A few shots to Share

Just a sharing a few shots this week.

Praying Mantis – the magical aphid eater.

Can you find him?

Camouflage master – this one was hanging out on the dry leaves.

Woo Hoo – we had rain one day. Living on a dusty dirt road, it was so great to have everything get washed off. The rain also brought some lovely clouds.

Love that this town was so determined to have a library that they fundraised and community volunteers built their own in 1994.  Murphys Volunteer Library is now a full service branch of the Calaveras County Library system. Local volunteers assist day-to-day library activities and the non-profit Murphys Volunteer Library  Inc continues to fundraise to expand and improve its available services. It’s a wonderful little library.

I’ve mentioned Mark Twain and the jumping frogs of Calaveras County – the library’s frog.

A well tended memorial garden on the library grounds.

Don’t forget – if you can get out to Murphys (about an hour and 15 minutes from Stockton), our Dia de los Muertos is Nov 3rd and 4th – you can like the Facebook page here.

This post is participating in Sundays in My City.

Almost, but not quite, Spring

Finally, a real snow storm this weekend! A few days short of spring and this is the first snow I’ve had stick here at my little mountain home.

When I was out quickly snapping these shots (company – so no fussing about with settings etc) the snow on a length of telephone wire fell – FFFWWWWUUUUUUUMMMPP. Very loud, I’d forgotten how loud the sound of falling snow can be.

This is the first dusting of snow in the back, always such a cozy view when embraced by the darkening storm.

My sadly stressed internet connection (satellite) – hmmn, why isn’t Maggie posting yet? Although AT&T is constantly working their poles here, no Uverse, no internet worthy cable. It’s satellite or dial on the mountain side.


Murphys Irish Days – the Pringles sized (read huge, and I’m quoting a friend) snowflakes amused everyone – at one point I think from the right angle you’d have captured at least ten folks shooting the snow from their phones. The storm lessened the crowds for Irish days somewhat – but those who ventured down stuck it out and had a great time (you could pop in or out of a winery for a taste or some warm mulled wine to keep you toasty, hot cocoa was offered every few blocks). The booths stayed open until almost the end of the show time as the crowds stayed – we were all so amused and happy with our snow. The Irish days shots are from Kady’s iPhone – mine had memory full and I’d grabbed my camera but not the memory card (ouch!). Waking early to make scratch coffee cake – that we could have before needing to leave for the parade – put a damper on my photo prep.

First crocus this season (pre-storm photo, but the crocus are fine, they adore a bit of snow).

First Narcissus Tete a Tete and Muscari of the season.

This post is participating in Sundays in My City over at Unknown Mami.

Celtic Bling for a Smile

The project l’m sharing today is one that makes everyone who sees it go awwwwww; a St. Patrick’s Day jacket for a maltipoo. A few things about my family – we have an inordinate number of folks look at a flower, a cat or a dog and sneeze. Allergies, and for some asthma, run throughout the gene pool. The poodle, and certain breeds, do not trigger allergies. Thus, my sister has found she can have her lovable maltipoo while entertaining relatives for whom asthma is a concern. She also likes to occasionally dress up her puppy – so, one of the things I can periodically do for her is provide that sparkle.

We all know some feel the pronounced an urge to dress up in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. If you indulge in a few videos of my local Murphy’s Irish day parade you’ll get an idea. A little jacket for the pup for those walks in early March and attending their parade in Massachusetts was in order.

My sister mailed me her favorite puppy Santa jacket to use as a pattern. I took white tissue and traced the back sides and sleeves of the jacket. Green fleece was cut to these pattern pieces. Next came the embroidery machine. I embroidered the “Erin Go Bark” with fonts available on my machine. Also used it to supply the buttonhole that makes the opening for the leash. Black felt comprises the belt which was attached in gold thread with a decorative stitch from the machine. An embroidered shamrock replaces the belt buckle. She loves the jacket and neighbors stop her and pooch to get a better look whenever there’re out walking.

At last year’s Murphys Irish Days I also picked her up these great dog fairy wings – but alas, although her pup loves jackets and bandanas, these were not for him. If he’d liked them, they’d have brought a smile to everyone she passed while out walking.

This post is participating in the link he parties late to the bottom of this page.

Murphys Irish Days and St. Patrick’s Bling post 1

I’m an Irish gal (my dad was born there) living in a town called Murphy’s and our biggest event of the year is Murphy’s Irish days. I can always count on houseful of guests and even a backup crew or two of guests for that weekend (did I mention it’s a really really big deal here?). A little bling to toast the Irish is something that gets use.

