Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let's Catch Up With Nancy!

Yeah it's been a while since I posted anything. I have a bunch of pictures to share. Hopefully Blogger will keep them in semblance of order.

A late season reminder that summer is long over. The blackbirds are flocking by the hundreds in this area, and leaving soon. They don't come to the feeders anymore, so the seed lasts longer.

Love those spectacular sunsets!

This one seems to be dressed for fall.

For DDIL Stacey's birthday party, Mother Nature gave her a rainbow! She got one on her wedding day too. I know she's a little bit Irish, so I wonder if there was a pot of gold involved?

We had a fine crop of toadstools out by the mailbox this year. More than last year. I'm told they've never appeared on the property before. Maybe it's something about me; the fantasy writing and all that...

These would make very nice fairy umbrellas!

We only got one big picking of beans before the frost got them, but they went in late. There was 23 lbs in that single batch and out of them I got 14 quarts put up for the freezer. I'm not complaining.

Hot peppers. I had some sweet ones too, but I guess we forgot to take a picture. This is the final gleaning before the frost.

A very big picking of melons and squash. We got another smaller picking of melons later. That biggest watermelon weighed 41 lbs and the smaller ones were 25lbs. I have never grown melons of that size. They were tasty too.

The bulk of our winter squash. I only had a few clumps of plants. We did remarkably well. 

Money has been tight this year with ongoing repairs here around the farm. I've also been very busy writing. So I haven't had the time and incentive to go out thrifting, or out to the craft stores. My stash is overflowing anyway. Still now and then, everyone needs an outing, and sometimes there's that one special item you have to find to finish a project. I didn't spend much but I had a ball, as we hit a couple dollar/discount places and a thrift shop one afternoon. I hadn't done that in months!

Only $5 worth of glittering fun here.

I used some of this in a recent project.

I have a thing for E-beads. The sheet craft foam is something I've never used before but I find I really like working with it. The rest was bought on 'spec'.

Ah, thrift stores. No matter what my financial status might be, I will always haunt them, yard sales, and flea markets. I picked a good day for thrifting.


I found a garden dress! Broke in without being worn out, and uber-comfy with no wild colors. Yes it's big, I'm a chunky little gal.

Some of the haul. I have this thing for tins, and the floral one is already in use. Mouse-proof storage here in a must. I love the gardening/floral theme of the little frames. That enamel pan is now on my kitchen table corralling the salt and pepper grinders and the toothpick holder.

I grabbed that old rolling pin first thing. That is one solid piece so it isn't new. I decided the rest had to come home too, I do like wooden kitchen things and the little pastry roller is in good shape. The spoons look like they were never used. And lucky me, I snagged one of a pair of Tupperware deli keepers! My original one is now in sad condition after years of holding Christmas cookies.

That is the cover to the deli keeper. I collect the shish kebab skewers but don't use them because it looks like they are attached with lead. I like the farm motif though so they are living in a flat ceramic owl shelf vase with some unmatched knitting needles as a pseudo bouquet. The peeler works great—hardly used and it is a high end piece with some weight to it. We never have enough peelers, they tend to disappear into the netherworld of lost kitchen items.

No thrifting trip is complete without some books. I Piers Anthony, and neither Lee nor I had read this one. I have both the round and oblong sets of the Knifty Knitter looms but not that book. Lots of stash yarn to use up too. And hey, it's Mr. Food and chocolate! Ooh it's sooo good!

An old locker basket or something for a mere 99¢. I am always looking for storage for things like newspapers. 

Been doing a bit of crocheting and crafting again lately. The inspiration comes from my longtime pal and blog contributor Roger Stegman, who while convalescing has been doing whatever he can to keep busy, since his health and mobility is not the best. Also inspirational is my over-burgeoning stash, which has become painfully obvious now that most of it is tucked in various storage areas on the property.

I wanted to do something to cheer Roger up, and take the focus off of being sick to getting healthier. I had an old pattern for granny triangles and saw them somewhere on Pinterest used as a banner. I have plenty of yarn, and started thinking about making a healing mediation banner. My little Pagan mind started thinking about elemental themes and things just sort of evolved...

If esoteric themes bother you, you might want to turn away now before your soul is corrupted by my awesomeness. LOL!

