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

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Grrr... I Have Been Candy Corner Grinched!

What is the old saying?  Measure twice and cut once.  Well, this wouldn't have helped me much with the Candy Corner Pattern from Robert Kaufmann Fabrics for the Grinch Halloween Quilt.  Maybe, a test triangle would've helped?  Not sure.   Can you believe there was a flaw in their paper piecing pattern?  Unfortunately, I found it after I cut out 48 triangle templates and used two different fabric colors to construct them.  Half a days work lost.  The problem was crazy stupid.  When you lay out the design for a paper piecing block or in this case a triangle, a designer has to remember the image you want to construct will be the layout on the reverse side of the line drawing.  I should have caught the error with the sample triangle in the pattern looking identical to the line drawing.  It does not work that way in paper piecing.   I am now the owner of 48 useless triangles.  Grrrr….

They are so beautifully useless for this project.  *sigh*   I let my knowledge of this being an older quilt pattern blind me to the fact that there could be an error.  Little did I know another problem reared its head shortly after.  This truly is an old pattern and so is the fabric... Yes, old fabric...  It took quite a bit of searching to locate 2 yards of fabric to replace the lost yardage.  Thanks to sellers on eBay, I was able to get the replacement fabric.  The extra $24.00 added to the pattern kit is going to make this a pricey little quilt.  That really drove the lesson home.

I did decide to contact Robert Kaufmann Fabrics to let them know of the error.  I received a friendly email assuring me that my problem was being reported to the marketing department.  Nothing has changed on their site.  I am sure with a pattern this old nobody cares, but I think it is still worthy of a correction. There is still a quilt kit of this pattern being sold on eBay.   I am staying positive and am foraging on with my beloved Seuss quilt with more to follow.  Like they say, every quilt has a story.   I will not let this dampen my enthusiasm.  I am thankful the fabric was able to be replaced and will cut, piece and sew 48 replacement triangles.  And yes, I still do love paper piecing.  That fact will never change.  :)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Maquoketa Iowa Flea Market Finds

Today, my hubby and I went to a Flea Market in Maquoketa, Iowa to relax from a long week. Great choice, since they were packed to capacity with outside vendors.  I still love to walk around the inside venue as well.  It was there I found a vintage Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck puzzle, along with a cool flour sack and child's hand held chalk board.  Total spent $10.00... Not bad.  Then, I went to the outside.  I could not believe the amount of vendors!  The weather was beautiful, and the grounds have never been so filled with sellers.

My first find was a couple of washed out Funk Feedsacks to be used in embroidery projects and another flour sack.  I ambled along until I caught up with Hubby.  He pointed out an aluminum tree stand.  It would work great to anchor my small Christmas tree holding my Shiney Brites.  But as I was looking at it, my eye caught a vintage slate chalkboard balancing against the table leg on the ground level.  The chalkboard was heavy and awesome.  My Hubby rolled his eyes and held his breath, but I went ahead and made an offer for the bundle.  Deal done!  And you know what?   Mr. Hollow even carried the chalkboard for me during the rest of our hunt.  How sweet was that? :)  I even stayed on my budget spending only $30.00 for all of my outdoor finds... Until...

Mr. Hollow decided to do some shopping for himself!  How would his shopping involve me?  Well, read on...  ;)

Hubby’s favorite stop to shop is a gentlemen, who we see on the Flea Market venues, that sells tools.  Hold your breath you are not going to believe this!!   The tool guy had a treadle sewing machine?!? She was so beautiful and definitely had been someone’s pride and joy… A well cared for Montgomery Ward Damascus. The decals were phenomenal, and she was in perfect working order. She even came with her original book and attachments. I don’t know if she was a good buy at the asking price of $100.00, and overwhelmed by her glory, I honestly didn’t care... I have wanted a treadle for so long. All of my run ins over the years were basement rotted disappointments that were beyond repair. My hubby, searching for treasures for himself, looked at me in horror as I asked the tool guy for his absolute bottom buck on this vintage treasure. He responded quickly with $80.00 before my hubby could get a word in of caution. I looked quickly at Mr. Hollow, told him I was sorry, and gave the gentlemen 4 twenty dollar bills. The rest is left to be written in Maquoketa Flea Marketing history!  Well aside from the tool guy and his son harassing my hubby mercilessly.  LOL

