Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do i Hear Raccoons on the Roof?? Nope-Surprise-----

  We now have enough returning hummingbirds that I need to refill most of the feeders in the morning. We are so enjoying all their antics and buzzing around again

  This morning while I was doing that I heard loud footsteps on the roof-really thinking it was a raccoon or squirrel I was totally surprised to see---

  No clue what they were doing up there-but they looked like they were really enjoying the view. Of course when I asked Sir John what was up??? He didn't answer lol   They flew off after being up there for awhile. Don't think we want this to be a routine event.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More Hummingbirds Have Arrived

 The last couple of days we are seeing a few more hummingbirds each day-seems like we are up to about a dozen now-buzzing all over. I have two feeders up where we can sit and watch them, and just out the gate three of their favorite small feeders are under the big maple tree.

  Trying to capture good photos is always a challenge do to their speed lol  and the light is really bright too.
    Miss Calico is out enjoying the weather as well. click on photos to enlarge

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Good Morning Tuesday & Just a Little Catch Up

  We finally are getting some sunshine and warm weather coming in end of this week-both most welcome  At least no snow here as I am reading some of you are still getting-sigh

   Sir John and Izzy have set up nesting else where, but they must be close as they are both coming up to eat the corn in the morning early and just before dark in the evening-so I am enjoying seeing them. I am guessing they must have decided to set up their nest in the woods, better I don't know where I think so not disturbed.

  A few more hummingbirds have arrived but so far nothing like last year. We were warmer last year and I think they had a very early breeding of young ones-which really adds to the numbers at the feeders.

   I am still so hooked on reading the Twilight books-I just started reading the 4th book. An excellent author for sure-the books just flow so well, and I can't put the books down once I have started.

  Once it warms up this morning, I will be working in the veggie gardens Thinking of planting my beans and cucumbers by weeks end as it will be much warmer by then and possibly a little rain on Monday 
   I have allot of young greens and baby bok choy ready to harvest that I am thinking of steam blanching and freezing-will be good for soups I think. In a couple days the bok choy especially will bolt with the warmer temperatures. I also have a Japanese veggie press that I am thinking of using to make a batch of cultured veggies.

      I was checking local prices on the big bags of miracle grow potting soil and a couple items and found an organic weed killer named Avenger which is totally organic and uses citrus oils-pricey for sure (but so is roundup) but I decided to order a gallon concentrate which is the best price offering and I found it at Wal Mart online delivered for free with the best price. The link will take you to the product information-here is a little excerpt:  Avenger Weed Killer is a non-selective, post-emergence herbicide that quickly and effectively kills weeds, grasses and broadleaves without causing harm to the environment. The active ingredient d-limonene (citrus oil) naturally strips away the waxy plant cuticle, causing it to dehydrate and die. University and independent testing results prove that Avenger Weed Killer is as effective, but faster acting when compared against leading synthetic herbicides. When tested against non-organic "natural" herbicides that contain vinegar (acetic acid), citric acid, clove oil or fatty acids (soap), it is more effective with quicker results. It's great for use in a variety of places, including gardens, lawns, shrubs, driveways, patios, mulch beds, fencerows, buildings, golf courses, athletic fields, bike and hiking trails, animal enclosures and more.
       Have any of you used it? I have allot to clear and just so dislike using roundup especially since it was originally made and used in the Viet Nam war to defoliate the trees-horrible stuff.  I need to clear the areas outside of my fenced in veggie garden again-where I want to plant some herbs and wildflowers for the birds, butterflies, and bees.

  When I was in town yesterday morning, I also dropped off my finished fiber piece with the bears, hand dyed fabrics, and needle felting to be framed. Our friends from Wisconsin gifted me with a beautiful barnwood frame for this piece. 
     I found out about this place that does framing really reasonable; was very pleased with the lady that helped me. I actually had a difficult time choosing the right color of mat-I found a yellow green that matched perfectly with the leaves in my piece, but I was concerned the eye would go right to the mat instead of my piece-so went with a tan mat. I was looking for a mat to match the frame colors but nothing worked that I liked.
     So now I am anxious to see it all put together. I also splurged and bought non glare glass which I like better than regular glass. So am excited about this.

