Saturday, August 2, 2014

~*I'll Be Back Soon...*~

 ©primitivebettys 2014

Hello Dear Friends!  I do hope you have been enjoying your summer.  My summer has been very memorable... and I do honestly feel it has been quite wonderful!  Yes, it has been busy... but then, aren't they all?

As you may recall, I took a summer job at a bait shop ~ here at our local lake... Lake Wabaunsee.  We moved in our new home last October.  While I have always been familiar with the area... I didn't know anyone here and I had not spent a lot of time around Eskridge or Lake Wabaunsee.  When I was offered this job, I was a little excited.  It doesn't pay beans (not even minimum wage!)... but I was looking forward to it.  Now as the job is nearing an end... I can honestly say it has been worth it and so much more!

I have made memories and new friends!  WARNING... This is a wordy, windy blog post.  It just shares my joys of summer.  <3>

My job has had its not~so~great moments like cleaning the public restrooms, picking up gobs of trash left by campers and fishermen, cleaning up what dozens of geese can leave behind (if you know what I mean... ewwww!), getting up before dawn so I can be there by 6am, and sitting alone in a quiet, stinky (very stinky!) bait shop when times are slow.

But really... the good outweighs the bad!  Here is my list of good...

* Beautiful Flinthills sunrises... In my normal life, I am not a morning person.  I can usually crawl out of bed early, but not so early to see the sun rise and brighten the sky.  The sunrises this summer have been truly amazing!  They are so full of color and so stunningly spectacular!!!

* Lake Wabaunsee itself has been truly amazing!  When the summer started, the water was low from the last few years of drought.  We have had rain this year and the water has now risen to where it should be.  I love to watch the water sparkle with the winds.  I love to see the morning fog when the temperatures are cool.  When I've been there during the rainfall... that is beautiful too.  The smell, sounds, and sight of rain on the lake is something else.

* The wildlife at the lake is special too.  While the geese can be quite messy, they are great to watch.  I have been able to walk within feet of them.  They do honk and hoot loudly, but it is great to hear.  When they begin to fly away, their large wings flap and splash the water.  It is fun to watch.  There have been deer, ducks, and cranes nearby too.  It is quite peaceful to see them all.

* I pass many cattle fields on my drive to the lake.  I thought it interesting when I had to call the sheriff's office on a bunch of cows.  Well, when they can, they will get out of the fields and walk along the ditches and the roads.  Someone needs to be notified to round them up again before they cause an accident.

* Seeing grumpy, grouchy ol' men smile when they tell their fish stories made me realize these grumpy, grouchy ol' men can smile!

* Seeing cheerful, sun-kissed faces when kids are enjoying summer fun ... fishing or building sandcastles on the swimming beach is priceless.

* When my son tagged along with me a few times... and even brought a few friends with him... was priceless too.  He decided early in the summer that 6am was not really 'his thing'... but I loved to watch him fish, I loved to see his face light up when he caught one, and I loved to just sit and visit with him.  At the bait shop, I was able to get him away (me too!) from the cell phone, computer, and TV.  It was just us and some good quality time together!

* All that time alone at the quiet, stinky, bait shop... meant I could craft and craft!  Each day I took along a project or two.  My stack of pieces waiting to be finished in~to something is huge now.  Soon, you will see what I have created.  I must say it was funny to hear ol' men comment on my work.  I would be sitting there cross stitching, rug hooking, or needle punching when they would walk in.  Several asked me what I was knitting.  Hmmmm.... guess they should stick to fishing huh?

* One of my favorite summer memories inspired the doodle above.  A little boy, maybe 5 years old, came into the bait shop alone one day.  He was camping with is family.  He came in with a dollar wadded up in his small hand and was looking around.  When I asked what he was looking for, he replied, "Worms."  I told him, "We sell them by the dozen and they are $2.25... $2.43 with tax."  I asked, "Do you have enough?"  With a frown on his face, he said, "No."  Well, I am a sucker for little boy frowns!  I'm sure he could have gone back and asked his parents, but they might have said he couldn't have more money.  I grabbed my wallet and made up the difference so he could go fishing.  He was happy and the smile on his face proved it!

