Project Linus Blanket #44

Project Linus Blanket #44

Project Linus Blanket #43 - Frozen Lake 8-10-22

“Frozen Lake”

This is my latest blanket for Project Linus. I used Creative Grandma’s pattern Winter in the Woods. After I saw this pattern on YouTube I wanted to give it a try. It was a very easy pattern to follow and worked up quickly. I enjoyed this pattern so much that I want to use it for some more that I already have kitted up. I just have to figure out how far I can get with a slightly different yarn because that will determine how wide I make my stripes.

Project Linus Blanket #43 Detail

I really like the texture these stitches create, too.

The pattern called for Premier Yarn’s Puzzle Yarn, but I used Yarn Bee’s Soft & Sleek.

Project Linus Blanket #43 Yarn

I used 9 full skeins and a smidgeon of a 10th. I did not put a border on it because I didn’t feel that it needed it. I really enjoyed this yarn, too. It was so NICE on my fingers and the crochet hook.

I also made a baby blanket for a friend who is expecting her second child in November.

Baby Blanket 6-21-22

This is the Woven Rainbow Blanket by Mary Maxim.

I saw this in a catalog and loved the look of it. I looked, but I couldn’t buy just the pattern so I bought the kit. I think I chose the ‘Twizzler’ color.

Baby Blanket Detail 6-21-22

I think that when I crochet crossed stitches like this I tend to crochet too tightly. This blanket was supposed to be much bigger, but it’s only big enough to use with the baby carrier. It looks neat, but felt like it took FOREVER to crochet. I’ll be honest, I actually decided to just finish it off because I was tired of working on it.

Baby Blanket Back 6-21-22

This is the back. It was interesting, but I probably won’t ever make it again. Just because it’s a lot of work with very little progress. I also did not care for the yarn. You can tell it’s a lower-cost baby acrylic. It’s not as cheap-feeling as Red Heart Super Saver, but it’s definitely not a Hobby Lobby or Yarn Bee acrylic.

Currently I’m working on some Christmas gifts and then I’ll get back to another Project Linus blanket.

Posted in Crochet, Blankets, Project Linus | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting a Handle on a File

I knew it had been a while, but I didn’t realize it had been two months since I’d last posted. You probably thought that we disappeared! Perhaps we had to join the Witness Protection Program. Or maybe we’d won the lottery and were traveling. Unfortunately, it was nothing interesting or fun. The simple fact is that Jay was working all kinds of crazy hours, I was working all kinds of crazy hours, and when I did have something I could post it was either sewing or crochet. Since I’d posted a lot of that before I didn’t want to inundate you with more.

Today I return with a Jay project. I know that some of you like these kinds of posts. You just never know what he’s going to decide to make. I gave you a big clue in the subject of this post, and here’s another clue:


As you can see, Jay has a selection of files that do not have handles. They can be a bit dangerous to use in certain circumstances, so a handle is preferred. Why buy one, though, when you can make it?

All you need are a few pieces of wood (or whatever material you want for your handle).

Files 1

Using scrap pieces is great. If you have glue and some clamps you can make the size of block that you need for whatever file you have in your drawer.

Next you need to get it into a shape that will be comfortable in your hand. More often than not this will be a round shape. We’ll use the four-jaw chuck to hold onto our block of wood as we start to turn it into a rounded shape.

Files 2

Apparently we are making four handles.

In order to turn the other side of the handle we’ll need to use a collet chuck, so let’s turn all of these at once so that we don’t have to keep switching out chucks.

Files 3

Use your calipers to ensure the end that will hold the file is at the correct O.D. to fit into the collar that you’ll be applying to the handle end. Once you’ve done that you can finish off the other side of the handle.

Files 4

Using the tailstock to hold the end of your work will make sure that things don’t go wonky. There’s nothing worse than a wonky handle file.

Files 5

How pretty!

Next, chuck up the piece of metal that you are going to use for the handle collars.

Files 6

Cut to length and chamfer one end.

Files 7

That picture is almost pretty enough to be framed. Those are some beautiful chips.

Finally, install the collar on the handle.

Files 8

Files 9

Insert your files and you’re done!

