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



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Allow Me to Introduce You All to Davey

This year is flying by so fast!  Getting use to a full time work schedule has been more of a challenge than I thought.  With the onset of cold weather to keep me indoors, I look forward to working on some art projects and blogging a whole lot more. :)  
 
So much has happened over the past months.  Our pet Snoopy, the adopted humane society rat, passed away. :(    It brought about a void in our lives.   (His story can be read here.)    But that was soon filled by the arrival of Davey.  He is a white and champagne colored rat that was purchased as a wee baby from Petco.  The salesman was relieved to know that he was not going to be snake bait.   Farmerboy was a little nervous about handling him too much, since his first rat was a biter.  So, I spent many hours taming this little guy.  He has the sweetest temperament.                 
 
 

Unfortunately, raising a pet can sometimes have its challenges.  After almost two weeks of cohabitation, he broke out in scabs... All Over.   After reading volumes on the subject, I stopped feeding him his beloved yogurt drops (which were Snoopy's favorite treats as well), since rats have been known to have dairy allergies.   After a matter of days, his skin cleared up... Amazing!   I have him on healthy snack foods now.  He loves baby carrots and dehydrated bananas.   No cheese for this little guy! :)  

Welcome to the family Davey!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Vintage Bucilla Alphabet Quilt

I have began working on my vintage Bucilla stamped cross stitch alphabet quilt from the 1960's - early 70's.  It boggles my mind a little to think that the crisp new quilt, that was manufactured that long ago, is finally taking its first venture out of the protective plastic packaging.  Even more weird, is the fact that I can still remember my Mom embroidering one of these for my younger sister 41 years ago.  Yikes! 
 
Ever since I listed one of these quilts partially finished on my selling blog, there have been several inquiries emailed to me about this particular kit.  I've decided to show each block on completion to help those inquiring about a color chart.  There are some pretty wild colors used in this quilt, due to the era that it was manufactured in.  The thread was also included in the original kit.  It would be interesting to see one of these quilts with more modern and tamer colors, but I love it just the crazy way it is. :) 
 
So with no further delay, here is the apple for letter A.  This was taken on a sunny day without a flash and portrays the border's blue and red the most accurately.
 
 
 

The bright little Blue Bird for letter B.  Due to today being a dark and rainy day, the flash has given a touch more intensity to the colors on the rest of the photos.  (I will take a progress to date picture on future posts to give a truer representation of the floss to use.)



The cat representing the letter C.




And to bring up the rear for now, the sky blue dog sporting his bright pink hat.  How is that for some 1960's colors?  ;)



The one thing that I really like about this quilt is that it incorporates more embroidery techniques than its modern day counterparts.  It really challenges me to broaden my skills into different stitches.  I also made a choice to bury my stitching in the quilt.  It hasn't been to difficult so far and is a nice change from always pulling the needle through the back.  Plus, there will not be a backing to attach later. :)   Well... I am off to do a little work on my Hummingbird quilt...

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

127 Yard Sale "2014"

It is hard to believe that another 127 Yard Sale is over.  We had some chilly mornings that gave way to warm afternoons.  Although there was a little rain, it magically let up at the times that we were out hunting. :)  It is amazes me how many vendors make the trek to set up along the 127 Corridor.  Here is my little sampling...
 
 


In Kentucky, there is a large arena for cattle and horse shows, it started to pour the moment we arrived.  The rain continued until we were ready to leave.  Which was perfect timing for us! ;)   From there, we stopped at a little flea market that was hosted by the local Amish community.  Here are a few of my finds: 

1. A huge bag of scraps was a nice find for 2 dollars.  Normally, I do not buy much for scraps, but these had some vintage and modern pieces.  2.  A kit for making Dresden Plate blocks.  The previous owner had 20 already sewn... I just had to pick it up for the $5.00.   3.   These four pointed creations are hand stitched and paper pieced.  Whoever created them, left the original papers on the back.  They are so neat "as is".  Not sure if I will create something with the four of them.  4.  A twin size child's quilt top.  I am not a fan of the design.  My thinking was to cut the squared blocks into triangles, mix them up and stitch them into a more complex design.  I couldn't buy the fabric for the $8.00 that I spent on it.  :)



