Monday, August 31, 2009

Complaint Department: OPENED!

I'm naturally a complainer. I realized that a long time ago and I've accepted it. My husband is used to it and deals with it by silently listening. He wisely stays silent while I complain because it gives me the impression that he supports and agrees with whatever it is that I'm complaining about. I think that's probably why we've been married for 34 years. He know when to keep quiet while letting me rant. Thinking about it now ... wow, he EXCELLS at keeping quiet. :)
Basically, he tunes me out. Who knows what goes on in his head while I'm jabbering away about the filled, dirty trash can sitting outside our hotel room door, or why so and so has been smelling up the neighborhood all day by burning his scrap lumber.

Has anyone else ever noticed that no one in blogland seems to complain about anything? Oh, you might see an occasional complaint about not having enough time to do something, or being overworked, etc, etc, but generally, everyone seems like they're in a very happy place in their blogs. We see nice pictures of grandchildren who are not throwing terrible two tantrums and pictures of perfect gardens with no weeds and pictures of family gatherings with no signs of all the stress and work involved with preparing for a massive amount of people coming into your home.
Well, I'm goint to change blogland for today. I'm going to complain!

My complaint for complaint day is this:
College Expenses.

So when that tuition bill comes in, we expect to pay tuition and if our kid is living on campus, we expect the room and board charges. We don't expect all of those extra charges though that add almost an additional $1000 to the bill. Things like "academic support fee" ($277) or "SAI fee" ($260) or Rec center fee ($158) etc, etc. There's no explaination as to what the heck an SAI fee is or why we have to pay a $12 transportation fee if our kid doesn't use the transportation system on campus. Even if they did explain what it is, it just doesn't matter. You have to pay it anyway!

The other complaint is BOOKS. No one ever warns the parents of college bound kids how much those books cost. It's a corrupt system, and I just know those book store CEO's are rubbing their greedy hands as each of the students walk in that door to order their books. The powers that be allow them to charge full price for books, which I don't really have a problem with ... it's the USED book prices that are almost the full cost of the new books! At the end of the semester, the powers that be will buy back those books that you just paid full price for only 3 months ago but only give you about 10% of what you've paid, only to put those books back on the shelf to get yet another student to pay nearly full price for.
Ugh, maybe I shouldn't have started. I've been through this for about 5 years for Jen and this is now the third year for Rach and I still simmer at the thought of college book stores and how much $ they've made from us.
Rachel, bless her heart is always sympathetic to my complaints about the high cost of those books and she's learned some ways to reduce the cost, like sharing a textbook with a friend so that we only pay half the cost. She'll also look online to try to get her books a little cheaper too.

But last night, while talking to her on the phone, she called me a "stalker mom" because I asked her to send me her class schedule! Now, wait a minute! Rachel, I might be a mom who wants to know what her daughter is doing every minute of the day, but at least I don't call you or pester you with texts or email you multiple times during the day .... well, maybe I do that too .... hmmm ... ok, I'm a stalker mom. :)

So my precious Rachel sent me a copy of her schedule and I see now why she didn't really want me to see her schedule.
She is taking a class called ok, get ready for this ....
Remember, we pay BIG MONEY to educate our child so that she may survive in the world after graduation.

Her class is called .....
Intro to Rec and Leisure
I'm not even going to get started ....
She innocently said "I don't know what this class is about"
I just wonder if it's going to involve going to Steeler games and Kennywood Park (amusement park)??

Ok, now I'm wondering how much the textbook for THAT class costs!

*EDIT* aww.. she just called me while I was typing this to let me know how her first day of classes went.

Going back to a happy place now, I bought this cute little wooden tote at the Goodwill store in Cranberry Township. At first, I thought that painting it would be a good idea, but now that I have it home, I kinda like the cheery yellow on this, so it's staying just as it is.
It's perfect for holding my essential sewing supplies that I usually have scattered about on the table as I work.
For years, I've used this silverware caddy that was from our old dishwasher to hold all my things, but I've so much that it's overflowing so the little yellow one is just perfect for my needs.