So this is the banner base. It's meant to hang up by those ends. I had to curl it around to get it all in the picture, and yeah, it's upside down. Each triad color scheme symbolizes a spiritual idea to me. The green and brown represents EARTH for those things in our life that are practical matters, things we deal with daily. The blues are for WATER, the ideal of emotions, dreams, intuition, psychological issues, and deep feelings. The red, orange, and yellow triad is for FIRE, the province of actions, passion, strong reactions, and decisiveness. The white and gray one is AIR, for lofty creative thoughts, logic, cool headed judgments and agreements. The center triad is gold and silver because it stands for SPIRIT, which is how you envision a Higher Power or Upper Self. The whole thing is edged in black for the UNKNOWABLE or UNIVERSAL ENERGY. There is a lot about the Greater All out there that we don't understand, and from that I believe we can draw hope.

I don't dictate faith to my friends, and I don't push mine, but I like to share what gets me through the trying times. Having something to look to when there is no one else around to share the joy or catch the tears keeps me moving forward with my life.

Each one of these triads has a representative charm hanging from the point, and in the blank spots between them on the hanger, I added a beaded bell chain. 

The little house charm hangs from the EARTH triad. It was the first time I ever worked with that craft foam. I saw the color and it reminded me so much of the gingerbread cookies I used to make for the holidays. I knew I wanted a house, because that's the most grounding, practical part of our lives, having a home and somewhere to live. So I sewed the halves together with white embroidery floss (tug easy, this stuff rips) tucking a shiny 2012 penny between the halves to represent money staying home. The heart button stands for home being where the heart is...

...The shamrock button is for good luck. Both of those were sewn on before it got edged BTW. The rainbow chenille dangles represent happiness coming from the home and the little gold rings for fortune because it is a rainbow after all. Each charm got a hanger of E-beads in the proper color and length.

When you've been ill or hurt and have had a long recovery, all you can think of is coming home. You also worry about having a home left to come too, because medical bills can be horrendous. That was my fervent wishes that things would work themselves out for the better.

In the space next to that EARTH colored and charm festooned triad is this bell chain with Roger's name on it, in wooden alphabet beads. He is a woodworker after all, and he also writes. The black and white beads of various shapes and sizes are made of bone, and he had a lot of painfully broken ones. The round green beads are moss agate which is a stone that is supposed to pull in energy that helps you fight exhaustion—something that you deal with all the time after a serious illness or injury. The little green bell calls fairies, angels, whatever you want to attract. If nothing else they're pleasant to listen to. 

Orange foam, two yellow buttons, and bronze E-beads sewn to each side in the holes made a sun charm for the FIRE triad. I was going to use glitter glue to edge it but decided on the orange floss instead. The sun is healing if you sit out in it, and Roger lives in sun-drenched Florida. It needed more length of beading to match the size of the house charm. It's such a cheery little thing to look at. I don't think you can feel sad too long on a bright and sunny day, and its warmth and brilliance makes it easier to get up and try to be active. A good part of recovery is facing the necessary discomfort you have to deal with in order to heal, and accepting those things that will never be the same. That all takes courage. I hope this helps remind him that the sun will rise and bathe the earth in light every day even if you don't feel particularly perky. 

Next to the FIRE triad is a bell chain with fiery beads, little suns and hearts. I hope that red bell calls forth whatever strength and passion for living he needs to get through all this medical brouhaha.

The dragonfly came to mind right away when it came to the AIR triad, because they are such carefree masters of buoying themselves within it. Some wire and various beads and the design just kind of suggested itself. I kept the colors light and gossamer soft. Ideas just seem to come out of nowhere sometime, and Roger is a very creative person.

I want to make some of these to put in my houseplants!

Nothing is more light and ephemeral than thoughts or soap bubbles floating on AIR, and that's what these beads remind me of. Those are tiny silver dragonfly spacer beads between them. The little silver disc beads say WISH, HOPE, BELIEVE, & CREATE. Hopefully that purple bell will call up the creative muse again. Doing things with your mind and hands is integral to recovery because it changes the focus from 'can't' to 'can'!

The charm for WATER is very simple, a single pendant of sodalite in a teardrop or water droplet shape. The beaded attachment is long because it's a small charm, but when you think of it, emotions, intuitive thoughts and the subconcious things that affect us are often buried deep inside. Yet like water dripping on stone, over time they can have a profound influence, wearing a groove in our lives. The blue varies just like the ocean down where Roger lives, the darker colors farther out indicating deeper water. Sodalite is supposed to be a healing crystal that helps you put what's hard to say into words and clears confusion. It's also quite attractive and its cool colors are soothing.

Next to the AIR triad is the bell chain of blue bubble beads. Some of those are the ones I bought in my excursion detailed above. Peace and Serenity are things we can all use, but are vital after such a shock to your system, that turns your entire life upside down and inside out. The little disks are inscribed on both sides and I hung them so they sort of float on the blue E-beads beneath them. When that bell rings, I hope it brings a sense of calmness. 

