Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Furniture

A new home made side table, that is.

I made a little table to go between two of the red Adirondack chairs that are still by the front door. Son Wil has a smoke out there on occasion so that's a good spot for the ashtray.

For the longest time the table was just plain and then I got the urge to make it a little nicer looking. I haven't done any mosaics for a long time and no tiling since the message center board. I had some of the tiny irridescent tiles left over from that project and thought I'd give it a whirl on the side table. 

I bought a few gray tiles from work and cut them into three pieces to make them fit evenly on the top. I don't have a tile saw anymore so I used my rotozip with a dry cutting circular disk. In order to make the tiny tiles fit flush with the bigger tiles I had to cut a channel. At first I tried using a tile bit, but that caused the edges to chip and was taking forever. I was also afraid it would make the tiles break. 

I was getting a little frustrated but then thought I'd try the tile disk again and see how that worked. Being very careful I was able to cut a shallow channel for the little tiles. It worked perfectly. I finished up with the dark charcoal grout I had from the message board and voila! it was done.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

After The Rain

We had a little rain today; just enough to get everything wet. 

A few minutes after the rain stopped this unusual rainbow appeared and just as quickly it disappeared again. I think it's called a crepuscular rainbow??

Basically nothing too much going on around here.  Hubby went to So. Cal. a couple weekends ago to pick up a free pool table our friends generously offered to us. While he was there he got to visit with our daughter and granddaughter and a few other friends.  

Besides the nice pool table I think he also brought home a bad cold. Meanwhile I managed to get it too and have been feeling miserable for a few days. Yesterday I had a day off and stayed in my pajamas on the sofa all day long.  I felt a bit better today. Hot tea with lemon and honey has helped a lot.

The rainbow also makes me feel better. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Folk Art American Flag

I was watching an episode of Anitra Mecadon's "Mega Dens" on DIY network. She made an American flag out of lumber and hung it in a big family room. They didn't really go into detail about how they made it but I was inspired by that piece to try and make my own version using crackle paint. 

I did a lot of research on line and found out you can do a crackle effect without buying expensive crackle paint. The secret is Elmers school glue! 

The first thing I did was get my lumber pieces together.  I know the proportions aren't exactly right but they're pretty close. I made seven shorter strips and six longer strips for the stripes on the flag. The strips came from free lumber we got last year. I think they are cedar siding. I liked them because the lumber is rough and has "wormholes" which I think add character. I got a thinner piece of plywood for the rectangular star section. A single piece of plywood is for underneath all the strips and star field.

I painted each piece of lumber flat black. That is the color that will show through the crackles. Then I painted a layer of glue and waited about 5 or 10 minutes before painting the top color on (either the red, white, or blue). I used a flat exterior paint. 

I made a pattern out of cardboard of the stars and traced them onto five large paint stirring sticks. I used my Rotozip to cut the stars out. I just painted the stars without trying to do the crackle on them.

I let all the strips, stars, and blue field cure overnight.

The next day I glued and screwed everything together.

The glue dried and I added pipe brackets in the back. Through those I threaded some barbed wire to use as the hanger. It's not so easy to see the barbed wire but maybe if you enlarge the above picture (by clicking on it) it will show up a little.

I think I used the barbed wire to make some sort of statement. I'm not really sure what that statement is but I like it.

Here is the finished product hanging on our shop. 

Just in time for September 11!

PS- Thanks to son Wil, for his help with the stars. (He made a better star pattern than my first one and helped cut about 20 of the stars out.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Chickens

The chickens are all about full grown now. Two of the breeds are laying eggs consistently and I'm getting 3 - 6 eggs daily.

Here are the eggs from one day. A blue and green Easter egger and two light brown Speckled Sussex.

These are the same eggs how I found them in the nest box.

These are the eggs I got today. Granted, I didn't collect yesterday so this is actually two days' worth. A couple of blues; a couple of greens, including the darker green; only one from the Speckled Sussex (the lighter brown egg) and the first egg from the light Brahmas (the darker brown egg).

Since this is how the computer loaded the photos I'll start with the Light Brahmas. Even though I ordered 5 pullets and 1 cockerel I ended up with 3 pair. So far there has not been a problem with the three roosters being all together.  These seem to be a very quiet and calm breed.

The roosters have small combs and wattles, the hens almost nothing. They have feathers on their legs and feet. They are a medium to large size. They are supposed to do well in colder climates.

Two roosters.




