Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Couple Spun Skeins

  I just took my yarn off the niddy noddy's this morning. I had wetted them down really well last night.
  I was quite pleased with myself that I actually got better at not over spinning. These were from last year My previous yarns were really really kinked up lol So I can finally see some improvement in my spinning
     The reddish one and the one to the far right are really really soft and nice-I had bought just a few ounces of each over on etsy to use in one of my needle felted art pieces-but when I was learning to spin had to see how it would spin up

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lots of Seeds Started and Wool Roving I Could Not Pass Up-Of Course I Couldn't LOL

The last day and a half I have been busy busy bleaching last year's plastic bottles for my mini greenhouses, and making up lots more.  Then filling them up with seed starter soil and planting.

I did not count them but I have at least a couple dozen I am sure-lots of herbs, herbs for the dye pot, heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers and one hot pepper and eggplant, I did order a couple more herbs and flowers on etsy that I will plant up when they arrive. The second photo is from yesterdays work, I did about that many more today.

The weather is pretty decent this afternoon, so I grabbed a shovel after lunch and worked out in the veggie garden digging out some really nasty weeds that will get large, hoping I got all the roots. They came in with the mulch we bought last year so I try to keep on top of that-especially with rain coming in tomorrow.

I have noticed that my lemon balm plant that I have had since we moved here back in 2003 really multiplied with all the spring rains last year. I love it but this photo only shows half of the new plants. So I am hoping to find neighbors to pass it on to.

I have been gathering dandelion flowers to make up a healing salve I found over at the Nerdy Farm  Wife-she has excellent recipes and information. This recipe had several new to me ingredients but I found them online so am anxious to make this.
   A couple years ago I found one dandelion up by the house, so I helped it to spread and now I have several-lol I have always loved dandelions anyways they are a happy flower full of sunshine-but since she shares so many good recipes to use them in I love them even more.

I was so happy with my results with my last spinning and that I discovered a couple things to make it work better for me-like I just realized I have been holding on to the roving too tightly-what a difference that has made lol  I have more raw wool that needs to be processed and just a little roving ready to spin-so when I was browsing on ebay a listing caught my eye. It was 2 pounds of wool roving that came from USA small farms on the eastern side and when I asked her if she knew the type of breeds she said mostly romney and black face sheep. What also caught my eye was free shipping. 
   The price seemed pretty reasonable but when I went to check out -shipping was listed. So I wrote her about it if there was a mistake and she said oh yes. She ended up giving me the 2 pounds of roving for the price of just 1 pound plus the shipping--sooo I couldn't help myself. It just came in today and it is really really nice.

I need to get the yarn I spun last year off the niddy noddys and put away so I can put my newly spun yarn onto the niddy noddys-and yep try this roving out. It is really thick so I can break it down quite a bit. Fun!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Couple Photos

The Royals, I am sure of it now, have taken over our pond up near the house for their new nesting site this year.
     I went out to put some corn out for them early this morning and Sir John came running out of the pond--"I am your friend with the corn" I reminded him of lol 
     So he has definately gone into defensive mode. We walk by this pond every day so he will just need to adjust.
   This photo will enlarge, and I took this inside the fence looking out that surrounds the front of our home.

After supper last night I took a peak at the dye pot and decided the embroidered blocks were dark enough. So took them out of the bath, squeezed the water out and hung to dry. These are photos I took this morning.  They are actually a bit darker than this shows--like a nice strong tea dye. I really like them-it just "countried" (is that even a word lol) them up
   These will set for at least a week and then I will rinse them well, hang dry, iron, and they will be ready to go in the quilt.

I have been trying to do a few things for the garden area but the air is just humid and cold enough I don't want to be out too long. We are soooo dry here that it is pointless to try and pull weeds too. So I did a few things and now I think I will take a much missed walk, as tomorrow promises to be very cold but hopefully some much needed rain will get to us this time.

Enjoy your weekend

Friday, March 25, 2016

Embroidered Blocks into the Onion Skin Dye Pot

I am sure you have read me say this before, I just don't care for a bright white cotton fabric in my quilts. Especially when all the other fabrics are men's shirts and homespuns. I am using my favorite quick pattern the original Turning 20 pattern.

I soaked these first in a little dawn soapy water to get the blue pattern to dissolve. Then I soaked again in synthropal which I always do with everything before I dye something-it takes out all the oils etc out of the fabric. and these blocks had been handled by my Mom and me as we embroidered them. A couple that my Mom had done had some stains on them but I just wasn't going to worry about that since these are last pieces she embroidered.