Later, I saw him fishing (alone still) off the end of the wood dock.  The doodle shows how he put the worm on his hook.  That, of course, is not the right way to do it... but he was having fun and I didn't correct him.  I asked if he had caught any fish yet.  He told me he had a bunch of bites, but no fish yet.  He was happy and excited.  He may have been happier if he caught one... but he was having a good time.  That is all that mattered.

Feel free to play with the doodle.  It is simple, but maybe it will inspire you to create something.  Soon I will be back with lots of finished goodies to share.  My time at the bait shop will end in a few weeks... and so will summer vacation for my son.  School starts here on August 21st.  

Wishing you all warm smiles...


Monday, June 30, 2014

~*How I Did It*~

Hello Dear Friends!  Happy Monday!

Switching gears a little... and finishing some hooked projects.  I still worked on some cross stitch at the bait shop (my silly summer job) this morning, but last evening and tonight I'm finishing some hooked goodies that were started a few months back... some candle mats and mug rugs.

In the hooking world... I'm sure I have broken a ton of rules.  However, these little things are NOT floor rugs.  They are just for sitting here and there to add a little prim charm around the home.  I will be marking the price on them ~ not too high ~ and putting them in our booth at ReRun Consignments... and maybe offering a few online.  

My first rug hooking NO~NO... I hooked on burlap.  Yes, the cheap stuff you can get in the fabric departments.  It is itchy to work on and won't last a 100 years.  It will be just fine for these projects though.

I did hook with wool strips... cut to anywhere between 8-9... 1/4 to 1/2 inch or so.

I hooked several on a large piece of burlap at one time... using scraps from my big ol' scrap tin.

Circles and squares are drawn on the burlap with a black marker... about 7 inch circles and about 5 inch squares.

After the hooking was complete... a quick roll with the lint brush and a hot steam from the iron... and then some glue.  Yes, another hooking NO~NO!  (At least when making a floor rug... but I am not with this project.)

 Yes, glue... plain Elmer's school glue.  I drizzled a fat bead as close to the last row of hooking as possible.  Then let it dry.  When it is dry, carefully cut close to the dried bead of glue.  The glue will keep the burlap from unraveling.  You can use craft glue... but Elmer's is fine and less expensive.  (I learned this from Frank Bielec at the Happy Trails Rug camp hosted by my dear friend Ginger.)

Next, I grabbed a wool blanket from my stash.  This wool is thicker than I prefer for hooking.  However, it is great for this part of my projects.  I cut pieces for the backs of the candle mats and mug rugs to fit.  Simply lay the hooked pieces on the wool and cut around.  A little larger or a teeny bit smaller won't hurt anything... just try to get them about the same size.  This is a backing method that would never pass for a floor rug!  Again... it is great for this kind of project though!

 I then grabbed my Elmer's again... and drizzled a small amount along the last row of hooking.  It doesnt need to be as thick as the first glued row.  This is just to help hold that last row comfortably while you stitch the trimming on.  You will see in a minute.  Set the backing pieces in place... and put a few heavy books on top while the glue dries.
 Using the same blanket wool... I cut some 9 strips... long enough to go around the mats and rugs.  I then used my linen thread to stitch the wool strip to the outer edge... covering the outside edge of the burlap, last row of hooking, and wool backing.  I used a blanket stitch.
 This wool strip is standing 'upright' sort of... when the mat is set on the table, the hooking strip is on the very edge.  And this... is yet another rug hooking NO~No.  This would never be a strong finish with foot steps.
 I also stitched my initials and the year very primly to the underside.
 Perfectly prim...
I expect to have my mug rugs done this evening... then onto another project!

Thank you for letting me share!

Wishing you warm smiles...


Sunday, June 29, 2014

~*Crushed Walnuts & Wool Filler*~

Hello Dear Friends!

I've spent the weekend finishing some projects.  You may be interested in the filler.  My friend, Ginger, shared this with me and I thought it was worth sharing with you.  Crushed walnut shells (Lizard Litter found in the pet stores or pet departments) is a wonderful filler.  It is about the consistency of sand, but cleaner.  It is crushed english walnuts.  It adds a nice weight to your works and will help keep your pins and needles sharp.  Sometimes though, it can almost feel too heavy.  Ginger suggested a mix of wool snippets and crushed walnut shells.  Awesome suggestion!

