Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Still Enjoying Our Hospitality

 Many of you were wondering 
what's been  happening in the raccoon nursery.
Still there.
Enjoying our hospitality
And no sign of the babies yet.

How do we know they are still there?

Running Man has several surveillance strategies.

He's given up on the rock music. 
 I think it was driving him more crazy than the house guest
so when it's quiet
we can hear the mother raccoon purring.
  Probably when she is feeding her little ones.
The babies haven't been squeaking as much as before.  
They're growing bigger.
But the real way we know they're still here is that
a couple of times a week,
 Running Man takes his post on the opposite roof line at dusk and 
waits with
his flashlight in hand

 to spot the mother coming out of the chimney
 and on her way to search for food.
(Wish I had a photo of that)

He hasn't actually seen her come out,
 but suddenly there she is looking at him
.  She scampers one way
 Running Man scampers down another way.  
But he never sees her again. 
 She's faster on a roof than he is.

One of these evenings she won't be alone.
  She'll bring her family up out of the chimney
 to explore the night with her. 

 Then we'll know it's time to block the entrance
and send them on their way.

But until then we still have guests.
 Until Next Time-

Monday, May 28, 2012

A little Vino

 All of Running Man's family
is originally from Italy.
It's a beautiful place to visit.
Ancient History
Natural Beauty
Delicious Food
Spectacular wines.

My father in law shared stories of
when he was a kid, he would
stomp grapes for wine in the basement of 
their home.
 Of course, no one ever did that better than Lucy.

Over the weekend, we made our own wine, but
there wasn't any stomping involved.

With coordinated help from our friends,
we bottled,

 added our custom labels

and took home
bottles of

 It was a fun new experience.
And now we have an excellent wine 
 to accompany an excellent meal
 with wonderful friends.

 Until Next Time

Friday, May 25, 2012

Commemorate Memorial Day

It is important to take time this weekend
 and reflect on the sacrifices our veterans
 make every day on our behalf.
 Thank them,


 and old.
 (My Dad in the Philippines, WWII)
 Until Next Time-

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rotten Bananas

We all know the saying 
" if life gives you lemons, make lemonade." 

There must also be a saying , 
" if hot weather creates rotten bananas, 
make banana bread." 

 I took the conventional banana bread recipe 
and made it even more delicious 
by adding chocolate and chocolate chips. 
What's not to love.

 Living in the mile high city of Denver,
 means you need to tweak the recipe for altitude.
 Otherwise, the bread can cave in.
Which is not so good.

 Basically, you need to add more flour
 and more liquid, 
and reduce the sugar and leavening. 
There is chemistry involved,
 but it really does make a difference.

Why didn't sophomore chemistry teach
some fun useful stuff?

If you're interested making a yummy loaf
 I used the recipe 
 Rich and Moist:
Sour Cream Chocolate Chocolate Chip
Banana Bread Recipe
by Alice Currah
from the blog

 Needless to say it didn't last long.
It won't last long at your house either.

I also need to give credit to my 
charming assistant.
Learning to working together 
is an important
life lesson.

 Until Next Time-

Monday, May 21, 2012

No Sense to the System

Do you ever wonder why certain things are the way they are?
What's with the numbering system of DMC floss? 
It's one of those systems that makes no sense to me.
 The colors jump all over the place according to their numbers.

I tried to do a little investigating about their numerical system, but
couldn't find why they're in that order.
I thought it might be that as more new colors are added
they're just placed at the end.
So everything ends up being willt nilly.

Finally, there is a newer color chart available
that arranges the floss by their color families not by the color number.
It's so useful.

The hardest part of my floss collection is trying
to find the best way to keep what I have
organized enough so I can find what I need.

Sound familiar?

I've tried the 
Floss-Away plastic bags
which is nice because all you have to do is
put the floss in the bag to keep it from getting tangled and
it's easy to put leftover strands in there as well.

But those little bags go all over the place.
I've put them in boxes, and on metal rings.
It just doesn't work for me.

Then I've tried the paper and plastic bobbins.
They're ok.
But first you have to wind the floss on to the bobbin.
Which takes time.
The hard part is when you have a couple of
strands leftover. I know you can just wind it back on.
But it doesn't always want to stay.

Then I bought these.
They are the length of the  floss and bendable
so you can slip the floss into the grooves at the
stop and bottom and not have to wind it on.
 There's also preprinted sticky numbers for easy identification.
 They're a little pricey, but it works pretty well.  

There are plastic sleeves to
slip these into to keep them from unwinding.
You can see them below.
Notice I don't have anything in them.

But still the floss is sorted by their crazy numbers.
Mostly I do this when I'm working on an embroidery project.

But it's not good either.  
If you loose the number sleeve, the 
floss is doomed forever to the
 "tin of the unknown floss"

 Until Next Time-

Friday, May 18, 2012

Just A Little Bit Random

My week has been just a little bit random. 
Small bits of interesting things thrown together. 

I confess I'm part of the Pinterest phenomenon
I'm sure most of you are acquainted with the website.
 It's like creating your own magazine with no ads
 and you get to include only the things you like.

I collect lots of ideas,
 but truthfully don't do too much with my pins.
 Except this 

Elizabeth had a rusted colander. 
It was a great color.
So look what she did. 
 So cute! 

