May 31, 2016

Moving on

Hello people.  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  We were talking about family and WWII and after checking online about Mark's uncle, who has an Army Reserve Center bearing his name, we found that he was awarded the second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross.  Why didn't we know this?  And where is the medal?  There is no one remaining from Mark's family and we have some paperwork, but no medal.  Needless to say, we are pretty upset, but not surprised at anything that his stepmonsters may have done.
 We've been enjoying very warm and sunny days.  The garden is in, the Enforcer is working, the flowers are in permanent positions.
Still playing with color on the PS project.  Since I love the grape colors, what am I doing?  Well, the project was lying on the bench and as I glanced at it, the grapes were just a blob of color, not defined.  On the light fabric, the grapes are obvious and very defined, but dark on dark doesn't allow that.
So I tried lighter thread, again, which did define the grape clusters a little more.  The darker grapes are somewhat lighter and brighter than shown in this poorly lit photo.  Now I have to decide if I prefer the rich color or the definition.  Moving on to stitch the roof seems logical.  That darkness in the center may make a difference in the look and change the way I see it.  I wonder how many tries before I get that one right.

I rearranged the pantry over the weekend.  We now have, in order,

Friskies Surf 'n Turf
Fancy Feast Filet Mignon
Fancy Feast Chicken & Turkey
Whiskas Meaty Selections
Cat Chow Complete
Meow Mix Seafood
Extra Surf 'n Turf

As for the wet food, which I needed every evening to lure them into the garage, they expect it now.  But they LOVE it only one time and then all the other cans are donated.  The ones they seem to prefer are all chunky with gravy, but they refuse to eat chunks so I finely chop until my arm is numb.  There is a very small food chopper at Walmart that I will purchase just for turning those damn chunks into paté.  With all the cats I know, have interviewed, had for dinner, are living with relatives, none like the bits, chunks, flakes, shreds.  Yet Missy enjoys the non-paté chipmunk head while Nitzy chomps on blue-jay skulls.  Stupid cats.
Have a good one.
Thanks for visiting.

May 29, 2016

The grapes of my wrath

Hello folks.  How's your weekend going?  Are you stitching, cooking, relaxing, gardening, or all of them?  I made spinach garlic soup.  Lower calories than a green smoothie (which I hate), good for you, and mighty tasty.  Caught a glimpse of myself from the side in a store window reflection and just about tripped over my Crocs.  Do you make a commitment to lose weight and procrastinate the start date?  For months?  I have to do something, nothing fits, and I carry my weight in one area, not evenly distributed.  Hence the soup.  I modified and simplified the one on my recipe page. 
After many MANY purples, magentas, violets, reds, and mauves stitched and removed for the grapes, I gave it one more try.  Sometimes when I'm frustrated things fall into place.  It did.  I love these two shades together, 3802 and 3726.  Quite dark for this fabric but still very visible. 
 I've been asked about the leaf colors and can't answer most because of the no-reply, the darker shade is 3012 and the brighter is 734.  But.  I am going to stitch the next few with 733 instead, very similar but a little more toned down, just to see if it's better.  The more leaves I stitch, the more I question that color because I think the pop may be too poppy.  It's perfect under my lamp lighting but quite striking in natural light.  Once the dark roof is on, I think it will be fine.
Have a safe holiday.
Thanks for visiting.

