Project Linus – #12

Prior to going on vacation I finished another blanket for Project Linus.

Blanket #12

Project Linus Blanket #12 - Ode to Deadpool

“Ode to Deadpool”

When my sister was home this summer she saw me crocheting this blanket and said that it reminded her of Deadpool. He’s a comic book character who now stars in two movies of the same name. I’ve never seen them, but I’m told he’s quite sarcastic and I would enjoy watching them. I’ll take her word for it.

Project Linus Blanket #12 - Detail

I was originally going to call this Case IH as the colors are the same as the Case IH tractors, but it’s too crazy so I guess that I will stick with Deadpool.

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Gary’s First Vacation

I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but we’ve been super busy. First we were preparing to go on vacation and then we actually ran away for a week. When we got back, though, Jay’s grandma passed away so we’ve been busy with everything surrounding that event. Hopefully things will begin to settle back down into our usual (and boring to everybody else) routine.

Instead of dwelling on the sad, though, I want to share some highlights of our vacation with you. This was Gary’s first trip south since he moved north several years ago so he was very excited.

Gary in the Car

Before I had all of our luggage loaded he had jumped in and could barely contain his excitement. He was looking forward to spending time by the pool.

He’d even bought new glasses for the occasion.

Gary in Car

I’d barely had my first cup of coffee before Gary was in his swim trunks ready to go.

Gary Ready for the Pool

He had even grabbed the sunscreen! He burns so easily.

He wasn’t really impressed with his hat, but I insisted that he wear it. I told him it would help to keep him cool. He kept it on for the most part.

Gary on the Boogey Board

I was worried about his bald little head getting burned, but he didn’t care. He wanted to throw the hat to the side of the pool, but he was having difficulty keeping his balance.

In fact, he was a bit nervous as he’d never been swimming before so Jay went in with him just in case.

Gary Supervised

That’s when Gary spotted the green tube and wanted to try laying in it.

Gary Relaxing

I insisted that he at least keep his hat close at hand, so he did.

Once Gary had started to get pruney he decided that he should get out for a while. There was a comfy-looking lounge near the pool, so he laid on that for a good portion of the day.

Gary Sunbathing

He didn’t look very comfortable, but he insisted that he was. In fact, this chair ended up being one of his favorites. Here he was, later in the week, watching the airplanes fly overhead:

Gary Plane Spotting

When he heard one coming he would look around until he spotted it, then he pointed it out to us. Every. Single. Time. Gary might be a bigger Propellor Head than Jay! (Since they call guys who love cars ‘Gear Heads’ I feel that I can call guys who love airplanes ‘Propellor Heads’.)

It was a very relaxing vacation, which we badly needed. It was beautiful every day that we were there so we had a bit of a ritual.

In the morning we would sit by the pool and read.

Gary Reading by the Pool

Then we would jump in the pool for a few hours.

Gary Afloat

Then later in the afternoon we would sit poolside to read more of our books.

Gary Reading

And even though we had a great time, it’s always nice to get back home.

Chester Just Chillin

Chester kept a lookout for when we pulled in the drive way. She wasn’t the only one who was excited to see us.

Tina Greets Gary

Tina was so excited that she knocked Gary over!

So that was the relaxing portion of our vacation. In an upcoming post I’ll share some pictures from our trip to the amusement park. Gary wasn’t able to go with us, though. He stayed home with Aunt Kimmy because he’s too short to ride any of the rides.

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Spring Cross Update – 7-24-18

It didn’t take as long as I expected to make progress.

Here is where it was on 7-15-18:

Spring Cross 7-15-18

All of the full stitches were done on this part and it was on to the background words.

Background words were finished on 7-24-18:

Spring Cross 7-24-18

Not that much of a change, but now I can start the back stitching. This is where it starts to POP!

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Milling A Steam Engine – Part 1

A few weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night and was confused about what Jay was watching on TV. He has to fall asleep with the TV on, so it’s not unusual for me to wake up to some kind of video playing. It can be anything from the moon landing, astrophysics lectures, documentaries on WWII subs, or even programs about airplane disasters. In fact, there have been a couple of times when the video’s volume suddenly went up and I woke up thinking that the air raid siren I heard going off meant we were under attack. This time, though, when I woke up I was even more confused than normal because I could hear something mechanical moving, but when I looked at the screen without my glasses, I thought he was watching a video with a sewing machine needle moving up and down. It was 2 a.m. and he was still awake. I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

It turns out that he was NOT watching a video about the mechanics of the sewing machine. Instead, he was watching this:

Website Picture

Stuart Models Steam Engine

From what I was told, he somehow happened upon videos of this one particular guy milling and machining the parts for this engine. Jay was fascinated and stayed up way too late watching these videos. Of course, watching the videos led to research which eventually led to him actually ordering a kit.

