Homemade Laundry Sauce

Homemade Laundry Powder with Pink ZOTE Soap - December 21st, 2010 Tuesday

Click HERE to go to Heather’s version!

I’ve been making my own laundry soap for several years now, using a dry version consisting of a blend of Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Borax and grated Zote soap. I don’t know where, exactly, I first found this “recipe”, but the one over at Heather’s Blog-o-rama is (almost) the same:

1, 4-lb box of 20 Mule Team Borax
1, 4-lb box of Baking Soda  (Arm & Hammer brand)
1, 4-lb box of Super Washing Soda  (Arm & Hammer brand)
1  bar ZOTE soap, 14.1oz/bar
1 air-tight container large  enough to hold all this laundry powder.  I used an old bucket that originally contained store-bought laundry detergent. 

A month or so ago I saw a post on Facebook about a “liquid” Laundry Sauce. I’ve seen instructions for liquid versions before, but all of them involved heating the concoction to melt the soap and this whole cooking process just looked more time consuming, and MESSIER, than I liked. What caught my attention about this particular version was that it was a no-cook version and  was made directly in two mason jars in which it would then be stored – LESS mess than my current dry formula. I decided it was worth trying!


1 – 5.05 oz Bar of Fels Naptha Soap
3 C water (boiling)
1 C Borax
1 C Washing Soda (not Baking Soda)
2 (1 qt) Mason Jars

For the boiling water, Liss’ instructions tell us that she just ran the water through her coffee maker. I don’t have a coffee maker, but I do have an electric kettle, which is probably even faster! So that’s what I used, and it was simple.


Click HERE for the full NO COOK recipe!

Two of the most notable differences, other than the finished product being “liquid”, was that this recipe completely omitted the Baking Soda and also used Fels Naptha soap. In dry versions I’ve seen both ZOTE and/or Fels Naptha being used, but I had only ever used Zote. Being the first time for me to try this liquid version, I decided to follow the recipe EXACTLY and use the Fels Naptha. Before I even unwrapped it, I noted how strong it smelled. Not an unpleasant smell, but definitely a clean, almost antiseptic scent. Strong scents are a big no-no ’round here as they often trigger migraines in my hubby. However, he was home when I made this first batch and it did not result in a migraine.

In the instructions (click on the photo to go to the original website!) it very clearly states to be sure that the rim of your jars is not wet and does not have any of the ingredients on it or your gasket will get sucked into your soap and chopped into bits. It’s TRUE, don’t ask me how I know, I thought I had wiped the rims carefully, but on the second jar it happened. I was extremely DIS-pleased, to put it mildly, as we had just bought this blender the day before and now it was useless! IMG_20140924_133423Thankfully our local Walmart carries a replacement set and I didn’t have to buy a whole new blender or wait for a mail-order replacement gasket.IMG_20140924_133432 In the future, IF I find that I like this liquid version better than my DRY version, I will NOT be using my full-size up-right blender, but rather my trusty blender WAND. I have to use wide-mouth jars, but I’ve got cases of canning jars, so finding two wide-mouth quart-size jars shouldn’t prove difficult!IMG_20140924_133445




Time will tell if I prefer the old DRY method or the new “liquid” version.



One of MY two jars!

It’s also too soon to note if the Fels Naptha CLEANS better than the ZOTE. I’ve thought about doing a comparison between the two, but apparently that’s already been done, too: Budget 101 – Fels Naptha Vs. ZOTE. However, it comes down to personal preferences, so I might still do my OWN comparison in the future! Also, my washing machine is a small, front-load HE, so it washes differently than even a top-load HE.

Categories: In the Kitchen, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ironing Board Cover

new ironing board coverIn reworking my sewing/crafting room, I noticed that the cover on my small, table-top ironing board was in poor condition. Luckily, I had seen a recent post shared on Facebook of a fellow blogger’s tutorial for making one! Crazy Mom Quilts is the name of the blog and if you click on the picture of her project a link will open in a new window taking you directly to her tutorial! I didn’t follow her example exactly, but rather used it as a starting point and just went from there. Mine turned out okay, but hers is MUCH better, so when I make a new cover for my full-sized ironing board I will follow her instructions more closely. In truth, I followed hers “from memory” last night as our Internet access had dialed-back so as to essentially be non-existant. Oh, the joys of country living are many, but crappy Internet service is my bane!

Another difference between my project and the lovely tutorial is that I didn’t have any scrap batting to use and didn’t want to cut up a nice, new piece for this project. What I DID have was a package of Insul-Bright from The Warm Company. Which, in a way, is BETTER than just plain batting as it is “a needle punched insulated lining that reflects the heat (or cold) back to it’s source”. In this case, the heat of the iron is reflected back up through the fabric making the iron work better! Basically, I’m all about using what I have on hand as often as possible. I even re-used the elastic from the old cover as it was still in good condition.


