Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's November!!!

How was your Halloween? I have to say that the positive thinking for the weather worked. We ended up having a warmer than normal, and dry, Halloween. Talk about a nice surprise, and then yesterday it stormed and poured down rain all day. Nothing like a little "magic" to hold off the storm, eh? However we helped my daughter move yesterday and weren't able to take the truck due to the rain (and no canopy), but the Explorer worked great and we were done fairly quickly and without getting too wet!

I don't have pictures of my finished scull yet but here's a photo of what it looked like, in progress. Do you like the red? Looks a bit bloody but it's really red Victorian pictures. I like the look because at first it's looks icky and scary, but if you get up close you can see Fancy Ladies and Birds and Trees. The two glass cabochons on the right are an experiment in big pendants. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.


I'll leave you with our Jack O' Lanterns and a scary boy for Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Couple Of Things....

I've been working on for Halloween fun! You can see I've started working on some very basic designs for Halloween Needle Punch projects. These will most likely end up as projects for next Halloween.
 You can see a bit of the progression. My "rough" drawings, then copies, and coloring in with crayons (of course). I could use markers but I don't want them soaking through the paper. Next I will pick my embroidery floss colors. Do you like my mondo bag of colors to choose from? Bought it at JoAnn's and used a 40% off coupon. Great deal!

I also picked up a mask from Micheal's I think it was a $1.99. Wait till you see what I am doing with it!

This week is conference week for the boys. I got Duncan and Connor's out of the way on Tuesday. They are both doing great! I always enjoy those conferences. Dakota's are in about an hour......let's just say it should be interesting.....

It's been half days all week for school (except the high school). I'm really looking forward to the weekend and the boys (especially Connor) can hardly wait for Sunday night Trick or Treating! The weather around here usually isn't that great for All Hallows Eve. It's either cold, rainy or both. Keep your fingers crossed for a freak warm up :-D A Mom can alway hope anyway.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Look What I Found!

This is a beaded pouch I made, hmmmm........ over 15 years ago. The design came from an issue of Bead & Button for Peyote Stitch. There is a loop on each side so it can be "worn" as a (rather large),  necklace. The pouch measures about 3" square, without the fringe. I think that maybe, I should make a "chain" for it. I'm not sure out of what yet, but maybe Macrame would give it the "Natural" look that I think it needs. Any suggestions?

It's been a busy week. Duncan ended up being home sick, for a day, for the 3rd time in 3 weeks. This prompted an immediate visit to the Dr. After the blood work they decided that it was the same virus, lingering for the past 3 weeks. I admit that it worries me a bit. He tends to be prone to headaches (not migraines) and this time it was accompanied by a fever. Needless to say, he is back at school today and unfortunately missed the a lot of Cross Country, since even when he was at school, he still didn't feel up to running. Hopefully Spring will prove to be better for him Sport wise, running track.

Now I am off to design a quick needle punch design for Halloween!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Changing Channels"

I think that would be a good term for going from satellite & dsl to cable. What a freakin pain in the butt!! It's taken about 2 days to get emails and such updated. I'm sure there are a couple of things I've forgotten but I'll remember sooner or later. We also made the decision to drop the land line all together. Strange to give up the phone # I've had for almost 20 years, but the majority of the calls are from survey people and such. Cell phones are pretty much the thing around our house and here to stay!

The reasons for the change, $$$ being the first, second Frontier (formerly Verizon) seemed to forget to send statements and when the bill went up, around the beginning of Summer. No one seemed to be able to give me a straight answer as to why, nor were they capable of sending me an itemized bill, paper, email or otherwise. Makes me wonder if this happened to anyone else when things switched over.

Anyway, I'm over it and moving on to trying out cable. 

I've been working with polymer and on a couple patterns for punch needle embroidery. You should see a "hint" of something next week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cake Balls & Marshmallows....

