Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Friday, May 22, 2020

Bucilla Alphabet Quilt Ready to Personalize

Here is the finished photo of the Bucilla Alphabet quilt from the late 60's kit.  When digging through my UFO's, this finished quilt was still safely stored away...  Unphotographed and forgotten.  The stitching was created with the original floss that came with the quilt.  I feel a great sense of accomplishment, when looking back over this quilt.   Oddly enough right after my discovery, my daughter in law reminded me the quilt's little recipient was waiting to get it!  Yep... Our first grandchild.  :)
I am going to sit today and stitch his name on the corner square and mine in the other.  Just like my sister's quilt my Mom made for her... Would it be impolite of me to say how many years ago.  lol  It would probably make her quilt an antique!  I can make that joke, since I am 5 years older.  :)    

It is amazing the items found when you do a thorough reorganization of a house and studio.  Kinda funny really.  Disorganization stifles my artistic pursuits of every kind.  The last few years of my life have seen me just getting by with quick pick ups.  Now my house is in place and so are my thoughts.  On to the next project!  

Monday, May 18, 2020

Flea Marketing Blogger Style

As you all know, I love going to the flea market.  Most finds have been, in the process of, or going to be used in repurposing projects.  After looking down my list of projects-to-do, some materials are getting set to the side and will be listed later today on my Pumpkin Hollow Flea Market blog here.   The main listings right now will be my vintage grain sacks, flour, and seed sacks.  There will be some wooly items as well. Here is a little peek before you hop on over...

I have some large, medium, and small bags collected over the years.  Just looking to pass along a deal and make some space!

Also, my selection of wool blankets.  The rougher ones make good lining for stitching projects, and some use them for rug hooking.  I have several new army blankets, if someone wants to use it instead of batting in a quilt.  Makes them nice and snuggly warm!

I will be doing a lot of posting this week over on my selling blog of various items... stamped cross stitch kits, old harness bells, quilting notions, spinning equipment, and art supplies.  Hopefully, most will be up by the end of this week.  I just have to find a way to organize prior to listing more!  The listings will be up for awhile.  This is the first stop before firing up the Etsy and Ebay stores again.  I know a lot of my internet friends prefer to purchase direct, since the prices have to go up to cover the costs of listing on selling sites.  So hopefully, they are up long enough for everyone to have a chance to get a deal.  :)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Mask Making for the Covid 19 Pandemic

The last few days have seen me researching, sewing, and perfecting masks for friends and family who chose to wear them through this Covid 19 pandemic.  My venture into mask making started over the concern if someone in the household should come down with the virus.  The mask is a great tool for containment.  I happened along some great videos and information from The Fabric Patch Quilt Shop here.  Cindi Rang, who owns the Fabric Patch, put a lot of thought into her masks and made some great "how to" videos.  Why not put some quilt fabric to good use?  I don't have loads of suitable fabric patterns, but I cannot think of a better cause for what I do have.  Here is the beginnings of my final prototype.

I have followed the pattern linked by Cindi but decided to also create a pocket to hold a piece of floral wire doubled on itself.  It works spectacularly to conform the mask around the nose as it contours into the cheek bone.  Also, some of the masks will have a polypropylene liner and others will not.  As you can see, my more premium fabric is mainly themed base.  If you have to wear a mask, I guess you might as well stand out!  lol 

Luckily, my stash included 1/4 inch elastic in white but not a huge amount.  My boss/coworker/friend from work was shopping at the Dollar General and picked me up some hair bands to repurpose.  They should work great for a couple of different installations.  Team work makes the dream work!   If need be, my pack rat ways will pay off in a load of ideas for attaching ties. ;)   It is my week to be at home in our work/pandemic rotation, so I will kick off my morning with some brought to my house  homework and will switch gears to construct some masks in the afternoon.

Nothing can replace following the rules of social distancing:  respecting the 6 foot rule, washing hands, coughing in one's elbow, and not touching one's face.  Plus when leaving a work station at any type of business, sanitize before the next person sets up to work. :)  But a mask to aid in reducing the spread of this devastating virus is not a bad idea, since many carry without realizing it.  If a person must go out and feel the need to wear a mask, I really think these masks are comfortable.  It is a nice gesture to help contain this virus from those around us and especially those essential workers who are physically putting there lives on the line in the businesses that are currently open for our needs. 

Never had I ever thought mask making would be added to my repertoire, but let's leave the PPE's to those who really need it.  We can all pitch in when needed.   TOGETHER, we will get through this! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Putting Some Pizzaz in the New Year

I'll admit it... The Pizzaz isn't just for pizzas.  The Pizzaz is perfect for reviving those restaurant left overs a microwave leaves soft and soggy or dried to petrification.  But can you believe, the pizza cooker bakes a darn good cookie?   No lies here... Below are the photos of the proof!  Just mix up some chocolate chip cookie dough and give the Pizzaz a whirl.  :)
Once your dough is ready, use a cookie scooper (or your favorite utensil) for uniform portions, slightly flatten the dough, and space the raw cookies around the plate of the Pizzaz.  In a case of do what I say and not what I do or did, the Pizzaz company instructions suggest NOT using the direct center of the tray.  All set?  Let's get baking...


