Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Getting Just a Little Done

Today I got the binding cut and done around 9 potholders. They were Diantha's, and she cut 5" charms for the swap for me while I did her bindings. My machine was messing up so I took a break in the middle of it so my head wouldn't pop off. I would post a pic, but they are for the Weird and Ugly Fabric Challenge so... you just have to wait!

I also got a handbag made for my HeartFeltFun Boutique at Etsy. I called it "O My Handbag"... it is pale pea-green felted wool/angora from a recycled sweater, it has a cotton webbing and leather recycled belt in green, cream, and tan for a strap, and it is lined in deep pea-green with white polka dots. It has 2 inner pockets and zips shut at the top. A nice roomy 12" wide by 9" high by 3" deep too!

Diantha spun up one of her lavender wool/cashmere, orange corriedale, teal merino batts today. I don't know how much yarn she got but it is every bit as fun as what she spun yesterday. See?

I got a Treasury West tonight, called Much Ado About... Nothing? or is it Zero? Or is it an O? Here on the left is a screen shot. Be sure to stop by and click around!

And, ADustyFrame from SHEteam generously included my Daffodils recycled yarn in her main Treasury, Daffodown Dilly. Be sure to visit hers and click around too. The She team members all homeschool their kids, so being able to maintain an Etsy shop on top of it is a real feat!

I was JUST reminded that we not only have 4-H in the morning, one of the kids was supposed to submit a tabletop exhibit on processing fiber. I have all the caption labels and fibers, but used the exhibit board last week on gardening. Even if I ran up and got one, it would take til 2 AM to put it together. Then be up at 7 to make the meeting in the next town over, by 8:30. I just can't. So GREAT, I just got the 2nd Bad Mom award in a week. Must be a record.

But, on a happy note, it means picking up donuts for breakfast.

Heck, for donuts, I would just about stay up glueing fiber to cardboard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dude, Someone Blogged Me

Today I went to the firing range with my friend (and my daughter's MIL) Cheryl. We had a nice time shooting. My Lorcin .380 misloaded every time I tried to fire it, so I put it away. I don't get it; Richard thoroughly cleaned and oiled it before I went. oh well... Afterward we went to Wild Wings for lunch, which was more fun than shooting guns together. She didn't want to take home the targets, because ex-hubby-slash-SO, a retired Highway Patrolman, gets nervous about guns. She sent them home with me. I said I was going to Blog about them so the whole internet could see them. She just laughed and said, "Don't BLOG me!" So for tonight, I didn't post the pics. Tonight. Muahahaha...

On the way home my little old Suzuki was misfiring also, like one of the spark plugs is fouled or something. A project for tomorrow, maybe. So I have had a Bad Mechanical Day.

Someone did Blog me today! She wrote about recycled yarns on Etsy and included me! Thanks!

I snagged a main Treasury last night in Richards' Rossoaps shop at Etsy. Here on the left is a screen shot... it is called Cardinal Sins. What fun!

EmptyNestEgg also included my Blue Bell flower pin in her main Treasury, called She Stopped to Smell, which is all items from the SHE team. Thank you!

On to something we actually did. LoL. For Diantha's birthday last week, I gave her some random lavender and purple wool balls (I spun my felted slippers from them, passed some on to another knitter, sent some carded with other fibers to Japan, and gave Diantha the rest with some lavender Cashmere yarn bits mixed in), some cleaned and dyed orange Corriedale fleece, and some teal Merino. Yesterday she carded them together. She didn't divide the merino quite evenly, so ended up with a little extra purple and orange. She spun them up together last night and got 28 yards of the coolest, funky yarn! It will be great trim on something.

Yesterday we made Great Grass soap. It has hemp oil in it, and minced alfalfa... and the soap is actually colored with grass! We used lavender, cedarwood, and spruce essential oils for a deep, herbal fragrance. Wonderful!

2 Pink Ladies

Des kept Artemas last night so sometime today we had to go get him. But first (I have that syndrome a LOT)I did some yarns for my my7kids yarn shop at Etsy. Here is a peek at a couple of them... on the left we have Size Doesn't Matter, Baby (a mini skein of course, LoL) and on the right we have Date the Smart Girl. There are a couple more, but you will just have to go see!

