Tuesday, May 16, 2017

MAKING YOUR OWN DRYER WOOL BALLS-Save $$$-A DIY PROJECT

I heard about these Dryer Balls some time ago, but never got around to finding more about them.  Recently, I had to purchase some fabric softener and couldn't believe how much the price had gone up since the last time I purchased it.  So I decided to make these dryer balls.  And besides, if a project has to do with yarns, I am willing to try it.
In case you don't know about them, they take the place of dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners in your dryer.  Simple, you throw them in with your wet cloths, in your dryer, shut the door and turn it on.  They can be used over and over again, I have heard over 1000 times.
Here are some of the pros about using the dryer balls:
⇾Economical-reduces waste, reusable
⇾Environmental-no harmful chemicals or perfumes
⇾Savings-It has been stated it reduces dryer time by 25%-the more balls you place in the dryer, the faster the cloths dry
⇾Softens clothes, reduces static, decreases wrinkles

I have seen these dryer balls for sale from $2 each up to $8 each for the Alpaca ones.  But you can make them much cheaper.

Here's how:
Purchase wool yarn.  Any size skeins, any size yarns.  
What I do is look for yarns on sale via craft stores such as Joann's, Michael's.  Or look for yarns at thrift stores or yard sales.  They have to be 100% wool, no synthetics.

1.  Start winding your yarn around 2 fingers of your hand about 10 times, pull them off your fingers, turn the wound group, and wind around it another 10+ times; turn those strands and you are starting the center of your dryer ball.




 Keep the winding tight and keep wrapping your strands and turning your ball and see it grow.  


Out of one 450 yard skein, I got 3 balls.  On another skein I found on sale, less yardage, I got one ball and started another one and got about 1/2 way the size I needed, so started another skein, different color right on top of it and finished it.  Doesn't matter.
2.  When about 4" to 5" around or even larger, stop and tuck under the end very well inside so it doesn't hang out.


3.  Cover the yarn balls with your nylon hose.  You can use knee highs or one leg of a panty hose.  (Do you remember those days of panty hose?) If you don't have any, buy the cheapest you can find or raid your Mother's drawer, I bet she still has some.

4. Between each yarn ball inside the nylon stocking, tie a knot of cotton thread.  Don't use the wool because when you wash it, it also will felt.


5.  Wash these balls with the hottest water in your washer along with dish towels or towels or Levi's.  On my washing unit, in order for the machine to allow me to use the hottest level, it had to be on "Sanitary" cycle.  I washed them twice. You use soap in the wash.

6.  The balls should feel like felt, solid and compressed.  Peel off or cut off the nylon around the balls.
 You are done!!!  I have read that it is best to have at least 3 of them in the dryer with cloths to dry.

The one thing I noticed in my dryer is that I hear more banging noise inside the tub.  Maybe the balls I use are larger.

Because there is no scent, you can use oils like lavender or citrus scents on the balls if you wish to have your laundry have a smell.
Another option is to use these dryer balls for certain laundry loads that you don't care about the smell, and go back to using your softener sheets or liquid softener to the loads that you do wish to have scented.

I hope you found this DIY blog helpful and interesting enough to try the dryer balls yourself!!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MOTHER"S DAY FLOWERS-The Busiest Flower Day Of The Year

We have had wind, rain, more wind, more rain, cool weather for months and months. Then for 2 days we have had high 80 degree heat.
But believe it or not, our Windmill Farm have flowers blooming!!!
I am running some special container and flower sales for Mother's Day.  Gosh, it is only 2 days away so I needed to tell you about them. All arrangements will be fresh, local, beautiful country bouquets.


Here are some of my containers.  Oh, I have loads and loads more, but I thought I could possibly make some decision making a little easier if I showed them to my customers.

