Completed Crochet Projects

A lot of people won’t crochet in the summer because they claim it’s too hot. I think that I naturally gravitate to crochet because in the past if I wanted to sew I had to do so in the sauna (my upstairs). It also helps that I do all of my crocheting in our family room, which happens to be the coldest room in the house when the A.C. is running.

Adjustable Tray in Place

(Wow, that stand is NOT that neat any more… lol)

After working on a lot of baby items I decided that I wanted to make something for myself. Also, I’d had some yarn sitting around for a year that I had specifically reserved for a project. After a lot of searching and considering I decided on the Delta Lace Topper by Karen Whooley. It was in a special issue put out by Crochet! Magazine in October 2019. I just did a quick search, but couldn’t find the pattern online.

Crocheted Poncho 2020

Addie is modeling it for me. It’s a very open-weave poncho. The picture in the magazine shows a MUCH more open weave, but the only way I can figure they were able to do that is by blocking it. You were only suppose to do something like 25 rounds before doing the border, but I ended up doing almost twice that much. I’m not going to block it after I wash it every time and I wanted to make sure it would be long enough if I were to take it out of the dryer and put it on.

Crocheted Poncho 2 2020

I still have to weave in the ends. The points on this poncho are worn at your sides so I’m holding it out to show you the width of the one side. I also did a different collar. The pattern has you do almost a cowl-like collar that you then sew onto the body. I did not want that much bulk around my neck so instead I did a simple edge that ends with a reverse single crochet stitch. I like it. This will be great for the transition time between summer and fall when the mornings are a bit crisp, but the afternoons are too warm to wear a full sweater.

Even though I said I was done making baby things, I did make some wash cloths for the baby who is due to arrive in a little over a month.

Baby Washcloths 7-10-20

Just a head’s up… I haven’t woven in any of my ends on any of these projects. So ignore the dangling bits.

I used the Premier Cotton Faire that I discussed in my Ice Yarns haul post. I like this yarn. It’s easy to work with and is very soft. I think that I’ll end up purchasing the Alara from Ice Yarns, though, in the future. One ball of this yarn made nine wash cloths.

Wash Cloths 7-10-20

The pattern is a purchased pattern on Creative Grandma‘s website.

Finally, I have a couple of hats to show you.

Crocheted Hats #16 & 17

These are #16 and 17.

They are a little bigger and a bit slouchier. I had made quite a few of the beanie-style and thought that some guys might not like to wear something so fitted. I know that Jay wouldn’t like the beanie hats.

Crocheted Hat 16

The camera washed this out a bit and I tried to adjust it in Photshop, but the color in real life is actually much closer to the first picture I showed. You can kind of see how this one mushrooms a bit. It will definitely give that slouchy look that some guys like. I used the Lionbrand Z-Twist yarn held double.

Crocheted Hat 17

This hat is quite slouchy, too. I used the Rainbow yarn from Ice Yarns and loved how it worked up. This yarn is definitely way more consistent than the Red Heart Unforgettable (which I will never use again if I can ever help it).

I am working on another hat using some of the yarn from the Mixed Lot bags that I bought from Ice Yarns in my last haul. I can’t wait to show you that one when it’s done.

Posted in Crochet, Garment, Hats, Yarn | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Staying Cool in the Workshop

It’s been very warm. I usually don’t like to run our A.C., but I think I’ve had it on for the last week. Over the next few days the temps are suppose to hover in the 90’s area. That’s fine with Jay because he’s been spending a lot of time in the basement workshop.

Jay Planing

Here’s some fun trivia.. As I write this post he is in the basement wearing a sweatshirt to stay comfortable; I am in the very top of our house wearing next-to-nothing in order to stay comfortable (it’s a DIY sauna up here…).

Jay hasn’t been hanging out down there just to stay cool. He has also been making a lot of progress on the various projects.

He handed the Cat Food cubby off to me, so I’m in the process of painting it.

Cat Food Cubby 7-6-20

The bird food cubby is mostly assembled and has been placed in the library to get it out of his way.

Bird Food Cubby 7-6-20

I guess technically it’s at the finishing stage, but I just don’t have the time to work on it right now. I’ve got sixty other things going on. I do want to show you an up close picture so that you can see what a nice job he did on it.

Bird Food Cubby Routed 7-6-20

He routed the planks and matched them up all the way around. He’s so talented!

He had to get this out of his way so that he can work on the next giant project.

