Sunday, January 30, 2011

Swirl Baby Blanket

I found this pattern at Diana Natters On... The woman is absolutely amazing! I am so grateful to all her videos and all her machine knitting information. And it's all free! She also sells some of her video courses on DVD so that you can see it in high definition instead of the lower quality YouTube videos, but all of the videos can also be seen for free.

Here is the Swirl Baby Blanket from the link above. It was surprisingly easy. But that's because Diana shows you exactly what to do every step of the way. Every step is very clear, too.

I love winter! It's the slow-down time when I can sit and quilt and knit and catch up on projects in the house. I also spend a fair amount of time practicing piano, guitar, and choir (I'm the choir director for our local church). It's a time to catch up and rest before the busy summer season starts.

I haven't been very good at blogging lately. I'm planning on getting back to it a bit more. But our daughter and her husband are living next door with his parents and the situation is not good over there. She spends alot of time over here just chatting and taking a break.

My plan is to blog three times a week from now on. I like the record that blogging leaves. I can look back over the week or the month or the year and realize I really DID get something accomplished!

Friday, January 28, 2011


Photos of the quilt squares for the new quilt I am working on.

Here is the basic layout for the quilt when it gets done. The stars in the photo are just place holders, each star in the finished quilt will be a different star.

LeMoyne Star--paper pieced.

This one will look better in the quilt because it will be on point, set into the quilt like a diamond, instead of a square as the photo shows.

This one took alot of work! I think this single block took about 2 1/2 hours to sew! The ladies at the quilt store call it "Christmas Star".

I changed this one just a bit from the original design. The center black square is supposed to be bigger, but I decided to make the black part smaller by putting a red boarder on it.
So that's one of my winter projects! Not done yet, and probably won't be done by kidding season. I try to finish one quilt a year. Last year's quilt is still all in blocks and not sewn into a top yet. Sigh.... that is sometimes the way it is with quilting.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheap and On Sale

My daughter and her husband are living with her in-laws right now. It hasn't been easy.

My daughter was raised with lists and organization and planning and thrift.

Her husband wasn't.

He loves that she is organized, but it drives her mother-in-law crazy. Her mother-in-law, S, is also a spend thrift and loves to buy lots of stuff. Their house is filled with stuff!

S expects my daughter to go shopping with her to the grocery store every day, and to do some shopping somewhere every day. That's alot of shopping!

One day they were out at one of the big stores and were looking at all the stuff that was on clearance. Of course, S was accumulating more stuff because it was on sale.

My daughter doesn't really want to buy anything right now. He doesn't have a job yet, and neither does she. And they don't have  a house yet, either. Everything they own is in the back of their trailer, which is parked at our house.

That's alot of stuff for two people! It took them 5 days to drag that big trailer from Alabama.

After lots of prodding to buy Christmas stuff because, "It's so cheap and it's on sale!" my daughter finally looked at S and said,

"I have a whole trailer full of 'cheap and on sale' I don't need anymore!"

Not much else was said--and she didn't come home with anything new!

I shop at the local thrift stores. My goal is always to bring a bag of donations bigger than what I bring home. Most of the time I manage to accomplish that--getting rid of more stuff than what I am bringing home. I like that!

I've got lots of stuff, like most Americans, but I try to keep the stuff that is either meaningful or useful. And if I can make do with what I have or fix what I have, then that's what I do because it is more satisfying to me than running out and buying new stuff.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good-bye, Trusty....

Trusty, our trusted Mazda pick-up, went the way of all old cars at the end of November 2010.

Somehow I think all trucks and cars that have served their owners so well deserve some sort of memorial.

We bought this truck new way back in 1991, and hauled stuff faithfully for many, many years. It came with no radio, no power windows, no power steering, no automatic transmission, no air conditioning, no computer controlled anything, nothing fancy at all. It was named in 1998 when the teenagers started to drive.

It moved with us from our apartment, into our first home, and then again into our second home.

It survived 4 teenagers learning how to drive.

It hauled grain and hay and camping gear.

It hauled manure and dirt for the garden.

It was borrowed by friends and neighbors to haul their stuff, too.

It was taken on yard-sale trips.

It hauled garbage to the dump and donations to the thrift store.

Vet2Be really wanted it to last until he could drive it, too. "All the other kids got to drive it, I want to learn on it, too!"

