Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tri Loom Jacket Tutorial

Quite some time ago I did a post on fiber arts projects my daughter, Lauren, and I have done. One of the jackets has caught the eye of a Pinterest user and she asked for the pattern. I'm not sure if there is a pattern as Lauren sort of brainstormed it after making the one "Celtic Mist".

So, after consulting with Lauren, we decided to make it a blog post with a tutorial. It seemed only right to do that as she and I have been on the receiving end of so many free patterns over the years.

I hope you can get the gist of what she did to put the jacket together. I believe it can be made in any size, babies, youth, and adults. You just take one measurement, from under the arms and across the back to get the length of the long side of the triangle. The rest flows from there. Good Luck! If you do use the pattern, please come back and leave a comment, especially if you find a bug that we can straighten out for everyone. You might want to jump over to the Facebook page and post a picture - Lauren and I would love that!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

They're Back! Revisiting Citrus Cottony Cushion Scale

They're Back! In a post back in September 2012 I described my battle with the Citrus Cottony Cushion Scale on my container citrus. They are a very destructive citrus pest, one I thought I had beaten. Not so! Since I was unable to get photos of this pest for the original post, I thought I'd update with some photos I was able to get from my current infestation. For complete commentary on my experience battling these little critters, you may want to read my first post. I think these photos are pretty graphic and amazing!

Here you can see the Farmer Ants working their Scale! Once the Scale lays her eggs, the ants move them around the tree. The Scale themselves don't move very far so getting rid of the ants is as important as defeating the Scale!

The scale themselves are not really this big. The greater part of what you see is the egg sack.

I mushed the egg sack so you can see the little eggs inside. They're orange!

Fascinating! But, I'd rather just be done with Citrus Cottony Cushion Scale!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Uncle Sam Expects . . . Chickens
Photo Credit - Meyer Hatchery
This historic poster is as true 
in 2013 as in 1918
almost 100 years ago - it reads:

Two Hens in the Back Yard for Each Person in the House 
Will Keep a Family in Fresh Eggs

Even the smallest backyard has room for a flock large enough to supply the house with eggs. The cost of maintaining such a flock is small. Table and kitchen waste provide much of the feed for the hens. They require little attention – only a few minutes a day.

An interested child, old enough to take a little responsibility, can care for a few fowls as well as a grown person.

Every backyard in the United States should contribute its share to a bumper crop of poultry and eggs in 1918.

       In time of Peace a Profitable Recreation

                                              In Time of War a Patriotic Duty

For information about methods of Backyard Poultry Keeping suited to your location and conditions write:

Your State Agricultural College


The United States Department of Agriculture

Washington, D. C.

Monday, April 22, 2013



Don't you just love that word. Rambunctious. It is so fun to say, like being young and Julie Andrews, through her Mary Poppins character, teaching us to sing "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious".

Atrocious - another great word.

 I also like the word slither, although I don't particularly like snakes that slither. Hither, as in hither and yon, is another good one.

Courtesy of
Then there is the book I used to read every year to my first grade class, Tikki Tikki Tembo, the story of a Chinese boy who had the very long name:

Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo.

I read the story for my own enjoyment of reciting the sing-song name, and then teaching the children to memorize it, who in turn used it to impressed their friends and family.

Words are magical. I like them. Happiness is often times found in the simple things.


Quite . . .

I found some quite clever aprons on Pinterest. Not a surprise, I'm sure.

Quite Clever Pinterest Apron - Redoux of a man's shirt.

I was quite captivated with the concept and wanted to make one - which turned into "some". So, off to the thrift store(s) I went to purchase the necessary materials - men's shirts. After a couple of trips to my favorite haunts, I had quite a few in different colors.

I've made the prototype - which is quite nice - and quite a learning experience - as now will only fit someone quite small. That would be my daughter, Kelsey. Don't tell, it's a birthday surprise.

In all, I really like how this first one turned out, especially the flowers I made to adorn the pocket. I used the fabric from three of the shirts and mixed and matched different sizes. The result is quite cute!

Which makes me quite happy! Yes, quite!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pig Project

As a parent, sometimes I've found that I didn't grasp the entirely of a situation until I saw it through my children's eyes. That often came later, and so it was with the summer of the "pig project" that led up to our county fair. In making the decision to allow my son to get involved, I didn't realize to the extent I was imposing on Lauren. Had I, I'm not sure I would have allowed Colin to enroll in the project. In the end, what they gained was not what I expected. What follows is the account by my daughter, through her eyes, as written for her English class. At the time my son was 11 and Lauren was 14 years old. 

Miss Piggy, Colin's 4-H swine project 2006
For four months Colin and I had raised those stupid pigs. Feeding them morning and night, spraying them down in the summer, and walking them each morning. Strike that, I fed them morning and night and hosed them down in the summer heat. Colin simply walked them with me. Hours upon hours of working with those two pigs in hopes that the coveted blue ribbon would soon be hanging from their pens come August. But it wasn't meant to be, my pig received 8th place and depression set in for the rest of the day. 