Files 10

Posted in Machining, Workshop | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

More H2O 2GO Slings!

You might remember that a few months ago I made Jay’s mom a H2O 2GO sling for her birthday.

Addie Modeling Sling

She uses it a lot and loves it.

This year our church is asking parishioners to donate hand crafted items to be sold at our summer festival. I thought that I would make a couple of these and donate them to the craft sale. The problem was that I couldn’t stop myself. I’ve cut out enough pieces to make four slings for church, plus one for my sister’s birthday.

H2O 2GO 1

Prepping and cutting out the pieces is not fun, but it has to be done.

H2O 2GO 2

I’ve laid the zippers with the material so that you can see what I’ve chosen. The Seinfeld sling will have a kitten zipper pull because it’s for my sister.

H2O 2GO 3

You can’t really tell, but the Steelers’ sling has a little football zipper pull.

I knew that I wanted to use floral material and then I decided that I had to add a little extra bling. I told Karen that I bought some fun zippers for the slings. “What do you mean by ‘fun’ zippers?” she asked.

Fun Zippers

Metallic rainbow ones! I thought that the little rose gold butterflies would look good, too.

But did I stop there? No. As I was starting to get the pieces together I decided that while I was making a bunch of these I was going to make one for myself, too. So I did.

My H2O 2GO sling

Isn’t it adorable??!!

Cat Water Sling

Nobody can be grumpy with those little kitten faces looking at you. Awww!

Cat Water Sling Zipper

I also used a fun zipper with a kitten pull (the kitten is holding a ball of yarn… how perfect!).

And what is on the inside of the pocket?

Cat Water Sling Interior Pocket

More Kittens!!!! 😀

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

No More Carpet!

This past weekend we celebrated Memorial Day in the United States. Most people plan picnics, family gatherings and other fun things. What do I do? I plan projects. Most of the time it involves my flower beds, but this year I decided that there was a more pressing project that I wanted to do.

Nasty Carpeting 1

Nasty Carpeting!!

Nasty Carpeting 2

This carpeting was here when we moved in 9.5 years ago. What we should have done back then is taken the time to remove the carpeting and then refinish all of the hardwood floors. However, when we signed on the house Jay and I had already been married for two weeks and were still living in our separate places. We just wanted to start our marriage TOGETHER.

I’ve done everything that I could with this carpeting because Jay wasn’t a huge fan of hardwood floors in the winter. After years of trying to clean it I finally gave up and told Jay that I wanted it gone. I hated it. We had no idea what was under it, but I told him that at this point I would happily live with whatever it was just so long as the carpet was gone!

Carpet Removed 1

Sunday afternoon, after Jay’s nap, we tore it out!

I was very excited to see that the floors were not as damaged as I had feared.

Carpet Removed 2

After the carpeting was outside (cut and rolled into manageable pieces) I told Jay he was free to go play in his workshop while I did the rest. We are not refinishing the floor any time soon because if we do this one we will have to do all of them, and that’s over half of the first floor.

I then spent the next five hours pulling staples, nails and tack strips.

Pulling Staples 2

Jay snuck up and took a few pictures of me. I was listening to a Jane Austen audiobook while working my way around the room.

Pulling Staples

At least it was a gorgeous day so I could have the windows and door open.

Destapled 1

Really, overall, the floor didn’t look too bad. Is it perfect? No. Is it nasty carpeting? No! Then I’m good…

Destapled 2

There are deep scratches…

Deep Scratches

Water stains…

Water Damage

Burn Marks…

Burn Marks

And so many holes!


But it’s okay. I can live with all of these without an issue.

Today, after doing some yard work first thing in the morning and then trying to overcome the sinus headache created by the weeding, I finished cleaning the living room. First I washed the walls and then I got down on my hands and knees so that I could scrub the floor.

Washing the Floor

Jay said that I became way too excited when I told him that I was going to use Murphy’s Oil Soap to wash the floor.

You can’t really tell by the pictures, but after seeing the water I KNOW that I really washed a lot of dirt off of this floor.

Floor Washed 1

Floor Washed 2

Before we ate supper we moved the furniture back into the living room.

Finished 1

Finished 2

This makes me VERY happy.