Chocolate & Vanilla

Vanilla & Carrot Cake

Red Velvet & Carrot Cake

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows, Cut

Sugared Up

Have you heard about cake balls? They are an incredibly simple dessert that seems to be making the rounds on the net. In fact, that's where I gleaned the recipe from. All you need is on package of cake mix and one can of frosting. Make and bake the cake according to the directions on the package and them crumble in a large mixing bowl. Add one can of frosting, mix well then form into balls. I used an ice cream scoop to form mine. They can be shaped by hand. You can also refrigerate the mixture to firm it up a bit. This is a hit with Jimmy and the boys! No extra frosting needed.

I also whipped up some homemade Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows. Keep in mind that homemade ones are nothing like the store bought variety. They have a certain light and airy quality and melt in your mouth. Here is the recipe, and I highly recommend using a stand mixer, since these require an intensive amount of mixing (over 10 minutes) and that would be very hard on an electric hand mixer.

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

3 pkgs unflavored gelatin
1 cup water (split for use)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
red & yellow food coloring (or orange)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not sweetened)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice

Coating for marshmallows
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
(I ended up using quite a bit more than this)

Prepare a 9x13" pan by lining with aluminum foil and spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Sift together powered sugar and cornstarch and apply a generous dusting to the entire pan. Set pan and sugar, cornstarch mix aside for later.

Place 1/2 cup water in bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let gelatin sit and dissolve for at least 5 minutes.

Place remaining 1/2 cup water, corn syrup, and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and insert candy thermometer.

Allow mixture to cook without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees (soft ball stage).

Once sugar mixture has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the heat immediately. Proceed to turn mixer on low, and slowly pour the hot syrup into the mixer bowl.

Gradually increase the speed of the mixer until it is running on high. Whip the marshmallow mixture for 10 minutes or until the mixture is stiff and shiny.

While the marshmallow is mixing, place the pumpkin puree in a small bowl and add the spices. Once the marshmallow has reached the correct consistency, add the food coloring until you have reached the desired shade of orange. Mix until uniform in color. Using a spatula, gently fold the pumpkin puree, spice mixture into the marshmallow, stirring until candy is well mixed.

Pour marshmallow mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top. Allow to sit and firm for at least 8 hours. Do not refrigerate. 

Cover where you are going to cut marshmallows with wax paper and liberally sprinkle with sugar, cornstarch mixture. Sprinkle top of marshmallow with same mixture and turn onto prepared surface.

Carefully peel back foil from marshmallow and dust with more sugar, cornstarch mixture. Then cut carefully into squares with a large knife or use cookie cutters.

Store marshmallows in a dry airtight container at room temperature.

So there it is! My next attempt at marshmallows will be chocolate ones.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

~Happy Monday~

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A New Beginning....

Now that my first tutorial is done, I feel like I'm taking a new path in life. Over the past few weeks I have given up (quit) some things that were incredible time "eaters" for me. First and foremost were the games on Facebook. Ridiculous, when I think about all the time wasted keeping up a restaurant, farm, homestead, kingdom, whatever! There is absolutely no benefit from doing any of those for me, other than avoiding the things I want, or need, to be doing. 

Next is just DOING the things that I want or need to do! The first was getting that tutorial done. As simple as it may seem it was a huge thing for me. It's not "perfect" by any means, but the gist of the idea, I think (hope), was clear. I have also been clearing out my creative areas. Whether it's selling things on Ebay or donating to the library, Services for the Blind, or Goodwill.

I am pretty much busy every day of the week and it's a good busy, whether I'm creating, cleaning or running the kids to sports and back. Life feels good!

Granted, I still read the blogs I keep up with and still check in with facebook, using it more as a promotional tool than anything else.

So my hopes for my blog are to start posting as often as I can and keep you up to date on what I'm working on. I hope to post more free tutorials but from now on I won't make promises of when I'll have them ready, since I haven't been very good about following through on dates. So the picture above is of a few things I made last year out of polymer clay. I want to incorporate them into a couple of jewelry designs over the next week. Should be fun!

So here's to new beginnings! I hope you're having a terrific weekend!

