Decorating with Fabric

Since I haven’t had any quilts to work on lately, I’ve been busy with other fabric-related things…  My Mother-in-Law passed away in October, and we have been very busy clearing out her house.  My husband doesn’t “get” my knack for feeling sorry for left-outs, which includes inanimate objects.  This was one such object.  I didn’t think to take a “before” picture, so in this photo, I put the old fabric on it and took a picture.

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After I stripped it of the fabric, I was surprised to find caning in the back of the chair.  It was obvious to me that the wood used for the back of the chair was Quarter-Sawn (or Tiger Eye) Oak, which was popular back in the Victorian Era.  When I took the fabric off, I also noticed a sticker that reads “Murphy Chair Company – Detroit, Michigan.”  I googled it and found that it was a company in Detroit around 1900.  Woah!  Anyhow, after looking at several chairs like this, I imagine it had a needlepoint seat covering.  I was giving this to our daughter, though, and I already had fabric to go with her decorating taste, so I used that.

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We also inherited 3 rocking chairs.  One of them was covered with orange fabric, which is great for Autumn when we inherited it, but didn’t go with any body’s home decor.

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I have always wanted to reupholster a chair, so I got the opportunity to do just that with this chair.  Here’s what it looks like now.  I don’t normally like to paint over wood unless it is butt ugly.  This wood did nothing for the chair, so I painted it black and then distressed it to expose parts of the wood.

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Keeping the tradition of showing the back of a quilt, here is the back of the chair.

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This, too, is going to my daughter’s house.  We already had 1 rocking chair inside and 2 on the porch, so now with the other 2 rocking chairs that we inherited, we have 5 rocking chairs.  We do not need this to make it 6.

I found that I really liked re-covering these chairs and can imagine them with lots of colorful fabrics and even covered with patchwork blocks – I can see myself reupholstering more chairs in my future.

I have a list of goals for 2014, but I find that my ADD interferes a lot and my mind is constantly dreaming up something new that needs to get done right now!  That’s how this next project happened.  I knew I was going to get a customer quilt on Friday, so I cleaned my studio on Tuesday when our guild meeting was cancelled.  Cleaning my studio led to me taking everything off my wooden counter for a good wipe-down.  When I originally built this counter, I had planned on covering it with laminate or staining the wood or doing something to cover the wood.  Cleaning it reminded me that I’d never gotten around to “finishing” that project.  You can see a “before” picture in a post I wrote here.  I pulled some fabric out of my stash (a bolt that had never been opened!)  that looked like rocks.  Imagine my surprise when I opened up the bolt of fabric and laid it out on the counter top.  I smiled and thought this was kismet.  Rays of light shown down from the heavens and the angels sang… and my smile “sang” too!

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Doesn’t it look like granite?  I Mod-Podged it down and cut off the excess fabric with an Exacto knife.  This shot was taken while it was fresh on the counter top and still wet, so that’s why you see streaks or cloudiness in areas.  The Mod Podge dries clear.  Here’s a close-up.

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I have more projects in the works telling me I need to add them to my never-ending list  swimming around in my head, but first I need to work on that customer quilt.  I am so looking forward to being back at my quilting machine!

A Fresh Start

I don’t know about you, but I feel a fresh start coming in 2014.  I’ve put together 13 “intentions” for 2014 which include a lot of different things that I want to do for myself.  But,  I’ve also put together a list of quilting goals.  I took Angela Walter’s advice and looked at what I wanted to do with my life in the next decade, the next year, and the next month.  You will be amazed at how “level headed” you will feel after doing this.  Well… I have to admit that organizing things helps clear my head, too, and I’ll get to that in a minute…  I did the organizing before I wrote down my list of goals.
You have to understand (before reading this list) that I have so many ideas jumping around in my head that I cannot keep up with them.  I have a drawing notebook for my quilting ideas – it’s a great idea for any kind of artistic career.  I take it with me to doctor’s appointments and other places where I know I will be sitting for awhile, bored.  When I get discouraged in life, it’s a great thing to come back to for a creative reprieve.  I also think I have ADD, because I will start one thing and quickly find myself headed in a gazillion different directions.  It makes me crazy, but I can’t seem to keep focused long enough to get my “goal” of whatever I was doing completed.  So, I hope having this list written out and in front of me, where I can cross the accomplishments off as I reach that particular goal, will be helpful.  It is typical for me to get started on a project and get side-tracked because I forgot to check on something else, which then leads to something else, which leads to another idea totally unrelated to the former idea and what started it all.  Are all artists like this?  Or, is it just the minds of women???  I also do that when I’m having a conversation with others.  I’m a great listener, but it will make me think of something totally unrelated that I must share.