This morning I caught Beverly with the camera. She took a 2-yr.-old's eye view of... something. When I asked her, I think she said Feet. I don't take pics of my own feet, but it seemed important to her. I can see a real artist emerging here, can't you?

Richard and I also made a new soap... it has chlorophyl for color, finely minced alfalfa, and is fragranced with essential oils of Lavender, Cedarwood, and Spruce. Very herbal and deep! And since it also has a little bit of hemp oil in it, we are calling it Great Grass.

I have been working on a TOP SECRET project... my Weird and Ugly Fabric Challenge Quilt. My online group has this challenge twice a year, and it is really fun! We have to sign up for the challenge and receive the fabric without knowing what the HECK it is going to look like. Then we have about 5 months to make anything we can out of it (one lady even duct-taped hers to cardboard once). You would not believe the artistic quilts that come out of this! We get menial prizes for arbitrary categories. It isn't the prize that matters, it is the stretching of our quilting muscles! Well anyway, it has taken the place of the block-a-days for the time being, since I have 3 other burgeoning quilters to help out with this... and it is due Apr. 1st. I am not allowed to show my quilt until after the voting, but here are 2 sneak peeks. LoL!

This evening at Des' house, we had homemade waffles and sausage for dinner. The two babies (my Betsy at age 2 and Des' Hannah who will be 1 on the 10th of April) happened to be wearing the same color pink, along with pink cheeks from being out in the sun Friday. Beverly was playing under the table, to be close to big sister Des, who was sewing at the table. Not to be outdone, Hannah had to venture under also. So I took pics of the two Pink Ladies.

And if that weren't enough fun for everyone, Des decided that Jeremiah and Hannah should have a bath, and naturally Betsy would NOT be left out of that one. So last of all, here are the Three Redneck Babies in a Tub. Gooooooood night, everybody!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sometimes Your Kids Make You Proud

Tony has been buggin' me for at least 2 years to draw him a scorpion to get tattooed on the inside of his right arm. So Friday I did it. Here (on the left) is my drawing. I couldn't find a good, black and white rendered picture of a scorpion so I wasn't real sure about the face. The tail says, Luke 10 19... which is,

"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy. Nothing shall harm you."

And here is that drawing translated into ink, fresh off the press, "in the flesh," so to speak. The tattoo was done this evening by John Goad of Alter Ego in Knoxville. He reworked the face but left the tail, with its meaning, intact.

We watched Jeremiah while they went. When they got back, Beverly thought she had to have a tattoo too. So here is hers. And, then Jeremiah wanted one. Nana drew him a "guppion" of his very own. And he wanted a LOOONG tail, like his daddy's. I didn't ask how long. There are some things a Nana doesn't need to know.

Desiree also got her nose pierced. She has a nice nose for it, and I think it looks fine. Tony likes it too. We all had steaks with mushrooms and onions on them and pasta salad with dill and veggies and good 9-grain bread when they got back.

Getting the grill out, I got SO mad at my dh. He is a packrat of apocalyptic proportions. No joke, one time we had to clean out a 1-car garage in order to build a bedroom, bath, and laundry area in it, to shoehorn our growing family into our first, tiny, 2 bedroom house. We filled a 20-cubic-yard pull-car dumpster 2/3 full from that garage. Well Tony built us a new cube a while back (a whole other sore spot with him, Richard thought he would "improve" the design), and R has already proceeded to fill it disorganizedly with stuff. Took me 35 minutes to get the grill out. After 26 years of his stuff packed everywhere, he is lucky I don't divorce him. Don't think I haven't weighed the option. One thing is for sure, I would have this junk out of here before the ink was dry.

Speaking of which, I have wanted a little tattoo for years, and he won't let me. Says he doesn't want me to go through any "Pain." ?!? This from the man to whom I have borne 7 live babies. I told the kids, when he dies, I will get a tattoo on the way to the wake (actually I think my words were, before his body is cold.) LoL. Maybe I am even kidding!

