Friday, May 22, 2015

Finishing projects

There is something very satisfying about finishing a project, especially if it is something one has worked on for a long time or something that is very obvious and makes a difference in appearance.  I have finished one of each of these this week and I am feeling sort of 'chuffed' about it!!  One of the reasons I am feeling good about these two projects is that they were conscious efforts to do something I am not good at - which is to take my time!  I have been working on my natural inclination to finish in a hurry, finishing in a hurry tends to be a little slipshod, and I have been trying to let myself slow down, I am retired, I have the time, do it right.  I admit I do the same thing with a book (I have been known to stay up way too late to finish a good one in one night!), sewing (I have been known to start a dress today that I want to wear tomorrow), well you see how this goes.  So with both of these projects I have taken my time and done it slow and enjoyed the doing a little more in the case of the afghan.  HA!  Old dogs can too learn new tricks! (I can hear the smart remarks running through your heads - don't bother!)

My proudest of the two is the afghan.  This really was outside my comfort zone. I started it last spring, set it aside to do Christmas gifts and the granny square afghan (pictured here) and then picked it back up a couple of months ago.  I used a 'frosty green' and a 'frosty green speckle' and if I were to do it again I would do all one color, but otherwise I am pleased with the finished product and I  learned at least 5 new stitches or techniques doing it!

I had never done a border either so I felt like this was a real learning experience.  It will take pride of place on the rocker for now, coming up on summer it will have to wait a few months to be useful.

The pattern was free from the Red Heart Yarn website, it's called Aran Isle Throw  the website is one you can subscribe to for free and they have a lot of tutorials on youtube as well (thank goodness for youtube tutorials!)

This was how it started...

My next finishing up was the honeysuckle vines near the front of the house.  I have to admit that in my head I was calling them the 'stupid, ugly' honeysuckle vines!  I had begun the job earlier this spring and only took off part of what I thought could have come off so I could wait and see which branches were going to be new vines and which were old and to see if the new vines would cover the ugly stuff - they did not!

first cutting - seeing if it was enough...

much better I think!
I broke down and got out the ladder, and the hand trimmers (not the electric hedge trimmers this time) and got rid of all the old growth down to the new vines and the pretty trunks of the old plants that are woven into the lattice work.  I do not know if they have ever been trimmed before, the amount of dirt and dust would say not!  I even found wasp nests in there!  After I laid out the vines I wove them back into the lattice work and I am very happy with the results.  It looks (and is) so much cleaner!  (word of advice - always keep your mouth closed when you do this, and when you take your bra off at night you may want to do it over a trash can or outside...just saying)

I can check two things off my 'to do' list and I have made progress on self improvement - not bad.  Now if it will stop raining long enough to let me get the rest of the garden tilled and planted and then warm up just a hair we will be well and truly on the way to the busy season!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Having your own tools.

Years ago when I first got married, I had no tools.  I had to ask my husband for the loan of a hammer when I wanted to hang a painting.  You know how young men are before they are trained - I would say "honey may I borrow your hammer?" and he would say "what for?", I will admit that early on, once in awhile I would say something along the lines of "I was thinking of using it to stir cookies"!  I had grown up on farms where if you needed a tool you went to the barn and got it!  In all fairness, I'm not sure I knew that nails came in boxes of all one size til I got married.  I was used to coffee cans of various sizes full of nails - some previously used!!  And my new husband was sort of picky about his tools and had these huge tool boxes with drawers that were neatly organized, and sometimes I would lay the tool I had borrowed on the counter and fix dinner and not return it immediately...sigh!  After witnessing this problem a couple of times, one year for Christmas, my father in law bought me a set of basic tools - hammer, screwdriver, pliers, box-cutter etc., I was so excited!  It came with a cool little case and they all fit in the molded spots - it was awesome.  I developed a desire to own more know how this ends don't you?

This is my tool box, it's kind of cool - yes?  I even have a meter to measure and see if current is running through something.  (I do not know how to use it yet but I have it!)  There are other tools, some of mine are stashed in kitchen drawers, and some are in the car.  (I also have my own roll of duct tape!) This toolbox has given me a little insight into the male mind.  (at least about tools, lots of things are still a mystery to me) 

Why am I telling you this ?  Because I was reminded of the reason I have my own tools the other day and thought I would share it.  The toilet paper holder in the bathroom was getting looser and looser and now I could look behind and see that the screw holding it on was pulling out of the drywall.  Hubby had told me it was 'on the list'.  This time of year his 'list' is fairly long and this was really bugging me.

