Monday, May 28, 2018

It's Been A While

I can't believe that it has been over a year since I blogged! Whew! It has been a crazy year! We sold our suburb house and bought one out in the country with acreage. This has been a dream of ours for a while. It is now the end of a school year so this means teacher gifts!! I love making teacher gifts.
Crochet chicken pot holders, monogrammed tea towels, slumped jar spoon rests are what we made for this year's teacher gifts. Little m made a sweet card also. She is turning into a little artist!

Little m's card for the teachers!

We have started keeping bees! I have two hives so far and hope to eventually have 5.

Honey bee on clover. All worker bees are girls :)

Opened hive to make sure the queen was released from the queen cage. When you order a package of bees you have to let them get used to the queen before she is released into the hive. 

Passed the written part of the test, now just have to past the practical part in about 4 mths to be state certified.

Some assembly and paint required.

Did you know that bees have pollen baskets on their back legs to carry pollen back to the hive for food for the worker bees and larvae?

Have a wonderful night,

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trash to Treasure

Spring is almost gone and Summer is almost here. I have been working a lot in the yard and redecorating the deck. I decided to go with a patriotic theme this year for Summer. My neighbor gave me these wonderful Adirondack chairs that needed some work but had great bones.
 The chair were wobbly so dh (dear hubby) reinforced them and I painted two coats of primer and two coats of oil based outdoor paint. The above picture was after he pressure washed them and I scraped the old paint off and painted one coat of primer.

In keeping with the patriotic them, I cut stars out of outdoor vinyl and added blue cushions.

View from the Adirondack chairs. The glider to the left was my dh's grandmothers that I painted white. We have had it for years. There are many layers of paint on it :) Dh had to weld some areas that had broken loose. Good as new!

Cute little terracotta pot frog. Instructions here. The original is holding a flower but of course I had to add a flag instead. It turned out so cute! Instructions are pretty good. This frog was 100% free. I mixed my own paints to get the color that I wanted. I found the old pot and saucer behind the shed and I already had the wooden beads.
Close up. I am so happy to have him finished. He has been on my to do list for at least 3 years.

Tadpole and Ladybug tic tac toe, anyone? Using a piece of canvas and rocks from the yard made this game free and easy to do! It's fun to play while enjoying the great outdoors. If you make this don't forget to spray everything with outdoor varnish including the canvas pond. 

I will show more of my yard in the next few days.
Have a great day! Holly

Friday, February 24, 2017

Slant-O-Matic With A Side Of Peas And Carrots

I love vintage sewing machines. They are just so durable and have lasted for many, many years. While I love Singer machines, I am not partial to them. I love all vintage machine but Singer just seems to be the one that I come across most often. I usually pick them up at Estate Sales or antique stores. I try to not pay more than $40 for one even if it has a cabinet or case. This way I am not a hoarder but a collector ;) I have a few Japanese clones and these machines not only look beautiful but run so smoothly. 

*drop in bobbin* This area only had about 1/2 thimble full of fuzz!! Usually I pull out a cup full of the stuff and also pull out threads galore! So I was pleasantly surprised. She had been well taken care of.

When I found this old girl she was in pristine condition but her power cord was missing so I couldn't try her out and see if she worked. I looked her over and decided to take a chance for $20. I figured that since she was so well taken care of that she probably worked. It was worth the gamble. 

How to thread guide. She was very, very dry. Not a speck of oil in her. Following the manual, I oiled and lubed her. I also cleaned a tiny bit of gunk off of her head with sewing machine oil and soft rag. I believe that I spent a total of 30 minutes oiling, lubing and cleaning her. Just to give you an idea of how clean she was, I normally spend 3-5 hours cleaning most machines. I have one in line that probably needs 10+ hrs of cleaning :( not to mention cleaning the table that it is in.

Love the brown tension disk dial! Clean as a whistle. 

Sweet little note attached to the manual. I believe that the lady that owned this machine either sold it or gave it away before it ended up at the Estate Warehouse Sale. I am probably the third owner or 4th if you count the Estate Warehouse company. She left such detailed instructions that it sounds like she gifted it to someone. "Go to Singer & (or somewhere) get some sewing machine oil Follow instructions for lubricating. Flip container/holder inside cover to remove box of tools & bobbins-the instruction book is in the box. To remove cover, just lift out & up on the side latches." 

Look at the sweet graphics. Loves all the ladies gathered around the lady with her new sewing machine. 

Love the old Singer Service vehicle.
See the angle of the needle and presser foot? The pencil is straight for comparison. This is why it is called a slant needle 404 and also Slant-O-Matic. It is made of aluminum which makes it lighter and all the gears are steel except one that is plastic. I only found this out while cleaning the machine. I was a little disappointed because they can break over time but do not plan on giving it heavy use so it should be fine. It will probably last for another 50 years or so. This particular was also at the lower end model of the 400 series and an economy model. Very heavy duty and so easy to use. This made it perfect for beginners and I found out it was used in Home Ec classes worldwide. I can't remember what my old Home Ec sewing machine looked like but I know that it wasn't this one.