The charm for the SPIRIT triad had to reflect some sense of a Higher Power or purpose that we could both understand. I chose Brighid's Cross, because it seemed perfect for both our worlds. Brighid was a beloved Pagan deity of the Celtic Pantheon. When the people of the area converted to Christianity, they just could not leave her behind. The Catholic Church eventually gave her a more Christianized identity, and she was canonized as a saint. She is associated heavily with healing, as well as various creative crafts, and spring celebrations are often dedicated to her. Since spring is the time of new beginnings, and life is starting over for Roger since his accident, it just seemed appropriate. 

This one is made of gold and silver chenille picks with the arms tied by a fine red coated copper wire. The hanger is gold and silver centered E-beads. There is no bell charm for this one, because nothing is more powerful than the faith we find within ourselves. My wish for Roger is that he finds the comforting, uplifting presence of SPIRIT to get him through this very difficult time.

This entire project took about a month to put together, but it was a labor of love. I wish I had a good picture of it finished, but I was eager to send it off. He should be getting it soon.

I mentioned that I had been crocheting lately, and that I had a considerable stash. Well yes, I have and I do. Since I have started watching TV programs and movies online with HULU or on the networks in order to relax before bedtime, I have the urge to crochet again. With Roger's banner all done I needed a new project. 

I wanted to do kitchen stuff and cotton is best for that as it doesn't melt like plastic if it catches a flame. Acrylic and all synthetic yarns will do that, so don't use them for kitchens, or anything you send to a military person. They are also very cold when wet, so 100% wool is best for military donations. Unfortunately it makes my skin break out in bumps and psoriasis plaques so I can't wear wool. 

I don't need any more afghans or amigurumi stuffies right now, but with the holidays coming, (and all the cooking that entails), I could really use some more hot pads. My counters here are hardwood and I don't like to set piping hot food dishes down on them. We tend to have most of the food-related family gatherings at this old farm. I could not for the life of me find my tub of cotton yarn! So I broke down and bought a couple rolls of Peaches & Cream cotton and put myself to work making double thickness hot pads. 

Nothing fancy, just two single crochet hexagons with a magic ring center and a 6 stitch per round increase. I joined them together on the outer edge with one row of single crochet and then a row of crab stitch (reverse sc). This yarn did come out of a work bag that I was rummaging around in. I used the join and turn method here, which gives me a straight seam and no off side. Both sides are the same color yarn.

This is one side of a hot pad with a brown ombre yarn I really liked and bought. I got the other yarn to compliment it. The hexagon here is larger and made with the spiral method, where you mark the first stitch of a row, but don't join or turn. It doesn't work well for hexes, and I thought it would appear more rounded. Not turning also leaves a right and wrong side, and for the double sided pieces, they won't match. Not the prettiest piece I've ever done, but it will be serviceable, and that's what counts. 

This is the back side of that piece. The plain tan color (they called it Amber) makes the unevenness less noticeable. This oversize one will fit under my big bowls and my 5 quart thrifted amberware casserole dish with some room to spare. Not only do hot pads save your counters but they keep the heat in the dishes and food. Otherwise it distributes to the counter surface and the food cools far faster. Throw a towel over the top and you won't be reheating stuff when you have multiple dishes to cook.

In rooting around in my project bag I came across this scrunchie I never finished. So I worked that up and had enough yarn left over...
 make this dishcloth of alternating single, half-double, and double crochet. The cotton yarns tend to fade like crazy and they're stiff, but the wear like iron and make good pot scrubbers. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WoodWorking (Week 637)

Year 12, Week 9, Day One (week 637)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-23-12 and 10-06-12 Sunday

I forgot to write anything down so I am may get things out of order.


My brother fixed the scroll saw by squaring the thread of the tensioning rod with a hammer. This made the thread out of round, making the nut stay put better.  He needed to do more but now is enough. It is now a good machine.

I marred a piece of wood with the knife and found my wrist was not good. I gave up.

I am trying to carve a skater. I figured out that if I have someone in a coat, it is going to take a lot of carving to get it done. I decided the skater is going to have to be a penguin. Smooth lines. If I get the design right, I can turn part of the project and bandsaw some more to save time. All I have to do is get to do it.


Nothing much to mention here other than picking up two books at a yard sale. One is a 1967 how-it-works book which is pretty good. I have seen others and this one has more text, which means it explains more.

I had a blood test and got word that I had  an urinary infection. I was sen to DR and he put in a catheter and coloscopy bag to check to see if there is a solution to one problem there. It hurt with every movement so I was not much up to do anything. They took it out Monday, two days early and I am not right yet, worse than ever before. I will be gong for surgery next week. Yuck!!