Friday, October 08, 2010

I Finally Have It Done!!!

Whoo Hoo! Without further ado.....and the twenty million reasons why I didn't get it up when I said I would....

From Seat Belt to Fashion Statement

Here is the basic list of items needed to complete this project:
1 seat belt-the one I used is from my Dad, he ordered them for my Mom's
Toronado, but for some reason they didn't work, so he decided to pass them on to me for the exact reason I'm using them. Thanks Dad!
A sewing machine
tape measure
straight pins
scissors (small and large)
lighter or candle

This first step it a “personal preference” for me. You do not have to do this step.
Some people like these extra labels for their own personal reasons, I do not, so I remove
this tag.

Next you are going to remove the metal pieces what would normally be used to anchor
the belts to your car. These are the pieces with the holes in them. DO NOT remove the
buckle! In fact it's a good idea to keep the belt buckled, as a reminder. Also do not put
your thumb in the way of the cutting blade, like I did (dork). I use a razor knife to cut
these threads since they are a bit thicker than normal threads. Do this step very

Then you are going to unbuckle the belt and measure each side to determine the size of
your belt. Mine is going to be about 38”. Be sure to leave a 3-5” tail for adjustment of
your belt (see top of photo).

The locking part (female) measured 15”, so this side doesn't need anything further done.

The insert part (male) needs to be cut down to 24” (15”+24”=39”). You are going to
allow one extra inch for overlap.

Once you have cut the male part down you are going to need to “finish” the edge to
keep it from fraying. You could probably use fray check but since the belts are nylon I
use a lighter, or candle, to gently melt the edge of the fabric. Just gently run the cut edge
of the belt along the flame until you have a nice even melt.

This next step doesn't make a huge difference by I like to lock the belt together before I pin it so that the finished edge is facing the body, of the person wearing the belt, on the
male side of the belt. Again this is totally a personal preference thing.

Note the right side of the belt above.

Then overlap the two cuts edges by 1” and pin to hold. Keep in mind
that this seam will not meet in the center due to having a “short” side.

Then sew two rows of zig-zag stitch across the overlap about 1/2” apart. I use regular
thread and double stitch for extra holding power.

And there you have it, a “Seat Belt, Belt”!

Note, that unless you have extra wide loops on your jeans, most seat belts will not fit
through the loops, and these belts are usually worn low on the hips.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. It was a fun learning experience for me and I hope to do

I would really appreciate any feedback on it, good or bad, so don't be shy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just Had To Post This Link...

This is a must see! My oldest son attends Snohomish High School and plays in the marching band. He told me about this when I picked him up from the game.

Please watch....special touchdown

Monday, September 27, 2010

Maybe This Will Help.....

We have decided to do away with both the hard line (house phone) and the satellite dish (no cable either). The main reason for this decision was financial, but now (amazingly) everyone in the house is looking forward to it. Granted the phone isn't going to be a big deal, we are a cell dependent family. Everyone in the house (except the little guy) has one, and that's pretty much the main form of communication in this house with the exception of the computer. Now the television on the other hand, I thought would be a HUGE deal, but surprisingly the boys took it rather well. They have about a week before the "plug" is finally pulled and they will get to be "creative" with their time. It should be interesting to see what happens with all of us, I admit to enjoying my evening television time after the boys are in bed.

I know, I know! Where is that darn tutorial? Well it WILL be done tomorrow or Wednesday. Actually writing a tutorial is a new experience that I'm learning and enjoying. Now I know why it takes people awhile to come out with new ones. I will be looking for feedback once it's done.

On a weather note, I think the Earth has tipped and we are now sitting somewhere in the Southern Regions. It is warm and uncomfortably humid tonight. Worse than it's been all Summer or any Summer for that matter. Strange weather!

Enjoy your evening!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guess What?

I got all of the photos taken yesterday! Now all I have to do is put it all together!