The thing about me and lists, though, is that I am a finisher and if I have something on a list, I will finish it sooner or later.  It can be a great thing, but it can also be bad, because that list is like a nagging spouse with a “to do” list.  I don’t like starting a project unless I plan on and know I can finish it within a time frame.  Given that, here are my quilting goals, both the far-fetched and the realistic ones.

Quilting Goals

In the next decade…

  • ·        Create quilting designs and patterns for pantographs and digital format
  • ·        Start making and publishing quilt patterns?
  • ·        Teach at quilting venues (includes guild meetings)

In the next year or more…

  1. Start drawing and doodling every day.
  2. Finish the New Orleans quilt (this is a quilt that I started almost 3 years ago, with every intention of finishing it within a year – FEAR has held me back; fear of my abilities or lack thereof and fear of it not turning out as wonderful as I envision in my head).
  3.  Finish the Migraine quilt (it’s a joint quilt with my daughter).
  4.  Draw out the cartoon that is in my head from IQF Houston of Carol and her cousin and create a pattern and quilt from it.
  5. Make a quilt for the BVQG Challenge due in April, 2014.
  6. Make up some embroidery samples for use in quilts (will be teaching this at April mtg.)
  7.   Enter Hoffman Fabric Challenge, 2014 (must be received by July 18, 2014).
  8.  Finish the Jennifer Jangles appliqué quilt that I have been working on.
  9.  Make a white, queen-sized whole cloth quilt.
  10.  Make a king-sized whole cloth quilt from the light blue fabric.
  11.  Make a 9-patch red and white quilt.
  12.  Make a 4-patch blue and white quilt.
  13.  Make a scrappy Pineapple block quilt.
  14.  Make memory quilts out of Bob’s T-shirts.
  15.  Get the Buffalo quilt pattern done.

In the next month…

  • ·        Draw and doodle every day.
  • ·        Draw out cartoon of the Houston quilt.
  • ·        Start on New Orleans Quilt.
  • ·        Quilt customer, raffle, and charity quilts.

Do you think I’ve set myself up?  Or, do you think I can accomplish at least some of them?

Okay, back to the organization part of this story…  My life story seems to be either “feast or famine” in all areas.  I’m either really busy or not busy at all and my ADD will kick in overdrive then, sending me back into the “busy” part of my life.  Anyhow, by nature, I am an organizer.  You’d never know it, though, if you had looked into my closet a week ago.  I have a lot of shoes.  The way I “organized” my shoes was to just toss them into the closet.  They were all over the floor in there – I would trip on them every time I’d go into the closet.

I’d been meaning to take that shelving unit in my closet and transform it into a shoe rack of sorts.  I’ve been avoiding it, though, because I thought it was going to be too much work to add shelves to it.  I even broke down and bought myself one of those plastic organizers with pockets for shoes that hang from a door but never got around to putting shoes in it  Well, after building a computer armoire, my confidence level shot up and I figured out a way to (in my mind) easily add shelves.  I have a Kreg shelf pin jig that I used to drill holes into the sides of the existing shelves.  I added shelf pins after that along with MDF boards the width of the shelves.  Voila!

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I feel like one of those rich movie stars who has a shoe closet – LOL!  Creating this “shoe space” has been a goal of mine since we moved into this house in 2009.  I can’t tell you how good it feels to finally have this done – the clutter in my closet was “cluttering” my mind – literally!

My point is that you, too, can accomplish a lot IF you know what you want.  Start by organizing your ideas and/or your space and then writing down what you want to accomplish.  If you don’t know, start with just a few items.  They might be goals that you know you can accomplish.  Or, they might be far-fetched goals.  But, if you take that first step, you at least know where you are headed and are farther on your life’s journey than you were yesterday.  Here’s to new beginnings and fresh starts!