My latest works have been filled with this combination.  However, I must admit... getting the right mix was a little tricky at first.  Some of my pillows are heavier on one end than the other.  I added too much wool or too many walnuts in big 'clumps'.  Oh well... they are primitive and I'm not going to stress over it.  By the fifth pillow full... it was about even from end to end and side to side.

Wool snippets are the small trimmings left from hooking rugs.  I have bags full as I prefer to NOT throw anything away.  Waste not want not!

 My crushed walnut shells in a plastic tub with a lid.  Inside I store my small funnel (pictured above) and this old creamer.  If you have them, dried lavender buds add a great scent.  I have some in storage somewhere... but haven't run across that box in the store room yet.  (Yes, it is frustrating that we still have so many boxes cluttering up that room!)

My finished pillows without the camera flash...

One is a pattern by Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm.  One is a pattern by Beth Seal of Summer House Stitche Workes.  One is a pattern from With Needle & Thread book by Blackbird Designs.  The other two are my own freebie patterns.

And with the camera flash...

I still have these ditties to finish...  two will be needle books and one a small pouch when done.

One is a pattern from Isabella Abbiati of The Primitive Hare and the other two are patterns by Stacy Nash.


And I have these hooked candle mats and coasters to complete too.  The glue should be dry around the edges.  No, this isn't a great way to finish a RUG, but it will be just fine for these little things... and quick too!  I'll show you more when they are done.

Wishing you warm smiles...


Friday, June 27, 2014

~*Feathers & Fur*~

Hello Dear Friends!

Please over look the messes... feathers, fur, and chicken poo... but here are some of our loving critters and spots around our country home...

OC (short for Oreo Cookie) chillin' on the bbq.  He is either yawning or smiling.  Believe me, this isn't his scary face.  ha ha ha  He is a very kind kitty boy.
Tommy is fast asleep on the deck.  (It is past time for a good power-washing here!  Good grief... too much cat hair & junk stuck in the cracks.  How embarrassing.  Maybe I shouldn't have shared this picture.)
 My old chair that sits in the corner of Brownie's pen... where I can sit and watch my chickens.
 We still have seven of these girls.  We brought them home in March and they just keep growing and growing.  I'm thinking we may start getting eggs in October.
 This is Brownie!  He is my friendly, lovable walking buddy.
The chickens are fenced in near Brownie's pen.  You can see his dog house and blankets in the background.  (He has about 4 that he pulls around the yard.)   He is a good guard dog for them.  He may look a bit intimidating, but he is all baby!

 Brownie is out in the yard during the day.  He loves to run here!
 Our pond...

 And in the house... Sarah runs things.
 And Lucy keeps it entertaining...
We have a few more outdoor kitties.  They weren't around when I was looking with the camera.  They were surely lounging in the shade somewhere.

I was going to give my finger a rest and change mediums, but this morning at the bait shop... I did pull more stitches after all...
Thank you for letting me share.  Thanks for putting a blind eye to all our messes!

Wishing you warm smiles...


Thursday, June 26, 2014

~*Linen Quality*~

Hello Dear Friends!

Thank you for all the kind comments regarding the latest FREEBIE!  I do hope you all have a fun time stitching it up!  You are all very welcome!  *SMILE*

This morning at the bait shop I kept my fingers busy again!  So busy, in fact, that the tip of my middle finger, on my right hand, has a slight puncture wound!  Oops!  Maybe it is time for me to change mediums for awhile so it can heal?  It is so nice that I'm not actually busy 'working' at my job!  ha ha ha

I started by stitching the missing crow on my latest freebie... then grabbed some scrap linen and threads from the plastic baggie (no, it isn't pretty) that I carry my cross stitch supplies in... back and forth from the bait shop... and stitched a beautiful pattern by Beth Ann Seal of Summer House stitche workes.  This is a free pattern titled Pennsylvania Blossom that she gifted the members of Prim Stitchers Society on Facebook.  Thank you Beth Ann!

Are you a member of the group?  You should hop on over to join if you aren't.  It is a great, supportive, addictive group!

