Monday, April 25, 2016

A new hobby?

Grandpa's been having some extra time on his hands lately, so he's been trying his hand at fishing. Look what he caught last week:

His first-ever catfish!

It weighed something over four pounds. Congrats, Grandpa!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Scrappy Vinyl Pouches

I mentioned that Jess and I worked on a sewing project while we were visiting at their house. Cloud9 Fabrics had gifted us with this lovely stack of fat quarters in Cirrus Solids (or maybe it was a rental payment, since they'd borrowed a couple of bags I'd made to use for a display ;) ), so we needed something to sew from them.

Talk about color selection! Lovely!

We also had a bunch of ribbon samples of designs Jess had done for Renaissance Ribbons.

Sooo... what to make?

I'd come across a tutorial here for Scrappy Vinyl Pouches that looked kind of fun, so we decided to give it a try. The Cirrus Solids made the little loops (yeah, we have a lot of that stack of fat quarters left!), and you can see where the ribbons went.

Aren't they cute?!

Have another close look:

Jess plans to gift most of them, but I did get to bring one home. Guess which one! If you guessed the sewing machines, you guessed correctly. Not too hard, huh? I love that ribbon! It's also being printed in red.

So here's my little pouch, with pens to show what the actual size is.

What will I use it for? That's a tough decision... I have so many options! Maybe some teeny tiny doll clothes supplies, like buckles and buttons?

Or bag hardware...

... or my rivets and eyelets and the tools to set them.

Hmm... I think I need to make myself a few (dozen) more of these pouches! They're so handy because you can see what's inside them.

Jess did all the cutting, and I sewed them together. They were just a bit challenging to make. Although I've sewn a little vinyl before, I didn't have a lot of experience sewing vinyl to vinyl. And I had even less experience using Jess's sewing machine. So don't look too closely... they're not as neat as they could be, but I'm still pleased with them. There are a lot of tips out there for sewing with vinyl, and the tutorial has some, too. Just take it slow if you decide to do it. All in all, it was a fun project, and I plan to make more (using my good ol' faithful sewing machine).

There are 20 of Jess's new designs of the ribbons being printed right now. Among them are the skunks, lemons, sewing machines plus coordinating ribbons that go with the sewing machines. I can't wait to get more to play with! If you happen to see any projects that might be good to use the ribbons on, do let me know.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It's that time of year again

I realize I haven't updated you on any cats for a long time! It's not that I haven't taken any photos... I have plenty! And I still have plenty of cats. :) In fact, I have even more now, because it's kitten season again. Rainbow and Patches have both had litters, but they both had them in the stack of hay bales. I haven't seen Patches' because I can't get at them, but I know where they are (approximately). Rainbow's were slightly more accessible, but not much. I did manage, however, to climb up for photos one day. I had to just stick the camera in the hole and shoot, hoping I ended up with a decent photo or two. I managed to get these, but I also got my camera, myself, and as you can see, the three kittens covered with loose hay. Ha - it was worth it. ;)

Those were taken on April 11th, at just over two weeks old. They are now three weeks old. Last evening after I'd fed the cats, I stepped out of the garage and saw that Rainbow had brought me a gift... an awfully cute gift!

Sweet of her, wasn't it? I sat with it in the garage for a bit wondering what I should do with it, then decided to put it back out till I could figure something out. Rainbow had been busy while I was pondering... suddenly there were two!


Then Rainbow disappeared again while these two (and I) waited.

Sure enough, she soon had all three of them in front of the garage.

I knew what she wanted. She'd raised a litter in the garage before, if you recall. I recall deciding never again! They're cute and fun, but oh such trouble when they get a little older. We ended up exporting that litter to a brother-in-law's farm.

It was getting late, so I put the kittens in a box and let them and Rainbow stay in the garage overnight. This morning I moved them to the old hog barn, where Rainbow has also raised a couple of litters. I thought all was well, until this afternoon I heard a tiny kitten cry outside the back garage door this time. I wasn't too surprised to find a fat little orange baby out there. So I grabbed the iPad and waited. I know some of you won't be able to see this little video clip on your tablets or phones, but if you can, look at it on a computer (or check my Instagram gallery). It's worth it!

Soooo... this photo below was my last view awhile ago. There's probably one more by now. The poor little things had quite a ride, as she had to haul them up and out a window! Mama Rainbow looks tuckered out, too.

Now what to do with them???!!!

Update: She did bring the third one, of course, and I moved them to a different location. This time I put them in a shed that used to hold ground hay. It's open, but the inner walls are lined with hay bales with some little hidey holes that I figured would work well for the kittens. Apparently Rainbow didn't agree. When I opened the back garage door this morning (Monday), I was greeted by Rainbow awaiting her breakfast... with her three kids! Aargh. I hauled them back to the same place, and so far they're still there (5:00 p.m.), probably thanks to the fact that it's been raining lightly all day.

Rainbow's such a protective mother! Yesterday I saw her go after a number of the other cats if they got too close. So I guess the hog barn with her older kittens is definitely out of the question. She needs an apartment of her own. Good thing we have a lot of sheds around here... even if she does prefer the garage suite. Ha.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Blooming Newport, KY

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent the first week of April at Jess and Alex's in Newport. Spring had definitely arrived there, as shown by all the new growth and blooming flowers. I thought I'd share some of the beauty with you.

