Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday's Work

A Thursday with nothing to do. Still a day too early to take down the Christmas decorations, and payday isn't until tomorrow, so no money to spend. So, I pulled out a pattern that I bought a while ago, and started punching. I went with the directions on the pattern, and used 3 strands. I usually punch using 6 strands for a more prim look, but the outlining of this piece needed 3 strands.

It always looks like a mess without all the background punched in. The loops spread out, and distort the picture. But, the main parts are done, and time to start the background.

Once I started the ecru background, it began to take shape.

After spending most of the day working on it, I finished punching the piece! Now to decide how to finish the piece. I have an idea of a wool pouch to hang on a peg, but I'll have to see what colors of wool I have.

Speaking of wool, I'm debating whether to sign up for a rug hooking class. I've seen so many wonderful rugs, that I would like to try one. But, I know that will lead to needing more supplies ~ namely wool. Then, if I really like it, a cutter. Decisions, decisions.....

~*~ Laura ~*~

Monday, December 27, 2010

Yarn holder

I found a new use for a vintage wood bowl ~ as a yarn holder. I've been busy crocheting a baby afghan, but that big ball of yarn kept rolling around the floor. I usually use a carrying bag to store it in, but mine is full of punch needle supplies at the moment. So, I looked over at the coffee table, and tried a bowl that I purchased at an antique store a few weeks ago. It's a shallow bowl, but it does the trick of holding the yarn in one place.

I'm still playing with my new Sony Bloggie touch. The camera portion doesn't have a flash, but it does take indoor photos.

Not too bad for a darker room, with only a couple lamps on.

Here's the photos it takes outdoors. James was really wanting to try out his new bike, so I took it outside. He needs to get comfortable using hand brakes instead of coaster brakes. He only rode up and down the street a couple times, as it's really cold. It's suppose to warm up in the upper 40's by Saturday, so I'm sure he'll be out more, as long as it doesn't rain.

I playing with the video part of the Bloggie. It can take still photos while it's still video recording ~ how cool is that?

I'm back to crocheting. Maybe I can finish this afghan in the next couple days. :-)

~*~ Laura ~*~

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Moving around

One little addition to the family room resulted in LOTS of moving around this past week. My husband got a bonus (first time EVER). He's always dreamed about having one of those flat screen LCD tv's. So, we had enough for that, a sale blue ray, and a new tv stand. It all fit nicely in the space from the old tv/entertainment center. Of course, the old entertainment center wouldn't fit the new tv, which is why we got a new stand.

We only had one tv, so the old one went upstairs, along with the entertainment center. There was a cable outlet already on the wall, where the previous owner had their tv. It's a corner entertainment center, but we put it against a flat wall (makes it easier to clean around). But, the china cabinet that was there needed to be moved.

The china cabinet is now where the piano was. The piano is where the antique secretary was. (I would like the get rid of the piano, as no one plays it. Rachel had taken lessons for a couple years, but isn't interested in playing anymore) The antique secretary is now downstairs in the hallway. Of course, now all the things on the wall will need to be moved around. But, I'll wait until all the Christmas decorations are down to see if this is where all the furniture will remain. Guess it will keep me busy during my week off!

Since the secretary is not centered on the wall (makes it easier to walk around the lower level hallway), I'll have to add some things to the wall to balance it off.

Here's a quick Christmas wrap-up:

James got a Star Wars Lego set. He spent a lot of time today putting it together, and he finished it.
Matt at my parent's house yesterday. The photo taken with a new video camera. It also takes photos. I'll still have to play around with it to figure out all the features.

Andrew with his Svengoolie t-shirt.

Rachel with her new purple bike. She'll want a car next, as she's eligible to take driver's ed this summer. But, she rides on bike paths, and all over town on her bike. At least she won't outgrow this one.

James, also, got a new bike. He's never had a new bike. All his other ones were hand me downs. He rode the one so much, that it's falling apart. This one had hand brakes (but one speed), so it will take some adjusting, especially down hills. It's suppose to get warmer later this week, but rain. But, just maybe he'll be able to test it out.

I have this week off, along with the kids. I just printed out a couple Valentine graphics to use as punch needle patterns. Yep, thinking ahead to the next holiday for Ebay sales. I also started a baby afghan with some left over yarn. Need to run and get some more yarn at Walmart. It was nice to take a few weeks off crafting, but my hand and itching do some more. :-)

~*~ Laura ~*~

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

This is the photo that was on our Christmas cards this year. I just sent them out on Monday, so I'm hoping they all arrive by today. I finally finished my shopping and wrapping yesterday. Then I started on baking cookies. The snow started falling this morning, and we should get about 3 inches of snow for a white Christmas.

I hope all of you have a blessed Christmas!

~*~ Laura ~*~

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chrismas play

My youngest, James, is full of surprises. He volunteered for a part in the Sunday School Christmas play. I didn't know this until I received a letter saying he had the part of Joseph! James hasn't done any plays/acting before, so it really surprised me that he wanted to do this. The play was just for the 4-5th graders, and parents. The parts didn't need to be memorized, but the kids needed to be familiar with their parts. The play wasn't rehearsed, but the kids did a wonderful job.
Since our school has cut many extra curricular activities, a school play isn't an option. None of his brothers or sister enjoys acting. But, maybe James would? I'm just glad that he enjoyed it, and wasn't scared. (they put the words on a powerpoint slide on the back wall to help the kids read their lines)

I haven't done any crafting. I'll be working on Christmas gifts, wrapping, and re-doing the house. Re-doing the house, as we just got a new tv tonight. The new tv doesn't fit into the old entertainment center. It's a nice Habersham Plantation corner unit that we purchased 19 years ago for our old house. Don't want to toss it out. So, have to move it upstairs to the living room. Which means moving a china cabinet, piano, and antique secretary. Now everything on the walls isn't in the right spots, so all that will have to be moved. All for one new tv. It will keep me busy trying to figure out where to place everything. I'll try to get some photos later ~ you don't want to see photos of boxes, and stacks of stuff looking for a new place to call home. :-)

~*~ Laura ~*~

Monday, December 13, 2010

This N That

Gee, I haven't blogged in the past week ~ oops! I went through some photos of what I've been doing, and here they are. The high school had their winter band concert last week. I went to see my favorite trumpet player.

Went to the Merry Cary Parade. It's an annual Christmas parade in our town. James and Russ are holding the Cub Scout banner.

Andrew was holding the Boy Scout banner further back in the parade. Sometimes I think there are more people in the parade than watching! It was cold, but not as cold as today.

We had a snow storm come through Chicago. We only got a few inches of snow, but the wind really blew the snow around. Now the bitter cold wind chills have settled in. Perfect to stay indoors where it's warm.

I need to start a few new projects (one's for Valentines), but have been working at my side phone job. They've had a couple projects, and I won't turn it down. The extra $ always comes in hand at this time of year. I also *finally* started my Christmas shopping. Now to get it finished...... :-)

~*~ Laura ~*~

Saturday, December 4, 2010

* Snowman finish*

I just finished the snowman! It's my first original design!

It took a few extra coats of paint to get the color right on the hornbook. It was too dark, so I put more barn red paint on, sanded it ,and a light coating of gel stain. Just a hint of mustard paint shows through. I lightly aged the punch needle piece with walnut ink, but didn't use it on the snowman. The snowman already has light color variations, and I didn't want that altered. Sometime the walnut ink will make those variations disappear. It did mute the oatmeal and blue sky colors, though. A simple string of vintage buttons completes the top.

And, yes, I cut my own wood. It's a scary thought. Me and power tools. I bought my own jigsaw and learned how to use it. I'm not great at cutting, but I'm learning. But, the great thing about primitives is that it's not suppose to be perfect! If it's lopsided ~ it's even better! :-)

I'm going to put it on Ebay Sunday night, unless anyone sends an email wanting to buy it. Let's say $45, and free shipping in the US.

We had our first measurable snow today! *** We got about 3 inches or so. It's going to be cold, so it's going to stick around. Makes me want to get some Christmas shopping done (I haven't even started yet!!). I have some lists done, and just need to go. As the kids get older, it's easier to just give the green stuff (cash). But, I have to get a few other goodies, too! I know I have the entire week before Christmas to get stuff done. Some years I'm done shopping before Thanksgiving, but this isn't one of those years.

~*~ Laura ~*~

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

*** December Snow ***

It's the first of December, and the forecast was for snow flurries. It was snowing more than just flurries this morning, so we got a coating of snow. I'm NOT ready for winter. But, I was ready to punch snowmen. This is the project that I'm currently working on. It all started with the hornbook. I had cut a different shape, but the jigsaw knicked the edge and cut it. I didn't want to throw it out, as the rest was still good. So, I made a couple more cuts to make a rectangular shape with a longer handle. I then took some paper and drew up this snowman to go on the hornbook.