Pricing:  Pretty darn cheap.  $15-in the "Mom's" cups; vintage tea mug or small bowl with painted roses; colorful striped/chevron tin buckets; glass vase.
$25 arrangements:- recycled pallet wood boxes 5"x5";colorful tin buckets; tall glass vase; large white coffee mug. $35 arrangement in pallet 13"x4" wooden box or a large glass vase. FLOWERS will be fresh picked roses, hydrangeas, dusty miller, bachelor buttons, possibly tulips, scabiosa, queens Anne lace, statice, lily, lavender and lots more. I am charging a delivery fee of $5 on Sunday, Mother's Day. Order now!!!






Sunday, April 30, 2017

LIVING ROOM BLACK FLORAL WALLPAPER-It took courage!

The living room remodel is just about finished, not quite.  I need a new rug which may take some time to find exactly what I want.  And I have to find my wall paint to touch up some spots.  But the wallpaper over the fireplace turned out so spectacular, I have to share it with you.
See my previous post here to read about some of what we have done in our living room so far and why I fell in love with this black wallpaper.

The paper wasn't supposed to have arrived for another 3 - 4 weeks so I really was surprised to see it on my doorstep on Wednesday.  The instructions suggested I unroll the sheets and put them in the order that you start wallpapering.  

Because I knew I had a few more weeks, I was dragging my feet to get the wall ready.  

That motivated me to hustle it done, so on Thursday I pulled off all the old paper; with help from Frank.

 The ceilings are tall in our house, so he got all the paper along the ceiling and also got a good edge against the crown molding. 

Friday was the wallpapering day.
 I set up my table; tall ladder; my wallpapering tools; Frank provided me with a metal straight edge and some new razor blades.  

I had some wallpaper paste already from a string/light making class I gave which needed to be mixed with water in a gallon container.  Some wet rags were rounded up all of which took an hour or so prior to the actual installation process.

I have to admit I was a little nervous.  Not because of the actual work of wallpapering.  I have had lots of years and many, many walls, ceilings, hallways, etc. experience under my belt.  What made me nervous was that there wouldn't be any extra paper available in case there was a flaw in the match/seam; or if I messed up around the light receptacles or if the paste wasn't working, any number of reasons.  I always order extra wallpaper allowing for errors or mess ups. And lastly, I was nervous because for such a small wall space, this paper was very, very expensive. What if I hated it????
One panel went up; the 2nd panel went up, so far, so good.
The third panel went up, only one minor problem at the top. and then the final panel went up. Done!!!  It took more time to get myself all set up to do the job, than the actual job of papering.

I noticed while I was up on the ladder that I needed to do some touch up of the white paint.  Frank reinstalled the sconces and I believe the wallpaper is going to speak for itself, the mirror I had over mantle won't be going back. 
Usually I live with the new wallpaper or new paint job or new piece of furniture before I decide what needs to be done next.  I look at the room in the early morning sun; in the afternoon; and at night, what lighting is better than other types.  
 Trying out the canvas goose on the mantle.  Not really sure that works.
Tried out the antlers on the mantle.  Not really sure that works either.
For right now, I do believe I will leave it alone, look for the rug, maybe add a few different pillows on the couch and just enjoy the room?
What do you think of the wallpaper?  Love to hear from you.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

AFTER EASTER CATCHUP - FARM NEW CHICKS & FINISHED AFGHAN

Easter just came and went, SWOOSH!!! Tradition for us, is we always go to our favorite campground, Sycamore Ranch which is only about 30 minutes away.  Family, friends, even people without trailers are always welcome to come.  The grand kids and Celli were here at the farm the week before with their trailer already here.
 So on Thursday, we both took off to the campground.
 Frank really didn't want to go as the forecast was rain, nice, rain, cloudy, rain for the 4 days.  But Celli is a trooper and always optimistic.  She was right, the weather wasn't all that bad; we had just a fabulous time; and the campground was almost deserted -people thinking like Frank.

