Sunday, April 27, 2014

Perfect Stitching Frugal Tip (A DIY)

In case you are newer to this blog,
I am a crazy quilter.
Maybe it's because there is no such thing
as a wrong crazy quilt.
There are a few specifics I like in the design
on some of the crazies though.
One thing is the right color for the accent stitches.
I love the old fashioned wool crazies
with big primitive looking stitches.
Here in-lies the tip:
Use size 30 crochet thread
(often found at thrift stores for a quarter - as long as
it's not stained, discolored, or smelly, and is in good condition.)
Then comes the fun part. 
Dye it the color you want it.
Even if the crochet thread is a color,
I typically just dye them a darker shade.
In the picture above, the peachy color
would go into a pumpkin colored dye, etc.
I often end up dying a piece of wool
a specific color. 
So when that happens,
I throw in some thread.
Here is a vintage yarn winder that I use 
to measure how much I am pulling off the spool/ball.
You could also use a notebook or hardback book,
just so you can slide the thread off of it easily.
If you have left over dye,
add a little vinegar, label it and save it
until your project is finished.
If you don't, you'll end up needing more of that color.
I know there are some very good quality threads and flosses
out there that are sworn by.
I happen to live in No-where-ville.
We don't have a quilt shop any more.
We do have a newer fabric/craft shop,
but they are a small business trying to make it.
They have many necessities but
not a lot of specialty items.
I don't want that to sound negative in any way as
I am extremely grateful for them.

However, by dying my own,
I end up with a perfect matching/contrasting thread.
(and fingers too as I usually don't wear gloves:)
I like two strands on wool.
One strand on cotton is very dainty looking.
To me, the colors just seem more genuine.
Of course, if you don't like to dye things,
you might just stick to store bought.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Sunday, April 20, 2014

~*Garden Good Things*~

Like so many others over the past week or so,
we have been playing in the garden.
For the past several years,
I have collected old rail road spikes
with the intent of using them as garden markers.
(Even though I had no garden)
We had a garden last year,
but I guess I just forgot about them.
This year I remembered:)
I wiped off the top,
used craft paint with a very fine brush to write,
then sprayed a clear sealant over it so it won't wash away.
It simply pushes into the end of the row 
I don't have to try to read something that has washed or worn away,
or try to revive and make sense of a popsicle stick 
that is already decomposing. 
Mr. LB is having entirely too much fun.
After he had raked through one of the plots,
he went and got the wheel barrows and screen.
He said, "I want to see how many rocks are in here."
The soil is looking just beautiful.
There really weren't too many rocks in this plot.
I had amended it with bunny poo, 
and sending it through the screen breaks it all up,
smooths it all out, and sifts any weeds or roots.
And last but not least,
I FINALLY figured out something to organize my seeds.
I had them in a regular little recipe box that was way too small.
I have had this keeping box for some time, 
and just like the light bulb lighting in the cartoons,
it came to me.

I used the alphabetical cards from the little box
and glued them between two larger index cards
with the lined sides out so I can add notes.
I did have to trim the cards about 3/4 inch in width
so that they fit in the box.
 There is now plenty of room for seeds of all kinds.
So far it is working splendidly.
(never mind my red fingers from humming bird food:)

And the last bit of garden information I would like to share:
I hear different accounts and advise all the time as to when one should begin planting,
depending upon what zone and moon phase to specific dates.
It never makes 'real' sense to me.
What I recently read came from an old-timer who was interviewed back in the 70's.
The advise was:
Plant underground things like beets, radishes, carrots etc. when the daffodils bloom.
Plant squashes and legumes like cucumbers and beans when the apple blossoms fall.
Transplant tomatoes, melons, eggplants etc,
when the locust trees bloom.
These things make sense to me.

Nature knows when it is time far better than a calendar
that was made by man and has changed a number of times.
If you have any similar advise, 
I would love to hear it.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Monday, April 14, 2014

*~*Springtime Closet Maintenance and a Little 'ol Computer Crash*~*

Spring in the closet...
First thing to do is pull out all the sweaters.
I keep mine on the shelf above the hanging bar.
Then go through the sweaters and either
wash or have cleaned the ones that require such.
I put all of the sweaters through the dryer on "air" setting
with a few drops of cedar oil on the wool dryer balls.
Also, when the sweaters are off the shelf,
I wipe it and the hanging bar with cedar oil as well.
I just got a little spritz bottle and keep the oil in it.
I use an old sock so if I feel like the oil won't wash out very well, I can just throw it away.
The other thing that happens during this time, is that I 'make a run'
through my clothes and pull what I haven't worn, what might not fit well, and what is so uncomfortable I cringe at the thought of wearing it.
I have pulled all of those items and
hung them on one end.  A couple of the items, I have decided to keep, but at least 95% of them have gone to the bargain counter.  I do still have a few things to try on.  I have come to the point that 'if I don't wear it, I don't want to store it.
My sweaters are now all organized and folded nicely awaiting next fall.
The closet smells fresh and clean when we enter - don't you love the smell of cedar?
I also have an abundance of hangers now; whereas before,
we were always searching for an empty one.
Doing this each spring keeps things in good repair 
and keeps me from 'acquiring' too many items I don't wear.
It's a reminder every time I consider bringing home more clothes.
I think, "Will I have to try it on and pass it on in the spring?"
My reply to myself is usually, "Ugh," so I pass.

I would also like to apologize for my absence.
My computer did a sorta crash.
I was able to back-up my information,
but it was taking about 30-45 minutes
just to turn it on.
I am now working with my little Acer that was not intended
for the work load of a 'real' computer.
It doesn't have the same programs or functions,
but until I save enough for a new computer,
I will attempt to limp along.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches