Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Decluttering my life.

If you had missed me at all it is because I had taken a respite from the computer.  Not entirely as I am completely addicted to online scrabble via email.  But I did stop reading blogs, writing on mine or thinking of what next to write about.


Life has crept in. Real life.  I love to log my activities but sometimes trying to photo journal them takes away from the speed in which you can get them done.  Plus you really did not want a blow by blow of what I have been up to.  So a synopsis will do with some flower photos. 


Thanksgiving day I sewed, I had set aside that day as my own to dive into some projects at my sewing machine I had been dying to try.  I promise to share what I made soon but not today.


By Friday I was ready to get back to putting the final touches on custom signs ordered from my website and get them ready to ship.  It is so nice now not to have any special orders on the table, it gives me time to focus on some other things I really need to get done. 


Like clearing out clutter.  Getting unnecessary items cleared out is very freeing but it takes some focus, time and dedication to see it thru.  Sometimes I can cling to non essential things that start piling up and eventually getting in the way.  Especially when you live in a small cottage type home. 


Saturday we enjoyed the fine weather. It reached 64 degrees here and was oh so sunny.  Sunday was filled with family and friends, cooking, eating and just enjoying each others company. 


Monday I spent the day clearing out clutter, all day and cleaning.  I wrapped signs to ship then pasted the labels on.   We took our walk to the lake to stretch our legs and to enjoy what was reportedly one of the last days of mild temps.  The lake was placid, the ducks foraging madly and a few fish were jumping. 


Tuesday, I had to take our truck to get smogged, chicken feed to pick up, signs to ship and boxes of stuff for the thrift shop (my decluttering).  In the afternoon I had my nephews and spent the rest of the day entertaining and enjoying them. 


Today has been spent trying to organize photos, get them backed up to an external drive and renamed.  I cannot tell you how boring that is, no wonder I have put it off for so long but in the end they will be easily found (or so the theory goes) when and if I need them. 

I need the taste of spring/summer the flowers of this post give, I have been freezing today.  It is much colder out, the wind today is frigid but mostly it is just me, it is just one of those days when I am cold from the inside out. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mad for Crochet.

For a link to the pattern just click the photo. 
I have fallen back in love with crocheting.  With all the fabulous blogs, free patterns and tutorials going on on the world wide web who could not.  Here is just a few I have come across that impressed me. 


iSleeve crochet tablet cozy


Too cute Hello kitty granny square scarf.  This one is officially on my “to do list”! 

"hooked and bound" hot pads.  I need to make myself the granny square one, I like that these have the ‘insulbrite’ thermal protective inserts in them, which protect delicate surfaces or our hands much better than just the cotton batting or yarn alone.

Vertical Stripe Crochet Scarf (Unisex)  My husband has yet to discover the added warmth of a scarf on a chill Fall or Winter day but maybe if I whipped one like this up for him he might find he can’t do without one.  Though I think he would prefer shades of blue…hmmm, a new project on my list. 

crochet african flower
Oh, crochet flower love. Definitely on my list.  
There is so much more out there but I will save that for another post.
Today I was able to spend time sewing, I did a bit of painting and now I am indulging in a bit of crochet.   I will be glad to share my projects I completed another day.

Do you want to learn to crochet?  This is a great site of step by step videos!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A frosty morn.

How is everyone this cold frosty morning???  I am sure it is much colder in other regions than here in N. Calif. but at 30 degrees it is more than cold enough for me.

Frost has graced all my lovely garden plants with a touch of sparkle, when I went out to feed my chickens I snapped a few shots to share. 



Nearly Wild Rose



the frost accentuates the hairy leaves.


Creeping Chamomile

I love this plant, it is tough as nails and smells of green apples when trod upon.  It grows between some of my stepping stones.


I still have some color too.  The lobelia growing in the hanging pots along the eave are still an eye-catching blue.


Sad looking, aren’t they.  But this is roses in winter…


Even the tough old black eye susans succumb to this kind of cold. 


I am finishing up the last of the special order signs and at the same time painting an old trunk to use as side table.  I mixed up a batch of DIY chalk paint to use on it and I am really enjoying it.  It works much better than I had anticipated.  I also picked up another type of crackle medium and it is interesting to work with as well.  I just have to get the knack of it down. That is all for another post. 

Time for me to get my day started.   Au revoir.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crackle away…

After being under the weather I had some digging out to do.  Cleaning, laundry, finish painting on custom orders and hauling my sewing “computer” to the shop to be set to rights.  (I had knocked it out of time), then picking it back up.   It desperately needed a good cleaning and oiling anyways so this just forced me to get it done.   So you now know where I have been since Sunday.

I did do a comparison for you.  Many customers who place special orders for signs want the crackled, distressed background.  There are a few options as to how to accomplish this. 

You can buy crackle medium or you can use white glue.  The already formulated crackle medium is pricier than the glue, Elmer's works the best for me.  I have tried other glues and they did not seem to work.


You can water down the glue but I have not found the correct ratio to get a decent effect.  Straight out of the bottle the white glue is thicker than the crackle medium.

For this demo I used a roller to apply both.  Nothing fancy, just a well used paint roller with a new cover.  Later I will show you why I prefer using a roller for this. 


With both the glue and medium I eyeballed it and poured out a puddle and quickly rolled it out as evenly as I could.


I worked on several boards.


 I let the crackle and glue dry thoroughly, then I roll on a coat of white paint, working quickly so as not to pick up and remove the crackle as it returns to a liquid state when the paint soaks into it.

The crackle medium was easier to spread being less thick than the glue.  The medium crackle effect on this board is finer but you can get the larger crackle if you leave the layer of medium thicker.  If you look closely you note how the crackles are going all directions.  


Since I can’t seem to figure out an effective way to thin the glue I get spots that are crackled rather than an overall crackle. 


Here is the crackle effect using a brush to apply the medium and paint. The cracks go mostly in the direction of the strokes from right to left.  I prefer using the roller but I do use a brush in a rush. 


So truthfully I prefer the crackle medium over the glue even if the medium is more expensive.  I have used the glue in a pinch and it will give you a crackle effect but the medium is easier for me to control.  

So I hope this helps anyone wanting to use a crackle finish for anything. 

Now on to more mundane things.  I have nearly finished all my special order signs and I will most likely not take any new orders after Thanksgiving for signs wanted for Christmas presents.  Orders after that date just put too much pressure on me. 
We are expecting some cold weather again.  Only a wee bit of snow to come but I have once again been spoiled by mild temps this entire week and am not really looking forward to freezing cold weather.  My husband and I even enjoyed lunch on the patio of one of our favorite restaurants this past Monday, the sunshine was so warm.  

Ta ta all, until we meet again.

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