About The Country Wife Blog

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Coolest Thing!

Last week I saw a post on Our Best Bites blog.  Those girls have the BEST stuff--mostly food, but other things, too.  This time it was a way to recycle silk neckties into beautiful Easter eggs.  Since Easter is not so far away, and as there are four grandchildren who live not so far away, and since I found this blog post in the presence of Caleb when I was babysitting the other night, which Caleb was totally entranced with the beautiful eggs, I thought I would give it a try.

On Saturday, when I had too many errands to run and not enough time to run them, I stopped at the "Good Buy" thrift store to see if they had silk neckties.  They did but they were $5 apiece and I was too cheap to spend $15 on ties.  I then stopped at the LISTEN store and found them for $2.75.  This time I bit, and purchased three ties.  I showed them to Caleb that night when I was babysitting again (a real bonus because I NEVER get to babysit those darling children two days in a row), and he was edgy to get started immediately on the project.  Well, I had had too much business that day and disappointed him tremendously, which resulted in a bit of an issue, but finally he understood that Grammie was just too tired.

SO...this morning I gave the project a try. 

First you take the neck ties apart carefully to preserve as much silk as possible.  (Remember: ONLY 100 percent silk ties work!!)

Next cut a good-sized piece that you can wrap tightly around the egg (without smashing the egg) AND WHICH FABRIC CONTACTS EVERY BIT OF THE EGG!

This shows that you need to have full contact between silk tie and egg.

Eggs Cooling After Being Dyed

Take a somewhat larger piece of light-weight, light colored fabric (I used cheap muslin from Joann) and, after re-checking that the silk totally enrobes the egg, pull up the two fabrics together and tie very firmly at the top.

Put into a large pot then cover with more than  2 inches of water and pour in 1/4 cup of vinegar.  Bring to a boil and boil 20 minutes.

Remove egg bundles from pot, letting them drain thoroughly over the pot, and  place in an egg carton.  Let cool for as long as you can stand it.  Snip the tie, in my case, case some acrylic yarn.  Twist ties are suggested and if I had some I would do that.  As I am writing this I think with the next batch I will tie the silk, and then tie the muslin, too.  This way perhaps there will be better contact.  I will also do some folding of the silk over the egg to enhance the contact comfort.
Best Egg Forward!

I made a little video of opening the egg bundles but don't have time to read all about uploading videos (I am in the midst of a major housecleaning project to find some missing items...) right now so I will just show a few still photos I took.

This was fun!  Thanks to the Best Bites ladies. I Pinned this on my Pinterest board and immediately several people re-pinned!  That was exciting...

Now I am going to see if I can do stripe-y eggs!  Well, after I finish the cleaning project.  I have been missing those items for several months and it is getting really annoying.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Anne and Lauren need new slippers.  We have talked about this several times.  Most recently Laura sent me colors.  Those colors were not available in the 100 percent wool I needed to make felted slippers so I got some Patons Classic Wool in cream/natural.  Another day we will talk a Kool Aid dyeing and how simple it is to fail at getting the color you want, or better said, we will talk about a way to enjoy the color you create!  Another day.

Looking through Ravelry for felted slippers I found a pattern which looked quite the thing:  sort of Argyle-looking slippers which were made with 8 squares of garter stitch.  What could be easier?  Well, no problem with the knitting, but the folding to sew, THAT is another issue.

There is a YouTube video showing you how to do it.  I sewed the first slipper together by starting and stopping the video a hundred or two hundred times, but it worked.  Because I want to show Elsie how smart I am (since I WASN'T that smart yesterday when we were knitting together with Sharon and Cameron) I decided I needed to write out how to do the folding and sewing.  It is possible that I have succeeded at writing it down.  We will see soonish...

This is the plan:
Knit a gauge swatch and felt it.  Take measurements to see if your project will fit the feet you are covering.  I did the swatching and felting but did not do the checking.  I may have made slippers for a giant and not for a dear little girl.

Here are the "markers" I made for each square:
 Each marker was placed on the squares in the same direction, so "A" was always the top of the square.

Here is the "L" of garter-stitched squares.  The lower left brown (I thought I was dyeing it purple...!) square is number 1.  The upper right brown/purple square is number 8.

This shows the first fold which is Square 4 folded diagonally across itself.

This shows the second fold--Square 6 is folded flat over Square 5.  Now the sewing begins!

FIRST SEAM:  Sew 4A to 6D, 3A to 7D, 2A to 8D,  then flip over sew the sewed edge is lying on its tummy.

