Crafting Day

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Fall Crafting

A while back two of my friends and I decided that we really needed to have a craft day.  Today was that day. All three of us have a penchant for trying crafts of various types. We had planned to make a fall craft and we did!

I had empty bottles from my Young Living Ninxgia Red that I had been saving because I thought their shape was so cool. This seemed like the perfect time to make use of them.

Paint was purchased at Menards.  Rustoleum paint plus primer was used and worked pretty good to cover the jars and their labels. We decided we would paint them without the caps on as we wanted to be able to put flowers, grasses and things like cattails in them for fall decoration.

The paint colors I used on my bottles were Rustoleum Claret Wine, Fire Orange, Strawflower and Oregano with a satin finish.

One of the gals owns a Cricut and she cut the vinyl letters for us to put on. A earlier visit to Hobby Lobby and Michaels yielded some extra stuff to bling our bottles up.

The plan was to spray the paint on the bottles outdoors; so we wouldn’t have to worry about fumes and overspray in a building. Unfortunately, the day did not dawn bright, sunny, clear or glorious! It was, instead, hazy, slightly foggy, damp, chilly and not conducive to spray painting outdoors.

Plan A was scrapped and Plan B was implemented. My husband backed the car out of the garage, put cardboard on the floor, and set up three stations for spray painting. His word of advice as he left the garage……”shake the crap out of the cans before you spray with them. When you think you shook enough…..shake some more.” So we did.

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Spraying commenced and before long we were inhaling the fumes from three constantly spraying paint cans. We did have the garage door open (complete with hog panel to keep out stray chickens) but the fumes did seem to hang out in the garage with us.

We were tentative sprayers at first. However, it did not take long and we were in the thick of spraying.  It also did not take long; and we noticed one gal’s feet had a nifty orange tinge to them. It kind of looked like a bad spray tan.

Once we were done with our spraying we had to wait for our bottles to dry. We decided we would head out to a nearby town for some dinner (or to the city people…..lunch). We found the little local drive-in was still open and we also found that Slade’s Drive In still serves amazing food!

We also decided we needed to check out the second hand store in town…..Lost But Found. It is a second hand store that is a non-profit and benefits a local charity. You just never know what you might find there.   That is what makes it so much fun.

Once we returned home we decided we would finish our decorating at our own homes when the paint was really dried nicely. Cars were packed up and it was decided we really needed to have tea and sample the muffins that the other friend had brought along. It was a great decision!

We also decided we needed to try our hand at a selfie with our painted bottles. I am not totally sure how successful we were on that score! But we gave it our best shot! And it is what it is!

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Selfie

Despite the gloomy start to the day it turned out to be a wonderful time! It was definately an “Ooh, Shiny” kind of day. I would argue that any day spent with friends turns out to be that kind of day.

It was great to craft with them, but it was also so great to spend time with friends that know who you are and love you anyway. We may not be sisters by blood….but we are definitely sisters of the heart.

I hope you all have someone who is family of the heart. I hope you all have someone who knows you well and loves you anyway. Life is so much better with friends like that.

“I have learned
that to be with those I like
is enough.”
Walt Whitman

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Card Making and Sister Time

Card Making

I had a great day spending time with my little sister making cards today. In the weeks before surgery we picked this date as a good day to get my mind off recuperating and onto something fun.

She came before noon with dinner in hand…..chicken, broasted potatoes, and cactus bread from our local Pizza Ranch. That was a great way to start and was delicious!  Once eating was out of the way we got down to figuring out what cards we wanted to make.

She got her “stuff” out of her vehicle and then we scavenged through my craft cupboards. We also looked through Pinterest to find ones we thought we could make with what we had. The picture above shows the ones we decided on and ones we put our twist on.

We decided early on that perfection was not the goal.  This was a good decision as our cards ended up not always so perfect. The stamps and ink we used were mainly ones from Stampin Up. Our cardstock and paper came from anywhere we could get them. (Michaels, Ben Franklin and/or Hobby Lobby).

We spent a lot of time today making cards; but what was so much fun was the time spent visiting about anything and everything. We rehashed past surgeries, family history, good jokes we had heard, recipes we have tried and so many other topics. It was a good day spent laughing and connecting.

The time spent turned an ordinary day into something more. It turned it into a time of family and the memories that family carries. We have already made plans to do this again….only next time we are inviting the other sisters and friends. I have one sister who tells us that, “crafts make her sweat.” She will also be invited and we will try to make it as sweat free as possible!

The thing to remember is not what the cards end up looking like ……but how much fun it was gathering to make them. So much of life is like that….it is not what you accomplish but how and who, you accomplish it with.

What do you like to do with your sisters? What makes for a great time spent with your family?

May your weekend be filled with family, friends and fun. May you make memories that will last a lifetime and be the kind you can’t wait to revisit when you gather.