Workshop TV Center Drawing

Here is his drawing in SketchUp. Yes, it’s another organizer of sorts. Let me give you a hint…

Workshop TV Center Area

One of his 30 year old speakers bit the dust. When he replaced it he decided to go for the full surround sound setup. Since he’s put so much money into this stuff he has decided he needs a cabinet for it to sit in where he can kind of control the dust. He knows where everything is going to go on it, but I forgot what he told me. It’s going to be wonderful, though. I’m just happy that it will help protect his investment.

I was told tonight that he has the majority of the upright pieces cut to size.

Workshop TV Center Pieces 7-6-20

He has minimized the scrap from this project, too. Instead of using boards on their side, he cut them to whatever height they needed to be and then glued them side-by-side like this:

Workshop TV Center Board 7-6-20

Kind of smart. There are a lot more pieces that need to be cut, but he has a decent start on them.

Posted in Wood Work, Workshop | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ice Yarns Haul #3

Looking at my crochet area you would probably suggest to me that I don’t need any more yarn for quite a while.

Yarn Cubbies 5-1-20

After all, I haven’t used up all the yarn from my last Ice Yarns order.

But here’s the problem… my best friend has an adorable baby girl and another good friend is due with a baby at the end of August. I’ve been stashing yarn for boys blankets. Even in my own personal tastes I gravitate more towards the blues, greens and browns. I don’t have a lot of yarn that would be suitable for adorable little girl gifts. I have no idea what those gifts will be, but I would like to have the yarn available so that when I come across a pattern I’m dying to make I can pick up the yarn and get to work. Also, Christmas is coming and I would like to get a head start.

So that I can make completely frivolous outfits like this:

Penny in Baby Dress 5-1-20

I broke down and put in an order with Ice Yarns, got irritated with a certain F-named shipping company (why do I have to sign for YARN??!!), and finally it arrived!

Ice Yarns Haul 6-30-20

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed in the size of the package. Based on my credit card charge I figured I should be getting a pallet delivered that was shrink-wrapped to keep all the boxes on it. That pallet would be carried by a flat bed truck with a ‘Wide Load’ sign.*sigh*

Even though I knew what I’d ordered, it was still exciting to see the first peep of yarn.

Ice Yarns Package 6-30-20

Look at all of those colors! It reminds me of ice cream (don’t ask me why because I don’t know… that’s just what comes to mind).

Are you curious? Do you want to know what I received?

I’ll start with the very colorful bags.

Mixed Lot #2 Magic Light

Ice Yarns refers to these as Mixed Lots. These could be whole skeins of certain yarns that they want to get rid of, batches of custom yarns that they can’t sell normally or, as in this case, the leftovers from runs that weren’t long enough to be wound into full skeins. Some places call these ‘mill ends’. What Ice Yarns does is ties them into hanks and then tosses them into a group and sells it all as one. You don’t get to choose what colors are included. They show you a picture of the lot and what you see is what you get. They make sure that every lot weighs the same so in this case the lots I bought were 2000 g/70.54oz/4.41lbs. The mixed lots can be different yarns or all the same. This one is their Magic Light yarn.

I had used this yarn previously for a Project Linus blanket:

Project Linus Blanket #30 3-25-20 - Carrot

I really enjoyed working with the yarn and loved how the color worked up. The first batch seemed to have a bunch of the orange plus some other pretty colors that I haven’t tried.

Magic Light Mixed Lot

There was another mixed lot that I saw and decided to get, too. This was also Magic Light yarn.

Mixed Lot #1 Magic Light

This one has a lot of yellows and blues in it. My friend who is due in August LOVES Minions, so I figure at the very least if I use those colors for any baby garments she will be okay with it whether the baby is a boy or girl.

Magic Light Hank

To make the hanks easier to use I plan on using a magic knot to tie them together, then I will wind them into manageable balls. That will also help me figure out exactly how much of each color I ended up receiving.

I did a calculation to see if I’d gotten a deal on this yarn. I did not. If you buy a pack of the Magic Light it is currently going for $1.75 per skein. I purchased the weight equivalent of 20 skeins of yarn, so I paid $2.00 per skein (essentially). I did it as a learning experience. I was curious to see how it would be sent to me and just how many different colors I would get. When you buy the full skeins you HAVE to purchase 4 skeins all in the same color (there are 4 skeins per pack and you buy it by the pack). Will I do it again? If there are colors that are no longer dyed, absolutely. Not on a regular basis, though.