These kits consist of plans, raw castings that you have to machine, and a few other little things. I find this whole thing to be a bit ironic. Jay specifically bought this kit because you receive raw castings that must be machined within specified tolerances in order for the engine to work when completely assembled. Why do I find this to be ironic? Because Jay spends his working life in a FOUNDRY that manufactures cast iron products.


That’s a picture that I took off his company’s website. It shows you the sand molds that the iron is poured into to form the parts. Jay spent the majority of his working career running that machine. He spends all day talking iron content, gray iron, tolerances, and numbers of castings produced. Then he comes home to play with more iron?


Does that make sense to you? It would be like if I suddenly took an interest in creating Crystal reports at home to calculate the productivity of various household chores. Working with numbers can be fun, but I don’t want it as my hobby.

Jay also used this kit to justify the milling machine that he got this spring.

New Milling Machine

*sigh* It’s a good thing that he’s cute!

He’s been spending lots of time in his work shop since receiving the kit. He’s taken some pictures for me to share, but I can’t promise that I’ll know everything that’s going on in them. That’s just a fair warning to all of you.

Steam Engine 1

This is a part that sits on the base and holds the inlet where the steam enters the engine (I think…) I do know that when he finished milling this part he was so excited because the part that rests in it fit perfectly!

Steam Engine 2

This is the base that it sits on. I think there was some kind of machining done on it.

Steam Engine 3

That holder thing again with something else machined on it.

Steam Engine 4

Ooo… an action shot! I can almost feel the metal shavings hitting me.

Steam Engine 5

See how perfectly it fits!

Steam Engine 6

Look! Holes have been drilled! If you’re wondering, he did NOT strike oil. *sigh*

Steam Engine 7

The part on the left is what was used to make sure the holder was machined properly. I have no idea if it has any other purpose. The part on the right looks like what actually will go on the holder.

Steam Engine 8

This is an action shot of drilling out the hole in the center of the A-frame of the engine.

Steam Engine 9

See! Isn’t that a beautiful machining job?

Steam Engine 10

The part was so excited about how beautifully it’s turning out that it decided to do a head stand. Woo-hoo!

Steam Engine 11

And here we are using the lathe to turn… something metal. To be fair, this could be anything. At first glance it almost looks like the top to one of Jay’s e-juice tanks.

I guess that we’ll have to wait until the next blog post to discover what it actually is!

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A Yarn Spinner

The last time I was at my parents’ house I found some yarn in my mom’s yarn closet that I thought would work for one of my Project Linus blankets. I brought it home, but it’s currently sitting in a loose hank.

Loose Yarn

This isn’t a problem for me because one of my Christmas gifts from Jay last year was a yarn ball winder.

Yarn Winder

I haven’t used it, yet, but it’s supposed to wind balls of yarn so that you can pull them from the center. If you don’t know anything about yarn, this is a big deal to some people (i.e. me!). This would be great practice for me! Except, you have to keep some tension on the yarn when you’re winding it.

I asked Gary to help me out with that, but he was busy playing with his new pet camel, Tina.

Gary with Tina

Also, he refused to put his gun down in case somebody broke in while we were winding balls of yarn. I agreed that having your gun in hand at such a time would be very efficient. So, Gary was a no-go in the help department.

Typically when winding yarn (and there isn’t a free set of arms available) people will use swifts to hold the yarn. From what I could remember they were pricey, but I looked them up. Yikes! The cheapest one I found was $50. Considering I don’t plan on using this a lot I figured there had to be a simpler design that I could ask Jay to make for me. That’s when I came across this picture:

Yarn Swift Pic

It was perfect! It would do the job that I needed and yet was simple enough that Jay could quickly throw it together. I printed the picture and waited for Jay to get home.

When I showed him the picture he said it wouldn’t be a problem. The biggest problem for him is remembering that it’s called a ‘swift’. To keep things somewhat simple I just refer to it as my ‘yarn spinner’ now.

Yarn Swift

Jay had it made and assembled in about a day. I took it outside to sand it (it was a gorgeous day!), so this is what it looked like sitting on my patio table. I haven’t used it, yet, but I definitely will. I just love that I can hand a picture to Jay, give him the basics of how it should work, and then within a short amount of time I actually have it in my possession. You can’t get any better than that!

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Spring Cross Update – 7-15-18

Spring Cross 6-24-18

On 6-24-18 I was still working on the flowers and branches that make up the left arm of the cross. It felt like there were a lot of greens and shades of yellow on this side.

Things at work were starting to get a little stressful, so in order to keep the majority of the hives away (I don’t want to go through another round with stress hives!) I made sure to spend at least 20 minutes in the morning just stitching. I even managed to fit a few hours in one night… instead of doing the dishes. We must have priorities!