Making the block "peas and carrots" for my Farm Girl Vintage quilt that I am still working on. Ordered a new power cord and she runs like a dream! The Singer 404 aka Slant-O-Matic is a wonderful machine. It makes a wonderful and beautiful straight stitch that is similar to the Singer 201 or the more famous 401A in quality. It has all the same features such as: tension assembly, bobbin winder, presser food adjuster, location of light, etc. A very beautiful machine and if you ever get a chance to purchase one for a good price I say "go for it!!". You will not be disappointed.
Happy sewing,

Friday, February 26, 2016

Say Hello To Tommy

  This week has been a busy one. I finally got my quilt back from the quilter's. It has taken me several years to finish the Bee In My Bonnet Quilty Barn Along but is almost all done! The quilter that the quilt shop uses is so fast! I have used Kay before and she is amazing. Very meticulous and a perfectionist. I will be starting on the binding this weekend. To celebrate the end of this journey I wanted to make a fun little "tool". It is a needle book that is also a scissors fob. I made this scissors fob as a dual purpose tool years ago. I needed a scissors fob for a quilt class that I was taking. I wanted to be able to tell my scissors from my neighbor's if we happened to have the same pair of scissors but I also wanted to keep up with my needles. So as the old adage goes "Necessity is the mother of invention". I joined the two. Back then I just made a plain looking needle book/scissors fob out of felt with a felt heart on the cover. But this time since my cutie pie quilt is a farm theme I decided to go with something a little farmy. What is more farmier or cuter than a smiling tomato!

Tommy the Tomato

Such a sweet little guy :)

List of supplies:
8"x7" square of red wool felt
4"x6" square of white wool felt
2"x2" square of green wool felt
12" piece of 3/8" wide ribbon
4" piece of 1/8" wide ribbon
red thread and white thread for sewing machine
2- 4mm black beads for eyes
white craft tacky glue
black embroidery floss-one strand for freckles and two strands for mouth
sewing machine (optional-you could do this by hand)
scroll down for pattern

Cut out pattern pieces. Cut out all felt shapes. Cut out one slender piece of white felt (about 1/4" wide) the length of a white "page". Sew this slender piece onto the white page (photo below shows the placement).  Set aside.
Slender piece of felt stitched onto the first page.

Stitch the face on using french knots for the freckles, two strands of embroidery floss for the mouth and don't forget the eyes :)
Take the two pieces of red felt (one is the face and the other is plain) and sandwich the ribbon between them. Use your sewing machine zig zag stitch to stitch all the way around the tomato being very careful to catch both ribbons in these stitches. I like to use these settings for zig zag: stitch width 1.5 and stitch length 2.0. Go ahead and stitch the other two red felt tomatoes together, this set will be referred to as plain tomato. Now it is time to create the sandwich. Layer in this order from bottom to top: plain tomato, white page, other white page, face tomato. Stitch along 3/8" ribbon side to create a binding for your book-above photo shows stitch line. Click on the picture to see it better.

Stitch the button on. For the leaf cut a small slit, push stem through slit and using a tiny drop of glue, glue the stem onto the leaf. Now glue the leaf to the top of the tomato right above the eyes. Let dry for an hour or so. Yay! You have finished your sweet little tomato. You can add more pages if you like, just keep in mind that the more pages you add the longer your 1/8" wide ribbon will have to be to reach the button.

Now you will never get your scissors confused with anyone else's. 

Also great for rotary cutters!

2nd page with pins.

To make sure that the pattern prints out to correctly I have included a scale on the bottom. It is in inches. You can always enlarge or shrink the pattern according to how big or small you want your scissors fob/needlebook. 
Hope that you enjoy making him and don't forget to keep those hands busy,

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yertle The Measuring Turtle

I love turtles! We've even had turtles as pets. One was named Stinky and let's just leave it at that. His name suited him. He was found in our yard so we returned him back to his home (pond in our backyard) after a few days. The other turtle we had was named Yertle. We kept him for about a year and a half and then let him go also. No, we weren't being mean to let him go in the wild. My daughter's teacher's husband ran over him with the lawnmower, so he became the classroom pet while he recuperated . We inherited him when school was over for the summer and then once he got a little bigger we just simply returned him back to nature where he belonged. So it is no surprise when I saw a turtle pincushion/measuring tape at a craft store I immediately bought it. He was cute but I knew that I could make him cuter! 
Here is the original sweet little guy. 
Now you can make your own! Gather the following supplies:
scraps of fabric-about 13 if you want a scrappy turtle shell
scrap of solid color fabric
2"x 4" piece of orange felt
needle and thread for hexagons
round retractable measuring tape
small scissors
cardstock or note cards for the hexagon templates
black & orange embroidery thread
2-4mm black beads
6" piece of 1/8" wide ribbon
disappearing ink marker
sew in interfacing
sewing machine
2" diameter retractable measuring tape for sewing
****Instead of making a hexagon turtle shell, you could use a solid piece of fabric and he would be just as adorable. For a more prim look use just wools. I would still use the interfacing on both the cotton fabric or wool.