Next up:

Ice Yarns Rainbow

Rainbow in both a variegated and solid. I bought this because I knew it was very similar, if not the same as, Red Heart’s Unforgettable. If you remember, I used Unforgettable to make a sweater for my friend and I was NOT impressed. I liked how the yarn felt, but I was unimpressed with the inconsistent width of the yarn. I bought the brown striped color to use for hats and I have to admit that so far I like the Rainbow a LOT better than Unforgettable. Let’s nerd out and do some math, shall we?

Rainbow = 3.53oz/262 yds – $1.99/skein

Unforgettable = 3.5oz/270 yds – $6.19/skein

Let’s say that the sweater I want to make calls for 8 skeins of yarn. Let’s compare pricing…

Rainbow (must be purchased in pkg of 4) = $15.98 for 8, plus $12.95 s/h (2-3 day shipping from Turkey) = $28.93 total, or $3.58/skein. As long as Ice Yarns has the color(s) you want it should be a no-brainer. Plus, if you’re already ordering from Ice Yarns you might as well purchase a little more to justify the cost of shipping. Right? (That’s the excuse I give to Jay when he asks why I bought so much).

For instance, you could add the next yarn to your order:

Ice Yarns Alara

Alara in white. A lot of the cardigans that I want to make call for Premier’s Cotton Faire. For the fun of it, let’s look at a pricing comparison.

Alara = 50g/140m = $.87/ball

Cotton Faire = 100g/290m = $4.99/ball

Most of the patterns I was looking at said that I would need 8 balls of the Cotton Faire. It appears that the Alara is half the size of the Cotton Faire balls, so we’ll have to get twice as much. Thus, I need 16 balls of the Alara.

Alara = (sold in pkg of 8) = $13.98 + $12.98s/h = $26.96 total, or $1.69 per ball. Let’s double that price to compare it to the Cotton Faire = $3.37/100g. Even if all you’re buying is two packages of Alara you’re still saving $1.62 per ball!

I wanted to compare the two yarns and luckily I had purchased some striped Cotton Faire a few weeks ago.

Ice Yarns Alara vs Premier Cotton Faire

I bought the Cotton Faire to make some baby washcloths. I paid $8 (plus shipping) for a package of three balls (all the same color, no mixing-and-matching). At this price the Premier yarn is a bargain, but it’s currently in the Clearance area so if I needed more for a project there’s a chance I won’t be able to get it. Comparing in person, though, these yarns are so similar that I will probably just order the Alara for the sweaters I’m going to eventually make. I did purchase a sweater’s quantity of white in this order.

I promise the rest of this post is simply showing off yarn. There will not be any math.

I mentioned baby gifts, right? With that in mind I purchased some Lorena Worsted:

Ice Yarns Lorena Worsted

And some baby cotton:

Ice Yarns Baby Cotton

All of these yarns are machine washable and dryable. When I make a gift for somebody I don’t want them to worry about how they have to clean it. I am definitely not a yarn snob! Bring on the acrylic!

As I was taking pictures for this post I piled the packages on Jay’s spot. Would you like to see how much of his spot this yarn covers on the couch?

Ice Yarns Unpackaged 6-20-30

Isn’t it exciting! It makes me want to pick them up and squeeze!

Posted in Crochet, Garment, Reviews, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Woodworking Organizers

I have been busy with my various projects, but I noticed that Jay seemed to be in a bit of a lull. He’s been drawing up a lot of things in SketchUp, but the woodworking machines have been quiet. I’ve had a few projects in mind for him so I thought that now would be a good time to sit and sketch them out.

First problem area: Bob’s wet food.

Cat Food Area

Bob is on a canned food-only diet. He is also spoiled, so he gets the Fancy Feast appetizers on a semi-regular basis. Not in place of a can of food, but merely has an appetite topper. However, it takes up a lot of space and I feel that there could be a better way to organize the appetizers and broth. Basically, what I asked for is a cubby to tuck the appetizers in, then I can set the kleenex and broths on top. It will condense them down and not take up as much space. It’s a fairly easy build.

Cat Food Cubby 6-30-20

Jay already has it cut out and glued together. Once the back is glued on it will go over to my area to be finished.

The next project I’ve been thinking about is a cubby for my bird seed stuff. Currently it’s a mess by my front door.

Bird Food Area

The piano bench works, but it’s a little long for the space. Plus, everything is just kind of piled on top. It definitely needs to be organized a bit better. I drew up what I wanted, with dimensions, and Jay has started on that one as well.

