Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Oh Those Fall Colors!

Well, it's not here yet, but Fall is fast approaching!
It seems the older I get, the faster the summer goes.
Yes indeed, summer went really fast this time.  I've been doing lots of digging, planting and landscaping.  Some work is still yet to be done, but I'm now waiting for the cooler autumn temps to start digging again.
Little time is left in my days for designing but I do have a few new things to show...
Here's one for the fall....

The finished size of this table runner is 12" x 23", although, it can easily be made longer.  The picture shows this made with 100% felted wool but wool felt can easily be substituted for any or all of the wool requirements.  The pattern is available, as well as the wool kit, on my website: http://www.cathspenniesdesigns.com

 This is a design that I created a long time ago and sold as a finished item.  
The design was by far the most requested design that my customers requested to be made into a purchasable pattern.  It's been requested mostly because I have an online tutorial that explains how to attach penny rug tongues and I've used the original design as the illustrated sample.  You can find that tutorial here:

 I've held off creating the pattern for it simply because all I had was the picture of the finished table runner.  I hadn't saved the actual measurements or drawings that I originally used.  Basically, I had to start from scratch to make it again.  This new design is a bit different than the original because I eliminated the long and tedious penny rug tongue detail.  Notice that this design has the background scallop tongues cut right into the background wool rather than stitched individually.  This way is certainly less time consuming.

Lots of good things are happening here at Cath's Pennies Designs.  I'm determined to spend a bit more time with this blog and with Facebook so that I don't get so behind with news and info.

 If you haven't already, please "Like" my business Facebook page CLICK HERE  Also, I'd love to include all of you on my personal Facebook page: CLICK HERE  . Please "friend" me.  I don't often post things on my own personal page but I'd love to be able to see what my sisters in stitching are working on in the stitching world.

  I'll be finishing up my newsletter to get emailed out for tomorrow.  If you haven't subscribed to my newsletter, you can do so by clicking here:  Cath's Pennies Designs Newsletter Sign-up

That's all for today!  Happy Day!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Stephen King! Oh.Oh.Oh!

Stephen King was in town yesterday!  In the lovely town of Sewickley, Pa, I might add.
He was visiting to promote his new book.  The event, sponsored by the local book store in Sewickley, was held in the auditorium of the Sewickley Academy, a private school.
It was a small venue, with only 600 tickets sold for the event.  My husband and I were extremely fortunate to have two amazing daughters and one future son-in-law who camped out overnight on a chilly, rainy night last month in the hopes of getting tickets for this very special Stephen King event.  They arrived at the bookstore at 8pm, with blankets, pillows and folding chairs and along with hundreds of others, waited until 10 am the next morning to buy the tickets.

Both girls grew up knowing our love for this author so when Rach heard about the event, she knew she had to do everything she could to try for the tickets. Jen, Rach and Brad not only were able to get tickets for my husband and me, they managed to get FRONT ROW SEATS for us!

This was to be a surprise Father's Day gift for my husband.  It was indeed a surprise! 
Actually, I knew about it but had to keep it secret from my husband.  It was very difficult to not tell him why I was texting so much back and forth to my daughters that evening and the next morning.

My husband and I have been huge Stephen King fans from way back.  I'm pretty sure we've read every one of his books.
I remember way back when we first got married, I knew when to watch for his new books and would always put my name on the wait list at our local library.  Back then, I was happy to get library books.  Nowadays, to support Mr. King and all his greatness, we buy his books now. 

This is just a small part of our collection.  I see a Ken Follett book in there...that should be on the Ken Follet shelf so just ignore that and know that every other book on those two shelves are Mr. King's books.

It was an absolutely wonderful evening.  I expected him to read excerpts from his new book.  But, he told us that since we had all already purchased the book, (the ticket cost included a book), there was no sense in trying to promote it.  Instead, he just simply talked....His own personal stories about his life and his family and how he got to be the great author that he is.
He did make mention that people who read books are becoming a rare breed.  Sad but so true.
He's just a regular guy, dressed in blue jeans and what looked to be an old tshirt and sneakers that were purchased by his grandson so that he could look cool while on his book tour.