**Please note that my scanner/copier has finally bit the dust. I had to take a picture of the pattern and then upload it to the computer. When you print this pattern out PLEASE double check it with your ruler. I have added a 1" scale in the bottom left corner and some of the patterns have measurements on them. You might need to adjust your printer's % to get the pattern to print out the correct size. Please and I am begging, do not make copies of this pattern and sell it. You are welcome to make as many of the turtles you like but just don't sell my pattern. You are also welcome to send your friends over here to my blog for the pattern but just don't send them copies of my pattern. Thank you so much and sorry to have to state this but I have had numerous problems in the past with others not playing so nicely.

Do you recognize any of the fabrics? I used several of Lori Holt's fabric lines! Cutie patootie!

Cut the hexagon and half hexagon templates out of a thick cardstock or note cards. Notice the brown hexagon in the bottom right corner. I glued my large hexagon template onto a piece of sandpaper to keep it from slipping on the fabric while I traced around it. You only need to cut out one large hexagon template since you will use it just for tracing. Punch holes into the smaller hexagons, this will make it easier to remove them after sewing them together.

Place the paper hexagon onto the fabric hexagon and stitch around it, using tiny stitches and only place a stitch in the corners. If you don't understand this part, there are many tutorials online that go into greater detail.

Taking a tiny stitch. Click on picture to enlarge.

This is how I kept the template in place while stitching the half hexagon. Try your best to keep the paper template in place until the whole piece is stitch together. You can also put a pin at the bottom along the flat edge to keep the template in place while you sew the hexagons together.

I usually just finger press the edges.

All the hexagons and half hexagons completed and now it is time to stitch them together. Instructions are available from various sources online. Pinterest is another good place to look for instructions on sewing the hexagons together.

Hexies  and half hexies stitched together. See the papers are still in place. I went ahead and took the half hexie papers out.

I use tiny embroidery scissors to pop out the papers.

Now iron the whole thing.

After you cut out the sew-in interfacing circle it's time to stitch it onto the hexagons. I like to sew close to the interfacing edge. 

Trim the extra pieces of the half hexagons off, leaving about 1/4" fabric from interfacing sewing seam to cut edge. Baste stitch (red thread) around the hexagon circle right next to interfacing sewing seam. You will use this baste stitch to gather up the circle.

Trace the legs and head onto the solid fabric. Stitch on the traced line.

Cut the legs and head out. Leaving about 1/8" seam allowance.

To turn the tiny pieces, place one dowel inside of the leg piece and one dowel on the outside. Start rolling the leg up over the second dowel. Keep doing this until it is completely turned inside out. Do the same for the head. Lightly iron legs and head.

Lightly stuff the legs but firmly stuff the head. Stitch the long middle strip. Be sure to not forget to baste the area that you are suppose to baste. It is written on the pattern.

Start pinning the bottom circle to the side piece. I like to pin the side piece and bottom together before adding the legs and head. Match the head dot and tail dot on the bottom to the head dot and tail dot on the side. It should look like the above picture.

 Now pin the side piece and bottom together before adding the legs and head. Pin all the way around. Pinch the turtle head, aligning front head seam to back head seam and stitch with sewing machine. In the above picture you can see where I stitched my turtle's head to keep it nice and neat before I placed it between the circle and side piece.

Make sure that your placement marks haven't disappeared. Mine did and I just placed the pattern back over the circle and remarked. Add the legs and head and pin into place. Make sure to orient the head correctly. Stitch with sewing machine using 2.0 stitch length. Go slow. Don't worry if little tucks form. I think this gives the little turtle some charm. 

This is what the turtle will look like, but do not turn him yet. I will refer this part of the turtle as the "bottom part".

Take the top circle and pull the basting stitch so that the circle forms a "cup".

Place the hexagon cup into the bottom part and pin. As you can see I like to use a lot of pins. Leave about a 2" area where the tail will go unstitched. This will be where you turn, insert the measuring tape, and add stuffing.

 Stitch- don't forget to use a 2.0 stitch length. Stitching this can be a little fiddly so don't give up.

Carefully go inside your little turtle and clip the basting stitches. This is where the measuring tape will come out. Now place the measuring tape inside the turtle and pull about 3" of tape out of the hole. Make sure the measuring tape's button is on the bottom. Stuff, using very small stitches, stitch the opening closed.

Now it's time to put the eyes on. Knot the thread and start at the base of the neck push the needle up to where you want an eye. Attach eye and then attach the other eye. Take the thread back down to the base of the neck and tie off. Attach the neck to the shell by using small stitches and then glue on the tail. Let dry. Yay! You are finished with the turtle part.

Tail glued on.

 Time to make the little fish. Cut two fish out of orange felt. Make a french knot on each piece for the eye. Glue the 6" piece of ribbon onto one wrong side. Place the two pieces of felt together and stitch using the button hole stitch, you could also whip stitch it.

Your sweet turtle is finished! Now make a few more and give them to all your stitchy friends! They are very addictive. You could even make them to match your projects as I did with Yertle the Turtle.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
Yertle and Mertle: bff for life!

Have a happy day and keep those 10 little fingers busy,