I would have thought the youngest would be more spoiled and want something fancier to drive than an old blue pick-up with 180,000+ miles on it. All the kids have fond memories of Trusty, even Vet2Be who never got to drive it on a road--only in the pasture and the riding arena.

Trusty lived until Son1 came home from Mexico. It even lived for another 8 months. When the clutch gave out, we realized it was time to put our friend to rest. It had served our family well for a long time.

Hubby thought it was funny that I would take photos of Trusty. But it seems like most of us were attached to it and appreciated a little truck that could..... do everything we needed it to for a very long time.

So, good-bye Trusty. We have wonderful memories of you and you will be missed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fabric Produce Bags

I ran across a pattern for fabric produce bags that were so cute that I had to make some!

I found the link at Daisy Janie's blog, she has a free pattern for downloading--that speaks to my frugal nature.

Bags with produce inside....

Slip the long handle through the small loop and the produce stayed right inside!
Since I have some scrap fabric on hand, I decided to give some a try. I ended up making four! Two for my aunt who always uses reusable grocery bags, and two for me to see if I will really remember to take them to the grocery store!

They were really easy to make. Each one takes about 20 minutes for me to put together. I used a serger for the seams on the first three... then of course my 25 year old serger decided that it was time to give up the ghost!

The last one I made with the sewing machine. Since the bags are made to hold produce, I zig-zagged the seams after sewing them with a straight stitch for more strength.

I took two to the store, just to see how I liked them. I do! It is really nice to have the produce inside a fabric bag instead of sweating inside a plastic bag. Not only do these bags fit in my purse so I don't have to remember them, they are soooo much cuter than the plastic ones at the grocery store!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Table Runners

My friend gave me a beautiful table runner for Christmas. She borrowed a pattern I bought last year and hadn't gotten around to making.

My daughter saw the table runner and loved it, too!

My daughter doesn't sew, and had sworn when she first got married 8 years ago that she never would sew--she didn't want to do anything that seemed to be like me.

Since she liked mine, I told her that it wasn't that hard to sew, it only had straight seams, and that I had the fabric if she wanted to give it a try.

Her husband received a medical dis-charge from the Army last year and they haven't found a job yet, so the incentive wasn't really sewing and spending time with mom.... it was the fact that the gift was cheap and I had the supplies.

Surprisingly, she enjoyed making the one for her mother-in-law so much that she wanted to make one for herself!

Here is a photo of hers...
The Autumn side....

The Christmas side...

The great thing about this pattern is that the batting is sewn in as you are sewing the fabric together. When the 'putting the pieces together' part is done, the only finishing work is the binding.

Here is the link to the Quilt Company, the company that sells the pattern.

It took my daughter about 4 hours total to choose the fabric, sew the table runner, and put the binding on. An experienced quilter/sewer with a fabric stash could probably get one done in about 90 minutes.

I think hers turned out just beautifully! And I'm happy to say that she enjoyed the process!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old-fashioned, Non-electric, Changing Picture Cube!

This is one of the things we made for Christmas this year. It took some time, but it was lots of fun.

This is an Old-fashioned, Non-electric, Changing Picture Cube. It comes with 6 photos already installed!

The ones I made for my family had their family photos and photos of their kids on them. I snagged them all from FaceBook and their blogs so the puzzles were a big surprise!

Here is one of the sides, with a view of the lid and box we made for the puzzle. On the right are the 'answer cards' that have all the pictures (one on each side of the cards) that I laminated.
I bought 1 1/2" wooden blocks from Woodworks Ltd. They had the best prices I could find on the internet and they shipped them really fast. I used my word processing program to size the pictures I found on the internet. I used my color printer to print out the pictures. I used a craft knife and quilting ruler to cut the pictures to fit the blocks. I used ModgePodge to glue the pieces of the pictures to the sides of the wooden blocks.

Here are a few more photos of the finished puzzle.

Here are the 'answer cards' to go with the puzzle in the photos.

The other side of the answer cards.

Here is the Halloween side of the puzzle with the answer card on the side.

Here is what the blocks look like pulled apart.

Here are all the blocks nestled next to each other--but they are not all part of the same 'face' of the picture. This is what it looks like when you turn the blocks one or two sides at a time from the Halloween picture above.

