Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wool and Burlap Poinsettia Wreath

 Wool and Burlap Poinsettia WreathI love seeing the Christmas flower, the poinsettia, everywhere this time of year.  This holiday season my crafting vision was to make a wreath celebrating this flower’s beauty from simple natural materials.

I started with a store bought cardboard form, a strip of burlap, and thick wool felt.

Wreath MaterialsI began by wrapping the burlap around the form and securing it with a few staples.  I made 3 different sized petal templates for the flower.

Burlap on FrameI machine stitched a line down the center of each petal, although in retrospect I could have skipped this step.  When I began hand sewing the petals together, I discovered that the flower came together best when I sewed each layer of five petals together separately, and then attached the three layers together.  I added a few green leaves.  For the yellow flower centers, I pinched off small pieces of wool roving and rolled them between my fingers . I used two squares of the red wool to make three flowers.

wool petals

poinsettia flowerThen I decided on the flower placement that appealed to me and attached the flowers to the burlap wreath with wire.  I added a burlap bow and a rustic red and white plaid bow on top for additional decoration.

Wool Flower Close-upPoinsettia Wreath on DoorThe wreath was fun and simple to make, and these spectacular blooms will last and last adding beauty and color to any wall or door.

How Pepper Found his Voice- A Dog Story

I don’t know my dog’s date of birth or any information about how he came to be homeless.  His age was estimated when he was picked up and admitted to the shelter.  So I celebrate his adoption day each year.

Seven years ago I was in need of a dog. At the county shelter, I entered the doors that led to a row of dogs.  I saw a small black and white dog alone and read that was his first day at the shelter.  All of the other dogs were close to the front of their enclosures but he was way at the back.  I started talking to him and tried to coax him to come nearer.  He started to come over and over again, but was scared to cross the hump at the center divider.  I don’t know why I didn’t move on and look at the rest of the dogs.  I sat there and talked to the dog without a name.  I talked softly to him until he finally found the courage to come up to the bars.  I put a hold on him, but there was a 5 day waiting period to allow someone to claim him before he would be available for adoption.

When I came back, he was right up front like the others.  That’s the day I snapped my first photo of him.  His tag looked enormous on his small body.

Pepper Shelter

I signed the adoption agreement and named him Pepper.  They put a new sign on his cage that he was adopted and would be neutered the next morning. He would be ready to leave that afternoon after recovery time.

Finally I could take him home!   I introduced him to his new life with a house and yard to explore, toys, and blankets.  As our first days together passed and we got to know each other, one thing about him stood out.  I never heard him bark.  When the mailman was at the door he didn’t make a sound or even move; he just looked at me with wide eyes.  I began to think something was wrong and he couldn’t bark.  What had he been through?

One day we were taking a walk, and suddenly he barked at some loud kids across the street.  He had a voice!  And thereafter he barked at the mailman, the UPS man, and anyone walking by his house.  He knew this wasn’t just some place he was staying– this was his home and he would protect it.  He was home for good and not alone anymore.

He discovered the world of fashion:

Pepper Fashions


Posing in his youth, and now in maturity…

My little dog with the big bark.

Pink Pepper2

New Year Thoughts

In 2012 I sewed my first wearable garment, my version of the free Sorbetto Top pattern.  I also did my first 2 refashions.  I learned how to make buttonholes, a centered zipper, how to use the automatic threader on my machine, and I practiced making french seams, mock french seams and felled seams.

I surprised myself by starting a blog!

My sewing and stitching goals for 2013 are:

To sew a dress. ~~~To sew a blouse with buttons, and another top. ~~~To sew some kitchen items. ~~~To alter my clothes to fit me better.~~~To put in an invisible zipper.~~~To refashion a winter skirt and a classic shirtdress that I thrifted. ~~~ To knit an accessory. ~~~To finish crocheting an afghan.~~~To sew some applique or pieced pictures to hang on wall~~~Embroidery.  And then more of the above.

I also want to learn how to use Pinterest.  I bookmark things I might want to make, but it would be much more helpful to see them laid out on a page with photos.  Previously I saw things on Pinterest I was interested in, but I couldn’t figure out how to get to the original tutorial or pattern and got frustrated.  When I clicked I just got another person’s board.  Maybe those were repins?

I want to learn how to take better photographs.  Some of my photos are blurry and I can’t take good close-ups.  I don’t know if that’s my fault or the camera’s fault.

And the resolution (oops, that word slipped out) that’s always on my list: to organize my things and my time better.  My output is small compared to others, but to actively create something myself instead of just spending my spare time reading or in other passive activities is a personal triumph.

Happy New Year!

Paused For Technical Difficulties

When my four year old desktop computer started having problems, and I was getting “one of your disks needs to be checked for consistency”  messages I intended to have it fixed.  But when I couldn’t boot at all a few days later on Thanksgiving weekend,  I wondered if it wouldn’t be smarter to upgrade than repair.  I had my first computer for 8 years.  I made the mistake of replacing the hard drive a few times and didn’t realize how sadly out of date my machine was.  This time I decided to replace, and got a more powerful computer with ample memory and storage.  I was tired of always waiting and getting “not responding” messages, stopping scripts, and coming to a standstill whenever the antivirus software would update.

I don’t keep updated on technology enough.  I need to go into Best Buy more often.  I was still using a mouse with a rolling ball, and let me tell you, it was usually pretty jerky.  There are  optical mice,  laser mice and wireless mice.  I only installed a router and discovered wi-fi when I was given an Android tablet two months ago.  I thought tablets were just for reading books, and I’d rather read web pages.  When I read a book, I want an actual book.  And I’ve never had an I-anything or used a phone for other than making calls.

I’m happy I upgraded. My  new Dell came with Windows 8. Uh, wait a minute.  I have to learn how to do everything all over again?  What is the start screen for? How to close an app, how to shut down, how to find programs?  And why do you need an app for a website when you are on a desktop?  Oh, this is the operating system for touch devices but you are using it on a desktop.  I found swiping the corners for “charms” to be odd, but I caught on,  got things customized, got my data and photos back from Mozy, and I’m ready to go forward.

Help! My Amazon Cart Prices Have Gone Up

It’s the shopping season, and we’re all looking to get the best prices.  I have been an customer for a long time.  I even bought my sewing machine on Amazon when there was no sales tax.  I like putting items in the cart and saving them for later.  I hate it when I put something in the cart, and the next day the price has gone up!  I was considering buying a dress form, put it in the cart at $69.99, then saw it rise to $74, $76, and $78.  I wondered if there’s a way to stay ahead of the price fluctuations and get a good deal, especially since Amazon no longer has price protection.

I discovered the answer is a site called camel camel camel where you can track the price history of an item, and even set a desired price, and have an email alert sent when it reaches your price.

I saw the graph for my dress form.  Over a five month period, the price had ranged from a high of $99 to a low of $60, a $39 spread.

Do I really need it?  Where am I going to put it?  I won’t get it.  But wait, the price dropped.  The next day the price dropped again.  Maybe I should buy it.

I bought it for $64.

Best Witches for a Fun Halloween

I’ve always enjoyed the symbols of fall: especially leaves, pumpkins, apples, and scarecrows.  They are images often seen in folk art quilts.  It’s not cold at all today in southern California, and we’re not known for our change of seasons or brilliantly colored leaves, so I’m enjoying Halloween decorations.

Front Porch Wagon

Pepper Dressed Up: : “Ring the doorbell and I’ll show you scary!”

Electric Pumpkin on Ledge at Night