Saturday, December 27, 2008


Snow-Quake: a cross between an snow avalanche and an earthquake (my own wacky definition). At 3:00 a.m. this morning, I was awakened by a huge noise and the house shook. At first I thought the deck that runs the entire length of our house had fallen from the weight of the remaining 13 inches of snow-turned-to-rain. But then I realized I hadn't heard any tearing and ripping noises. Phew! My next guess was the snow had slid off the slanted metal roof of our shop, but I couldn't see since it was still dark. Sure enough, first thing in the morning, I checked it out and saw from the relative safety of the front porch that the pretty blue roof was now showing. Here's the picture from the porch:
And as you can see, when it came down, it pretty much buried one of our cars.
Adam took me to town and on the way we stopped at the tavern a mile from our house (Buzz Tavern - isn't that a great name?) where we had burgers and fries - boy, they sure tasted good, but at that point, anything that wasn't my own cooking would have been like a little piece o' heaven! Our road is still horrible with ruts and thick mounds of slippery snow. And Christmas is still on we are looking at next weekend before we can all get together.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Everything But The Squeal!

Last week, as the snow just kept coming down and my Christmas shopping had barely even begun, I was starting to panic. On a previous post, I mentioned I was looking around the house, eyeing things that I might get away with "giving" as presents, LOL! I mentioned I had two pair of jeans that my oldest son, Ben, had wanted me to hem about...uh...two years ago. I said I was going to hem them right then and there, and wrap them up for Christmas. I'm titling this post "Everything But the Squeal!" I mentioned that phrase to my other son, Adam, and he asked what it meant. Uh oh...I guess that's one of those "old people" phrases! When folks used to butcher pigs, they used all parts of that pig - the head, the snout, the feet - in other words, "Everything But The Squeal," since you just didn't waste things in the olden days. Well, when I cut the bottoms off the jeans (and it was a good 5-6 inches), I paused for half-a-second, and then tossed those scraps in the garbage can under the sewing machine. As I began to wrap the jeans (hahaha), a plan formed in my weird little head. I snatched the scraps right back outta the can, cut a chunk out, frayed it, and made a pocket for the cloth bag I had put the jeans in. Then cut off some of the original hems, spliced them together, and used that for a drawstring.
As I wrapped a few more presents, I became obsessed with using "Everything But The Squeal." And here are the results:

Well, I did wind up with just the tiniest bit of those hems left, but since we STILL haven't had Christmas because of the weather (hopefully tonight), I may just find some odd thing around the house so I can use that last little chunk! Oink, Oink!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dude! Where's My Car?

So far, we havne't gotten any of the 4 inches of new snow we were "promised" today, and it's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow. So I thought I'd snap a pic of my least I THINK that's my car under all that snow...before the rain comes and hopefully washes all this wonderful whiteness away. It's sooooo pretty, but I haven't bothered to really even brush my hair in about three days now...although I HAVE showered, thank-you-very-much! But when you don't (can't) leave the house, getting all gussied up seems just a bit too much work.

We have put Christmas "on hold" most likely until tomorrow night IF those rains come AND it doesn't freeze. Son Adam gave all the neighbors at the end of our road a Christmas present last night when he took the tractor and back-bladed the longest, meanest hill so they could get home. He's a good kid :-) So today, I've had a chance to take some pictures of some of the gifts I wrapped, since they are still wrapped! This one is for my DIL:
That's a pocket on the front flap, and in the pocket I put a softie. I didn't even know what softies were until I started this apron-swapping-blogging stuff, and when I first encountered softies, I thought they were a little scary looking. I must have gotten used to them, because I'm curiously finding myself wanting to make I being brainwashed by the Internet???
A couple of miscellaneous presents:

And even ones for the pets:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Wine Coolers"

"Wine Coolers" - I think that says it all, as the snow continues to hang around.

Monday, December 22, 2008

December 22 - One Present Wrapped! it's December 22, as in three days before Christmas. And I have one present wrapped! At this rate, I should have ALL my presents wrapped by....oh.....Valentine's Day? Well, this gift is a (sssshhhhh - secret!) that my son, Adam, bought for his girlfriend. I don't have a lot of "girls" in the family to wrap for, and guys don't give a rip if it's in the plastic bag it came in. So I like to take my time with the girlie gifts.
I used some pretty blue and ecru snowman fabric I had in my stash. I lined it with tiny blue gingham, and added a froth of wide vintage lace, ribbon and beads, and some vintage buttons. Adam looked at it and said "Is that lace dirty?" Men!.....I told him it was "vintage." He said "Does that mean you, like, ripped it off of something old you had?" I told him it was old lace, but never used, and on a bolt. He asked me again if it was dirty. Good thing he's good at pup-rescuing, because he stinks at gift-wrapping appreciation skills!
I made a ribbon-and-bead tag and whipped up a scrapbook-paper folded wreath to complete the package. many more gifts do I have to go?????

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Breaking News: Fire Dept. Rescues Pup!

Ok, the only place this is "Breaking News" is right here on my blog, but I thought it was too cute to pass up. Diesel is not really our dog - he's the neighbors' dog. But he thinks he lives at both their house and ours. For the most part, he is at their house all day, playing with the kids and getting snacks. Then he comes to our house to spend the night, or when the weather is bad. Well, he didn't show up last night, but we weren't too concerned because he does have a dog house at his "real" home. This morning, however, we heard him barking and barking. Miss Piggy was quite concerned about her buddy.
I went out to the end of the deck and saw him at the gate between our properties. The snow was so deep (and he's so short) that he couldn't wiggle under the gate as usual, plus it was kinda frozen as well. What to do...what to do?

The Fire Department To the Rescue!!!!! Ok - my son is a mechanic at our city's Fire Department, but that still counts, doesn't it? He booted up and trudged across the lawn to the gate.
He had to do some kicking and pulling to clear the snow and get the gate open enough for Diesel to wiggle through.
Poor puppy, he kept sinking in the 15 inches of snow - he's that tiny, black blob in front of Adam in the pic - so finally Adam just scooped him up and carried him.
Normally, Diesel doesn't like to be picked up or carried (he's old and grumpy), but he didn't complain this time. Across the frozen land, man and pup trudged.....
Is this just the cutest pic? Diesel looked happy to be rescued, and he's warm and snug on a blanket on the couch right now. Miss Piggy is pestering the heck out of him and he's probably wishing he was back on the other side of the gate. Happy Endings are great, aren't they?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Storm Warning!

Well, we've been dealing with this snow awhile now and it seems we are getting even more. Most snow we've had in 18 years. It's so beautiful...but makes it hard to get things done. My son, Adam, took me to Safeway, Costco, and the Farmer's Market today - I had to "power-shop" for Christmas. "Uh...this looks good! I'll take it! What is it?" Hahahaha. I was getting a bit desperate, having procrastinated in my shopping - and now I'm thinking about seeing what I have laying around that I could foist off as presents. My older son, Ben, had brought me two pair of jeans to hem...uh, hem hem...two years ago....uh, hem, I didn't quite get to them. I'm going to hem them tonight and wrap them up :-) And I made cookies - they count as presents, don't they? Well, you know, I buy them stuff all year long, so it's not like they'll go wanting...

So here was what it looked like yesterday....this is the view from our deck:
And here is what it looks like right now, as more snow is falling. Those are "second-growth fir" on the left, although they may now qualify as "first-growth." According to the United States Forest Service old growth Douglas-fir definition is a tree “greater than 32 inches diameter or greater than 200 years old.” These and others on our property are now greater than 32" in diameter. They are stately and majestic, although when high winds are predicted, they can be deadly.They are shallow-rooted and the lower branches, called "widow-makers" are very dangerous. Tonight we will get high winds, and we shall surely lose our power which means the sewing maching won't be sewing...but at least with our generator we'll have some lights, crockpot, electric frying pan, TV, and our gas range to cook on.

But I should stop complaining - there are others who have it far worse...and I shall be thinking of them...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cute Santa Ornament

Just in time for Christmas! A cute ornament or package tie-on that you can make! For this project, you'll need the following fabric strips and materials. Use WOF, or you could also use Fat Quarters - it would still make several. Especially for the face/beard areas, choose fabrics that will lend themselves to what these areas should represent, like white, beige, or brown for the face and something "beard-like" for the beard.

- One 9" strip of fabric for back of ornament, and since the top of the ornament (hat) is folded over, part will show on the front (red with white/olive green circles fabric in the picture)

- One 1" strip for the hat brim, and one 3" strip for the beard area (white with red squiggles fabric in the picture)

- One 1" strip for the face (plain white fabric in the picture)

- One 5 1/2" strip for the hat front (blue/red/white/green fabric in the picture)

- One 9" strip of medium weight fusible interfacing, non-woven or whatever you have on hand