While I was sketching, I drew some blushed cheeks, which I then transferred and punched. It's a blush color, so it's not really pink, and not really peach. It just adds a little something to his face.
Now to add some cording, and paint the wood. I'll go more traditional on this one ~maybe a barn red background, and tan cording to set it off.

I had to run to a different grocery store this week to get whole cloves for a school project. It was worth the drive, as the cloves were a fraction of the price of other stores. While I was there, I stopped into the Goodwill store and found this cute little basket. It easily holds the salt and pepper shakers on my counter. For a whopping 49 cents, I took it home. :-)

This has been a week of things breaking and being repaired. Our old van is getting some engine work. Our mechanic had some problems with the gaskets, but finally got them to seal. But then, it developed another problem which is being worked on. We're hoping to get it back tomorrow or Friday at the latest. Then, last night, our printer cartridge exploded. It had been leaking and leaving streaks all over the sides of paper, but new cartridges are expensive, which is why we didn't replace it. Got a new name brand toner cartridge now. But, I now need to get some Oxy Clean to get the stains out of the carpet. Sigh. Now to learn how to replace the cartridge in our new kitchen faucet. The manufacturer sent me a new one, as the water pressure is really low. I'm hoping this is the last of things breaking for a while. (I can only hope!)

I'm off to paint!

~*~ Laura ~*~

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving recap

Thanksgiving week is over, and now it's on to Christmas. My youngest, James, had the entire week off last week due to parent/teacher conferences. My high schoolers still had school on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I got a call that my mom's oven stopped working, so I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner instead. I had just finished making some desserts, and now needed to clean and make the turkey, etc. One of my favorite desserts was the chocolate truffle ~ yum! Super simple to make:

1 package brownie mix, prepared as directed
3 boxes instant chocolate mousse (in jello/pudding section) prepare as directed
12 oz Cool Whip
2 packages Heath Bits

Break brownies into small pieces. Layer half the brownies, half the mousse, half the Heath Bits, half of the Cool Whip. Repeat. Chill. Can make ahead, but keep ingredients separate. For best results, make the same day as serving.

I split the recipe in half, as it makes a lot. You can adjust the amount of any ingredient. I like less Cool Whip, but lots of mousse!

I also made some apple pie for all my pie lovers.

My bil, sister, niece and dad. (sorry, no photos of my mom or my family!) My youngest niece couldn't come, as she's in college in England. For them, it was just a normal day.

The day after Thanksgiving, I didn't do ANY shopping. (I have to confess, I haven't started Christmas shopping.) Instead, we went to the lighting of the local park with some friends and then for pizza. The park was SO crowded ~ and cold. Behind Andrew and James is a ship created from lights. With displays like this, no wonder it's always crowded!

I'm making another punch needle project, but this time in more muted tones. I'm hoping to get it done in the next couple days. Too many other things to do, like grocery shop, shop for band concert pants and shirt for my son, etc. Speaking of which, I need to run to pick him up now....

~*~ Laura ~*~

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

There's a giveaway on "The Shabby Chic Cottage" blog. Bella Michele jewelry is giving a gift certificate. Go check it out and enter! Michele is my cousin, and has been stamping jewelry for a home business.

~*~ Laura ~*~

~*~ SNoW ANGeL ~*~

Yet another new piece! I was up early to get the kids off the school. Yep, there was still classes for the high schoolers today. The elementary district was off for parent teacher conferences. So, once the older kids were off to school, I was able to lightly go over the hornbook with some ultra fine steel wool. It looks so old and primitive with the crackles, worn paint, and stain. I glued the punch snow angel to it, tied the hang tag, and added a string of vintage buttons. It's something VERY different for the winter. It will on Ebay tonight.

I have one teen home sick with a stomach bug. I'm hoping no one else catches it for Thanksgiving. I have to make a list of groceries to get so that I can make some dessert to bring for Thanksgiving dinner. I know the stores will be packed tomorrow, so maybe I'll head there tonight. Maybe. We're down to one vehicle today. Our old van is being repaired to keep it going for another few years. It has 146K miles (or is it more?) and still going. I'm hoping it will be the Energizer bunny and keep going, and going, and going. It might be getting rusty, but with 3 teens that will be learning how to drive next year, I don't want anything expensive. I don't know if it will be done today or tomorrow, so we have to share the other van.

I drew up another design for a snowman punch project. I"ll have to edit and and start working on that today.