MY completed cover!

The fabric I used for my cover was a scrap end of 100% cotton decorator fabric, so it’s heavier than quilting fabric. For my binding fabric I used some light-weight denim, cut from thrift-store dress, as it was close in weight to the decorator fabric. Because of this heavier weight, I didn’t double it like the Crazy Quilt Mom did in her tutorial. If using lighter weight fabric I can see where this step is important! So my little ironing board is now smartly re-covered and doing it’s job better than ever! At some point I need to sit down and sew some valances for the windows in here… While sorting and purging I found some fabric that I think will work, if there’s enough of it for SIX windows, so stay tuned!

Categories: Thrifty Stitches | 2 Comments

Walking the “Back 40”

Now that we’re having somewhat cooler weather I’m trying to get back into the habit of going for walks in the evening. Our two dogs, HOSS and Sassy (SassyfrASS) usually go with me. I’m sure we ALL need the exercise, both mentally and physically! So that I don’t have to mess with leashes I usually walk the “Back 40” instead of going out on the road. We only have just over 40 acres total, so this back area is probably only a smidge over 30 acres, but the “Back 40” is what it’s always been called – the wild acreage out beyond the barn.1917774_1268001452601_3742908_n

Not counting the recent weeks of Millie’s recovery (see previous posts about her Mast Cell Tumor removal surgery), I’ve let the mules out in the “Back 40” to browse this summer. The pasture is large, but is not cross-fenced. The recent drought and the mules have really put a strain on the poor pasture, which is just native grasses. We’ve had some rain recently, so with Millie being mostly healed I’ve turned them out again. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement on the pasture by spring.5086_1166203787723_6760028_n

So the mules were out in the “Back 40” and just as the dogs and I were heading across the pasture I noticed them come into their corral. As I went out the gate I called to them, telling them to “Come ‘round” as I continued going on my way. Millie quickly came around and joined us on the main trail. Dancer was a little more hesitant about the whole thing, but didn’t want to be left behind! As I made it to the first turn she came up at a quick trot to join us, too. So there we were, a merry train, two mutts, two mules and myself.

I wasn’t sure how long the mules might keep walking with us, but their curiosity must have got the better of them as they kept following us right on through the brush and briars. I should have had on long pants, instead of Capri, or at least long socks! More than once I had to stop to removed a strand of spiny Green Briar from my flesh… Yeah, my “walks” more often than not become “hikes”. On and on I walked, ducking under low hanging branches, stepping over exposed roots, winding my way along the perimeter fence.258082_1969170501389_752505_o

With the heat of summer, and my crazy schedule of late, I cannot honestly recall the last time I went on a really good, long walk-about. I could really see the “mowing” work the mules have been doing. It had become quite over-grown back there, so in some ways their manicure work has been helpful. Still, I can’t help but morn the wild flowers that would usually be blooming back there, even this late in the year. The Chin Oak has really made a pest of itself in a few areas of the truck path, and unfortunately the girls don’t seem to have much of a taste for it. Not, at least, when there are so many good grasses and forbs back there!28980_1427795047341_6000708_n

When I came back to where the main trail goes from the barn to the stock tank Dancer seemed to make a decision NOT to continue to the right, with myself and the canines. She quickened her pace, kicked her hooves in the air a bit, and turned left (back towards the barn) when I turned right (to continue on to the stock tank). Millie wasn’t sure which of us to follow, so she stayed at the crossroads for a while. I lost sight of them both as I continued on, past the stock tank, and on out to the farthest west corner of the property, where we once had a pig trap set up.

I had just passed the spot where the trap once stood, when I heard one of the mules, presumably Millie, call out to me. Sometimes their bray is very distinct and I can tell exactly which one it is just by the sound and other times they sound exactly the same! This sounded like Millie, but I couldn’t be sure. Apparently at least one of them had decided to continue walking with us after all, but we had gotten too far ahead and were out of sight. I answered the call with my own, as I turned around and headed back that direction. Just as the dogs and I crossed the dry streambed Millie came into view with Dancer coming around the curve behind her at a rather fast clip. So they BOTH had followed us all the way out to the farthest corner and so now we all turned back towards the main trail and headed towards the barn and home.

I know that it’s about a mile, round trip, up the main trail from the barn, out to farthest corner and back. However, with looping out and around the perimeter our walk was surely over one mile and most likely closer to two. Not too much for our first go at it in months! I’ve been saying that I want to start doing some “ground work” with Millie, in preparation for the two of us learning to DRIVE together… This was certainly an unconventional way to go about it! Still, it will help us to improve our connection and start to get us in better condition, too, perhaps. Training isn’t just about getting better with our commands and responses, but also about conditioning mine and the mule’s bodies to be more fit for the hard WORK of driving. Hmmm… So now I’m wondering they will walk with me, on their own accord, again tomorrow evening!

Categories: Dogs, Mules, Native Flora | Leave a comment

A Few of MY favorite Blogs…

For my recent Around the World Blog Tour I had to link to the blogger who invited me and then link to three other bloggers who would be participating the following week. I had a real doozy of a time finding three who were interested AND had the time! In fact, I only managed to get TWO who would commit, in time, to doing this HOP. Many of my favorite bloggers had to politely decline –  mostly because they were simply too busy this time of year. Fall shows are starting and for many artists this is the beginning of their “holiday” sales time! Still, they are such wonderful artisans that I wanted to share their blogs with you. So here they are, in no particular order, some of my favorite blogs: (Click on their NAME and their blog should open in a new window)


Sondra Millardmojo dahlia

I first met Sondra through a Facebook group called The Outlaw Quilters. Although I’m not a member of that group any more, we’ve stayed friends via Facebook and even met up in person a couple years ago at the Dallas Quilt Show hosted by the Quilter’s Guild of Dallas. One of my earliest memories of Sondra’s blog was a chain-story that she started and the rest of us kept adding to. It was near Halloween and the story was about Fat Jack. What a BLAST that was. Sadly, WordPress “ate” the whole story when they did an update a few years ago… Tragic loss! Any way, as you’ll see when you visit her blog, in addition to her beautiful quilt creations Sondra has recently become quite the Tie-Dye artist. Her hand dyed quilt backs are phenomenal! Be sure to check out her FREE Giant Dahlia Quilt Tutorial, too.



Darcy Ashton


I first became aware of Darcy when I purchased one of her early pattern books, Claire’s Cats, at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival many, many years ago. Over the years I have also purchased Grandma’s Bunnies and Bunnies and More. Shortly before Horsing Around was to be published Darcy and I become more personally acquainted via my sister, Jaci, and Facebook. In learning that Darcy was working on a pattern book with an equine theme I jokingly suggested that she MUST include a mule as well! For those who do not know, I’ve got TWO rescued mules that I adore and spoil.  Finally I got to meet Darcy in person right after Horsing Around was printed and now have an autographed copy! Oh, and there are, in fact, TWO mule patterns included in the book! In addition to her well known applique books and patterns, Darcy also does some beautiful work in felted wool. I particularly love her wool pincushions! She sells them on Etsy OR you can purchase her pattern on her website and make your own. I have several large plastic totes full of thrift-store wool garments that I need to felt so I can begin playing with wool, too!



Joy Tapley

minimonster collage

Not sure where to begin with how I “met” Joy… I know it was after we moved to Texas, so some time after 2007?!?! At the time, she was living up in Wichita Falls, just a couple hours north of us. However, I think we hooked up over Facebook first and later met in person at either the Abilene, Brownwood or Dallas Quilt shows… Who knows? I’ve seen her at all of them over the years! We seem to have so much in common that to me it feels like we’ve known each other for ages! Both her husband and mine are retired Navy Chiefs, so they have lots in common, too. One of the things I always loved about Joy’s quilt show booths was her bright cheerful fabrics from Amy Butler Designs, and FUNky patterns, from Indigo Junction by Amy Barickman! Joy always had stuff that simply wasn’t like what all the other booths/shops had. Her business is currently in transition, but her style is still very much modern and chic! One of Joy’s own unique designs is her Mini Monster Travel Pressing Board. These are amazing and I think I really NEED one! Contact Joy if you’re interested in purchasing one – or more – as they make great GIFTS!


Pam Gracia


Pam is another Facebook friend, but sadly, unlike so many others I’ve met via Facebook, geography has made it impossible for the two of us to actually meet (YET!) in person. However, in addition to regular Facebook “shares” and “likes” we often have very deep “private messages” about more than just blog stuff and art. As you will see when you visit her blog or Soft in the Head website, Pam’s art is truly unique and I love each and every one of her creations! Many of her OOAK pieces and patterns are Halloween themed, which is probably why I find so many of them to be adorably spooky! However, her lil’ mice are just amazing creatures, too. During one of her sales last year, I purchased a couple of her patterns, including Milo the Cardinal. I especially like crows and ravens, but I also like cardinals. Not only are they beautiful, but I like their peeping. My hubby’s grandmother had a great affinity for “red birds” as she preferred to call them, so I bought Milo’s pattern and put it safely away. So safe, in fact, that I cannot find it! When I do, I will make him and share him here for y’all to see… Just don’t hold your breath on WHEN that might be!!!


Ginny Diezel936644_10201858366713291_492821658_n

Again, Ginny is a Facebook “friend” whom I’ve not yet met in person, but who inspires me greatly… I happen to know exactly how/when/where I met Ginny on Facebook, too, because it was through Pam Gracia! Pam often shares other artists’ work on her Facebook page, including their sales and Give-Aways. It was during a such a Give-Away that I first saw Ginny’s work. In this case, her adorable Snowmen! I love snowmen!!! Not only did I make a new friend, but I actually WON this adorable little snowman pictured to the right. I love him so much, in fact, that he is on permanent display in our living room and doesn’t get put away in March with all my other snowmen! Oh, and Ginny doesn’t do JUST snowmen, either. Her Good Witches are simply too adorable to describe! BOTH Ginny and Pam have their pieces featured over at the PFATT Marketplace. PFATT is short for “Primitive Folk Art Trinkets & Treasures”!

I hope you have enjoyed meeting each of these wonderfully talented artists and visiting their blogs, website, shops, etc. Personally, I find their art and blogs to be very inspiring! When you visit their blogs or Facebook pages, why not leave them a comment and let them know that you stopped by after reading about them here!?!?! I know they will love meeting you, too!





Categories: Thrifty Stitches | Leave a comment

Vintage Chick Feeder Pincushion

chicken feeder 001

Sew Many Ways – TUTORIAL!

I love making pincushions and putting them into interesting containers! I often find inspiration via Facebook and/or Pinterest. Somewhere I came across a photo of a pincushion set into a chick feeder. My brain stored the idea away, as is my habbit…  Some time later, while shopping our local thrift stores, I came across an adorable vintage feeder. Well I just knew it would work smashingly well as a pincushion!

Over at Sew Many Ways I found a really nice blog post sharing her version, including a full TUTORIAL, using a newly purchased feeder. You can click on her photo (at right) to go directly to that post. Below is a collage of the one I made using the old painted feeder I thrifted! A trick I learned from my mother was to put a bit of steel wool in the cushion to help keep your needles clean!chick feeder pincushion Collage

Oh, and speaking of thrifty, yes that IS an old shirt that I cut up and used for the fabric of the cushion. In fact, I have a whole PILE of old work shirts (100% cotton) that I’ve cut up to use for projects!!! Hmmm… maybe I’ll blog about THAT some day soon.



Categories: Thrifty Stitches | 1 Comment

Around The World Blog Tour!

If you’re new to my blog then WELCOME! Near the end of August  I was invited by Naomi Vela (all the way from the beautiful land Down Under) to join her on an Around the World Blog Tour. Naomi and I are both on a Facebook Group called Aunt Pitty Pat’s Show and Tell. We think that’s where she came across a recent blog post I had shared with the group.  My poor blog has a measly NINE followers, so I thought joining in would be fun way to share my blog and maybe meet a few new friends. Naomi  is a very talented artist  who’s blog is called “Made by Nomes”! Isn’t that adorable? Having a German mother, I happen to love gnomes and all woodland things… In fact, I have a pinboard called Gnomes and Shrooms! I seem to recall that Naomi has a great affinity for owls! Why not check out her Around the World Blog Tour post HERE?

As part of the blog tour we are suppose to answer a few questions and link to three blogs for you to take enjoy in addition to our own. Sadly, I could only manage to get TWO fellow bloggers to commit in time to include them in my post! I’ll introduce you to each of them at the end of this post. Be sure you check back in with them on September 15th to see THEIR Around the World Blog Tour posts!

What am I working on?

IMG_20140830_123722My top priority project right now is for my upcoming Halloween-themed Blog HOP. I don’t want to reveal too much as I want to keep that post exciting and FRESH! However, as a thank you for stopping by today, I’ve given y’all a little SNEAK PEAK at some of the fabric I’m auditioning for that project, which I’m designing as I go.


Halloween-themed blog HOP

Sign-up is still open for the Black Cat Crossing blog HOP, so I haven’t been assigned my exact date yet. All I know is that it will be some time between October 20th and 31st. Why not FOLLOW my blog to be sure you don’t miss it? In preparation for being able to actually do ANY sewing project, I’ve had to totally dig-out my sewing/craft room from under the mountain of STUFF that’s been piling up in there for months. Please see previous blog posts about my hoarding horror story… During the sorting, purging, and organizing I’ve discovered more than a few buried treasures, including numerous UFO’s!!! I’m not allowing myself to starting any NEW projects as I’m hoping to get a few of these wrapped up – maybe before the New Year!?!?!

When and why did I start my blog?

I’m not really sure exactly why I started this blog. I’ve always enjoyed writing and photography… Friends and family seem to enjoy keeping up what’s going out here “on the farm”, too. I mostly write about our critters and projects, but basically there is no specific theme to my blog. I guess I just blog about whatever we’re doing and hope that someone finds it interesting or inspiring!

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

My crafting is like me – erratic and eclectic! For instance, I don’t do just sewing projects. I do all sorts of things and sometimes combine them, too. I have ADHD and as a result I get distracted very easily; hence the numerous UFO’s I mentioned earlier! Hubby often jokes that I should just make kits, and I have to admit that to some degree he has a point. I’m great at coming up with an idea, maybe it even started with a pattern or something I saw on Facebook or Pinterest. I assemble all the various bits and accessories, put them all together in a tub or tote of some kind and then move on to the next idea! For “instant gratification” I really enjoy altered art and re-fashioning things from thrift store finds. Here are a few examples of my favorites:



Mabon Mother

Garden Whimsies!

pinkeep Collage


Homemade Hay Feeder

The woodland “doll” piece was for a fall challenge where we could only use natural/found objects in creating a doll. Mabon Mother is what I called this piece. I was quite pleased with how she turned out!

Who doesn’t love making Garden Whimsies!?!?! A couple of years ago I made several garden solar lights from recycled glassware. This lovely pair of large lamps were the pride of my garden until the goats got in there and knocked them over. I can probably fix/salvage them, but looking at them still breaks my heart, so they are tucked away in the corner of the back porch for now. The wind chimes are a set that I reconstructed after the original set fell apart. I loved the sweet sound of this set and so re-strung the chimes using nylon fishing line, a piece of drift wood and beach glass.

Oh, I also love making little pincushions, especially inserting them into unusual objects. Blame my mother…. her pincushion was made from a Lysol spray can lid! The shape of this little brass shoe ashtray just called out to me. I chose to make the pincushion part using fancy fabric in vibrant colors as it was made for a dear friend of mine who is a belly dancer. She sews all of her own costumes and loved this little gift. The little round pincushion is made from a soda bottle cap and left-over wool felt.

As I mentioned above, I’ve got goats… adorable, spoiled rotten goats! I found this old metal crate at a roadside sale and knew that it could be made into a hay feeder for them. Hubby helped me add the hinged lid, complete with “handle”. The lid keeps them from pulling the whole flake of hay right back out, which is exactly what was happening with the previous hay feeder! This one works really well, is easy to load and has cut down on wasted hay!

Why do I create what I do?

I create so many different things for around the house and around the farm. I guess most things I create are utilitarian in some way. Why shouldn’t the things we use every day should be beautiful as well as functional? I also hate to see waste, so that’s why I use so many reclaimed items in my projects, even using cast-off clothing in many of my sewing projects just like our fore-mothers did. Besides, I’m just too thrifty and dollar conscience to use $12 a yard fabric to make an apron or pot holders! I keep the better quality fabric for my quilts, table runners and wall hangings.

Sewer’s Chatelaine

In making this Sewer’s Chatelaine I re-purposed a denim vest that had lots of lovely pockets. I paired it with a soft plaid men’s shirt, using the collar for the neck piece, the pockets for more storage and then I lined the whole piece with it to make it more stable. I embellished it with a piece of vintage tatted lace at the neck and patch pockets, added a few mother-of-pearl buttons, and a small crocheted doily. I didn’t use a pattern, I just had this idea in my head on what I wanted it to DO and this was the result.IMG_20140830_132906

What do I hope to achieve in the near future?

Along with the project I’m designing and making for the aforementioned Black Cat Crossing Halloween-themed blog HOP, I’ve set a goal of having my entire sewing/craft room returned to “proper working order” by October 31st. I have to admit that it’s a pretty over whelming task, so I’ve been taking it in small steps, trying to work at just one corner or one flat surface at a time. After that there are the UFO’s that I mentioned, but in addition to them there are hundreds of projects waiting to actually be started! For instance, in putting like-with-like while I’ve been excavating my work space I’ve accumulated quite a stack of pre-printed projects and panels. I found two Halloween vests that are exactly the SAME panel. I think I’ll sew one up following the instructions and then create something totally different with the second one showing that you don’t always have to “follow the rules”!


Hmmmm…. Wonder if I can finish this Pumpkin Table Runner by the end of the month? I started it ages ago, back when I was still going down to Brownwood once a month for guild meetings, in fact. Instead of having a plain backing, my “plan” was to make Jack O’ Lanterns out of the same pattern and then make it REVERSIBLE! Check back next month to see if this UFO gets finished this year or not…

Other UFO’s include an adorable Horned Lizard I made a few years ago. I took a class given by the very talented Susan Cranshaw at the Abilene Quilter’s Guild Stars Over Abilene Regional Quilt Show. I finished the lizard itself, but then never did anything WITH it. If nothing else, he’d be cute on a shirt or tote bag! Speaking of tote bags, I think that’s what I was going to make with these Batik paper-pieced star blocks. I managed ONE block and then it got set aside! I found this finished block AND the remaining fabric while cleaning out my sewing/craft room.