I listed ONE new item today in my HeartFeltFun shop at Etsy. Here it is... a poncho from mohair, LOTS of glitz, and turquoise fun fur. This is one of the 100% charity donation listings. Gorgeous!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Picturesque Busy-ness

We had a good time at the 4-H fair yesterday. They gave me all the wool from the sheep shearing... some of it is a lamb's first shearing. I don't know what breed, but it is simply lovely. One of the ladies was talking to me and asked if I would like to have the wool from their shearings this year... New Hampshires and Dorset. I know Dorset isn't next-to-skin soft, but it would still be good for felting or selling to felters. I said, well, if you don't need it... and she said, "Oh, no, we never knew anyone who could use it for anything so we have just always thrown it away!"

What, WHAT, WHAT?!?

Here are two pics of our setup there: the left pic is our display table from the front, the right one is with labels.

Like a Bad Mom, I forgot the sunscreen. I remembered just as we got there and meant to ask hubby to run home for some, or across the street (to the big-box store), but got busy setting up. Then he took off and was gone an hour and a half... came back and took off again. By the time I remembered, we were all pink-cheeked. Not bad, no one seems blistered. But I felt sad about it anyway.

WoolAndWood at Etsy bought some yarn from me a while back, and has made this incredible, felted Irish Summer handbag out of it. Stop by her shop for other gorgeous, creative items!!

I nabbed a main Treasury tonight, called SHEteam is Simply Blue. Here is a screen shot. SHE team is Schooling at Home Etsians, so God bless us, every one. We need all the help we can get, LoL. Despite our busy-ness with teaching at home, the team members manage to create WONDERFUL art. I am proud to be a part of it!

One of the advantages to having more than one shop (and more than one computer) is that sometimes one can do the impossible... and have a second T. Cheating, I guess. But I let my 10yo daughter Veronica pick out all the items, and Diantha helped her with the headlines and comments. So on the left is a screen shot of her T, called Pink and Purple Pills. If you get a chance, go visit these lovely collections and click on the items... it gives the artists exposure, and boosts the Treasury in the Hot lists, helping it have a chance to be an Etsy Front Page.

One more: EmptyNestEgg at Etsy has generously included my dh Richard's Fish Away Odor Removing Soap (which really works by the way) in her Treasury, called She Said Go Fish. Here is the last screen shot. What a nice Treasury! Thanks!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sheep Grease, Vegetable Seeds, and Glue

Tomorrow is National Agriculture Day. That is the point in the year when our hard-working farmers in this country have produced enough food to feed the entire country for the year. Our 4-H group is having a big to-do at a new, large grocery parking lot. The Cattleman's Assoc. is bringing major farm equipment and cattle. They are apparently going to do a barbecue. Our 4-H in this county has been deemed the most active in the state, so we are going to have demos on large-scale farming, sheep shearing, etc.

The other day my younger kids and I started an exhibit board. On one of the 3 sides, we have large letters (which I outlined and
they colored in with crayon) saying, WHAT can I grow? Below which we have more than a dozen seed-packet tops glued on, with some of the seeds for that fruit or vegetable glued next to them. There are more packets than what show here. Glued on. Lots of glue.

The center says, "How Do They Grow?" and has pictures and drawings of a seed from sowing through all the stages to harvest. We used a tomato plant as the example because it is easy to grow and recognizable.

The last section says, "What Can I Plant Things In" and has multiple pictures of container gardens. Everything from Cubist-style planter box, to a garden (complete with corn!) in a horse watering tub, to strawberries growing in 24-0z. soda bottles, to tomatoes in urns, to squash in a baby pool. The idea being that we can demonstrate that you don't have to be a large-scale farmer or have an extra acre lying around to grow food... and you don't have to be dependent on a large-box grocery store for everything you eat.

Our family grows herbs, onion sets, and tomatoes in a large claw-foot, cast-iron tub. Tuesday the Old Farmer's Almanac sent me an email saying to Plant Peas on St. Patrick's Day... so since we don't have anything else growing right now, and nights are still cold (which peas don't mind), we planted some. And Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce, and green onion sets. We put the ends of an old wooden crib between the tub and the side of the house, for a trellis for the peas.

Back to today. Since the group is going to have a sheep-shearing, they also wanted a display that shows what wool is useful for after it is sheared. I have a drum carder, and 3 of my daughters and I all spin and knit. So I am taking that to set up, along with some washed fleece and some dyed fiber and some handspun yarns we have made, and our current knitting project (particularly the bossy one), so that people can see that you don't always have to make something the color of oatmeal or shaped like a sweater. So today I dug around in the shed and filled 2 large mesh bags with about half a sheep with all the lanolin and dirt in it, and processed it several times in soak cycles in my washing machine.