  Over the weekend I cut enough shirtings and homespuns for two quilts, and am now working on getting enough for the 3rd one-this will make quite a dent in my stash and get quilts to use and gifts made.

    That's about it for my update. Have an awesome Tuesday everyone.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Few Garden Photos

  all photos will enlarge-just click on them for better viewing

Clematis now in bloom-these only bloom once in the spring-I have one at each end of the house

  My friend from Wisconsin brought me starts for the orange hummingbird plant. I don't know what their real name is but always loved mine when living in Illinois. They have large orange trumpet flowers that the hummingbirds love.

I bought one rhubarb plant last year and did not look very good by end of growing season, but this year it grew this large flower stem which I think is a good thing as it will bring seeds I believe for new plants. Behind the rhubarb is our shallots that Larry's Grandpa brought back from Israel many years ago.

My friend had enough compost to share a small load with me-happy dancin, I have some areas in my garden that still need built up  

One of my raised beds up near the house-lots of oriental greens, lettuce, kale, radishes, collards etc.

Wisteria coming alive

My jug greenhouses are doing well

wow a surprise this flower survived the winter

My lemon balm did really well last year and produced several new plants-love this plant

On a sad note for me Sir John and Isabelle have flown off-sigh. Sir John has had major defending his territory events here in the last couple of days, and last night a predator must have gotten Isabelle off her nest and took all of  her eggs.
     Larry is thinking coyote as there is no trace of her eggs and a racoon would have broken them. Must have been the last draw for Sir John, 
    I did get to see them fly off after they had eaten allot of corn at the feeder-really saddened by this-but hoping they find a safer place to nest.

Evening Update: wow I looked out the window and there eating corn was Sir John and Isabelle-what an interesting day today-

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Couple Photos from my Craft Room

Thought I would share a few photos this morning.

 First photo is a partial look at the completed backing-queen size of 4 inch squares all sewn together. 
      The next is a big stack of homespuns, shirtings, and outdoor prints all pressed and now ready to cut up for the Turning 20 pattern blocks. I will have enough to make a couple quilts. I have one more gift quilt to make-for our friend that is here now a surprise of course and then the one or two for us-I want to get these embroidered blocks finished and into quilts.
 The next photos are of the embroidered blocks-my Mom had started these for me and I am finishing them up. 
    When you look at the homespuns can you see what I mean-they are just tooooo white for me-those will get dyed with onion skins or tea-coffee dyed.

Next up is my recent raw wool purchases. I am very happy with this lovely grey merino wool that I found on ebay Most of this is actually a very soft grey.
   The next bag is of the rare breed ronaldsay which I purchased on etsy from England. I love this seller she is also on Ravelry

Next is a photo of one of my recent trades. I love my friend Barbara's creations. I traded several items I had made for one of her spirit dolls-she hangs on the side of one of my steamer trunks so I can see her when I walk into my room I am naming her after my hometown's namesake for a native american princess-Princess Mishawaka

And a photo of Sir John guarding Isabelle who sits on a small island in a pond-in the direction he is facing. 
  Two  mornings ago I woke up to loud honking noises around 6 am. I later learned that our friend caught the entire event as he was up early and enjoying a morning walk. A flock of Canada Geese decided they were going to land here on our ponds-nope says Sir John-he flew up and I guess told them this was his place now no room for You All-They left-quite the guardian Sir John is.

All photos will  enlarge

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Brrrrr It Has Gotten Quite Chilly Cold Here

  The weather has had it's ups and downs with rain, wind storms etc, but this morning a frost-wow was not expecting that but it has happened here even a freeze as late as mid May some years. The result though is a very chilly home now.

  We have seen a handful of hummingbirds this week, they are returning later than usual perhaps they know it is cold now-15 degrees cooler than normal.