UFO Collage

More UFO’s: Applique Horned Lizard, AKA: “Horny Toad” & a Paper-pieced star…

Now that y’all have read a bit about me, I’d like to introduce you to four very talented ladies:

These ladies will be doing their Around the World Blog Tour posts on Monday the 15th of September. Please make sure you pop over to their blogs before then and don’t forget to return on the day of their blog tour so you can see which bloggers they’ve tagged for you to check out!

I first met Doris Rice several years ago when I was making monthly treks down to Brownwood for the monthly Brownwood Quilter’s Guild meetings. Although the cost of gas, and other obligations, led to my dropping out of the guild, Doris and I have kept in contact via Facebook. Fortunately I still get to see her at local quilt shows, like Abeline and Brownwood, too! ‘Round these parts, Doris is known as the Quilting Queen and I believe you will agree that her her work is majestic!

Kelly Watson and I met on Facebook. As it happens, I can’t remember exactly WHERE on Facebook, because she and I have so very much in common, including our LOVE of sewing/crafting, Vintage VW’s, ol’ farmhouses and CHICKENS! Check out her blog called Kelly’s Primitive Friends and see all the fun and exciting things she creates.

Hope you’ve enjoyed your visit here and hope you’ll be back to see what I’ve been working on. To “make up” for only linking to TWO bloggers instead of three I’m working on a blog post about MY favorite blogs! There I’m linking to at least FIVE crafty bloggers that I follow…

Happy Sewing

Categories: Thrifty Stitches | 4 Comments

End of August Sewing/Craft room update…

Just a short snippit today… I’m slowly chipping away at the piles o’ stuff up in my sewing/craft room and progress IS being made! I had previously set up two tables (inherited from my mother-in-law) butted together in the center of this half of the room to make up the core of my work island. As you can see, it is primarily used for rotary cutting and now has two distinct cutting areas. I read some where that the “ideal” height for a standing work station is the user’s belly button. So to achieve that height hubby helped me put 6″ bed risers under the legs of the two table. However, the tables have a beveled edge and with the risers there is now a gap between the two table. DO NOT PANIC! A half-sheet of plywood measures 48″ X 48″… The tables are 42″ wide, so the new top will extend past the tables by 3″ on each side while covering the gap in the middle!center work table Collage

Raising the tables gave me more room underneath, too! I can even fit a stool under there now. I just brought home that huge rectangular basket – seen next to the stool – after finding it at our local Goodwill for $5! It’s bottom is the exact size of the two sweater totes underneath. On the other side I stacked three vintage fruit crates that my father-in-law brought up to us on his last visit. He knows I love stuff like that! I staggered them so that I can access each one. Conveniently the back edge of the top crate rests on the table’s cross-bar so the whole stack isn’t the least bit wobbly, . I have all my different types of batting tucked into these three crates, with a large roll placed on top. The basket on top of the large green tote is filled with UFO’s…

My ironing station will remain low as it is positioned directly behind my sewing station and is used while seated. All I have to do is swivel and press! I believe if you look closely you can (hopefully) see that this little table is actually made from the cast iron base of an old treadle sewing machine with a cabinet door as it’s top. Snapped it up at a local yard sale for $10 several years ago.

On the other end of the cutting tables – opposite the ironing station – there are two metal tiered rolling carts with pull-out drawers. They, too, are butted together and I have a bit of pieced red home spun fabric on the top of them. Because they are unstable, even with the “locks” on the rollers engaged, I use the top mostly for display and the drawers for storing stuff. I believe you can see some lace trim on the wooden stands in the largest image of the collage. I’ve yet to go through their drawers. Maybe this weekend? That’s why the picture is so carefully angled so as not to show the UN-tidied area which begins at these two carts. It’s still such a MESS that seeing it could permanently scar some of y’all! Any way, when I brought my vintage treadle machine home a couple of years ago I rotated the carts so that the treadle could butt up against them (opposite the cutting tables) and the drawers now pull out towards me when I’m standing at either cutting area.

So this entire “center island” is made up of my vintage treadle, the pair of rolling carts, the two table that are my cutting stations and my ironing station. Hopefully on (or before?) October 31st I will be able to stand on this side of the room and take a photo of the entire sewing/craft half of the room without having to strategically crop the mountain of madness out of the shot! That is my goal, so stay tuned.

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End of August update on MILLIE!


Getting SMALLER and hair is growing back where it was shaved…


When it’s REALLY HOT, Millie gets hosed off all over… Well, not her face as that’s just rude!

