Monday, October 3, 2016

Wool Pumpkin Tutorial

I am like your worst nightmare!  I am back with a new tutorial.  I am on Facebook and one of you faithful blog followers asked if I would make a tutorial on my newest wool pumpkins I made this year.  So, as not to disappoint I am back! Albeit temporarily...  Although I may have another tutorial to share from FB...

Anyway,  these are the wool pumpkins I made this year.  All of the wool is recycled.  Meaning it came from thrift stores and was once your favorite blazer or skirt.  It is then felted by washing it in hot water and drying it to shrink it.  I will sometimes do it myself or buy off of Etsy.  I have not ventured into the world of hand dying yet.

Are you ready to get started?  Great!  Be aware I was working in my MESSY craft room aka basement with horrible lighting so the color is off.

1. This was once someone's favorite burgundy Blazer that I tore apart and felted.  You don't need a very big piece. 

2. Gather up the secret supplies.  Just kidding.  You will need something round.  This is a lid off of a jar that holds my buttons.  Obviously the bigger the circle the bigger the pumpkin.  You can either use a marker or colored pencil.  I used marker it is much easier to see. A pair of sharp point scissors and one pipe cleaner.  It doesn't matter what color.  I had brown on hand.  There will be a few more supplies later like polyfil, embroidery floss, and a darning needle.

3. Place your circle on the wool and draw around it. Now, I have not really cared which side is the right and which is the wrong side.  If you do, then draw the circle on the wrong side of the fabric. This will be your sewing line.  Double your fabric.  Just fold it over and sew on the line all the way around.  Be sure to lock your stitch.  I use my sewing machine, but you could hand stitch it with small stitches.

3. Now take the sharp points of your scissor and snip towards the sewn line every 1/2"-3/4" but be careful not to cut your sewn line.  I have found this helps keep the circular shape better and let's the wool relax once you turn it right side out.

4. Now for the magic part of turning it right side out since you sewed completely around the circle.  Cut an X through one side of the fabric only.  Do NOT cut both pieces.  Only cut it enough to turn your pumpkin right side out.

5.  Voila!  Take your finger and run it along the inside seam to pop out the sides and round it out a bit.

6. Now take your fiberfill and stuff it good.  Just like when you get a little too big for your jeans, but you stuff yourself in them anyway.  I know I'm not alone!  This girl loves her cake.

7.  Now pick out the floss of your choice.  I am going to use the darker floss that is comparable to 3 strands of DMC.  That being said I have used all 6 strands of the DMC and liked it just as well.  I just figured you could see the darker one easier.

8. It is all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out.  This needle is HUGE!  Trust me you will want a longer pointed needle with a big eye (the better to see you with my dear lol) to push through all the polyfil.  Trust me.

9.  Unravel some thread maybe a yard or so.  I like having too much than not enough.  Knot the one end and then thread your needle.  Starting from the side with the hole push your needle straight through to the middle of the other side.  Pull the thread until the knot gets buried in there good.

10.  As best as you can eyeball the middle of the other side and pull the needle and thread through.

11.  Take the thread and wrap it around the pumpkin from top to bottom and push the needle back through where you started in the hole side and push it back up through the hole you just came out of.

12.  Like so.  Give it a tug.  You will need to keep tension on it as you take the next stitch so it stays where it is.

13.  Now, keep doing that all the way around trying to keep the strands evenly spaced.  You can do as many sections as you would like.

14.  Notice how I keep using the same hole to exit?  Ok, I'm all done with the sections.  I will tie a knot and stick it back through to hold the knot.

15.  We now have a pumpkin.  This is the top.

16.  My secret ingredient for the stem is a pipe cleaner.  I searched the web trying to find a good way to make a stem.  Some were too hard and some, well, kinda not me.  If you have dried out pumpkin stems those would look perfect.  I know you can buy them off Etsy and Ebay BUT I am too cheap.  Plus I already had everything on hand.  Ok depending on how long you want your stem bend the pipe cleaner to the desired length and twist it together.

17. Now take one end and hot glue it or in my case Elmer's glue it in the hole.  Sometimes there will be a tiny pocket you can slip it into, but I did too good of a job stuffing it. Hot glue will work best.  UGH!

18.  You will then need another piece of wool or regular fabric.  Mine is about 1/2" wide and is wool.  This is from the "I'm going to learn to rug hook days" And no I haven't learned yet. lol  I forgot to take a picture, but starting at the top of the pipe cleaner start winding the wool/fabric down the stem covering the pipe cleaner.  It may help to put a dot of glue at the top to hold it in place.  Just keep winding until you get to the bottom. 

19.  Once I get to the bottom I loosely puddle the wool to cover the opening using glue to hold it in place.  Look ma no holes!  I have not coffee stained or dyed any of them.  You could, but I like them as is. 

I hope you understand my directions and it inspires you to create some of your own.  If not,  you can always buy mine ;-)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tessa Daves Sampler

I finally finished my latest band sampler.  This one took me awhile.  I love to stitch but sometimes my mojo comes and goes.  So when it comes to a sampler like this it can take me awhile.  I am the type of person who likes to finish one thing before I move onto the next.  So, even though I may be tired of stitching I will not allow myself to start anything new until it is done.   Yes, I still have a ton a UFO's which doesn't make sense.  The thing is they are done to the point of actually finishing them.  What I mean is I have quilt tops that haven't been made into a quilt.  I have stitcheries that haven't been framed or made into whatever.  I finish the project but not completely.  So, tonight I will show you one more finished but not project. LOL.

This one will join the others in a pile until I decide how to finish them.  I think it needs framed, but of course I don't have one to fit and to have it professionally done costs too much.  So I will keep looking for a frame when I am out and about.  One will show up eventually.

Now that this one is done I decided to start a new special project.  I needed to change to fabric.  I have missed sewing.  Tonight this is what my craft table looks like.

I am in a patriotic mood.  I had some fat quarters I needed to use up and I think this project might work.  I say might because I can't decide for sure.  Stay tuned because I may need your help deciding.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Drying Gourds

Since there have been several questions about my dried gourds since my last post I thought I'd share with you how I did mine.  I know there are different ways, but this is how I did it.

How do you go from this...

to this????

First question was did I grow my own gourds?  No, the gourds you see in the bottom picture were ones Mark bought for me at a local farm when I was decorating for fall when Country Sampler came.  I was very lazy (too cheap) to go buy gourds and pumpkins last year.  I was told that there would be pictures outside so I needed them in a hurry and told him to go buy some since I was stuck at work and they were coming the next day!  EEEEEKKKK  Truth be told Mark is not a creative guy.  He admits it so I can say it.  Anyway, after I told him what I wanted this is what I got.  I don't like perfect.  I like bumpy and warty.  He did a great job picking them out.  

Anyway,  all I did was lay the gourds in my planter boxes to decorate.  Nothing fancy.  Well, the weather turned cold and this gal stayed inside.  Fall turned to winter and the gourds were fine where they were.  I would just clean them up this spring and throw them away.  Yes I had gourds out for my Christmas decorating before you ask. LOL.  Winter gave way to spring and it was time to do a little clean up.  I had read awhile back that gourds can be placed on screens to dry or just leave them on the ground and they will dry there too.  So, much to my surprise most of them had dried.  They were black and moldy looking.  I did have a couple that didn't make it.  WARNING: The black mold on the gourds is toxic and can cause breathing issues!!!!  Anyway,  since I didn't take pictures of my process I found some on the internet that will help explain what I did.

First, I took a bucket and some bleach about a 1:4 ratio maybe a little more bleach than that and combined them OUTSIDE.  I then took a couple of my gourds at a time and threw them in the solution and let them soak for about an hour.  You will need to cover the top of the bucket with a damp cloth or weight down the gourds because they float.  I turned them occasionally to be sure all sides got in the solution.  I then used a kitchen scrubby like this to clean off the mold.  I actually used one of the dish sponge scrubbers on mine.  I could get into the cracks better.  If you have an old toothbrush that would work great too!

NOT my picture....

