May 22, 2024

Homestead Happenings - Part 2

When we last left off, I was dealing with the water run off and dirt flowing out into the driveway due to storms passing through right after I had the shrubs removed from around The Homestead.  What a mess that was to clean up!

After some quick research, I did some shopping.

I started with these

Then I had to get more!

They are 8x3x4" retaining wall blocks perfect size for small retaining walls, raised flower beds, and garden walls.  They are made to look like naturally worn flagstone.  Fairly light weight at 8lbs each.  The color I chose is called Ashland.

Shovel, level, mallet, and pavers at hand, I set to work.  First project was to keep anymore dirt from washing out onto the driveway from directly next to The Homestead.

One the pavers were in place, I lined the bed with landscaping fabric, then added dirt to bring it level to the top edge.  Then I topped it with red mulch.

Earlier in the summer, I decided a solar fountain would be a fun addition to The Homestead.

I wanted to incorporate the fountain at the front of The Homestead so I designed the next paving project with this in mind.  This project also intended to keep soil from sliding out into the driveway.

I spent many a day and some late nights getting this built.

Once the border was built, I also lined this with landscaping fabric followed by lots and lots and lots of dirt!  Since this is where I planned to put the fountain, I topped the dirt with small river rock for stability.

Next thing I know, it was November and getting colder.  I still had quite a bit left to do!

I quickly set the remaining pavers in place temporarily and put down mulch so I knew how the borders would look in front of the house.  I didn't quite have enough, but my plan is to finish this part in 2024.

This was my first ever landscaping project of this magnitude. It's not be perfect... I do love how it's turning out, though!

Until next time...

May 20, 2024

Marvelous Monday Update 5/20/2023

Guess what?!  There's a new sheriff... I mean stitch shop in town!  Not my town, mind you, but a town nonetheless.  If you're ever in Roscoe, Illinois you'll find Bee Youtiful Sip & Stitchery.  They had their grand opening on May 11th.  There was food, drinks, and lots of laughing going on.  In addition to stitching supplies, they sell teas... lots of teas. Brett said her grandmother used to drink tea while stitching so it was only natural to include tea in her shop.

I didn't leave empty handed. Oh no.

My goodies were placed in a zippered project bag with the shop's key tag attached to the zipper.  It was a fun experience and I even unexpectedly met up with not one, not two, but three stitchers from our Stateline Stitchers group.

I participated in a Patriotic Ornament Exchange.  Technically, it's not due to be mailed until next month but I finished mine early so I sent it off.  It's been received so I can show it now.

Let Freedom Ring
Stitched on 14ct Charles Craft Fiddlers Lite Aida
with DMC floss
Embellished with gold seed beads and JABC Patriotic Bird

I tried my hand at coffee-dying the mini pom-pom trim, ribbon, and backing fabric.  I was very pleased at how everything coordinated.

That's all I've got for now.
Until next time...


May 17, 2024

Homestead Happenings - Part 1

Happy Friday everyone!  What's new with you?  Sit down for a spell and enjoy some Rhubarb Muffins with Struesel.

Things are happening around The Homestead!  At the end of summer last year, I had all the shrubs removed from around three sides of my house.  They were overgrown when I moved there 17 years ago, and had gotten even more unmanageable in recent years so they had to go.

Front of The Homestead

There is actually a sidewalk and steps to the porch in there!

Opposite end of The Homestead front, there was this HUGE 10x10 foot monstrosity.  It had grown so big, it was touching the pine tree and causing me difficulty when mowing.

Shrubs on the south side of The Homestead. The one on the corner was about 8 foot in diameter.  Red tagged for removal.

In the corner alcove were even more shrubs.  The landscaper I used to remove them said based on the size, the shrubs mostly likely were  planted when the house was built.

I contracted in May and finally in July, they were gone... gone.. gone!  Unfortunately, the day after removal we had torrential rain which caused dirt wash out into the driveway both in the front and back.

What a mess to clean up!

I hadn't planned on this issue and I had to decide quickly what I was going to do with all the bare ground!

Look!  There's the sidewalk and porch.

South Side of The Homestead
Doesn't it look a lot better?

All the shrubs and scrub trees removed from the alcove

I marveled at how different The Homestead looked after all the shrubs were removed. Very happy at not having to trim them anymore.

Until next time...

May 13, 2024

Marvelous Monday Update 5/13/2024

Last week I talked about my finishes.  How about this week we talk about my WIP, UFOs, and new starts?

As of April, these were my cross stitch WIPs and UFOs.  Do they really count as UFOs if I've worked on them here and there?  I dunno.

Works In Progress (aka WIPs)

In March, it was a pretty big deal when I finally finished the stitching part of Japanese Garden!