Can you blame me?  Just look at her... *sigh*

What a great way to start the wind down to the 2018 season of hunting treasures!  :)

P.S. Once hubby found out she would load in the back of our Jeep standing up, his demeanor improved dramatically! LOL

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July Happenings

I cannot believe we are at the end of July.  This month was a busy month but still seemed to fly by!  I spent the weekends out hunting deals at the Flea Markets, spent a Monday serving jury duty and ended that week celebrating my 50th birthday, spun like a crazy woman during the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry, and got my quilt pieces cut for my Grinch Halloween Quilt... along with working my day job.  It was a blast!

Here is the disassembled Grinch quilt.  It will be paper pieced.  Paper piecing?  Haven't done that for a while.  I actually had to watch a YouTube video to refresh my memory.  Paper piecing is one of my favorite ways to quilt.  I cannot wait to begin the assembling process, but the piecing was put on hold while I spun for the Tour de Fleece...

Tour de Fleece took its tole on all of us.  As you can see, a few ladies couldn't handle the pace. lol  Lots and lots of wool spinning.  It is my favorite event on Ravelry!  

Luckily, I took my birthday off from work and made a long weekend of spinning.  The Shepherdess and I spent the morning of my birthday going to a quilt shop, coffee shop for lunch, and an antique shop to round up the trip.  The following week, I did a little hunting on the internet and found a gentleman on Ebay selling sewing parts.  I inquired about a stitch dial for my 3/4 size Kenmore 158.1030.  (It is the niftiest little sewing machine but arrived to my home with a broken dial.)  He had one!!  He not only sold it to me but took photos on how to install it.  What a great seller!   Big thanks to Scott and five stars to his seller store found under Flapicker.  :)

I think it will do its maiden voyage piecing the Grinch quilt.  It is so light and portable.  If you can find one, I highly recommend the style.

August is right around the corner.  So much to do and so little time! ;)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Nature's Fireworks & Lambie Cuteness

Weeks ago, I purchased a flowering mixed plant for my container on the corner of my front porch.  With the crazy hot weather, it has been struggling to adapt.  Mr. Hollow and I were gone all day yesterday for a wedding and left bright and early this morning to go flea marketing.  Look what I found when I got home!  My plant is beginning to bloom.  The bursts of color reminds me of fireworks.

Thought I would share some of the Lambie cuteness happening over at the farm.  Here is Syd catching a snooze in his Mom Sadi's dinner.

We use to wish for black lambs that would REALLY stay black. This year's lambs or should I say ewes delivered big time!  Here is just one of about 5 black lambs born to the farm.  Oh... and that is not my finger in the upper right corner.  It is our wether Sam's ear.  He loves attention and being petted.  I had to keep pushing him to the side to get a descent photo. LOL

Syd decided to do a little posing with his brother Sky.  They are absolutely beautiful.  Unfortunately, I believe they will being going up for adoption. Farmerboy does not want to have a bunch of rams.  These little guys have the most gorgeous crimpy fine fleece like their Daddy Spiez.  I am waiting and dreading to hear what the kid's are going to keep for the flock... They are all so darn cute and charming too!

I think their Shepherdess is going to be dreading the decision as well.  She can be caught between chores sitting somewhere in the barnyard with a little flock of babies surrounding her...   

