Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Microwave Bowl Cover


 I made my first microwave bowl cover!
I used Connecting Threads 10 inch squares
and Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting.


I attached a 10 inch fabric square to a 10 inch square of batting
by sewing an X from point to point diagonally.
I  chose two different fabrics because this is reversible.
Do this for both fabric sides.

Then you fold the individual fabric/batting pieces
in half and add darts (for this size)
one inch over from the fold and 2 inches down,
drawing an angled line on the batting.
Do this on all sides to make the bowl shape.
Make sure to watch the tutorial at the link below 
for specific instructions.  It provides sizes to make
a variety of bowls from large to small.


Then you sew each of the fabric/batting pieces together
(fabric right sides together). Sew around all sides leaving a 3 inch  opening.
When complete, turn it inside out and stitch around the edge to finish.
You can't use anything that may catch fire so be very careful
about the materials you use for this.  It should be used only
in the microwave and never leave it unattended while heating.

This was my practice piece.  Now that I see how it is constructed
the next ones will go much more quickly.  I will make sure to either
back stitch or put a knot at the end of my darts to strengthen them.  

You can watch a You Tube tutorial here.  

They use a ruler to measure the darts in this video but 
you could use your grid square and go over one inch
then angle towards the edge until the 2 inch mark is 
on the side.  See the tutorial here

I would recommend watching and reading both of these if you have not made these before.  I think these are a really great gift idea and you could give a set of 
three or four different sizes that will nest inside each other for storage.

Turned Bottle Stoppers, Pens and Seam Rippers


 Wood turning is fast becoming my husband's favorite
activity.  He has been working on bottle stoppers
and additional seam rippers this past week.

The designs are one of a kind, no molds or templates
to follow other than purchasing the pre-made metal parts.  The wood
ranges from cherry, mahogany and exotics.


This is a tall stopper, better for a larger bottle.


Smaller stoppers with a mushroom design.


Pens in all shapes and wood types.


He has sold a few of the bolt action pens,
they are popular with hunters, people in the
military and collectors of unusual pens.


He is starting an inventory of seam rippers.
We've had some interest in these and have
come up with a price for local sales but
I have to understand shipping for anyone outside
of our area.  I have two on order at work.


You remove the tip, turn it around and 
reinsert into the wooden handle to use the 
ripper.  For storage, reinsert into the wooden handle.


That's is what is happening in our neck of the woods.
I've been playing around with material of course and
made my first quilted bowl holder for the microwave.
I'll be showing you that in the next day or so.

For those in the areas hit by snow,
Stay Safe!
Stay Warm!







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Turned Seam Ripper



 I received a surprise gift from my husband.
 He is particularly fond of turning wood on his lathe, 
creating beautiful pens from chunks of wood.  When I 
arrived home he had created a special something for me.
      
At first you may wonder what sort of contraption this is,
I certainly would have if I didn't know it was my special
present to go along with all that fabric I 
have stocked up in the Girl Cave.


Pull out the metal tip


Insert it into the wooden handle and it becomes
a seam ripper!  With the clip you can hook it on to your
 pocket or smock while you are sewing so you know 
where it is at a moment's notice.


These are some of the wooden pens he has been making.
The most popular are the one with the bolt action
(click to enlarge), favored by men so far since they 
are a little heavier and thicker than some women prefer.
I love the cigar pen (middle one) with its swirls !

 The image below on the left is more of the collection
and the pen on the right is mine.













Saturday, January 17, 2015

More Savings- Price $269 Paid $29


YOU SAVED $ 239.85!
Another big win!
I have been watching the after Christmas sales
for great opportunities, much better than 
fighting through the Black Friday crowd.

Excluding tax:

Total $268.85
 Cash Payment $ 28.95 

My last post discussed paying $40 for $400 of merchandise
during a 90% off sale at Three French Hens.
Friday and Saturday I caught the $1 Simplicity Pattern sale
at Hancock Fabrics, in addition to finding nice remnant fabric.


While I quilt, I am not a seamstress
but I can only quilt so many quilts 
so expanding into other crafts and clothes
is a logical step but with patterns 
at $15-18 a piece, it didn't make sense.
But at $1 each?  You bet!

Here I have some holiday patterns,
organizers and adult bibs.  I thought
it could be a good project to make for
nursing homes and  maybe one for a messy
Kathy.  I can always count on spilling if
I am wearing something nice!



  Here I have some kitchen items and 
simple clothes.  The New Look was not on 
sale but their prices are less than $4 and
I did like the top.


Some animal patterns for kids.


Toys and organization patterns.
You can purchase a total of 10 patterns at a time 
so I made two trips, 5 during my way home from
work on Friday (since I pass it anyway) and 
then a separate trip today for another 10
plus the one not on sale. 


A couple of flannel squares for $0.69 each.

The best thing about the patterns is that
you can use them over and over again!


Fleece remnants for several patterns I have.
All this for under $30.

If you go to the link, you will see the sales.
Fleece is up to 75% off through January 28, and if you
have a Hancock near you, you won't pay shipping 
but if not, there is a promo code for shipping now too.


I did make a big purchase at Goodwill  
which was next door to the fabric shop.
I like to find discount books and if there is a 
thrift shop with a nice collection I try to stop in.
I did pick up a couple books at $0.79 each but
came across this ceramic bird that looks much
prettier in real life than in this photo.  
At $6 it was my big spend of the day.

All this sewing will come in handy with the new
wood turning item that my husband made me.
I'll save that for another post.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Bargain- $400 of gifts for $40




It is Christmas all over again in January!
I have been waiting for the 90% off sale at
Three French Hens, an upscale antique/gift shop
  in Wildwood, MO, a suburb of St Louis.

This little shop is off the beaten path, you
would have to know where it is to find it,
or by reading the local Who's Who magazines.
They have amazing furniture, kitchenware, dinnerware
and accessories for any occasion ranging from country French
to Farmhouse, Lodge and traditional pieces.



If you time it right you will arrive during their after Christmas
sale where everything is 90% off.
Yes, you pay only 10% of the retail price.
I saved $400 .  
Just so you don't think I'm blowing smoke, here is my receipt.  
Discount $194.85 + $199.22.
I paid just a little over $40 + tax.
The ticket didn't take into consideration that all
ornaments ($5-7 each) were pre-discounted to $1 each.
I purchased three ornaments and saved at least $15.


I have a deer duo pictured on my coffee table 
so you can see the larger one is good sized.
It started out at $64.95 (I saw it Monday at that price)
but on Thursday it was $6.50 with the smaller deer
originally priced at $12.95, currently $1.30.


An entire collection of future gifts at deep, deep discount.
Frasier Fir Potpourri originally $39.95 at $3.99.


The same holds true for the rest
pull toy horses sale price $1.30


Beautiful glass soap dishes and plates
currently  $1.50 and $1.90. 


Wall hanging now $1.70.  


   Mitten plates for $ 0.79 each.


Metal pocket holders currently $1.90


Ornaments originally $5-7 each are now $1.00.

I purchased the two items below last year 
to give as office gifts this Christmas.
They were originally $18.95 and I hit the $1.00 sale
so I was able to get all 10 people in my group
one of these. $ 189.50 for $10.
(and a set for myself)



I happened to stop by on my way home from work
on an extremely cold day.  The parking lot had only 
three or four cars in it so I knew it would not be crowded.
It turns out that I hit the first day of the sale!
There won't be much left after today, maybe
a lot of (very nice fabric) ribbon, larger tree ornaments, 
the fonds that you can stick into the tree branches and 
they feather out, etc.  The actual gift items are going fast!

It's an amazing sale if you time it right.
I'll tuck most of these away for next year.   

Monday, January 5, 2015

Vacuum Sealed Chicken Thighs $0.99


Our local grocery had chicken thighs on sales 
for $0.99 per pound, a pretty good price on chicken.
We typically stock up during these sales
but in earlier years found that we ended up with 
more freezer burn than meat.


