Lost Cat!

Dear Sis,

Today on our walk home from the library we saw this poster:

My heart sunk as I read it and realized our new cat already had a home. It was hard, but we called the owners and she went home later that afternoon. I did ask if I could bring The Littles for a goodbye visit when they get back from vacation and T.C.’s family said that would be okay. I’m glad we’ll all get to say goodbye!

Love,

b

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1861 Crochet Purse (Historic Pattern for Modern Crocheter)

Dear Sis, thanks so much for helping me get this pattern ready! 🙂

Peterson’s Crochet Silk Purse, 1861

Skill Level: Easy. If you can crochet with fine thread (think doily) and do the slip stitch, double crochet and chain you can make it!

Materials: 25 grams of Silk Yarn (or more if you use a larger hook or want much fuller tassels), 1.80 or 1.90 MM crochet hook, embroidery needle, 3″ cardboard or plastic for making tassels, sewing needle, thread (I use a ply of the silk yarn)

Size: Without tassels, is approximately 4.5 – 5 inches long and 3.5 inches wide.

What Type of Yarn do I need?: I use and sell silk that is somewhere between lace weight and 20/2 cobweb.  You can purchase silk at my Etsy store, or from a number of other places. I have used both reeled mulberry and cultivated mulberry silks. Both work fine, but have different feels to them.

Your crocheting is complete! Now, time for tassels and cords.

Bottom Tassels: Watch a Youtube Video on How to Make Tassels and Practice! Seriously, if you have never made tassels before, don’t dig into your silk yet. Make tassels with cotton or wool yarn first.

My tassels are made with a 3″ wide Quilting Ruler, and my silk is wrapped around it 45 times. I do a simple loop knot twice.Once, I have three tassels, I tie the three tassels together. Drawl the yarn up through the bottom hole in the purse, tie knots to secure, and weave the yarn through my work (only on the inside, don’t weave it through, so that it shows on both sides of your work) and cut off the extra string.

Tassels and Cords: Cords can be twisted or braided. I braid my cords.  My cords are simply the strings that tie off the top of the tassel. They are 58 inches long and folded in half… so you will have six strings per group of tassels. I then knot all six strings together about 3/4 of an inch above the tassels, separate strings into two groups, and braid.  When the cords are made. I fold the purse and half and weave the cords from one tassel in and out of row 30… both in different directions, till they meet in the center. Then, I decide how long I want my cords to be, when my purse is fully opened, and sew the strings down to the inside of the purse. Repeat on the other side, so that you have a drawstring opening and closure.

A Look into the Historical Pattern

This is what was featured in Peterson’s Magazine, in 1861. Like most patterns of the time, accuracy wasn’t really a thing. If you look closely at this pattern, you will discover it isn’t actually mathematically correct. Ladies looked at the directions, pictures, and made something work.  Which, is exactly what I did. The pattern below, is my adaptation of the above pattern. What did I change?

  • I closed the bottom to the purse. This was a preference of mine. If you want an open bottom, go for it! If you keep the same number of stitches, as I have in each round, your purse will be the same shape and size.
  • I didn’t follow the bottom diagram. The bottom diagram shows 1dc in the chain one space, and a dc in each stitch next to the chain. I choose to do 3dc in each ch1 space. Why? Because, it creates a prettier hole. In fact, when I followed the directions, it didn’t give me a pretty gap at all.
  • I didn’t add as much frill to the top. 

Fun Pictures of the Finished Projects!

Enjoy the pattern! Please comment or email me with any questions, pattern notes, or success stories. For those who prefer it, I sell these purses ready made and custom made in my Etsy shop.

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Sweet, but Stinky

Dear Sis,

Our new cat is very sweet and good with Mr. Baby and the boys, but his litter box stinks all the way into the kitchen after only a few uses! I fear we may become the “cat people” with the “cat smelling house”. 

We started with an open box and Tidy Cat lightweight litter.

We upgraded to a Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal by the second day. That helped!

…but, we still had a trail of litter and lofting ewwy smell.

We used seated candles until our new set up arrived. 

I never thought I’d find myself researching litter pans, until I discovered how much have a litter box that isn’t banished to the basement… STINKS! I knew I wanted something baby friendly, that helped with litter tracking, and it doesn’t hurt if it is pleasant looking too! This Dome CleanStep Cat Box, No-Track Litter Mat, and Scoop’n Hide are affordably all made by Booda.

Love,

b

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Meet TC

Dear Sis,

A little orange cat has been hanging around our house since last week. Monday, while Mr. Baby and I were wondering around in the yard, the orange cat decided we could be friends. He followed us all around the yard, to and from the mail box, and to the front door. He was hopeful to join us when we went inside, but we didn’t invite him in. He remained on the door step the remainder of the morning and all afternoon. Each time we would go in or out it was a real challenge to keep him out. 

After talking to neighbors to make sure it wasn’t one of their new cats, talking with Josh, and our land lady, we made a vet appointment for the little guy for the following day and spent part of the evening shopping for kitty supplies. 

TC (Texas Cat) has a clean bill of health and got to come inside yesterday afternoon. We had a good first night together:)

TC was hoping for some attention while Mr. Baby was nursing, but I made him wait to cuddle up in my lap until after Mr. Baby was tucked into his crib for the night.