I then rinsed them off and laid them on a towel to dry.  I kept turning them over so all sides could dry.  If you left them in the sun to dry I'm sure that would work great.  I did not... I let them dry on my counter.

Some of my gourds were really moldy and I actually sprayed them with Tilex thinking it would remove some more of the mold.  I really don't know if it did, but I'm sure it killed some more of the spores. LOL  I scrubbed and scrubbed but because of the warts it was difficult to get in every crevice.

It did take some elbow grease to get some of the mold off and I do recommend using rubber gloves when you do it.  I do not want anyone getting sick.  I did not spray or put any kind of sealer on them but for extra protection from the spores you could.  :-)  Once dry decorate with them as you like!

So there you have it.  Pretty easy right?  
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Thursday, May 7, 2015


I decided after almost 12 weeks since my ankle issue it was time to clean and rearrange my home a little.  By the way,  the doctor has released me to resume normal activity on my ankle as of Tuesday!!!!  Woohoo!!!! LOL Over the weekend I did the living room and dining room.  Yes, I probably was not following the doctor's orders because I didn't wear my brace and was climbing on chairs to decorate. oopsie!!!!   I still have a few more rooms to go but I'm pretty pleased with result.  I am really trying to go simple.  There are a few things I just can't help but collect as you will see in the photos.  LOL. So today will be a visual post.  This is just the dining room because I took things off the wall in the living room and patched the holes.  I haven't sanded and repainted yet.  So, down the road you will see that too.

Anyway,  here is my new dining room look.  It looks different than it will appear in Country Sampler this fall.  Did I tell you that was confirmed last week?  If I did I apologize.  My mind is bouncing everywhere anymore.

OK OK I will quit talking and start posting.... Have a great day!!!!

The gourds in the bowl were ones I left outside all winter and just brought in to clean once they were nice and dry.

My dark secret... there is extra decorating stuff behind the closed door. LOL

Ignore the stuff on the floor I'm trying to sell it and have no where to go with it right now.

I love gourds... Can you tell?

I finally hung the corner shelf I bought before I broke my ankle. LOL

Another obsession... brown jugs and crocks....

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Life Gets in the Way

You know I promised I would keep my blog updated on my ankle progress, but as you know that didn't happen.  I promised I would blog more often... that didn't happen.  I said I would show more projects...again didn't happen.  I have tried very hard in my life not to be this way.  But as some of you know life gets in the way.

So, what has my life been like for the past month you ask?  Well....

As of yesterday it has been 11 weeks since my little tumble.  My incisions look great!  I will always have a scar, but at 40 who cares.  I will never be a leg or ankle model. LOL.  I am still wearing a brace hopefully only until Tuesday when I go back for my follow up appointment.  I can not wait to see if I can start wearing my sandals for summer.  OK go barefoot!!!! I hate shoes to be honest.  I still have pain on the inside of my ankle.  When the barometer changes I know it because it gets very stiff and sore.  I'm sure with time the pain will get better.  At least I can walk normal only after getting the correct fitting tennis shoes.  Ugh! The first few days I tried wearing my old shoes that were much too tight on my foot and it caused a lot of pain.  I soon got that fixed with my parent's advice on where to go for shoes.  I had someone actually measure and fit them to my brace. That was a huge relief.  My wallet didn't like it, but I wanted everything to heal properly.

