Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finally Finished!

I've finally finished 3 projects this week. This is a punch needle that's mounted on a vintage grater. I used some overdyed floss on it. I then added some cross stitch with a wool background, and a string of buttons. I'm planning on listing this one one Ebay later tonight (unless someone sends an offer before then!), along with another white baby afghan that I've finished.

I also finished a larger size of this rabbit penny rug. I really liked the larger size, as it allows me to blanket stitch all the pieces. The original pattern only measured 7 1/2" across, which is great for small areas. But, the pieces were too small to blanket stitch, with the stitches overtaking the entire piece. I know this photo was a quick snapshot, but it has a black background, then a border with green underneath. The backing is a black and green cotton quilt shop fabric. I think I'll have to make myself one of these! But, this one will be listed on Ebay later tonight.

A couple days ago, we had a dusting of snow overnight. I found these footprints on the driveway. I followed them, and they led to the shed in the back. These are no bunny or raccoon footprints! Proof of the foxes - yipee!

I keep trying to see them come out from under the shed, but no luck so far. Maybe if the snow ever melts and it gets warmer, we'll be able to catch a glimpse of them.

I'm off to the Blue and Gold banquet for Cub Scouts this afternoon. It's the big awards banquet for James. He has only one year left until he becomes a Boy Scout - where does time go? Then after the banquet, it might be fun to watch the end of the US vs. Canada hockey game. Go USA!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Got Wool?

I scored again at this one local thrift store yesterday! I found a nice pair of grey wool pants, a plaid suit. I really didn't want the blazer, but wanted the skirt. But, the entire set was a whopping 50 cents, so I took it. The woman who was bagging the items comments on how she wanted the suit, but it didn't fit her quite right. She asked if I tried it on, and I simply said, "no." I wasn't going to say that it didn't matter, as I was planning on cutting it up! No, I learned my lesson on that one. So, I paid my 50 cents for the pants, and 50 cents for the suit and kept quiet. I also found a *wonderful* piece of wool yardage!!! It's a greenish/black, but has lots of different flecks of color in it. The tag said it was fine wool and 3 3/4 yrs of it for $4.50. I grabbed it and ran. Now to figure out how to overdye wool that isn't white. I know it's easier to dye it darker, but is there a way to lighten it and dye it a light color? But for now, I'm collecting the wool to play with.

We've been looking out our back patio doors at the shed behind us. (the shed belongs to our neighbors) The dirt has been moving. Something is digging under the shed, and making more room under there. So, what is it this time? We've had foxes 2 years ago (which was cool!), then the raccoons moved in. But, we haven't seen the raccoons in a while, and no footprints in the snow until last week. This is the footprints that were leading to the shed. Sure looks like fox prints! The wood on the neighbor's wood pile has moved - maybe from foxes trying to catch the field mice. Our other neighbor found a dead mouse in her backyard a couple days ago. All signs of foxes - at least I'm hoping!

I've been busy watching the Olympics for the past week and a half. At least I can crochet while I'm watching. I'll be finishing another baby afghan tonight. Just the last section of the border to finish. At least it gets my mind off all the school stuff around here. The district is financially strapped, so they are cutting art, music and gym. School hrs will be reduced next year, but I'm still waiting to see by how much. Class sizes will increase, which isn't good for one of my kids. It's been eye opening to see how the entire school systems works. If we can make it through this year, then I can possibly look for another job next year.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not much accomplished

I haven't done anything in the past week, as I've been battling a cold. I haven't put the finishing touches on the punch needle. It's sewn to the grater, but I need to put something on the top to fill it in, but I'm still playing around with that. I strung some buttons, but didn't like the way they looked. Maybe another couple days of looking at it, and another idea will hit me. I did some work on a larger version of the bunny penny rug while watching the Olympics. The original pattern is only 7 1/2" across, so I enlarged it to about 14 inches. Because the pieces were larger, I was able to blanket stitch around all the pieces. I now need to work on the backing. I'm not sure if I"ll do a border, as some of the wool pieces aren't large enough to fit.

This is a card that my brother sent me. Yep, I'm still attracting all the cool guys! Thanks, Tim!

Rachel also got new glasses - a funky pair of Guess ones. So, we're now the Guess girls!

Hopefully I'll have a few finishes later this week to show off.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's Shakin'?

