Saturday, December 31, 2011

Selling Calves

It is that time of year again when we sell last year’s calves.  We had a private buyer for the majority of the calves this year but will have some left to sell at the sale barn next week.  Most of the calves we sold will go into a feed lot to grow for another approximately 6-8 months until ready to be harvested at 1400 lb. They weigh between 600 and 650 lbs. now and are about 10 months old - they were 80-100 lb. when they were born.  We saved back a few heifers to become cows and the private buyer will be saving a few that he bought to grow up to be cows too.IMG_6140We ran them through the sorting alley and John would swing the gate to put the steers in one pen and the heifers in the another.  To make a quick determination of the sex of the calves John ear tags them at birth with right ear for one sex and left ear for the other.  Sometimes he had to be quick to move the gate to the other side of the chute if there was one heifer followed by one steer, etc.  IMG_6165More sorting for size in the steers in the pens.  Feeders like the animals to be pretty close in size so they can be sent to the packing plant at the same time.IMG_6172Truck parked in the driveway waiting to load as soon as they are sorted.  This type of trailer is called a Pot.  It has two floors to haul livestock so can haul double the amount than a single level trailer.  The cattle have small stair step ramps to go up to the top level which is lifted up and secured to load the bottom level.IMG_6221Up they go, one by one into the truck.IMG_6272All loaded and on their way to their new home.  As you can see we have no snow and the temperature was in the low 50s so it was a beautiful day to be working outside.  Love having weather like this, in fact it could be this way all winter.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

JohnLynnMerry Christmas from our house to your house.

John and I had this photo taken last summer at my family reunion, right about the time of our 40th wedding anniversary.  We didn't realize we coordinated color wise until someone commented on it but the clothes we chose do look good together don't they?  By the way we are standing and I am not a short person - 5 ft 5 1/2 in. but I just look short compared to John who is about 6 ft 2 or 3" tall.  The hardest part about being married to a tall man is that he walks so much faster than I do because he has such a long stride.  I am always trotting along trying to keep up, taking two steps to every one of his. I usually grab his hand and pretend it is because I want to be touching but in reality he walks slower if I hold his hand or his arm.

Our family is here for our Christmas celebration so no more posts for a while as I will be way too busy loving on all of them. 
We had a dusting of snow Wednesday but most of melted today so unless it snows again we will not have a white Christmas which is alright with me


I have scheduled this to be posted on Christmas Eve but wrote it this last week. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hmmm…There Seems To Be Something Wrong Here

This is my kitchen sink….can you spot what is wrong?  If you guessed there is no faucet you  are right.  The plumber came but couldn’t fix it so we had to stop in Hastings today to get a new one so it could be put in before our family arrived this afternoon.  Of course the replacement had to be ordered and will arrive tomorrow so John hooked the old one back up so we could at least have water at the sink and run the dishwasher.  It is floppy but at least I can get water.  The new one is supposed to be shipped to us and we should get it tomorrow.

We also had to have our water well fixed this week and it took two trips by the plumber before they got it working like it should.  I am not sure why when you have company coming something has to break down, not always of course. 

One year we had our microwave quit and the hot water heater heater spring a major leak when we were getting ready for our daughter’s graduation open house.  Another time our electricity went off on Christmas Eve and it was snowing like crazy and we had to call the Rural Electric Company and they sent someone out to fix something down the road on one of the power poles so we could have heat.  We hated to call and have someone have to come fix it on a holiday but those things just happen and the power company is prepared, even on holidays.

Our family arrived late this afternoon and we are having a wonderful time.  We will make the most of the next few days.  The grandkids are having so much fun together.  They live about 3 hours apart so don’t see each other too often so it is a special treat to be together and a special treat for us too.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paper Snowflakes


One day last week when I should have been doing something a little more constructive I sat down and cut paper snowflakes.  I don’t remember when I last cut out a snowflake but it has been years and years and it was really fun. 

I first cut one from regular copy paper…it is on the right side, second from the top.  It worked but it was really thick to cut and hard to get all the points the same.

I next tried vellum paper.  It was better than the copy paper but was still thick when all folded up.  A thick bunch of paper is really hard to cut and it is definitely hard to get the same sized cuts on all points.  The 2 snowflakes cut from vellum are top right and second from top on left.