Bird Food Cubby Pieces 6-30-20

He’s getting fancy with it and cutting grooves in the sides so that they slide together. Then there’s a v-groove on top where the pieces meet. He has even created a fence for the router table that will allow him to trim off the glue that presses out into the v-grooves to make it easier for the finishing department. He can’t stand the whining that goes on when there appears to be a ton of glue left on the pieces, which have to be cleaned off before the stain is applied.

Router Table Fence

I have a couple of my own projects that I’m working on, or at least SHOULD be working on. Do you remember the cat couch Jay made me?

Cat Couch - 4-15-19

Well, this is how it looks today:

Cat Couch 6-30-20

I really need to get this done! I have to glue pieces of foam to the frame in order to pad it out in the right places. Then I need to upholster it. That’s the part that has me hesitating. I want to do it in such a way that if a cat is scratching on it they won’t hurt themselves on a staple. I have no idea how I’m going to do it, though. I’m not good with that kind of thing. I have a vague idea, but I need to just sit down and do it.

Next up is this:

Microfiber Cloth with Sawdust

This is what happens when you wash a load of microfiber towels, and one of them has been used to wipe sawdust off of a board. Not a big deal, right? Wrong! Those stupid little micro fibers have a death grip on the pieces of sawdust. The bad thing is that half of these cloths I use when I’m washing and waxing our cars. You can’t have pieces of tree in your cloth when you’re doing that! I tried a lint brush, but the wood didn’t budge. I have resigned myself to a pair of tweezers… it’s horrible. I will never do that again!

Posted in Cats, Real Life, Wood Work | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Household Helpers

I didn’t know what title to use for this post. I have two different projects in different disciplines that really don’t go together. Yet, here they are.

First, for my friend’s birthday I decided to make her a couple of tote bags. Prior to the plague hitting the world her State had decided to get rid of all plastic bags in the stores. I decided she needed a couple for when the locusts have been swept up and the frogs dumped down the sewers.

Sarah's Bags 6-20-20

Of course I used cat material. She is a crazier cat lady than I am, so it had to be done. I dug around in my utility fabric bin to see what I could come up with, and the bottoms were made out of what surfaced.

To make these a little sturdier when they are being used I cut some plastic canvas to size and wrapped them in the utility fabric as well.

Sarah's Bag Bottom 6-20-20

You can actually fit quite a bit in these bags. I filled it with a hardcover book, a handful of magazines, and a plastic jar that used to hold 4 pounds of jelly beans.

Sarah's Bag Volume

There was still more room for things.

Sarahs Bag Inside

When not in use they can be folded into much smaller pieces.

Sarah's Bag Folded

Penny was in the sewing room and wanted to help model the bags.

Sarah's Bag Modeled

You’re probably wondering what Penny is wearing. She overheard Jay and I discussing our vacation to sit beside my sister’s pool. She was insistent that she needed a new bathing suit. Now, we haven’t decided if she’s going with us or not, but I didn’t think it would hurt to make her a suit. You never know when you’re going to need it.

Penny's Swim Suit Front

I drafted my own pattern. It’s a bit difficult when you have to account for a permanent utility belt around the waist. The front looked good.

The back needs some work.

Penny's Swim Suit Back

You can see she has a bit of a droopy butt. She doesn’t mind, though. She’s been running around in it for almost a week. I’ll have to wrestle it off of her, I think.

The only other thing that I have to share is this:

3D Printed Can Tab Lifter

Can you guess what it is? I’m leading you astray by showing it on my cutting mat.

3D Printed Can Tab Lifter in Use

It’s to help open cans that have the pull tabs. Usually I don’t have a problem, but lately my nails have been very thin and brittle. They have been peeling like nobody’s business so they bend and break when I try to get a finger under the tab. Bob only eats canned food so at least three to four times a day I have to try to pry up a lid. I went on Thingiverse and found the design for this one. I sent the link to Jay and he printed it for me. It’s much better than trying to use the paring knife that I usually have sitting next to my kitchen sink. I’m less likely to stab myself with this!

Posted in 3D Printing, bags', Garment, Penny, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Crocheted Garment Wishlist

Jay asked me what I wanted for my birthday. What I really wanted was something beyond his power to give me. What I really wanted was a lot of crocheting time and a wrist that can withstand the repetitive motion without throwing a hissy fit. I haven’t been able to do a lot of crocheting because my wrist has been offended that I would use it for gardening and daily life. My 2-3 hours of daily crocheting has been knocked down to about 30 minutes. Not only does this put a crimp in the number of blankets and hats that I can get made for various charities, but I also have a long list of garments that I would like to make for myself. Let me share them with you.