Maybe we’ll refinish the floor in a few years. I’m not in a hurry, though, because I still have Bob and one of his favorite hobbies is throwing up on hardwood floors.

There are still a few projects left to do, but we’ll get to them eventually. We have to plug all of the holes and Jay has to make some trim to wrap around the tile by the door.

Entry Tile

But it’s okay because the nasty carpeting is gone!!!!

Posted in My House, Remodeling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cat Purses!!

Be honest… who hasn’t wanted a purse with cats on it?? Well, I made a couple.

On A Break Crossbody Bag

On A Break Crossbody bag by Sincerely Jen Patterns

This is the pattern that I used to make my own purse last year. I really like this purse. It’s about the right size for everything I need to carry, plus it can hold my 32oz water bottle when I don’t have enough hands.

On A Break Crossbody Gray Interior

I didn’t want to use loud fabric for the lining on the gray purse. I thought the paw prints would be nice.

The purple purse with the rainbow of cats, though, needed the extra noise.

On A Break Crossbody Bag interior

This purse has an interior zipper pocket, and exterior slip pocket and the main accent pocket on the front (which includes a zippered pocket in the flap).

On A Break Crossbody Bag Exterior Pocket

The only modification I’ve made to this pattern is to widen the gussett panel by 1″.

I also made two more purses.

Artemis Shoulder Bag

Artemis Shoulder Bag by Toriska

I wanted a bag that would really show off the accent fabric. I also thought that some people might want more of a larger bucket-type of purse versus the compact crossbody style.

This purse has a zipper pocket on one side and a slip pocket on the other.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Exterior

Not to mention the exterior gussett pockets. I’m not sure what you would use them for, but you can leave them off if you don’t like them.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Top

The interior has a zipper pocket, too.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Interior

The only modification I made to this bag was to the strap. I made it 60″ long so that you could either keep it shorter for a shoulder bag, or make it longer for a crossbody bag.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Shoulder

Artemis Shoulder Bag Crossbody

If you’re wondering, I used waterproof canvas from Fabric Wholesale Direct. I bought the quilt cotton with the cats on it from JoAnn Fabrics and

And I can’t forget the beautiful zipper pulls!

Cat Zipper Pull

I know, it’s fuzzy. It’s a cat with a rose on it’s back. I bought them at Check them out!

I had a little difficulty with the Artemis Shoulder bag, but there are tutorial videos out there so if you get stuck you can watch the video to figure out what you’re doing wrong. I had to watch it a few times. I would definitely make this bag again.

I gave these to the cat shelter where I volunteer so that they could sell them at the craft show they had this previous weekend. I was asked why I didn’t sell them myself, but I just don’t have the time to sew up enough inventory to stock a booth/table. I wouldn’t mind doing custom orders as long as there wasn’t a hard-and-fast deadline.

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

Chea-Pass Collet Chuck

Jay needed a collet chuck for his lathe. The problem? He couldn’t get the Finance Director to sign off on his requistion for a new one. His wife is mean like that.

The other problem was that the commercially available ones were ER32 and Jay already owned ER25. If he couldn’t get the requisition signed off for the collet chuck, there was no WAY he would get it signed off for the chuck AND a new set of collets.

While at work, he poured a cup of coffee and it was so bad that he thought he could machine a collet chuck out of it!

Collet Chuck 1

(I’ve asked Jay to help me write this post because I have no idea what’s going on in most of these pictures. He doesn’t like my commentary, so if the rest of this post is not funny at all it’s not my problem ~ Management)

“At work I took a coffee cup, set it into a coffee can on a bed of sand and made a mold around it. It was poured and I let it cool. Then I cut two pieces out of it to check the machinability and to be able to use it with the four jaw chuck.

Collet Chuck 4

First thing that had to be done was to clamp it on the mill and face off the big end.

Collet Chuck 2

I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be a big interrupted cut and to get a reasonably flat surface for indicating on the lathe.

Once in the lathe I started facing and turning the large diameter.

Collet Chuck 5

I used a center drill in preparation for a registration shoulder to bolt it directly to the lathe spindle.

Collet Chuck 6

Collet Chuck 7

Collet Chuck 8

Once I had the registration surface, and it fit well, I moved it back over to the mill. I then found center on the hole and drilled and tapped a bolt hole circle to fit the lathe spindle.