After I finished the belt I started on a "Stick Bag" for my oldest Dakota, who plays the drums. I'm thinking of posting a tutorial for that too, but it would be an "experimental" version. He tells me this is something drummers use to store their sticks in for "Gigging", and that it can be hung off of the drums while playing for easy access, in case one of the sticks should break in the middle of a song. I'm designing it off of the measurements and description he gave me of what one "should" look like. It will be interesting to say the least. Once I finish the first one, he can critique it and tell me what he wants changed.

I'm still feeling a bit tired from "whatever" it was that happened the other night, but I'm doing much better and it scared me bad enough to REALLY start taking care of myself. Being in my mid 40's and needing to lose weight I realize that carrying extra pounds is really not good  for my body. I also promised Jim that if it happened again I would let him take me to the hospital.

So for today, after the school morning rush I will see what I can do to get the seat belt tutorial up and running.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Under The Weather.....

 Another future project, stay tuned!

I had a little "episode" last night. Don't know what you would call it but it scared me a little. Today I'm a bit tired but seem to be doing much better. I'm hoping it was just a little bump from the peri-menopause I have been going through for the last couple off years. Going to the Dr. isn't going to happen right now, with no insurance and struggling with the bills we have already. However if there is an emergency I will go. For now I'm going to start really looking at how I take care of myself, eating, exercise and the like.

Today I think I'm going to sit behind my sewing machine for awhile and finish up the belt project.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We Interrupt Everything For The Back To School Rush.......

Last week was the official end of Summer for the boys. They went back to school on Wednesday, aside from huge bus schedule issues everything went great! Duncan started middle school and was a little nervous because it was a new experience, plus he had his first Cross Country practice right after school. When I picked him up I was relieved to see he had a big smile (yeah!). I knew that meant Middle School and  Cross Country were a hit! Connor and Dakota both had no problems falling back into the Elementary and High School routines from last year and all 3 of them were actually looking forward to going back! That's always nice!

By the end of the week everyone was exhausted  from getting up early and sports practices! It really felt good  getting back to a routine. The buses did cause me a bit of grief, trying to coordinate picking up, meeting and dropping off of various boys at various times, but we did finally get it to good. Hopefully this coming week the buses will stay on track, however we have an emergency plan in place just in case things don't jell.

I'm still only half way through the photographing of the seat belt project. My plan is to work on more of it today, and hopefully get it posted by the middle to end of next week.

On a totally different note, I learned how to change my brake pads (Thanks Jimmy!). I believe that most women should at least know the basics for taking care of a car (as in oil, air and changing a tire) however knowing few extra things are always good and can save you quite a bit of $$$ in the long run. Just sayin.

So I hope you're having a relaxing Sunday. I'm really looking forward to Monday!

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Bit Of Delay....

But what else is new. The boys will be back to school in a couple of days.

We ended up taking a last minute trip to the ocean. While the weather was nice for the most part we had a bit of mist and one day of wind and pouring down rain. I did a bit of frivolous reading. One of my all time favorite Authors, Dean Koontz, is always good for an edge of your seat read......try this one out......a bit of an end of the world twist!

and on the opposite end of the spectrum, how about some Nora Roberts. Do you like dangerous men?

Anyway getting on with it....I'm still working on the seat belt tutorial. I'm about half way there.

The boys are really excited to be getting back to school (friends), Jim is still diligently looking for work. It's been over a year and I never would have believed that anyone could be out of work that long if I hadn't seen if for myself........and I'm battening down the hatches at home for some serious work myself.

So I promise I'll be back with more updates........SOON!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Turn Of Events......

Drum Roll Please (Ok, so I like a bit of anticipation).............

Last week while wondering how to attract attention to my blog I came to the decision to turn it into a tutorial blog of sorts. What better way to be able to "showcase" some of what I do while feeding my ADD with different projects and showing how to make some of the things that I create. I've wanted to write tutorials forever and just haven't worked my way around to it, however this is a great way to motivate myself plus get feedback on how I'm doing.