Feed sack fabric anyone?  ;)  The 7 pieces of various sized feed sack will be used for some free sketch -  embroidery designs.  The vintage look and feel of these pieces will make for some nice  primitive distressed mats.  At a dollar a piece, a stitcher couldn't find fabric any cheaper to create with... with a little age and patina to boot! The second and last photos represent my weakness for stamped feed sacks.  I have got to get cracking on some projects to use some of these up on!  The third photo was a large cutter quilt that I just couldn't pass up on for 5 bucks.  It has a wide variety of colors on it.  There will not be any guilt cutting it up, since someone else already took a piece off of it.  :)



This industrial lamp will be perfect for my desk.  It works great and has scratch free paint.  Come on... Where can you get a great light for 7 bucks!



This photo is a find by Mr. Hollow.  It escaped my eye on the walk about.  My original thought was that it was a used rock tumbler from Lortone.  On our arrival home, I realized that it was brand new!  What a shocker???  It came complete with grit for 7 dollars. :) 

The same lady had some industrial sized tumbling barrels and two large lidded barrels of very expensive grit.  To the right shopper, the tumbling barrels would be a great find, and she would gladly have given them away.  Although Mr. Hollow began contemplating taking them (YIKES!), I was not for it.  We did take the barrels of grit.  The guys were trying to guess how many pounds were there... Maybe 35 pounds a piece.  I couldn't pass on them for 10 bucks!!




Here was an impulse buy.  Why did this speak to me out of a table filled with sewing machines?   I do not know.   But I fell for her... She is a Montgomery Ward "Signature" sewing machine.  Her and I are just getting to know each other, and a better introduction will be posted later.  :)



We had so much fun on our trip.  But there is not much time to rest, since this weekend is the big show in Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Lots of running to do before the weather dances its way into another season! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Baby Brother Manual Drum Carder

Today was exactly like a day in October for Northern Illinois.  I had a half day off and did some stitching on the Bucilla Alphabet quilt, while sipping a cup of hot chocolate!  Is it really August?  I am not going to lie... I do not miss the heat!
 
Mr. Hollow and I just got back from vacation.  Yep, that's right.  Another 127 Yard Sale wrapped up!  :)  It was a lot of fun, but I will share that in a later post-- I promise. ;) But first, I wanted to share my birthday present. 
 
There is nothing like the excitement of opening up a box.  Even when you know what is in it!!
  
 


And here is my first glimpse of my present... a Baby Brother Drum Carder.  It is my answer to processing all of my clean wool fleeces into roving. :) 

 
 
This particular model is the Baby Brother. After looking at all of their manual machines (www.brotherdrumcarder.com), I thought that this size should fit my current needs.  Although, the thought of making some larger batting for quilts is very tempting in the future. ;)  
 

I will share my attempts at learning to use the Baby Brother in future posts.  Once I have some carded wool, I would like to take a try my hand at needle felting and spinning.  But for right now, the beautiful weather outside is calling to me.  I had better start washing the rest of the fleeces, before it gets to cold outside!  ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer in the Hollow

It is hard to believe that July is almost over! I have so much to catch up on and share.  Here is a little glimpse into the happenings here at the Hollow...
 
I have been working away on Great Grandma's Hummingbird quilt.  My purchase of a Huion light pad  has been a huge help in the piecing process.  The soft light helps me to fit the Hummingbirds around the octagon without any eye strain.  The light pad will be a great help with transferring quilt patterns and fine art as well.  :)
 
 


Does this look familiar?  I found another Bucilla stamped cross stitch alphabet quilt.  These over sized quilts are so charming!  They date from the late 60's to early 70's.   Although my bunny quilt is still in the process of getting the edging stitched on, this one is going to be the alternate stitching quilt for those cool fall evenings to come... or maybe sooner! ;)