The ground was shaking - literally - last night. There was an earthquake here in NW IL at 4am. It's been downgraded to a 3.8 on the Richter Scale. Sadly, I slept through it. It must have stirred my sleep, as I tossed around until 5am when I looked at the clock. Only here in the midwest would someone be bummed about missing a minor earthquake! The epicenter was about 15 miles southwest of here on an unknown fault line. At least it gave us something to talk about other than the snow.
I spent the morning snow blowing the driveway. We had driven over it several times, so it took the sun to dry up part of it. A few more inches is predicted for this weekend, but it's not what the northeast got hit with.

For my friend on Facebook, here's my glasses.They are rimless on the bottom, with a metal top. The sides are a brown, with leopard print on the inside. They are even a designer brand - Guess. I'm still getting use to them, and finding the focal points. But, I can see when I'm punching now.
I'm still putting the finishing touches on this project. I thought the kitty was kinda boring, so I added some whiskers to him. I simply took some pearl cotton and ran the thread from the top to bottom to top. The ends are loose, so it really adds some texture to the piece. (plus, it makes it look more like a kitty!)

Tonight was 8th grade night at the high school. They have all the students & parents come to sign up for classes, get tours, and see what activities there are. The hs had lots of tables for clubs set up, and the hs students trying to get the future freshmen involved. I don't remember anything like that when I went to school. It's nice to see a high level of involvement, and a great plan for transition from jr high to high school.

Now to wait to see if we get an aftershock in the next day or two! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Next Project

This is my next project that I'm currently working on. I used a rug hooking pattern, and reduced it for a punch needle project. I'm still experimenting punching using the over dyed floss. The green on the grass and trees is over dyed, as well as the roof. The background is the brown floss over dyed black. It has more patches of brown that I originally thought, but it still looks nice. I can always try dying the floss with more black, and only leave a small section of brown to get more of a black color. It's not a very large piece, and it will go on the vintage grater. Now that I officially have glasses, I'll be able to see what I'm punching!

This past weekend, James went to Eagle Cave with the Cub Scouts. They spent the night sleeping in the cave. It's the same temperature all year round, so it didn't matter that there was snow on the ground. He got dirty, really dirty, crawling around and exploring all the tunnels.

I got the fun job of doing the laundry when he came home. He can't wait to go back again.

It's snowing today. We suppose to get 6-12 inches, but we'll see how much we actually get. It's just a light steady snow of small flakes. I'll stay home and work on some more projects.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Finally finished!

I finally finished the hornbook for the punch needle! I didn't like the way the 2nd attempt at painting/staining turned out, so it took a 3rd try. I guess 3rd try is the charm! It's painted tan, then stained with a darker stain. The punch needle has some of the over dyed floss that I did. It was a very light shade of blue, then over dyed with tan Rit dye. It really blends in for an aged variegated look. No need to age the piece once I'm done punching.

As I was searching for some other material, I had found a small piece of aged cross stitch cloth. I used it to stitch some spring elements, and attached it to the hornbook, too. I attached a string of buttons to finish it off. I just listed this on on Ebay, along with 2 wool penny rug/candle mats.

This is the finish for the chick candle mat. I didn't see any yellow wool at the store, so I used some cream, and dyed it yellow. I'm really getting adventurous with dyes! I still want to enlarge this pattern and make it bigger. It's only 7 1/2" at the widest point. Then, to add a wider border to show off more stitching. But for now, these projects are finished!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Whatcha Working on Wednesday

I finished the Bareroots penny rug candle mat. I used 100% wool for this one, and backed it with a black & green print cotton fabric. This one is smaller (about 7 1/2" across), and will only hold a votive, unless the stitching is covered up. Because the pieces are so small, I was unable to blanket stitch around the pieces. I followed the directions, and whipped stitched them together. I did blanket stitch the edges, though. I really like the effect of blanket stitching, so I'm thinking of enlarging the pattern and making it twice as big.

I tried hand dying some more floss. I wanted to achieve a black and brown variegated look, similar to the Valdani that I purchased a while ago. I started with some 838 DMC floss. Instead of knotting it in the center, I held onto the bunch of skeins and dipped them into the black dye. I only dipped them approx 1/2-3/4 of the way, leaving the end I was holding undyed. I swirled them around, until the dye had soaked them, then left them to dry. They don't look that great , so I took one and wound it in a ball to see how it would look.

The Valdani is on the left and my hand dyed is on the right. They are different shades of brown, but I'm hoping it will punch up nicely. Once I finish the next penny rug (the chicks from Bareroots), I have a punch piece drawn out to try the hand dyed floss on. Since there's no school Thursday or Friday, I'm hoping to get some more projects done.

Now to figure out how to overdye some wood fabric. I was able to dye some tan into a light coco, and a white into yellow. But, now to lighten some colors to over dye it a lighter color. Gotta love learning new things! :)