For those who haven’t been following along, Millicent the Magnificent Mystery Mule is the smaller or our two rescued Molly Mules. She had a cancerous Mast Cell Tumor surgically removed by Dr. Cal Davis at Reata Equine Hospital on Tuesday, July 15. Originally it was believed that she would be staying at their facility for 3-5 days, but as it turns out she stayed there a full two weeks. Since coming home, I’ve been treating her wound here on my own and sending weekly photos to Dr. Davis as his clinic is a good hour’s drive from us.

Millie’s incision area, commonly referred to as her boo-boo, is healing nicely. In the beginning I was doing hydrotherapy on the area twice a day and spritzing it once a day with Scarlet Oil. When proud flesh began to develop we stopped applying the Scarlet Oil and Dr. Davis called in a prescription for Betamethasone Crème to be applied once a day instead. Now all I’m doing now is cleaning it once a day by running the water hose over it and removing caked on dirt and bits of dried grass. The new muscle tissue has completely filled in the hole where the tumor was removed. There also doesn’t seem to be any recurrence of the proud flesh and the diameter of her boo-boo is getting smaller. Lastly, her hair is growing back nicely from where it was shaved prior to her surgery. I can almost no longer see the line from what was shaved and what wasn’t!Good roll Collage

Of course, it’s impossible to actually KEEP her boo-boo clean, because as soon as I’m done she goes and has a nice ROLL in the dirt… flicking up a huge dust cloud with her tail, too! Meanwhile, I’ve taken this opportunity to work with Dancer, the larger of our two rescued mules. Unlike Millie, Dancer was NEVER handled or trained in any fashion. When we brought her home, we couldn’t even get a halter on her! If Dancer had been the one to develop this tumor there is no way I would have been able to give her the medical care she needed without the two of us being heavily medicated!!! Every day when I go to tend to Millie, I also halter Dancer and tie her to the thinking tree. I don’t do much of anything else, just leave her to stand and ponder while I go about my business with Millie. Every once in a while I go over and reassure her, rub her butt, or ask her to give me her foot.8.25.14D2

Proof of our progress: For the past two days Dancer has been easier to halter that Millie! Not that Millie was really any trouble to halter, but Dancer just came right up, stepped up to where I was standing with her halter and lead in hand, put her head down, let me tie the halter and then we walked right over to where I tie her lead to the tree. Yesterday and today Kit Kat, our shorthaired tabby, also joined us in our morning routine and Dancer didn’t seem like she could have cared less. She’s already use to always having the two loathsome dogs around, so what difference does the cat make?before and almost after Collage

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A Hoarder’s HORROR STORY continues…

10297800_10202705236364503_8706805081292818205_nOkay, so if you missed my previous post, I’m a HOARDER… not just of fabric, either, but of many types of craft supplies… I’ve come to the conclusion that not only do I suffer from “Fornow Syndrome”, but also “Someday Syndrome”!!! Sadly, the two ailments are commonly found together in almost all cases of those who hoard craft supplies… For instance, I will often say things like, “I’ll just set this here FOR NOW because I might need it/use it SOME DAY”!!!  I’m sure it’s quite natural for creative people to want to have a variety of supplies on hand for when they are inspired by their muse, but there is a fine line between normal collecting and preparedness and HOARDING. Somewhere I crossed that line… Admitting that is the first step, right?!?! Taking responsibility for the madness I have created isn’t easy and now I’m struggling to get the resulting MESS under control! So I set myself a deadline of October 31st for restoring my sewing/craft room to a some-what usable condition. 2ee4d87f11c41e2689148026bbcc09dd

To that end, this weekend I spent many L-O-N-G hours up in my sewing/craft room, excavating the piles and unearthing a few treasures in the process! Lots of PURGING going on, too… no need to organize what you no longer have. Some is going straight into the trash while other items are going to the Yard Sale pile or directly to the local thrift store. In preparation for my upcoming Halloween-themed Blog HOP I’ve also been pulling out all my Halloween fabrics, pre-prints, panels and patterns. I’ve specifically been looking for my Dresden Star pattern by Edyta SItar at Laundry Basket Quilts and late last night I finally found it! It was tucked into a basket with a couple dozen other patterns and then buried in the corner. I also found an “Easy Dresden” ruler that I didn’t even know I owned and the pattern for making a Thimble/Tumbler quilt from Shaula at Feathered Star in nearby Clyde, TX. I knew I had the Thimble/Tumbler pattern, but hadn’t set eyes on it in about TWO YEARS!Found Treasures