May 28, 2016

The flower finish

I was a good girl and only bought one vine and one hanging basket the other day.  But I was a bad girl when I changed everything.  I decided on just the pink and yellow supertunias in the barrels which is what was planted several days ago.  But the Royal Velvet purples looked so sad by themselves.  Besides, the four barrel plants had already spread to cover the top which tells me that three would give them more room.  The second (new to me) stop was a shop that had tons of orange petunias and unique combo baskets.  ORANGE!  Fabulous soft and glowing orange.  Hadn't seen offers elsewhere that were so unique.  Too late.  Now my pink looks so ordinary!
So I removed one yellow and one pink, added the Velvet.  Hanging baskets are Vista Bubble Gum, barrels and tubs are Bubble Gum, Limoncello, and Royal Velvet.   If they grow as crazy as they did last year, the pots will be covered in no time.  I will use my weak fertilizer with each watering as I always do.  The yellow Wave petunias are just in small tubs here and there.  Even though the soft orange made me whimper a little, I am happy with this combination.  And since all the large displays are the same, it doesn't look as distracting as last year.
I played around more with the sacks, mainly because I am such a nerd.  This one even though aged, stood out way too much on the dark house and door.  If I had a red door ..... fabulous.  But I don't.
This flag is nylon, perfect for outdoors, dark colors and aging, 8" x 11" on a dowel for only $1 at Pat Catan's.  Wouldn't this look nice with green vines and twigs?  I used hot glue to hold the edges and it may end up on the inside of the door.  Good place for gloves in the winter.  Winter.  Why the hell would I even mention it?
Enjoy the holiday weekend.  It's a sad holiday for me, not a good time picnic.  I can't help picturing the gravestones of so many laid to rest here and abroad. Any death and injury from war is heart breaking, but my sadness is more so for WWII victims.  Can't explain it, maybe because of the men I have known from that generation.  I read about the horrific video of Marines beating a sheep to death with a baseball bat a few years ago and the prior video of throwing a puppy off a cliff.  It doesn't matter the circumstances, there is no excuse for the compassionless cruelty and laughter.  Our military should NOT be based on these viral videos because they are not a representation of our dedicated guardians.  The comments left are so full of vile hatred yet they point their fingers and attack anyone who disagrees with them.  They don't see the hate in themselves.  I'm beginning to hate Facebook because of this.

This is what my local paper does every year;  lists the names of the veterans who passed away in the last 12 months from my county alone.  So sad to see that group of veterans dwindling to only a few.  The first three columns are WWII, the last two are Korea.
Remember them along with all who served and sacrificed this Memorial Day.

May 27, 2016

One way or another

I'm having a sack on my door.

I'm hooked.  All I did was cut cheap mounting board to fit the inside so it holds its shape, pinned the front to the back to keep it closed.  I could attach the flag to the front as I did the other.  Now I will get another natural canvas bag and stamp or stencil with aging.  The light canvas needs something on it, the denim looks fine plain.  No weight or bulk from the plants, and I can stick a few twigs or silk vines inside.  If I want it puffed a little, plastic grocery bags will do the trick. I have yards of really heavy canvas from JoAnn's that I was planning to sew into sacks and Patti was going to stamp and age.  She's been gone a year already.
Here's progress on the PS.  Loving the colors.  The roof will probably be one strand of 310 with 844.  Haven't decided if I will follow the chart on the windows but if I do, they will be a pale yellow as if the lights were on.  If I don't, I will chose a color to outline the panes instead.  That will be last.  Right now I need to choose the grape colors and don't want too bright, too dark, too strong. 
It's hot.  Finally!  But with each passing year, I seem to have an internal gauge that gets higher.  Never bothered me before and I enjoyed the heat.  It is only mid 80's and my body is Velcro.  Sticky enough that the bathroom coffee dash needs to be anticipated to give me an extra minute to peel off these pants.  It's not sweat, it's glue.  I have Elmer's seeping from my pores.  I need to start using a body powder again.  But when Elmer's hits it, I may turn a milky shade of Modge Podge.  Very loose men's cotton t's are all I am comfortable in (they hide a lot too), otherwise, the blouses/tops stick to me.  But it's summer and I will put up with it. 
I'm not the only one that has gained weight.  Right Budman? And just like me, he hates exercise.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks for visiting.