“The only ones who truly know your story are the ones who helped you write it.”
Unknown

 

Dishcloths and Memories

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One of my first posts I ever wrote; spoke of my yarn stash and how I was trying to use it up. I have been somewhat successful in that endeavor. I say somewhat because it never seems to totally disappear. It might be a little like the story of the widow’s oil in the Bible.

I should confess that it probably never disappears because I tend to keep purchasing yarn here and there for various projects. It never fails that you always end up with some extra from any project you do. At least I end up with some extra each time.

When I ventured over to the stash and looked through it I found some Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn. I thought I should probably turn it into a couple dishcloths as mine are getting pretty tacky.

Years ago, my Grandma made dishcloths and taught me how. I never knew what a YO (yarn over) was until she showed me.  I even have her pattern, in her handwriting, on a 3 x 5 index card. It is very special, at least to me, to be knitting a dishcloth from that pattern. Her spidery handwriting brings back more memories than just dishcloths.

In looking back she taught me way more than just how to make dishcloths. She taught me that there is a satisfaction in making something with your own hands that can be used in your home. She taught me that even things like dishcloths can be beautiful and colorful.

I can still see her sitting in her kitchen, on her chair with the wheels on it. (I personally thought that was pretty neat as our dining room chairs did not have wheels!) She would be hunched over the table, reading a pattern, a pile of yarn in front of her and a bowl, in the middle of her table with a single rose floating in it.

When she saw you come in the door she always made sure you sat down for a visit (at the table) and were served a piece of cake, cookie, banana bread or some new muffin she had tried. I learned at her kitchen table that a person could visit, eat lunch, and knit at the same time!

Grandma shared easily and so in the spirit of my Grandma I would like to share the dishcloth pattern with you. These are not too difficult to make if you can knit and do the YO thing.

They are a great project to take along when you travel; as they don’t use a lot of yarn or take up half your car with needles and balls of yarn. It is a pattern that works up quickly and is not overwhelming.

I also love how these clean my dishes. They have a slightly “bumpy” texture to them, which works great for scrubbing. I have also discovered that if they become stained or tacky looking; they make wonderful cloths for scrubbing the floor.

Knitted Dish Cloth
Sugar ‘n Cream or other cotton yarn
Size 10 knitting needles

Cast on 4 stitches
*K2, YO, K to end
Repeat from * until you have 45 stitches on the needle.

**K1, K2 tog, YO, K2 tog, K to end
Repeat from ** until you have 4 stitches on needle.

Bind off.
Weave in loose ends
K = knit, K2tog = knit 2 stitches together, YO = yarn over
NOTE: Grandma always made them with 45 stitches.
I tend to knit looser than she did so I do 40 stitches.

I hope you have as much fun making these as I do. I also hope you find them as useful and pretty as I do. If you do give these a try….let me know how they turn out for you.

In looking for a quote to go with this post I ran across a bunch of them by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. They are so funny …..perhaps because so many of them are so true!

“Achieving the state of SABLE is not,
as many people who live with these knitters believe,
a reason to stop buying yarn,
but for the knitter it is an indication to write a will,
bequeathing the stash to an appropriate heir.”

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
“SABLE- A common knitting acronym that stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

 

 

 

Repurposed Woodwork

 

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Repurposed Vintage Woodwork

 

I am a fortunate woman.  I have a husband who is willing to make items for me (usually…..after a space of time).  He is even willing to use old things and help me repurpose them into something else. I think he might be willing to do this because he likes the thought of making things that are useful and don’t cost a bunch.

My recipe box is a case in point.  It started out life as a baseboard in a home that was later abandoned. After getting permission from the owner, my husband and I removed some of the woodwork and hauled it home.

Some of the woodwork has been repurposed and used in our upstairs bedrooms. I love the old wood work. I love the wide old boards and the ornate corners and all the beautiful details those craftsmen of years past put into it.

Every so often I see a project on Pinterest or in a shop that I really really like. The price often deters me from purchasing. My brain, having a little conversation with itself, also deters me from purchasing.

Me:     Wow!  Isn’t that just so cool!
Me 2:  Yeah that is cool…..what does it cost?
Me:     (looking at price tag) Whoa!!! No wonder it is so cool.
Me 2:  Hmmmmm…… I bet I have stuff to make that in the schoolhouse.
Me:     Yeah, you might be right.
Me 2:  Of course I’m right.
Me:     Think the husband can be talked into making this?
Me 2:  Maybe…… Get a picture or make a drawing.

At this point I am hoping there are more of you out there who hold conversation with yourself. It would be a comfort to know I am not alone in this!

Upon arriving home (full of enthusiasm); I show my idea to my husband. He gets a rather pained expression (sometimes) but is usually a pretty good sport about it. It is fun to venture to the schoolhouse that is on our place and dig through stacks of architectural salvage to see what I can use for that particular project. It kind of makes me feel like a cross between American Pickers and Indiana Jones.