I have SIX totes full of wool garments that need to be felted. I don’t want to get rid of them, but I also don’t want to go to the laundry o’mat and spend the day there processing them until this fall, when it’s cooler! So “FOR NOW” the totes have been relocated to another room. I wanted to move my White 77 table closer to my main sewing table and I still needed to make room for my Singer 99 table! The Singer 99 table has been sitting in the middle of the floor, right in front of the wood stove, ever since I brought her home. Before putting it in the newly cleared space I cleaned it and conditioned it. I learned what products to use for this over at the Treadle On website when we brought home my treadle a few years ago. I ordered the Howard product through our local Ace Hardware.
Before Collage

AFTER CollageHere’s the cleaning and conditioning line-up: Murphy’s Oil Soap, Old English Scratch Cover for Light Woods and Feed-N-Wax by Howard. Use them in THIS order and follow the instructions on the label! IMG_20140824_192123

Once the Feed-N-Wax had soaked in, and I wiped it off again, the table was almost ready to go into place. Before I moved it, I took snapped some pix of the inside and underside of the piece. I’m going to share this pix on the Vintage Sewing Machine group to see if I can learn anything more about the numbers under it and if I’m correct in my thinking that the one set of brackets was to hold the Owner’s Manual or not. inside CollageLastly, here is the progress I’ve made in the sewing/craft room. The two vintage sewing table are side by side where the six totes of wool once were and my main sewing table is now CLUTTER FREE and ready to use! The “Lost Treasures” were found together in a basket (under a collapsed pile) in the corner to the right of the wooden file cabinet.

progress Collage

Categories: Thrifty Stitches | 2 Comments

Hoarder of SEW much more than just FABRIC!


Click HERE to see the details of the blog HOP that I signed up for…

In attempting to get started on my project for the WICKED Blog HOP that I signed up for I’m now having to face the reality that I’m a hoarder of SEW much more than just FABRIC!!! I’m a hoarder, period…

Sewing Room Collage text
Here is photographic evidence of what my once beautiful sewing/craft room – Hubby now calls it my craP room – once looked like! See how light and airy? See the wide walk way around the center work island? When we brought my treadle home (almost three years ago) we placed her in front of the two rolling carts seen here in the center. Well NOW you cannot even see the treadle… she is BURIED! The entire open floor space between the wood stove and treadle is a wall of STUFF almost four feet high!!! HELP!!! Oh, and for those of you not-so-secretly wishing for a larger work room, remember this: Bigger isn’t always BETTER! Sometimes it’s just bigger and it becomes a catch-all storage room, especially if you are like me; a self-cursing, not-so-wicked witch who suffers from “Fornow Syndrome”. Maybe you’ve not heard of it!?!?! Sufferers are often overheard saying things like, “I’ll just put this here for now…”. 340024_2349241962938_1240943158_o

Today I managed to uncover the flat surface of the center work tables. I’d like to say I did it just by wiggling my nose or waving my magick wand, but it doesn’t work like that! Frankly, I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I went through my stash yesterday and had pulled out all the Halloween-themed fabrics I could find. I wanted to lay them out to take some pictures to show y’all what I had to work with for my project, but the work tables were full of STUFF. I ended up spreading the fabric out in the living room on a groovy old chair! a5a8c66daed4d4511a1e4048cf65abe8

Notice that there is NOT a photo showing the current disheveled state of my sewing/craft room!!! It truly is too much of a GRUESOME HORROR to show… If it wasn’t open to the office/dining room I’d lock the doors and hang up a DO NOT ENTER SIGN like this:10297800_10202705236364503_8706805081292818205_n

Because I have such a large stash, including plenty of Halloween fabric, I chose not to pull out all my fall colored fabric. Please believe me when I say that if I need some blenders I know I have them… some where… Naturally I would prefer to just order the entire Black Cat Crossing fabrics from Maywood Studio, but I’m working on a very limited budget these days!

Oh, while cleaning off the table tops I was surprised to find a couple of Halloween panels that I cannot recall having purchased! Unfortunately, I’ve yet to come across the Dresden Star pattern that I know I have and want to try making. I spent HOURS looking for it last night! The search for the missing pattern led to even more tidying of my work space… If push comes to shove, I might just have to sew up some of the panels and pre-mades, but I really want to work on this idea I’ve got brewing in my head! stash collage

I would like y’all to please be my witnesses and know that I am hereby setting up a personal challenge to myself to have my sewing/craft room put back to rights by Halloween! Naturally, it won’t be exactly the same as the “before” pictures you saw up above… in addition to Madison, my vintage treadle, I’ve also added Liberty, a  vintage Singer 99 (in her original table) to my collection!!!

PS: I need to do some blogs posts about my vintage sewing machines and tell y’all about that beautiful chair hubby salvaged and re-made to go with Madison, my treadle!

fabric swatch hoarder

Categories: Thrifty Stitches | 2 Comments

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