Friday, September 30, 2011

Using Old Tires for Planting

On Nancy's comment to my post on my Redneck Planter,she stated that she uses old tires for planting her herbs.I have known lots of folks who do use old tires, but I have never seen anyone who has cut away the side walls of their tires as I have done. Once you cut away the sidewall on both sides of the tire, it is much lighter to more around when you need to do so.This is not the greatest picture, but it best shows how I've cut away the tire walls to make way for easier access to my soil and plants.It keeps your best soil and additives confined,so as not to wash away with the rain or when watering. It keeps the water and fertilize where you need it.

It is costly to get rid of old tires nowadays. I haven't needed to get rid of any myself, but it seems at one time, it cost around $1. per inch of width.Unreal! I feel if more folks were aware of the way I,and many others are using these old tires, there would be more demand for keeping them.With the high cost of food anymore, raising your own food is getting more popular than ever.Many folks don't have access to a huge garden plot,but using an old tire or two,could offer a small space for planting a few vegetables.You would be surprised at how many tomatoes you can grow in one tire. With the tire being open, the roots can grow into the soil like any normal garden plot, and do much better than growing in a traditional planter.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Real Pumpkins Are Scarce

We attended the Clarkson Honeyfest Saturday, and I overheard some folks talking about how there was a shortage of pumpkins in our area,so the price of pumpkins was through the roof. Since I hardly ever buy a real pumpkin anyway, that didn't bother me one bit. I figure if I need a pumpkin to decorate with, I can usually whip one up in a snap.There are all sorts of usable mediums lying around our house or out buildings. I can usually take my pick. Today I was cleaning one of the garages AGAIN (the baby chicks and their Mother have been sleeping in there for a few weeks)and I ran across a piece of a 6X6 cedar post that Pop uses for chocking a wheel while he works on various things. He has so many, I doubted he would miss one,especially  if I snitched only a half a piece, so I took his saws-all, and whacked myself off a small block. I continued to whittle the corners of the block with the saws-all. That is such a handy tool when working with big pieces of wood,especially since I am afraid of using a chain saw. I whittled away until I felt it halfway resembled a pumpkin.Close enough anyway.When I got it to the house, I rummaged through my craft room to find some embellishments for it. I have everything, anyone could possibly need for creating any given project. I found a couple of brand new rolls of that bright orange raffia type twisted paper,so I unrolled enough to cover the entire block and adhered it with my hot glue gun.I keep a few of my wooden block pumpkin stems made up at all times,since I do make a lot of pumpkins this time of year.I don't know why,but I do.I think it's because they are so easy to make, and you can make them out of so many different things.Quaint and primitive is in, so it doesn't really matter how they look,as long as others can recognize them as pumpkins.I found a few other embellishments and hot glued them onto my pumpkin,and now I have a nice centerpiece for the Fall Season.I discovered another neat project while at the fest Saturday, that I wanted to try,so I worked on a that for a few minutes today. I'm hoping to get one assembled in time to show and tell during the Fall Season.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My First Appliqued Leaf

This is my first leaf on my reversible mini quilt.I do love working on it, but I'm not real sure of what I am doing. I still need to get some advice from someone who has appliqued a little more than myself.

First. I'd like to know if it is better to use iron-on Pellon on the leaf before stitching it onto my background. It seems to me, the raw edges would fray when laundered. The Pellon might fuse it together, to where that would not happen.

Second. Is it necessary to turn the raw edges under before stitching it to the background. That would have been hard to do on these leaves, with all the little crooks and turns of the edges.

I suppose I will figure these things out as I go, but I just hate the thought of putting all the time into the project, and having it end up all frayed around the edges.

Even though I have worries,I am still pleased with the results of my first leaf for now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Orange Peels! Who Knew?

I am so glad I found this little tidbit on Marth Stewart's blog.

While orange peels aren't all that great for eating, they still come in great use around the house. Here are three simple ways to use leftover orange peel:
  • Because of its high content of flammable oil, dried peel makes a great fire starter.
  • Cats don't like the smell of orange peel, so you can place it around plants where you don't want cats digging.
  • Use dried orange peel to remove musty smells by placing it in a cloth bag and storing it in closets and cupboards.
  • Orange zest can be dried overnight and then stored in airtight bottles for future use.

Learning the Hard Way-As I Go

Sometime in the past, I posted about my 2 sided mini quilt. This side has an Americana theme, and the other was blank.

So I decided I would put something on the back side and use it as a double duty wall hanging.

Here I have stitched my lone place mat,that I found at a yard sale for 25 cents,into the mini quilt. 
Now I need to add a few more embellishments to make it more Fallish!(I know,that's not a real word!)

I'm 63 and this is my first time, trying to applique.It looks so simple,I figured, surely, I can do that.
Wrong! I went to the store thinking I was getting iron-on Pellon. It seems I had heard that's the way it's done. I bring it home, and it's not the iron-on type. I went back to the store, a week later, and asked the lady to help me find IRON-ON Pellon. She picks up a roll that looks just like the roll I had bought from last week, so I told her the story. It wasn't iron-on that I had purchased last week.Well, she proceeded to tell me to feel each side. One side was smooth and the other would be a wee bit rougher. That was the side with the stickem on it.Then I got worried that I might have tried to iron the wrong side onto the fabric. Dummy me, I didn't think that the stickem side would have fused to my iron,if that be the case, but I went on home to check it out. By this time I was thoroughly disgusted with the entire project.I laid it aside for another week, then I figured I'd try it again.WITHOUT any Pellon.I pinned the leaf to the mini quilt, to hold it in place, and began to do,what I think is the Blanket or the Buttonhole stitch, around the edge of my leaf fabric.My thread kept getting tangled in the pins. I thought about replacing the straight pins with safety pins,at first, but came up with a better plan. I'd tack the leaf in place with a white basting thread all around the edges, then I can pull it out when I'm done. The new plan seems to be working much better for me now.It will take me awhile,since I have 7 more leaves to go.Now, my only concern is:What if I have to wash the mini quilt, down the road. Will my hand appliqueing hold up in  the wash.Hopefully,some more experienced appliqueing folks will read my post and give me a few pointers.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wooden Alphabet Letters