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review of Etsy Store ~ Southern Glory Goods Co

Southern Glory Goods Co is a store on Etsy (here) carrying vintage feedsack purses, totes, clutches, aprons, pillows, slow poured candles, potpourri, and soooo much more from North Carolina artist Lisa Vann.  I stumbled across her store while searching for a replacement of my faux leather Chinese production purse.  No hate here.  My China made purse has served me well, got loads of compliments and wore well considering the price paid, but it was time for a change.  I have never been happy with traditional purses, so it was time to turn to a talented fiber artist to make me happy.  And let me tell you, Lisa did NOT disappoint... And ask my family, I am crazy picky about handcrafted quality.  She combined my love of collecting vintage feed sacks (also her love too!) with a nice size purse/tote and kept it stylish.  Her sewing skills blew me away!  Just look...

My first love was obviously the feedsack / sturdy tote combo.  I always have dreamed of the perfect marriage of a purse with vintage muslin feedsacks.  Well, here is the answer to my wishes.   This wonderful snap closure tote showcases two feedsacks that double as pockets on the outside and inside... tons of storage!  This blue side was the first feedsack to win me over... not sure why... it just did.  (Although she has a blue tote with a sugar feedsack still calling to me. ;) Drat!! )

Here is the other side.  Painstakingly vintage patched feedsack.  It sings to my heart friends!  Since seeing it in person, I am now favoring this side.  Hmmm... Well, I can always flip it back and forth depending on the outfit. ;)

A peek at the inside.  Loads of small pockets with a snap closure.   Flawless!  :)

Can't buy a purse without a clutch!  This was purchased to keep my check book and smaller items in. 

Zipper closure, padded and lined!

Both sides are equally impressive!

Mr. Hollow was just as amazed as myself about Lisa's skills as a fashion designer and creator.  This purse/tote is expertly sewn and pieced together.  Well worth the money paid.  I commented to Mr. Hollow about my intentions of purchasing more in the future.  My hubby never argued.  Although he did mention this morning, about contacting her to make a DeKalb one for our area.  We could even locate a bag to send her... After the conversation, I got on Etsy and nearly fell over.  Look what Lisa listed today!!!  She must be able to read minds as well. LOL   I still love that darn blue sugar feedsack tote (still available in her store), but I had to purchase this one to represent the area.  Alas, the blue sugar tote will wait for another day... Unless another one catches my eye first! ;)

If you want a beautifully crafted tote with some vintage snazziness or some of Lisa's other eye catching creations, check out Southern Glory Goods Co..  Lisa Vann is living her dream, as I am sure destiny intended.  Her love and her God gifted talent lives in every detail of her creations.  Check out her charming store on Etsy here.

***  My reviews from the past to current have never been based on items gifted to me for review.  I simply believe in taking some of my hard earned money to make purchases from a wonderful world of talented artists and sharing with my friends those individuals who shine extra bright.  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Lambing Season Has Begun!!!

Spring lambing has just begun!  Prepare for some major cuteness.  :)
The first ewe to kick off lambing season was Marlena, and she meant business.  Marlena gave our flock its first ever TRIPLETS!   Yep, triplets!  The first lambs to kick off 2018 were Mae, Maddie and Morris.  As you can see, our Shepherdess is right in the mix of things making sure all is well.  Mother and babies are doing fine.... And without any need for outside relief.  Although tonight, the little ones (at one day old) were pawing and bouncing all over Mom.  God bless Marlena.  She is heading for Sainthood!


Maddie took after Marlena in markings, along with her brother Morris.  They look like mini fawns.  They are so innocent when their tired.  LOL

Marlena's colors have shifted to grays.  I never realized how much until last year's coat was removed.

Our Shepherdess went out yesterday to check on the triplets and found Helen with her twins!  They are her very first lambs. The little black one with a touch of white is Hector.

And our little Hannah is almost an exact duplicate of her Grandpa Maximillian.  :) 

Our newest baby arrived this afternoon.  Here he is with his mother Trixie.  One really big boy!  He is so new, he hasn't been named.