My recipe box was quite simple to make.  It only required a small amount of old baseboard.  I looked for the painted ones that were beginning to peel and had the old green paint showing underneath.  My husband cut it for me and assembled it and then I proceeded to paint the raw edges to match the peeling portions.

I painted the inside with leftover paint from other projects. I did seal it with some polyurethane varnish as I am not sure about that old paint. I put two layers of the varnish on to thoroughly seal it and keep it from peeling any further.

I then dug through my ribbon stash to dress up the outside. I also put little rubbery self adhesive things on the bottom corners.  We made my Recipe box  big enough to hold the 4×6 sized recipe cards and is a great replacement for the cardboard box I had been using to hold my recipes.

There is something quite satisfying about taking what others would toss and turning it into something useful again.  It gives the joy of seeing something worn and used turned into something of value once again. It has the feel of redemption about it.

That recipe box is like a small life lesson just sitting on my countertop. Without using any words it is a reminder that there is value in a life that is worn, weary and seemingly at it’s end.  There is a beauty in the life well-lived and repurposed. There is value and redemption when grace is extended.

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
Francis of Assisi

Crocheted Coat Hangers

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The last couple weeks have been spent working on prepping cupboards, painting cupboards, installing cupboards, installing counter on the bottom cupboards, putting cupboard doors on the top cupboards and now sorting through the boxes and stashes of craft items that I am going to be putting into those cupboards.

I think that by the time I get it all put back together and organized; I am going to be very ready to start crafting again instead of organizing crafting supplies.

There are some things I do like to work on at night as we just sit and watch TV. I do like to do crochet or knit projects.  These projects only involve needles or hooks, the yarn and a pattern. It is a pretty tidy way to do crafts…..except when the ball of yarn rolls over the floor and tangles through stuff.  Last month I spent evenings crocheting coat hangers. I should probably say crocheting coverings for wooden coat hangers.

I was fortunate to have a Grandma who crocheted and knitted and was incredibly thrifty. When my Grandma Boogerd was still living, and before she developed macular degeneration, she knitted and crocheted an unreal amount of hangers.

Every Christmas each grandchild and great-grandchild received a set as a gift. She and Grandpa had at least 20 grandkids and many  many more great-grandkids.  Those coat hangers were more colorful than Joseph’s coat. She used up every leftover scrap of yarn when she made them.

I really took a shine to those coat hangers; as they are wonderful for keeping clothes from slipping off the hangers. I have not yet started to make them every Christmas for my kids and grandkids…..I might have to consider that as a project!

I have made them as gifts for various occasions from playing bingo on Christmas Eve to birthdays. I have a sister who loves it when she gets a set. They are a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn when you don’t have quite enough for a large project.

If you would like to give them a try; here is the pattern I was taught by my Grandma.

Crocheted Coat Hangers
Size F crochet hook
wooden coat hangers
any 4 ply yarn


Directions:
Chain 80
Row 1: 5dc in 4th ch from hook.
*Skip 3 ch, sc in next ch, skip 3 ch, 6dc in next ch.
Repeat from * ending with sc in last ch.
You will have made 10 half shells.


Row 2: Turn * 6dc in bottom of half shell, sc in bottom of sc.
Repeat from * to end of row.
You will have made 10 full shells.
Fasten off.

For each hangar you will need to make two of these.
I use a contrasting color for crocheting both sides together.


Put both sides together with right sides facing out.
With contrasting yarn color, sc in each stitch, starting in center where the hook of the hangar will be.
Once you have sc  half of the “top” portion and all along bottom edge, insert hanger and finish sc around to hook of hanger.
I like to leave a long tail of the contrast color. I cut two more pieces of yarn and tie a bow around the hook of the hanger to finish off.  Weave in any loose ends that might still be hanging around.


My Grandma used to make pom poms to tie at the base of the hook ;but I have never mastered that art so I stick with an easy bow.

Grandma always made these scalloped ones for the girls and she knitted very plain ones for the guys. I usually just make all scalloped ones as my husband really does not care what his clothes hang on.

I do enjoy making these hangers.  I love using them in my closet but I also love the link it gives me back to my Grandma. I can still see her sitting in the nursing home with yarn strewn all over her bed. She was choosing which colors to make for specific people.

She felt so bad when her eyesight became too poor and it became too difficult to keep making them. That was the year I learned to crochet coat hangers; as I finished the Christmas hangers for her.

Maybe someday I will have a granddaughter who decides she wants to try doing some of the things this Chicken Grandma did. I think that would be a very fine thing.