Turn the Pizzaz timer on for 10 minutes starting on the upper setting.  Once you have 4 minutes remaining, switch the controls to the dual setting.   

Yep!  Ten minutes total, without the lengthy oven preheat, gives our family a quick home made treat.  Perfect for a small batch of cookies following a long day at work or after school.

Even better, the dough can be made at your leisure, scooped out in portion sizes onto a cookie sheet, flash frozen in the freezer, and stored in a freezer bag or in a container until needed.  For best results, take the amount to be baked out of the freezer and let sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to the bake. 

There is nothing better than a making a kitchen appliance multi task!  And... the cookie experiment was just the beginning... ;)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Confessions of a Quilt-a-Holic

It has been a "points to ponder" kind of month.  The flea markets are over for the year, and the house cleaning gets serious leading into the holidays.  This is the time I start to really get a good look at the new additions to the home.  One booming collection for me comes in the form of vintage quilts.  I love them.  I cannot just look at a quilt and NOT think about the hours of labor, skill, and wistful thoughts had while creating them.  All of them are true works of art.  They encompass and hold in their own stitches a time capsule from when they were created. 

The vast majority of my quilts have been purchased for under $15.00.  Yes, I wrote $15.00.  Over half of them were found for under $5.00.  These bargain basement beauties were given to the local thrift store.  Due to minor imperfections, these quilts were donned with the ominous title of "cutter quilts" and left for a fate of being repurposed into a new life.  You know me.  I am all for reinventing items, but these quilts (a double wedding ring in particular) were far from being cutters.  Mr. Hollow had to hold me back at the final flea market of the year in October.  Vendors were practically giving the quilts away.  It was terrible to leave so many behind, but there is only so much room at the inn! 

Last month, I gathered my various purchases and stacked the majority in my closet, until I could organize the rest of my house.  Oh my goodness, the flood of stories they could tell!  The countless stories that I will tell of the day I found and rescued them.  I was too tired from the day times drama to start snapping individual photos, so I took a quick pic of the stack. 

I seriously have been blessed with some glorious finds.  I promise to not photo bomb the upcoming days but will throw a random one in here and there.  These quilts deserve to see the top of a bed or to be able to aid in the warming of a body snuggled in on a couch with an intriguing book on a snowy night.  To all of my quilting friends, my wish is for all of your works of art to find loving homes for their lifetimes.  

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Fork in the Road

Do you ever need to reboot?  I felt like I have been struggling to re center my priorities that have strayed massively over the last three years of my life.  Not complaining, there have been some really fun times, but I look over the beginning of  this blog and my art and wonder what happened to that person.  My day job had become more demanding on me over the last three years.  The more it built up pressure... The less art I created.  Eventually, it won out and the art (and with it the blogging) dwindled to a trickle.  I wear many hats as part of my day job.  For the most part, I love them all and was successful in the areas I managed.  The best part of my job is the daily tasks being so contrary to the art I create at home.  But as the customer load expanded, I got caught up in the challenge to race the daily work clock.  It was fun to watch time fly past during the day, but unfortunately, it drained me of any desire to create once I arrived home.  My off time was spent rushing thru thrifting trips, just to feel like I wasn't missing out on life, and eating out instead of creating meals (my cooking always leaves with my art.)    I knew my priorities needed to be re evaluated but didn't know how to do it.  Apparently, my guardian angel decided to intervene, and by the grace of a higher power (and that reference is to a being who is not of human flesh), unforeseen changes came about to alter my daily duties.  Good or bad... I am not sure... But the work load got lessened and semi realistic for an 8 hour day , and that is really all that is important.    I liken the situation to the forks in the road that God has a tendency to put in front of us.  When all of a sudden, you wake up and realize you have wandered off your real path and are 3 years older wondering where the time has gone... again.  Regardless of what slap in the face wakes you up, it is an amazing re awakening when it happens.

I still enjoy my day job as a way to get out and be around people and would never not , in some capacity, want to give up the social aspect of working outside the home.  The life of an artist can at times be solitary... No complaints from a person who enjoys solitude... But a lot of solitude can turn one into a hermit... Not so good! lol   Life is telling me to get off my behind and live my dreams.... I have started by taking some much needed time off from the day job.  So, the last month has seen me cleaning out my studio, reorganizing my art storage, researching old and new art projects, baking (much to the happiness of family and friends lol), and getting back to one of my loves... Thrifting!

I love, love, love thrift shopping!  Not only do I enjoy redecorating my home with finds but repurposing items that would end up in a land fill.  My last trip to the thrift store was spur of the moment.  No time constraints... No place to be.  Just snooping around to see what struck my fancy. It was so much fun!