So, here is where we stand as of 7-15-18:

Spring Cross 7-15-18

All of the full stitching is complete on the left side. I am currently working on the background words. Then I will start on the back stitching, which is how I’ve done the other crosses, too. I can’t wait to get the flowers back stitched so that the detail will really pop! I’m kind of curious about the butterfly, too. He was actually a pain to stitch. After I had done a lot of the stitching on him I realized that he was not placed where the pattern showed he should be. I somehow managed to get him a stitch or two out of place. Instead of ripping him out and starting over I decided I would fudge the letters when it comes to the words around him. That’s really all that will be thrown off. In fact, if I hadn’t said anything you guys probably would not have known that there was anything wrong.

Remind me to keep my big mouth shut next time. 😉


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Yard Projects – 2018

If you know me then you know that I usually have at least one outdoor project rolling around in my head. Last year it was supposed to be the fire pit area, but we just never got to it. This year I had several little projects in progress.

First, let’s start with my front walk.

Front Of House 5-20-17

You can kind of see it in this picture. The previous owners had used creek rocks to make a path out to the sidewalk. The annoying thing about this path is that it wasn’t correctly done so it sunk into the ground and started to disappear. Plus, since creek rock is all shale it easily breaks and flakes apart, which makes mowing lawn a real pain. So, I decided to do something about it.

Front Walk 6-8-18

At the beginning of June I started to pull up these rocks and fill the area in with dirt. I only managed to get about half of it done because there was more rock there than I expected. My dad was the one hauling it away and as it was it really weighed down the back of his truck. A few weeks ago, though, we decided to finish it up.

Front Walk 7-9-18

I threw some grass seed on there, but it’s been so dry that I think the grass seed just shriveled up and blew away. I know that technically you’re supposed to lay straw down on top of the seed and then water it, but that’s not happening with my allergies. I told Jay not to worry about it because the weeds will fill in soon enough. Then it will match the rest of the yard.

Some people have told me that we have to have a front walk up to our house. Why? Anybody who I want to visit me already knows to go to the back door, so anybody else should realize that they probably aren’t wanted. I mean, not even the mail person uses the front walk, so what’s the point? I think it will look just fine.

In conjunction with the front walk, I also had this to contend with:

Beside the Shed 6-8-18

The area beside the shed had become the back yard catch-all. I had dumped piles of extra dirt, rocks, and concrete pieces in this area. When my dad was down to haul away the creek rock he also hauled away the various rocks and pieces of concrete that lay underneath all of those weeds. The neighbor behind us (whose house you can see straight ahead) was cruising for a bruising a few weeks ago. Jay and I were back there discussing the other project that I wanted to install when the idiot says, “You finally decided to clean out the jungle, eh?” I so badly wanted to tell him that if it was bothering him that much he could have come over and helped himself. Thankfully he will be moving soon!

So, what was the project we were installing?

Rain Barrel 7-9-18

A rain barrel!

Up until this point we had been getting a LOT of rain so I decided it would be best to collect it for watering the plants instead of paying the city to use water out of the tap. What kind of sense does that make?! I believe that I shared the stand with you in one of my recent posts. Did I tell you that Jay informed me that the red will not produce hot water unless we have some REALLY hot days. I painted the stand using the exterior trim paint that I used on the shed.

Beside the Shed 7-9-18

It’s still kind of a mess back there, but I have another load of rocks to haul up to my parents’ house and then Jay will be able to get the lawn mower back there. That was the original plan when we put the shed up. Now all I have to do is wait for rain… and of course, as of this writing there is not a single drop in the forecast. I think that it’s all part of Murphy’s law: If you put up a pool your entire summer will be cold and rainy; if you put up a rain barrel the summer will be hot and dry. Stupid Murphy!

Besides harboring creek rocks and empty rain barrels, the yard has also been producing some greenery. You should have seen my roses last month! They were gorgeous:

Red Roses 6-8-18

Yellow Roses 6-8-18

I moved my cucumbers this year because they didn’t do well where they were last year.

Cucumbers 6-8-18

I asked my neighbors’ if it would be okay for me to let my cucumbers grow on the fence between our yards. They said they didn’t care. Their dogs were a bit dubious, though.

Cucumbers 7-9-18

They are doing pretty good! I had the first cucumber out of the garden today and it was really good. I can’t wait for more!

Wheelbarrow in Garden 7-9-18

I even managed to get an extra layer of polyurethane thrown onto the wheelbarrow that my brother-in-law gave us. Doesn’t it look cute?

We have one more yard project in the works, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. I’ll just give you this hint:

Cedar Bird Bath 4

Let’s just say that this project became exorbitant very quickly. But that is for a future post!

I have a special guest who would like to say Thank You for reading my blog. He is being extra respectful and dropping into a curtsy, too!

Dave's Pretty Apron

Isn’t Dave so pretty in his apron? Awww…

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