- Two "E" beads or your choice, for eyes

- One small jingle bell or pom-pom

- Narrow ribbon, embroidery thread, pearl cotton, or yarn for hanging loop

Let's get started! Got your strips all ready?Sew the strips, using shortened stitch length and scant quarter-inch seams. Sew the front hat to the brim, and the face to the beard. Press seams, and then sew the front hat/brim section to the face/beard section. Press. Following the manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the back fabric. Pin the pieced front to the interfaced back RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER - a few pins will do. Trace around the template (see the end of this tutorial for template) with your favorite marking took (I just use a regular pencil). Line up the horizontal lines on the template with the seam lines on the pieced section. If you are making more than one ornament, keep each traced unit 1/2" from each other. DO NOT CUT on the pencil line! Keeping the entire pinned sections together, sew around each Santa with a narrow stitch, right on the pencil line. Leave an opening in the middle of the hat area on one side so you can turn it rightside out. With a pair of small, sharp scissors, cut around the stitching line, leaving a 1/8" border, and a bit more at the opening area. Trim the corners to reduce bulk. Use your favorite tool for turning - I use a bamboo turner and point presser. Get all the little corners nice and flat. Press. You can slip a strip of Steam-A-Seam (or other double-sided fusible) in the opening to hold it shut. Fold the top of the hat to the front at a pleasing angle. After pressing, your Santa Ornament should look like this:
Sew the "E" beads where the eyes should go on the white face area, and the jingle bell or pom-pom on the hat. Sew the ribbon/thread/yarn right where the hat angles, for a hanging loop. Ta-Da! You are done! If you do them assembly-line style, they really will go together quickly.

TEMPLATE: I wish I could have included a .pdf file of the template. But you will have to use my dimensions to create your own - sorry! I drew mine on paper and then used plastic template sheets to make a sturdier pattern (use a Sharpie permanent marker to draw the lines on the plastic). The dotted lines inside are just for visual reference so you'll know how tall and wide the template is at its tallest and widest points - you don't need to draw the dotted lines on your temlate.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Uh oh! I think it's SNOW!

Well, our little winter storm has gotten much worse in the past few hours! It's piling up - I'm already bargaining with my son, Adam, to see if he'll drive me to work tomorrow, because I'm a total Snow Bunny Chicken! The sirens continue, on and off, on the freeway, and I fear for the drivers that have been caught unawares. But the scenery is beautiful, so I couldn't resist snapping a few more pics.
Our majestic evergreen firs and cedars are covered in white!
Even the deciduous alders are beautiful in their naked simplicity!
It's a bit blurry because she just can't stand still - Miss Piggy is dashing about in total glee! Although she's really happy to come back to the warmth of the house (and a handful of Trader Joe's Charlie Bear treats!).

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! NOT!

Well, winter has arrived in the Pacific Northwest! Our first snow of the Season arrived late last night, but just a dusting. Today, however, it has been snowing harder and is starting to cover the ground. It's beautiful...but I really do have to get to work tomorrow, so I'm hoping it won't hang around :-(
Miss Piggy, our Boston Terrier-Pug, has been frolicking in the strange, cold, white stuff all morning! She delights in pouncing on the snow and biting chunks. I had a hard time getting her to stand still long enough, but finally got this pic.

Like I said, it is beautiful...but as I'm standing here on our deck, I am listening to the ominous sounds of many, many sirens coming from the freeway in the distance, and thinking of that icy drive I'm going to face in the morning.....staying at home, bundled up, and sewing seems a far better idea to me!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free Projects!

I just love free projects, don't you? The McCall Pattern Company has some free projects on their site at: One that I've made is what they call "Evening Bag." But I use it to "wrap" small gifts in (remember, I can never find tissue or wrapping paper in my house, so I always use fabric, LOL!). Here are a couple bags I made using their free pattern, although I did do a bit o' embellishment because I just can't leave things the way they are!

I added beads on both sides of the zippers, and ribbon flowers with either button or beaded centers. I usually just make stuff up as I go and rarely do the exact same thing twice. I added beaded (on wire) zipper pulls.

Inside this one, I packed a matching credit card holder, wrapped in tulle to kinda fill the bag out nicely.
And here's the credit card holder - open, and closed. What fun to make and to give!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Polar Fleece Pull-Eeeeeez!

Don't toss those scraps of Polar Fleece! Put them to work making what I call Polar Fleece Pull-Eeeeeez! Use them to gently safeguard those precious, breakable gifts you are giving this year. They are cuter than tissue paper, reusable, and you can color-coordinate, depending on what you have in your stash.

Easy to make? You betcha! Just cut crosswise (along the greatest stretch) strips of scrap Polar Fleece. Cut a test strip to see the effect - different fleeces (type and thickness) work best at different widths - 1/4" works well on thick fleece, but you'll need to cut the strips narrower on microfleeces. I fold pieces in thirds and use scissors to make the job go faster, but you can use a rotary cutter if you like. Then simply Pull-Eeeeeez - pull the strip gently until it stretches and curls. If the strips are breaking, you'll need to cut them wider. If they don't curl, you'll need to cut them narrower.

The idea of cutting-and-pulling fleece strips is not new, nor my idea - I've seen projects where they've been couched onto jackets and tops. But I've not seen them used as gift-packing, although I'd bet someone besides me has also used them that way. Now, get busy - and no fair using up perfectly good fleece yardage (wink, wink).