The picture below shows the slipper flipped over and ready for first "flipped" sewing.
SECOND SEAM: Sew 7B to 5C.
THIRD SEAM: Sew 2C to 3C.
FOURTH SEAM: Sew 1C to 4C.

Your slipper is now sewn together!

This picture shows the slipper stitched together without markers:

You can see the toe easily, and the heel, sort of.  The brown/purple flaps are not as easy to see but they are there.

Now comes the fun of felting.  Next post I will hopefully show the completed slippers.  I am going to suggest that Anne decorate the toes in some fashion that she likes...either with some other benighted dyeing project or maybe just sew on a button she likes.  We shall see. I might come up with something myself...

Having just gone to all this work on pair one, I have found this pattern which looks much more do-able.  What do you think?

Easier pattern for felted slippers

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Plant Killer...

When my husband's father died in May 2000 a kind soul brought his mother a beautiful peace plant which she loved and cared for until her death in 2007.  We brought it home to our house.  When we put on the addition three years ago we were given a lovely round plant stand sort of thing where we placed the plant upstairs in the beautiful bright room.

Last week I finally seriously paid attention to that gorgeous plant.  We were heading to the temple for the week so I put it in the sink and filled it with water hoping to resurrect it.  When we got home Friday night the plant did not live up to my hopeful expectations and my husband told me I had to dump it. 

Since I had not dumped it, on Saturday morning he moved it out onto the porch. I said I wanted to give it one more week to resurrect.  That was ok with him as long as I left it on the porch.  With the temperature at 86 degrees today, I think there may be some hope...?

This is the peace plant--age 12 years, five years after I took stewardship.  Is it a miracle that all five children grew up more or less safe and sound?!

Here is Bob's photo of the thermometer on our porch this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Good Intentions

So, we all have good intentions.  I tell my husband very regularly that I am going to turn over a new leaf.  It is a joke here that our tree seems to be swaying in the wind caused by all my new leaves.  Well, this morning I crawled out of bed, put on sock, ankle braces, shoes and the rest of my clothes plus the poncho Cynthia made for me, slapped on my headset and iPod and headed out.  I listened to a Teryl Givens interview.  Interesting. 

When I got home 45 minutes later I had walked 4609 aerobic steps!  That was nice to see.  Around 3:30 I check my pedometer again and I had walked 11007 steps!  That is probably a record for me...certainly since I put in the new battery a couple of months ago.  Now that I am ready to crawl into bed again the number is 12552.  I am so completely shot that I hope I have the will to crawl out again tomorrow.  We shall see.

So here is a secret hope:I am hoping to get the walking thing down then start biking again after years of filling up the bicycle tires in May and putting the bike into a convenient spot in the rain and then the next May doing it again. I would love to be able to do at least all my local travel by bike.  We shall see. Again!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hooray for Kitchen Sinks!!

What a fabulous day!! After many months (well, since 15 May 2011) of no kitchen sink, we finally have a working kitchen sink.  Not only that but Bob and Robbie installed a necessary drain hose on the stainless steel Kitchenaid dishwasher Bob found on FREECYCLE last summer AND IT WORKS!!!

We have already run a load of dishes through the dishwasher.  The only glitch in that system was the operator: me.  We have some dishwasher soap packets with a red dot in the middle of a hard blue soap cake.  We also have some dishwasher soap packets that are blue and some other smeary color.  It turns out that only the blue with smeary color packets must be put into the dishwasher without removing the plastic surrounding them.  The packets with the red dot in the middle really MUST be taken out of the packet if you want the soap to operate on the dishes.  Oh well.  Live and learn.  Again!

On another subject, after calling all my potential riders for the temple trip tomorrow I discovered that everyone has other plans or is unable to attend, so...I have downloaded a bundle of somewhat LDS podcasts to listen to along the way.  If I find them too far out there for my stomach then I can switch to some DEFINITELY LDS audio files or even my semi-lurid audio books...in this case a Martha Grimes/Richard Jury, a Lisa Gardner, a Tess Gerritsen, or the good old Old Testament where I am in Nehemiah.  Plenty of options if I don't want to just be quiet and enjoy the scenery.

We had a lovely Face Time with Janus and family.  So very delightful.  Grace showed me her beautiful Cat's Paw scarf which she has nearly finished and asked about any pioneer ancestors she may have who crossed the plains that she can think about while she is doing a trek this summer.  Anne played a couple of tunes on the piano, and asked for some slippers.  Lauren showed us her cat's paw, pawed one of the cats who gave her a back-paw on the face, played a little piano number, and asked for a pair of slippers and a green hat.  Laura had made a wonderful taco dinner. I am thinking we will have tacos very soon!