I have also been at my new job 30 days already!  The first 4 weeks I worked 2nd shift 3p- until the production line was done which was around 2:00am.  I was learning the job so that I can cover it when the lady goes on vacation.  I am so glad the company did this for me.  There was a lot to learn let me tell you.  The people on that shift were wonderful!  They were so nice to me and I felt like I "fit" in.  They are all down to earth hard working people who want to be there.  The hours were not so nice for me and the kids.  I would get home by 2:30am go to bed get up at 6:30 to take my son to school and spend my 1/2 hour with him daily.  I would come back home and sleep a couple hours get up and do it again.  My kids were on their own for dinner and the evening.  This was the hardest time on me.  I couldn't spend time with them like I was used to.  I knew it was not permanent so I kept pushing and counting down the days until I was on day shift.  Today marked my first week on day shift.  I love the hours of 7:30am-4pm.  I didn't think I could get used to working every day 5 days a week, but I adjusted well.  The day flies by so quickly!  I have a whole new set of people I am working with and love it too.  I work for a family owned company and feel like part of the family.  Once people start working here they stay especially in the office where I am.  My bosses are a mother/ daughter team and are so nice.  Compared to my old job I am truly blessed to have found this one!  Truth be told I do not miss being a paramedic at all!!!!!  I haven't thought about it and haven't felt the need to do it.  It was time to move on.  I am so thrilled I did as I heard some bad news about the company I was working for.  Let's just say I may not have had a job much longer with them if I would have stayed.  Anyway,  I am trying to get adjusted to my new life.  Budgeting my time and figuring out how my life will change and work is taking a lot longer than I had hoped.  I LOVE my new job but not my limited craft time. :-(

Anyway,  I will leave you with my current work in progress.  I am working on a new sampler I designed using Weeks dyed lined and Weeks Dyed thread.  It is hard to see in the picture but the thread is variegated and brings a lot of movement to the sampler I think.  I am a little more than half way finished. I love to stitch samplers.  There is just something about them.  I am hoping to start on a new quilt project soon, but we will see how things go.

Have a great weekend!!!!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

More Spring Items

Good morning everyone!  I am finally up and at 'em.  I had a hugely productive weekend crafting.  Each day I am able to do more and more.  My ankle is cooperating other than swelling, heel numbness, and a little bruising.  I do tend to push too much like yesterday when I had it down for most of the day.  Hey! I banned myself to the basement while I was doing laundry.  I didn't want to keep going up and down the steps. So, I crafted and left my foot hang down.

This is what you get when you run two loads of washing and drying...

Not too shabby huh?  I have a box of odds and ends of DMC thread that I picked up at the thrift store.  I don't know if the colors are even made anymore, but I like how it turned out.  I would like to make a few more if I have time.  See you would have done the same thing by letting your leg hang. LOL.

Over the weekend I finished up a ton of customer orders and even had time to finish a new huge 14" bunny and large pastel eggs to sell.  I am truly amazed at the support people are giving me with these rabbits and sheep I have been painting.

It makes me sad to know I will build up my business while I am off work just to turn around and have to go back to work.  I wish there was a way I could do this full time, but I need the insurance.  :-(  Maybe some day I will be able to.

Today I am back at crafting.  I need to work on a customer order and then maybe design a few new eggs to punch.  Have a great day!
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Trimalleolar Fracture Week 1 & 2

I just wanted to warn all of you before you start reading this post there will be surgical pictures of my ankle.  Not actual surgery but the aftermath of the surgery.

OK.. so two weeks ago today was the initial accident.  I did not have surgery that day but the next day Friday.

I was told that I would need a plate and screws in my ankle to put it back together.  OK first of all I don't like surgery.  It's not really about the surgery as it is waking up.  I have a hard time waking up from anesthesia and then I vomit.  I do not like it. PERIOD!  Of course I have no choice in the matter if I want to walk again with a normal gait.  

The surgery itself took 2.5 hours a little longer than anticipated.  My family was a little worried when they thought it was suppose to only take an hour. The doctor came out an told them it was a little worse than he first thought and that I would have this hardware in forever.  So off to recovery I went.  This was by far the best surgery I have ever had!  I elected for the spinal only.  I woke up with no grogginess and did not vomit!  This anesthesiologist was awesome!  And not too bad to look at either!!! lol  He came to my room and checked on me throughout the day.  I was brought back to my room to finish recovering.  Now, there is a down side to having a spinal.  You can't feel mid abdomen down.  I could sorta feel my legs enough to get up to a bedside commode with the help of two nurses, BUT I could not feel that I had to pee.  Let me back up I could feel a pain in my groin HOURS later that made me think I had to pee.  So I asked to get up and try.  Nothing more embarrassing than as soon as you stand up your bladder starts to leak...ok open up... and pee runs down your legs.  So you sit on the bedside commode and keep going.  You apologize to the nurses one being male of course that you couldn't help.  They try to make you feel better but you can only think that a 40 year old should not be doing this,  Now I not only did this once but TWICE! UGH!!!! They ended up having to change my dressings because of the flood.  When they took the bandages off this is what I saw...