The tutorials will be of various projects, from sewing, knitting, crochet, wirework, woodwork, glass fusing, resin, polymer clay......whatever I happen to be playing with at the time.

Today I will post just a basic progression of a project I did for my sister, woodburning a mirror, and next week I will start with a basic sewing project.

So without further ado......the mirror I woodburned for my sister:

I started (stole) from my sister this rather plain IKEA mirror, it measures about 10" square and cost approx $2.99.

Next you can either transfer a design on using carbon paper or you can free hand a design using a pencil. If you draw lightly to begin with it will easily erase if you make any mistakes. I free handed mine.

When you've completed your drawing, plug in your woodburner to pre-heat it. Don't forget to select your tip and screw it in BEFORE you plug it in. Now while I'm new at wood burning this is, so far my favorite tip to use (skew). It helps a lot with "gliding" over the grain of the wood which can prove to be a bit of a "bumpy ride" using the pencil (writer) type tip. Search Amazon.com for wood burning tool 

Once the burner has heated up then start burning away. Remember that if you haven't done this before you might want to start on a small piece of scrap wood to get the feel for your "tool". My favorite wood to work on is bass wood, which has a less defined grain and burns easily with these lower wattage (inexpensive) wood burning tools. The pine is nice but the grain is more pronounced and the wood is a bit harder, which makes the burning a bit more difficult.

Although I decided not to add color to this design, you can define yours with Sharpie Permanent markers, watercolors or acrylics, even colored pencils would work.

Please keep in mind that I'm just a beginner myself when it comes to woodburning. The most important thing to remember it is to have fun!

Coming next week, How to turn a Seat Belt into a Fashion Statement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Great Weekend!

For just staying one night we sure did a lot! My son Duncan caught his 1st fish ever! It was so exciting, one of those "payoffs" for being a parent, when you get to see that look of pure joy on one of your kids faces.

We also hit the pool a couple times, this would be one of Connor's greatest pleasures in life. So we will be heading back next weekend for one more run before the boys get back to school.

While fishing the next morning I was a able to snap a picture of a cool stripe winged dragonfly. I'm really liking my camera (A Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7). As you can see above it has a sports setting that works wonderfully for taking action shots and also takes great close ups. It's not horribly expensive either (around $100). The only thing I will require in my next camera would be better Zoom capabilites.

This is neither here nor there but I wanted to show off the local hornet's nest. It's hanging from one of those cables crossing over the middle of the street supporting the power lines. I would estimate this nest to be the size of a couple of basketballs put together. Yeah, it's a biggie!

One last note. I'm going to be changing the course of my blog soon.........curious?

Keep watching, I should have something new up in the next couple of days.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heading Out Today....

Camano here we come! Will be visiting with my sister and her kids, and taking 2 of my boys (and my niece) fishing and swimming. My oldest will be helping out a band and hoping to get to play at least one set with them when they play at a block party tonight.

Speaking of fishing (the not to eat kind)........

Yesterday we hit the local pet store since they were celebrating one of their local fish personalities (Zorro) Birthday. They had games and all their fresh water fish were 50% off. The kids love this store which is called Bridges Pets, and is one of the nicest pet stores that I have ever been in. They have a huge selection of fish, a reptile room (not my favorite), various other furry critters, and tons of supplies for pretty much all pets.

I snapped a picture of my favorite fish, the Discus tank:
and the Betta I would love to own but, of course isn't for sale (Black and gold, so cool!):
and a Bright Orange Betta, also NFS:
It was fun, the kids got to play a couple of games, win some toys and candy and I came home with a new Betta. I'll post a picture of him soon.

Anyway....time for me to get a move on, Camano is quite the hike from here.

Have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What I've Been Up To

Made a bit of tatting progress. I started out using the shuttle but for some reason my brain just couldn't wrap around the concept, all I ended up with was a short row of tatting and then a knotted mess, so then I acquired a tatting needle and talk about "catching on". No problems there, plus I find it to be very "speedy". I now keep a needle and some thread in my purse so that when I have down time I'm able to pull out something to work on. Tatting is an extremely "portable" hobby and fun to boot!

