Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Flags on a Stick Blog Hop - My Day! No Foolin"!

 My flags today are inspired by what I am seeing this week outside my window!

Spring is here and this beautiful field of bluebonnets is right across the road from where we are staying! In my parent's yard, you will find a riot of color!

The bluebonnet flag is hand painted on canvas and then quilted. The last two flags are each embellished with fabric applique and pen and ink drawings on canvas, then quilted. Of course, I added ribbons to wave in the wind!
Thank you for stopping by to see what I had today! Be sure you the other blogs on the hop today and see what kind of flags they are waving! Thank you,  Mdm. Samm and Thearica for hosting us this time around! Here is the rest of the schedule for today:

                                                                  April 1st

                                   Sew Incredibly Crazy
                                    Quilt Doodle Designs

                                   Buzzing and Bumbling (you are here!)

                                     Why Knot Kwilt?

                                    Creatin' in the Sticks  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring is here and I'm thinking of Mermaids!

One guest room in my new house will house a very special watercolor painting of my granddaughter and me at the beach. (My sister is a watercolor artist!)  I decided to try my hand at making a mermaid. I have made 3 so far!
 I used felt to make the body. I had so much fun choosing fabric to represent the tail portion of the mermaid. It is also fun choosing the yarn for hair! I haven't perfected the pattern yet, but I'm working on it!

On a different note, the peach tree in my hill country yard is in full bloom! I wandered a little around the yard while we were waiting on a contractor to come.
 I discovered asparagus growing among the roses in the protected area of the yard!
They have not gotten enough light because two years of old stalks were blocking it out! (This photo was during the process of removing dead growth.) I also found lots of little violet like flowers coming up!

When we returned to south Texas, we were greeted by bluebonnets and other wildflowers! It has been misting rain for the last few days, so I am showing you the view from my apartment window. Do you see the field of blue the cows are grazing in? Those are blue bonnets. The blue is MUCH more intense when you see it without the filter of rain! 

Tomorrow is the first day of the Flags on Sticks blog hop! I will be posting my flag (or flags, hopefully!) on April 1.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Hill Country Update and a Mystery!

We finally gave up and hired someone to take the old stone up at our hill country house. This was a photo I took when I drove up on Tuesday to pay for the work. He hadn't hauled off all the old stone yet. When we arrived Saturday morning, it didn't really look a lot different. The big pieces of stone were gone, but the piles of cement dust, portions of cement backer board, and thousands of nails remained. Since we needed to be able to work in the house, we needed all of that up so we could walk on the floor. (He said he would clean it up when he laid the floor, but we have to do some reconfiguring in the kitchen before the floor goes down.)

 After a  day of sweeping up bucket loads of cement dust and bending over a pry bar pulling up nails, the floor is now "walkable"! The next step is taking out a few cabinets and putting in an island. 
I have a mystery that I'm hoping someone can solve. You may remember the old desk that we bought for my husband's office. It had been modified to accommodate a computer. (This is an OLD desk - much older than modern computers!
Front and center on the top is a little brass plate with a rectangular spring loaded "slot". As far as I can tell, its only function is to pinch the fire out of your finger when you push down on the slot.  As far as I can tell, it is not connected to anything below the top of the desk. I can see where it is screwed in. It might have served a function before the drawer was modified to be a pull-out keyboard tray. The desk belonged to a medical doctor, if that helps. (His name is stamped in the drawers.)

        Does anyone know what it is? (I'm a very curious person!)


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Supportive Group! Thank you!!!!

I received this in the mail today! Oh, my! How adorable! I certainly feel supported! Thank you all so much!
(As usual, our very efficient Mdm Samm even took pictures for me so I didn't have to lift a finger except to write this post! This was her own design, by the way!)

I will smile every time I enter my sewing room and see this on the wall. My sister gave me a mug once that said, "A sister is like a great bra. Supportive, makes me look good, never leaves me hanging and is always close to my heart." My online sisters are no exception and this just proves it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! 

Along with the quilt came a sweet little Tammy Bag full of thread and needles. 

 Again, my heartfelt thanks go out to you all!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Buying Fabric at the Thrift Shop! (with an important update!)

I love looking through thrift shops. I usually am drawn to the dishes, books, or furniture, but I recently picked up some wool that I will later "felt" and use in wool applique. (I love to recycle when I can!)

If you see the symbol above, you  know you have 100% wool. You want to find wool that is at least 80% wool. Several readers have told me that 70% wool/30% nylon works also and has a softer feel after felting. I also learned that if it says Worsted Wool, as in the label below, it may not felt at all! I did test a little piece and the rough handling made it shrink and felt some, but the worsting process is supposed to prevent that!
You will need to prepare the wool by cutting all seams apart so that it will draw up evening when you wash it.
 Also cut the waistbands off and remove linings, hem tape, zippers, and buttons.
I paid less than $30 for 8 large skirts and got two nice sized stacks of wool after cutting them apart. I can hand dye them to get colors I need, but I did try to find as many different colors as possible. A later trip yielded a bright yellow and a bright red sweater to use. (Yes, you can even felt knitted garments!) I can use them for wool applique, pin cushions, and many other pretty things.
Be sure to save the buttons! Have you seen the price of buttons in the store?

To felt the wool, the easiest way is use your washing machine There are many factors that will make a difference in how much your wool felts and shrinks. They include how hot the water is, the hardness of your water,  the dye used in your wool, the soap or detergent, and the amount of agitation the piece gets. You may have accidentally felted a wool sweater in the past! If you did, you know it wasn't hard to do. The wool will shrink sometimes to half it's size, so watch closely so that you can pull it out when the wool is just the way you want it. Rinse it in cool water so that the "scales" on the fibers lock together. You can put it in the dryer, but check first to be sure it is squared up.
Another method is to boil the wool on your stove. I am going to have to purchase a cheap enameled pot large enough for this. I will use it only for my wool, as my chemist husband informed me that dyes are chemicals that can be poisonous and you don't want to cook food in the same pot. I'll be sure and show you what I make from my wool!

                                                        House update: We have hired someone taking up the stone tile for us! We gave up on getting it out by ourselves. UGH! Sometimes it pays to just have something done! I'll show a picture when it's up. We will have to do some work in the kitchen before the new flooring is installed.
View from my bedroom balcony. It's beginning to look like spring in the Texas hill country!

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