Here is my finished Potted Jacks N' Crows... along with the start (almost finish!) of Pennsylvania Blossom.  I only needed to finish the '9' before leaving 'work'.

See the missing crow?  I didn't even notice until after I posted this photo below on my blog a couple days ago!  This was even after a good coffee bath!  
ha ha ha

Now onto the title of this post... Linen Quality!  I have tried to NEVER be a linen snob.  I have used all sorts of linens, aida cloths, osnaburg, and other fabrics.  Whatever is available at the time... I will give it a try.  This morning I realized something... something I had not paid attention to before.  Maybe I came to this realization because I am a more experienced stitcher now... after over 25 years of doing it!  Maybe my eyes are getting worse.  (Oh... bifocals I know you are getting close!)  Well, whatever it is... I will deal with it and just give my normal explanation... "It is primitive, and I won't stress about it being PERFECT."

What did I notice? 

Well, the linen that I grabbed from my baggie this morning is a linen purchased several years ago from a large, big box, craft store.  I remember it costing about $8 for the 'bag' of it.  I don't believe it was a full yard.  Rather it was just a hunk-cut of fabric.  This linen is thicker than the quality stuff available from the fine cross stitch suppliers and shops.  Also, the threads are not consistent in thickness.  On top of that, there are thick 'spots' here and there.  

I worked with it.  However, I am sure I missed some stitches and picked up 3 threads, here and there, when I was stitching over 2.  Oh this finish, as beautiful as the pattern is... would be criticized drastically by the professional, by the book, stitcher.  Well... I don't care.  I still think it is lovely!  And like I said above, "It is primitive, and I won't stress about it being PERFECT."

I will continue to work with this fabric.  But, after the difficulty trying to 'see' the threads this morning (and my light was good)... I will probably reach for the finer quality linens in the future when I can.

Look at the photos to follow closely.  You can see my errors... you can see the fabric errors.  Would you use this linen?  Honestly, for the price and primitiveness of it... I do think you should try.  But remember, it is a little difficult to work with.

My afternoon has not been as productive as my morning... but the evening is still ahead of me.  I have the house to myself... so I'm sure I will find something to do.  Yes, probably continue to research the pdf file thing... by maybe I'll craft some more.

Wishing you all warm smiles...


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

~*Just Because... *~

Hello Dear Friends!

I have been asked by a few... about the jacks stitch in the previous post.  This is a pattern that I worked up some time last year... and I cannot for the life of me remember why, when, or any other details about it.  As you know... things have changed for me (for the better!) over the past year and I am still recovering from all of that.  Mentally I will get back on track soon.  Maybe... (maybe not)

Anyway... because you asked... here is a little FREEBIE for you...

~*Potted Jacks N' Crows*~ Freebie Betty Dekat/primitivebettys © 2014
67 by 74 stitches

Use thread colors of your own selection.  I have printed the pattern with DMC 3021 brown gray, 610 drab brown, and 301 mahogany.


On another note... I am working to restock my printed~mailable patterns in my ETSY shoppe.  Some are listed now, others will be added soon.  Once my paper pattern stock is gone ~ it is gone.  I don't plan to print any more photos or patterns.  Where we live now, it is not convenient to run to the store for prints and copies.  SO... like I have said many times over... I AM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE A PDF PATTERN.  My super smart, stepsons are planning a visit from Chicago over the 4th of July holiday... and I AM GOING TO BEG THEM FOR HELP!!!   LOL  So please, bare with me a little longer!  Thank you!


The freebie patterns of mine can ALL be found by clicking the link on the left sidebar.  To print the free patterns...

Click on the freebie link (currently Miss Jane Freebie) and it will bring up the entire album.  Find the pattern you wish to print - keeping the entire album on the screen  Then right click.  This will bring up a menu of options for you to pick from... choose view image.  This should (if you are using Windows - I know nothing about Mac) bring the image up on a page alone.  From the File menu at the top left of your screen... all the way top... choose print preview.  Choose the scale that best fits your needs... then print.  To get back to the patterns - use your back arrow.

Ok... I have to step away from the computer to cheer on another ball game.  Have a GREAT night!

Wishing you all warm smiles,