   Our Wisconsin friends returned home Monday morning, and our Chicago friend came in late Sunday night to stay a week. Always a good visit with friends-good eats and good conversations-catching up from last year. We really enjoy it when our friends stay for a visit.

   I was hoping to do some gardening tasks this week but so far just too cold along with strong wind gusts-not for me-need to wait til it warms up again. I did finish sewing all those 4 inch squares together so I now have a big quilt backing. I will be checking the embroidery blocks I have been working on and see how many more I will need to finish. I am going to follow the Turning 20 original quilt pattern for the most part. The embroidered blocks should be really close to the same size as one of the quilt blocks in the pattern. I am going to soak the embroidered pieces first to rinse out the blue pattern and then either onion dye these or tea dye them so all that white background won't jump out of the quilt.

   I was so pleased to learn that our friends from Wisconsin take an exit off the highway which is right where one of my cousins live. I am passing down family heirlooms including our great grandmother's quilt and several of my Mom's lovely quilts too-so instead of mailing-and there was allot-our friends met my cousin for the delivery-this makes me feel so good and relieved that these treasures are passed on now. I do still have one more box that needs to go to him-dishes that came with our great grandparents family from Europe but I didn't think they would have room left and when they did I didn't have time to go through that-so we can do that in November.

  Hubby is still not feeling well-he is not in pain from his neck any more, but he is just not doing well. We see our doctor for check ups in a few weeks so hopefully we can learn more.

  Sir John and Izzy are still sitting their eggs, we had deer visitors again last night, also still many fat red squirrels that like to "hog" all the corn. The redbuds are leafing out now, the dogwoods are in bloom, and most of bushes and trees are beginning to really leaf out now-not the oaks yet though.

    It looks like I am rambling on now-lol  Have an awesome week everyone.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Good Morning Friday

  Wanted to pop in and say hello-and Happy Weekend

   Been seriously cleaning and scrubbing most of this week for our out of state friends that will begin arriving later today. This forces me to do a good spring cleaning which otherwise would probably get put off til later. and it's getting harder as I get older-I am old school and sit on the floors to scrub them clean. but am happier with the results. and I have a sign on the door to remind the guys-please wipe your boots well before entering-we have so much mud here and I want to keep things looking clean at least til my friends arrive lol.
   We have allot of rain and storms moving in tomorrow-which is a bummer as we were hoping to go fishing and enjoy the outdoors more-but doesn't look like a total wash out.

   I was delighted to sell a few more destash items which enabled me to purchase some of the new to me sewing patterns designed for handwovens-I am really excited about these.
      I also finally won a bid on ebay for romney raw fleece. It has been going pretty high and I have a dollar amount set  for  me stick with. After communicating with the seller I discovered she was a young 4 H 'er and this was part of her project to sell the wool from the sheep she raised. So I know it will be wonderful. I haven't been able to win white fleece yet, but this is a light grey so I think I can still dye it.
     I also received the rare wool from England that I had purchased over a month ago on etsy-(she gave me a really really good price and the cheapest shipping available. It is a rare breed ronaldsay  I love their story so was anxious to work with some of it-the link will tell you all about them.
   I am definately now all set with lots of wool to spin and weave with so must now refrain from purchasing more. 

   A few veggie seeds are coming up in the two raised beds and in my mini greenhouses-I have a few things from the plastic jugs that need to get planted. Of course I am way behind on the outside work do to all the rain and cold here. 
   Still watching out for the hummingbirds to arrive-I have one feeder up to keep an eye out. A few deer visitors still, now mostly small groups of last years offspring as their mothers are now giving birth to new fawns. and Sir John and Izzy are mostly nesting now.

  I am off for a few more things to do this morning to get ready.

   Oh and I am soooo hooked on reading the Twilight books the author is excellent. Hubby found 3 of the books at a garage sale for fifty cents-and I can't put the books down they are soooo good and better than the movies. I ordered the 3rd one on Amazon. Nice to read the story all at once-and it totally flows from one book to the next.

  and I wanted to share the amazing butterfly my friend Monique made with my handmade papers. She makes such beautiful jewelry.