My husband is addicted to thrift stores now too. He likes to go with me ... (yes, he is the perfect husband, and you can't have him!)
He goes off on his own searches while at the stores, mostly looking for little toys for the grandson.
He found this little Shrek figure a few months ago and our grandson, reminds his Pap all the time that Shrek is supposed to talk and needs new batteries.
So Pap finally found the right size metric screwdriver to take Shrek apart so that we could determine what kind of batteries this thing takes to make it work.
It takes THREE button watch batteries!

So this weekend, Pap has been searching through all the stores to find the best price on watch batteries so that he can finally make Shrek talk. Kmart, Target, Walmart and Radioshack all received Pap visits this weekend.

Button batteries cost about $4 each. Pap only paid 50 cents for Shrek in the first place and Pap doesn't really want to spend $12 on batteries for it if he doesn't even know how glorious Shrek will work after the fresh batteries are in place.
So if anyone out there in blogland is familiar with this Shrek figure, can you please let me know if it's worth $12 to get him to speak or will it be one of those toys that you pray for it to shut up because it's so annoying!?
Oh goodness gracious, I've typed a lot!
Thank you for reading my complaints for the day even though most of you probably, like my husband, just tuned me out by skipping over it!
Happy Day Everyone!

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Zany Mailcarrier

First of all, before I tell about my wacky mailcarrier, let me say that not only does this woman share my name, (spelled with a "C" too), she also lives in PA, she also has a few Harleys in her garage, and she also has a love for wool.

She's not me though, and this picture proves it! She paints! Yes, Cathy of Tolentreasures painted this old traincase. She showed a picture of it on her blog and I fell in love with it.

I think she must been tired of all my drooling comments about it because she graciously offered it to me for trade with something of mine own creation.

I remember my parents having a case like this ... (Sister Carol, whatever happened to it?)

We always called it a cosmetic case and it's what the family took everywhere on vacation. It was a light blue in color and those front clasps had a very unique sound to them when they popped up. I love that sound.

So, thank you Cathy. It's such lovely artistry and I plan to keep it on display in my dining room where it will hide away/store some of my sewing things.

Now, my mailcarrier ..... Iwon't say her name because who knows who might be reading this. She's a really nice and friendly most times, but she has this thing about packages that is really annoying.

Our mailbox is located down by the road and we have a loooooong driveway that leads up to the house. If a package is too big to fit into the mailbox, our carrier, naturally, has to drive it up to our house. She doesn't like to get out of her vehicle though, so the package gets thrown out her window, onto the driveway, by the garage. If it's raining, she does get out to place the package undercover somewhere but it's never placed on our front porch, for some odd reason. After she delivers it, she'll leave a scawled note in our mailbox that tells us where she put our package. That's fine, but her handwriting is so bad that most times it can't be deciphered. I just know now that when I see a note from her, she's either yelling at us because someone put the wrong address on a letter,(that makes her sooooo angry ... she viciously circles the incorrect address) OR she's left a package somewhere up at the house.

Our front porch has a roof over it so I could never figure out why she wouldn't put the package there. Now, it's just fun to see how many different places she can find to place our delivered packages.

We've found them in our vehicles, in our opened garage, on our covered sideporch ... she walked right passed our front porch to put the package on the side porch! We used to have a carport at the side of the house, she liked to put things under our carport too. The one and only time I ever remember her coming to the front door was the right after she started her business ... a woman's gym in town, so she knocked on the door, handed me my package and a discount coupon for her grand opening.

Way back, years ago, when she first started delivering our mail, I asked her to please not put the packages on the driveway. Her reasoning? She was scared of our Golden Retriever dog. That was reasonable, I guess. Our dog was friendly but she had free reign to run loose on our property so I can understand why the mailcarrier might be a little intimidated by her.

Our dog died about 4 years ago though, and she still drops the packages out her car window on sunny days!