My Grand daughter,Leah,is ten,as I write this, and is beginning to take interest in personalizing her bedroom a bit.It is an upstairs room in an old house, and none of the family have ever been enthused over the two kids sleeping up there, especially since the parents have remodeled one of the ground level rooms for their own bedroom.The thought is always there,what if there was a fire. A few years ago,we purchased them a set of those special fire alarms that call out the child's name over and over,until they awaken,but to this day, I am not sure they were ever installed.Go figure.Nevertheless, the children have continued to sleep in the same big room on the ground floor,where the parent sleep.With their jobs as they are, and the kids both in school now,there is some one sleeping at all times, so the remodeled bedroom was a must.

With Leah growing into a young lady faster than we would like,she is taking interest in having her own space, more and more.I feel that is" a good thing."She picked out the fabric for new curtains for her room, and I had  them finished in a day or two.A few stumbling blocks kept me from putting them up before the next weekend, so I had time to make her a throw pillow to match the curtains, and if all goes well, and she likes the curtains, she wants a quilt to match.I love seeing her so excited about decorating her room. I hope this crafting thing rubs off on her, a little.anyway. I,myself, love doing these kinds of things.

When I finished the curtains, the tie backs, and the pillow, I was so excited over it all, I was on a roll. I ran across a wooden letter L,among my wood pieces, and decided this would make a great piece to hang on her wall.I rummaged through my craft room and came up with a few items to dress it up. Paint,glitter,butter fly and flower stick-ons. I could just see it in my mind.The above picture does not do it justice, but I am so pleased with the finished product.So much so, I have decided to make more letters in this way.You never know when you might run across a little girl who would like to have their own initial on their wall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Americana Mini Quilt Revisited

Remember this little mini quilt I worked on last winter? I had spoke about making it reversible, but never got back to it until now. I went on line and found a couple of patterns for appliqued leaves. Then I rummaged through my fabric stash and found a couple of pieces of fall colored fabric.I don't mess with this sort of thing that much, but thought I would give it a try. Not sure if I'll be able to pull it off, but this will be my project over the next few weeks. I'm sure it won't be my only project going, since I get bored with trying to do something that does not come easy for me, and this definitely,falls under that category

The blue back ground is not  the best choice for a Fall mini quilt, so I may play with that a bit,too. It was handy at the time, and matched the color in the place mat which I was using for the center piece,so I used it. Now that it's time to hang it up, I am not happy with it. Hopefully, I will find something a little more Fallish to put in it's place.

I'll make a few tabs along the top of my mini quilt, to hang it from my recycled curtain rod,which I posted on my other blog just this week, but I may paint the rod a different color for the Fall season.If all goes well, I'll get this project finished and post it before Fall ends.

Pincushions Revisited

Every now and then, I fall back into my pincushion obsession. It seems whenever I am at a time and place where I must be confined for any length of time, I pull out my trusted pin cushion supply box and I am content.I keep lots of pretty swatches of fabric,numerous colors of thread,straight pins,needles,and trimmings of all sorts in the supply box.Oh yes, the stuffing material. I don't like to waste anything, as you may have heard me say once or twice before, so the stuffing I use is woolen fabric. I have plenty of that, and who uses wool any more? Not me, that's for sure.I inherited a huge supply of it, so I cut it in narrow strips, and roll it up to fit the pin cushion I will be making.I collect bottle caps of all sizes. Usually from milk jugs,medicine bottles, drink bottles.Most any size cap will do.I use caps for other things,too, but first and foremost, for my pin cushion bases. 

I roll up the woolen fabric strip,really tight, then I place it in the cap. I cut a circle of my pretty fabric,just large enough to cover the woolen fabric with enough edge left, to cram down into the cap with my scissor point.Some times I use the hot glue gun to secure it into the cap, but that's not always necessary.

 I cut a similar circle of fabric,the same color or something that matches the original piece I just used .I proceed to hem that circle of fabric and pull it with the thread like a drawstring bag(yo-yo style)then I set the cap, down into the little draw string bag and begin to draw it up tight,pinning it in place until I can tack it shut with coordinating thread.I use to glue a magnet onto the bottom of the cap,before this step, but not always, since many sewing machines are computer driven, and magnets and computers don't mix.Now I am applying Velcro to the bottom of the finished pincushion.Not always,but occasionally.

After the two fabrics have been secured to suit me, I rummage through my stash of pretty ribbons and lace,etc.,and find something suitable to cutesy it up a bit. I love making these cute but simple little pincushions out of materials that others most likely would throw away.
Now how's that for an hours work, or shall I say pleasure.
The pincushions that I am making lately, are so small at times, they need to be secured to something,so as not to get lost. Usually the sewing machine is a great place to stick one,although I have one stuck in every room.You never know when you'll need a quick needle and thread.