Enjoy your weekend!! any plans??

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Violet Sugar

  It feels like a hot muggy summer day here in the Ozarks. Things are brewing for some more major storms for the next 10 days or so. I am not crazy about the storms but it is much better than the snow storms I am reading about from my Canada friends. We have had very very strong winds all day today.

   This morning after reading my friend's post here at Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains about her wild violet flower syrup and sugar I just had to go out for a walk and see if mine were in bloom. and They were!  
    Mine are not in abundance but I am always able to pick enough blooms to make something fun with in the spring.

   Last year I made a violet flower jam that I canned in little 1/4 pint jars that turned out really lovely, so after seeing the beautiful violet sugar I just needed to make up a small batch. Isn't this pretty??

   Since I have to watch the sugars for Larry, I used half organic sugar and half splenda with lots of violet petals. I think the splenda made this mixture more moist than just sugar alone.
     You take off the petals and only use those. Whirl up in your processor with the sugar. I looked online on how to handle this so nothing would mold, and I found to lay this out on parchment paper-and if you have an oven with a pilot light on-just place in there an hour or two til dry-then whirl up again, and store in a glass jar in cool dark place. Will keep til next spring-if it lasts that long. If you do not have a pilot just warm up your oven on low and then turn off the heat-check back in an hour and repeat as necessary.

   What do you do with this beautiful sugar you ask?? Great in a cup of tea, sprinkle on top of a white frosting, sprinkle with cinnamon on toast, sprinkle on fresh fruit, sprinkle in your yogurt-where ever you need a little pretty.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Looking Out One of my Craft Room Windows

I overdid my work yesterday-so today I am sewing up more of those small squares into a backing that will be used with a comfy quilt top to use for us. 
    Taking a sewing break I look out one of the craft room windows-and who do I see?? Sir John and Izzy-they have set up residence and walk around the house like they own it lol  Fun for us to watch them. They have started laying their eggs now, so Sir John is always on guard, he is such a gentleman.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Tuesday & Gardening and Weaving Thoughts

Happy Tuesday everyone

  This morning early I was determined to get the last of the hand spading finished up in my little veggie garden. The springs here go by so quickly before you know it and usually goes right into a hot summer. So being able to get the usual spring garden activities finished has been difficult for me here in Missouri-just really different than what I grew up with in the upper midwest.

   So anyways I have been working to get the sprouted green cover crop of oats turned over before it gets too tall. The last section was just that-growing thick and getting taller with all the warmer weather and rains, and very difficult to rake out the loose straw.
      I had been raking up the straw, and then putting it back on top of the spaded ground- finally was able to get that finished this morning. The air is heavy polluted with all things allergies too, so figured this last bit was going to get done at first light-and it happened. Happy Dancin  lol

   The other night I started back having problems with Miss Jenny Ashley spinning wheel again-the bobbin inside my new flyer does not want to spin independently of the flyer-so that means I can not spin and the yarn does not want to go onto the bobbin. So I oiled and lightly rubbed the flyer with a thin steel wool and so now that part seems to work. But it still won't work-so thinking I am back to the brake issue. I  may need to upgrade that nylon string on the braking system, cause I have had this problem before-but I was quite frustrated and still am that I can't get this to work right. Best thing for me in this situation is to walk away and think about it for a bit.

    So as not to get myself frustrated the last couple days I have turned to my weaving library, especially for inspiration on garment patterns to use with my future saori style handwovens.
     I have the first 10 or 15 years of the magazine Handwoven and several issues after that. Also back in the '80's and a little in the '90's I had purchased several of their special booklets with patterns for clothing etc.
      Reading allot of these patterns again now-I can remember now why I have not made any of these garments.
     I know how to sew clothes from a well written pattern, I am no designer though for creating patterns. Most of these patterns for clothing, are quite difficult for me to grasp, the diagrams are so tiny for the layouts of the garment-one would need to blow these all up to size to even use them and then for sure make a practice piece before weaving for the garment. It may be time to start selling some of these off.
    I also got out my saori weaving book-I had splurged and bought the first issue last year. Most of this book was about how to use their loom-which I don't have, but I like the book for the understanding of the saori mindset of weaving, and they do have some clothing patterns as well in this book. Re reading these again, these patterns make much more sense to me and I think may be doable for me to try.