We were fortunate to be able to camp right next to each other and right next to a river.  
The spot also is large so the grand kids Carli and Collin can ride their electric scooters around and around and not bother other campers.  On Saturday, some friends of Celli & Chris' came with their kids that go to their same school.  


They brought fabulous lunch fixings, combined with ours.  What lovely Saturday in the sun watching the kids go around and around on the scooters.  
This one picture of both kids on scooter is last year for Easter.  What a difference this year, they are really growing!
Here is Bella, Gunnar, Lola & Annie
Back at Windmill Farm when we got back.
I have had these 2 hens sitting and sitting on a nest, they call it brooding.  Last year, I purchased 10 baby chicks, put them under the brooding hens and they both raised the chicks together.  Lovely if you can get the Moms to take care of the chicks.  So I did the same thing this year, I waited until we got back so I could monitor how things would go.  Chicks are really fragile especially with this crazy weather, cold, hot, rain, wind, blah blah-(will it ever end???)
So I waited until night time, brought 10 new Buff Orpington chicks and my flashlight to the hen house. 1/2 went under one hen, the other 1/2 under the other.  Well instead of delightful cooing from the hens, one kept pecking at the little ones. So I put what she didn't want under the other hen.  That hen didn't make any of those delightful sounds plus she had a very horrible look on her face. I was worried I had made a mistake.
During the night, I kept going back into henhouse to check on things.  4 chicks were off in a corner, cold, abandoned.  Guess that hen didn't believe those 4 I gave her belonged to her.  So I spent the next hour, at 2:00am setting up a heat light, a warm and cozy container; water; feed. My last check was at 3:30am on the remaining 6 under hen #2 and went to sleep.
The next morning, my 4 in their container were fine.  Inside the henhouse was a different story.  My heart broke.  4 little chicks were huttled together around the food container, all alone, no mother hen.  After looking carefully, 1 chick was limp in one corner covered in bed shavings; the last one was in another corner, limp.  It broke my heart.  Chickens are horrid when it comes to chicks, they do not have normal mothering instincts unless they are in the brooding mood. So I am sure, this mother hen got up and left those little guys alone in the henhouse at dawn didn't really buy it that those hatched under her; I wasn't fooling her one bit.  And the other chickens just picked on those little guys left all alone with no mother hen to protect them.
I brought them all into my heat lamp new pen; and put a blanket around the 2 that were the worst.  I assumed were dead or dying. One was peeping softly, the other -well, she just didn't make it.  Boo hoo.  I worked with the peeping one, got her little cold body next to the heat lamp and rubbed it with a soft blanket for about 30 minutes and then put her in with the rest of her sisters.  Nature will just have to decide whether she was going to live or die.  Her head just drooped and she wouldn't opening her eyes.  I checked on her all day without any changes.  The next morning, I figured she probably had not made it.  But I counted 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9!!!  All running around eating and drinking.  What is that?  Where is the dead one?  I couldn't even tell which one she was of the 9.  I think I was able to get help to her in enough time that she didn't die from the cold; and she was so stressed from being picked on and pecked, she was exhausted.  I still feel bad I did loose the one little guy, but at least the 2nd one has survived!
I finished my afghan project which was started a month or so ago. It came about because I wanted to use up some yarns and I had an excess of aqua and white yarns. I knew I had plenty so I kept making squares and more squares.  
When I put it together, it was too small, so I had to go buy yarn!!!  I made more squares, added it to the small afghan and still too small.  Back to Joann's store for more yarn, but this time it was enough and it is finished. I even had enough to do the scalloped trim and you can see a bit of the aqua and a whole white skein is left.

Guess it was a fruitless effort to get rid of excess yarn.
How was your Easter, did you have fun with family and friends?  Come back to my next post, I will share some bouquets, arrangements and boutonneirs with you I just finished for a small, local wedding.  The wedding is today so I don't want to show the flowers until they post their own wedding pictures and spoil anything for my clients.
See you next time and I will also show you how the chicks will have grown.

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