These patterns were found in either Crochet! magazine or Crochet World magazine. If you would like to purchase a copy of the pattern I’m sure you can find it on one of those sites by doing a search. I will make sure to tell you in which magazine I found it.

Two-Lace Cardi by Margaret Willson

Crochet World – April 2020 Issue

Two-Lace Cardi CW042020

The model was made using Premier Yarns Cotton Fair yarn, which is a cotton/acrylic blend. It is machine washable, which is important to me. I dislike owning garments that require either dry cleaning or hand washing. That’s too much effort for something that is probably going to get snagged or sneezed on. I liked this cardi because of the lace pattern, but if I ever get the chance to make it I might make the arms a little longer. I don’t like sleeves that fall just before my wrist.

Everyday Casual Cardi by Tammy Hildebrand

Crochet! – Spring 2020

Everyday Casual Cardi CSpr2020

Model made using Scheepjes Stone Washed XL yarn, which is another cotton/acrylic blend. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use the exact yarn used in the model. Just make sure to use something similar if you’re going to swap it out and always do a gauge swatch! Again with this cardi I would probably lengthen the sleeves a bit.

Little Black Diagonal Fringed Dress by Tammy Hildebrand

Crochet! – Spring 2020

Little Black Diagonal Fringed Dress CSpr2020

Made using Scheepjes Softfun yarn, yet another cotton/acrylic blend. Now, normally I wouldn’t be intrigued by a crocheted dress, but there’s something about this one. Maybe the designer really knows what I like. After all, the previous cardi that I posted was her design. On this dress I would probably leave the fringe off so that I wouldn’t be stepping on cats who were trying to play with it (or chew on it). But I like it.

Floating Columns Pullover by Jill Hanratty

Crochet World

Floating Columns Pullover CWSFall2018

Model made using Garnstudio DROPS Fabel yarn. This yarn is actually a wool blend, but I would substitute an acrylic. In fact, I have one in mind from Ice Yarns, but I haven’t done the math to see if it will work similarly. I LOVE this pattern. It’s lacy and feminine and so pretty. Except the color, there’s nothing I would change about it.

Cold Shoulder Mandala Top by Jill Hanratty

Crochet! – Summer 2020

Cold Shoulder Mandala Top CSum2020

Here’s another top made using Premier Cotton Fair yarn. I’m not usually into the cold shoulder look (I like my shoulders to be warm), but the lace really hooked me. And of course, we have another repeat designer on my list. I just think that this top will look really nice with quite a few of my skirts.

Top-Down Tunic by Dora Ohrenstein

Crochet World – Feb 2020

Top-Down Tunic CW022020

Model made with Lion Brand LB Collection Baby Alpaca yarn. I would use an acrylic yarn, but I like the  look of this top. The neck doesn’t look like it’s so high it will choke you and the sleeves look manageable. It’s just something nice and simple.

Tiffany Poncho by Dora Ohrenstein

Crochet World – Oct 2019

Tiffany Poncho CW102019

Model made using Knit One, Crochet Too Elfin Tweed yarn. This one is kind of iffy for me. I like the lace look, but I would need it to be longer. And I’m not quite convinced on the neckline. We’ll see if this one gets made.

Light as Air Kimono by Jill Hanratty

Crochet! – Summer 2019

Light as Air Kimono CSum2019

Model made using Berroco Remix Light yarn. Yet another Hanratty pattern on my list. I really like the design and the bell sleeves. This wouldn’t be one of the first ones I would try, but I definitely wouldn’t mind having a go at it. I would even leave the sleeves at their current length!

Nikita Tee by Lena Skvagerson

Crochet! – Summer 2019

Nikita Tee CSum2019

Model made using Patons Grace yarn. This is another lacy summer top that I would want to wear with my skirts. I think I would make this in black, though. Can you imagine how pretty it could look with a black skirt and a white tank underneath? Very pretty!

Flowers & Lace Capelet by Diane Poellot

Crochet!

Flowers & Lce Capelet CSI2019

Model made using a medium weight (#4) yarn. I really love the look of this because the border is so interesting. I would definitely make it longer into a poncho and not just a capelet. Reading the instructions makes it seem very intimidating, but I want to give it a try when I’m feeling brave.