I believe their are 4 more ewes expecting.  So stay tuned!  :)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review of the Instant Pot

Other than my obsession of finding the perfect baking pans, I have been very diligent in not purchasing kitchen gadgets.  The criteria for letting one through the door is set extremely high.  A house only has so much storage space.  So if the gadget doesn't fill a strong need, I leave it on the store shelf.   So where did this Instant Pot come from you ask?  It was a Christmas present from the kids.  I know!  I was surprised.  My daughter in law was sure I wanted one.  She couldn't have been more wrong.  This is going to sound strange, since you all know how much I love canning and food preservation, but here is the truth of the matter:  I am horrified of pressure cookers!!!  Okay, now it is out there for everyone to read.  And I do mean horrified.  So much so, that it took 3 1/2 months for me to give this baby a whirl.   I just wanted to get my original feelings out there prior to this review.  Maybe it will be important to someone else not wanting one of these contraptions.
The instruction manual for this machine is very brief and to the point.  I thought it was a little scant.  But honestly, there really isn't a whole lot to this gadget.  For real!   The main points are:  listen to the sounds of the lid locking, keep your hands and face away from the vent, make sure the dial is set on seal for pressure cooking, and know if you either need to do a 15 minute natural release or a quick release prior to opening.  The rest is simply pushing a cooking cycle or setting a time when working with a recipe.  It was ridiculously simple.... Well except for my innate fear of  being steam burnt  or having the appliance blow me up into pieces that is! ;)   Which is why I chose to do a quick release AFTER my recipe had me do a natural release for 15 minutes... Better safe than sorry, I say!
Alright, alright.  What did I really think of this cooker?  I can honestly say, "It is one of the coolest machines in my arsenal."  Trust me, I am not saying this to make my daughter in law happy.  She isn't the kind of girl that weeps over the truth.  I am just floored at how fast this unit can cook meat crazy tender in minutes.  It would be an asset to any busy household.  Although I must be strong in saying, this IS a seriously dangerous device if you do NOT respect the pressure cooking release procedures.   Plus, it is not a machine to leave in the reach of children, as with all kitchen cookers.  (Please accept this advice from an experienced cook who ignorantly gave herself a second degree burn in her childhood when removing a lid in the wrong direction over a boiling pot on a stove.)
This machine has been designed to be user friendly.  The digital settings and instant settings make pressure cooking a breeze.  It creates some wonderful food entrees and makes me forget about being blown up.  LOL  I cannot believe that I almost didn't own one of these fine machines. 
The recipe book included with the machine did not impress me at all.  It wasn't for me.  But if one goes out on the web, there are literally hundreds of great recipes out there.  My first dish was corned beef and cabbage.  It took a little less than a hour and a half for the corned beef to be completely finished (includes the pressure build and release.)  The potatoes, carrots and cabbage took only an additional 16 minutes... start to finish.  Plus to Mr. Hollow's delight, the smell was kept to a minimum. :) 

Here is a chuck roast fresh out of the Instant Pot.  It is falling apart.  Exactly how I love it.  I would have let this go in the oven for 3 to 4 hours.  In the Instant pot, it cooked start to finish in 96 minutes. 
And again to my hubby's happiness, no smell wafting through out the house.  Although I personally never minded it!

The gravy was flavorful too!

Now this just knocked me off my feet,  a six pound chicken cooked from start to finish in 50 minutes.   Holey Toledo, I can have baked meat in the summer without sweating profusely in my kitchen.  :)  If you follow the recipe and sear the top of the chicken, it is hard to make out that this bird didn't come out of an oven.  It was flavorful, juicy and falling off the bone.  It was at the moment this bird was done that I realized... This appliance was a keeper!! 

The Instant Pot is also a steamer, slow cooker, yogurt maker, sautéing device and rice cooker.   It also can be put on a timer.  Or if you have to leave, the contents can finish and keep warm for hours.   I know, this is nothing revolutionary.  It is a pressure cooking device, but the new digital bells and whistles are a whole lot more appealing.  So if you are on the fence about this machine, you might want to give it a try.  I am certainly going to do some serious food experiments with it for years to come.  I am hooked!

Got to go... Mr. Hollow will be home in an hour, and I have a whole chicken to cook.  Gotta get the Instant Pot cooking!  :)