It turned out to be a great gift! I still have a few more puzzles to make. I'll take photos and put up a tutorial the next time I do it. I just didn't have time during the Christmas Season to do everything I wanted to do, so the blog got put on hold for a while.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Kidding Kit

I decided to post what we keep ready when our goats are getting ready to kid. The easier this information is to find for new goat owners, the better!

This stuff is really important to have on hand, really.

You can't just expect to go out and find mama and kids all doing well, especially if it is a bit chilly outside.

Plan on staying with your goat if you find they are in labor. Or at least go out every 15 minutes or so to check on them. It takes about 5 hours for a goat to labor and deliver. If your goat is laboring longer than that, call a veterinarian or be prepared to figure out what is wrong.
  1. A clean, quiet place for the goat to kid
  2. Flashlight & batteries or lights in the barn just in case you have to help a goat at night
  3. Latex gloves – In case you have to assist. Some people like to use their bare hands, I like gloves because I also play guitar and have longer fingernails on one hand. I don't want to hurt the animal on the inside. You can buy OB vet gloves that go up to your shoulder for about 25¢ each at your local farm supply store.
  4. OB Lube – In case you have to “go in” to assist. K-Y Jelly works well, so does the off name brand.
  5. 7% iodine – To treat the umbilical cord to prevent navel ill. 
  6. Film container (or spray bottle) – for dipping or spraying the umbilical cord with iodine. We prefer to dip instead of spray.
  7. Dental floss – To tie the umbilical cord, if necessary.
  8. Blunt nosed scissors – For cutting the umbilical cord if it is too long.
  9. Alcohol or another type of sanitizer - to sterilize tools, hands, anything that might have to go inside the doe.
  10. Baby nasal aspirator – To remove fluids from newborn’s mouth & nose, if necessary. We know of one family who saved some kid's lives because they had one on hand.
  11. 3 old but clean towels – To dry kids to prevent chill & dry hands.
  12. Blow dryer - if our doe is kidding in cool weather we always use a blow dryer to make sure the kid is dry and warm before it takes it's first drink.
  13. Bottle & Nipple – In case you need to bottle feed
  14. Lamb / kid puller – In case of a kid that is positioned wrong. (Usually just your hand is enough to help a doe that needs help but it is a good idea to have one).
  15. Weak lamb syringe & feeding tube – To feed kids too weak to nurse.
  16. Feed bag (garbage bag) – For picking up the afterbirth.
  17. Soap & warm water - for washing up in case you need to assist.
  18. Digital thermometer – To check the temperature of chilled kids, to check the temperature of the doe if she has had any birth trauma
  19. Nutridrench (we use molasses in a pinch) – nutrient and energy supplement, we usually give one squirt to the kid, sometimes a few squirts to the mom. Sheep and goat nutridrench is the same formulation, we buy whichever is cheaper
  20. Colostrum — either powdered or frozen from last year's kidding, just in case you loose the doe and need to save the kid(s). 
  21. Feeding tube and syringe in case you have a kid that is too weak to suck 
  22. Phone number of at least one vet that is familiar with goats - in case of an emergency.
I always have the following on hand whether it is kidding season or not. If you have a problem, you need to have the necessary supplies on hand even if you have a veterinarian. If you call a vet and you have supplies on hand, they can suggest to you what to do while you are trying to get the goat to the vet. If you don't have any medications on hand, you may loose the goat. Please, don't rely on the neighbors to have supplies in case you don't.
  1. Fortified B Complex
  2. Naxcel or Excenel (vet Rx only - 0 withdrawal)
  3. Penicillin - for snotty noses, polio, and mastitis
  4. Eprinephrine (for anaphylactic shock when given injections vet Rx only)
  5. Kaopectate or Pepto Bismol - for scours
  6. Therabloat - in case you have a goat that bloats. Baking Soda drenches work, too.
  7. Probiotics - give when off feed or after antibiotic treatment
  8. Electrolites - prevent dehydration during stress
  9. Kaptan or Clorox for ringworm & other fungi
  10. 5cc and 12cc Syringes
  11. 18g x 1" and 22g x 1" Needles
  12. Drench gun or syringe
  13. BluKote or another type germicidal and fungicidal
If you have a first aid kit at home for your family, you should have a first aid kit for your goats, period. The old saying, "If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail." is absolutely true. You may have had years and years of good kiddings and no problems, all it takes is once to make you realize that it would have been better to have the right things on hand.