Collet Chuck 11

Collet Chuck 12

The small end was no longer needed on the casting, so I cut it off.

Collet Chuck 13

Now I could remove the four-jaw chuck from the spindle and bolt the casting directly to the spindle for the rest of the work.

Collet Chuck 14

I began turning and facing to remove the rough casting. Even though the casting was full of holes I knew they were just on the surface and would be machined off in the process.

Collet Chuck 15

Collet Chuck 16

I began boring out the center.

Collet Chuck 17

I had to bore it out to 3/4″. Then I used the compound and began machining the taper.

Collet Chuck 18

(Note from Management – He used the chicken head to do this. Back to Jay…)

Collet Chuck 19

The external threads were cut using single point on the lathe. They are metric threads cut on an Imperial lathe. Interesting to say the least.

(Note from Management – Darth Vader was NOT involved….)

Darth Vader

After threading, contouring was the next step.

Collet Chuck 20

Collet Chuck 21

If you’re wondering, this is what five pounds of cast iron chips look like attached to a magnet.

Collet Chuck 22

Contouring…. Finished!

Collet Chuck 23

Collet and nut installed. The run-out on the taper is .0005″. Good enough for my underground shop. Now it’s time to grab a dull beaver and start making more chips!

Posted in Machining | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Project Linus Blanket #42

Project Linus Blanket #42:

Project Linus Blanket #42 - Time Out 4-28-22

“Time Out”

I was only a third of the way through this blanket when I had to put it in time out. Not that it had misbehaved, but my wrist was NOT having it any more. Despite trying to be careful, shoveling heavy, wet snow about a week and a half apart (lots of it) really did a number on my wrist. It was painful. It even hurt when I was wearing my brace.

So for Lent this year I gave up crocheting. That was painful, too. I’d just purchased some wonderful yarn for two more blankets after this one was finished. And it all had to sit there. Taunting me. *sigh*

Instead of crocheting I spent time reading and doing some spiritual study. It was good for me.

Easter day I put my brace on and made a few stitches. I was half-afraid that I’d forgotten how to crochet! I felt a little rusty, but I quickly picked up steam. I held myself back and only crocheted for about an hour, and I’ve been slowly increasing the amount of time that I can spend hooking. So far, so good. I was able to complete this blanket!

Project Linus Blanket #42 Detail

To be honest, I just wanted to get this one done so that I could move on to the delicious yarns. The yarn that I used for this project was some that I’d purchased a few years ago from Michaels. It’s their brand CraftSmart and it sucks. It’s worse than Super Saver, that’s how plastic it feels. However, I’m told it softens up a bit after a few washes. Let’s hope so. There’s not much left after this blanket so I think it’s going to get tossed so that I don’t have to use it again.

The blanket I’m currently working on uses Yarn Bee’s (Hobby Lobby brand) Sugarwheel. It’s so soft! I love it and I have some more Yarn Bee lined up for the blanket after that one. I can’t wait!

Project Linus Blanket #42

Posted in Blankets, Crochet, Project Linus | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Machining: A Tool Post Holder

I knew something was up when Jay was watching This Old Tony’s video about making Quick Change Tool Holders. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching This Old Tony’s videos. However, the fact that he specifically chose this video meant that he was mulling over an idea. And he was.

Tool Post Holder1

This is one of his current holders for his lathe.

Tool Post Holder2

When I asked why he decided to make his own he said it’s because he needed more. I guess he could have purchased a set of four holders, but he only needed two in the set. The other two were ones that he already has a bunch of and doesn’t need more. Also, he said that he wanted to challenge himself to build multiples of a part that requires tight tolerances.

Tool Post Holder3

He started out with a single block of material.

Tool Post Holder4

He cut the block down into individual pieces. That was loud. I was in the bedroom, which is directly above his metal-cutting bandsaw, and the floor was vibrating. Bob was not impressed.

Bob In Bed 05 2017

One of the tough aspects of the holders are the dove tails that are necessary to fit onto the machine and lock into place.

Tool Post Holder5

This required a lot of measuring, removing small amounts of material, measuring some more, etc.