Ever since Sanford was born
 he's loved to bounce. 
His mommy and daddy bounced him a lot 
on a birthing ball when he would get fussy when he was first born.
 Now he loves to be held in a standing position
 and just bounce. Up and down..up and down. 
 He's got very strong legs. 

 But look what he has now!
 The Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer Baby 

He loves it. 
Now he can bounce to his hearts content. 

If fact the first time he used his new bouncy chair, 
he bounced for about 15 minutes and fell fast asleep. 

But now his endurance is up, 
he can do his aerobic bouncing for who knows for how long. 
Actually, we limit his bouncing time.

We have nonpaying boarders at my house. 
We've tried to have them evicted, but with no results.
 I think they are here to to stay for about another month.

A mother raccoon got into our chimney 
and has created quite the nursery for her young family. 

 The animal control people have tried to get her to move her family 
by pouring male raccoon urine down my chimney, twice,
Pouring male coyote urine down my chimney,
Rattling large chains in my chimney,
And Running Man has begun playing loud hard rock music in the fireplace, 
just to annoy her. 

They are located behind the firebox and the outside wall.
So they can't get in, and for now the fireplace 
is taped over with plastic to keep the smells of nature out of the house. 
Oh, what fun. 

 The animal control folks said, she loves it there. 
It's dark and safe 
and except for the rock music, it's quiet.

 She'll stay until she can take the babies out with her.
 Then we'll put a one way door on top of the flue 
and they won't be able to get back in until we fix 
it for good.

Then the family will have to look for lodging else where.
 They're pretty noisy at times, lots of squeaks. 
A mother raccoon can have 3 to 7 babies. 
 I hope I can get a couple of good pictures when they vacate.
It's the least they can do.
Really, the biggest question is not how they got into our fireplace,
but where did the guy get the raccoon and coyote urine!
You just can't hand them a white paper cup and say, "Please".

Until Next Time-

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I have always enjoyed doing hand embroidery even as a kid.
 Just before my family's summer vacations at a lake up northern Michigan,
 I would go to the Five and Dime store in my little town and
 buy a couple of new prestamped dishtowels.

Along with a new coloring book and crayons,
that would keep me busy while I was gone.

I'm not an expert embroiderer
and I don't use a multitude of different stitches.
Most of my project just warrant constancy and
trying not to have dangling french knots.

Getting the project for May prepped
 "Baby Days" 
reminded me of some techniques that make my
time more efficient and eliminate headaches.

1. A Good Backside Can Be A Great Cover Up

It's nice to baste a piece of muslin or light weight
batting to the back side of your piece.
If you travel with the floss from one spot to another
it doesn't shadow through.  
This doesn't work for towels, but I sure
I wish I had done this on many quilt tops.

2. Don't Rush
I'm always in a hurry when it comes to marking
a pattern.
My fabric must have slipped while it was on my
light table.  
Now I have double dots for french knots.
 They're not going to get covered up very well,
but it was a lesson learned.

Would this be the time for a dangling french knot?

3. Lazy Daisies
I have also learned that if I draw the loop for
a lazy daisy stitch, my markings never match.
Instead I just place a dot for the location
of the stitch.
It works much better for me.

4. The More Needles the Better
When I get a whole package of needles I use them.
Thread those babies up.

5. Keep It Thin
A pigma pen 01 or 001 is the
best marking tool.  
The line is so thin that a single strand of floss will 
cover it up.
Pick a color that will blend in with most of the
floss colors, just in case.

These pens are perfect for redwork.

6. Do What You Like Best
This pattern suggests that 3 strands of floss be used
for the stitching.

But in this case the details are so fine and small,
3 strands would just make a blob in some places.
Directions can be looked at as a suggestion.
Do what you like best.
 For me, I'm using 2 strands.
Until Next Time-

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Progress Project Plan 11-Update

Another month
and another completed project
 from the depths of the sewing room.

Last month my quilting group,
The Quilty Buddies,
worked on project #11.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to
attend the meetings, so I don't know
how everyone else is progressing,
but I continue to move forward at my
usual snail's pace.

April was a good month.
My project was small.
 It was a needlecase
designed by Crabapple Hill.

It was part of a more intricate sewing kit,
but I opted to do just this part.

Those are the kinds of decisions you can make
when you're the boss.

This month the # 2 was drawn.

So looking at my list,
I have an embroidery pattern
designed by Waltzing With Bears.

I bought it as a kit.
I believe the pattern was as a block of the month.
I got a better deal with the kit, pattern and fabric included.

I started this almost a year and half ago.
I had gotten it ready to take on a trip.

So why did I stop working on this.

Several reasons:
1. The trip was over and there were other
more pressing things to do.

2.  I hadn't been real careful marking some of the
designs and I didn't know what to do to cover
it up.

3.  I had cut out the sashing fabrics and had
miscut one of the fabrics. And you know when
you purchase a kit there is no room for error.
So I was bummed and I was going to have
 to find new fabric to replace my goof-up.

4.  I didn't like so much brown in the
stitchery part and wasn't sure what
color to use instead.

I had to put too much thinking into the project and
make some decision and
I didn't want to.
So I put it away.

Now that this project has been brought to
my attention again,
I'm ready to move it forward.

Hopefully, enough time has lapsed
that the rethinking parts will be more viewed as
an opportunity
than a drudgery.

 Keep you posted.
Until Next Time-