One of my holiday bling items is aprons (love to cook and bake, love crafts…). This apron follows the patterns and instructions I’ve shared on Apron Redo and for Halloween here. The fabric, which has the requisite sparkly gold, is from JoAnn and Wrights trim provides the edging. The St. Patrick’s Day postcard vintage, or a different choice, can be downloaded from Vintage holiday crafts.com for free. It’s printed on a sheet from the package of photo transfer fabric. Follow the instructions on your package of photo transfer fabric. They aren’t all the same. I simply cut it out and stitched it on. I will have to handwash this particular apron to ensure my photo transfer remains in good shape. If you love vintage style aprons, take a peek at this selection from Sur La Table to get some great ideas.


For places to stay and other things to do around Murphys, check out my Murphys page.

I participate in the picture linky parties linked at the bottom of this post.

Respite from the Vortex of Halloween

I’ve been sucked into the vortex of Halloween in the blogosphere lately. Time to wrench myself from its gravitational pull and highlight a few other things. Looks like I’ve been light on postings on machine embroidery, so time to address that.  In sharing machine embroidery projects, I want to be careful not to tread on the rights of the digitizers whose patterns I use.  If you purchase a pattern, detailed instructions with pictures accompany them (or at least they do for the ones I’ll highlight).  If you don’t do machine embroidery – you may still garner ideas from the post as long as you keep in mind you can hand embroider, appliqué or photo transfer an image in any of the places I use the machine to make a design. 

My little Queen of Hearts Tarot Bag was made for a friend.  The Queen of Hearts design is from Urban Threads. I used the drawstring bag pattern from MooseBeStitchin. It gives you 2 perfectly stitched buttonholes plus drawstring casing stitched lines – definitely worth the price of the pattern (drawstring bags are very easy to construct sans pattern, here’s a free ehow pattern).  Plus, you can add machine stitched windows to the bags if you like. However, I wanted it lined, this pattern was not, and I did not follow the cardinal rule of doing a pattern once as instructed before messing with it. So, I did muck it up a tad, requiring more effort than would have been needed had I thought it through (you can see the little squares of black I used to cover exposed stitching inside the bag below). However, I’m pleased with the end results and will be stitching up a few more. The Fabric is JoAnn quilting cotton and the lining is charmeuse (polyester).

I’m partially through a wine bag that will also have a drawstring top.  My favored restaurant in Murphys, Grounds, allows you to bring in a local wine for your dinner with no corkage fee.  A few others do the same.  So, friends and I are often lugging in a bottle in a brown paper bag as though we were some wino walking down the street. Crafting abilities to the rescue J. The fabric is upholstery weight microsuede I have left over from another project.  It’s heavy enough that I won’t line it but will utilize a nice size upper hem to give it a polished look. For stabilizer I turned to a black tear away from Allstitch.com. I thought the fabric was heavy enough that it should be fine, but you’ll notice it puckered, I should have gone heavier weight. The design is a combination of Embroidery Library grape bunch sheer plus their word wine.  In the hoop below you can see I rolled the fabric that will be the back and used an inexpensive plastic hair clip to hold it out of the sewing area.  These things are a must.  If you’re doing t-shirts or other completed garments you want to be sure you keep the fabric that shouldn’t be stitched on outside of the stitching area and you don’t want that fabric to create a lot of drag on your hoop (the machine does the design by moving the hoop with the needle always going straight up and down). The plastic hair clips are a useful tool.

It came out a bit more muted than I expected, but I was going for subtle, so it’s ok. Given that I’m using a drawstring, I think the design puckers won’t be noticeable as such (it will look like what happens with the top scrunched together).

Another finished project is my reading chair. I actually have a lovely little standing light that peers over my shoulder perfecting this corner spot of my bedroom. I can sink onto this puppy and not move for hours engrossed in a great book. It’s really not at that barren in this corner – I simply dragged everything out of the shot except the chair. Think piles of books, two full knitting bags, cat carriers …


The chair is IKEA. Fabric is microsuede to match a whole gold, deep red, muted green scheme I have running throughout most of my home. Designs are Embroidery Library Fairy Fantasy Border and Corner.  The seat cushion is squared by the sewing technique explained as “mitered corner” for cushions on ehow.

 Finally, I’ll share the towels that go in the private bath.  The dragons make me smile. They are Embroidery Library’s Lightening Dragon and Cernunnos from Cactus Punch’s Dragons, Fins and Faerie Things.

Machine embroidery adds the easy ownership of cloth, design, design size and every thread color to a crafter’s arsenal of tools and I love it.