Like the Three Bears story I did find the paper that was “just right”.  The paper filters that you use when making coffee are very thin and perfect for making snowflakes.  They are also great too as they don’t have to be squared up like regular paper, just fold the circle in half then thirds.  The top left snowflake is made from a paper coffee filter as are the bottom two-one on left and one on right.

Oh, by the way I used just a small amount of school glue stick on a couple of points and suck them to my window.

You can follow the step by step process to make a snowflake from folding to cutting, just click to download the photos.  I just can’t get them in order but think once they are download then the order is correct. The folding in half is to mark the center point before folding the filter in thirds.   Oh, by the way the purple spot is some jelly I dropped on the filter - was trying to eat a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich as I was making the snowflake.  You know multi-tasking!
There are all kinds of tutorials on the internet – just Google paper snowflake.  I like to make my snowflakes with either 6 or 12 points like real snowflake crystals.  A tip for getting better cuts is to use a pair of nail scissors.  They seemed to work better than my really sharp scissors.  The coffee filters are so easy to cut to get intricate snowflakes too.  I did use a dry iron to flatten the filter before folding and cutting.

I had to stop making snowflakes until I get more coffee filters as I had better not run out so there is none to make coffee, especially when we are having family for Christmas.  I am not a coffee drinker, I prefer hot tea, so it doesn't matter to me but my family does like their coffee so being the nice gal that I am I stopped cutting them up.

The beautiful paper snowflake a mystery until you see it unfolded in all it’s beauty.  Think that is one of the things that make it so fascinating. to do


Friday, December 16, 2011

Testing, testing, testing…..


If any of you have happened onto my blog in the last half hour you might have seen some of my test blog posts that are now gone.  I was trying to figure out how to post a photo that would link you to another blog post so posted, looked at it then deleted it.   I needed to see if it would work so tried several ways to do it and think it will work now.  I am trying to get my pages on finished projects and tutorials to be just photos that you click on to take you to the post on that project or tutorial as right now they are a mess.  Think I have it figured out now so I can start fixing them.

This is also a test.  Click on the above photo and it will take you to my last December 20 blog post.  This post shows and tells about the Christmas lights my husband puts up on the windmill each year.  We have them up again this year and it looks so pretty even from miles away.  Enjoy!

Oh, by the way if it doesn’t work please let me know so I can do some more experimenting.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spool Ornament Giveaway Win

IMG_6019I feel so very lucky…I won another blog giveaway.  Can you believe it?  This time the giveaway was from MarveLes Art Studios and I won this beautiful beaded and yarn covered antique spool.  The pink shear fabric makes a nice place to put the hanger so it can be hung on the Christmas tree.  I intend to hang it in my sewing room once Christmas is hiding in a box until next Christmas for this ornament.

I am thrilled to win this wonderful spool ornament but also thrilled to own a piece of Leslie’s beautiful art.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Check out her Etsy shop for more beautiful spools, garlands and quilts that you can purchase and make your own.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Pink Strap For My Lovely Green Bag


I received this lovely green zip bag in a drawing on Kathy Sperino’s blog,  Finishing Lines along with a book and book mark a few months ago.  I blogged about it on Nov. 2, 2011.  I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful bag but wanted to add a strap to it so I could carry it as a small purse over my shoulder.  I was thrilled and still am amazed to own such a beautiful bag.

I wanted a strap that would be in keeping with the loveliness of the bag and finally decided to use a bright pink rat tail cord and braid it into a strong strap.  The photo above doesn’t show it too well but the zipper in this green bag is bright pink.  The green was impossible to match so went with the pink.

The following website shows step by step instructions that are easy to understand for doing a IMG_5882round braid using four cords;  4 Strand Round Braid.  I purchased 12 yards of the pink rat tail cord – I know that seems like a lot.  I first got 6 yards and thought that would make a shoulder strap but decided it wouldn’t be enough to make as long a braid I wanted as the braiding takes up quite a bit of length as it is braided.  To make a long story shorter I got 6 more yards and cut each 6 yard piece in half so each cord was 3 yards long.  At the end of the braiding I cut 15” off that I didn’t use so didn’t come out with that much excess.  I tied an overhand knot at my starting point then wound up the long ends and secured them with rubber bands to keep the strands from getting tangled as I braided.