See the huge cookie cannister corn cob?  Ummm, we are in the corn belt here.  Love it!  lol  It needs to be cleaned with some Modern soap (Just a tip... It cuts thru grease immediately and works great with a toothbrush).  In the center of the photograph are some heavy wood hewn book ends.  I am not sure if the tin decorations will be left on them, but they will look great when I renovate our living room.  The vintage amber lamp was too pristine to be passed up.  It should cast a lovely glow when lit.  :)

My tastes can lean to the modern with a primitive twist.  This plaque, although made in China, caught my eye.  A bit of barbed wire framing set off the writing "When you can't sleep.  Don't count sheep... Talk to the Shepherd."   An old crate with the bottom created by lath mounted on my studio wall will house this.  Then, a walk through the kitchen area brought me to this old pasta maker.  It is absolutely pristine.  I am contemplating using this for some future clay projects.  How can you beat it for $5.00? 

I do not buy milk glass often, but the Westmoreland pedestal sweet plate had to be mine.  It isn't a high pedestal.  Perfect for displaying cookies or cupcakes on a lower level from a cake stand.  Some old fashioned bottles for dyes, crazy, bold, retro Glass Bake handled soup bowls, bag full of old clothes pins, and a modern but fun deviled egg plate.  The rooster will be great at the holidays!

Some wooden fruit will hopefully find their way into future projects... A vintage grater for cooking … And a lovely collection of plates.  I could go on forever about the over abundance of breath taking vintage plates and platters from Bavaria, Japan, England, and Germany.   I seriously had to show some restraint!!!   I wish now I would have done some individual photos to share a close look at the delicate details for pennies compared to their worth.  No reason to head to the department store.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many boxes of complete China sets there were on the floor for under $20.00 or how many incomplete settings.  A thrifty person could mix and match gorgeous special occasion and holiday settings.  If one should have a plate get broke, it may be a little sad but not a major hit to the pocket book. ;) 

I purchased the platters for Holiday get togethers... An inexpensive way to add class and beauty to baked goods.  Some of the smaller plates may find themselves as candy dishes for my home or wrapped in some cellophane and adorned with a bow to transport the gift of sweets to friends.  An inexpensive investment clearly beats the modern plastic containers!

It was so nice to appreciate the art in the vintage and modern pieces found.  When glancing back through correspondences and my studio storage, I was reminded of incomplete projects and requests for instructions.  My hopes are to get back on track of doing some "how to" blogging in some form.  I am also working on cleaning up my selling blog and store for extra items.  I spent a good part of the last month getting my studio in order.  It may come across in short posts, but I will share some finds and adventures over the summer as well.  For those that have sent correspondence, I will try and catch up with your questions.  It is so nice to see my past adventures have inspired others to try new forms of art!  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dyeing to Play with Some Yarn

If you want to have some serious fun, check out your local fiber fairs.  I love going to purchase local fleeces to spin but ended up trying a whole new art... dyeing fiber.  Here is the booth some ladies had put together.  The large skeins are 250 yards of natural Corriedale.  They were a squishy DK weight and soft to the skin.  I passed by a few times, and the class tables were empty.  Too many times, I have passed on opportunities to participate.  I made a concious decision to change my way of thinking by pulling out a chair, putting on an apron (fashioned cleverly out of a garbage bag), and delve into the world of dyeing yarn.

 As I lined up baby bottles filled with dye (which is an absolutely fantastic way to dispense it by the way), curious bystanders decided to check out the craft.  I never turn down the opportunity to talk about fiber, and they happily joined in the fun.  It only takes one to step out of their comfort zone, and pretty soon, you'll draw a crowd. 

The ladies had the most intriguing set up.  These tin roasting pans held two sheets of plastic wrap and a skein of your choice of yarn or sock blank soaked in vinegar.  The trick of dyeing yarn in this method is to keep your colors far apart and work them with your hands back together.  This creates a nice blend between the two colors.  Being familiar with the color wheel, the possibilities in the dyeing process are endless...  I was hooked!  Can you imagine the possibilities?

Once the skein is to the liking of the dyer, the skein is wrapped up in the plastic wrapped and whisked away to have the dye set.  The dye was set for several minutes in a microwave on hot.  It was done in intervals, so the fiber was not harmed.

After the yarn was taken from the microwave, it was dipped in a bucket of water a few times.  Then, the skein had the water squeezed out of it and draped over a hanger...   with my name proudly attached. lol

As you can tell, I tried as many colors as possible on my first skein (on the right in photo).  I even did some over dyeing.  The blues didn't really draw me in, but all the others did!  By the time I was finished, I commented to the girl next to me that it looked like a pile of fruit loops.  lol

With the second skein (to the left in photo), I was much calmer and controlled... And it shows!  It will be interesting to see how they both translate when knitted.  The colors are bold and vibrant.  A little less vibrant than my photo with the flash but bold just the same. :)

 The fiber fest, and the group of ladies overseeing the dyeing booth, was the best way to experience this craft for the first time.  The dyeing mini class was a memorable event.  The ladies only charged $10.00 a skein.  Such a small price to pay for the beginnings of a great adventure!  :)