“The songs of our ancestors are also the songs of our children”
Philip Carr-Gomm

Renovation

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My husband and I have found out that you can pretty much do what you set your mind to do…..if you study up a little, get some advice from a professional, google, check out you-tube videos and take your time. At least; where home improvement projects are concerned.

Our home is a work in progress. It has been, since the day we moved in. I think it just takes us longer because we like to save money by doing things ourselves.  We also like to repurpose and reuse items that others are going to toss. This does mean that our projects take longer….much longer.  (Which is why this post is late!)

Anytime we repurpose an item it has to be re-made to fit the specific area where it will go in our home. That is the case with the cabinets that we are working on for my laundry/craft room. The cabinets came from a house, 80 miles away, that is scheduled to be torn down.

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It seems to take lots of time to scrub, sand, fill holes, prime, paint and install the cabinets so they will look like I want them to. In the process my husband and I have learned the skill of cabinet and countertop installation.  (I think my husband has learned more than I have as he has been the one doing most of the work! I always tell him that he is my executer…..I plan and he executes.)

I must confess there were multiple (did I say Multiple??) phone calls and messages to and from my oldest son, who is a finish and trim carpenter. He lives 4 hours away (if you drive like the kids do or 5 if you drive like we do) so this was a long distance installation.

I think the son may have been a little concerned, as he kept requesting pictures of the progress. He also asked pointed questions about how much “gappage” we had between wall and countertop.  We assured him we had done a great job. We even impressed ourselves!

I have also discovered it is very satisfying to see each stage of the project. There is a lot of elbow grease that has gone into this particular one and it is still not done. It has kind of taken on a life of it’s own….as projects tend to do. I now look at the other side of this room and discover it really needs some help also. Fortunately there are still some remaining cabinets from this set that I can use on that side.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from projects such as this one. I am going to put a link here to a post I did when I first started blogging.  That was perhaps one of our most challenging projects and it was my wonderful little chicken coop.

I hope you enjoy reading it and are blessed by it. https://thechickengrandma.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/lessons-from-a-chicken-coop/

The idea of redemption is always good news,
even if it means sacrifice or some difficult times.
Patti Smith

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New Years Resolutions

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I used to make resolutions for the New Year. I try not to do that anymore.  I guess I have resolved not to make any resolutions.  I am not sure how that actually works out when you try to make logical sense of that concept.

My husband has never made resolutions for the new year. His view is such that if an idea is good enough to try…..why wait till New Years day to implement it. I think he might be on to something with that idea.

He gets a little bent out of shape by the thought that most of us don’t worry about how much we overeat during the holidays and gain weight (himself included). Suddenly January 1 hits, the sweets disappear, ads for gym memberships are everywhere and Marie Osmond keeps telling us how to lose so many pounds in just one month. I am not sure why this bothers him but it does.

In googling quotes on New Years Resolutions I found this one (which I must confess I really understood):

My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with
the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds.
Nia Vardalos

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 I think the three thousand pounds works out when you add up all the pounds lost, regained, lost again, regained…..you get the idea.  I have yet to hear anyone resolve to gain weight in the new year…..or anytime for that matter.

I think that when it comes to age and our physical condition; the Jello theory kicks in. When you see Jello in a pan or in a mold it looks really pretty good.  You take it out of that container and put it on a plate it kind of splats out and loses that nice form. My advice to those of us of a certain age and physical condition……keep the Jello in the pan.

My husband thought it would be a fine idea to resolve to hibernate for the winter months. When the weather gets below zero around here I think that is a brilliant idea….now if we could just figure out how to make that one work.

I also hear about resolutions to start certain projects for the interior of the home and/or craft projects.  I think I should just resolve to finish the projects I have started….some from several years ago. (Anyone else have this issue?)

I have boxes of blue jeans that are ready to either be made into blue jean rugs or cut into squares for blue jean quilts. Perhaps I should resolve to start cutting and sewing squares together.

Then there is the box of yarn in the closet. In my defense on that topic….I have been making a dent in that box and turning the yarn into covered coat hangers, dish cloths, and pot holders. I am feeling pretty good about my box of yarn. It is slowly dwindling.

My latest project is a little bigger and involves participation from my husband.  I have been painting cabinets that we took out of a house that is going to be torn down. These are destined for my laundry/craft room. I cannot wait to get them finished and put in. I am hoping it brings some organization to the chaos.

When I do get those cabinets in and organized I am going to have to invite Anne and Malcolm over to critique my efforts. The floor will still be plywood but hopefully they will be gracious and overlook that detail! I will just be grateful to have cupboards!

For all of you (and me) who really don’t like New Year’s Resolutions but still really want to get something accomplished in this coming year….take heart.  We still have 364 days left in this year to get things done! (If you are like me……we should start this week.)

Happy New Year a little late!

Resolution One:
I will live for God.
Resolution Two:
If no one else does, I still will.
Jonathan Edwards

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