We then invested in a vacuum sealer, 
this one is for home use, it will be 
different if we begin to process our own chicken.
It eliminates the freezer burn so we can
keep meat much longer than in the past.

There is an option for pre-made bags but we
choose to use the roll so we can determine our
own size plus I believe it is less expensive
but takes an additional step. 


You cut the bag to size and place an open side on the
 edge of the sealer, snap the latch and  press Seal.  
Once it seals the light turns off and you can remove the bag. 

Fill the bag and place the open so it overlaps the
suctioning area. Press the vacuum and seal 
button.  It should quickly begin to remove air
and shrink around the meat.


When the  the suctioning sound stops and the light turns off,
you can open the sealer and remove the bags.  Label and freeze.

Of course you can vacuum seal all sorts of things, 
not just meat intended for the freezer.


Here I have three to four thighs in vacuum sealed
bags and two regular storage bags for the thighs 
we will use immediately.

We do the same when we pull pork or purchase hamburger
in bulk. So far we have not had any problems with the 
meat quality.  It is well worth the money, especially when
I hear my co-workers talking about throwing away $20 worth
of meat they forgot in the deep freeze.  

The drawback is that the sealer, being home use,
will not perform well if you are trying to process large batches.  
Most will require a cool down period after so many seals.
At some point we will have to upgrade, particularly if we beging
to process meat birds.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Girl and her Drone- Plus Other Cool Gifts


Now Who is this gift for?
The tag says it is for Taylor, but do you think Pops has designs on it?
You have three guesses and the first two don't count.
Heck, Yes!!


It started out to be an inexpensive grocery store offering
for a pretty cool double bladed helicopter with a LED 
light, which we got for her cousin.  But then Pops said,
Let's go to the Hobby Shop!!
Uh oh.

 I went over to look at the "girl stuff" and when I came back
it was like the Geek convention.  Here they were talking
copters, gear, flight paths, ranges, etc.

Ummm, this is a kid's toy
(A Big Kid's toy from what I am seeing)

It doesn't look like any helicopter I've ever seen.
That's because it's a Quad Copter, or in other words
A Drone.


This one did not come with a camera but can be retro fitted.
It works on a  2.4 Ghz, a frequency Tom is licensed for
through his ham radio license, which means he can ramp
up power, better transmitters, etc.  Google has been 
talking about experimenting using these for repeaters
rather than towers, amazing!  These are similar to
what Amazon intends to use for package delivery.

 He is going to set up obstacle courses and landing targets
 once she gets good at it.  Pops seems to be practicing 
a lot, even when Taylor is not here!
He must be breaking it in for her.
That's it.

We got some other really cool gifts this year .


The cats got me a travel acrylic paint set.


 I also got some drawing pencils to go with it.

In  addition to a pocket knift and thumb guard for whittling.


I have no idea if I will be good at this but
thought it would be fun to try, especially
as we spend a lot of time sitting around the fire
or on the covered porch in the summer.
There are directions for making tiny animals
as well as other handy things.


Our neighbor gave us a Mushroom Mini Farm!
She had tried one of her own and it grew right out of
the box.  The photos were amazing, so pretty!
I'm looking forward to starting it.


Santa brought Pops an old time game,
he's always been fond of these things-
you know- how to unhook the horse shoes or
entwined nails or the peg games for tic tac toe.


Becky (my daughter) and Taylor (granddaughter)


Christmas Eve next door at my mother in law's house.
My daughter working as bartender.


Neighbors came to visit.


My brother/sister in law's mantle with the 
required opossum among the stockings (???)


Kids by the fire


Mom was not here, the first time in years and years.
She is still recovering from her months in the hospital, 
feeling much better and getting around the house 
unassisted now.  She spent the holiday with friends
 back in Arkansas. We gave her a Google Nexus so she
has her email and Facebook right by her chair and
can keep up with messages and photos of the family 
and friends.   It also has Google Hangouts which is
similar to Skype but easier. We'll teach her to use that
and we can video chat.