So I've been expecting Cathy's package in the mail. The last few days have been sunny so around delivery time, I was watching for the mailcarrier vehicle so that I could go out and get it off the driveway.

My mailcarrier tricked me this time. To my amazement, on a sunny day, she got out of her vehicle and place the package .... ON THE FRONT PORCH!

I'm baffled. I'm disappointed. Is she not ever going to surprise me again with secret delivery spots around our house? I won't have anything to complain about if she continues doing this. I'm going to have to purchase something big online now ...something that won't fit in the mailbox .... just to test her. :)

Happy day everyone! It's raining here, so this is a good sewing day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Goldenrod is a State Flower!

I was looking at images of Goldenrod and discovered that Goldenrod is the state flower of Kentucky and Nebraska. I've always like how Goldenrod looks out there amonst the weeds, but I thought that it was something of a nuisance weed that causes allergy attacks. I guess it's appreciated! Pennsylvania's state flower is the Mountain Laurel. I don't even know what a Mountain Laurel looks like and I've lived in PA my entire life.
I wanted to make a couple little prim shelf pillows with wildflower designs. In our vacation travels, I saw a nice old pillow with this Queen Anne's lace flower design on it. I want to do a goldenrod to go along with it. Lots of little french knots there! I need to fix up the goldenrod french knots a bit more and then I'll attach it to this plaid background wool.
That background wool fabric is what I purchased last week for $1 at a thrift store. So I lightly overdyed a small piece of it in some brown wool dye to bring down the tones. The wool has some pink in it so the brown overdye knocked that pink color right out. I think I'll try overdyeing it with some pumpkin orange wool dye just for the heck of it. I like experimenting like that ... sometimes it gives me nice surprises.
My list of things to do today include cutting the grass ... 3 hours worth of time and cleaning up in my wool/sewing room. I need to sort and organize the accumulated scraps that are laying about everywhere. It's getting to be a disorganized mess in there.
Happy day everyone!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunny Days and Gardening!

Let's get business out of the way first and then I'll get to gardening ..... Shelf pillows are now listed on Ebay ... Go take a look. I have them sitting in my old wooden trough on an old radio cabinet by my front door and I like it so much that I think I'm going to have to make a set for myself.

I've also listed the matching penny rug too. I so hope this sells. If it doesn't I'll be forced to keep in on my dining room table ... where it fits perfectly ... and sometimes it is difficult to part with
the things that I've made, especially when I know that I'll probably never take the time to make another one for myself.

Ok ... here's a picture. I don't know what kind of flower this is. Maybe someone out there can recognize it and let me know. It looks like a black-eyed susan and maybe it is, but the flowers on this are a lot smaller than the black-eyed susans that I have growing in my garden.
Ok, so I wrote this nice little story about how I came about getting this little plant that grows like a weed along the sides of the road everywhere up in the northern part of PA ... but I deleted it.
I don't want to write in my blog from prison, so the story is deleted. :)
I really need to control my writing in here because I tend to forget that it exposes me to the entire world.
Let's just say I love my cute little flowered plant and I found a lovely place to plant it right outside my front door by our new fence. I wish I knew what it was so that I can buy more.
Today I have to get the weeds out of the entire stretch of marigolds that I have growing on either side of our front sidewalk. This is the time of year when my marigolds get to looking the nicest but the weeds are making it look sloppy.
I think I'll take a before and after picture and show it tomorrow!
Happy Day everyone!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back From Vacation!

I think I've been missed! Apparently, my sister Carol has been going through withdrawl symptoms because I haven't posted in my blog for a week. She reads this blog at work, you see ... in her spare free time, of course, so she's nothing to do but twiddle her thumbs, while impatiently waiting for my next blog entry. In the meantime, she thought to send me a nasty email demanding my return. :)

But yes indeed, we did go away for a few days. Hubby and I headed north, driving the back country roads of PA, stopping along the way at any place that looked interesting which included a LOT of thrift/Goodwill/Salvation Army stores.
Our GPS shows us where to find all the thrift stores in the area where we are traveling, so it's fun and easy.

