Junque if it's mine, Junk if it somebody else's!

One site defines "junque" as upscale treasures repurposed..... I not only have a barn full of junque, I have it scattered here and there throughout the abandoned part of the garden.  I am always trying to salvage it and find a spot that I can enjoy it.  Some of it, like old farm machinery, is too hard to move but this gardening angel needed a new home.  I brought her to the house last summer and then couldn't decide where to put her.

So Saturday I had to braced up the gate posts on my garden and decided that would be a good use for her.  With difficulty I drilled 6 holes in the sheet metal to ensure she was firmly attached to the posts.  I didn't want to open the gate and have her fall on me as she is very heavy...  I wouldn't want my tombstone to read "decapitated by an angel."

And in  one hand she has the wand with the star and in the other hand she has the word "grow"...  Oops!! after she was all drilled and mounted I realized the way I positioned her it was  backwards...  Oh well...

The gate itself has been in use there for years... it is the headboard of an old iron crib fortified with wire.

There will be few, if any beans, but the squash and tomatoes  are doing well and set to take off as soon as the warm weather hits.

I had covered my peas with shade cloth to protect them and it worked and I keep it tucked around the bottom just for safe measure.  I am getting a bumper crop of peas and each morning Morris and I go out and spend about 20 minutes picking and sharing peas for breakfast.  I should say I pick and he shares.

Morris loves his veggies...especially carrots and celery and now new peas....

He has matured into a most loving companion... We are having a terrible tick season and spend lots of time checking for ticks.. Morris thinks it's  extra loving and just lays back and enjoys it.

I am spending yet another day waiting in vain for yet another person to come and cut up my dead trees downed in last fall's storm.  And the phone number he gave me doesn't work.

  If it weren't so frustrating it would be comical.  They don't come when they say or they come and have equipment problems... Bigger companies think the job is too small and independents are undependable.. This big tree split when it fell and managed to miss the gazebo... There are about 9 big trees down.

We were out of town to visit some grandchildren and then other grandchildren came to visit....it has been a very busy month... And I had a terrible time with the shots in my eyes so very little stitching is getting done.  I did get the ribbon ruched to frame the cottage and it is waiting for me to get back to it...


A tip to file away!

Quite by accident I discovered you can modify the width of the end result of this ruched ribbon no matter what the width of the ribbon.  The book's instructions have you mark the gathering lines according to the width of the ribbon.... which I did (A) and the end result was too wide....

But if I narrowed the spaces between the triangles I got a much narrower end results.


Lace Cottage DONE!!

Didn't quite finish over the weekend but it is now done and ready to put on the CQJP2014 project.  I'll post when the cover is finished.

And as promised here is a guide to copy and use to follow all the steps I did.  It is the same I used but I did clean it up a bit....  My cottage was only a little over 3" high but I would recommend doing it larger....


The garden has begun - lace cottage tutorial - part 6

Well I "planting" my cottage's garden...starting anyway.  I have no plan and just grabbing colors as the spirit moves me.
 I dry brushed some dark green fabric paint where I want the back shrubbery... Adding the color will mean less French knots.

I also found a piece of inexpensive nylon lace and cut a strip for the lace and I will leave the lower edge raw.

I'm using the silk ribbon I dyed last summer.  I love it but don't have enough colors.  I am going to dye and overdye a lot of ribbon this summer.  Unfortunately the big storm last fall blew the top off my greenhouse so I will miss having the dry sheltered work space.  It is too expensive and too much work to replace it.

I'm also using perle instead of floss.

Remember these gardens by picket fences that were my inspiration...  One had the garden mostly inside the fence and the other had the garden mostly outside the fence.  I want my garden BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE the fence... like Bette Midler, I want it all.

We are going to Seattle this weekend to a granddaughter's graduation and this little garden gives me something relaxed and easy to work on.  Hope to have it done by the time I get back.  The whole piece is only 6" by 6"....


Lace Cottage tutorial continued...part 5

The actual cottage part of this piece is complete.  Besides finishing the door and the windows, I added a tiny lace along the left end of the roof and I did a chain to secure the lace on the corners of the house.  I wove a thread through the chain to catch even more lace...than I trimmed the lace close.  Any little fussies will be concealed by shrubbery later.