Tool Post Holder6

This was rough and took a lot of time. Then a box showed up on the porch and inside was a material waterer.

Tool Post Holder7

Somehow this helps the metal piece to ripen.

Tool Post Holder8

I guess it’s just a little mister to keep your material fresh.

Tool Post Holder9

The other part of the holder includes some bolt-like things. So Jay made some of those, too.

Tool Post Holder10

“Gnurly, dude!”

Tool Post Holder11

And there you have it… four new tool holders for his lathe.

And apparently they all fit and have been used.

Tool Post Holder12

Way to go, Jay!

Posted in Machining | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Laptop Backpack

Jay and I have been pretty busy around here. I showed you the decorative hangers he made for his mom. I promised to show you the project that I’d been working on for about a month. When Jay received his new position at work it meant he would also be issued a laptop. He mentioned that he would need a bag for it so I offered to make him one. He wanted a backpack, so I showed him his options. Then he picked out the color of fabric, webbing, and zippers. Are you ready to see it?

Laptop Bag

The pictures aren’t great because it was dark and I had to get them before he took the bag to work and it got filthy. No matter how hard you try, you can’t keep anything clean in a foundry.

This is the Demi Big Backpack by iThinkSew patterns. If you remember, I used their Dillan Lunch bag pattern to make the 20 lunch bags last fall. I knew I wanted to use waterproof canvas for the main fabric so I let Jay pick his color. Then he picked the strapping, and that’s when the rest of the fabric was decided upon. I used 1.25″ canvas strapping that I found on Amazon. It’s actually used for woven belts, but Jay liked the camo print so I decided I could work with it. If I were to do it again, I would stick with a poly webbing for these straps.

Laptop Bag Side

For the lining material, and as an accent for the gussett pockets, I found this digital desert camo print. It doesn’t really match the camo print on the canvas webbing, but it works.

Laptop Bag Back

The pattern doesn’t actually call for any padding to be added to the back straps. Jay wanted padded straps so I bought some Soft and Stable from ByAnnie’s because I knew it would be a great foam for this application. The problem was that Soft and Stable is not a fusible foam and these straps were made with right sides together and then turned inside out. How was I going to pad them and keep the foam in place as the straps were turned? I could have gone out and bought some of the fusing that you use to fuse two layers together, and then I remembered that I had something else that might work.

Laptop Bag Straps

I had two rolls of this fusible strip stuff that is usually used for hems. I fused a piece of foam to each piece of back strap material and then sewed it together. I made sure to cut the foam smaller to keep it out of the seam allowances. It did bunch up a little bit when I was turning them right sides out, but for the most part it worked.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the sign you can kind of see in the background, I found it on Amazon.

Sewing Room Sign

Despite the fact that the cat is sewing from the wrong side of the machine (obviously whoever came up with this design has never used a sewing machine), I thought it really went well in my sewing room. I still have to hang it up so that it’s not sitting on my cutting table.

Since the Demi Backpack is not actually a laptop bag I had to modify it a bit. I looked at other patterns that were made to be laptop bags and used the basic concepts of how they added laptop sleeves to their bags. I then used the same foam that I used for the lunch bags as the padding in the laptop sleeve. After all, I still have quite a bit of it left (I’m using the box as an end table in my living room… I just threw a table cloth over it).

Laptop Bag Foam

Here you can see more of the interior fabric and the flap that I made to secure the laptop in the sleeve.

Laptop Bag Inside

Here is a view of the inside of the large compartment after I was finished. This pattern uses binding for the seams, which would have been fine except mine were already so thick I ended up using some of the leftover ripstop that I used in the lunch bags. I was afraid that if I tried to use waterproof canvas I would either break a billion needles or else just not be able to sew it at all.

Another modification that I made to the pattern was topstitching the main zipper. In the picture above you can kind of see how it tacked down the seam created by sewing the zipper onto the front panel. I was afraid that if I didn’t do this it would continually either get caught in the zipper or just generally be in the way.

Jay's Laptop Bag

I think it helps give the front of the bag a more “finished” look.

You’re probably wondering about the zipper pulls. Let me give you a closer look.

