Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday is Wash Day

In the old Wee Sing Silly Songs, there is a song that has the line "...Monday is Wash Day..."
When I was little it was too....well, at least you had to strip and change your bed and put the sheets inside the pillowcase and take it to the laundry room....later Mom had a service that came and did all the sheets and they would appear a week later perfectly pressed and folded.
Oh, really, she did....and I remember thinking that sheets had to go out to be cleaned. (I was the youngest....)
Of course, that doesn't happen here....sheets get stripped, changed and washed by Moi.....
I also mend them if they need it.
Afterall, we use linen sheetes and pillowcases, and they can get very pricey!
About 8 years ago or so, I found the most wonderful king size monogrammed linen pillowcases.
They were on Ebay, and already were antiques....sad....the most wonderful soft old pillowcases. I have mended them over the years, many times...but today when I pulled them out, they were beyond repair. They will move to the rag bag sadly.
As my Hubby was cleaning out his closet (yup he really did!), I told him we needed new ones. He stopped. The cost of King size linen pillowcases can be staggering.....
Then I had a brainstorm!
I went to the craft room and dug into my linen fabric drawer and found just the right amount of linen for two pillowcases! Of course they would be just the right length, so I dug a bit more and found a great addition to the pillowcases, also the perfect cut! So, for about 1 hour of labor I created two new king size pillowcases....no charge at all!!

The white linen was in the drawer from a large amount I bought for another project and the color band was originally from a skirt! This remnant was already cut and ready...imagine that....
These will go on next week.....
Have a great evening...
Nancy

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sideyard doings...

While Hubby was building his gutter system for the rain barrel, I planted a mini herb garden in the old window box. It fit so nicely between the two tree pots, it was just too good to pass by or throw away!
So, tucked neatly with little screws to hold it in place, I planted it with a lovely assortment of herbs....

I bought two plants, one an oregano the other a mint...the rest are seeds, which I hope will give us an endless supply of herbs during the summer....
While I was planting, the bluebirds kept me company only a few feet away eating in the little bird feeder I made for them out of an old hanging basket and a clay drip tray....
See my potting bench off to the side?? It is completely built of scraps, mainly old shutters and a window that I reverse painted with a landscape...
This side-yard is my little get away spot....
It is also the orchard! I grow 5 fruit trees, three that have been espaliered by me and two are colonnade apples. There are also berries. All are growing in a narrow little patch that is about 18 inches deep between the path and the wall between houses. The trees that are espaliered are growing in pots to keep them small and also because you can't dig a big enough hole to plant them and they would damage the wall.
Well, time for bed....
Have a great evening...
Nancy

The Downspout

Yesterday, Hubby decided based on forecasts that we best get a downspout created to direct rain into the rain barrel.
So, off to Home Depot we went....
He spent a good deal of time with me coming up with ideas.
You have to remember, our house doesn't have gutters. It has slanted facia boards and hasn't ever had gutters.....
Putting a gutter system is expensive, even if you do it yourself.....
All we wanted was a way to direct and catch rain water into our rain barrel...which is now almost empty....
Afterall, last time it rained at the beginning of March, we caught the rain in a garbage can and then "bucketed" the rain from the can to the rain barrel....not very effective management wise....
So, the creative juices were flowing at Home Depot.
They don't have much help there, you are on your own creating a system....
So, he came up with an idea just for the hip of the roof where the most water flows....
He decided on these kinda cool flexible downspouts...they can be shaped into almost any shape.
And then some other pieces....the key one requiring drilling his own hole to fit another piece....



He used a hole cutter blade on his drill, and made about 5 holes that he then cut out the remaining bits with a hacksaw blade....

Then he installed a "splash guard" but doubled it as in torrential rain, water would just go over it....



The piece of plastic you see is to keep the rain from going out the gap...after all, the metal splash guard was not intended to work with PVC gutter systems....
Then, he had to attach his rain catchment system to the slanted facia....
You know all those little pieces of wood you keep when cutting wood? Well, he used two that snugged up underneath the roof flashing and secured those, and then secured the catchment to the wood pieces.
And although it is unorthodox, and different...it should work....