Love,

b

… and the following morning.

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Another Quick Wedding

Hi Sis,

This April, Nate’s oldest brother got married, and I got another awesome sister! We couldn’t be happier for the couple. here are some of the wedding details!!

Since, the wedding was in Cincinnati, we drove down to our hotel the night before. Nate’s father and grandparents arrived shortly after and we went to dinner at Skyline. Nate wanted to introduce me to Cincinnati chili, and I have to admit it is great stuff!

Afterwards, we met up with Nate’s mother’s side of the family. We went to a place called Top golf. Which, is essentially a mixture of golf and bowling, I suppose. lol You hit the golf ball, and aim for a large disk target in the field. Each ball has a chip, and it records your points based on how how close to the center of the target you hit, and which target you hit. (Some targets are farther away, and they are worth more points). It was a total blast, even for the few of us that didn’t golf at all. It turns out there are some very serious golfers in Nate’s family, and there are some seriously lame people like me that can barely hit the golf ball. But, we all had fun.

In the morning, we woke up early to help set up the wedding. Ellen and I went to Walmart to get sign making supplies, as people’s gps were sending them to the wrong park entry. We got terribly lost in Walmart, couldn’t find any employee’s to help us, and took over a half an hour to find some balloons, signs, markers and mason jars. Yeah, it was pathetic. But, the sign Ellen made was pretty darn cute!During the wedding prep, Mellisa approached us and asked Ellen and I if we would participate in the wedding and walk David (my father-in law) down the aisle. We both agreed. And before we knew it the wedding was starting!!

Okay, none of us look very photogenic. lol The path was just about to get narrower (barely big enough for two people), and we were three people wide. So we ended up walking down the aisle sideways. hehehehe

The wedding ceremony was written by the couple, and their best friend whom became an officiant for the event! It was super fast and sweet. And then the couple was wed!

The rest of the night followed by music, food and lots and lots of talking. I ended up being a table jumper, and kept hoping back and forth visiting different family members. We also got to enjoy some of the outdoors, as the wedding was in a hall at the park.Nate forced me to do the dreaded couple picture, when I came outside to give him a cup of water. What was I thinking, I should have just stayed in the hall. He would have been fine!!! I am pretty sure the photographer (whom didn’t speak English as his first language) told me pose and pretend that I thought I was pretty. lol

Oh, and one more picture of the beautiful bride in the wedding shawl I made!!! Thankfully, the weather was so nice that she didn’t really use it. But, she did put it on for a few photos.Love,

Jamiegoof

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Bye Bye Chicks

Hi Sis,

It’s a few months after you, but spring has finally sprung at our snow-belt home! The chicks have been hatching, and I started actually shipping chicks this year! 

Here are some of my babies that are ready for the post office! These little guys arrived in Florida this morning!

I have been shipping 1 day Express, for some reason that is what my post office wanted me to do? (Just in case you were wondering most chicks are shipped 3 day priority). But, I am happy to pay extra in postage, if my chicks arrive at their new home faster!

Love,

Jamiegoof

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Dyeing Yarn

Hey sis,

The silk purses in my Etsy shop have been my best selling product, and I have been going through the silk yarn! I was starting to run out, when I contacted my previous supplier to ask for more. None available! So, I contacted the yarn producer in India. Two weeks of communication, and they were ready to send me an invoice. Then, they told me they didn’t have what I wanted either.

That’s it, I decided. I needed yarn, and there was no way I could afford to purchase silk embroidery or beading floss. That stuff is like $0.50/yard. I had to purchase and dye my own silk. I did some research and discovered that I needed to do acid dyeing over the stovetop for silk. So, I purchased all my supplies, and today I got down to business.

 Step 1: Put on your respirator, and make 1% dye solution. Mix 10 grams of dye with some warm water. Shake until mixed. Then add enough water so that you there is 1000 grams of solution in the jug. Step 2: Add silk to the dyeing pot with water. If you want a even color of silk, it is best to add enough water that the silk can swim in it, vs bathing in a little pool. It does look like there is much water in this pot, but the silk will float at the start.Step: 3 Measure out your solution. You will need approximately 100 grams for a medium shade. I wanted a deep black, not a dark purple, so I used 200 grams of the 1% solution. Step 4: Add the dye solution to the pot, and stir it around.  Step 5: keep gently poking until you reach 180 degrees F. Then add citric acid (for my 100 grams of yarn, I added 3/4 teaspoon) At the 180 degree point, set a timer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, and try to keep it cool enough to not boil. At about 10 minutes in, I could already see the dye seeping into the yarn. At about 20 minutes most of the dye is in the yarn, and it is actually black.The finished product! Now I have to dye two more hanks, as I have a lady that wants to buy them. 🙂 

What I learned later:

Allow yarn to soak overnight in water first, and add some Syothopol about a half an hour before the heating process. This will create a more even dye job. After dyeing, allow your yarn to sit in the dye bath overnight. Rinse in lukewarm water, then allow to dry. Then steam to set dye.

Love,

Jamiegoof

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