Front row seats to see this man!  He was a mere 10 feet away from us!  Big smiles on our faces when it was all over.  We even went onto the stage and sat in his chair.

In other news, I've been working on a secret project.
I'm not permitted to give the details yet but I'm honored and thrilled to be asked to participate.  Within the year, expect surprisingly great things for all of us who have the love for wool!

It's Thursday and tonight is the big Pens game.  If we win tonight, the Stanley cup is ours for the year!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  I'll be back next week some time with a new design...maybe!

Friday, May 20, 2016

For the Birds!

I've been taking care of our local birds for many many many years.  I don't even want to think about how much $$ I've spent on bird food over the years.  It doesn't matter how much though because they bring me entertainment and joy so any amount is worth what they give back to me!

My husband, before he retired, never realized how many 50lb bags of sunflower seeds I would buy over the late fall and winter months.  Now that he's retired, he's figured it out!  :)  Thankfully, he's now enjoying the birds almost as much as I do.

I buy my sunflower seeds down at our local Diamond Milling company.
It's close...right in town and they bag the seed themselves so it's just the best quality for the money.  
I've always just fed them in the fall and winter and put the feeders away for the spring and summer.  But after my last post about feeding the birds, I received several emails from my customer/readers that suggest that I continue to feed them over the summer too!

So, I went back down to Diamond Milling 
and bought a 50lb bag of mixed bird seed.  This mixed stuffed has cracked corn as well as a few other types of seed, along with sunflower seeds.
Well, I have to say, so far, this stuff is bringing in different birds that normally visit.  I'm getting birds that I don't even know what they are!  I'm constantly asking Google to help with identifications.

The most delightful birds are the hummingbirds and the Baltimore Orioles.   
I have a special feeder for the Orioles that has clips on it to hold oranges.  As soon as I put the oranges out, the orioles are there.  It's like they're watching and waiting for me. 

Then I read that they love grape jelly.  Since it was getting expensive to feed them an orange everyday, I put out a spoonful of jelly just to see what would happen.
Whaddayaknow!  They love the grape jelly.  I put it out and by the time I was back in the house, the orioles were gobbling it up.  They're so pretty to watch.

My hummingbirds appeared last week.  I have 4 different feeders out for them as well as a pretty little hummingbird swing.  :) 
I haven't been able to get a picture of them sitting on the swing yet, but here's a pic of  the swing as well as a couple of the feeders.
I have another feeder at the back of the house and a feeder by our side porch.  I'm going to attempt to train them to be hand-fed too. 

So, I've put aside my stitching for now.  I've been incredibly busy outside.  I'm remodeling and re-landscaping all areas around the house. 
I've re-done the vegetable garden...hubby replace the rotted wood on the raised bed for me.  Now it's almost twice the size so I've lots more room for plantings.
My latest project that I'm finishing up is the flower bed by the driveway.
It's always looked nice but I wanted a different look.  I wish I had taken a "before" pic, but this is what it looked like when I started digging it up..

 My husband put down a brick border for me and I worked on digging up and sifting the big rocks out of the soil. 

So many rocks in this soil.  I have a good use for rocks though, which I will share in another post, at another time.

This took me a few days to get this far.  Exhausting work, but well worth the effort.

There's a new landscaping business that is just down the road from us now.  Saddle Your Donkey Landscape and Supply.  So convenient!
Hubby went down and got a load of gorgeous, smelly mushroom manure for me.

This is not quite finished yet.  I still need to get more perennial plantings.  Much thanks to my sister-in-law for the professional help with the landscaping.  Janet, told me what to plant, and how to plant it.  We went back down to Saddle Your Donkey and selected the boulder for the focal point of the area.  I'm so excited to finish this now, but have to wait for the perennials to be available at our local garden center. 

I've still lots more to do so stitching, designing and patterns are put on hold for a while.  I spend my evenings relaxing, reading and sketching.  The sketches will soon turn into new designs and as excited as I am to work on new designs, the landscaping work has to get done.