~*~ Laura ~*~

Monday, November 22, 2010

Work in Progress

I managed to finish the snow angel after running out of floss. I went to Joanns this weekend, and they were out of DMC 3371. So, today I went to Hobby Lobby and they were also out of it. I can understand maybe a cranberry color this time of year, but dark brown? I managed to locate just enough to finish, and am now waiting for the stain to dry on the hornbook.

This one I painted with a base coat of black. Added some crackle medium to see what that does. Topped it with a coat of antique yellow. Sanded it, and then some brown stain. Can't wait to see what it looks like together! I might have to lightly sand a bit of the stain off, just to get it even. But I think the yellow will really set off the angel wings and make the piece "pop". I'm hoping it will be done and listed on Ebay tomorrow. :-)

~*~ Laura ~*~

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vintage Grater ornie

I liked that vintage mini grater so much, that I just had to finish something to go on it. I wanted a few of the grater holes to show, so I measured what I wanted the punch needle piece to be. It's 1" x 3", which isn't very big for a punched piece. I drew up a snowman with a star, and this is what he looks like. The snowman is 2 different shades: white and an oatmeal color. The background is also 2 different colors: black and a very dark grey/tan. I punched it using 3 strands instead of 6, since the piece was so small. I haven't punched using 3 in so long, it took a while to get adjusted. I added a small cording to the edge, and adhered it to the grater. I'm not sure if I'll list it on Ebay tonight, or wait until tomorrow evening. The ending of the auction (if I listed it tonight) would fall on a holiday weekend. I'm not sure if that's a good or not. But, he will be up for auction sometime this week! :-)

~*~ Laura ~*~

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Couple New Finds

Yesterday I went in search of a few buttons for the snow angel punch needle. The dress needs just a little something to add some interest. I checked Joann for buttons, but nothing seems small and quite right. So, the next stop was my local thrift/antique store. I found a large mason jar filled with buttons. I found 2 small buttons for the punch project, and used the rest to fill the bottom of my wood bowl on the dining room table. It will make it very easy to search for buttons when I need them! Plus, it makes an interesting/vintage filler.

While I was in the store, this mini grater grabbed my eye. I've never seen a mini version of one. It was more expensive than the standard size, but it's SO unique. I could instantly see a mini punch needle project attached to it. It's the perfect size to hang on a peg rack, or use as an ornament ~ no hanger is needed, just use the handle.

Today I went to a craft fair, but didn't buy anything. I wasn't in search of anything in particular, and mainly went to browse and to get ideas. I didn't see anything that jumped out at me, so I left empty handed.

Tonight I'm going to work more the snow angel in hopes of finishing it by tomorrow. I just hope I don't run out of the background floss! I bought the last 2 skeins of those colors at Joann, and Hobby Lobby is closed on Sunday. We'll see how close I come!

~*~ Laura ~*~

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I've been punching this week. The first project is an order for a fall black cat and pumpkin bowl fillers. The other is this snow angel that I'm still working on. I did this pattern last year, but with a light blue background. In an attempt to be daring and try something different, I changed the background to a mixture of dark floss. I think it makes the snow angel stand out. I'll see how I like it once it's all finished. I do like some of the color combinations to achieve an overdyed appearance. I mix 2 different colors of DMC and punch them at the same time. Some are just a very stuble shading, but it really brings some interest to the piece.

In between crafting and my school lunch mom job, I've been searching for a new place of employment. Ideally, it would be 15 hrs a week and close by. So, when I found and ad for a part time office assistant, I excitedly sent off my resume. I received a call for an interview, so I went.

I arrived a little before my scheduled appointment and entered the front door. The person sitting at the front desk had about as much enthusiasm as a rock ~ literally. No smile. No "hello". (gee, do you think she likes her job in a small office?) This was my first sign that it was going to be an "interesting" interview. I was let in the door, and told "follow me" to a conference room looking like it came from the 1970's.