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas… aka Karma

How were your holidays in 2013?  I’ve had a lot of time to think, probably too much time.  Forgive me if this post gets too philosophical.  Every year I end up having a melt down around Christmas, either before or after.  I know what it is.  I am waaaaay too tired and way too stressed out to have a level head.  I used to think it was just me, but this year I saw it in so many others.  I vowed to myself that this Christmas was going to be different, that I wasn’t going to over do myself and that I was going to just enjoy the holidays, no matter how much does or does not get done.  If it doesn’t get done, I figure, what’s the worst that can happen?  With this attitude, it was easy for me to see how taxing the holidays can be on each of us – it’s not just me!  😀

I coined a new term… the holiday hag… how easy it is for me to fall into that description, and how easy it is for others as well.  I do have to admit that I did try to get too much done.  I set myself up for this all the time, and even though this year I didn’t try to get as much of the usual holiday stuff done, I still worked on other stuff that just added fuel to my inner hag.  How many of you do most or all of the shopping, wrapping of gifts, decorating, making food, cleaning, etc.?  And we wonder why we get so exhausted when we add that to our “regular routine.”  Beware of the Grinch (short temper) that steals your holiday cheer… the angry customers, the aggressive drivers, and the other rude people who don’t normally behave that way but are just as stressed and tired as the screaming kids waiting for Santa.

So, this year I put most of the gifts in bags, saving time on wrapping.  I only made 1 pie and 1 batch of cookies.  I did all the shopping online.  But… my daughter was coming in for the holidays and I wanted to finish a woodworking project before she got here.  In my last post, I promised I’d share pictures, so here they are.  This is the computer armoire that I built all by myself.  I got the plans from ana-white.com here and adapted them to make an “office” for my quilting business.  I needed a place for my computer, printer, forms, my quilting samples, etc.  And, I wanted to be able to close the doors.

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Here it is open, before I put the doors on.  See the green bag down on the lower right?  That has my quilting samples.  Since I live out from the city, I tend to go TO my customers instead of them coming to me.  The blue “storage clip board” has my forms, prices, etc. in it as well as my mileage page.  You can see that the backing of this is made of pegboard.  I wanted the electronics to have ventilation, and I also thought I might use it for hanging stuff from it in the future.  There are 2 drawers and a slide-out for my keyboard.  I ran out of paint while working on this, so it doesn’t look finished, but it’s as finished as it’s getting for now (until I’ve had a GOOD LONG WINTER’S NAP!!!).

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Anyhow, I am happy enough with how it turned out, especially since this was my first furniture project from scratch.  And, no, I can’t just ask my husband to make it for me, because he hates (and fears, I think) any kind of “handyman” work.  The reason I HAD to finish this before Christmas (by the way, “HAD” is a figment of my imagination) was because I was rearranging rooms to accommodate the Christmas tree in its new place.  I’ve been wanting to move the stereo into the dining room, which is where the tree has been in the past, and put my new “office” where the stereo was in the living room.  This would also leave a nice space for the Christmas tree, where it “should” have been all along… in the living room.  Ah… perfect!

Needless to say this armoire is very heavy, too heavy for me to be lifting and moving by myself.  But, I did.  And, I also moved the furniture around in the dining room, all by myself except for a couple of last moves that I just could not do.  My husband asked me how I was able to move stuff since he couldn’t (he’s had a herniated disk and has lost a lot of strength).  I used those furniture sliders and a lot of determination – this word will come back later in my philosophical “ramblings”…

So, here we are at Christmas Eve when both my daughters and one’s husband can be here for Christmas dinner and our gift exchange.  You may remember that my mother-in-law passed away in October.  We are still sorting through her stuff and trying to get her house sold.  I brought out some quilts for the girls to look at and my oldest says she gets dibs on anything purple.  I made the mistake of pointing out that the younger daughter likes purple as well.  That’s when the oldest said in what sounded to this mother like a 2-year-old’s voice, “She got first choice of the rings and took the one I wanted, so I get first choice now.”  Well, we didn’t know that at the time.  The younger one said that she could have the ring if she wanted, that she could have it all.  At this point, I just dropped what was in my hands and walked out of the room.  The Grinch was in the room with us and I left before the Grinch took hold of me, too.  My poor son-in-law just sat there, caught in the middle.  I think I felt worse for him than anyone.  All I wanted was for my family to get along and to enjoy the holidays together for once without the Grinch stealing our Christmas.

