Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hail Wreaks Havoc

It had been quite a while since we'd had hail here at out house, but hail season is upon us, and it came in with a fury last night.  We had a pretty intense lightning show that my daughter and I watched from the back porch.  There was just a steady sprinkle of rain, but the flash lightning was everywhere.  We came inside around 11:00,  and shortly after we had a burst of pea-sized hail.  I rushed outside to shelter the flower pots I had placed out in the rain, and the hail stopped almost as fast as it started.   It seemed like the storm was calming down, and we went to bed.

Around 1:00 I woke up to the unmistakable sound of hail.  Lots of hail.  It was so bad, I got out of bed to check it out.  The ground was already covered in white, and I knew that wasn't a good thing.  There was nothing I could do but watch the hail destroy the leaves on all all my flowers, trees and everything in my garden.  And it didn't stop for a long time.  I regretted taking the cover off of the herbs I have growing in an old Weber grill on my patio.

The first thing I do every morning is take a walk around our yard and check out my vegetable and flower gardens and plants.  Things always look so fresh.  I water what needs to be watered, pull a few weeds that have sprung up, and enjoy the beginning of a new day.

But today was different.  It wasn't so enjoyable.

All four of the geraniums on my patio looked like this.

I should've left the cover on my herbs!

A little less shade for my sitting garden.

Shredded sunflower leaves, anyone?

Apple tree.

Bruised apple.

My poor tomatoes.  :(

Good thing you don't use rhubarb leaves.

It's unbelievable how much damage a little ice will do.  Most of my plants (if not all of them) will recover, but it was so hard to see them shredded after having nursed them along for several weeks.  I hurt for them.    I realize my pain pales in comparison to all the farmers who depend on their crops for their livelihood.  I hurt even more for them.

While I was taking pictures of the damage and destruction, my daughter yelled at me to "come over here quick!  You have to take a picture of this!"  I rushed over wondering what in the world she could be looking at in the middle of the mulch.

And there was beauty amid the chaos.

What precautions do you take when you know hail is headed your way?



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Microwave Bowl Potholder and Tutorial

About a month ago, I was a guest blogger over at 2 little hooligans, and I thought I'd share my post with you here just in case you missed it.  I am working on another similar project that was requested by one of her readers, and I will share it with you as soon as I have it finished.

Microwave Bowl Potholder

Do you cringe every time you have to remove a hot bowl from the microwave, afraid that you will burn your fingers, or worse yet, drop the bowl and spill the hot contents on you or your kiddos?  Well fear no more because today I am going to show you how to make a bowl potholder so you don't even have to touch that hot bowl!

Here is what you will need:

2 coordinating fat quarters (100% cotton)
100% cotton batting
cotton thread
sewing machine
quilting ruler and mat or scissors
fabric marker
chopstick or bodkin for pushing out corners

You want to make sure you use 100% cotton materials because synthetic fibers could melt or catch fire in the microwave.  Be sure your batting doesn't contain scrim or glue.

To figure out how big to cut your squares, measure the outside of the bowl from one edge to the other.

Then cut one square from each fabric, and two squares of batting to this measurement.  My bowl measured 10", so my squares were 10".

Place one fabric square right side up on top of a batting square, and quilt them together by sewing an X with a straight stitch diagonally to opposite corners.  Repeat for the other fabric square.  (Yes, I switched fabric on you!)

Now your are going to make darts in the centers of each side to give the potholder a bowl shape.

Fold the quilted square in half to find the center for the dart.  I found the best way to do this was to line it up on my quilting mat grid and mark the stitch line with a fabric marker.  I came in 1" and down 2 1/4" for the dart.  Pin and repeat on all four sides.  Repeat for other quilted square.

Sew along marked lines, back tacking at the ends of the darts.  Trim seams.

The two halves should resemble square bowls at this point.

Pin the bowls right sides together, matching corners and dart seams.  Using 1/4" seam, sew together, leaving about 3" open for turning.  I always put two pins at the opening to remind me where I am supposed to stop.

Trim corners.  Turn right side out, push out corners, and press.

Topstitch around the edge, and you are done!

This is what the outside looks like.

This is a pretty forgiving pattern, and if you have an odd shaped bowl you are trying to fit, the darts can be adjusted to the length or depth you need.  Just test the fit of the bowl before the darts are sewed, and make adjustments as needed.

These work great for making hot cereals or reheating foods in the microwave.

They can also be used as an insulating pad for cold foods like ice cream, so your lap and hands don't freeze!  They should only be used in the microwave, though, and are not for use in a regular, toaster, or convection oven.

I hope you all enjoy this quick and fun little sewing project!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stamping is Fun!

Well, it certainly has been a while since I've stamped.  As a matter of fact, it had been so long, I forgot how fun was.  Most of my creative time has been taken up by my new hobby - woodworking.  I have been making doll furniture...high chairs, picnic tables, beds and bedding, and I just haven't had the creative energy to stamp.

But I've had the itch.

So I scratched it today and made a couple cards.  While my mojo was a little stagnant, and it took a lot longer than it should have to make them, I am mostly pleased with my cards.

Not sure about the color combo on this one, but it is what it is.  At least I tried!  All three buttons are clear embossed, but it's hard to tell by the picture.

I love the variety of the faux buttons on this one.  A couple of them are clear embossed to give them more of a real button look.  And the best part about faux buttons is no hassle when mailing!  I shaded the stems, leaves and sentiment with a darker color of green.  Love how that turned out, too.

See, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.  :)

Supplies used:
Stamps - PTI Everyday Button Bits, SU Button, Button
Paper - PTI  (not sure of the colors)
Ink - Versamark, Memento pear tart, London fog, bamboo leaves marker, Versamagic pink grapefruit, mango madness, turquoise gem
Accessories - Clear EP, circle punches, SU Embosslits Sweet Buttons, dimensionals

What have you been doing with your creative energy?