Gilded Nameplates

A few months ago I was asked to gild with 23k gold some wooden nameplates for a local artist. He attaches them to the frames of his oil paintings or to the base of the bronze. They list the title of the piece with the artist’s name underneath. The previous person who did it was no longer interested in doing the gilding. So I did some experimentation and told the calligrapher I’d do it. During that time she decided that she didn’t want to do the calligraphy anymore either so passed it to me as well.

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It’s ending up to be quite a nice side job that I do while E is working on schoolwork or on weekends.

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In fact, E has been requesting to go to school in the fall and no longer homeschool. I don’t want him to go to public school after looking at their textbooks (Common Core is a little disturbing as well to me, not that Texas implemented it but they are adopting some of the textbooks for neighboring states) so I had to look around for a private school for him. Fortunately this side job will work for covering the tuition and will help me to get ready for F’s arrival. No date yet but the papers are on the way here today for signatures! E attending school will also give me time to devote to F’s schooling and learning English.

Glorified Nine Patch Pattern

glorified nine patchBack in February, the Blanco Quilters on the Square (my local quilt guild) offered a class on piecing the glorified nine patch (also known as improved nine patch, circle upon circle, four leaf clover, nine patch variation, and Bailey nine patch) by machine. I’m not much of one to use my sewing machine since it seems to like sewing clothes better than quilt tops. I knew ahead of time that she was going to teach from these templates which seemed fine but I wanted a larger block, more in the neighborhood of 12″.

So I redrafted the pattern myself starting with this free one I found. I realized after printing Hanna’s quilt pattern that the circles weren’t very round and I really liked the secondary pattern it created with the circles. My compass wasn’t exact with its measurement so it was more difficult than it should have been. All the pieces will match up, not to worry.

So far I’ve hand stitched the nine patches and have yet to choose the melon seed shape fabric. I’ve had lots of suggestions over on the Celebrate Handquilting Facebook group page and will have to do some thinking. I’m not inclined to use white or cream only because it’s not very practical to keep clean with all our pets that share our bed with us.

** Note: This pattern has no seam allowances so you’ll need to add the 1/4″-1/8″. **

Glorified Nine Patch piecing pattern (PDF)

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Processing Lessons

It seems a lot of times E isn’t paying attention to what I tell him especially during a week (or two) of constant misbehavior. But for whatever reason E really began to realize that I as Mom am not here to discipline him constantly. I’m sure some days or weeks he feels like he can’t do anything right (I feel that way too sometimes). But after the last two weeks full of him being unregulated i was happy to see the light come on after I told him that I’m not here to discipline but to teach him to discipline (control) himself.

That realization made for a pleasant weekend and Monday. Hopefully we can keep the happy momentum going. Keeping him optimistic and mentally happy is hard work for me because he’s such an Eeyore. His mental state is surprisingly pessimistic for one so young but I’m slowly pulling him in a happier more optimistic direction and I see him growing up to his chronological age slowly but surely. :-)

Poodle Recovery

Today was Sunny’s scheduled surgery to remove a benign fatty tumor on his sternum. We decided to remove it because it was growing larger and would most likely continue growing since he often puts pressure on it while laying down. Eventually it would be uncomfortable for him.

I have admit, I was quite anxious about it since he is my beloved therapy poodle and you hear about dogs that just don’t wake up after surgeries. The vet assured me that those dog frequently have an underlying issue that was unknown or are geriatric. Sunny is already considered geriatric at age 7 but we decided to go ahead before he got older and scheduled it for this morning. He did great and his bloodwork looked ideal for his age. They also did a little teeth scaling while he was sleepy and will probably not need another dental for the rest of his life.

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He was a little drowsy when we got home but very happy. The vet described him as a giddy teenage girl with his silly but happy greeting to us at pick up. Silly poodle!

He’s supposed to wear a Tshirt for a few days to help prevent fluid build up in the space left and to help him to be too interested in his wound. Good thing E just grew out of this one!

I think he’s a bit sore and is definitely a little swollen but not whimpering in pain fortunately. Lots of love and pets for him while he recovers.

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Repairing a Crochet Afghan

Long ago before I was born, when my mother was a girl in northern Minnesota, my grandmother liked to buy lovely wool yarn and go into retirement communities in search of little old ladies to crochet her afghans. I’m not sure how many she had made but I know that one in particular lives at my mother’s house. It’s been falling apart for ages. Not because of moths but because whoever the old lady was that my grandmother picked wasn’t very good at crochet.

IMG_3585This old lady (bless her heart — as fellow Texans would say) left very, very short tails. I assume she was being frugal. But with less than half an inch of tail, that tail can’t do it’s job because it’s not long enough to weave in. So I took on the job of repair after quite a few hints. There were 7 total squares that needed to be repaired. It took about 5 hours total for the whole job.

This is a simple granny square afghan with squares whip stitched together (not my favorite method of joining squares because it’s not as secure as crocheting them together). The repair was easy because of the simple pattern but hard because of the short tails. I’m not sure what my mother will do in the long run, because lots of the tails looked ready to sneak out of their squares. :-/

In the short, I unraveled what was left in the squares while catching the last row of intact loops and snaring them with extra yarn. I was careful to not split the plies.

IMG_3588Then I crocheted the granny square pattern around trying to match the really loose gauge up to the joining round. The last round was the most time consuming. I had to pull the chain loop through groups of snared loops before I did the next 3 double crochet cluster.

repaired granny square afghanI didn’t have the exact same colors but because the original colors were such a mismash it didn’t matter. I just stuck to 3 colors and added those in since the unraveling was in random spots all over. Turned out just fine and Dashiell approved.

IMG_3578If you are looking for how to make a basic granny square, here is a good tutorial. Please remember to leave nice long tails to weave in. ;-)

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