I doubt it much, but hope to do something in wood working next weekend.



WoodWorking (Week 365)

Year 12, Week 9, Day One (week 635)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-23-12 Sunday
I forgot to check the temps, cloudy with some blue sky, threatening gray to the south of us, This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
I went to the doctor and learned that I have several squished disks in my back, a vertabre where the "buttresses" that hold them in line is broken off, and of course my tail bone is broke. I will be going for therapy starting Wednessday to strengthen the muscles in my back to reduce any damage and to work on other parts of the body.
The weather was rough in the morning so yard sales were not out. I did go to WALMART and get some more cotton yarn.
One wash cloth I made was of ends of balls of yarn. I used the granny square stitch for that one. I then started a second one but have to wait formore yarn ends to finish that one.
I picked up one ball of yarn with long spaces between the colors. I did a standard design washcloth to see what the pattern was, then wrapped the remains of the ball around the fabric I made, and started a different kind of washcloth on the other end  I won't get that color patterned yarn again for small projects like this. The spacing of the colors never come out right.
Last week, I picked up some +2.5 diopter reading glasses. I decided to try them in my wood working. It worked out pretty good. distant stuff is out of focus, but stuff to arm's length are all right when the reading glasses are over my regular lenses.
During then night, I got an idea for a possible Christmas ornament, a running or scating figure. I got outside and cut a length of two by two and started carving. I found my right wrist is not strong enough to hold the wood while carving. It hurts. I have some strained muscles in the wrist, I think mostly from the improper use of a walker. I got off pain pill about the time I got off the walker and that was about when the wrist pain started to show.
I ended up not doing much carving.
We have several scroll saws and my brother decided to swap machines on the home-made carts they are on. One cart is higher than the other. Some machines have front to back movement on the blade, while others go up and down without rocking. My brother likes the tall cart and put the better machine onto it. While working with it, he broke several blades. He figured out that the tensioning knob was slipping. He will have to disassemble the machine to fix that.
I do need to start making Christmas ornaments soon. There is a way I can do the carving to reduce the pain, mainly by flipping the wood around a whole lot more so I can be cutting from the easy side.
I will have to see what I do next week.

WoodWorking (week 635)

Year 12, Week 9, Day One (week 635)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-16-12 Sunday
88 Degrees, clouds, a few showers, thick air, felt a bit dreary. This weather is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
I had an MRI scan mid week. This was a STAND UP MRI. You sat between two five foot diameter disks on a little chair at the back end of the disks. I had to move my shoulders forward to fit in the space. After I was wedged in place, they ran the machine in several sequences taking as many as 30 images in each sequence. It sounded like a really bad drummer.
I saw a few of the images but don't know the body well enough to see where the damage is. I have an appointment next week to get it interpreted for me.
The weather was not condusive to yard sales. Instead we went to the FESTIVAL FLEA MARKET. This is a nice sized mall building. Along the back side of the building is sectioned off for stores. The rest of the mall is boths one can rent and sell just about anything. It is all commercial quality items-- watches, clothing consmetics, jewelry, "as seen on TV", books, toys, all out of small booths. We needed to go to several of the stores, a shoe repair, Avon, DOLLAR AND UP, plus some looking around.  
We missed where two of the places were located and hand to hunt for them, there are five or six rows of these boths. some go all the way across to the next isle, while others are just half and you cannot see what is on the other side. I picked up a couple items at DOLLAR AND UP store.
We walked about half the mall plus walking across the parking lot. I logged in the farthest I have walked since the accident and did not do all that bad. I was puffing several times but otherwise, did well.
Heavy weather was expected and my brother was involved in a project for work and would not be coming up. After an early morning meeting, we decided to go back out to the FESTIVAL FLEA MARKET and visit the food court for lunch. I had decided I needed something else from the DOLLAR AND UP store. 
We had Chinese and it was good. I got what I needed in the store, and checked out a couple other stores I skipped the day before. I walked a bit too fast so when we got back to the car, I was puffing really good.
At home, after some playing around, I took a long afternoon nap before we headed off to another meeting.
I really need to get back into serious wood working. I have more than enough projects to occupy me and more than enough wood to last me several years.
I will have to see what I do next week.

WoodWorking (week 634)

Year 12, Week 8, Day One (week 634)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-09-12 Sunday
96 degrees, light breeze, blue sky with lots of fast moving patches of clouds. Only a  few times did one get in front of the sun. This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Department of tourism.