    I was reading through ebay listings over the weekend on weaving tools, books etc, and ran into something I had never seen before. 
     These are actual pattern pieces designed for handwoven garments. So far I have seen for skirts, blouses, and coats. Also published by Interweave Press back in the '80s I think it said. Of course some of these are rather expensive but I love this idea so much better-an actual pattern-like a sewing pattern for clothing. Included in each pattern packet is a special tracing fabric so as not to cut into the actual pattern, Also included is a booklet on how to sew with your own handwovens.
     I decided to go ahead and purchase the pattern for coats. I wouldn't make the skirts, but the blouse pattern looked nice too, both of these look like they can modified for different garment styles.
   Here is a photo of the pattern, it has two flowing cover ups and a vest

     I am thinking of using this pattern for saori cloth that I weave. Anxious to get this now and see how it looks. Are any of you that weave familiar with these patterns? They are written by Jean Scorgie  If anyone is interested, after I purchased this pattern, I found a listing with all three patterns-that I may pick up and then sell the skirt pattern and the cover up pattern-cheaper than just buying the blouse pattern.

   Any of you weavers that see this post, what are your thoughts on the Handwoven garment patterns? Have you had good luck using the patterns for your garment making??

   We have a couple days this week, including today with highs in the 80s and very very thick air-which will bring in more t storms--so this week I just gotta start getting the house ready for out of state company.

   Have an awesome Tuesday


Friday, April 3, 2015

Severe Weather is Out of Here

 We have had 2 days and 2 nights of off and on severe weather with all the noise, strong winds, and hail. This morning it has moved on. Spring weather for sure.
   It now sits on the Arkansas and Missouri line down where Branson is near. That area always seems to get hit the hardest-the worse snow storms, tornadoes, ice storms etc. at least since we have lived here in Missouri.
   There were tornadoes cited just a few miles south of us around supper time but we are safe, no damage here.
   These storms are headed towards Kentucky soon-so take care everyone in it's path.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Warping for Mini Loom-Saori Style

  It is gloomy outside and the weather feels strange cause another big storm approaching us for this evening-so definately not in the mood to house clean.

  and the house was pretty dark this morning so did not want to get back to threading my 30" loom-soooo didn't feel like sewing either, so decided to look for yarn in my stash for the warp threads for my little 8" 4 harness loom.
   The warp threads is what goes on to the loom, so it needs to be strong. I am going to try out the saori weaving technique-which is free weaving-go with the flow-don't over think it-no rules-just do it.
   So not wanting to over think the colors of the warp too much I mostly needed to find a yarn for a 15 set-or 15 threads per inch-since that is what my reed is for this little loom. I grabbed a couple skeins of a  beautiful blue wool-I picked it up a couple years ago from a rural museum that had been given a donation of someone's weaving studio. I found out about it towards the end but still came away with some beautiful yarns. Most of the weaving yarns were from Sweden.  This pretty blue was in hanks-so needed to put it into a ball first before I could easily put it on my warping board.
     In all the weaving I have done, I have never used different colors in my warp-I have always put the color in the weft threads-so today I decided to go for it, and found a pretty green and white wool that was pretty close to the same size yarn as the blue. 
   I am really not big on stripes but I decided on 20 ends blue-20 ends green-white-40 ends blue-20 ends green-white-and 20 ends blue.  This was a good decision as the 4 ounces of blue would not have been enough for all the warp ends.
   I just took a photo, still need to add on the last blue. Thinking this project will be inspired by Spring in the Ozarks. Beautiful blue sky, fresh green grass, leaves, and other botanicals coming to life. Will add in lots of browns and greys too I think to reflect the woods and the wildlife here. 
    For the pattern I went to my favorite book of all A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davidson. It is the book I always go to for a weaving pattern.
      I chose Fancy Herringbone on page 53.  The threading also has three different treadling patterns as well so this will give me several options to play with-in this piece. It is a subtle pattern so am just going to go for it and see how this turns out-as the weft will be a mix of all sorts of fibers.
    I decided to put on a long warp but now that I look at it-ooops it may be too much for this little loom to all fit on the back beam-guess I will find out, sure do not want to have to re warp this. More I look at this-will be a tight fit.