Is this how family holiday gatherings are everywhere?  My husband was crabby and being a jerk, my kids were jealous of each other and being crabby, and I was on the ragged edge of being sucked right into the “poison” with them.  We all ended up having a good time and a nice (enough) Christmas, but later in bed I thought about my own mother.  She had 5 kids.  How did she do it?  Wow!  Deja vu.  Karma jumped up and bit me in the butt!  I think all 5 of us kids were jealous of each other, each of us wanting to be Mom’s favorite.  My mom rarely ever got on to me, but I will never forget the time she chastised me for being snotty about my siblings.  I am sure I was painting a negative picture of them so that I would look like a shining light in her eyes.  I was stunned when she got on to me about it.  Good grief, here I was on the other end of this with my own kids.  Mom’s been gone for almost 5 years now, and I know she wanted all of us to get along and to be close.  Funny how we’ve all worked on that since she’s passed and how we all now see ourselves as having more similarities than we do differences.  We’ve all gone our separate ways, with 8 years between the oldest and the youngest of us, but our “roots” are the same.  And, we find so many quirky things that are unique to the 5 of us that we don’t see in any one else.  I know now that Mom loved each of us.. the same and, yet, differently, and with all her heart.  I feel the same way about my kids.

The point of this message?  My hope is that each of us will realize that life is short, too short.  My wish is that future Christmases for all of us will be magical, full of Christmas spirit, and that we remember that Christmas is not about things but about the moments of this holiday that we will take with us in memories.  Let’s aim for good and happy memories.  Don’t work too hard but DO play hard.  Don’t worry about perfection because we all have our own individual definitions of perfect, so when you’re trying to make it perfect for everyone, it won’t be, no matter what, and that’s okay!  And, above all, try to laugh.  It’s a great stress reliever.  Happy Belated Christmas to you!  I hope you have lots of fun memories of 2013!

Tip from Trisch

Back in June I posted about a quilt I had quilted for a friend… Trisch.  Well, on her blog, she offers some quick tips on Tuesdays.  I would like to share one with you today that I think is well worth the visit to her page.  If you’ve ever had trouble getting perfect circles for needle-turn applique and other hand-work, you’ve gotta check out how she does her circles on this Quick tip Tuesday page of hers.  You won’t regret it!

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Busy Quilter I Bee

Remember I said I’d show you how I refinished the stairs?  Well, I am sending you to a bunch of different places today so that you can see what you like.  First off, go here to see the pictures of how I re-did my stairs to the basement, which is also my quilting studio.  One of these days I will finish the basement, but it will likely be a little bit at a time.  If you are on Facebook and interested, take a look around there.  I am spreading my wings a bit and becoming somewhat of a DIYer.

Last week I went to the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  If you haven’t heard of it, just know that it is probably the biggest quilt show on earth.  It was my first time to go to this show or to visit Houston, so it was a bit overwhelming.  You can find plenty of pictures on my Flickr page.

I especially got a big kick out of the Cow Quilt Exhibit, named Moo-ston.  There were lots of amusing quilts.  Make sure you check out the close-up pictures of the udders and other details!  Hopefully it will bring a smile to your face.

Why?

When was the last time you had a “Why?” phase.  I’m having one now.  Lots of weird things going on, good things, bad things, twisted things and things I don’t understand… with me asking, “Why?”  I haven’t had any customer quilts since my last post.  Autumn is supposed to be the busiest time of the year for a quilter, when he or she is finishing quilts for her customers to give as Christmas presents.  I haven’t had any customer quilts in over a month.  Why?

Well, I would like to think the universe is taking care of me.  Lots of things have happened in the past month. The biggest thing that’s happened is my Mother-in-Law passed away October 1st.  She was 79, and with the choices she has made for her life and her behavior, especially lately, has been sending out signals that it wouldn’t be long before she leaves us.  And, she left us rather suddenly.  September 22nd we took her to the hospital, because we thought she’d had a stroke.  Long story short, she had a heart attack and never got to go home.  We have since been trying to clear out her house.  So, I am thankful for this time to be able to concentrate on this, but why?  Why did she have to die?  <sigh>

One of the things that happens when you lose a loved one is the reliving of memories.  As we cleared out part of her house, we ran across my MIL’s recipe boxes.  My husband spoke of his mother making biscuits with chocolate gravy for him and his brother when they were small.  He found that recipe in the recipe box and made it for us for breakfast this past weekend.