The person who interviewed me was not from this country. That's not an issue, unless you don't understand our language/lingo. I was asked about my math/accounting background. I mentioned that I have a BA, which included an accounting class, plus many business classes. Plus years of experience in various admin jobs. (I thought this was all positive) I was then asked if I count on my fingers or use a calculator. (um, where is this leading? Does it really matter?) I answered that I use a calculator. I was then asked, not only once, but TWICE, if I count on my fingers AND if i counted on one hand or two hands. The person even held up his hands to show me. (at this point I was waiting for Candid Camera to jump on out. Who asks this type of question? My son said I should have said I count on my toes! ). I was then asked why I would want to leave my current job. I mentioned the environment (schools closing, possibility of another one closing, layoffs, etc). The language barrier (he didn't get the lingo) then was VERY apparent, and he thought I said environment. Like in environmental allergies. Do I stop and correct him? I couldn't even ask a question, as he kept talking. (yep, I just wanted to get out of there ~ and quickly!). At the end, I finally was able to ask a question. I asked when they were looking to hire someone; December or possibly January? I'm thinking with Thanksgiving and Christmas, they might be searching ahead of time. Nope. Monday. As in 6 days. Well, that eliminates me (thankfully), as they wouldn't want to wait for at least a 2 week notice at my current job. They haven't called me back. I'm SO disappointed ~ NOT! :-)

I'm not sure which direction to take for jobs. Do I start some type of online business? If so, what? How do I go about getting wholesale products without having to buy/store lots of stuff? Lots of questions. But for now, I'll just keep punching and keep my eyes open for other possibilities. Who knows, maybe I was on candid camera and just didn't' know it!

~*~ Laura ~*~

Sunday, November 14, 2010

*~* SNoWMeN!! *~*

I've been busily working on finishing 5 sets of snowmen bowl fillers ~ and I finished them! I plan on getting them on Ebay later tonight. It takes a while to get photos, crop, edit, upload and create the Ebay listings. Plus, I have to kick a couple of my kids off the computer so that I can use it. :-)
I have 2 sets of star snowmen. Each set has 3 ornies, and are very lightly aged with walnut ink and generously sprinkled with mica flakes.

I have 2 sets of snowmen face bowl fillers. One set has larger bead/coal eyes. This set above has medium bead/coal eyes.

A set of larger snowmen with ice branch arms. It's a coated wire FTD floral product, so it won't break like real twigs. Plus, I can bend them into the shape I desire.

I also finished this Christmas stitchery pillow. I had stitched it last year, but never finished it. This is my absolute favorite Christmas stitchery pattern by Homeberries.

While I've been crafting away, I had a new kitchen faucet installed yesterday. I guess nothing is made to fix. It's more work/$ to get parts than it is to replace the entire faucet. I'm thankful that I found someone to install it, and get an estimate for the soffit/facia. Now to get that fixed before it snows.

We didn't get any of the snow that the upper midwest got yesterday, but that's fine with me. It was just cold and rainy for the last high school football game of the year. Our team lost in over time, so they are out of the playoffs. :-( That means marching band is officially done for the year. But, next is pep band for basketball games.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!
~*~ Laura ~*~

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Punch Needle Finishes

I liked the last punch needle turkey SO much, that I finished another one ~ just in time to put up for bid before Thanksgiving. This one I made into a cupboard hanger. It's backed with a piece of hand dyed soft black wool. It has a string of buttons on the left, and a walnut aged tag on the right. LOTS of color changes and blending on this piece! I'm going to get some better photos, and put it up for bid on Ebay tonight (unless anyone wants to send me an offer by tonight, then I would gladly sell it outright).

I also finished a punch needle mitten ~ perfect to leave up all winter. I punched the sheep with 2 different needle heights to give it a little more definition. This piece is also backed with a piece of hand dyed soft black wool. You could put an evergreen branch or sweet annie to fill the mitten. (I like to leave it up to who's buying it, as some might be allergic to dried flowers) I'm also going to put this one up for bidding on Ebay tonight (unless someone wants to send an offer ~ I know I'm not giving a lot of time)

When I haven't been punching this week, I'm lined up someone to come fix me kitchen faucet that's leaking all over. He's also going to look at our aluminum trim that was torn off in the wind storm. The trim is still hanging there, but I don't think it would last all winter when the snow and ice come.

I've also spent a lot of time looking for a new part time job. I'm only working 10 hrs a week, and would like to find something with a few more hours (Ok, and a little more $), but still a little flexible for school schedules. I've seen a few ads, but nothing has come of them. Anyone want to hire me for administrative work? :-)

I'll also be listing (hopefully) some snowman bowl fillers on Ebay this weekend. I have several different sets sewn and stuffed. I need to do the finishing part now. I have some large snowmen, star snowmen, and some round snowman face bowl fillers. It's hard to work on snowmen when it's been SO nice outside this week. The temps have been in the 60's ~ and it's November!

~*~ Laura ~*~