"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pretty Yellow Hollyhock

     I have to save some seeds from this one. It is such a pretty pale yellow. Hollyhocks look so wonderful in a cottage style garden. dont you think?

Crochet Honey Bee Tutorial

     I am starting on making an embroidered pin cushion with emery filled part for needle sharpening. I want it to be a nature theme. One of the parts I am attaching is a small honey bee. I am including the pattern below if anyone wants to give it a try.
      1 mm / USA 10 crochet hook
       size 10 crochet thread in black, white, and yellow

I will embroider legs when I attach to the pin cushion.
1. With black thread, ch 4, 8 half double crochet (hdc) in 3rd chain (CH) from hook. 
2. Slip stitch to join (ss) in top of turning chain (ch) . ch2
3, hdc in next 2 hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc. hdc in next 2 hdc, 2 hdc in next stitch (st). 2 hdc in last st. Join with ss to turning ch.

4. Chain colors to yellow. ch2. hdc in next 10 hdc and ss to join in urning ch.

5. Attach black again. ch 2. hdc around and join.

6. ch 1 , *sc in next st, skip 1, sc in next.* Repeat from* to * around. SS to join.
7. ch 2, 2 hdc in each st around. ss to join. 
8. ch 2 , 2 hdc in each around, ss to join.
9. ch 2, hdc in each around. ss to join
10. ss in second st , skip 2, ss again  in next st. skip 2 and ss again in next. pull end of yarn thru loop snugly.

wings: make 2 in white)
1. ch 3, dc in 3rd ch from hook. 
2. ch 3 and turn work. dc in middle dc below, ch 2 , dc again in same space. ch 2 and ss in turning ch. pull end thru loop. 
make two and tie together. Then attach to top of bee body. Pull some black thread thru head to make antennas. 

I hope you find these instructions helpful. i would love to see how yours turns out.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Another pillow for my front Porch

My new pillow. I love it. The more I work with this drop cloth, the more I want to buy.
I cut two  18" pieces of drop cloth. Did my embroidery, then sewed the piping onto one side. Then I laid the other side on right sides together, and with the side I could see the piping stitches placed up. Then when I stitched the back on I made sure to stitch just inside what I already stitched. Turned right sides out. Pushed out the corners, stuffed, and sewed it shut.

Fast and Easy Seat Cushion

      Ok, here it goes ....a fast and easy to sew seat cushion for the porch. There are lots of ways to do this. You could add piping etc, but it would be helpful to have some sewing experience for that. I think a beginner could sew this.
      First measure the size of your old cushion from seam to seam.. Does it have sides? or is it like a stuffed pillow? If it has side pieces then you will also need to add the 3.5" to Length and width. If you dont have an old one to cover then buy your stuffing and stuff it. If your going to make your own and stuff it, then measure length and width needed to fit seat. Add 3.5" to compensate for drop caused by boxing the corners and seam allowances..
      Cut two pieces. Now you could just use the exact measurements, 1" seam allowance and just sew it up without boxing corners, leaving about 8" to stuff it, turn right side out, and sew the opening closed. I like the look of the boxed corners.So here are the instructions:
1. Place right sides together and pin.
2. starting on long side of back of cushion about a foot from the corner, sewing it around. If your stuffing,  
    leave about 8" opening. If your stuffing your old cushion inside then leave about 15" opening.
3. Now to box the corners:

Flatten corners so that side seams lay on top of each other. The beige fabric is my underside, drop cloth fabric. the blue is the top. Pin.
Now measure down from corner 2.5" on each side and mark.

Now do the same thing to other side.
Now lay your ruler across from mark to mark and draw a line.
Sew across this line. Trim off excess corner leaving 1/2" seam allowance.
Turn right side out and poke out corners.Once you get your old cushion in or get it stuffed, sew the opening shut.
This is a great beginner project. especially if you used all drop cloth since it is so cheap.

Baby Praying Mantis

   Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on my porch swing enjoy my porch. I happened to glance towards the railing while watching for hummingbirds, and seen this teeny tiny creature. It was the tiniest baby praying mantis I had ever seen. In fact, the only kind I have ever seen were adults. This one was almost invisible without a magnifying glass. It was about 1/2" to 3/4" long. Its body about as thick as a sewing needle and its head smaller than the head of a pin.  I ran to get my camera, and almost couldnt even get a good focus on it. When i zoomed it, I couldnt see it, when I zoomed out it was gone. I tried to place my finger behind it for size comparison. The little bugger kept roaming around my porch post. Finally, I got him in sight and quickly snapped. Unbelievable how tiny he is.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Found Love of Drop Cloth