Did I tell you that my birthday was a few weekends ago?  I will show you later the special gift that I purchased for myself.  Let me just say, it made me smile... I know myself so well! ;) 

Below is a special gift that I received from my coworker.  Lots of candy, a wonderful article on gourd crafting and a beer bottle that has an insert to be a candle.  Take a look at the label... Pumpkin Ale.  Isn't it wonderful!!  I think that it suits me perfectly and am going display it on one of my son's barnboard creations.  It will look so rustically cool! :)

 
 
I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. :)  My camera is overloaded with events and items to share, and I have been doing some serious baking.   My fellow bloggers have been putting up some wonderful recipes!!  My next purchase better be a new treadmill, or this blogger is going to need a new wardrobe! ;)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

He's Back...

To be completely honest, the beginning of summer has kicked off in a slightly stressful way for me with too many "to do" lists and sad happenings in our community.  Just when the pressure started to get tiresome, look who decided to show up in our pond... Yep, it's Gary.  (Read about his first arrival here.)  Our snapping turtle from last year made the trek again to vacation with our family for the warm months.  His arrival made a huge bright spot in a dark couple of weeks for me.  I thought it was appropriate to celebrate our reunion by sharing a hot dog. :)  
 
 


Isn't he handsome?  Here he is peeking out from behind a pond lily for his close up...  or a chunk of hot dog! ;)



Enjoy the little things in life.  For one day you will look back and realize that they were the big things.  :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cleaning a Shetland Fleece

After watching several "How to" videos on cleaning raw wool, I have two of Farmerboy's Shetland ewe fleeces washed.  The tension going into this project was edging towards high, since my experience has always been in felting wool... And I certainly did NOT want to see that for an outcome with these.

Is my way the right way?  Or better yet, is there a right way?  All I can tell you is that happily the process below worked for me.  NO felting!! :)

Here is the raw fleece from Lego.  The first task is to remove as much vegetation as possible and to "skirt" the fleece.  Skirting the fleece is removing any animal waste aka poop.  I was lucky.  The gentleman that sheers the sheep does a quick skirting prior to bagging.   The little pile to the top of the photo was all that I pulled off. :)

*NOTE*  I was in for a surprise on Lego's fleece.  Ever since I have known her, I thought she was a cream colored sheep. ;)
 



Here is a photo of my fancy processing equipment:   4 buckets, some original Dawn dishwashing liquid and rubber gloves.  Total cost was 7 bucks-- thanks to the local Dollar Store. ;)   All buckets are filled with my hottest tap water to help soften the lanolin for the Dawn to remove.  The first stop for a hunk of fleece is the bottom bucket that is mixed with a generous amount of Dawn.  The second bucket has a little Dawn mixed in.  The third and fourth buckets are a clear water rinse.  As long as the water in all the buckets are kept hot, the wool will not have a temperature change and felt.  In each soak, I would squeeze and rotate the wool in the bucket.  At the end of a soak, I would squeeze as much water out of the wool before depositing it into the next bucket. 

**If you notice a color change, that is because this photo was taken while washing Ariel's fur-- not Lego's.  ;)


Here was my surprise with Lego's fleece.  It is a beautiful white with blue gray and black.   I had to change the water in the buckets several times with her fleece.  The lanolin was so heavy and held the dirt so well that she appeared to be a completely different color. 

As you can see, I used an old clothes rack to hang the fleece outside.  The clothes pins came in handy to secure the fleece in the breeze.  Fortunately, the birds weren't taking an interest in the potential nest building materials! :)




Here is Ariel's fleece.  It is a lovely brown with a gauzy grey/white.  I am not sure if I will mix the colors in the roving or separate them.  It almost has a cobweb appearance to it while hanging. 
 
 
The next fleece will be Brick's.  His fleece is a wonderful cinnamon brown.   I will be anxious to see how it washes up.  Each fleece will get its own mesh laundry bag.  A cheap holder at $2 a piece.  They will be staying in them until I decide on a drum carder to process the wool with.   I must admit... I never thought doing the wash could be so much fun! :)