Now I can turn my attention to the fence in front... Visually I want the fence to cover the area in front of the house because I don't want to spend months doing French knots although the possibilities for a front garden area are great if I positioned the fence farther front.... I want to use a small lace for the top rail of the fence.  I want it to be rather bold to separate it from the lace on the house since they will be touching.  I want to bring the fence to the forefront and a strong lace could do that.

 This is my drawer of small laces from years of collecting.  It is very easy to overlook small edging lace  on ugly linens. You just see the stains and terrible embroidery and tend to put them aside.  But that's where I find some of my best small edgings.  You can also find some new machine laces that are cheap and fantastic.  Again I remind everyone not to be a lace "snob".   Not everything has to be handmade to be wonderful..
embrace them all.

So I start trying different laces and it makes it easier if I can see them all at once.  So I take photos so I can compare.
The bottom two were my final choice and the one bottom left won out as it was the laciest and I could envision roses spilling over it.  I am also trying out laces for the lane in the foreground.  Just as I wanted the fence to be heavier, I want the lace for the lane to be very delicate and unassuming...  This will be a hard one to find.


How a watermelon can strain a 40-year marriage.

Recently DH bought a watermelon the size of a large footstool and proceeded to try and fit it into a space in the refrigerator the size  of a gallon of milk...  When it wouldn't fit he gave it a shove.  The water melon didn't shrink but it did knock over a 1/2 gallon container of hummingbird sugar syrup.

The said sugar syrup splashed over the entire contents of the refrigerator, ran down into the veggie bin and out unto the recently cleaned floor.  When I happened onto the scene DH was smearing it around with damp paper towels in an ill-conceived notion he was cleaning it up....not working.  He had managed to track it all over the kitchen, and get it, not only on the counter top, but on the cupboard  fronts as well..  How I'm not sure, but he did.

Now I tend to be the silent angry type.... stewing internally and fantasizing a appropriate revenge. But on this occasion I lost it and found a whole new vocabulary to express my feelings at the moment.  From that moment on watermelon is not only not allowed in the refrigerator, it is not allowed in the house.  If he buys a watermelon he has to keep it on the porch in an ice chest.

Even though I spent hours scrubbing the kitchen and refrigerator and its contents from top to bottom, days later I would find a sticky spot in an odd place. Remember all the positive feelings I was getting from house cleaning therapy? ....well this incident managed to negate all that... no more warm and fussy feelings for my new mop...

Lace cottage tutorial continued...part 4

I spent most of last evening on the curtains and one window.
Tonight I hope to finish all the windows and the door.  I am anxious to get to the fence so I can start on the garden... the fun part.

I don't know how large this looks on your screen but the entire cottage is less than 3" tall...very tiny indeed.

The lace I used for the curtains is just a hair over 1/4".  It is a machine lace and very intricate.  I am using the band part of the lace as my guide for my shutters.  Notice I did a tight chain stitch around the door to secure the lace before I start stitching the door.

And remember all this narrow trim I gathered to show you..?   Well I put it in that famous "safe place" and I need it now and can't find it..

We seldom eat out except for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas eve... I hate paying for a meal that I could cook better at home and I love cooking it.  Yesterday I spent most of the day cutting up scrap wood for winter and working on bills and budget....both odious chores.  So I am treating myself to a day of play in the kitchen.. I splurged and bought a duck for company coming this weekend and am cooking the duck confit today.  It takes 11 hours in the slow cooker.  I will be serving duck crepes with a plum sauce.  I did it last winter and served them with bok choy and mango salad.  Also making kale, prosciutto , parmesan pin wheels with puff pastry dough.  You make them ahead and freeze...cut and bake and serve as appetizers.  New recipe which sometimes sounds so good but not...we'll see...  And I have a big batch of turkey minestrone cooking away for tonight. Next to a day of stitching, a day in an apron cooking is the best.


Lace cottage tutorial continued....part 3

Step 1.. I embroidered  the chimneys and the little roof section over the door with a long and short satin stitch. .  The roof section I just embroidered right over the cut edge of the house lace.

I also found this cute little edging that I wanted to use.