May 25, 2016

Flower power

Simple simple.  Didn't I say that? No more hanging baskets or flowers.  ......  Going back to the Amish tomorrow for just a few little items but why make that trip?  To save a few dollars?  Or am I a compulsive flower buyer and secretly plan on more?  While getting a few more tomato plants today, I was behind a woman that had three huge hanging baskets of minitunias, one hot pink one yellow one purple.  That did it.  I so hope I calm down and don't buy any more but I think flowers have the power over me.
I added a flag to the sack and like it.  I think it will sit on a little table by the swing since it won't take up much room.  Love the Creeping Jenny color.
I've had this wicker fern stand for 40 years and it's very sturdy.  I am sorry that I sprayed it cream and didn't leave it natural.  Way too much work to remove it.  It's been in the attic for 30 years and thought it might work well for one of the ferns.
For some reason, it looks very odd to me.  The fern is too large?  Too tall?  When the fronds grow out they will cover the pot area and look better?   It reminds me of myself 40 years ago, when I was a skinny 125# at 5'10" with long wild hair.
The stand is over three foot tall and perfect in that shady spot but .... this just looks wrong!  My first year with ferns and maybe it looks as it should, just quite different from my usual.  Is it just me?
I've removed those freaking leaves on the PS several times because of being off a stitch.  Not a big deal on a sampler but you can tell if the edge of the design isn't straight on this piece.  What began as 32 count is now 35 after all the dyeing.  Whether you call it shrinkage or the linen just contracts and can be stretched out with an iron, I don't know.  Too late to press and stretch but I am getting 17/18 stitches to an inch and having a difficult time on this darkness.  But I think it's going to be great.
Have a great hump day. 
Thanks for visiting.

May 23, 2016

Sad sack

Hiya.  My sack idea worked, but I didn't like it on the door. 
Too bulky looking or something.  And the container needs to be right up to the top edge of the sack for it to hang right.  If it's on a porch door it would probably be much better, but after I soaked mine to test it, it hung like a wet diaper.  The inside liner needs to fit very well and I'm sure I could sew this sack to achieve that, but it didn't snap my socks so I'm done with it.  It will just sit on a table or something.
As for the PS design, I had a little trouble with the greens. Do you think I made the right color choice shown in the stitched leaf, or do you think the 3052/3 would be better?  I chose the others because I am thinking there will be too much "soft".  With the vines encircling the pale house, I thought the sharpness of 734 pulls it together instead of washing it out and nicely contrasts the linen. I wanted  3011/12 but you can see where I tested 3011 beneath the house and it's too dark.  When I cover half of this photo and see only one option, the left side seems better.  'Ya think?

Canvas flower sack

Hey hey!  How was the weekend?  With the cold and wet weather, the cats came in.  The flea stuff is half applied to skin, and half applied to their hair.   The directions are to apply between the shoulder blades but I found a vet's video and they recommend the top center back of their head.  Totally agree!  I can grab the scruff and still get the head, plus I know where I'm putting it.  With all that loose skin around the shoulders and them usually lying on their side trying to avoid me, I never get the right spot.  Next month, head shots.  Bud is on high alert because another male must have been out here last night when they were safe in the garage.  He sprayed my grill, the tables, the door, and they all know it.  His head is constantly rotating and searching for him.  I hate this.
So here's what my scatter brain is thinking about for the front plank door.  I try to do something different because my neighbor at the beginning of our road copies everything I do, including the flags.  I'm at the end of the road so everyone sees hers first and thinks I'm the copycat!  I don't really care, but I like to mess with her head by sending her searching to find the same things.  She won't find this! 
I have several of these large size canvas (cheap!) bags from Pat Catan's or any craft store.  They come in denim too.  This size looks good and has sides, not sure if they are necessary.  I am going to age it a bit .....
and insert a plastic storage container for cereal or pasta, and drill two holes in the side bottoms.  I'll put some Styrofoam pellets on the bottom for drainage and then lay landscape fabric or newspaper over to keep the dirt in place. Fill with ProMix and add my green vines.  Insert into sack! 
 I think once stained and dyed, it will look great on the door and the canvas is heavy enough to survive outside.  I know she will search for a long time trying to find this in a shop. The denim on the cedar door with bright greens might look nice too.  The front deck has red geraniums in a tool box, shown in the header photo.  I bought the cheap plastic food storage containers at KMart for that. The tall rectangles fit inside perfectly.  I always look to those items first when wanting to have a display where a standard pot doesn't work.  All I need is to poke drainage holes. There are many brands of dry cereal containers in various sizes so I'll take the sacks with me to see what fits best.  I don't want to use this one (1.3 gallon Rubbermaid) unless I find another just as nice for food storage.  Then again, these older ones are probably not BPA free like the new ones so maybe I should retire it to dirt duty. 
Well, I couldn't wait so I grabbed my Tan Rit and sprayed away. More random, less work than dipping, this will make a nice primitive display for summer. How about a USA stencil on it and add two small flags inside?  A small flag stitched to the bag's front?  A metal star.  Merry Christmas with greenery in six months!  I'm using Creeping Jenny which should trail over the front so best to keep it plain. May have to shorten the back strap to compensate for the bulk so it lays flat against the door.
 I think it's a good idea but...any bets on whether I change my mind?
Have a good one!!