I rigged up the following to hold the knotted end so I could pull the braid tight as I was working on it.  The orange yarn is tied around my computer monitor and then the end of the yarn was tied to a black binder clip.   I clipped the knot in the binder clip and started braiding but the yarn wanted to flip and it was hard to keep it taught.  A can of lemon pie filling to the rescue…I just placed the can on the yarn and it was heavy enough to keep the yarn under control.  You never know what handy helpers you can find around the house.  Actually it didn’t take that long to braid the strap and tie it off with an overhand knot at the end.  The photos won’t go in the correct order but you can get the idea.
I hand stitched the cord to the bag leaving tails of the rat tail cord hanging from the starting and ending knots.  I am not sure I will leave it that way but need to think about it and look at it some more before I decide to change it.  Not sure how to deal with the ends if I don’t have this fringe hanging.  Any ideas?  Also want to carry it around to make sure the strap is not too long as well as I can shorten it if I need to.
I can’t wait to carry this bag as it has the most beautiful quilting on it.  Will be fun to show it off.

Well, it is a little less than 2 weeks until we celebrate Christmas with our family.  We will be together for about 2 days and we can’t wait.  I am finished with my shopping but all the gifts are in bags in my family room so I must just sit down and start wrapping one of these days.  Have a ton of cleaning to do yet though.

I love having our daughters and their families come when we can all be together.  The kids have so much fun playing together as they don’t see each other too often.  John and I have just as much fun as they do I think.  I want to get some cooking done ahead of time so I don’t have to spend all my time in the kitchen.  For our Christmas dinner together we have a tradition that started a few years ago and everyone expects now.  We grill steak from our freezer plus purchase the nice big breaded shrimp that we deep fry, this to go along with all the rest of the side dishes and of course a yummy dessert.  I can almost taste it….mmmm good. 

I have not had too many things to blog about lately…sorry.  I am doing things like cleaning house and like I said earlier I have a lot more to do before company comes.  Cleaning my floors are more of a pleasure now as I recently got a new vacuum that actually picks up the dirt on the floor.  The old one worked but just isn't as good at sucking up the dirt as my new one.  Maybe I will blog about that so won’t say more about it now.

Enjoy the season and keep joy in your life!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Small Necktie Bag #2

Today I show you the second small bag I made from 2 neckties this time.  I got the pattern for this bag from the blog Stitch Beautifully…Tread Lightly on September 26, 2008.

This bag is also very quick and easy to make.  Choose two coordinating neckties that are the same size.  I stitched the area where the two overlap with a fancier type of stitch on my machine.  The ties are folded in half and side seams are straight stitched closed.  For this bag I am tying a square knot in the two small ends.  This bag is a little larger than the one necktie bag but is still pretty darn cute.  This only took a few minutes to make so would also qualify as a quick gift too.
I have decided I just might be the family repository for stuff they don't wear anymore.  I collect their old worn out jeans and have a bag full of neckties that either went out of style or they didn't like anymore.  It all takes  room to store but I have a ready supply when the mood hits me.  I love looking at all the old ties in my stash.  Some are quite beautiful and some are just plain UGLY.  Those will take more thinking to use but maybe someday the ugly will grow on me.  Either way it is nice to have them even if I have to store them.

Happy Bag Making,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Small Necktie Bag #1

Here is another new bag that I made for my program on bags/purses for my quilt guild.  This one is made from one necktie and I got the idea and general directions for it from the Sulky website.  This is a simple bag and quick to make too.

The strap is made using the excess necktie that is cut off the body of the bag.  After it was stitched I threaded it with a cord.   This is a small bag just right for carrying your cell phone, an iPod or your keys and a little cash.  This will be perfect for when I want to carry just a few things.
This would make a fast gift if you need to make something quick for family or a friend. Make one for yourself to match that special outfit.  I can see making them from ties of several colors so you have something to coordinate with any outfit, I can see it for those special occasion outfits...see you must make more than one.