This view is from their back door. There were these pretty lavender trees scattered all over the city. Google tells me they're probably a type of redbud tree. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Here's another. They were just so eye-catching!

Jess had her first iris bloom while we were there, too.

These creeping phlox were also brightly coloring their yard.

Lots of people had creeping phlox. They were blooming profusely!

These, I believe, are azaleas. They were just getting going.

Of course there were tulips (and many pansies which I failed to take a pic of).

This next tree(?) had an interesting shape.

I don't know what these next blossoms are, either. There were lots and lots of trees scattered around with white blossoms, although many had already lost their petals.

This little red tree was pretty...

... as was this yellow/green bush.

Update: My readers have helped me out in identifying the plants above. The twisty tree is wisteria, the white blossoms are dogwood, and the little bush with the yellow blossoms is forsythia. Thank you "dagan" and "Sant Family"!

It was so nice to see all the color after having had such a lot of whiteness back home. Incidentally, I walked through our evergreen trees yesterday and still found 3 little patches of snow. They must certainly be gone by now, though, as we hit a high temperature of 80° today! Hurray!

Hope you enjoyed this brief tour. I'll have more photos for you in another post.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Takeoff Tote #3, enlarged

I made another Takeoff Tote from the pattern by Erin (Erickson) Gilbey. I liked my first one a lot, but since I never learned to travel light and like to carry the kitchen sink along with me, it just wasn't quite big enough. Everything fit in it, but it was tight and made it hard to get things in and out. So I decided to enlarge the pattern to 115%. I used the brown Meridian print (my very favorite) from Jess's In Theory line of barkcloth for Cloud9 Fabrics. Here is my new tote!

Below is a comparison between the regular size tote and the enlarged one. There's just enough difference to give me the extra space I needed, about a couple inches all around.

I added six purse feet on the bottom to help keep that pretty barkcloth out of the dirt.

I also decided after cutting it out that the enlarged inner pocket was going to be too deep at that size, so I trimmed a 2-inch strip off the bottom and put the pocket about 3 inches from the bottom of the bag. Then I got a "brilliant" idea for using those 2" strips of main fabric and lining. I made a tube out of them, inserted elastic, and sewed it to the side of the lining opposite the pocket. I thought it might be useful for keeping some things upright. It worked okay, but I don't know if it was worth the bother. I probably wouldn't do it again.

The other change I made was to add a 10-inch strip of foam to the center of each strap. It worked well and I appreciated the padding for my shoulder.

I love my new bag, and it's already been on its maiden voyage! We spent the first week of April at Jess & Alex's in Newport, Kentucky (Cincinnati area). Here I am in their backyard with my new bag, so you can see its size.

Jess took the photos, and I couldn't decide which one I like best, so you get to see me TWICE! Besides, they got a new gate, which made for a pretty cool background. :)

Of course I took some photos of other things while we were there, so I'll be showing them to you soon. Jess and I worked on a little sewing project, too, and of course I'll be showing you that. Also, if you're interested in seeing my Takeoff Tote #2, it's here. (The link to my first one is at the top of this post.)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Early Bird Night Owl Pillow

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

You know, of course, that the early bird gets the worm!

But the night owl loves to stay up late, and nights can be its most productive time.

Whichever you happen to be, I have a pillow for you! Look, it's an Early Bird (worm included) on one side...

... but if you flip it over, it's a Night Owl!

This is what I've been waiting to show you and what those of you who don't follow my Instagram account have been patiently waiting to see after I showed you the box of supplies. I tested the Early Bird Night Owl Pillow pattern that was designed and written by Larissa Holland of the mmmcrafts blog. Quite charming, isn't she (aren't they)?

When Larissa asked me if I would like to test her pattern, I was thrilled! I knew it would be a fun one, as well as well-written, because I've sewn a couple of her creations before. You can see my Tooth Fairy pillow here, made from a free tutorial, and my Wee Mouse Tin House here, made from a pattern I purchased from Larissa.

As expected, the pattern was excellent! You can see that there are many details to the pillow, and Larissa thought of everything in making the pattern work perfectly. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. It's recommended for intermediate sewers, because it's good to know your sewing terms and have some experience sewing curves and doing hand embroidery when making this pillow.

I had so much fun making this! I love doing applique, so I got plenty of that. Larissa sent most of the supplies, which I really appreciated. Another good thing is that she even marked which fabrics should go where. I was delighted to see that, because you who've followed me for a while know that I'm a slow decision-maker, and that saved me lots of time. I also got good practice threading my sewing machine, because I used at least a dozen different colors of thread. :)

The other testers and I gave our feedback and offered a couple suggestions for changes, which Larissa took into consideration to improve the pattern, and she herself made many prototypes, so this pattern is fantastic, and you can purchase it HERE . You can read Larissa's blog post about it HERE.

I decided to give the pillow to Courtney for Easter (because I just KNOW she needs more stuffed critters - ha!). Here's a shot of her holding it, to give you an idea of its size.

I highly recommend this or any of Larissa's patterns. You won't be disappointed!