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It looked like pudding to me, and when I tasted it, I could swear it was chocolate pudding by another name.  I looked up the ingredients for each and found that the pudding has eggs in it, which the gravy does not.  I guess you get those on the side.  😉

To distract myself from dwelling too much on the “whys,” I’ve been working on my never ending “to do” list.  I have only a few pictures to share.  First off, I finally finished a charity quilt I’d had for awhile.  I filled it with feathers, but they are not my best feathers – that was the day the doorbell kept ringing, which made the dog bark non-stop (someone was working on our broken porch, but they haven’t finished it yet – that was Sept. 25), and the phone rang off the wall as well.  I was one jumpy quilter that day.

Full shot

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Close-up of block – the quilt maker (who ever she is) did a splendid job on this.  I basically just outlined the courthouse steps in the blocks and then put feathers in the plain, gold blocks

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Side/border

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I also made a floor cloth to put under my kitchen table.  I have wooden floors in the kitchen that are sun-bleached and worn out.  Since I can’t get them fixed right now, I just made a floor cloth out of a painter’s drop cloth.  I painted the squares and then antiqued the cream color and finished it with polyurethane.  It goes with the old world French bistro theme in my kitchen.

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Speaking of floors, I’ve also been working on the stairs to my basement, but I will tell you more about that later.  For now, I’m just tickled that I actually have a quilt top of my own pieced together and ready to quilt.  I haven’t made a quilt for myself in about 1 1/2 years, so this feels good.  I’ve got another that I am hand appliqueing, but that won’t be done for some time.  And, of course, I have tons of them drawn out on paper and in my head.  Lots and lots of other stuff going on here and ideas and projects on my “to do” list, but my brain is turning into mush.  Why?  I don’t know.

What have YOU been up to?  I really do want to know!  Oh, and WHY???  😉

Shelves for Thread from Salvaged Wood

Remember that fence my sister and I tore down in  this post?  I have been so busy this past month, I forgot to post a picture of the shelves I made from some of the scrap wood.  My sister took most of the wood to use as wainscoting in her dining room.  Here is what I made.  The pieces were broken and warped, but I’m okay with that as long as I have something for my thread.  I’d been storing my thread in a plastic drawer, where the threads would get tangled and I couldn’t see very well what all I had in there.  So, now the threads are on display where I can easily spot what I have, and I see that I need more to fill those empty spaces!  😉

Here is a picture before I hung them and added thread.  I whitewashed the one on the right, because I’d mixed some other wood on the sides, so the wood didn’t match.  Plus, the top shelf was broken, so I added some wood glue to hold it together.  The whitewashing covered it.

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And, here they are with the thread.  Don’t you think I need some more?  😉 😉 😉

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I also built a garden bed for my husband, so he could grow his vegetables in it next year.  Before I got done, though, my back went out and was out for nearly 3 weeks.  It’s amazing how happy you can feel when you are not in pain!  🙂  It’s a little bigger than 4 feet by 18 feet and was made with the 4×4 posts that used to be part of our fence – we replaced it with the black chain link fence you see in this picture.  I hope it lasts forever, because my back tells me it needs to last at least that long!

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I am trying to get all these outside projects done before it gets too cold.  We’re supposed to get our front porch mud jacked next week, so I can finally fix/replace the rotting posts and paint the outside trim work.  Love me some eye candy!  😉

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

On a lighter note… Thought I would tell you a story about when we lived in Hartford City, Indiana.  Hartford City is in Blackford County, the smallest county in Indiana.  It is north of Muncie, northeast of Indianapolis, and south of Fort Wayne.  It is also one county away, or 30 minutes, from Ohio’s state line.  When we lived there, Blackford County had about 6,000 residents.  My husband taught in Muncie, and I taught in Jay County (the county between Ohio and Blackford County).

This was a small town we lived in, and I was a big city girl before we moved there.  Actually, we moved there to get away from the big city.  We both had grandparents who lived on farms, so it’s not like we didn’t know about farming or small towns.  It’s just that we had gotten used to being rather metropolitan, especially since we had lived all over the world.  So, moving to this small town and the slower pace was good for us.  My theory is that there is much to learn in any situation.

When I was a child, we would visit my grandparents’ farm often.  I got to help my grandfather feed the chickens.  And, I thought I’d like it, but what I found is that the chickens liked me… a lot.  :\  They would peck my legs to death, and I learned to fear going into the pen with them as well as learned not to feel so sorry for them when Grandma or Grandpa would kill one for supper.

