Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread and 10 year old DIRT!

I’m finally getting caught up.  The popcorn is strung for the Christmas tree.  The grandson and I decorated the tree on Monday. Cookies are made ..
These little gingerbread couples are something I make just about every year.  It takes quite a bit of time to decorate them but they’re so darn cute when they’re finished, it’s always well worth the time.  It’s difficult to get the nerve to bite their heads off.  Once they are headless, they are delightfully tasty treats that go really well with a hot cup of coffee in the morning!
So most of my baking is done with plans to finish today when I make nut roll. 
Shopping is finished now too.  Rachel and I spent the day yesterday shopping at Ross Park Mall just for the fun of it and ohhh what great bargains we found too!   She even talked me into buying something for her birthday next May, just because it was such a good price.  I have to remember to remember where I hide that gift so that in May, I’ll remember to remember where I put it.
Anyone who reads my blog regularly should know by now that both my daughters read my blog.  Occasionally Rachel will leave snide comments which lovingly make fun of me, but Jen has always resisted the urge to comment.   …. Until I showed the picture in my last post about the 10 year old blackbird with the 10 year old string of popcorn dangling from it’s mouth.  She just had to write a comment which had me laughing for the last few days every time I think about it. 
This picture is for Jen.
I admit, it is time to get rid of the 10 year old popcorn and cranberries.  Even though I really like how it looks, the dust doesn’t blow off as easily now and it is beginning to look bad. :)
I’ll replace it with a fresh strand but now I’m thinking why not make it a seasonal blackbird?  I don’t know why I’ve never thought of this before but I’ll take the popcorn off after Christmas and add a string of hearts for Valentines day. Maybe for spring I can replace the hearts with some spring flowers or some little easter eggs.   Ok Jen? 
I love my daughters.  They always find a way to keep me happy.
Just to keep y’all up on my patterns;  My Ebay listings to purchase any of my patterns are HERE .  I also have them up on the top left corner of my blog.   Wool kits along with the pattern for the “Let it Snow” candle mat are available from Pumpkin Patch Primitives .
I also have 100% wool kits available for the “Oh Snowy Night” table runner. 
If you wish to pay by check instead of Paypal, just email me to get my address. 
Happy Birthday dear Jesus!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Good and Bad of Snow

This is what we woke up to this morning.


I love waking up to snow like this especially when, like today,it’s a Saturday when no family member has to travel to get to work or school.

My way of thinking is that if it’s going to be cold, we might as well have snow with it rather than awful rain.   Again, as long as no one has to travel. 


Here’s what the main road looks like from our house. We live about 2 miles out of town and high up on a hill so we always get more snow than those who live in town.  This road is a major road though and it gets a lot of traffic.  PennDot doesn’t do a very good job at tending to our road so we get quite a few accidents and stuck vehicles trying to get up or down the winding hills. 

In his younger days, my husband used to go down to the road to help push vehicles up the hill.  I think he thought it was fun.  I always held my breath and didn’t look because I worried that he would get hit.  A human standing on icy roads with out-of-control moving vehicles on that same ice is just asking for trouble.  Thankfully his good deeds were rewarded because he always came back home, frozen and shaking his head about the “women drivers”  who always get stuck. :)

Nowadays, hubby just watches, like me and waits for the Penn Dot truck to assist those stranded motorists who are stuck on the hill.

He hates snow.  Snow for him means work and hassle.  He’s the one that goes out to shovel it off the driveway.  We have a loooooong driveway and I would help him but he has his way of doing it and doesn’t appreciate ME doing it a different way.

So, here are the different ways that he COULD clear the driveway, if he wished. 

  • lawn tractor with chains on the tires and snowblade
  • snowblower
  • 4 wheel drive pick-up truck with snowblade
  • Bobcat with scooping blade
  • ME helping him with any of those previous ways

He chooses none of those.  He uses his own manly power along with  one snow shovel. 

I don’t know why.

I’ve stopped asking.

I just hope he doesn’t have a heart attack while doing it.

He does use the snowblower to help out.  The snowblower doesn’t work well with the heavy wet snows though.

But really, I’ve learned over time to just not ask why he does what he does.  He would like snow a lot better though if he would just remove it in a easier way. 

I think today is a good day for baking cookies and watching old movies on tv.  … and watching the dear hubby shovel the snow. :)

Happy, snowy day everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So pleased to announce the winner ….


The Winner for the Jingle Bells Candy Canes Shelf Pillow Giveaway is…..


Cathy from  Tolentreasures .  Cathy is such a wonderful artist herself, I’m honored to know that something of mine is in her home.  Congratulations Cathy.  I hope this will help to bring you into the Christmas Spirit. 


I am getting more into the Christmas spirit now.  I’m finally finishing up orders so I can start stringing popcorn for the tree now.  I have to have popcorn on the tree, you see.  It’s tradition.  My daughters will roll their eyes when they read this and say out loud “there goes crazy mom stringing popcorn for the tree again”  but ya know … I betcha if I didn’t do it, they would miss it on that tree!    Every year I string new popcorn.  I wish I could save it to use from year to year, but I tried that one time.  I packaged it up nicely and stored it in a plastic bin so that no little creatures would be able to sneak in for a popcorn feast.  But when I went to get it out the next year, the oil in the popcorn turned rancid and it smelled BAD.  It looked good.  I actually considered using it for ohhh… maybe 2 seconds but the smell took over and knocked sense into me.   WHICH reminds me of this … gotta go get a picture of this ……  



My wool blackbird has been sitting high up on a shelf for YEARS.  I’d say this guy was about 10 years old.  So guess what?  That popcorn is 10 years old now too.  haha  The once fresh cranberries are completely dried up.  I love my crow sitting up there on my shelf dangling the popcorn.   I swear there are no creatures feasting on it either.  I probably should put a fresh strand on it.  Yeah, I guess I will.  