 (The gap you see is what is covered by the plastic)...
 You can see why he wanted to use the flexible downspout.....
In Theory....we intend to remove the downspout in summer....but we will see....
The forecast for this week is a 20% chance tonight as was last night....
50% Monday night, and a 70% chance on Tuesday....
So, we will see....
In the future, we would like to move the rain barrel down to the side of the house with a different gutter system....but frankly, this placement is so user friendly....he has been using the rain water (now almost gone) for his tomatoes......
The rain barrel is from Amazon....it holds 50 gallons. Last time we had rain we collected 35 gallons in 5 minutes....so we will see...
What do you think of Hubby's creation?
Have a great day!
Nancy

Saturday, March 29, 2014

An Adventure begins....

Every now and then, I take on a bit of a challenge.
I had ordered a book on sewing and using hexagons......
Then I went online and looked into different ways of handling hexagons. There are truly many approaches, other than the old fashioned way of hand sewing them....
I had ordered a hexagon die for my Accuquilt, "this will be fun!", I told my Hubby...he just looked at me with doubt.....
I had also ordered the "setting point" triangle cutter too....because it was recommended by the die cutter company...
Well....they are indeed different from other quilt pieces, because of their shape.
One method that I saw online was to sew chains then use a "feather stitch to piece, much like a crazy quilt. It looked interesting, and fun....
Well, I have the table runner part done....well, sort of. Truth is, the finishing is kind of eluding me....
I will have to play more with this, and will let you know what I come up with.
Here is what I have.....



So, what experience have my readers had?? I would love more ideas....the goal for me is someday to make a Grandmother's quilt.....
Send me pictures and tell me your stories.....
Nancy

Monday, March 24, 2014

One of Those Lightbulb Moments....that takes all day....

Aha!
There it was, in the Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine, the perfect solution to the towel bar dilemma!
Use galvanized pipe!

If you aren't familiar with the magazine, go to their website and sign up. It is a fun and full of ideas magazine, designed for people and those "Aha" moments....
Anyway....this was the picture that did it for me....

Yup, funny, huh? This picture made me think of towel bars....so the rest is history.
Now, the finishes they show, they describe how to get them, I wanted #1....but I didn't want to buy a can of spray paint that put texture on first (lazy!) and besides I had chalk paint....
So, off to the hardware store (Home Depot) I went.....


Now, I have to admit, Home Depot is way closer than Lowe's, and Ace even closer still.......
I did measure...sort of...and had to go back to Home Depot not having accounted for the raised screw covers on the island and the size of the "floor flanges" themselves (that's the flat round thing with screw holes).....
So, take my word for it....measure "floor flanges" and then the space....
I bought two "floor flanges", two 1 1/2" "nipples" and two "elbows" and one large "nipple", (which is the long piece that would hold the towel).
Now, originally I thought 12""nipple" would work and returned that for a 10"one, which was still wrong.
 I ended up going to Ace to see what sizes they had....they even had half sizes! What I ended up getting was a 7". That fit the space.
It works best if you "dry fit" the item to see how it goes....
Then, when I knew it would fit, I started painting.....


But here was another mistake.....I should have washed the whole thing with TSP, because there apparently is a ton of machine oil....So when one goes to wax the finally dry (took way too long), the wax and paint pretty much comes off.....

Then I went to put my new towel bar on.....
Pre-drilling might have made it work just a touch better....it was hard to make screws go in straight when the pipe is in the way....just sayin.....
When the screws were in, which were brass colored....I touched up where paint came off with more of the paint...see...cleaning the pipe would have made this less of an issue.
But here it is....

What would I do differently?
Measure better to lessen trips to the hardware store. (Because tomorrow I have to go to two hardware stores and return the wrong pieces).
Clean the pipes before painting, the wiping off I did wasn't enough.
I might have used a slightly smaller diameter pipe (this was 1/2").
I might also have used a smaller "nipple" that joined the "flange" with the "elbow"....there was one called a "street elbow" that was kind of a piece with a "nipple" built in and there was also one "nipple" called a "close"...So, figure how far you want it to stick out.....
Other than that, it is nice to have a place to put a towel where we really need it!
While waiting for paint to dry, I managed to do laundry, change the bed, and dust the living room and then I played with hexagons that I cut yesterday.
At the end of the day, I can say I was productive....
I wanted a touch somewhere of an "industrial" thing...It is a bit rustic and a bit industrial....
Try to get a copy of the Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine (no, I am not being paid to mention it) it is kinda cool.....
Meanwhile, the dogs were totally bored, and really need to go on a walk....