We went as far as the Grand Canyon of Pa (beautiful) and then headed south a little and made our way back home, staying on country roads rather than major highways.
One of the highlights was stopping in a small village of Benzette, Pa. It's a really quiet, small community of ELK.

Yes, Elk roam the area freely ... grazing right out in the open in backyards and fields.
We were told to visit the area early in the morning right after sunrise or in the evening at dusk to see the elk. Those are the times that they come out of the woods to graze. However, we were there at about 4pm and easily spotted a herd of 6 in someones yard.
It's just amazing to see these large creatures.
We were so impressed that we decided to kill some time until dusk so that we could see more.
We did see lots more that evening ... even larger than these. They don't run away like deer so it's very tempting to creep up close to them to get a picture, but signs all around warn us to keep our distance.
But how cool is that to live there and have these huge creatures visiting in your backyard? If I lived there, I'd be sure to feed them lots of goodies to keep them coming back .....
And I know I'd be tempted to give them all some nice warm penny rug blankets to put on their backs. :) Silly me. Go HERE if you'd like to read about the elk in that area.

Oh I found some thrift store treasures ... I wasn't really intending to buy wool but we stopped at a tiny community thrift store ... and I forget where it was, but it was the friendliest thrift store I've even been in. Cute little ladies were stationed in the back of the store and they were sorting through bags that had been donated, getting them ready to put out in the shop. I spotted this wonderful wool sitting on top of one of the bags. I told the ladies that I would love to buy it if they'd price it for me. The one lady said that she didn't know why I would want it "isn't it too itchy to use for a blanket?" she said. ... I got the impression that they were going to throw it out. When I told her that I use it for making penny rugs ... she offered to through other bags to find me other wool that she was throwing out ... Hahah ... sweet!
I could probably still be there, going through bags with her, finding wool.
I declined though, telling her that I was thrilled with this find. The price? 50 cents! I gave her a dollar though. I couldn't believe it .... 2 yards of wool fabric for $1 !
Overdyed with some browns will make this wool oh sooooooo nice!
I found this old wooden stool for $3. I'll recover it and paint the wood. The grandson seems to have already claimed it though ... it's just the perfect size for him to sit on!
We bought lots of other things too ... just so much fun finding treasures.
So I'm back to sewing ... planning to Ebay list some things tomorrow ....
I have some good ideas in my head now too ... inspired by our vacation time away .. Can't wait to get started drawing them out!
Happy Day everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

When In Doubt, Do It All!

As you can see from the picture, I made the decision to just go ahead and make the darn penny rug!

I had the whole project sitting out on the table all day Wednesday, glaring at it each time I walked past, wishing and hoping that I would decide to just take the easy way out, stick to my original plan, and make shelf pillows out of these little pumpkin squares.

In the end though, I couldn't do it. I knew that I had to make a penny rug.

It's still not completed. I need to put backings on the tongues, attach them and attach those little sunflowers in the center. Then to finish, I will sew on the backing.

And yes, that's a matching shelf pillow in the picture. I've only one finished though ... the one with the crow is halfway finished.

In other news, plans have already changed for college girl moving day. We were hoping to move Rachel's things down to her college apartment tomorrow but it's changed to Sunday now instead.
That's not really that much of a problem, except Sunday is August 16th. 34 years ago on August 16, my husband and I were married, so our anniversary will be spent moving furniture.

Oh well!

My husband has taken vacation time and we will have all week to celebrate, so it's ok.
Happy day everyone!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm (not) In The Mood For Fall .... Penny Rugs!

It's been difficult for me to get into the "Fall" mood because we really haven't had a good hot summer. What ever happened to hot summer nights? Here in Pa, we've had cool summer nights. I usually turn off the air conditioner after dinner just because it's so cool outside. Maybe this means that our fall weather will be hot and muggy?
But anyway, I force myself to work on the fall sewing designs which is probably why my lastest project has evolved into something that I hadn't planned from the start.