I decided to not put them in an alum mordant cause in the past I get a real orange'ish color from the onion skins and I just wanted to darken the white a bit kinda like a tea dye. I had lots of skins in the onion drawer both the yellow and the red ones so I just simmered those for about an hour, strained and then simmered about a half an hour with the blocks in.

I just turned the heat off so will let these sit in the dye bath til morning-I will squeeze and hang to dry-wait a couple days and then rinse well. I have learned that I get better colorfast results doing that.

I love them so far-just wanted to darken that white a bit.

To All of You That Celebrate Happy Easter Weekend

  For me Easter is part of spring and new beginnings. I get anxious to work in my garden and to get outdoors more and enjoy the sunshine.  and being a senior now I reflect on my childhood memories.   
   I love Jackie Lawsons cards here is one I wanted to share with you her cards always make me smile and feel good inside.

   What the doctor said:  I did a "big girl" thing and drove myself to the doctor this time. I am not one that has ever enjoyed driving all that much-I had to commute far when I was working so I did that but the rest of the driving I let hubby do. Our doctor changed locations several years ago from nearby to an hour away-expressway driving too. I decided I needed to face my fears (of always getting lost) and just do this-I was confident I remembered the way and I did!  I know this must sound really stupid but I really have always gotten lost since I first got my drivers license lol

   Anyways  I was right that my thyroid medicine was wrong and was the cause of my weight gain-so hopefully with the right dose now I can get back on track. 
    I wanted xrays on my left knee and my left hand. Our regular doctor is really good and he takes the time to explain things and gives me all the time I need-despite his nurse trying to rush him-love that about him. I turned a 15 minute visit to 2 hours.
    Below my left thumb above my wrist it is really swollen there and really hurts too. The xray showed it was not swollen but the joint area had moved off of where it is suppose to sit and is pushing the skin out to look swollen. He said for now it is probably at the worse it will get-he didn't seem too enthused about an operation for that-so I need to look into that for more information. He says if it gets much worse than we will rethink it.
    As to my knee-this knee I tore allot of cartilage 12 years ago-trying to get into a very tall tree stand to bow hunt-I still remember when my knee popped.  Well the xray shows that the cartilage is broken off now and moving around-and when I have that shooting pain it is rubbing on something and that is what is causing the tingling down to my foot too.
  So I asked him if I could still do my walks and he says yes don't stop walking. Then I ask will this get worse or do I have to take care of it-yes it will get worse and must take care of it.
   I have an mri set up for next week. My next concern is I do not do well on anesthesia never have-and my fear now is that this causes or excells dementia or alzheimers and I do not want that-it is in my family. I don't think my doctor believed me but I saw it happen to my Mom and her country doctor told me it would happen to her and it did when she fell and broke her hip. She had beginning dementia was living on her own doing well, and after surgery she woke up not the same person any more. so no I won't chance it.
    So I asked if there was a way to do my knee with no anesthesia and he said yes there was-so I will need to discuss that with the surgeon-I won't do the operation otherwise.

I always remember a line in the movie The Notebook-when his alzheimer wife who did not know who he was-said wow you must be really sick and he said No I don't look at it that way-rather my body parts are just wearing out. That's how I feel right now. 
   I do still blessed though things could always be worse-and seems allot of people have knee surgeries these days.

Long post-I know--still cold here with freezes most mornings Sir John and Izzy are here most every day now so they must be nesting nearby-we keep thinking possibly in the pond near the house but I don't want to get too close to them right now.

Last night I finished my embroidery piece-so am thrilled about that-will get these four pieces ready to dye and then I can put my quilt top together. Our company will start coming in every week in April so need to get the house in order too

Oh and I have noticed I am getting close to 200,000 views of my blog so I can see a giveway coming up soon

Have a good weekend

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Miss Jenny Ashley and I Are Making Some Yarn

  I have not spun any yarn since last summer. I was having allot of tension problems with Miss Jenny Ashley, and my arthritis issues were getting pretty bad for using my spindles. So when I started the living room re do I just put everything away.