Dental floss is what keeps that popcorn on there.  I used the waxed dental floss to string the popcorn and cranberries.  It never breaks and if you use the mint flavored floss, it smells minty fresh as you’re stringing it. :)

And just some quick little snippets of what’s happening in the world of Cathy:


  • Rachel is coming home for Christmas break today so I have to get MY laundry done before she takes over the washer with HER laundry. 
  • Ebay used to be fun and I’ve never had one single problem in all the years that I’ve done it until this past week.  Three problem people.  Ya know … what the heck is so difficult about clicking the “buy it now” button and then clicking the “Paypal” button to pay for it?  Huh??  sheesh. 
  • I  weeped pretty much all day yesterday because my friend Fred Honsberger died.  Fred was the afternoon talk show host on KDKA radio .  I don’t watch tv during the day.  I listen to Fred every stinkin Monday through Friday.  Fred and I go waaaaaay back.  I don’t know what I’m going to do in the afternoons without Fred to keep me company. Gosh I’m tearing up just typing this. 
  • I really like Windows Live Writer now and I encourage anyone who blogs regularly to try it.  I can easily post pictures now, exactly where I want them and I can easily make cute little bulleted snippets just like this.  All the problems that I had before are completely eliminated now. Just take a few minutes to go here to download it.  I finally figured out how to use it and I’m so glad I did.  I have to thank  Rondell from Tomato Creek Primitives for giving me the push to learn to use it.

Ok, I’m outta here …:)


Happy Day everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fighting With The Christmas Tree

Well, I did fight with the tree, but we’ve made up and are now friends again.


When the kids were growing up, every year we would go out to the local tree farm, ride the hayride which took us out into the field and we would cut down our own tree.

It was always so much fun.  But my hubby was the one that always had the huge task of bringing that tree into our house and making it compatible with our living room.  It was a lot of work.

We have high, 10 foot ceilings so we liked the tall ones but when surrounded by the big vast field filled with rows and rows of trees, pretty much every tree looked small.

Let’s just say, we were really bad at picking out trees. 

Every year, hubby would, without complaint, fight the tree out in the garage to get it to fit in the tree stand.  We even accumulated different size tree stands over the years, just to try to make his job a little easier because those tree trunks come in many different sizes.

Once the tree was brought into the house, the fight continued because inevitably the tree would have a crooked trunk.  With hubby under the tree and us girls standing across the room, we would instruct daddy which way to adjust that trunk in the stand to get it to look straight.  Adjusting an 8 foot tall tree was not an easy task.  Sometimes string was involved … tied from the tree to the curtain rod just to keep it from tipping over.

It came to a point in time that hubby said “I’m too old to be doing this”.  He wanted an artificial one. 

So about 5 years ago, he and I went out and purchased a beautiful artificial Christmas tree. 

Remember up there how I said “we were really bad at picking out trees”?   Well, that applies to artificial trees too because when we brought  the enormous box home (and that should have been a sign in itself because it took the two of us to carry that box into the house) unpacked and assembled it … it was splendid in it’s glorious beauty but it was just enormous.  We wanted it tall but we didn’t think to consider it’s “wing span”

The wing span on this tree was … hmm … I’d say at least 6 feet across.  E normous indeed.

So every year, for the past 5 years, we’ve fought with the artificial Christmas tree.  Getting it to fit in a big enough space in a room with a new grandchild that visited often was really difficult to do.

This year, bringing lugging the box up from the basement, my husband proclaimed, “I’m too old to be doing this.”

The bad thing is that he decided this right as I was going through possibly one of the most stressed out days of the month.  Too much hitting me at one time causes stress and that was one more thing that I just did not want to hear. 

Taking the tree out of the box and setting up the base convinced me though that this tree was just too big. 

To make a long story a bit shorter, rather than take the time to go out to buy another tree, we worked out a compromise with this one.  Since the tree comes in three sections, we put the base back in the box and just used the middle and top section for our tree which made it really short, but it took up much less space. 

This size is much easier to deal with except ….

now it’s too short!   Hubby decides to build a box to put under it to raise it up.  I decided for him that would take too much time so hubby decides to improvise and bring up from the basement a hideous looking old tv stand which when turned on it’s side would raise the tree to the perfect height. 

Ok, sorry but this story can’t stay shortened because let me tell you, even though I wanted to try to be congenial and tell him it was a good idea,  there is absolutely nothing that could be done to that sideways sitting tv stand that could disguise the fact that it was a sideways sitting tv stand holding up the tree. 

Hubby was forced to lug the stand back downstairs which thinking about it, he should’ve lugged it outside for trash day.

So there the tree sat until last night when my blessed sweet daughter Jen came over.  The tree was pathetic in it’s shortness and it made me grumpy to even think about so we decided to try an old cherry coffee table under the tree to see how it worked.  Jen took over, moved the table into position, and with the strength of 10 men, she lifted that tree onto the table and ….

I am happy.  I don’t have to shop for  a last minute Christmas tree!

It sits in the corner just perfectly and I’ll put the red tree skirt around it and it will be wonderful.

No more fighting with Christmas trees after this year.  I think this one will be donated to Goodwill and early next year, we will take the time to purchase a nice, perfect sized tree that will require no fighting.

Let this post be a reminder to ME next year in November that I need to shop for a Christmas tree.