Once I changed the look of the crow ... from cute to mean ... it all went together nicely with the design turning out just as I imagined in my head. They will make cute shelf pillows .... except ... I've decided to make a penny rug instead of little shelf pillows...maybe. I like how these look layed out on the background green army blanket wool. I will add 4 tongues to both sides using greens and pumpkin oranges....maybe ... or I might just make them into shelf pillows, which would be much easier and quicker. ha! Oh the indecison is stressing me.

I think I'll cut out the tongues then lay it all out on my dining room table and just look at it for a day or two. Then I can decide if they will turn into 2 sets of cute little shelf pillows/pinkeeps or if they will become one large penny rug.

Maybe I'll make another set so that I can do both the shelf pillows AND a penny rug!

I dunno .... Someone tell me what to do?! Please?!

What I really want to do is start working on another new design that I drew out the other day. But I need to finish this project up first because there's just too much clutter around here already from this project and add in all the college girl moving things that are packed in the corner of my living room .... There's just to much going on already.

Happy Day everyone! I've decisions to make!

Monday, August 10, 2009

She works hard for no money: Back to work!

Lookie! I'm back!
Whew, last week was just a blur of busy-ness.
Rachel came home from working Volleyball camp on Wednesday and yesterday, she left to go back to school for pre-season volleyball training.
She won't be able to come back home until Thanksgiving so I tried to make her final days here not too miserable. She loves it there at college and she really doesn't miss us terribly but what she does miss is my homecooking. :)
So, the last few days, I made some special dinners for her just so she'll want to come home again
I've had no time for any projects. Yesterday, after she left and to help my poutiness, I sat down and redid the crow on this little shelf pillow. Remember I said I didn't want a cute crow ... I wanted one that looked nasty? Someone commented that the crow looks cute because of the flower it was carrying in its mouth and ya know .... that comment really helped me to get him to look nastier. I did change the shape of the crow but I also I took that flower right out of his mouth. Now I'm going to make him look like he's pulling the sewn petals right off the flowers. He's not cute when he's tearing apart my sunflowers!
So it's not finished yet ... another example of how a simple pumpkin and crow design turns into complications because of my perfectionist tendencies. I will have more time this week ...only babysitting K 3 days ... so I hope to spend it on catching up the blogging and sewing. I need to get things on Ebay!
Currently, this is what the corner of my living room looks like ......Please don't click on the picture to make it larger! The living room will look this way for just one week, hopefully. Yes, it's a mess of college girl moving items.

Even though Rachel left for school yesterday, all of her things except for basic living items stayed here. That's because in pre-season training, she lives with her team in dorm rooms on campus. Once pre-season is over, they all move to either their apartments or other dorm rooms where they will live for the rest of their school year. Looking at her training schedule, it looks like she'll have about 3 hours of spare free time on Saturday to help us move her things into the apartment where she'll be living for the rest of the year.

So, my husband and I have to transfer all her things to the truck and take them down there ... about 1 3/4 hours drive. We're hoping to move her things down next Saturday. Hoping, HOPING is the key word here because that spare free 3 hours might turn into NO spare free hours if the coach decides they need to do something. If that's the case, then we'll have to wait for the next weekend, when training is over.

Notice the open door on the cupboard in the far right corner? That's my sewing cupboard where I keep all of my supplies ... threads, scissors, patterns.
I kept the door opened so that I can somehow reach the 5 feet or so acrossed all the boxes to get something out of my cupboard, if needed.
This is the third year that we've moved Rachel's things without her help so I've learned how to save my husband and I some back injuries and sore mucsles. Even though it's a huge mess in the living room for a week or possibly two, it's a heck of a lot easier transferring it to the truck from the living room than my husband and I both hauling things down from one flight up, in her room.
I'll live with the mess to save us some soreness.