     Recently I decided i was going to give my front much a much needed make-over. It has always been kinda drab. No new furniture, no pillows to add pops of color except a couple of old cushions I had bought years ago. Even those have seen better days. Our porch faces South West and gets bright, HOT sun all day from noon on. Even tho it has a roof, it almost always is too hot to sit out there and enjoy it.
     So I decided to buckle down and get to work. I started researching ways I could block the sun from cooking us when we were on the porch. I seen picture after picture of curtains hung on a porch, and fell in love.Look HERE and HERE. They looked so lovely and romantic billowing in the wind. I also read many people were already enjoying the virtues of  Drop Cloth. Most of the pics I seen of outdoor curtains were done with drop cloths. I always thought drop cloth was probably just a cheap sheeting of some kind to use while painting a throw away. I have never seen them in person. After enjoying these lovely photo's, I went to Home Depot to buy my own. I bought the Everbilt brand that had two cloths 6x9 feet for around $10. I had every intention of making drapes to hand near my columns  on my porch. I washed and dried one package  and hung them up for inspection and trial run over a clothes line. Now I knew it wouldnt look that great draped over a string near my porch ceiling, but i was just testing it. My husband came out and looked at it, and immediately let out a "Hell No!" he absolutely did not want drapes on the front porch for all to see,lol. Well I decided to try to come up with a compromise since I still wanted to be able to use the porch . so back to the computer I went. After researching, I decided to make Roman shades for the porch. If mounted high up next the the ceiling on the inside, the foot high support beam would easily cover most of it while pulled up and then could easily be let down when needed. Plus the added benefit of being protected more from the sun and weather. Although I did read that someone said their curtains were going on 5 yrs old and still looked good. They just gave them a washing at the start of the season. Others also mentioned they sprayed theirs with a water protectant. Someone else even made a beautiful white slipcover for their couch from drop cloth by bleaching them. Look HERE. Drop cloth has a beautiful beige linen look, before bleaching. A nice weight similar to outdoor fabric.
    Well I have my four packages of drop cloth with 2 to a pack, I still have to buy some small metal rings and some 1" flat metal bars to weight the bottom of the blinds, and I am ready to go.
     Outdoor pillows right now at Joanns are $12 something for about a 16" pillow at 50% off. Outdoor fabric runs about $10 a yard with their current 50% off sale. with one yard of fabric at $10, I can make SIX 18" throw pillows if I back them with the drop cloth and make them reversible. Check out this sneak peek of my first pillows:

Check back often and follow my Front Porch Make-Over as I add tutorials for making  Roman shades, seat cushions and pillows for my porch. All using drop cloth and combos of beautifully printed outdoor fabric for pops of color. However, you can also paint your drop cloth to add stripes, stencils (which I plan on doing too) , or even dye it. I love this sturdy versatile and CHEAP fabric.


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Constructing a Trellis For The Garden

         I watched THIS video by Reaganite71 on youtube. If you haven't seen his gardening video's, be sure and stop by. You will learn a lot, plus they are very entertaining. I seen this video last Fall I believe, and knew right away I was doing this. Especially after I tried to string up my pole beans and my string sagged so bad in the middle by mid season, I ended up with a $2.60 a 10 foot piece. The corner connections are a good bit higher. They cost me about $3.50 each, and you need two per trellis.  You also need a pipe cutter, or a hack saw like I used., and your nylon string. I used mason's string.
         Anyway, it didnt take too long. My peas are about 6" tall now, so these short 5' ones are going in that bed. Take a look. Oh..... and excuse the mess. I am working on these trellis's, and my husband is working on replacing gutter and underhang on the garage.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

That Awful Four Letter Word.......DIET!

         Yep.......I am on a diet again. However this is the first time I have ever posted about it. First off, I must say I eat a pretty well balanced diet. The only thing I might lack in is enough protein. I am not much of a meat eater. Usually the only time I eat meat is the 1 day a week when we go out to a restaurant. While in middle school I was a vegetarian for 2 years. I love veggies. These make up most of my diet and I snack on nuts, and too much sweets.
        Last week I watched Dr. Oz . I liked him in the beginning, but then it seemed he pushed suppliments too much. But this day was different. he was discussing the results of his 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Diet. He made a good sense by allowing unlimited quantities of low glycemic vegetables. It also eliminates foods that can make you sick or be toxic to the body. Such as wheat,gluten, diet sweeteners sugar,and dairy. It does however allow 1/2 cup greek yogurt and 1 cup almond milk. The video of this show can be found HERE. He showed scans of the brain of a person using wheat, carbs, gluten and sugar and one without. The brain on these things seemed to be inflamed and he said along with other problems, it caused one to crave more food.The people in his audience lost an average 9 lbs in 2 weeks. Some were losing 26 lbs in 2 weeks.
        I started on Monday. The first day was a breeze,The second day I had to take my son to the hospital for a test so was gone half of the day. So I didnt get my breakfast smoothie. For lunch I then had the Bourbon Chicken Skillet but subbed out the red potatoes for more of the broccoli. Then chicken stir fry for supper with cashews. On the first day I lost 2.6 lbs. A total of 4.6 lbs in 3 days. I am thrilled. I just hope this continues and that I can stick to it. Here is a printable sheet on the diet