It has been 5 months since my accident. My back is bothering a little by mid day at work and my leg has not been doing as well as I would like.
We went to a special doctor who works on sports stars. I found out that my tail bone was broke, I have a compressed disk about mid back and may have a pinched nerve in between. I will be going to get an MRI to see what it can find.


We went yard sailing. I finally found some stuff to buy. I use a wheeled basket to carry stuff from my car to my home so my arms are not filled with loads of stuff.  My favorite basket is still stuck inside the wrecked truck. It does not look like it is repairable.
Mom found a wheeled basket and brought it to my attention. It is smaller than the one I had, and it is better built. It also has a set of wheels in front so that I can roll it without tipping it back when it is really full. It also fits behind the seat of my truck, the passenger seat a bit straighter up and down to accommodate the wheels.
I got one of those "as advertized on TV" Magic Bullets. It is a tiny blender. It came with two blades and two jars with lids.
I also got a set of those bamboo plate holders for holding paper plates. Some people may be getting them as gifts.

While I was in the hospital, my wood pile collapsed. one of the pegs I used to hold it up, gave way.  A few weeks ago, I had to go behind it to get a boy's ball that went over the fence. It was a real challenge for me to crawl over the wood to get the ball, and then crawl back. One big piece of wood seemed too heavy to lift.
Today, I went out there and started re-stacking the light stuff. when I got to the heavy stuff, they were not all that heavy. they were just pinned into place. Now my mom can get to the fence behind my wood pile.


I intended to clear off the workbench, but got involved in petting the cat, and watching my brother prepare some boards for Christmas Ornaments he is going to scroll saw. He glues the boards together, then after that has dried, he uses rubber cement to glue the patterns to the boards. He will drill entry holes for the blade to scroll them out, and then he can cut them out at leisure.

We went to SEARS to get some scroll saw blades. I had a gift card that I wanted to use. It had about seventeen dollars on it. I now have three dollars on it. SEARS is not a place I shop at very often. I like other kinds of stuff.

It is hard to keep track of things, but working with the wood pile yesterday may have over-done my back. Then again it could have been anything else. My back was bothering me by the time we went to an afternoon meeting.

I finished another pair of dish cloths in Crochet. I now have four pairs of dish cloths that are similar, three that are individual. I had a fourth that was badly rectangle. Looking at it, I found the end so I completely unraveled it. I then restarted with it being smaller. I got about a third of the way and realized I would not be able to do two of these with the way I was using the yarn. I unraveled it again and started with a new pattern. this really looks good. I am using a multi colored green yarn and a solid brown yarn. I am doing the wave, again as I have done before. This time, though, I do the wave with the green yarn, then I complete the wave with the brown yarn, then do a second  row of brown, then change back to green. It really shows off the pattern perfectly. I will also be able to get two dish cloths out of this two balls of yarn. that is good.

One project for next week is to clear off the work bench and get things sorted and put away. I have a lot of projects in process and the stuff for them in in the way. I can also change things around. I will say though, a couple lizards live in the piles of stuff and they are not going to like the change at all. They never dol.
I should also be working on my woodworking projects. I have loads of them to do. I have had a tendency of not wanting to get really dirty. I may have to just get over it.....

I will see what I actually do next week.

Woodworking (week 633)

Year 12, Week 7, Day One (week 633)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-02-12 Sunday

95 degrees, lots of cloud puffs, strong breeze, There was dots of showers around the county but nothing in our area, which is typical. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of pompano Beach department of Tourism.

I did not do any wood working, but did work out back. I drug out my tool boxes and bags taken from the wrecked truck. I sorted the bags to stuff to go into the shed and stuff to go home.
My two metal tool boxes had seen better times. My smaller one was in fairly good shape, but the front was pushed in. A little bit of pounding corrected the lid so it would close properly.
My big metal tool box was not in as good a shape. The bottom has a nice rounded bulge where the base was pushed in. I was able to pound the lid and side a little to get it to close. It is going to need more work.

I sorted through my tools. My metric sockets went into the small tool box, and then ratchets and wrenches, and finally some stuff that might be useful. I have a lot of screwdrivers. The stuff I chose not to put in there, went into the big tool box and that went into the shed again We were able to fit the small box behind the seat of my truck so I have some tools to work with.

Beyond that, I did next to nothing.

I will see what I do next week.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Come To Our Online Convention!

Pro Se Press, in conjunction with, is hosting an online convention this coming Saturday, October 13th, from 1-7PM CST (2PM to 8PM Eastern). This is going to be a lot of fun because there will be creators in and out all day, and you can actually chat with us, as well as attend panels and discussions. And it's 100% free!!!! Please do tune in and come say 'hi' to Lee and me, we'd love to meet you all. Follow the link below for more details.