Just a note, I don't know what is going on with my email, but when I reply to your comment through email I am getting this message from Norton security that I am sending out too many emails so won't deliver my email to you-have no clue what that is all about-and right now have no clue how to even fix that-any ideas please????

I know it's Spring as the Storms Have Arrived & Catch Up-Beads Photo Added

    I have completed my craft room for the most part now. I have little areas now that I can easily get to and work. 
       A clear path to my large vintage oak desk-my  main sewing area and work area. I set up the sewing table that was my Mom's in front of one of the windows-where I can play with my little loom and play with my blending board to create wool rolags-roving for spinning. 
     Also a spot to spin, and a pretty clear path now to my big loom-although I have a huge box of leather that I need to take outside and get the mold off of-will just use  a weak bleach water solution to clean with-once dry that can go back into the steamer trunk with the rest of the leather.
    I also have a vintage school desk from my old high school in Mishawaka, Indiana-when they took out all the original desks and converted to modern ones my brother who worked at the school was able to purchase a couple of them. This has a little oak chair I use (need two desks to have the seat) where I can sit down and run wool through cutters for rug hooking, and I am now thinking for weaving saori too. (one of the cutters was my Mom's, she had worn out her cutters so I bought new-larger ones. and I had found one at a garage sale that holds two cutters, so I had bought two different sizes for that one)
    So I am quite pleased with my week's work. 

Yesterday I went to the resale shop and was able to drop off two boxes to sell. I ended up putting allot of bags of quilt fabrics in there-cause they  just need new homes. I still have a box with must go items-that I have decided to just take to the resale shop-we can drop off every other week-this week was unusual to be able to drop off two boxes-they had gotten low in stock over winter.  I was not looking to buy anything new to bring into my craft room unless it was really special-like wool for weaving or quality beads. 
     I put all the beads away and didn't think to take a photo first-but I am so happy with my find.
     I found a bag with quality glass beads and a dozen or more of trader beads-and these look vintage-most were the long curved beads-also in the bag were several very large round trader beads. In the bag also, was a lovely collection of shells already drilled for using in crafts-and were different than what I already have. These will compliment the shells I had--collecting for my wool crazy quilt purse with an under water scene in beads, vintage, and embroidery.
     My friend has a quicker eye than I do when we go together shopping so she usually grabs the best first-but she had no interest in this bag, she did not know anything about trader beads, so when I got to that area-it was waiting for me-lucky me!
   At our other favorite shop which benefits the animal shelters in the area, I found a huge cone of yarn for weaving-I need to do the burn test to see if it is wool or not but it is really fine yarn, fuzzy and the set is 30 ends per inch so very fine. It was white and only $5.00. When I see white I always think of dye possibilities.
   I also was in need of "new" cloth napkins. I serve lunch every day to our apprentice and hubby and I prefer using cloth napkins instead of paper--so between the two resale shops I was able to pick up several napkins.

  I had hoped to continue spading my veggie garden when we got home, but as soon as I put my "farm" clothes on it started to rain--and continued raining heavier and heavier with hail all the way til 8 pm that was allot of rain and more to come today. 
      I tried to get a photo of the hail and all the rain coming down through the bay window.
      This morning we had a lovely sunrise-as you can see still red-so more storms coming in today and tonight.
   Spring has arrived in the Ozarks

I took a photo of a few of the beads-the little bags are tiny glass beads, a few of the shells, and some of the trader beads I paid $10.00 for a full quart size baggie filled with lots of shells all sizes these beads, a few little jewelry findings, and little trinket type things in jewelry  making.


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