 Next up are the Easter eggers. They come in various colors. This is the rooster in the front.


The rooster is on the right. You can see how the hens are all different colors. So far they've laid dark green, green, and blue eggs. It would be fun if one of them laid a pink egg!

From the side, the rooster in the front.

 The Speckled Sussex.  You can see why they are called "speckled". These are the hens. 

The rooster.

While these are supposed to be a docile breed, the rooster has come at me a couple times. Needless to say I don't leave my back to him.


And finally the chickens I got as ornamentals. I just got them for fun.  These are called "Sultans". They are supposedly fairly rare and I could only order them as straight run, which means I couldn't pick girls or boys, I just got what they sent.  I ended up with two roosters and 3 hens.

This is a rooster. They have a poofy head, the roosters have a looser top knot than the girls. They also have small wattles and a "v" comb. Not only that but they have feathers on their legs and feet and have five toes instead of the usual four!

Here's a hen. You can see her head dress is rounder and smoother than the roosters.  

Here's a look at their feathery feet.


These chickens are, sad to say, kind of stupid. Maybe too much inbreeding? I don't think it helps that the hens especially, can't see too well because of their fancy pompadour. If you take a close look at the hen on the left front you can see she was born with an undershot beak. (Evidence of a small gene pool?) It doesn't seem to hurt her any though. They reportedly aren't good layers and in fact I haven't gotten any eggs from them yet. But like I said, I got them for the fun factor.

Old fashioned pound cake, quiche, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, and all kinds of egg dishes are in store for the near future!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Zebra Pattern Blanket

The last time the kids were here my granddaughter asked if I would make her a zebra pattern blanket. I told her I would have to find a pattern as I didn't have anything like that.

After some on line searching I found something I thought would work. When I asked what colors to make it in I was informed she wanted "black and teal, both of them sparkly". It wasn't too hard to find the sparkly black yarn but I couldn't find a sparkly teal that I liked. I found a brand and line of sparkly yarn but there was no teal in any of the stores. I did find it available on line and went ahead and ordered it through It was most inexpensive through them and I didn't pay for shipping since I had it sent to the store. 

The original pattern was for a baby blanket but I added about 100 extra stitches to make it a bigger size.  I'm not sure how zebra-ish it looks. It's almost more tiger-ish but it still turned out better than I thought it would. 

I made the border using a sparkly hot pink. As usual it looks better in person than in the photos.

Ollie likes my yarn box.

On to the next project!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crazy Cat

Our silly kitty, Ollie, is not a bad hunter.  A few weeks ago she waited at the deck door with a chipmunk in her mouth. Not wanting her to bring the thing into the house I made her drop it before I let her in. To my great surprise as soon as it hit the deck it hightailed it for safer pastures, namely the rock pile where it lives.

Then, just the other day, Ollie showed up with another chipmunk. There was a good amount of blood on the deck and the chipmunk was on the deck. (This is the picture above.) So I opened the door to let Ollie in and dispose of the chipmunk. And guess what happened then?  The thing was still alive and as soon as the cat was inside it took off and did a lemming impression off the end of the deck. I don't know if it survived.

One thing is certain.  The chipmunks are a little less bold about coming onto the deck and eating the bird seed.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Our Poor Garden

Above is a picture of our latest garden offerings.  There are the final Yukon Gold potatoes that the gophers didn't get, some green beans, and a couple of turnips. 

The other stuff is questionable.  We have little watermelons on the vine, the canteloupe and acorn squash have lots of flowers but not much in the way of fruit. The corn looks kinda puny. We spotted a few ears but they don't look so good right now. The calypso beans are nothing but sad empty stalks thanks to the grasshoppers and they have started in on the chard now too. This is in spite of lots of spraying. The onions look great and the other two types of potatoes still look good.

Granted, this is the first year we've tried a garden in our new location here, but I think we've learned a little. We definitely needed the deer fencing or we would have had absolutely nothing but possibly the onions. The tomatoes are in pots and they would probably do better in the ground.

I have some ideas for the garden next year, which includes moving it closer to the house. I think the soil needs to be amended (which we didn't do this year) and I'm even considering raised beds. My dream is to have a "secret garden" which means I want to build a big solid (about 8' high) wall around the garden. 

At least my flower boxes on the deck rail look fabulous!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

National Bird

We noticed a different bird flying around just down the hill.  The white head and tail gave it away as a bald eagle.

Some crows were harassing him so he moved frequently.

One thing is certain:  I need a better zoom lens!