And I know that this post is really long already but I simply have to show this picture ….


On Sunday, my sweet husband, when seeing how stressed I was with trying to catch up with the backlog of orders and sewing I had to do, asked me what he could do to help me.  All he had planned for the day was to watch football on tv. 

I have some pillows that need stuffed with wool clippings so I handed him my bag of wool scraps, a pair of scissors and a bowl.  He spent the next hour watching football and cutting wool into tiny little snippets … even smaller and more uniform than I ever would!  He’s such a sweetheart.  I love that man.  :)

Top that for a perfect husband, ladies!  Oh wait … I can top that!

After he did that, he baked up some Christmas cut-out cookies too!  …. and he didn’t even watch football while doing it!

ok, y’all are jealous now, I know.  You can’t have him and I don’t share!


For those of you who haven’t entered for a chance to win the Jingle Bells Candy Cane Shelf Pillow, just click HERE and enter a comment in the post to get your name into the drawing.  You must be a “follower” to enter … or a regular reader without a blog. 


Happy Day everyone … sheesh this was a looooong post!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Spirit GIVEAWAY !

Yesterday I baked some Christmas cookies and I popped some popcorn for stringing the Christmas tree garland and I put on some of my favorite Christmas music.  All of this was done as an attempt to get myself into that Christmas spirit.  It didn’t really work.  I need to do something to get into the holiday spirit.


I’ll have a giveaway!

Here’s the little something that I’m going to giveaway …


This is a little “Jingle Bell Candy Cane “ Pillow.  It’s a cute little       4 1/2” square size so it will fit very nicely in with your bowl fillers or just on the mantle shelf.  I’ve stuffed it with wool clippings which gives it some weight. 

Incidentally, I have one of these listed on Ebay right now as well as patterns and a cute little snowman pincushion.  Go take a look. 


So the rules for this giveaway are pretty simple:

This giveaway is just for my blog “followers”.   Add yourself to my followers list if you wish a chance for this.  The last giveaway I had lots of entries from lots of strangers who were just passing through.  I don’t want passing through … I want regular readers to win this.

All of my “Followers”, just leave a comment in this post for your chance to win this Jingle Bell Candy Cane shelf pillow. 

I realize that there are lots of regular readers who don’t have blogs.  I’ll make an exception for you.  If you’re a regular reader without a blog,  leave an “anonymous” comment with your name and then email me so that I have a way to get in touch with you if you are the winner.  (

The winning name will be drawn on Wednesday night (Dec 16th) at 10pm est. The winner will be notified that night and then announced here on Thursday morning. 

For those without a blog … Do you know that you can sign up for a blog and just use it to keep track of your favorite blogs to read?  You don’t have to actually make blog entries … Just sign up and then add all of your bookmarked blogs to your list and it’s a simple way to keep track of all your favorite sites.  The main “dashboard” page will show all of your favorites and their newest updates. It’s really easy to do … if I can do it, anyone can.

Happy Day everyone!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Patterns are now READY!


I finally finished packaging this newest pattern late last night. Patterns and kits that have been ordered will be mailed out today.  Thank you all for the orders. 

I have to mention too … If you have ordered something from me and haven’t received it within say, a week, after ordering it, please let me know.  Sometimes quite a few orders come in at the same time and that, along with Ebay orders it all can get confusing for me.  I do have an organized system for ensuring that the orders get filled and mailed, but there can be flaws at times … mostly because I’m a scatterbrain and some of the time because this is all new to me and it’s a BIG adjustment! 

Anyway, as soon as I get an order, most times, it’s mailed out either the same day or the next day, so if you haven’t received it within a week,  just let me know.

It was such a busy day yesterday and didn’t even get home until almost 7pm last night.  Then we had to make the decision of whether to watch the Steelers, the Pens or Survivor on tv.  Thankfully, we have a DVR and hubby recorded the football game for us to watch after Survivor.   The Steelers are looking sooo bad this year, I stopped watching after the first quarter.  My hubby, who usually sits and silently simmers during baaad games like this, was actually laughing by the end of the 3rd quarter.  Ben, the quarterback was sacked  … what?  8 times??   At least the Pens won their game.



It’s so cold today, I turned on our gas logs just to get the chill out of the living room.  Usually in the winter, I don’t bother turning on the logs until evening.  Today is an exception.  Goodness gracious it’s something like 18 degrees out there and with the wind, it’s much colder.  And yes, we don’t mess with real wood fires anymore.  I love real fires in the fireplace but it’s just so messy so we’ve had gas logs for oh, at least 10 years now.  It’s great if the power goes out too because it can easily keep the entire main floor warm. 

I am trying to use Windows Live Writer again for this post.  Rondell, at Tomatoe Creek Prims  keeps saying how wonderful it is to use.  I tried using it once, months ago, and it is nice to use but when I went to click the “Publish” button, the entire post that I wrote, DISAPPEARED.  So, I never messed with it again.  I had visions of my post magically appearing in someone else’s blog.  Actually, that would be quite funny….


Ok, that’s it for today.  Stay warm everyone … and for those of you in areas of warm climate today … I’ll try not to be jealous. 


Oh yeah, be sure to check out my blog tomorrow.  I’ll be doing a little giveaway. 

Happy Day everyone!

I’m going to click “Publish” now … let’s see if it works this time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dinosaur Birthdays

For well over a month now, Our grandson has been practicing the 3 finger hand sign for how old he will be on December 6th. Finally the day arrived so that he can officially be 3 years old. The birthday celebration was held last night.