May 22, 2016

Up next

Still having an issue with wanting to stitch so I chose what should be fun and a change from the marking samplers. 
I stitched PS's The Fox and the Grapes decades ago, and have always wanted to do it on linen instead of my original Aida.  What do you think of using the dark blue/gray that I dyed recently, sort of a night scene?  Looking closely at this linen, I will definitely need to move up in the cheater glasses, probably to 2.50.
The fox's rust will stand out nicely, the greens can be lightened, the berries brighter, but do I want the house that light?  I think it may be too much on this very dark ground so I am looking for a grayish taupey neutral without a yellowish tanish look.  Ya know what I mean?

I'm leaning toward the 644.  And you know what?  I'm actually getting excited.   And that doesn't happen very often to this crabass.

May 21, 2016

Any interest?

Before I start painting some boxes for a June sale, does anyone like this one?  Should I work on something else?  The ones that I prefer, simple primitive letters, are not your favorite so I thought this might be different.  The actual box would probably be black since the letters are.

It's in the 50's, dark, raining.  Again.  I should not have put the cold weather clothes away and have been pulling the sweatshirts back out for weeks.
I need to apply the flea meds to the cats and they are so wild lately there is no way I can do it.  In the winter, they do nothing but sleep and are used to our presence but not now.  Gloves are too cumbersome to part their hair and hold on to those little tubes.
My last remaining aunt is 92 today and we will bundle up and venture over to see her with some cupcakes and banana bread. 
Please give me your opinion on the box before I start.  Personally, it's not for me but my favorites sell the least so my judgment is a little off.
Thanks for visiting.

May 19, 2016

Flower shopping

Hello people.  How's the week going?  We're still chilly but the sun is shining.
My summer flower plan this year is pared way down.  Remember this from last year?  Plus the other side and front had just as many baskets and planters.
 This year, two barrels will have purple, pink, and yellow supertunias, one hanging basket of the pinks, and the ferns.  For many years, white was all I had.  Then the Vista Bubble Gum petunia's pink was everywhere and although I don't care for pink, I tried it for something different.  Now I want those striking colors for impact and would have tried all yellow, but I'm not sure if they fade in sun or may be less prolific than the others.
I sure hope I can resist having more than that.  The older I get, I prefer simple and eye catching to volume. Just like having so many items in a room that you miss their form and beauty.  Your brain is taking in too much at one time to process and focus on a stunning piece.  I think that's what happens when there are too many flowers in various places.  Some high, some low, big, small, too much.   I don't know if it's true, but therapists say that having a bedroom strewn with too many items causes the brain to have difficulty resting.  Too much stimuli even though you see it every day.  Makes sense I guess.  So I'm trying overloaded barrels of color and one massive hanging basket instead of my usual here there everywhere. 
But I couldn't resist these, Wave petunias in yellow.  Rather than line with landscape fabric and dirt, I purchased large plastic dishpans for $1.50 and will drill a few holes, perfect size for a smaller wheelbarrow.
The hunt started at a new place for us (Amish), out in New Wilmington, and it ended up being an all afternoon ride to five places.  Tomato plants were horrible everywhere, no Inferno peppers (our favorite), BubbleGum supertunias almost sold out, and prices increased as we went along.  I purchased most of the flowers at Mast's, the largest Amish nursery, $2.75 for 4" pots of healthy plants that were $4 at another nursery.  Back in town we found scrawny little geraniums for a whopping $4.50 each that were $2.79 last year.  I got twice the size for $3 elsewhere. The hanging baskets increased by $2 - $4 each from last year's prices. Sweet potato vines and Vinca vines, single and wimpy, were also $4.50.  Good thing I'm paring down this year!  Mast's is my favorite place to go and when checking out, I extended my sympathy to him for the loss of his young son last summer to drowning.  I was hesitant to bring it up, as sometimes we are, but he thanked me for not being afraid to speak of him saying it acknowledges their grief and their son's life.
What's your color scheme this year?  Do you plan it before buying or get inspired at the nursery and just buy what catches your fancy?  Whether a single color or mixed doesn't matter because I will complain, reverse my preference, whimper quietly, and curse my continuous waffling.  Right now I'm thinking three colors are too much!  Maybe just the pink and yellow. 
Enjoy the week's end.
I may look through charts this evening and hope that something gets me excited enough to want to pull out a needle.  Good thing I totally loved Mary and she was skinny, or this slump may have prevented her finish.