I kind of figured I could do this.  I went to my awesome toolbox and got out the tools I thought I would need.  Yes, there is a little bitty screwdriver that also works for repairing glasses laying there.

the loose screw was obvious

 You can see that it even hung loose and crooked when I opened it up

you can see the blue anchor

I removed the screw that had been put directly into the drywall, (improper mounting technique) used a blue drywall anchor, (which I had in my box) and screwed in the back plate so that it was snug.

There it is, nice and snug.  (I did replace the roll with a new one after I took the picture!) 

Proving that he has been married a long time and learned a few things, hubby did not ask "did you fix the toilet paper roller?", he just told me it looked like I did a good job!

There is a satisfaction that comes with doing something yourself, especially if it is one of those unexpected things that allow you to do something a little outside your comfort zone.  Every woman should have some tools!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Monthly Nine

It is time again for the monthly nine link up over at  Greenhaven, be sure to check out the other bloggers and add your own or just read, it is always interesting I think.  I did not do a post for the March link up so will try to be thorough on this one.  The weather has settled into spring now so most of what we do is out in the garden. 

View from the back porch

Nourish - Salads, fresh berries with yogurt, eating out on the porch and enjoying the view.  We always eat lighter the minute the temperature settles in to the 'warm' mode!

 Prepare - We have been preparing the garden and our raised beds.  This is our 3rd growing season (the
first summer we were working on making it liveable, the garden was weeds and we had 2 tomato plants in a pot!) and we are, I think, finally able to be a little more deliberate.  I am thrilled with the herb bed, what I am calling the permanent garden, as I only had to replant rosemary and basil, everything else over-wintered and has come up well.
We added a strawberry bed (in the front) and Hubby made rings for everything and we will try to conserve water and prevent weeds by putting out mulch round it all

Reduce - I had 2 sewing projects this month and ended up with a new skirt and a pair of PJ's.  Total cost was $1.69! Love that!
the hem is even - couldn't get it to hang on and hang even!

the panel from an old knit shirt in my scrap box!

The pj's were made out of fabric from my 'grandma' stash, that I brought home last fall, (pictures here) the thread also came from there and I purchased a package of bias tape for $1.69!  I was jazzed!

  The skirt was an old one that is such good quality I hated to give it up so I pulled the expando like I did with another skirt here, inserted a stretchy piece and it really was too easy! 

Used some old stuff to make new, hurrah!

Green - We are experimenting with various recipes of vinegar and sundry add ins to kill some of the weeds in areas we are not growing anything in, like the drive (dirt and rocks...oh and weeds!)  I am keeping records of what works the best and will try to remember to report back, the vinegar is very effective according to what I read.  We will see....

Grow - Other than what I've already shown, we have several plants waiting to be big enough to go in the garden, cucumbers and squash, and this year we even have flowers!

Create - I am still working on my 'slipper' pattern to crochet.  I had a pair done and didn't like the fit so I started another pair and am happier with the fit, but of course have run out of time and yarn is not as much fun when it is warm outside!  I will figure it out and post the pattern.  I will make one suggestion - if you ever decide to try to make a pattern and crochet along, use a solid color yarn, I cannot tell you how hard it was to keep track of stitches in the camo yarn!!

Aren't they cute?

Discover - Having fun getting to know my new daughter in law, they decided to do a civil ceremony in April and then repeat their vows in a formal ceremony/reception in the fall.  I am so glad I didn't have to raise girls- I now know what my Grandma K (mother of 2 boys) meant when she said she got better daughters than she could have raised!

Enhance - I have really been convicted about the plight of women in other countries who are treated poorly, who have no rights and are being beaten, stoned and killed.  The honor killings have even happened here in America.  I can't do much, but I have tried to speak out when I have a chance, write encouraging e-mails to groups and individuals who are making a difference, and post information on my facebook account when I find it.  I truly believe we will be held accountable for the things we turn our backs on or close our eyes to. 

Enjoy - The seasonal change is always fun to watch, I am enjoying watching the things starting to grow and green and bloom, we are beginning to see flowers and our own periwinkle are in full bloom!
plus the dandelion...sigh!

Enjoy the seasonal change wherever you are and have a wonderful May!!