I've drifted back over to the knitting side (for the moment) and am now working on my first pair of socks, well actually booties. It's something I have always thought of as a big mystery. Why? I really don't know, but I figure that it's long past time to learn and I've been told that sock making can become somewhat of an addiction in and of itself (we'll see). Another portable project, btw.

In anticipation of Fall, I've also started a poncho. I received some really nice yarn in a swap I did with a friend (Thanks Tracy!). I think that it will make a terrific poncho, however now that I've started it I realize I don't have enough yarn to finish it, and of course, this happens to be a discontinued yarn so I'll be keeping my eye out for more. If you should happen to know anyone who has some "Yarn Bee, Mosaic Twist" in Grotto, that they no longer want let me know. In the mean time I'll keep a watch on Ebay with the hopes that some will come up before I run out. Or I will improvise and work the collar up in something a bit different but the same yarn weight.

Have I mentioned that I might be a bit ADD? I think my wood burning venture might verify that. Something else that I've been playing around with. I have to say that it's a lot of fun, but I wish the burner had a bit more wattage for more burn power. The professional wood burning tools are between $100-200, and that just doesn't work into the budget at the moment. However if it proves to be something serious for me maybe when things improve we'll look into investing. Do you like what I've done so far?

And on a random note, this is our Betta that loves to play dead. Here he is doing a head stand in this photo holding perfectly still. What I need to get is a photo of is him laying on his side at the top of the tank, which he does frequently, and makes me gasp thinking that he's dead. Tap on the glass or drop in food and he's back to normal.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Want To Simplify?

One of the blogs I follow is having a contest to find some testers for e-courses she will be offering. If you are looking to "Balance Your Budget" or "Simplify Your Life" click on the link and get your entry in!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trying To Tat....

And getting nowhere fast. Well actually after "trying" over and over again for about a week, I'm starting to make some progress. From left to right, you can tell that the synapses are starting to finally connect. The first pile is a mess of failed attempts.
How about a pic of some duck tape roses. I taught my 7 yr old how to make them and he was thrilled. They are a fun for the kids and not too time consuming. Now I just need more colors of duct tape. Excellent Summer craft for the kids (or you) if you're looking for something to do. Even the silver tape would look good! Link here Duck Tape Roses if you want to try them.
And last but not least. My 12 year old son at 6th grade recognition. The main reason I'm posting this picture is because I can never get him to wear pants. He wears shorts year around, even in the cold, but here is proof that under the right circumstances, he is capable of wearing pants and looking good in them! Not that he doesn't look good no matter what he's wearing. I'm so proud of him!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Washcloth

I'm teaching myself new knitting stitches. It's really fun and while I'm forever a crochet lover. I really enjoy the challenge of learning something new. Socks next, right......maybe......

The last day of school is tomorrow. I've spent more time at the school in the last couple of weeks than I have all year. I was a lot of fun! I even shed a few tears during my son's 6th grade recognition. New year he'll be in middle school and he's really looking forward to it. I can't believe how quickly this year went! Here is a picture of the plaques I helped them work on for the school carnival. I really got to know a few of the students in the class. It was a bit of an eye opening experience for me. I'm learning that I can "teach" and that it really is a lot of fun, even when you're not sure about what you're doing.

On a totally different note. I fell down the front steps a few days ago. I ended up with a scraped face, knee, hands and ankle. All in all it could have been much worse. Funny, my youngest saw me fall and in his words "Mom, you tripped over nothing!". This is true, my feet just seemed to tangle on their own and down the steps I went. I'm sure it didn't help that I have been thinking about falling down those steps for a long time. Don't ask me why, it was just one of those random thoughts every time I went down them. Guess what! That thought is gone now. Really weird.
Do you like African Violets? I have this window that has brought out the best in some "rescued" plants. You know, the ones they sell for .50 because they have one leaf left. Look at these babies blooming away. Too Cool!