May 17, 2016

Berry bonnets

Received another order of vintage jewelry finds, brass, bendable, to see if I could shape them into caps.  These were flat and yes you can pound them to bend but without a mold or form, it's just about impossible to form evenly.  Plus, the wide edges cannot be bent down without crimping a little. 

Not liking the bright brass can be easily remedied with spray paint, silver or pewter. 
The very large filigree was one of a kind and fits a good sized berry, the others were also flat and after shaping, are the same size as the ones from Karin.  If I ever find another large brass filigree would I try again?  Not likely. Probably not.  Maybe.  If it was very adaptable.  Sure.  Just thought I'd let you see it can be done if anyone was thinking about it.  This largest piece was 54mm before shaping and I ordered brass only, because I believe other metals are harder and may break, not bend.
See?  I'm still full of boring and mostly useless information.

May 16, 2016

Mary Spinney

Absolutely love.
The Examplarery from 1990
Presenting Miss Mary Spinney .....

mounted with tiny pins ....
on an antique peel.

Stitched on 30 count Sea Glass R&R linen

May 15, 2016

White crap!

WTH???  Little rotten flakes falling from the sky.  Just a brief period, but what do you expect when you need a coat and the furnace is still running.
Very pleased with the slight change in the blue.  The single stitched line of a letter didn't show very well compared to the multiple lines in the people.  Using a slightly lighter shade worked perfectly.  The letters stand out better and looking at the piece, you wouldn't know they are different blues.  Several more errors but who the heck can tell in this piece?  It's all over except for the outside border.
While everything is wet (and cold) outside, I burned all the extra papers and non recyclable items, including quite a few paper mache boxes that I will not use.  At the last minute, I decided to keep a few small rounds so I stuck them in my sweatshirt.  And forgot. 
I couldn't figure out why I kept knocking into things on the table and counter.  Good thing it was cold and I didn't decide to take a walk.  I think the neighbors have had enough of strange attire.  My frayed edge fabric on the front was fused and sewn to cover paint stains.  Never did add the buttons.
Because of the weather, I have 5 huge ferns and three cats inside.  And I look around to see where Missy is and as usual, her muddy paws are either on my linen, on the sofa, on the bed, or in a closet.  She is such an imp.
Thanks for visiting.

May 14, 2016

The floss dance

Happy weekend.  Got rain?  After two days of decent weather with intermittent rain, we are once again chilly and soaked. 
This morning I planned on a drive to Pat Catan's for floss.  I have enough to go around the world but not in the color I wanted.  The letters between the blue people weren't showing well and I wanted a shade lighter, so checking the floss bible, 3755 was one lighter than 334. 
Simple.  Go to the floss box.  Why isn't it in there?  Could it be in the pile on the sofa?  Nope. Maybe pulled for something else?  It would take longer to go through that mess than get dressed and go to the store. I hate to go out in the rain for one skein of floss.  Then I remembered,
the wicker trunk upstairs that is filled with Betty's floss.  The envelopes before and after 3755 were filled with 5 skeins each, but no 3755.  Then I remembered,
the bag filled with little bags of floss by number.  These were the extras I planned on Ebay'ing years ago.  Well right on top, there it was, 3755.
As my mom would say, "now we're cooking with gas".  Good to go.  After dancing around various storage methods, I have my color.  I'm staying home! 
Then I see 3760 and realize THAT was the perfect color for the blue people.  Too late.  But is there something a liiiiiittle bit darker than the 3755?  Looking at the bible again, I see 813, a possibility.  Pulling it, it's no different than the 3755.  The tiniest bit darker maybe, but certainly close enough. 
So I didn't have to dance at all this morning if I would have looked at the DMC samples a little more and found 813 in the box.  Now I can return 3755 to the 3700 bag and keep that group intact.  Why?  I don't know.  It's nice having backup inventory but two?
Mark has been golfing and I was looking forward to several days of quiet, no TV, no sister appointments, no one asking "why are you doing that".  I wanted to get the polyurethane on the back area of the stove but I screwed it up, then the paint beneath softened and peeled in a few places.  So two days have been wasted sanding it all down, cleaning the dust EVERYWHERE, and priming, painting again.  But if I didn't run out for primer I wouldn't have seen the fern sale.  I'm not touching it again for a few days and plan on working in the sewing room instead with a bag of Dove.
Monday I will go to Pet Supplies Plus and buy a few pounds of mixed dog treats for the shelter.  Our friend went through a horrific ordeal and lost her dog, now she has unexpectedly lost another.  I think the homeless dogs that may not be saved, would enjoy some treats in memory of two that were lucky to be so loved.