Step 2:  I split it lengthwise and used part of it across the ridge of the roof.  People often had a ridge decoration to keep birds off the thatch roof.  I used the other section for trim along the eaves which I may or may not keep as it keep shifting..

Step 3:  Then I attached the lace I had dyed for the roof.  I ran it about 1/2" beyond the edge of the roof.

Then from the back I ran a basting line so I knew where I wanted to cut for the roof. 

But before I trimmed the excess I used a matching thread and all along the inside of the edge (see arrow) I made tiny stitches securing all the lace about 1/4" in and then I could cut it without it raveling.

Now I can start on the windows and door and the roof trim.

While looking through my journal laces I found a quite large table runner that I had been saving for a large journal cover.  It would be perfect for the fence and since it had a damaged section right in the center I would have had to remove a section anyway, I will have enough to use for the fence...

To answer Cindy's question.... I am using a piece of cotton.  I love using good quality used sheets from the thrift store.  They have a good thread count and after repeated washings all the sizing is washed out and they needle beautifully.  This one was a treasure.  It was a king sized Ralph Lauren that was a soft white.  It will last me a while but I do use up quite a bit for projects for my students.


Another "Gerry Day" and a support for Bill....

One of my blog readers emailed me that she had had a "Gerry Day"  My immediate thought was "Oh you poor dear!"  And sure enough she had a bad fall and did serious injury to several body parts.  I also had  another "Gerry Day" today.  I was trying to wire these wheels together and went running into the house to get my pliers.  I managed to fall UP the porch stairs, cracked my knee cap on the edge of a step and rammed my elbow into the porch rail... I am limping and sore tonight... DH says just about anybody can fall down the stairs, but it takes a special skill to fall up the stairs...aren't I the lucky one to have that skill.

I was trying to wire these three wheels together to make a support for my new clematis "Bill Mackenzie" so it could ramble over and through these wheels and hide that ugly stump.  I used to put a large brass container of flowers on the stump but always forgot to water them.  This will be much better.

The largest wheel in front is 5' and is way too heavy to lift.  In fact I could hardly keep it upright to roll it along.  My original plan was to put a post on either side to support it.  I quickly learned that digging post holes by that old stump was not going to happen.  So I dragged two smaller wheels (about 40lbs a piece) from the barn and plan B was to wire them in a triangle and I think that is going to work. And dear "Bill" is planted and ready to ramble.

Years ago in the back of the garden I put an even larger wheel between two posts and planted a pink macropetala clematis at the base of each post and they eventually covered the structure which was about 8' tall. It was stunning in bloom and  I loved it.

Today's new wheel support is a much smaller endeavor but should be great when in bloom and it is just feet from the front porch where I will get to enjoy it...

"Bill" has huge nodding bright-yellow flowers, with darker red centers. The flowers appear during  summer and are followed by attractive wispy seed heads into fall.  It is an aggressive grower and I might let it ramble over and up the clothesline pole.

Lace cottage tutorial continued....part 2.

Second Stage:

Step 1:
At this point I use a black sharpie pen to darken the windows  Very little of it shows when finished but it makes the sashing on the windows pop.

Step 2:  Once you decide on your lace, put a large enough piece to cover with excess on the top of the cottage.  Depending on the size of the cottage, baste or pin in place.  My cottage is quite small so I just pinned it down.

Step 3:  Turn your needlework over and from the back, baste just around the wall area.  With my particular lace I could have seen  through the lace to baste from the top but it is neater and works better doing from the back.

Step 4:  Turn the needlework right side up and trim leaving at least 1/4" outside the basting line.  Now the fun begins..

I can guarantee that if you trim the lace to exactly fit that it will pull loose.  I work with lace a lot and the biggest problem  is stabilizing a cut edge.  I have a few tricks I use that I will share as I go along.

Step 5:  Choosing laces for roof and trim is fun because as long as it is in scale, the possibilities are endless.

On the left is a 1/2" piece of crocheted lace that I have dyed and antiqued for the roof.  On the right is an assortment of very narrow braid, soutache, cording, and rat tail.  I will antique small pieces of these for trim around the doors, windows and the edge of the roof.

Before I start on the roof I will satin stitch the chimneys and the tiny roof over the door.  I'm hoping to find time to do that this evening.

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