Have a great evening....
Nancy

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Time to Sew

A few days ago I was frustrated by the squares I had inherited, because I found they really weren't all square, and the quilt I was trying so hard to put together wasn't square....and it bothered me. I tried trimming, cheating and ended up ripping it all out and setting it aside.....
Well, it occurred to me that if I could use my Accuquilt to cut them down to 6" square it would work, I would lose a tiny portion of the picture here and there, but it would go together better. So, yesterday, I cut them down, and I knew that when I sewed my seams I would lose some of the picture....but I decided the overall picture and quilt would be better.....
So, here is what I did today....

Here are close-ups of the bunnies....



Tomorrow, I will do a binding.
What do you think of my little quilt??
What did you do today??
Nancy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Keeping busy

I started my day yesterday, like any other day.
I get off and running......
I headed to the craft room determined to finish the quilt top I have been working on, which is made of fabric panels that I inherited. But, when put together, they weren't square, so I ripped, re-stitiched, and found they needed trimming, then I stitiched and they still didn't work. Needless to say, I grew frustrated. I decided to put the pile away and "change the channel" and took off to do a few little errands...and on the way home ended up at JoAnn's fabric store. Well, I got a bit frustrated there too. They didn't have sewing machine needles.... and it appeared that fabric was low too. However, all was not lost. I did find some darling St. Paddy's day fabric at 50% off that tickled my fancy. So, I grabbed a yard and a half. I had decided the day before that I wanted to make a table runner for our yearly feast....so, here is what I created.

Of course, the binding isn't finished here....
I just wanted to practice my machine quilting and loved the print, so I used batting remnants and put the fabric together for a cute runner. It will be fun use next year!
Then, when I finished this, I realized I needed to plan dinner...and in keeping with my new Dr's request to lean toward a vegan diet, I pulled out my vegetarian cookbook....
Yup, vegetarian....not vegan, however, it has the ability to stimulate my mind to use what we have....
So, I started by going out to the garden and picked favas....
So, I came up with our meal of sauteed onions, mushrooms, and eggplant and in another pot I cooked the favas enough for them to give up their outer shells....
In another pot, I cooked some celery root and the older favas. I went to the freezer and pulled out a bag of frozen tomatoes from last years crop....and when they were a bit defrosted, I blended them with the cooked celery root and favas, adding seasonings as well, along with some kale.
When the blender puree was ready, it was added to the mushroom mix....
While that simmered, I cooked some quinoa.
If you haven't tried quinoa, you should! It is light and yummy. I prefer the blends, not just the white variety. There is more flavor to the blends. Quinoa is a high protein grain that can be used to replace other grains such as rice or in place of potatoes. It cooks faster than rice and gives you variety!
So, dinner was indeed vegan.....
It may not look wonderful, but it was quite surprising...it was yummy.....even Hubby, who looked at it with question in his eyes said, "oh, this is good...."
Yeah, it is difficult to retrain all the years of eating....but it is healthier to eat vegan more often....
Why are we eating my vegan?
Well, 10 years ago I was diagnosed with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis)....
I was put on Plaquenil for all that time...for ten years.
It requires a patient to see an eye doctor frequently as Plaquenil can make one go blind.....
A few months ago, the eye doctor said he was very concerned by my being on it for so long, it worried him....My rheumatologist didn't see any problem....but I started thinking about looking elsewhere.
I now have an Internist who approaches things differently, and starts with diet and supplements.
I think it is worth changing the way I eat than go blind.....
So, I am Plaquenil free, losing weight, exercising and in the long run better off. Afterall, my last blood test showed absolutely no sign of RA. He thinks possibly I may have not needed Plaquenil at all, that it was an anomaly that caused a problem...ie, super stress and allergies to foods that I didn't know I have!
So, that is why more veggies, no dairy, less meat and more supplements....
Anyway, not to get bogged down...just wanted to share.
Do you have some great vegetarian/vegan recipes?? I would love to hear from you!
Have a great day....
Nancy

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans

What did I do today?
Well, my daughter came and rebuilt the window box that we had made about 8 years ago. The bottom had started to fall out, so it was time....


We built from cedar fence boards....the boards were cut at Home Depot, so it was just putting them together....and painting....and then planting...
See the finials?? Those I found at a thrift store, they were supposed to be for draperies, but they were just too sweet and perfect in size for the window box.....
While paint was drying, I embroidered napkins for St. Patrick's Day...

Then I set the table, a simple table, for dinner....
Dinner with the "kids" was lovely...good ole corned beef and cabbage, with carrots and potatoes...and a pineapple/blackberry crisp for dessert....
A good day is a productive day......
Night all....
Nancy