Here's K with is little cousin. For the longest time, K was requesting a Strawberry Elmo cake with chocolate chip cookies on top which kinda proves that giving a 3 year old his choice of what kind of cake he wishes for his birthday might result in some odd flavor combinations.
Jen over a period of a few weeks, gradually steered him in a tastier cake combination and they both decided that a chocolate "Dino" cake would be perfect.
He graciously allowed his cousin to share his birthday chair. Thankfully, being only 2, his cousin was not as proficient as K at blowing out candles. Othewise this might have ended up being a candle blowing disaster.

Take a look at this Dino cake ...
Now, for me, I would probably call up the closest bakery and order a cake with a dino picture on it. Jen, on the other hand, has to take advantage of all that creativity that the Lord blessed her with to create the ultimate Dinosaur Design. Honestly, I don't know how she managed to do this but I imagine it might have involved some wood-carving tools. The cake was made completely from scratch too. Chocolate and yellow cake. Wow, my daughter is amazing!

Finally, the "Oh Snowy Night" Table Runner Pattern is ready to sell! It's at the printers now and should be ready for mailing on Friday. Anyone interested in purchasing this pattern, just click up there at the top left of the screen to buy it for the special preorder price of $8.00 which includes shipping. After Saturday, the price will go up to the regular selling price of $9.50.
This measures 10" x 18" and you can look at my previous post to see how to turn this from "Oh Snowy Night" into "Oh Hungry Snowmen" simply by placing a plate of goodies in the center. haha ... that makes me smile to think that I discovered that completely by accident. In fact, I think I like the table runner even better with them sniffing the goodies on the plate rather than admiring the snow in the sky.

I also will have wool kits available for sale. The price of $35 (includes shipping cost too) includes everything you need to make this: the pattern, the black, white and orange 100% wools, the cotton backing fabric and the embroidery floss. If you're interested in the "Oh Snowy Night" Kit, order it in the same way ... up there in the left corner and click on the drop down menu under the picture. The kits should be ready to mail out on Friday too.
Happy Day everyone ...

Monday, December 7, 2009

How UGLY Can Be Good!

I probably shouldn't show a picture of a cute pinkeep right after the word "Ugly" so let it be clear right now... The ugly/good subject will come AFTER the pinkeep subject. :)

*I know that I said in my last post that I would be listing things on Ebay, which should have been done yesterday, but I was just too busy and didn't get a chance to work on doing that so Ebay listings will be done today.

I have a few Ebay pinkeep collector customers and since I haven't been making any pinkeeps lately, I'm hoping this one, which will be listed today on Ebay, will help to keep my customers from giving up on me. I hope to make a few more this week too.

This one is made all of wool, of course and I've used my special vintage buttons to make the snowman. I stuffed the mitten with wool scraps so it has some nice weight to it now. I'll include the white glass headed straight pins with it because they look like snow. If anyone wishes to purchase this without going through Ebay, just send me an email.

So now ... How can ugly be good? Well, I'll give you the recipe and show you how to make my sister's (Casserole Carol's) Ugly Cookies.

I hope she doesn't mind me giving out her recipe. I've made these for a big number of years now, so I really consider it my recipe even though I call it "Carol's Really Good Ugly Cookies"

And let me just say, this is an example of how my sister got her name "Casserole Carol". She always comes up with really unusual but really good recipes. I know that's why I had THIS DREAM about her.

Anyway, these are super easy to make and they are always a HUGE hit whenever they are taken anywhere. It's very funny to watch the reaction of people in a big group when they first taste these because it's always the same. A plate of these are usually ignored and not eaten at first just because they don't look appetizing. Just wait though... all it takes is ONE person to taste them. Once one person tastes them, that person will VERY QUICKLY spread the word about how good they are and then before you know it, the plate is empty. I'm telling you ... it's hilarious because that happens EVERY SINGLE TIME.

So here we go. To start ..... See, I told you they are really unusual ... start with a sleeve of crackers. I've used Keepler Townhouse Crackers and then filled in the tray with some Ritz crackers. The recipe actually calls for Graham crackers, but I didn't have any. Regular saltine crackers work too. This is a 10" x 15" tray. The crackers can be broken, it just doesn't matter, just put as many crackers as will fit onto the tray.

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a sauce pan, combine 3/4 cups of butter, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Stir until it comes to a boil and then stirring constantly, continue the boil for 4 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately pour the mixture evenly over the crackers. Don't worry about covering all the crackers though because the baking will take care of that.

Bake this for about 10 minutes or until it's bubbly and lightly brown .. watch it close though because you don't want it to burn.

While it's baking, get 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 - 1 cup of chopped nuts ready. The nuts can be walnuts or pecans or cashews or even peanuts ... whatever you have around is good.

And, while you wait for the baking ... clean up .. your pan will have cooled into a cement-like coating of toffee that might seem impossible to ever remove .....

No fear ... soak it in some hot water and it's magically gone!

this is how it looks right out of the oven. Bubbly and gooey.

Throw on your 1 cup of chocolate chips ......

They will melt once they hit the hot toffee so spread the chocolate evenly.

Quickly throw on the nuts and then let this all cool.
Once it cools completely, it will have hardened into a toffee, crispy sheet of good ugliness.
Break it apart and store it in an airtight container until the time that you're able to surprise a group of people with it's ugly goodness.