Now small children in small green 4-H hats milled around the show ring. Camcorders in hand, parents gleefully watched their children and crossed their fingers that they wouldn't mess up. 

Colin stuck out like a sore thumb the way he guided his pig around the ring as our sister, Kelsey, kept close behind him, helping only when necessary. His slanted, Down syndrome eyes squint as he smiles, but he was careful not to lose sight of Miss Piggy in the mass of hogs in the ring. Kelsey followed in his wake as they crossed in front of the judge and once he spotted Colin he couldn't take his eyes off of that out of place, goofy, little boy.

Colin is his 4-H attire after showing Miss Piggy

Colin and the judge locked eyes and Colin gave the judge a toothy grin and a thumbs up. By then the whole crowd had stopped looking at their sons and daughters and were watching Colin, and the sight of the small Down syndrome boy giving such a large man that gleeful thumbs up. 

The crowd of hogs slowly thinned and soon Colin and Miss Piggy were one of two other pairs. The judge grasped the microphone and spoke of the third place contestant and then gave Colin a wink and thumbs up and announced that Colin and Miss Piggy had received 2nd place in their class.


This was an amazing experience for everyone in the pavilion. The crowd was transfixed on the judge waiting for the outcome. When he announced the second place winner the stands erupted in applause for the little boy and his pig. There was not a dry eye in the house as Colin stepped forward to receive his ribbon.

In that moment, I was so proud of Colin, the judge, the 4-H program, our swine leader, and the folks in our county. I was especially proud of our girls, for without them Colin would not have been in the show ring. Our only direction to Kelsey was that she make sure Colin and his pig didn't interfere with the other children in their efforts to show their animals to their best ability. He showed that pig like a champ, and won the hearts of all those in attendance in the process.

However, the credit for this moment really belonged to Lauren. That sweet girl had worked daily for four months, often trying to get a reluctant brother to cooperate, to prepare both pigs for those few minutes in the show ring. She not only cared for the pigs, but she schooled Colin on how to walk the pig using the guiding show stick. In the eyes of the crowd the win may have been Colin's, but in truth the greater victory went to Lauren.

Belatedly, thank you, Lauren, for your hard work the summer of the "pig project"! Your devotion and dedication to the pigs and Colin showed what an amazing young lady you are. Truly a blessing to your family and especially to your little brother!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Outdoor Kitchen, Please

Sunset Magazine Demonstration Kitchen
Here in California, outdoor kitchens have been all the rage for many years. You could pick up just about any upscale home and garden magazine, and there was an article with pictures of the most awesome outdoor kitchen spaces. Yes, awesome, and expensive, and completely over the top! Not what I have in mind!

I have been thinking about doing an outdoor kitchen for a some time, and more seriously the last couple of years. Growing up, some folks down the road from our family cabin had a screened in kitchen that they used in the summers, they actually called it the Summer Kitchen. It was a completely separate building, big enough to have a table and chairs and small efficiency kitchen. Later, when they built a new home, they moved the concept into the house and had two kitchens, jokingly, a his and a her's. As a youngster, to me, having two kitchens made no sense, but now, in addition to a traditional indoor kitchen, I have a longing for an outdoor one, too.

I want something more than just a grill or a cob pizza oven, and way less than those glossy magazine model kitchens. I also have a longing to build what's called a rocket mass heater that burns just a bit of wood to get a lot of heat. That's what got me thinking.

I have what is called a rocket stove from a company called Stove-Tec offered
Stove-Tec Wood and Charcoal Fuel Stoves
by the “not-just-for-profit” wing of the Aprovecho Research Center and
invented by Dr. Larry Winiarski. Profits from sales of the stoves benefit the Center’s research. 

It is made in America and is sent to developing countries where women cook over open fires and much of their wood fuel has been depleted. For the most part, in developed countries it is purchased for camping, or the preparedness community. 

Amazingly, as reported by the Stove-Tec Company, 

"It uses 40-50% less fuel and reduces emissions by 40-75% while reducing green house gas (GHG) emissions an estimated 60% or 1-2 tons per year. These stoves are preferred over other improved cook stoves and three stone fires by 95% of users in Uganda. High adoption and preference reported in India, South Africa, Ethiopia and Chile proves the stoves great versatility among many different users.”

Recho Rocket Kitchen

While continuing to research rocket stoves on the internet, I've seen the rocket stove concept used in making rocket kitchens, really rough models built in developing countries.  I could do that, but my hubby would want something more attractive sitting in our backyard. 

This thought was in my head when one day while researching, and walla, I find it! It's called the EcoStove made in Brazil. They have theirs indoors, but I want mine outdoors. It' s a combination rocket cooktop and rocket oven!

Ecofogão ~ EcoStove used in Brazil

AND, it is beautiful to behold!

I truly believe if you ask for something the Universe will conspire to make it happen for you. So I'm putting this out there. Nancy to Universe - I want an Ecofogão EcoStove outdoor kitchen! Thank you!

For more information and sites with a host of different Rocket Mass Heaters, Rocket Stoves, and Rocket Kitchens, visit my Pinterest Board where I have lots of them pinned!
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