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My First Needle Book Completed

   Remember is THIS post I showed you the pages I created or my needle book. This is a special project for me for a few reasons. One, this is my very first needle book. Now i have a place to keep all my needles together and they are labeled. Two, This is the first time I used my nicer supplies for myself instead of gifts. Three, the idea for this project was brought up to me by an online friend. She has generously given me some pieces of very pretty fabrics, ribbons, etc. The crushed velvet cover was one of her gifts, plus the beautiful button and hand dyed ribbons.
     I lightly padded the cover and used a piece of acid free board to slip into the covers to stiffen them some. The pages were then opened up and stitched into the binding one at a time. One stacked on top of the other. There is also a narrow pocket running up the edge of the inside covers to hold needle threaders etc. Some of the roses were embroidered. The two large dusty plum colored ones were done using a folded technique. The large leaves were wire edged silk ribbon. The cream colored hand crocheted lace trim running along the edge of the front was made by me a few months ago when I was practicing a new stitch. This was an after thought and not initially made for this project but i loved the look. My roses still need a lot of work. I have been practicing my hand embroidery off and on for a few months now, but have done very little ribbon embroidery.

I noticed that flower that shows up as a bright true blue really isnt. It has a color range from dark blue thru some deep purple.The flowers that look brown, are more a deep copper color, and the crochet lace is more a cream.
Here is the inside:

The inside pocket is a horizontal one running up the left side and inside right side of cover.
This might be a little more accurate representation of the color:
The wonderful teacher helping me develop my embroidery skills advised me to add some greenery to my cover. So here is the updated pic.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Needle Book Update

         I sent my friend the picture of my needle book page. She gave me several good ideas to make it look better. Here is how it is now:
I have to admit my bullion's are getting better. I think I might have preferred to have made the inch worm head to be the same green as the body. I may still change that.

Needle Book......What The Heck Is That?

        That's exactly what i said to an internet friend a couple of months ago. I have been a sewer most of my life. Many years ago I bought an embroidery machine, so I havent done much hand embroidery, but I enjoy learning new skills. Last year by chance,  a wonderfully talented lady contacted me about a crochet project, and we have been friends ever since. She is very knowledgeable and skilled when it comes to sewing, embroidery, and other skills. I have been learning a lot from her. She is an excellent teacher. A few months ago she mentioned about needle books. I have never heard of them or even seen one before. She explained how it was used to store all your needles in one safe place. I usually tended to just stick them in my projects, stick them in pin cushions to be lost among my straight pins etc. We are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I tend to just rush into things headlong, and figure it out as i go. I am also very disorganized. She is extremely organized and plans about making plans for a project.  She is slowly rubbing off on me. Maybe one of these days when I go looking for a certain tool or pattern, I will know exactly where its at,lol.
       She suggested I should make a needle book. At first I wasnt real enthused about the idea. I wasnt sure I would even use one. so I started researching these online. Looking through pinterest and Google at all the beautiful books created by others. It wasnt long before I was hooked. I had to have one. Another thing she has taught me is that when I plan a project for myself  dont be afraid to use your nice materials. I have always saved the good things for when I was working on something for someone else. Sadly to say my pin cushion is one I threw together using a plastic  container and padded the lid. I used old scraps that werent very attractive. So now its time to take car of ME.
       I saw cute needle books online that were pieced from cute prints, and had easy felt pages. Some had hand embroidery on the covers, and ribbon embroidery. Some were shaped like apples. My  teacher/friend sent me some beautiful ,purple  crushed velvet. I decided I was going to use this for my book cover. I also plan on some ribbon embroidery on the cover. She discussed using wool felt or flannel for the pages. I liked the simplicity and ease of using the felt, but when she showed me a pic of how she stitches around the edges of her flannel pages, I was in love. I tried linen, but just didnt get the look I wanted. So I used some white felt. I cut my pages 4.5" x 6". These will then be folded in half to a 4.5" x 3".I found some cute little trim in my storage and decided to use it rather than hand embroidery the flowers, but it could certainly be done either way. I used dark purple embroidery floss to make a french knot in the center of each flower to hold the trim in place.
Then I found some purple rick rack. I thought this would look pretty and add some color in the center of the page. I will stick the needles in under this. I used some cream color floss to couch it to my flannel page. i also took some matching thread to stitch the ends down and prevent raveling.  I wanted some labels on the pages to try and keep me a little more organized. I tried free-handing them on ribbon. Like I said "no plans", just "jump in" and go for it.....Didnt work. The letters were all different sizes. I didnt want to fool with the embroidery machine. I also didnt want to print them out on my printer. So I remembered I had some cross stitch fabric. So I first embroidered the letters on then cut it out. I took some more matching thread and whipped stitched the edges down to my flannel. I liked this look. I think i am done with these, and now on to the cover. Check back here for more pics and instructions on putting this whole thing together.