Oh my gosh ... I put them on a plate to get a picture of the finished product to show and then thought .. I might as well set them on the "Oh Snowy Night" table runner so that I can push the pattern sale of it and HOLY COW .. look how cute that plate looks on the table runner! It looks like the snowmen are sniffing the cookies. haha ... I found a new way to show the candle mat now. It looks cuter with a plate of cookies in the center than it does with a candle.
See, y'all will have to either buy the finished table runner from me or buy the pattern to make it yourself so that you can show off all your good Christmas cookies! :)
Details about the pattern sale will come tomorrow.
Here's the official recipe if you wish to do a copy/paste of it to print.

Carol's Really Good Ugly Cookies
(Toffee Crisps)

1 package of graham crackers (or club crackers, Ritz or saltine crackers)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teas. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 - 1 cup of nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts or cashews)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange Graham crackers side by side in a single layer on a cookie sheet (I use a 10 x 15). It might take more than one sleeve of crackers depending on the size of pan. Break them up if you want or leave the crackers whole, it doesn't matter.
In a 2 quart saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium heart, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a full boil across the surface. Continue boiling for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove saucepan from heat and immediately pour mixture evenly over the crackers.
Bake 10-15 minutes or until bubbly or lightly browned.
Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with choc chips. As chocolate melts you can spread it evenly over the crackers. Quickly add the nuts while choc is still warm.
Cool completely, break up and store in airtight container.

Happy day everyone!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Blank Stare"

For some reason, I didn't sleep well last night. Went to bed LATE and then woke up before 7. I'm sitting here all ready to post in my blog but for the life of me, I just couldn't think of a good "title" to put up there. After sitting here for something like 5 minutes, almost falling asleep, I realized I was doing my title. Blank Staring is something I will be doing a lot of today if I don't get a nap. :) Coffee will only do so much to help only 4 hours of sleep.
I'll be listing some things on Ebay tomorrow afternoon. I'll list them as "Buy It Now" so that buyers can get the things delivered to their homes faster. I'm not messing with the 7 day listings.
If you're interested in any of these things, watch for the Buy It Now listings HERE tomorrow.

This cute little shelf pillow will be listed first. I used a really nice black wool background for this that has flecks of white in it. I stuffed it with wool clippings so it has some weight to it. It's about 5" square.

This gingerbread man will be listed. It's larger than the candy cane one and filled with polyfill. It's all hand-dyed wools. I made this last month and enjoyed his company in the dining room while I did my sewing but it's time for him to have a new home.
The white on white Christmas tree will be listed. The wools that I used on this are just soo soft and dense. I'm stingy with that wool and only use it for really special things. I have this hanging on the back of my old rocking chair in the living room and it's happy there. If it doesn't sell, it's going to be able to happily stay on the back of my rocking chair.
And of course this one will be for sale ... My "Oh Snowy Night" penny rug table runner. The wool that I used for the snowmen is a really fluffy thick wool that I use just for things like snowmen and sheep and Santa beards. It adds a nice texture.

I will be offering the pattern for this design soon. I'm hoping to have it ready to sell on Monday and ... not sure yet, but there might be a wool kit that I sell along with the pattern for this so that y'all that don't have a good wool source can purchase everything that is needed to make this. I've just been so busy that I haven't had the time to put the finishing touches on the pattern layout. Someone local is willing to put together the kit for this so I'm really anxious to see how well they sell for her. If the kits sell well, she will hopefully be willing to do kits for some of my other patterns too.

I also have a really cute Valentine design drawn out that I'm anxious to get started on making. I've way too many things on my plate to work on it though, but it will be ready to go after Christmas.

I know, I know ... let's get through Christmas first!

Rachel's volleyball team lost in the first round of playoffs on Thursday night. Once a team loses in the playoffs, the NCAA quickly puts them on the first plane home. The team arrived back at Pittsburgh airport around noon yesterday. Every year it's the same way ... they are never allowed to stay to watch to see who finally wins in the finals, which are played today.

Rach was nominated to win an award for having a 4.0 gpa during her entire volleyball college career. Out of all the girls around the country that were there for playoffs, she was 1 of only 5 girls who were able to get all "A's". I'm really proud of her. She's a good kid.

Happy Day everyone! Let's get a nap today, ok?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh NOooo ... Am I a Hoarder?!?

I finished my white on white Christmas tree table runner. ....

It's such a dreary day so it's difficult trying to get the rich colors of this in natural light. I only have so much time to devote to taking pictures folks, so this is the best I can do. The picture isn't really showing all the "snow"french knots, but they're there.
I had planned to use a vintage off white linen fabric to back this table runner, but ended up using wool for the backing instead. I really think it would be wonderful with a crisply starched and ironed linen backing but that would've required me to force myself to cut into this wonderful old vintage mantel scarf ....
I think it's a mantel scarf ... it's really long. About 5 1/2 feet long and it's absolutely beautiful linen with no stains or signs of age. I've had it for years and I think it must have come from my mother-in-law, but I just don't remember how I acquired it.
I'll never use it for anything as it is so I really think that I could best use it as backings on my penny rugs.

But look at all the hand-crocheted work on this ... I have plans to use that crocheted work too. I have a pin keep heart design that I've made before and I can use these crocheted scallops on the top back of the hearts.
I guess I could sell it for a few bucks to someone who might use it, but the linen is soo sooo nice ... I could never buy linen like that now without spending a fortune. So I really should cut it up ....

There's a show on the A&E channel called "Hoarders".
Now if anyone has ever watched this show, you will know what I'm talking about here. It's just scary. Sometimes they are ordinary looking people but yet they have this NEED to keep absolutely everything. Trying to get them to even throw away an empty prescription pill bottle is like torture.
They always have excuses and reasons for keeping every single item that they have and the ones on the show are the very extreme cases. Houses filled from floor to ceiling with STUFF.