Until Later,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Recycled Jeans Purses

This past week I made two purses/bags from old worn out jeans which is something we don’t run out of here at this house.  Besides the ones John wears out I have been given old jeans by friends and family so have a supply on hand for what ever I want to use them for.  Here are the finished bags – made using pretty much the same pieces but constructed differently.
IMG_5787 IMG_5790
The strap isn’t finished on the light colored bag, it is to be a gift and I will make the strap the length the recipient wants so for now it is just tied in a square knot.

Like I said the two were made with pretty much the same patterns.  Each bag needs two pieces cut from the back pockets of a pair of jeans.  The larger the size of jeans the better, you might be able to make a little larger bag with a larger pair of jeans.  As you can see from the bags above the darker bag is made from a pair of Wrangler jeans and the lighter bag is made from a pair of Levi jeans.  I found that the Levi jeans had more space between the pocket and the yoke seam than the Wrangler jeans.  The bag pieces are cut 1” larger than the sides and bottom of the jeans pocket and 1 1/2” above the pockets on the light colored bag and approximately 2” above the pockets on the Wrangler bag.  I wanted to avoid that thick seam when putting the zipper in the top of the bag so just cut the top a little bigger.  IMG_5730The main difference in the two bags is that the Wrangler bag has the seams on the inside of the bag – all seams were zig-zagged to prevent fraying.  The Levi bag is constructed with the seams on the outside then clipped about every 3/8”.  Neither bag is lined and seem to have enough body the way they are.
I put zippers in the top of both bags.  Red Zipper – the edges of the pockets were tuned under and stitched to the zipper.  Gold Zipper - the top edges of the pockets were zig-zagged the the zipper was placed on the raw edges and stitched down.  Both applications were easy and I used zippers that were way too long for the space on each.  I do this all the time as they are cut down after they are stitched in.
IMG_5738IMG_5782 IMG_5783
Since the zipper teeth are polyester the sewing machine can sew right through them with no problem.  I don’t like using metal teeth zippers for several reasons.  You have to get the correct length of zipper in the correct color and stitch carefully on the ends so you don’t hit the metal stop and break a needle or worse yet mess up the timing of your sewing machine.  I have scratched my hand on a metal zipper in one bag I made so am very careful now.  If you buy the longer polyester zippers they can be cut to any size so you can have some on hand for when you need them and only buy one long length.  Of course maybe you live close to where you can just pop over to a store and home in a short time but for me it is a 45 minute drive one way to get supplies so I like to have things on hand.  

I purchased a lot of zippers in lots of colors when the JoAnn’s store was moving.  They were not going to move any of the merchandise from the old store to the new and at the end of the sale I got zippers for 10 to 12 cents each so bought lots.  I  pretty much have zippers covered for the rest of my life I do believe.  Of course that is another “stash” my daughters will have to clean out if I don’t use them all.IMG_5768
This is a “fly by the pants” bag so I just cut pieces and stitched them together and kept my fingers crossed it would work.  I wanted more space on the inside of my bag so stitched a gusset to both bags.  The one pictured above is the Wrangler bag with the seams on the inside and it was cut  2 1/4” wide and a little longer than the three sides it was to be stitched to.  All the edges were zig-zagged in the Wrangler bag to prevent fraying as there is no lining in these bags.
Here is the Wrangler bag turned inside out and you can see I added some embroidery stitches around the pocket on this bag.  These were stitched around 3 sides of the pocket using stock embroidery stitches in my machine – no special embroidery machine or module and I stitched before the gusset was stitched.  I used different stitches on the front and back and like the design detail they added to the bag.
IMG_5784 IMG_5785
Straps – for the Wrangler I cut one layer of denim from the old jeans and selected a gold fabric for the inside of the strap.  The edges are folded twice over the denim and stitched down.  The strap on the Levi bag is the flat felled inside leg seam from the jeans that I trimmed all the excess fabric away and it left a very strong narrow strap.  IMG_5807
Well that is it – No pattern, just cut and stitch and I am happy how they turned out.  If I were to make them again I might have added D rings at the top of the gusset instead of trying to stitch the straps onto the gusset.  Was thick and a little tricky to get it all under the machine but got it finished.

Well on to another bag.  If you are wondering why I am making so many bags it is because I am giving a program for my quilt guild in January so am making some more bags and making samples of ways to sew zippers into bags, strap options, pocket options, types and styles of bags to hopefully inspire my guild members to make bags to fit their needs.

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