   I found this alpaca roving last year in an Etsy shop-she had picked it up at an estate sale and she thought it was old. It is a little squished together, but there is no bad odors and it is nice to work with soft,  and I love the colors,

   After talking with an Ashford dealer that will be at Fiber U in July, on the phone last week-- she had given me some tips for my tension problems-and it worked for me today. 
  I still don't have the wheel motion down yet as I can't get the wheel to stay moving. I know that takes practice too and this is an older wheel-made in 1978-I bought it that year when I lived in Denver Co So I think this one takes more practice.
     My yarn I guess still looks like it always does; still a little too fat, but I am not needing thin perfect yarns just yet. This is much smoother and more even than in the past for most of it.

   I did get my two classes that I wanted for the Fiber U event in July, I wish there was time to take the one on making a batt with alpaca but she was using a carding machine, and I am going to play with a blending board that friend Gene told me about last year-so I probably didn't need that class. Perhaps next year I will be good enough at spinning that I can take some core spinning classes or something more advanced-hoping so.

  I decided to take my spinning class Sunday morning so I can have Saturday morning free to shop and stop by the Ashford dealer to look over my spinning wheel for me, before I take my Saturday afternoon class. So that will be a fun spinning weekend. 

     I kinda went crazy last year especially buying lots of raw wool to process-I may need to be realistic and sell some of that off and then just buy roving instead. There is only so much time in a day for a senior now who is moving slower these days lol

  The weather here in the ozarks has been soooo up down. From hard freezes to 75 degrees f within just a day, to very strong winds which we are having today with 40 or more mile per hour-so pretty strong gusting winds happening here today and tomorrow.

I have been praying today for those effected in the latest terrorist  attack--these terrorists really must be stopped--so sad.

Do you have plans for Easter Sunday those of you that celebrate?

Monday, March 14, 2016

London Fog Here in the Ozarks, Fiber U Classes, and Ouch These Old Bones of Mine

  Good morning, we woke up to a very very thick fog here in the ozarks. We had decided to drive to Springfield to shop at Sam's Club and Bass Pro but decided against it, as we like to leave really early.  Perhaps tomorrow morning will be safer for the long drive. There was zero to 1/4 mile visibility from here to there this morning.

    We are still enjoying spring weather for the most part, although we will be back to more normal temps by this coming weekend. 

    I did decide to make an appointment to talk with my doctor about my left hand, as it is getting much worse-and I am only in my 60s-sigh. The hexagons are so difficult for me to do now but I have my basket on the coffee table so I sew when I can. I also picked up my embroidery block that needs finishing so I can then proceed to dye those four blocks and put my quilt together. I have not been back on this project since my Mom passed last year. I had sewn lots and lots of 4 inch squares together to become the back of the quilt, the Turning 20 pattern blocks are all sewn together-so just waiting on this embroidery to get finished-which is actually easier and less painful for me to hold then the hexagons are.
        Last week I was continuing to take my long walks in the woods which I have really enjoyed and then one day when I drove up to the post office and got out of the car-my bad left knee shot out in pain-ugh this is from an old injury of torn cartilage that happened back in 2002. I am careful with it and over those years have had two steroid shots put into that knee. I tell ya this is the year of my older bones giving me fits -lol   I have been icing that knee down, using a compress of a strong tea with eucalyptus and white willow bark to get the swelling down. I did not do it yesterday and is swelled more again-so back to that and also I have some comfrey salve that I received from a friend so am going to try that too today. I also did allot of reading online and I had never heard of magnesium oil-a topical for sore joints-so I have been using that as well.  I refuse to get talked into a knee operation so will see how this goes.

    I did just sign up for two classes at Fiber U that is held in Lebanon, Mo and sponsored by an alpaca association. It is held in July. Here is a link if interested. My only complaint is that they collect a one day or a two day registration fee first that goes to the association and then we get billed for the classes. I have complained about this fee being extravagant $20.00 if you have classes on one day and $35.00 if you are taking classes on both days. The class fees are very reasonable but this association fee to me is ridiculous and really makes the total cost expensive. We are so rural here though that they do fill the classes.
    Always lots of nice vendors and two days of classes to choose from.
      I decided I really need a hands on beginning spinning wheel class so I signed up for that-I still have tension problems or a lack of understanding of my wheel in some areas. I also contacted a vendor that is an Ashford dealer and already talked with them about going over my wheel before I take the class. So am excited about that. I can handle the spinning wheel better than my hand spindles right now too.
     I also am going to take a class called Woolology 101 that is also a four class that goes into detail about what to look for in a fleece, the parts of the fleece and how to sort, wash etc. It sounded like it was going to cover allot of information. There were a couple other classes I would have loved to take but they have overlapped so many of the classes or they are only offered one day-perhaps next year I will check those out.