I do not ever want to use MY 15 minutes of fame depicted as a crazy hoarder with stacks upon stacks of vintage linens and wool crammed into one 12' x 12' spare bedroom. Wait ... I do have stacks and stacks of wool crammed into one 12' x 12' spare bedroom. oh. no.

Should I cut this up and use it or should I pack it away in the spare 12' x 12' bedroom? What would you do with it?

In other news, I went to the local Salvation Army store yesterday, looking, of course, for more wool. Didn't find any wool that I wanted but did find this bag of "Dinos" and this bag of Lincoln logs. Both were only $2.99 each. My grandson loves Dinosaurs now so this abundance of dinos will keep him occupied for a while.
Even though we already have Lincoln Logs, I just can't resist a bargain so we now have LOTS of Lincon Logs to play with.
Ohhh NOooooo .. am I becoming a Lincoln Log hoarder?!?!
I think I need to stop watching that tv show. It's making me paranoid ... or is it a reality check?

Ok, I'm outta here ...

Happy Day everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Washing and "Felting" Wool

A reader had emailed me yesterday to ask a very good question. I did say back in this posting about "skinning the wool skirts" that I would give instructions on how I wash and felt the wool after I've broken it down from skirts and jackets.

The reader wondered where those instructions might be.

Guess what? I forgot to write about it!

It's about time, doncha think?
I should go down and take pictures of my washer and dryer but really, it's just a basic 25+ year old set that does all the work, so just imagine how it would look without pictures, ok?

So I have this pile of wool that used to be skirts and jackets and I need to wash it now to "felt" it. I need to felt it so that the fibers of the wool shrink together making the wool thick and soft and it stops the fraying. Wool fabric is woven, just like any other fabric, except the threads are of sheep/animal hair. Any animal hair, even our human hair, is "sticky", so to make it stick together even better, all that is needed is some hot water and soap and friction. Think of a dog's fur that is matted. That matted fur is felted fur. Dreadlocks on the human head is felted. Friction makes it felted.

Ok, let's felt that animal fur/wool.

Pour your regular amount of laundry detergent into the washer tub. I've read that Tide detergent keeps the moths away ... they don't like the taste of the perfumes. I imagine that any perfumed detergent would work just as well as Tide, so I use whatever is on sale and I've never had moth problems. (knocking HARD on wood right now).

Throw your recycled wool into the washer tub and set your water temperature to "HOT". I use a HOT wash cycle and a COLD rinse. I've heard that the cold rinse will shock the wool into shrinking better but honestly, there have been times that I've forgotten to change the temp setting and washed it warm wash with warm rinse and it's felted fine too.
HOT/COLD is the best though.

Now, to get that wool to felt even better, I add more FRICTION / agitation by throwing in 2 pairs of old mens jeans with the wool. Old towels can be used but I've found that men's jeans are rough with textures that beat that wool like nothing else.
Please be sure to use OLD jeans that will not ever be worn again, because the dyes from the wool will dye the jeans assorted colors and your hubby will NOT be happy with his pants or with you.

I just use the same jeans over and over for each load of wool that I wash and dry. They sit right by my washer when not in use.

Wash that wool now! If you have a stationary tub with a washer drain hose like I do, be sure to attach an old stocking or a filter of some kind on the end of that drain hose because wool, as it gets beaten in the washer, is shedding lots and lots of fibers and those fibers will clog your stationary tub drain.

The felting process will take as long as your wash cycle. It removes the lanolin from the wool too, so for those of you who are allergic to lanolin, the wool can now be touched without breaking out in a rash. ... or so I'm told. If someone who is allergic to lanolin wishes to be the guinea pig and report back to me on this, I'll be happy to admit to being wrong.

After the wash cycle is completed, remove the wool and throw it in the dryer. I don't use dryer sheets for this because I've heard that it puts some kind of invisible coating of something on the wool and I really don't know what I'm talking about here, but I don't take any chances with the wool so I don't add fabric softeners or dryer sheets. :)

Be sure to throw those jeans in the dryer with the wool because the drying cycle is just as important as the wash cycle for FRICTION. The jeans beating on that wool while it's drying, makes the wool soft and fluffy.

Your washer tub now has a coating of wool fibers throughout, so wipe it out as best as you can and then throw in a load of bathtowels or bedsheets ... something that won't hold onto those fibers after it's washed. If you throw in cotton sweaters or tshirts, you're just asking for lots of lint on your clothes.

After the wool is completely dry, be sure to clean out the lint trap because there will be LOTS of wool lint in there.
Your wool is now beautifully felted. Sometimes, if it's really thin wool or if it's loosely woven wool, I'll put it through the entire wash/dry cycle again, just to get it felted better. Also, if you feel like taking the extra time, the felting works really nice if you let the wool soak in the hot soapy water for a while before putting it through the wash cycle. That really saturates those wool fiber which makes it felt even better. After it soaks, drain the water, add a little more detergent and then fill the tub with fresh hot water. I usually don't take the time to do that though just because it takes extra time and .. we have well water here so I'm always careful with my water usage.

Felted wool fresh from the dryer is so nice. Try it, you'll see!

Ok, I have to have at least one picture in my posts, otherwise it's just too boring. I'm more visual myself so pictures catch my attention, making me want to read.

So this is what I'm currently working on. I've this need to make something with neutral colors ... whites on whites is so nice. I used my really nice thick wool for this. I coffee dyed the background color. The picture doesn't show it but it's nicely mottled. The trick to mottling that wool is to resist the urge to stir the wool while it's in the dye pot.
The trees are the natural white undyed color. I lightly coffee dyed the #5 thread too.