May 13, 2016

Fern sale

Hey.  Just came back from Lowe's and they have beautifully full ferns for $8, not sure how long the sale is in effect.  Originally $14.98.  Thought I'd let you know - I didn't see this advertised.


May 12, 2016

Time is flying

Hiya.  The caps are coming in.  I ordered a few rolls of the Washi tape and the smaller bronze caps too (BF25).  Only $2.85 for eight with no additional shipping, couldn't let them go.  They will be very small berries!  I can spray paint with one of the metal colors if they are too dark.
The berry pattern I used is in a mess upstairs and I will post the measurements if anyone wants to use them.  Since the top needs to be narrow, the standard templates weren't working for me.  I did find that stuffing it to the very very top with just enough fabric to close made the top narrower.  So I used my letter opener and just kept packing the walnut shells in.  For one of them to fit the cap, I needed to add more shells and then I laid a tiny piece of muslin over them before I gathered it closed.  The fabric didn't quite meet but the muslin beneath held the shells from escaping.
After pulling all the teals, I decided on 503 for the row above the blue people.  The greener 523 looked really nice but it seemed to predictable for this funky piece.  I also had to remove the letters in the center because I misread that symbol, they are to be blue.  After working on the very light vase at the bottom, this sampler is fantastic.  I'm very glad that I used the darker Sea Glass.
High Sunday will be 49.  Before and after, 60.  All during, rain.
If you have sun, enjoy it!

May 11, 2016

Got dirt?

Greetings folks.  The sun was out today and although I still needed a sweatshirt in the morning, by afternoon it was warm and sunny.  The rain is moving back and darkness is returning.  A walk around the house, as I do every spring wondering what to do with the house siding, my blue angels surprised me.  My goodness they sprout fast.
Each is in a different stage, from the tightly rolled cigars to the big girl leaves.

The huge Blue Angels are probably my favorite and I have shown them before. 
My second is a simple chartreuse that matches sweet potato vines, my favorite color to mix in with any flower.  Those vines are the deer's favorite also.  I purchased two many years ago and have asked every year since, never to find this color in a solid again.  The closest has a yellow edge but I want the solid.  A local greenhouse (DJ's in Transfer) specializes in Hostas and has a vast selection, but not this one!  We purchased several Yard Enforcers to stop the critters from eating everything.  My neighbor has used this method for years, right along the wooded areas, with great success.  Don't hurt 'em, squirt 'em.
This is a photo from DJ's gallery - I see so many unique plantings like this feathery white one, but with our top 8" of orange clay with unending blue clay beneath, we just waste our money. When we dug a very large hole to fill with good soil, it became a pool of water after rains.  The water can't perk through the clay so it follows the path of least resistance, my good dirt.  We've tried everything, amended with all including gypsum.  We're done!  Someone's blog showed their gorgeous landscaping and there was a sparse chartreuse tree with very short needles on weeping branches.  Loved it.  I did have the name and checked locally, they never heard of it, and I've since lost the note.  Probably best anyway because it would certainly not survive on this property. 
Almost done with Mary.  Have a spectacular weekend.  I'll settle for good.
Thanks for visiting.
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