ewwwww.... my poor leg will never be the same... oh well I will consider it a battle scar... My foot is swollen as is my leg and ankle.  They bandaged me back up and I was given my Dilaudid pain pump back until Saturday morning.  My nurse was so good to me.  There were only two of us on the entire surgical floor so I got special treatment.  If I hit the nurse call light he would just come to the room instead of asking what I needed.  He would stand in there and talk with me.  But as soon as the 90 year old lady in the next room heard him she would hit her call button.  He would go see what she needed and then come right back.  He tried to make me feel better by saying that he loved taking care of great patients like me.  I guess it was because I rarely hit the nurse call light unless I had to pee.  I had to have an escort. LOL. The doctor came in Saturday morning and said that as soon as I got off the pump I could go home.  It was Valentine's Day and I wanted to spend it at home with Mark.  I already had to cancel our plans to go away for the weekend because of this whole mess.  So, I told him to disconnect it and I would try Norco.  Well, there was a mix up and I did not get any pain medication for several hours and the pain was so intense I couldn't stand it.  I talked to my nurse and he told me that he would call the doctor for another order for Dilaudid to get it back under control.  The doctor said no and since it was so bad I bought myself another night in the hospital. NOOOOOO!!!! Luckily Mark was a good sport and brought me dinner from a local BBQ restaurant and we sat and ate together in the room.  He even brought me flowers.  :-)  It was a long night, but I got through it.  My favorite nurse came back in Sunday morning and told me to get the heck out of the hospital.  I was calling Mark at 8:30 and waking him up to come get me.  He picked up my son and they came to pick me up.  

I got picked up with this little soft cast... I have to keep it up and not put any weight on it at all!!!

Skip ahead to the following Thursday 4 days later.  I was not allowed to remove this cast until I went to the doctor.  So, my son took me to the doctor and once the cast was removed this is what my leg looked like.  I took these after I got home from the doctor's office.  Pretty colors...  I am popping Ibuprofen every couple hours still and Norco at night.  Sometimes the pain is still unbearable and I can't sleep.

And this is what is in my leg... we counted 10 screws and one plate...

I was then sent home is this beautiful, heavy, annoying, crappy... boot  This thing is so cumbersome and rubs my leg wrong in all the wrong places.  That blue circle is a pump that I can add air to it to make it feel better.  Let me just say I have not used it and it doesn't make it feel better.  I am told to sleep in it and keep it on all the time unless I am watching TV or taking a shower then I can take it off.   

After a week of complete and utter inconvenience of trying to sleep with this stupid thing on brings us to today.  Today I was suppose to get my staples out.  Those darn things catch on everything and pull sometimes.  I am ready for them to come out.  I have never had staples so  I had no idea how it felt to have them removed.  I was a sissy and took a pain pill before I went.  Other than that I am down to taking only Ibuprofen at night.  Otherwise the pain has subsided quite a bit.  My ankle is very stiff at this point from not being moved.  So, after all 36 staples were removed this is what I ended up with.  Oh you are wondering what it felt like to have them removed?  Well there is a slight pinch when they put the staple remover under the staple, but that is it.  Plus there are still places on my leg where I have no feeling so it didn't hurt at all.  LOL.  I still had to have steri strips for awhile until the incision is completely healed.  Still some bruising, but much better.  The swelling is just about gone too.

I have an ankle!!!! woohoo!!!!  I still have bruising up near my knee which is really weird...

I know it's hard to see, but even harder to take a picture but you can see a dark spot that is a bruise.

I was told today that I can drive and put partial weight on my foot.  I am so thrilled.  I am going to do ankle therapy on my own to get it loosened up.  Yes, the doctor said that is fine.  LOL.  I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Stay tuned next week for an update.

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