I want to keep this design simple so it's just going to be plain trees with scattered french knots for snow. I think it would look really nice with a plain white candle with a white spray of something in a candle ring. I plan to use a vintage off white linen fabric for the backing.

For those of you who like to see how my ideas are born, here is my birthing paper. I keep scrap paper by the computer so that when I have an idea, I can quickly draw my ideas. This one was created last week while I was talking on the phone with my sister-in-law, who was filling me in with the latest of the family gossip. :) The tree design is right there on the bottom left of the picture ... Right under the note to myself to get powdered sugar and marshmallows at the store and right beside the note that Rachel is flying Southwest airlines to get to St. Paul and has a stopover at Chicago Midway airport.

Ok, this has taken a LOT of time to write. I'm done for now.

Happy day everyone!

Monday, November 30, 2009

December 1st To Christmas Is The Longest Time Of The Year

I'll do business first just to get it done and out of the way....

The Snow Faces patterns are in the mail and on their way to their new owners. I was able to get them all finished and mailed on Saturday. Expect them in a few days. Thank you all for such a wonderful response and for your orders. I so much enjoy all the feedback I get.
The pattern is still available until the end of today for $8.00 including the shipping. Tomorrow the price will go up to the regular price of $9.50.

December 1st is tomorrow! Wow, where did November go?
My neighbor and good friend, Linda made this for my Jen way back in 1986. The cross-stitching on it is beautiful.
Yes, it's an advent calendar. When Linda gave it to Jen back then, when Jen was only 4 years old, Linda had tied candies. Every year after that for ... I dunno ... 10 years or so, I tied candies on it and Jen would stand in front of it each and every night throughout December, reciting the verse, ringing the bell at the bottom and then getting her treat.
I can still hear Jen's little girl voice saying that verse. This little advent calendar has soooo many good memories for me. I got it out this year, hoping that Jen will start making her own memories with K, learning and then reciting the verse. I'll go out today to purchase the candy for it.

Linda, if you're reading this ... thank you for doing this oh so long ago. Benny and Linda are our most favorite neighbors (wink, wink)

Soooooooo, Thanksgiving day here at the Wagner home was ....
sorry, but it was a heck of a lot of work!
But it was all worth it because my sister, the ever popular anonymous blog commenter (Casserole Carol), and her family were here, along with my brother, Michael and his family. We don't get together often so the times that we do are so nice that the work involved with getting ready for it is all forgotten.

Naturally, the conversation turned to comments about my blog. The clear message that I got from everyone in the room that reads the blog is that I need to get a picture of myself on here so that people can see what I look like.
I told them that I realize that my face on this blog should appear at least a few times, but no one ever takes my picture and I'm certainly not going to take a picture of myself!

Soooooooo at that point .......

Out came the cameras!

Here's a picture of me with my sister-in-law, Janet. I think we might be eating pumpkin pie here ....

Oh wait ....

Jen forgot to send me that picture. She remembered to put it on her facebook page so let's all go there to see it ....

Oh wait ....
we don't have Facebook, so we can't see it.

That's ok. Here's a picture of me sitting beside Carol. Steph took this one. Don't we look happy??

Oh wait. Stephanie didn't send me that picture yet. I think she forgot.


So .....

It's very clearly NOT MY FAULT that there are no pictures of me on my blog. :)

Sadly, Rachel went back to school on Saturday. Volleyball practice is important at this time of the year. Her team is leaving for the national playoffs in St. Paul, Minesota, tomorrow. Their first game is on Thursday and I wish we could go to watch because it's going to be some mighty good volleybal playing.
Any blog readers who live near St Paul and want to see some really good volleyball games, be sure to check out these tournaments. Look for #13 on the Cal U of Pa team and give her a hug for me. It would be really funny to have a blogger run up to Rachel to give a hug. If you can give her a hug while talking with a thick "Fargo" Minnesota accent ... you would absolutely make her day and mine ... joyous.
So Rachel will be on a mini vacation ... being treated well by the NCAA, shopping in the Mall of America and making great memories with her volleyball "family". She's one lucky girl ... but I really really miss her .. a lot.

Ok, I'm going to get my sewing things back into the dining room now so that I can get back to doing what makes me happy.

Have a happy day everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Design: "O Snowy Night"

Just a quick picture to show what I finished up last night. I think I'll call it "O Snowy Night". It's a little tablerunner. :)

The pattern will be made for this but I won't get a chance to work on this until next week or so.

The GOOD thing about having Thanksgiving at my house is that I'll have leftovers for the next 5 days or so. Do you know what leftovers mean to someone that is busy??? It means NO COOKING! No cooking for me for 5 days means I will have time to catch up on things ... like ......

The "Snow Faces" pattern. I've everything ready to get the pattern assembled now. I did one real quick just to show here. With Thanksgiving preparations, I don't have time now to assemble it but I'm hoping with Rachel home, she'll help me on Friday and perhaps I can get the orders mailed out on Saturday.

Thank you all for the orders. The pattern is still available as a preorder for $8 including shipping. After Monday, the price will go up to the regular selling price of $9.50.

That price is good for all my Canadian friends too. International sales? Well, thanks to a friendly UK reader, I found out how easy it was to mail the patterns to other lands. So I will offer this for international sales too! Just ask me what the extra shipping costs will be and I'll send an invoice for the total. I'll share the shipping costs with you too!

Questions, I get questions!
**I was asked if I'm planning to make the Christmas Sampler candle mat into a pattern to sell. For now, no. It's so detailed that it would take a tremendous amount of time to write the instructions so I'm going to hold off on that for now. Besides that, I'm hoping to take some of the individual shapes off of that design to create other designs ... like the gingerbread man on that one will be used to make a gingerbread man candle mat. So I want to keep those sampler designs for myself for now so that I can get different uses from them.

**I was asked where I got the mottled green colored wool that I used in the Christmas tree.
That was my own dyed wool that I showed here in this post . That was "Married" wool. When I dyed it, I hadn't planned for it to be so mottled, so it was a big surprise. I had planned to use it to make a ivy garland type candle mat but just never got the time to do it. So there the wool sat, unused until now ... Never thought that mottled green and white wool would look so good as a Christmas tree until I actually cut it out and placed it.
I show how to "Marry" wool here . Marrying wool always creates delightful surprises.

That's all I've got for now ..... Seriously, I've got to get this house cleaned, pies made, and turkeys to defrost. I shouldn't be sitting here typing ... what's wrong with me??? ! :)

Happy day everyone and a wonderful Thanksgiving day too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Snow Faces" Pattern is Ready!

Well, that title line is a little misleading. The "Snow Faces" pattern is ready for printing. It's being printed today, so it should be ready for mailing on Monday.

My own "Snow Faces" candle mat is listed on Ebay right now. Hop over THERE to see more pictures.

This is a design that I created a few weeks ago with no intentions of making a pattern for it. Because of all the requests after seeing the finished mat, the pattern is created! I really appreciate all the feedback I get on any of my designs.

Anyway, this pattern is super easy and quick to make. The snowman faces are the background wool so the hats are positioned at the top of the scallop and all that's left to do is add the face details and you're done!

I think it would also look cute with just two alternating colors for the hats. This can easily be made with woolfelt too.

So I'm going to put another Paypal button up there on the left corner of this page. If you wish to preorder this pattern, it's a special price of $8 which includes shipping. After next Monday, the price will go up to $9.50.

If you prefer to pay by check instead of Paypal, just let me know.

Ok, now the fun stuff .....

I've finished up my Christmas Sampler candle mat. Ohhhhh , I'm so proud of this! It really turned out so much better than I had expected. I'm really not sure which one of these I like the best. I really REALLY enjoyed making this. Most candle mats are repetitive and by the time I get to the last stitches, I'm weary of looking at it.

This one has no repeats of anything, so each little design could get as many or as little different details that I felt like doing. soooo sooo fun to make.
The green wool that I used for the tree is mottled with white and makes the tree look snow-covered.
I attached real jingle bells to the candy canes. I thought about rusting the bells first, but I once I held them on the canes, I really like the sparkle and shine that they add, so they stay shiney.
I had the most fun doing the snowman. I have a little cardinal nesting in his hat and I've dangled snowflakes from his arm limbs.

So, I just need to attach the backing to it and I'll be finished with it. It will be listed on Ebay Sunday, probably. I just might keep this though. I've not decided for sure.

I probably won't be blogging much in the next few days until after Thanksgiving. My sister (Casserole Carol) and her family and my brother and his family will all be coming to our house for Thanksgiving, so I've much to prepare ... yes, the dining room will have to be cleared of all my sewing things to make room for real, live people, so that will take some time to do. I'm looking forward to Thursday simply because my house will be clean, finally. :)

Great news is that Rachel will have Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday to spend with us. She won't have to be back for Volleyball practice until Saturday at 4, so I'm pretty happy with her coach right now ...

Happy Day everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oh, it's been such a busy weekend! We finally went out and socialized with actual real live people last night. The night before, we traveled down to California, Pa to watch Rachel's volleyball team playoff games.

The good news/bad news is that Rachel's team has once again won their division and is now going on to play at the nationals.

So this is the third year in a row that their team has done so well and it's been such a great opportunity for Rachel because of all the traveling they've been able to do with all expenses paid. I hate to complain because it's been so much fun for her, but the bad news is ... once again, she will probably only be able to come home for Thanksgiving day. If it's like every other year, they'll have to stay at school for practices and training to prepare for the big event.
But, I'm really happy for her and her team.

So, since I haven't been home much, of course, not much stitching was done. I did manage to finish the reindeer, the angel and the gingerbread man. I still have to do the stocking, the Christmas tree and the snowman. I'm going to save the snowman for last just because I really like doing snowmen and look forward to making him look jolly and festive.

I' like how that gingerbread man turned out. I liked making him almost as much as I like making snowmen. I would like to make him and a girl and a gingerbread house candle mat sometime, IF I get the chance/time. I always make little miniature gingerbread man cookies for christmas, and they're so cute it's almost like you're killing them we you take a bite. We've killed dozens of them over the years. :)
Here's the reindeer and the angel that are finished. The deer looks really bright in the pic but it's done in a perfect fawn brown color. I'm happy with this mat so far.

Someone asked me if I blanket stitch everything. It was an anonymous comment so I'll just answer it here since I can't email respond....

Mostly everything gets a blanket stitch edge, but it just depends on the look that I want and the size of the applique piece that needs to be atached. This reindeer wasn't blanket stitched because that face and those antlers would look too messy with blanket stitching. I just tacked/whip stitched them on and then did a primitive running stitch around the perimeter of the deer body. So it just depends on what I feel like doing at the time. There are no rules. :)

I'm hoping to Ebay list my "Snow Faces" candle mat tonight. I've had a LOT of requests for the pattern for that one too so I'm going to try to work on writing the instructions for that today and maybe, just MAYBE I'll have the pattern for it ready to sell next week, after Thanksgiving.

Happy Day everyone!