So that's my life in a nutshell.
Oh, on Saturday, we did a girls night out and went to the movies!
Rach, Jen, my sister Carol my neice Steph and I all went to see the movie Julia & Julia.
Great movie!
As we were walking in, I noticed all the ... umm .... older people there. I warned both Jen and Rach that the theater seats would be filled with us oldsters and I was right. Rach, Jen and Steph --all 20somethings -- were the youngest ones there in the theater but they still really enjoyed the movie. I have to say though that from the comments from the man sitting beside us and another man leaving afterwards ... this probably isn't really as enjoyable for the guys.

Ok, I'm outta here ... I'm anxious to get back to sewing and finishing up the shelf pillows. I have a brand new penny rug design that I'm really so so excited to get started on too.

Oh Rachel, why do you have to grow up? I miss you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

And we have a winner!

Oh, this has been so much fun!

This afternoon at about 4pm, Char @ The Pickled Pepper Patch was selected from a large bowl of names to win the Pumpkin Penny Rug.

Congrats Char! It will be an honor to have my favorite penny rug in your home.

For all the rest of you ... thank you so much for all the comments and for spreading the word about the giveaway, bringing even more new names to my blog.

This is just the first of many future giveaways so stick around for what's to come.

Welcome to all the new followers. I'm limited on time to blog but I'll try to get to each and every one of your blogs for a visit so that I can get to know all of you.

I've been asked if I will be selling one of these penny rugs on Ebay. I regret to say that the designer doesn't permit me to sell my items made from her patterns but if anyone wishes to hire me to have one made for them, I'll certainly be able to do that. $160 which includes shipping and the cost of the pattern. Just contact me for more details.

Thanks again to all, congrats Char and happy day everyone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good Luck Penny Rug

So yesterday, I decided to try to take some additional pictures of the penny rug that I have listed on Ebay. It doesn't have any bids on it so I'm going to switch up the pictures on it today hoping to draw some better attention to it.
Laying the penny rug on the floor by the fireplace, I started snapping. I have green carpeting so the contast of the browns with the green looks nice. I laid out the Pumpkin Penny Rug too just to get some extra pictures of it before it get sent away to it's new home ... the drawing for its giveaway is tomorrow folks, so if you haven't entered, go
HERE to comment and to be entered into the giveaway.
My grandson, was here and he was in his somersaulting mood ... somersaulting from the living room to the dining room and back. He thought it was great fun to somersault over the penny rugs. Now, I have to say, normally, I take great care of the items that I make, but this was just too cute to scold him for doing. I wanted to get a really good shot of a perfect somersault, but my camera wasn't cooperating.
Being the ham that he is, loves to have his picture taken so naturally, when I told him the picture didn't turn out ... too blurred, he offered to tumble again .....
and again .......

and again ....
so that I could get as many pictures of his great feat as I needed. (He said "cheese" each and every time he somersaulted too). Roughly guessing, I'd say those mats were somersaulted on about a dozen times.
As I'm getting ready to type this, I remembered something from a rughooking book that I have about good luck somersaults on finished hooked rugs. So I went for the book and looked it up ...
How perfect ..... ! !
From Gene Shepards book " Prodded Hooking for a Three-Dimensional Effect"
"It was the normal goal for the family to have a new mat made by Christmas. Such a mat, perfect and clean, was displayed in a place of honor in ritualistic fashion. Once positioned, the youngest child in the family was asked to do a forward somersault on the rug in order to ensure good luck for the house during the coming year. The spot usually chosen for the new rug was in front of the fireplace, at the heart of the home."
Soooooooo ... whoever wins the Pumpkin Penny Rug will also win one year of good luck too, curtesy of my grandson!
Here's some new designs I'm working on .... This is going to turn into a set of 3 small shelf pillows and then if I'm happy with the design, I'll incorporate it somehow into a wool candle mat.
This is always how I start my ideas. I roughly draw it out on freezer paper and then make a pattern from that drawing, making corrections and adjustments in the design as needed.