Long & Lacy Vest by Margaret Willson

Crochet World – June 2019

Long & Lacy Vest CW062019

Model made with Cascade Ultra Pima Fine Peruvian Tones yarn. I’m not usually a vest person, but I like the look of this one. It’s another garment on my list designed by Margaret Willson. I might have to do a google search for her other designs.

Double Trellis Topper by Ann McFarland

Crochet World – April 2019

Double Trellis Topper CW042019

Model made using Omega Mimosa yarn. Another lacy vest. I guess the overall pattern in the garments I’m choosing is lace. Big surprise? I don’t think so. That’s why I like crocheted items.

Drifting Tee by Rae Blackledge

Crochet World – Aug 2019

Drifting Tee CW082019

Model made using Premier Cotton Fair yarn. This one isn’t as lacy, but I like the design. It’s different and would be nice to wear in the air conditioning.

I will stop boring you with pictures of items that I may never ever get around to making. I don’t like to shop, but I love to look at patterns and determine if I would wear them or not. This is the only time that I’m interested in looking at clothes. I hope you enjoyed the tour of my wish list!

Posted in Crochet, Garment, Yarn | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mid-June Sewing

I’ve been trying to find little snippets of time to spend in my sewing room. It’s such a bright and inviting space. Also, I don’t feel like I’m in a dark, closing-in-on-me sauna.

Sewing Room Furnished 2 4-19-20

My friend is due with her first baby in August so I need a non-suffocating room to sew in this summer. One of those projects is a baby changing mat. I ran across this pattern a few years ago on So Sew Easy’s website.

Baby Changing Mat1

I personalized it for them with their favorite football team. Jay says that it’s the perfect material for a baby to poop on. Jay is not a Steelers fan.

This folds up into a size that is nice to stash in a diaper bag or one of those larger purses.

Baby Changing Mat2

On the inside you have two little pockets that flop out. I have to get a small container of baby wipes for one of the pockets and the other pocket will hold a diaper or two (depending on the size). I used a layer of vinyl on top of the yellow to make clean up a little easier.

Baby Changing Mat3

Here you can see the pockets opened up for access. Unlike what Jay thought, they are not used to hold the kids’ hands out of the way.

I hope they like it. The pattern was easy to follow and quick to sew once I actually sat down to do it. That gives me one more project ticked off of the To Do list!

Another project for my sewing room that has been checked off is to hang my poster so that I can enjoy it whenever I walk into room.

Sewing Room Cat Poster

Of course I need a cat poster in my sewing room. Hello! Have you met me?

One other somewhat sewing-related project that has been completed:

Quilt Rack Installed 6-12-20

My quilt rack has been installed! I know that the quilt isn’t folded just right, but it’s close enough for me. We hung this in the family room. Isn’t it great?

Posted in Cats, Sewing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Time Out!

As an adult I recognize that there are times when I need to go to my room for a Time Out. There are days when EVERYTHING went wrong. Work was horrible and stressful. Traffic was a mess. Everybody driving in front of you was competing for Slowest Driver of the Year (and they were ALL winning!) and nothing was going your way. On those days I arrive at home in a foul mood looking for things to break on purpose. That’s when I put myself into Time Out. I’m serious.

Bob In Bed 05 2017

I stretch out on the bed and try to calm myself. That means no electronics, no distractions and no more enraging thoughts. If I can have the window open I listen to the birds or the outside noise. I try to coax Bob up onto the bed so that I can spend time with him. I try to keep all thoughts out of my head so that I can just chill for a bit. After 10 to 30 minutes (depending on how worked up I was originally) I am calm enough to continue on with my day. Shutting out everything that frustrates you helps you to release some of those emotions so that you can calmly and reasonably work out the issues. You need to channel your inner Spock, or maybe even Yoda.

yoda-bob

Positive. Happy. Furry. Calming. Thoughts.

I am writing this on my lunch break and it’s one of those days… again. Before I get to the point where I send myself to bed I thought that maybe I would take a quick little mini Time Out here at work. Do you want to join me? There’s plenty of room for everybody.

Pull up a chair and take a deep breath. Block out any excess noise. As you concentrate on the picture that I will post below this paragraph, imagine yourself sitting there with the warm sun on your shoulders. Can you feel the breeze? Can you hear the birds? Are you dipping your toes in the water? Perhaps you are on a float in the water. Look up at the sky and watch the clouds as they change shape and move past. Just be there in the moment…. Take about 10  minutes to really try this exercise and I promise it will begin to help any stress and anxiety. It will calm you if you block out everything else except being in that moment in the picture. Relax. Take deep breaths. Just be….