Laptop Bag Zipper Pulls

Again, I let Jay pick out his hardware. I had seen some fun zipper pulls and purchased them without any projects in mind. When it came time for Jay to decide what zipper pulls he wanted he picked these ones. Since they are double zippers I would have thought he would have picked the same one, but apparently he needed all of them.

MF Zipper Pull

Yes, you are correct. All of the zipper pulls are Star Wars themed, except Calvin and Hobbes.

Gary Zipper Pull

Jay wanted them next to the Stormtrooper so that it would look like they were laughing at him. If you are familiar with the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes then you will be able to understand it a little more when I tell you that Calvin and Jay are VERY similar.

There is a front zipper pocket, a larger front pocket and then the main compartment. I think the Demi Backpack pattern has the front zipper opening up into the larger zipper pocket, which didn’t make any sense to me. I tried making it a separate liner that would separate it from the other pocket, but I didn’t quite calculate correctly so Jay is looking at a blank wall when he opens it up.

Laptop Bag Front Zipper Pocket

If you are thinking about making this bag, I would caution against using the cotton webbing and the waterproof canvas unless you have an industrial machine. I used my Singer 403 and was able to get through most of it. The worst part was trying to sew the back panel on because I not only had the waterproof canvas and lining for the back, but the strap connectors (two layers of waterproof canvas) and the laptop sleeve (two layers of linin fabric). Plus, since I used the closed-cell foam for the padding it did not give a millimeter. It would push my sewing machine foot off the material, especially when I was trying to sew on the binding. And I manually turned the handwheel of the machine ALL THE WAY AROUND the back panel so that I wouldn’t break a needle or ruin my machine. Again, it’s my own fault for choosing those materials, but I managed to get it done. Just don’t look closely at the binding.

Laptop Bag 2

It’s quite a large bag. Oh, and as I’m looking at this picture, I should tell you that I used pieces of peltex at the top under the areas where I sewed the strap to the bag for some added reinforcement. I also cut a piece of peltex to fit on the bottom of the gusset to give that a bit of reinforcement. I knew a laptop would be resting on it, so I wanted a bit more structure.

The last thing I wanted to show you is that I don’t have a fancy set up or a lot of room in my sewing room. A lot of the time when I’m cutting out lots of fabric, or large pieces of fabric, I bring it all out to my family room and make a mess in there. If you don’t like to see messy things please look away now.

Fabric Cutting Area

As you can see, I’m using my fancy pattern weights (cans of kidney beans, tomato paste and tomato sauce). I don’t often use a rotary cutter because it’s difficult to manipulate it correctly in this setup. I usually trace the patterns onto the fabric using chalk and then cut it out with my fabric scissors.

I have just finished cutting the pieces out for four purses, so once I have those finished I will post them here. They are going to be absolutely adorable!

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

Small Wooden Wall Hangers

Hey guys! I was trying to give Jay some time to take pictures of the things he’s making, but the only thing he has remembered to take progress pictures of were the small wooden wall hangers he made for his mom. She showed him a picture (which was drawn a LOT better than mine):

Heart Hanger 1

She told him the approximate size she wanted and what she was going to hang off them. They are just going to hold light fabric banners, so he decided he could use some 1/4″ birch plywood. Have you tried finding any of that lately? Good luck! He managed to find enough scrap pieces in his shop to make the quantity that she requested.

Then he drew it up in SketchUp because he was going to use the CNC router to cut them out.

Heart Hanger 2

Due to the limited material he had on hand, he had his mom proof the design before he started cutting. It got the go-ahead.

Heart Hanger 3

I think the large CNC router is having some kind of wiring issues, so he fired up the small CNC router.

Heart Hanger 4

It worked quite nicely.

Heart Hanger 5

After the router was done he just had to cut the tabs holding the hangers onto the larger piece of plywood. This is easy enough to do with a scalpel.

Heart Hanger 6

Easy peasy.

Heart Hanger 7

When he was done he had a decent little stack.

Heart Hanger 8

His mom is going to finish these herself, so once he was done they were delivered. No sanding and no finishing work for me. I was perfectly fine with that because next week you’ll see what I was working on for the last month.

Posted in CNC Router, Wood Work | Tagged , , | 1 Comment