Here's one that's almost finished. I have to say though, I'm not real happy with this one and will make corrections before it's turned into a shelf pillow. That crow is not good. He looks too cute and friendly. He needs to be nastier looking.
I really, REALLY, REALLY do not like crows.
We live out in the country and the crows, roosting in the nests in the woods are obnoxious, loud and annoying. I realize that crows are a very important part of primitive decorating, so I force myself, once in a while, to include a crow in my designs. When I make a crow though, I refuse to make it to look cute and friendly.
Oddly, as I'm typing this, I'm not hearing them outside, which is really unusual.
So this crow will be redone and he'll be nasty. :)
Happy Day everyone! Drawing for the Pumpkin Penny Rug Giveaway is tomorrow! I'm so excited!

Monday, August 3, 2009

How to make your Penny Rug lay flat? BACKING!

I received a really nice email last week from a lurker who asked me how I get my penny rugs to lay so nice and flat. She recently bought something from an Ebayer and can't get the puckers and bumps out of the top so that it will lay completely flat and wanted to know what to do.
It's all about the backing!
Chances are the backing that was attached was not the correct size ... either too small or too large so when trying to sew the backing onto the front, it's stretched to fit leaving the front with puckers.

So here's how I attach my backings. I'll use this Pumpkin Penny rug as an example.

BTW ....

I'm giving this away! If you wish to enter the drawing to win this penny rug, just go to this post and make a comment.

When I intitally started making this penny rug, I made a template of the exact size that I needed the black background wool to be. I use freezer paper for all my pattern templates because the waxy side can be ironed onto the fabric and then easily peeled off .
In this case, the measurement was 12" x 22" so I carefully measured, ironed the rough cut freezer paper template onto my wool, cut it out, and then finally peeled off the freezer paper, leaving me with a perfectly cut wool background. Later, when it's time to do the backing, I use that same measured freezer paper to cut out the backing. This way it's sure to be the EXACT same size as the background wool that I need to attach it to.
Here, I've ironed on the exact sized freezer paper onto my homespun cotton backing. I rough cut it out, leaving about 1/2" border/seam allowance all around the edges. That 1/2" border is then steam ironed down to fit around the freezer paper. See?! no measuring is needed!
If I'm using wool for the backing, there's no need to add extra seam allowance. The wool can be cut to the exact size of the template.

After the the seams are steam pressed, I remove the freezer paper and steam press it one more time just to make sure all the edges are laying completely flat.

Because it's cut using the same template as the front, it fits perfectly, so all I need to do is pin it on. Sometimes, if it's a really large penny rug, I'll pin and then baste it so that it dosesn't slide around too much. I tend to be rough when I'm sewing ... flipping the rug around quite a bit so I make sure it's anchored in there securely.

There it is, nice and smooth! If it lays nice and smooth on the back, then it's sure to lay nice and smooth on the front. You shouldn't ever have to stretch your fabric to make it fit.
I usually use #5 DMC cotton thread to blanket stitch outside edges. It's just my own preference and I think it gives the rug a nicer finished look.
In the case of the Ebay item with puckers, I'm afraid that there is nothing that can be done other than removing the backing and attaching it back on correctly.
Sometimes, if it's made with 100% wool and the puckers aren't too bad, it can be steamed down so that it shrinks to size, but if it's made with any wool felt, it can't be ironed. Most wool felt is only 20%-35% wool that is blended with Rayon. Ironing it will damage the texture of the felt.
In this case, the candle mat was mostly wool felt so it couldn't be of the big drawbacks to wool felt.
Busy week ahead for me. Rach will be coming home from working Volleyball camp on Wednesday to pack up her things to get ready to leave again on Sunday for Volleyball pre-season training at Cal. We won't see her back home again until Thanksgiving because her every last spare minute is spent with a volleyball.
We'll have lots of packing and last minute shopping to do before she leaves so I don't expect much time for blogging .... other than drawing the winning name for the giveway on Wednesday!
Happy Day, everyone!