Speaking of which, I have to go get the sheep out of the machine and dry it on Air Fluff or we will have the wettest wool going tomorrow.

I hope the weather is dry!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Today is my daughter Diantha's birthday. She is 14, and suddenly tall, gorgeous, sophisticated, and entirely nonchalant. She has eclectic taste in clothing and quilting fabrics and good taste in books. She takes responsibility, helps out, pitches in, and goes overboard. She reads her Bible and does her school without being nagged, and she is witty AND funny. In short, a great kid, on her way to being a super adult.

But... when she was a baby, she cried and hollered if anyone would just even LOOK at her from across the room. I thought she would never stop fussing, never stop clinging, I would never be able to put her down, she would never wean. She was a beautiful baby, with a beautifully shaped head... and all her life it hasn't mattered what weird thing we have done to her hair, it has always looked great. But was she a whiner!!! Desiree, my oldest daughter, said that it was God's way of reminding us that Nobody's Perfect... cause if she didn't whine, she would be perfect. LoL!

Not like we didn't love her through it. And I guess she is a life-lesson in perseverance... Because by now, we are sure glad to have her.

Here is another pic from babyhood... wearing very special glasses. One of her waiting in the doorway of the bathroom at Frozen Head State Park, to go out and be in Desiree's wedding. And one from a haircut of a foot, on Mother's Day a few years ago.

Today we made cupcakes for her to take to share with the girls in her small group at church youth group. We used a from-scratch recipe that I usually use for dark chocolate cake, but left out the secret dark chocolate ingredients, added in a little milk, and made white cupcakes. Diantha did it with a little instuction from mom.

Besides that, all I got accomplished today was to make some awesome Corned Beef soup and a huge loaf of homemade wheat herb bread. Oh, and I knitted a few rows on my new project, paid about you don't even want to know how much money in bills, spent $47 on Etsy, which is probably my allowance for a month, and shopped for groceries with 4 of the kids and dear hubby in tow. Not to mention I have been in almost constant pain for week now with these stones. Geez no wonder I am exhausted.

I have another pic above here to show you. Yesterday someone who shall remain nameless took a pic of mom at the firing range. Here I am with the Lorcin .380 squeezing off a few. I was also doing one-handed practice, and it turns out I am a better shot with one hand than with two. Go figure. My arms aren't really that big... it is the perspective of the picture. LoL. But you can see the purple shades in my hair, so that's fun.

One last little tidbit. A night-time snack, if you will. Last night we made Orange Nutmeg Sugar Cookies (I like Lemon Nutmeg but didn't have any lemon oil and I did have orange, LoL) with green sprinkles on them for St. Patrick's Day. We made a probably about 6 dozen at least. This morning these are all that were left. Yes, folks, I really am feeding an army of locusts.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I've Become The Horrible Quilter

Well, I did it. It's official. I have become The Horrible Quilter.

I was in this challenge swap, where each participant had to submit 2 colors they loved and one color they hated... choose a season that is their favorite, and a style of quilt they DISliked most (art, traditional, applique, etc). Then each person in the swap was assigned another (secret) person and notified of their choices above. We were to make a mini quilt (max. 24'"x 24" square) in ONE of their two favorite color choices and with a theme of their favorite season, and within a type of quilt category that wasn't what they didn't like. In other words, if the person I was assigned to loved green and winter and hated applique quilts, I could make a mini quilt in shades of green with a winter theme in any type of quilt besides applique. We had to mail the quilt off to this secret person NOT BEFORE Feb. 22 and not later than March 30.

So I got right busy and made a wonderful quilt in traditional blocks in a Fall theme in the base color Orange (or variations thereof, like brown being the darkest orange and pale yellow-orange being the lightest). I posted pics of the components on my blog before. I made a Tree of Life center, with setting corners of light oranges on top and earthy oranges at the bottom (like sunrise and dirt, LoL) in strip-pieces, and a bunch of Flying Geese to go up the left side and down the right. I finished all these components by about the first of February.