However, as a child with a big heart, I also had trouble eating animals that I’d known were previously alive.   My reasons for not eating fish or seafood of any kind stems from going fishing with my dad.  He’d pull the fish out of the water, and they’d be staring at us.  Then, Mom would fix them in the oven and put them on a platter on the table, looking exactly like they looked when they were pulled out of the water… still staring at us but relaxing on a platter together.  So, I am not altogether heartless when it comes to animals (as you probably already know because of my dogs and cat), and that leads me to a story of one Saturday morning in Hartford City.

It wasn’t like we’d just had the 4-H fair.  It was in the autumn, and the fair was held in the summer.  The folks across the street had several bags of trash at the curb.  I spotted a chicken digging in their trash.  It wasn’t any ol’ white chicken, but a fancy looking chicken; one like you’d enter into the 4-H fair.  Not that I thought it was pretty or anything, but someone else might.

As I watched this chicken, it started bobbing across the road, you know how chickens do with their heads going back and forth…  Well, we lived in the “heart” of Hartford City; a block from the County Square, right next to the County Library.  And, that chicken was headed straight for the library!  It was almost 10:00 in the morning when the library was due to open.  Now, to set you up so you can get a picture in your mind, here is a picture of the Blackford County Library.  And, here is a picture of the Blackford County Library with our house in the background.  You can see how we have a good view of the library from our house.  This was our house, an old Victorian built in 1893.  You can see more pictures of this house in another of my posts here.

So, I’m watching this chicken become the “Wal-Mart Greeter” for the library.  It’s walking all over the steps and greeting people as they come and go from the library.  I was thinking this chicken must belong to someone.  It looks like a special kind of chicken, and whoever it belongs to might want it back.  So, what do you do in a small town?  Who do you call for a lost chicken?  Well, I called the sheriff to see if he knew who I should call (think “Mayberry”).  As I’m explaining this to the sheriff and he is saying, “uh huh… uh huh…” the chicken starts chasing people.  Flash back!  Memories of my childhood in the chicken pen ran through my mind and I started chuckling.  Then, I saw a lady run away, dropping her books, with her arms waving in the air, and that chicken was running after her.  Hmm… so it’s not just me that’s scared of chickens!  They really are a threat!  😉

As I start laughing out loud while on the phone with the sheriff, I explain that the chicken is now harassing the patrons of the library.  He says he’ll be right over and for me to “detain” the perpetrator.  Are you kidding me???  I asked him how I was going to do that, and he said to just keep an eye on it (probably how my eyeball ended up in the shape it’s in now).  So, I went out and watched it, while keeping my distance (I’m no fool… anymore).  A librarian comes out with a box and tries to lure the perpetrator into the box, but the chicken continues to chase people to their cars and be a town nuisance.

Here comes the sheriff, crawling up in his patrol car.  The librarian yells to him that we’re going to have chicken for supper!  He looks at the chicken and says to me that it looks like one of Earl’s.  Now, how on earth can you tell it’s one of EARL’s?  Anyhow, once again, he wants me to “keep an eye on it” and don’t let it get away, while he goes to get Earl.  Back at the ranch, we’re starting to get hungry but I can’t cook breakfast, because I’ve got to watch that damned chicken!

So, my husband goes up to McDonald’s to get breakfast while I detain the prisoner chicken.  When hubby gets back home, the chicken makes a run for him and his food.  Aha!  My husband says the bird is probably hungry.  I’m trying to remember from my childhood what chickens eat, and all I can come up with is dried corn which we don’t have.  Hubby suggests giving it bird seed, and I wondered if it would be okay for a chicken.  He reminded me that chickens are birds, too (that’s the extent of my farming knowledge).  Here is that “chicken” eating bird seed on our back patio.

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Can you tell what kind of bird rooster it is?  The sheriff did eventually bring Earl back and it was, indeed, Earl’s chicken.  But, Earl had to chase it around, too, in order to catch it.  Only in a small town like Hartford City…

So, why did the chicken cross the road?  To get to the library…  <groan>  :\

Garage Sale Find

This post is going to be a little different from many of my posts.  I was going to just write these thoughts and ramblings down in my journal, but I thought some of you may be dealing with this stuff, too.  So, if you are not in the mood for anything philosophical today, you can stop here and I won’t be offended.