Now, I'm working on the beading.  There are a lot of beads!

Japanese Garden
Stitched on   White Evenweave
with Eterna Silk, Victoria Clayton Silk, and Krenik Braid
Currently I'm sewing on Delica Beads

Stitched on 32ct Wichelt Linen "Sea Spray" 
with DMC and WDW threads
Designer: Hands On Design
Started April 2023

Eight Immortals
Progress as of 3/23/2024
Stitched on 16ct White Aida
with DMC threads
When finished, this will be 30"H x 24"L

UnFinished Objects (aka UFOs)

Balloon Glow
Pre-2014 Work in Progress

Elegance of the Orient
Pre-2017 Work In Progress

Embarassed to say I haven't worked on this since 2019.
I think I better pull it out!

Winter White Santa
Even worse, I haven't touched this one since 2018.
I was so excited to start this, too.

A Peacock's Garden
I started this in 2019.
New Starts

It's been years since I've done a mailart exchange so I couldn't pass it up when the opportunity presented itself.

This is the only photo I will be showing until it reaches the recipient.  I'll be starting the stitching soon.

Spring Mail Art Floss Toss
Stitched on 28ct Hand-Painted Jobelan by JAR Designs
with DMC threads

I also signed up for a Patriotic Ornament Exchange.  This is the floss toss.

More info to come once it arrives at it's new home.

Until next time...

May 10, 2024

Are You A Planner?

This year, I thought I'd try doing a crafty planner again.  I've tried a couple times before and I didn't stick with it.  After seeing some YouTubers show how they used their planners, I thought I'd give it another try.

Have you checked into cross stitch planners. Whew, are they expensive!  I also didn't like that the pages were so pre-planned that I couldn't add other crafty endeavors.  So, what's a girl to do?

This girl went to Walmart and found a hardcover planner.  They don't have this exact one anymore, but the 2024-2025 one it available.

Planner by Mintgreen

I like that this planner allows you to see a month at glance and then has a daily/weekly section also.  It's hardcover with 2024 stamped in gold foil.  This and the flowers drew me in!  For the eco-conscious, the pages are printed with soy ink and are made from 60% recycled paper.  Pages are color coded making it easy to flip to the date I want to go to.  There are pages in the back for notes.  As time goes on, you'll see how I turn this into a very functional crafty planner. 😃

With some sprucing up, the title page looks quite "crafty", don'tcha think?

After the title page, there is the typical "personal information" page.

I didn't need this page, so I covered it with scrapbook paper and added my own flair.  I have a lot of scrapbook paper that I plan on using up with this planner.

Isn't this much better?  And cuter!

At the beginning of each month, there is a Notes page.  I started off January by documenting my most recent start.

On the opposite side, I decided to list out all the WIPs for each of my hobbies.  Quite a lot!

I didn't start the planner until the beginning of February so I had to go back and try to fill in January's activities.  I make notations of what I worked on each day.  I also keep track of unusual weather conditions.  We had a LOT of snow the second week of January so I spent a lot of time shoveling and snowblowing.

February's Month-At-Glance is much more fun.

If you take a look in the upper right corner of the monthly page, there's a section for notes that I've turned into "To Do" projects.  If any are completed, then I cross them off the list.  Any that aren't done are usually carried forward to next month.  I did finish a couple things on my February list. 😃

I can be more detailed on the daily/weekly pages since there's more room.

There are a couple of pages for addresses and phone numbers in the planner.  I turned these into Finishes pages.  I love the banner font!

March was a very busy month!  In addition to my typical crafty endeavors, I went to the Hoosier Retreat.  It'd been four years since we all had seen each other.  Thank you, Pandemic.


Mr B turned two while I was at the retreat

Another March Week-At-A-Glance
Had to document JG stitching finish!

I added a ribbon bookmark to my planner.  I didn't want the monthly tabs to get bent up due to my constant accessing the pages to make my notations.  More stuff used up from my stash.  Win-Win!

I went overboard on the stashing in March. ::sigh::  It was fun, though!

As I previously said, there are pages at the back of the planner designated for notes.  I turned several of the pages into pages for the Hoosier Retreat.

While I was away, it snowed at home and Baxter celebrated his second birthday with his first ever taste of ice cream topped with two mini dog biscuits for candles. Lucky dog!

Both furbabies were happy to see me come back and take them for a ride home.

April came in with more snow. Then the solar eclipse made it's way through followed by Earth Day.  Lots of crafty stuff going on, too.

Hopefully these layouts give you an idea of where I'm going with a typical planner.  So far it's been fun and I'm using up my paper crafting supplies.  Another Win-Win!

Until next time...