Sunday, May 11, 2014

Snakes Eat Frogs

So today we stopped by my Aunt's house to say hello and wish her and my grandmother a happy mother's day. We were getting ready to leave.....for us that means Brad is up starting the truck while I'm still talking to people. All of a sudden, he starts calling me, "come here, you need to see this" My uncle and I both head up there wondering what is so exciting.....then the only word I hear is "SNAKE" Great!!!! He's already brought one in the house to show me this spring...I'm not afraid of snakes, but I don't feel the need to look at another one. A snake is a snake, is a creepy slithery snake!!

I'm glad I sucked it up and went to look! We got to watch this garter (code for totally harmless!!) snake eat a frog! I get that some people will think it's gross, but it's really pretty amazing when you get to watch nature work the way God designed it to, right there, in living color!!

We decided to put all the pictures (or at least the ones from my phone that weren't too blurry) into a video instead of posting 40 pictures to tell the story. Sometimes I think I've seen a lot, but this is seriously one of THE COOLEST things I've EVER gotten to watch happen!

What cool nature things have you gotten to see? I'd love to hear your stories (and see pics/video!!)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Felted Sweater Quilt pt2 it's taken me longer than I expected to get this second part of the quilt project posted...sorry!! We've been really enjoying the blanket!

It's been so great this winter!! I LOVE to cuddle under it in the camper (which does NOT stay super warm, especially with all the wind we've had this year)

Making it was super simple.....I know you can do it!

Here is the more dense fabric after you've washed and shrunk (felted) the sweaters

The sweater felted and the pocket stayed.....I want to keep this in the blanket to hold my know, a little snack, the remote or some tissues. 

Now for the work. Time to start cutting the sweaters into usable pieces. First step is to cut out the seams....they just get too bulky to sew through all those extra seams

 I was going to do things in a very random patchwork, but when I started sewing I went right back to the cutting table and started whacking things into squares and rectangles. 

I used my ruler and rotary cutter to cut down the sleeves, and necklines

In the end you get rectangle, but this isn't a perfect project! There were several pieces that had ripples like this one that need to be taken care of.....of course I didn't get pics of the fix.....basically you just want to cut it smaller and re-square it. For the piece above I cut the bottom of the piece off and left just the rippley part. I took that strip and cut it in half and suddenly the one rectangle with ripples became two funky shapes that laid was like a magic trick!! You just have to use the ruler and rotary cutter to straighten the pieces back up so you can sew them. 

I tried to keep as much of the fabric of each sweater as possible. Using a rotary cutter is a great way to make this happen (you could do it with scissors, but I'm a rotary addict anyway) 

This might look like a sleeve, but it's actually a body piece from one of the sweaters. I left it this shape and put it with a sleeve to make a block. That's the beauty of this can do whatever you want!! It's an easy breezy project to cozy up your cold days! 

I seriously can't lay under this blanket and not fall asleep! It's the perfect kind of warmth........Really warm and cozy, but you aren't sweating, just toasty!!

If you make your own felted sweater quilt, share your pictures with me! 
I'd love to see how yours comes out! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Felted Sweater Quilt

You know I'm not a professional're probable going to REALLY know that soon. If I was a pro I don't think I would post a project this size without it being done....but then, I'm not a pro! In fact, I hesitate to call myself an amateur. At best I'm blogging greenhorn! But if this project works out in real life like I see it in my head, it will all be worth it!! This is going to be the best, coziest blanket EVER!!!

Have you ever felted? Do you know what felting is? I'm guessing we've all done it at one point in our lives, even if it wasn't intentional. Basically it's shrinking wool....You know what I take that perfect wool sweater or pair of socks and accidently throw them in the washer and they come out toddler sized....yep, you just felted them!!

The great thing about felting is that when the fibers shrink they get really thick and dense.  Now this is the magic of it can cut apart that sweater and it won't unravel! Promise! Well....I promise it won't after it's felted -- don't cut before you felt or you'll be left with a big messy pile of crinkly yarn....bad news!

The first step of this project is to find your wool to felt. I turned to the Goodwill - you have to look at every tag to make sure that it's really wool, and that it warns against machine washing.

You'll see on the green one that it's only 80% wool....I decided it was worth the gamble. (hey, it was half off everything at Goodwill that day, it wasn't much of a gamble) 

After you have a bunch of sweaters, go through and cut out all the tags, buttons and yes, shoulder pads! 

Make sure to check for extra buttons and tags on the inside seams


 Oh yeah....and drycleaning tags! They're usually pinned in and those pins can rust when you wash them....not the end of the world, but not the effect we're going for either.

By the time you're done you'll have a nice pile of trash, and some new buttons to use on another project. 

The next step is to dump all the sweaters in the washer. I put just a drop of detergent in
(maybe a 1/4 of the normal amount) 
Then set it to a full load as hot and long as you can set it.
Don't worry if you don't have a full load, still set your machine on large load (these babies need some room to move)

Also, if you have a front load machine, or a top-load without an agitator, you may have to run a few cycles, or put something in with the sweaters to rough 'em up a bit. 

When they are done washing, pull them out and admire your handiwork....if they didn't shrink enough, put them back through. You'll know when it's enough when you can't really see the stitches anymore and the sweater feels thicker is hard to stretch.  When they are sufficiently felted, pop them in the dryer. 

Go find your sweaters, get them washed and dried and check back soon for part 2 (I can't post it yet, because I haven't tried it yet....see.... I told you, unprofessional)