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Where have you been?

Okay… Where have I been?  It’s been a busy month for me and seems like it will continue to be busy for a while longer.  I guess I forgot to tell you that I went to Amana, Iowa the week of July 4th for a mini-vacation.  One of the fun things I got to do there was sit in a big rocking chair.  For those of you who are older, you might remember Lily Tomlin playing the part of Edith Ann and sitting in this particular rocking chair as she played the part.

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When I got back from Amana, I tried to catch up on all the UFOs (UnFinished Objects) I’ve got going on right now.  Tomorrow is our quilt guild meeting and it is supposed to be the big reveal of all our finished projects.  Well, guess what?  I am still working on the major parts of them!  Eek!

What I have been working on is a variety of other things as well as other people’s’ quilts.  First off, the house next door has been bought by a “flipper.”  This is his first house flip, and so far he has improved the looks of that house 200%.  Before, the yard to that house made my house and yard look good.  Now, I need to get my porch fixed and yard fixed up so we don’t stick out as the trashy neighbors.  Since I am on a tight budget, I have started recycling, re-purposing, and upcycling.  The neighbor asked whose wooden fence that was on the edge of his yard – it’s his.  He asked if we minded if he took it down since there were 3 different kinds of fencing over there.  I asked what he was going to do with the wood (it is good, solid wood), and he said he was going to burn it.  So, I asked if I could have it.  My sister and I have been talking about starting a salvage business where we take ugly things and make them beautiful once more; kind of like an antique business.  Anyhow, 2 weeks ago, she and I took down the wooden fence, much to my neighbor’s pleasure.  He thinks he got a great deal because he got out of the work of tearing down the fence.  My sister, Ruthie, and I think we got the good deal, because we got free wood.  In fact, it was enough wood to fill up the back-end of my sister’s truck!  Here’s a shot of my sister working on the fence.  Don’t look too closely, because she wasn’t too concerned about safety (her feet???).

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It was so hot that day, we sweat our butts off, but we got it done in several hours… well, it took most of the day.  She is going to use the wood as wainscoting on her dining room wall.  It looks kind of like barn wood, but they are going to remove the rusty nails (which could have stuck into her foot – one went through the bottom of my shoe !) and then power wash it so it will be like new again.  I am going to use some of the wood to make myself some shelves for my many cones of thread.

We had been looking into the many uses of pallets.  People are doing crazy stuff with them and are charging for them, too!  I got 2 of them for free and thought I was going to be really creative with pallets, but I think this was my first and my last project with pallets (fencing wood is much easier to work with).  Originally, I was going to use this for my thread shelving.  Ugh!

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Yes, it’s crooked.  Shazam!  Those dog-gone things are not square!  This is in my laundry room, holding a bunch of my fabric dye stuff.

I did manage to get a purse made for the UFO reveal tomorrow, but you should see it.  In fact, I’m not going to post a picture of it, I’m so embarrassed.  It’s not REEEEEAAAAL bad and would probably look a lot better if I’d put my stuff into it.  But, when my sister stifled a laugh and said it looks like luggage, I knew it was not one of my better creations.  But, but, but… it has tons of pockets and 3 zippered compartments.  I was so proud of myself for getting that all figured out.  The lesson here is that whatever you do and however it turns out, you learn something from it.  And, I learned that this would have been a great handbag if I had left off that stiff interfacing and only used the fusible fleece (next time…).

So, what did I do?  I ordered a Vera Bradley handbag, which was the original reason for me making my own.  I wasn’t going to spend the money on a Vera Bradley bag if I had the stuff here to make it already (FREE – yes!).  I have to say, though, that Vera Bradley has the best method of delivery.  My big thing lately has been customer service, and when I opened the box, the money spent on this bag that I could not afford was so worth it.  I felt very special.  I mean, look at this!  On the outside of the shipping box is plain brown, just like any other shipping box.  But, when you open it up, you see a happy green with special saying written on it and “signed” by Vera.  The bag is wrapped in tissue paper and sealed with an embossed sticker.  The invoice is inside a nice embossed card sleeve.  I feel so pampered.  Vera Bradley has definitely won me over as a customer for life!  Thank you, Vera!  🙂

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Now to get to the quilts I’ve been working on…