Since it was too early to mail, I put the quilt top away. And lost it.

Des tells me last week that it had to be mailed by Saturday. PANIC. I cleaned house, cleaned out stash drawers, pawed through piles of fabric and boxes of yarn and fiber (just in case). Never found it. So yesterday when everyone was here for Diantha's birthday party, Des helped me cut out squares for a Split 9 Patch. You make 9-patches and cut them in 1/4ths and reassemble them. I put the quilt together last night and quilted it this morning, with variegated thread. From the back, you can actually see the quilting pattern... which is Leaf shapes in the large dark areas, little football shapes in the small dark areas, and kind of wiggly pinwheels where 4 light strips meet. Not so bad!

From the front, it looks like a drunk put this together and quilted it with a treadle machine in the back of a dark alley. Gotta be the worst quilt I have ever made. I mailed it anyway. When I got in the computer to get the lady's address, I noticed that the mail date isn't til March 30. By then I could have found the original quilt top, or made something better. But I mailed it anyway. Now I am The Horrible Quilter. Wish I hadn't been required to sign my name.

On a little happier note, I got a main Treasury last night, actually obscenely early this morning, called Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow... fonder.Or is it more forgetful? which is doing pretty well in the FP race. To your left you will see a screen shot. Since I took this screen shot, I moved a couple alternates in, just for fun.

Mid-morning today, from my other shop, I got a Treasury West in honor of Diantha. It will expire on Wed., which is her 14th birthday. She loves orange and purple and avant-garde type items, and her name means "Flower of God," which is what I named this treasury. Here on the right is a screen-shot of it.

I didn't do a quilt block-a-day today, since sandwiching and quilting badly and binding and washing an entire quilt, even if it was only 24" x 24", was all I could take.

I did start a knitting project today, which I thought was going to be a set of fingerless mitts. As I cast it on, it decided to be something entirely different. I mean WAY off the different scale. Then when I got 4 rows knitted, I decided that it should be made differently than how I was going about it. Since I am not working with a pattern, and since I am already giving in a little to the insouciance of the yarn not wanting to be what I wanted it to be, I can be a Domiknitrix and make this yarn behave. (by the way, that's a great, if offbeat, knitting book. Click on it and you can get it at for 3 bucks!)

Right after I rip out these 4 rows. Here is a sneak peek. And that is all you get (LoL).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tips for Ts

I have had some people ask for ideas, so...

Here are some tips for making GREAT Treasuries on Etsy!
  • 1. Decide on your Category - but don't be afraid to think outside the box. For instance, you may want "Cats" but you may also want to try searches of "Feline," "Tigers," "Kittens," "Stuffed," "Toy," etc. You may want to have a category within a category... perhaps items of Kittens with Blue in them. Narrowing it down more will give your T cohesiveness.

    You might want to have a variety of items (for instance, a piece of jewelry, a painting, a cloth apron, etc.) or you may want to keep it to ONE type of item (example, blue stuffed toy kittens). Don't forget to include the team tag in your search criteria if you want items from a team you are on... but don't get a huge guilt trip if you find great items for your theme and they aren't from your team! Just make your T beautiful and fun!

  • 2. Decide on your Title - this way when a T comes open, you aren't suprised, flustered, or unprepared. Be clever! Think of an alternate way to say what you want. Blue toy kitten example: "Mews with the Blues"

  • 3. Have a Method - I do my search, then go to the last page, because those listings have usually been up longest and would appreciate the exposure. Then I skip the last page or two, because these listings can actually expire before you are able to get a T or T West. I work forward using odd pages only, then if I haven't filled my 16 item quota (12 for the T plus alternates), work back through on the even pages.

  • 4. AND THIS IS IMPORTANT! Probably actually the first rule of Ts! ONLY choose listings with EXCELLENT, EXCEPTIONAL PICTURES!! Look for things like an attractive but not distractive background, a close-in shot of the item (even at an odd angle), beautiful lighting, and true color. One way you can tell if the color is true is to look for a "white" in the picture and see if it really is white.

    I have been known to write (politely) to an artist and say, "I am hearting items for an upcoming Treasury, and would LOVE to include your item, but the picture is a little fuzzy. Is there a way you can retake the main picture?" or, "your third listing picture is more attractive visually, can you rearrange them?"