My daughter is getting married in October and we are in the beginning stages of planning a special garden bridal shower which will be here at the house.  I was hesitant at first, when the idea was suggested, but now with all the landscaping getting done, I'm getting more and more excited about it. 

Another gorgeous day is happening right now so I'm off to dig up more stones so that I can plant some old doors!  Pictures will follow in another post of my progress!

Be kind and have a happy day and wonderful weekend!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

This is a new design in it's very beginning state.  I've a few adjustments to make to it before it's ready to sell as a pattern.  I thought it was a nice message for Mother's Day.

I was hoping to have it ready to sell a few weeks ago, but I've been so busy outside, I just haven't had a chance to work on it.

I'm re-doing all of my flower and vegetable gardens this year.  New landscapes, new stinky mushroom compost, and new borders.  Arrangements with old doors, wheelbarrows, birdhouses and lots of galvanized buckets and watering cans.  I'm so excited to finish but only because I'm anxious now to plant the flowers and vegetable so that I can watch them grow in their new spaces.
Love gardening but don't love how muscle sore I am at the end of the day!

The wrens are singing their nesting song right outside my window right now and it's as if they are calling me out to play.
Heading outside now to inspect my results from yesterday's work.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!  ...and kid's?....CALL YOUR MOM!  Better yet...VISIT YOUR MOM!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Not So Sweet Bittersweet!

Oh how we all love this pretty orange/red bittersweet vine in the Fall.  It's so pretty for decorating!
BUT....it's really nasty stuff!  The vines grow fast and furious and will twist and twine around everything.

I don't know where it came from, but we have it growing all over our property and it's viciously taking over.
Hubby and I spent 5 days this past week working on clearing it out.  
The main problem is down at the bottom of our property, close to the road.  This is a picture of it after I had already removed about 15 feet of it. 

It's so difficult to remove too.  Since they are all thin vines twisted together, each stem has to be individually cut.  Then I have to build up the strength of 10 men to pull on the vine in the attempt to unwind it from all of the rest of the mess.
Think of it as a giant oversized clump of DMC floss.  Imagine trying to unravel the strands of floss from a jungled mess and you can slightly understand how evil this bittersweet vine is to remove.

I had started working on it the first day.  After hubby saw my struggles, he joined me in the battle.  
We cleared out enough of it to expose some of the main roots....

Then he got his Bobcat out...
Now let me tell you.... He's had this Bobcat forever.  Years and years it's been around and finally, after all of these years, he taught me how to use it.  
Yes indeed, I climbed into that seat and powered it up and I operated that monster machine like a true master!    Haha...actually, I was very scared but once I got used to it, wow!  I felt so powerful.  
It might just be my new toy to play with this summer!

Anyway, that Bobcat really helped.
We cleared out most of it.  There's still quite a bit yet to do and I hope to get it done this week.
The entire jungled mess was probably a good 20 feet across and a good 10 feet wide so after 4 days working on it, we're both muscle sore.

We unloaded it all up by my husband's garage and he set it afire.  It was gone within a matter of an hour.
 (yes, we're permitted to burn here in Daugherty Twp) 

 Next, I have to work on the tree that's beside it.  It's actually a dead Ash tree but the vine is so twisted up and around it, the Bittersweet is virtually responsible for holding up the dead tree.

So with the benefits of the vine giving us pretty berries in the fall, the vines, if left alone to grow for years and years can become very interesting to look at too...
This is how the Bittersweet vine looks along the edge of our woods, close to our driveway.  
The vines look like giant twisted ropes.
 This actually looks like a huge snake wrapped around a tree...but no..it's the evil Bittersweet vine doing it's thing.

I plan to get hubby to use his chainsaw to cut the twisted parts out.  I'll use them in my garden for decorations.  
So yes, Bittersweet is a good name for this awful vine.  It's more bitter than sweet because it's taken over a lot of our trees and making a jungled mess but the sweet part is the pretty berries on the vines in the fall and also the amazing art that those big twisted vines create.  

Today and tomorrow, we shall rest our sore muscles and then Monday, as long as the day is bright, we shall go back to our battle with the Bittersweet!

Have a wonderful weekend!  
God Bless and be kind!