping each pot in a different box for her to unwrap to make the final project.

The day was so perfect because they had made me the most Beautiful birdhouse and I burst into tears with that gift. It was a lovely day and I was so blessed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Christmas Lessons

I wanted so much to really surprise my mother-in-law for her Christmas so I continued ahead. I fixed another red sleep shirt and embroidered another angel on it for her . I thought since red was one of her favorite colors and it was also a Christmas color that it would life her spirits.

I remembered back one time years past when she had re-decorated her kitchen . She had tile on the floor and she painted each of them RED, Black and White and then she added red handles on the cabinets and she was so pleased with her new creation. I thought it was so funny because I was a "Pastel" personality and it really rocked my socks off - but it must have inspired her because she was one of the best cooks I ever knew and she could practically make a meal out of almost nothing! She was so remarkable.

I made her a yellow sleep shirt also and then I moved on to tackling a lightweight blanket out of fleece. She was so small and heavy cover just weighed her down but she was always cold now. I thought "maybe " fleece would be the answer because it is so lightweight. I embroidered snowflakes all over it and then I got to practice using decorative threads in my serger to trim and seal the edges. It was so soft and just to see the shock in her eyes made me want to cry.
But to me - that is what Christmas is all about - reaching out and touching another person's heart.

Little did I know this would be the last Christmas that I would have to share with her. She crossed over to the other side that coming April - so you know how special that Christmas was to me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Christmas is such a Quandary?

I love Christmas , I always have. From the time I was a little girl and my Mama Always went out of her way to make my Christmas special . Now that is what I want for everyone - I want each person to know that they are special and that someone thought of them.

This time my mind turned to my Mother-in-law who was staying with her daughter in another state. She had worked so hard her whole life to raise her brood of 4 living children all by herself. Her husband had left the family when they were all small and she worked long hard hours in a sewing factory to feed and clothe them.

I first worked on her another long sleep shirt and this one I put long sleeves in because she was so little now that she had a tendency to stay chilled. Of course the fabric of choice was knit because it was SO forgiving with my mistakes and I embroidered the little bunnies on it - hoping to put a smile on her face.

Next I remembered that red was one of her favorite colors and roses were one of her favorite outdoor flowers. When she was at her home she had a red running rose at the corner of her house and that bugger had the meanest thorns in town. But it was so beautiful and smelled divine. So I found the red towels and embroidered the white roses on it just for her

I discovered that I did enjoy embroidering on towels as they were not too fussy. All you had to remember was to put a "topper"(a piece of water soluble stabilizer) on top of the towel before you embroidered so the stitches would not hide in the plush of the towel. I was really loving my little embroidery machine because you could customize your gifts according to the personality of the individuals.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Sewing Help Arrives

I know , I know - I did definitely not need any more critter hairs as we already had 10 dogs and 3 more cats. BUT - I fell in love. She belonged to another family and the Dad gave an ultimatum that she had to GO because the kids would not clean up after her and she would not leave the daughter's bedroom because she was scared of their dogs - so I took her home with me. I thought I was nuts because if she was scared of their 3 dogs - how in the world would she Ever adapt to my 10 dogs????

I started her out by putting her in a crate where she could see out at all the critters ,but gave her a place to hide if she needed her privacy. But the privacy she needed was to take the rug I gave her in the cage and she balled it up and hide in the center of it as she peered out at this new family that she did not think she liked the looks of.

After she had been in the house about 2 weeks everybody just assumed she was family so I ventured to turn her loose to roam, and roam she did - picking out my sewing room as her new domain. And she ruled with firm authority, helping me with all of my projects. IF she even thought there was a new project in the works she would sneak over and lay down on it and I declare you could see all the light hairs explode onto my project.

Another of her thrills was assisting me lay out pattern pieces! As I laid them out - quick as lightening she would tear into them either shredding them to pieces or flinging them to the great beyond.

She was a connoisseur of fabrics also - loving them almost as much as I did. She had to touch each one and try to claim it as her own.

One trick she learned early - the young chihuahuas taught her . If they caught her down on the floor(instead of on my cutting table which she ruled from) they could try to chase her back up on the table. Boy, did they live to regret that one! As her domain increased in size she would walk to "HER" door and if the pups walked by she would swat them on their rumps and make them scream as that mean ole cat attacked them now. She remembered each one and knew exactly what kind of punishment to dish out.

I can honestly say I have never had to much "Help" in anything that I ever did . She never misses a chance to "assist" me in my endeavors and always so joyful to be able to "shoot her light hairs over any project that I turn my head to. For the first time in my life I now know all about "lint catchers" and they are a very nice option. I even tried the new fangled kinds that you order and are sticky and you roll them and they pick up the hair and then you wash them in the sink sprayer - only to discover that they did not last but a few times and were a waste of money in my book. So I have gone back to the old fashioned paper kind that still" get the job done"!!!!!!!!!!