In the Pool 7-5-17

Posted in Cats, Real Life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

More Concrete Statues and Roses

It wouldn’t be Spring on this blog if I didn’t have some concrete statues and roses to show you, right? To be fair, I only bought one new concrete statue this year and it’s going to be given as a gift. The others are from a few years ago. You might remember them:

Civil War Soldier and Fat Cat Statues

These two have been sitting on my work bench for a few years.

As you can see, I started painting the Confederate Soldier. I stalled when I got to his face. I’m not good at painting faces and I didn’t want him to look crazy or goofy. I was also having problems figuring out what color to paint the cat. I entertained the idea of painting another orange cat, but I really am not good at painting and didn’t want it to look bad. And so they sat… and sat… and sat. They silently judged me for hiding them in the basement instead of letting them soak up the summer sun. I couldn’t take their judgmental stares any longer.

Concrete Statue CSA Soldier Front 2020

I cheated on both of them. This is a Confederate Soldier, as his belt buckle clearly states ‘CSA’, so I decided to paint him all gray like one of the many monuments that are scattered across the Civil War battlefields in this country. Even though I know he’s a Johnny Reb, my hope is that people will see him as a generic Civil War soldier who was brave, courageous and played a very important role in the shaping of our country. If you read any diaries from back then you will know that not all Yankees were rabid abolitionists and not all Rebs were whip-bearing slave owners.

This American Soldier will be very welcome in my garden.

Concrete Statue CSA Soldier Side 2020

You’ve just received a glimpse of the cat. I cheated with him big time.

Concrete Statue White Cat 2020

The pour wasn’t very good into the mold so he has bubble spots all over. Yes, I painted him white. When I was a kid I had a white cat named Frank who had green eyes. That’s the cat I kind of modeled this one after, and yet as I was painting him I couldn’t help but think of the outside cat my sister had a few years ago, Scruffy. I may actually end up giving him to her to display by her pool. Her husband might end up disliking me because once I’ve filled my yard with concrete cats I will fill hers, too.

Finally, the concrete statue I painted for my dad. This will be a Father’s Day gift. Are you ready?

Concrete Statue Big Foot Front 2020

It’s suppose to be a big foot. It actually looks more like a deranged monkey, but I guess that’s okay because the most important part is the sign. I painted it with glow-in-the-dark paint so hopefully the ‘GO AWAY!!!’ will glow.

Concrete Statue Big Foot Back 2020

He’s sitting there on a rock with his sign. Isn’t he cute? I think this will look great by the back door.

I have one more concrete statue to paint, but it’s another one with cats and so I’m stuck trying to figure out what colors I want to paint them. Hopefully they won’t sit around for two years waiting for that to happen.

In the meantime, my roses have been doing pretty good!

Corner Rose Bed 2020

This is my corner rose bed. This yellow rose bush is a little ornery. The flowers start out that dark yellow and then lighten right up. That’s their actual color. It’s not due to lighting or anything. If you notice, the bush with the red roses in the back still has a LOT of buds that have not yet opened. It’s going to be GORGEOUS when they do! I was outside the other night and I had two different ladies tell me how beautiful my roses look. 🙂

I have a new favorite flower for my garden.

Back Door Snapdragons 2020

Snapdragons!

Apparently the gnome does not agree.

What I love about these flowers is that even though they are considered an annual, mine often come back for a second year. In fact, all of these in the picture were planted last year and came back this spring. I like utility plants that I can get more of my dollar’s worth! These weren’t the only ones that came back. I had one up front that made an appearance this spring, too.

Front Snapdragon 2020

I did plant the little guys in front of it, and am trying to persuade the dandelions that they do NOT belong. They are not listening to me.

I promised another picture of my front garden where the bird bath resides once I had cleaned it up a bit.

Front Porch 2020

I don’t have an eye for landscaping, so I just fill in around the rose bushes with whatever flowers I like. In this picture are roses, pansies, snapdragons, and some pretty little flowers in my cat pot.

Cat Planter 2020

Even though everybody has them all over, I thought I would share a picture of my rhododendron bush at the end of its bloom.