    Even if I really LOVE an item, I will pass it by if the photography stinks.

  • 5. Heart the items for your T. If you are going to include an item (or two!) from your own shop, don't forget to leave yourself a couple "spaces." Have a new tab or window with your favorites open and refresh it from time to time to keep count of what you have going.

    I go to my shop, then open Favorites from there. It will come up with a 12-item gallery almost like your Treasury. Even if you are going to put some of those items as alternates, and items from the next page in the T itself, you will still get an idea of what it will look like and where you want to put items in your layout.

  • 6. Make a great layout! If you have items with dark backgrounds and items with light backgrounds, alternate them... Light, dark, light or vice versa. Or a "busy" picture, a calm one, a busy one. If some of your listings have a dominant color in commmon, put them in a row or down the middle of the T to draw the eye down. Most Treasuries, the items in the first two rows will get more clicks than the 3rd and 4th row... so arrange items so that they draw the viewer down to look at ALL the rows!

  • 7. Make a comment... let people know WHY you chose this treasury. Make them interested! Don't forget to click! Even as curator, you are allowed 12 clicks that count. which leads me to number 8...

  • 8. Spread the word! As I click on each item once my T is made, I then go to the Contact link and let the artist know they are in my T. A simple message that can be copied and pasted in for each listing, something like this:

    I have just included your item in my Treasury [West]. Please visit, click on items, and comment, to see if we can make the front page! Thanks!
    Then post to your team's forum or yahoogroup, or both. If you blog, blog about it and provide a link to your Treasury. I have Gadwin PrintScreen software, so I can take a screen shot, crop it in my graphics program, and post it on the blog. If you use F11 on the keyboard, it will disappear your tool bars and headers so you get the whole T on the screen at once.
  • Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Until Then...

    I have other stuff to blog about tonight, but until then, I thought you might enjoy this Shine article on The Top 10 Worst Foods of 2009. I am happy to report I didn't eat a SINGLE one of these. But that's not sayin' much...

    Well today I reached 200 sales in my My7kids Yarn Shop at Etsy, less than 9 months after my first sale ever! Woo Hoo! My current series of recycled yarns I am putting up is called Man-swers... things like Put The Seat Up, Walk the Stupid Dog, Mow the Lawn, Be Nice to Her Mom. I could probably do this one for a while.

    Meanwhile I also put a new item in my HeartFeltFun Boutique at Etsy. It is a little felted basket or bowl with a rolled rim, built-in handles, and beads. I knitted and felted it out of one of the handspun yarns that were sent to me from Japan to donate to our Youth Center. I hope it sells quickly so that some little girl can have a darling Easter Basket!

    Yesterday in our rainy-day travels, I took some pictures out of the car windows. This picture on the left is the Bull Run Steam Power Plant run by TVA just on the North side of Knoxville. It is HUGE... the building alone (at the base of the taller tower) has 12 stories of platforms on the outside, and it is dwarfed by the steam stack and tower. The steam was such a great contrast to the dreary sky I couldn't resist this pic, even through the windshield!

    You may notice across the bottom of the stem plant pic, the continuous "cloud" of fluffy white. These are the dreaded (or coveted) Bradford Pear trees that are so ubiquitous here. These trees do not bear edible pears, but in the Spring they bloom entirely white. The fall of the blossoms could, I guess, be referred to as our last "snow." Then they are covered in the most audacious chartreuse new leaves... which develop into glossy deep green, wonderful shade. In Autumn the leaves turn scarlet red to deep plum.

    They are all over the place, as evidenced by this picture of a major intersection in Knoxville, at Cedar Bluff Road and I-40 Eastbound. And, there are 5 of them in my yard. Oh so beautiful but I think the flowers stink (smell like vitamin B1) and the pollen has me acting like a mouth-breather for weeks. Hey, beauty has its price.

    One more picture of community beautification for those of you not lucky enough to live here. All over the place, on the sides of highways and overpasses and in medians, some soul with foresight planted (or caused to be planted) millions of daffodil bulbs. This hillside isn't in full bloom yet... that will take a couple weeks. But for several weeks in the Spring we are treated to these cheery yellow blooms, just about everywhere we go. Guess you only have to take the time in your commute to actually notice them.