  Over the weekend I got out my bag of washed churro wool and started carding up some rolags again. I really love this wool-am going to try using the rolags on my spinning wheel once I get enough.
      photos will enlarge--in the corner there is an orange pillow I am sitting on--I wove the material and made three pillows years and years ago-I made them to match my Mom's furniture at the time.

     Next month we have friends driving in to visit us and the woods almost every week-a friend driving up from Florida, and then friends from Wisconsin, and then a friend from Chicago, and another friend from Illinois staying a week-wow I better start thinking about food to make lol   and I will need to hold off setting up my hand quilt frame to tie my quilt til May it looks like.  and depending on the weather the last month of March I want to start planting lots of seeds in the jug greenhouses-tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, flowers, herbs. 

    Sir John and Izzy have been hanging out here more. When they are here they act like they own the place-lol and stay all day. I really enjoy them-have not seen them sleeping here at their usual spot for nesting yet though-so am still thinking they may have found another spot close by

    well looks like I have written another book length post-enjoy your new week everyone


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Deer , Oak Galls Ready to Use, Quilters Blog Hop, March Craft Month

   This morning since we woke up to the low 20s, I decided a good morning to grind up the oak galls I have been collecting from my walks-I started this last year early fall. I ended up with 2 wal mart plastic size bags each about 3/4's full.
     I have a blender I use only for my crafts so I just blended away. Online from Griffin's Dye Works they suggest 4 ounces of ground oak galls to one pound of cotton for mordanting (the fixative) This is a naturally gathered tannic acid. 
     I ended up with 7 1/2 ounces ground, so I will continue to gather these if I see them on my walks-before everything greens up. (photos will enlarge)

  Last year I collected several cotton and silk blouses at the resale shops to dye and eco-natural print-so with this I am ready to start. I do need to check my big box of dried leaves etc from two autumn's ago for the nature printing to see if they are still in good shape-with my living room project last year I did not get a chance to collect fresh.

   Of course we continue to have deer visitors-we have a big group of 7 and a couple smaller 3 to 4  deer groups that come once they know the corn is out.  They have been fun to watch as last year's youngsters are full of energy and seem to be playing tag or who can run the fastest-wildlife entertainment at its best lol Have not seen the royal geese anymore. I am thinking they may have found a safer nesting spot last year and may be there. Hope they visit for corn and a swim in our ponds.

Yesterday I set up a couple of the jug greenhouses of cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and a red celery which is new to me to grow. They are all duct taped shut now and ready to go outdoors.
     We have been dipping down into the 20s at nite this week so am going to wait til we are back in the 30s before I set these outdoors.
   I have many tender plants to start end of March or first of April for peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, dye plants, herbs, flowers. So I am still collecting bags of seed starter mix whenever I go shopping.
   I saved all the bottles I used last year so next warm day will dip those all in bleech water and they will be ready to use again. I love the vinegar bottles the best they are a little taller and have heavier plastic than the gallon water bottles.

While visiting my friend Carol's blog I discovered that March is craft month and that there is a quilters blog hop with prizes-go here to check it out  I have not entered any giveaways for quite some time now so thought it would be fun to do that and see what projects they are sharing.
   What creative crafts are you doing this month??

Remember when I dyed with silk ties on to silk fabric? that was so much fun-I had traded that piece as part of a goodie box trade with my friend Shroo in the UK  so I am thinking I need to dig out some silk and try that again.

Last week I made some soap-have not done that in awhile. I made up an order and then I made soap for me-I do the melt and pour with quality all natural glycerin soap bases. I had two pounds of a hemp glycerin that I used for me-and added in essential oils of lavender and palmarosa and also pink himalayan salt that I ground real fine before adding to the soap it turned out really nice. The bottom 3 bars have the salt.

We have had a very very mild winter here, pretty cold in January for this area but no snow to speak of-so we are in need of rain before spring planting.  I am ready for warmer temperatures to arrive and stay and to be able to catch up on outdoor work. We have been getting teasers here though-70s on the weekends so can't complain too much 

Oh and I also wanted to share an idea I found on facebook-teapots used as small bird houses or even for seed-how sweet is that??

Teacup and Teapot Bird Feeder Repurposing Idea:

This photo found on pinterest  Here is a page on pinterest with all sorts of them

Enjoy your Wednesday


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