Rhodedendron 2020

This bush is in serious need of a hair cut, but I will wait until the petals have all fallen off of the flowers. I just don’t like it leaning over the eaves like that. I’m sure it’s clogging up the trough with its detritus. I won’t cut it back too much because Bob’s bench is right by this window and he loves watching the birds and chipmunks that play in it. In fact, there’s a nest on a branch close to this window. I have no idea what bird built it as I’ve never seen any in it, but it’s there.

As I wind up this tour of my gardens, let me show you how to “upcycle” a gate.

Back Door Flowers 2020

During the summer of 2013 we put in the cement driveway and took down the length of chain link fence along that side of the yard. For whatever reason we left the gate hinged to the other side of the fence, near where my roses live.

Side Rosebush 6-17-15  2

(The gate was on the right hand side of this picture, next to that hosta)

I finally asked Jay if we could remove it after almost seven years. I decided that I was going to use it for my tomatoes. I bought a cherry tomato plant and will secure its vines to the gate as they grow.

Looking at this picture, though, I can’t believe how big my rose bush is now! This would have been 2014, I think. Here is that same rose bush last year:

Full of Roses

*sheds a tear* They sure grow up quickly, don’t they?

Posted in Cats, Civil War, Garden, Roses | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

N-Scale Layout – Wind Turbine

Jayville 6-4-20

The village of Jayville had stalled on its progress. The residents were still trying to raise enough money to put stained glass in the church and various merchants still needed roofs on their buildings. It seems that most of the original money had literally been planted in the ground.

Stand of Trees

The Gardener’s Club had grown tired of trying to decide where to place the trees they had purchased. Finally they just put them all in one area claiming that it was to make a miniature forest area, when in truth it was just because they were tired and wanted to be done with it.

There were strange things happening, though, that nobody could explain.

The building near the North Bend was still a source of mystery. Nobody could figure out what was going on over there.

North Bend at Night

Rumors circulated that it had something to do with drugs or moonshine. Somebody thought they saw caskets being stored in the building. Another thought that it was a giant yarn warehouse. Secretly they all hoped that it would remain a mystery so that it would give them something juicy to discuss.

One morning as Mayor Johnson was out for a walk he was surprised to see a statue in the town triangle.

Jebediah Smith

It was a Civil War General, but nobody knew who it was. Nobody knew who had put it there and nobody knew how long it had actually been there. They decided to leave it for now because it wasn’t harming anything and really they hadn’t had a chance to do anything with the triangle. This was as good of a thing as any.

During the village board meeting that decided to leave the statue where it stood, Dan Anderson had a proposal. Mr. Anderson was the proprietor of the general store that did business under the name ‘DANG’ (Dan Anderson Notions and Goods). He owned one of the buildings that was still roofless. While researching ways of bringing in more revenue he hit upon an idea that could benefit the whole town. What they needed to do was buy a wind turbine and then sell power back to the power company. He estimated that this would bring in a lot of money for the village. The board talked it over and thought that this idea had merit. So they called up Wind Turbines, LLC and ordered up a kit.

Six to eight weeks later they received the first package.

Wind Turbine1

The men all stood around it, and even if they had no idea what they were looking at, grunted approvingly and nodded at the other men as if to say, “Why that is one of the best motors I’ve ever seen. There’s never been a finer motor any where to be found.”

A few days later another delivery arrived.

Wind Turbine 2

Again, nods and grunts of approval. This was definitely a great idea.

Three weeks later the blades showed up.

Wind Turbine 4

Yes, yes. Very fine blades indeed. Have you ever seen finer blades? Not even the Queen of England would have such fine blades.

Finally, this showed up:

Wind Turbine 6

The men had no clue what it was for, but this time the ladies were present so they stuck with the nodding and grunting. It had worked before so they stuck with it. After shooing the ladies away, who insisted that there had to be assembly instructions SOMEWHERE, they started fitting pieces together and were very happy when they had it at least looking like a wind turbine.

Wind Turbine 3

They didn’t realize they had purchased the unfinished version. They found Cliff Brown and paid him to put a coat of paint on the blades. Then they hooked up the wires, crossed their fingers and hit the ‘Start’ button.

Wind Turbine 5

It worked! That’s when Otis, the town drunk, asked, “How are we going to move it from here to where it needs to go?” The men looked around at each other sheepishly and then acted like this had been part of the plan all along. They would assemble it in one place and then transport it to the final spot.

Wind Turbine 7

As soon as the blades started spinning they could hear the dollars adding up. They were going to be one of the wealthiest villages in the State!

Wind Turbine 8

Things were looking up for Jayville!

Posted in model trains, N Scale Train, Trains | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment