Monday, September 21, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

The Black Capped Chickadees were having breakfast the other morning in the small sunflowers at the park. These small sunflower seed heads are the perfect size of Chickadees.

I bet they would like to squirrel away supplies for the winter when they are so plentiful.

The squirrel tried to get to the sunflower seeds but the stalks were not strong enough to hold him up.


This book is the one I finished this week.   It features many lost classics as recommended by authors who share their stories about the book that got away, lost, or otherwise has not seen a lot of reads.

It's Concord Grape time!  I look forward to these showing up in the grocery stores.  It is something I usually share with my sister.  Not sure it will happen this year.  I think we had them as kids because if the price was good Mom would buy some.  

I decided to make small cloths to disinfect my camera everyday when I return from my morning walk.

The risk is small because no one touches my camera but I may touch a rail or something else that could be contaminated.

I thought Rubbing alcohol would be the most effective cleaner but it can be a bit hard on the rubber parts of the camera.   The easiest is simple soap and water on a cloth.  

I bought a microfiber cloth which I sewed the edges and cut into 16 four inch cloths.  These will be used once and then laundered just like my masks and gloves.

Bleach solution is effective as well and will likely be used for door knobs, etc.  I had been using cleaning wipes but they are not all made the same.  They need alcohol or bleach to be effective for the corona virus.  I have yet to find a bottle to store the cleaner as you need a soft plastic bottle.  I have not had any success storing bleach solution in a spray bottle cause it just corrodes the metal parts in the spray mechanism.

I made a trade with my aunt this week.  She asked did I want a denim cushion cover?  I initially said no but reconsidered.

Of course, it needed to have sunflowers.  She has an embroidery machine which does creates these beautiful designs.  The original design has quite a bit of brown but I ask that she replace it would green.

It fit the cushion on the sofa perfectly because I had measured ahead of time.

I gave a about an inch of solid card stock. She did not want brights so I gave her jeweled tones, neutrals, and a few metallic.

So happy to have some of the card stock walk away.

I created a mosaic featuring Alium seed pods with a Scarlet Flax in the center.  The third one is the seed pod of the Chinese Globe Flower. I photographed them last year but I did not have any idea what the flower was.  I paid attention this year to see what the bloom looked like!  Last year I thought it was a Hellebore.  But now that I know what it is it is still not possible to find a photo on line of the flower's seed pod.

The Flicker Macro Monday challenge this week is the Dutch Tilt but in macro form.  This is a technique where you tilt the camera to create tension when viewing  the photo because we like this to stay on the horizontal. You can check out my Flicker Photostream (smpics) to see what I submitted.

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #97 and

Mersad who hosts Through my Lens #258.

Monday, September 14, 2020

2020 Quilt #10 - Pink and Green Crumb Squares

Back to making small quilts.

I started with 6 Crumb Square my sister made.  

Finished Size: 33.50" W x 38.00" T

Front: 6 Crumb Squares 10" and another 10" column with pink from backing fabric with forest green rectangles then 100% cotton burgundy sashing  

10.00" Crumb Squares 
3 inch burgundy sashing
Pink & Forrest green column

Accents: Crumb Quilted squares 

Thread: White on a cone.

Batting: Plaid Flannelette Sheet

Backing: Bright pink small print pattern 100% cotton measuring 45" W x 50 inches tall

Binding:  Self binding with the fabric from the backer.  

Quilting: I stitched 1/4" around the Crumb Squares and the Pink ones in the middle column

Since I was working with squares I had not designed I just dug into my stash of fabric to see what I had. Bright pink is a favorite color so that was easy.  The flannelette was excellent size as well.  I did need to add some width so I created another 10 inch column with some pink from the back and forest green.  Now I had 3" burgundy sashing around the elements.

In the past I have been quilt as you Mom style but I had the front assembled before I remembered that.  This one was small enough it would not matter.

 Lessons Learned: 

Love the self binding!  Will do that again for sure. No worries about missing the binding on the front.  With the binding well ironed and pinned it worked really fast and easy. I checked on line for the corner but that was easy too.  I was expecting it to be taller so I did not calculate so well.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

The robins were holding convention the other morning.  Talking, singing, eating chokecherries and just fussing with each other. 

Migration may have been the subject of discussion.  Whose going? When are we leaving?  Who is leading the crowd?  

This one was singing as the sun came up.  I remember their song from when I was a kid.  This is the first song bird that I recognized it by it's tune.





 I finished "The Holding" by Merilyn Simonds this week.  Another historical fiction based on holdings in Northern Ontario Canada.  The first was in late 1880s is Margaret with her 3 brothers. Then it is Alyson in the 1990's on the same property.  I love books about independent women.  The garden is what connects them over the long time period.  Loved it.  Finished it by reading for about 4 hours. My body was not happy to be still that long but I could not put it down.

I have whittled down my collect of blue glass and blue and white pottery.  The shelf was so full that getting anything off of it was risked breakage. 

I have decided that I don't need that much blue glass!  

The shelf is looking better and everything has been washed and I can reach the pieces with out danger.

Maybe the pandemic provides clarity!

I love that the frost has not arrived yet and there a beautiful flowers still to photograph.

This is a Double Click Cosmos which very full instead of a single layer of petals.  

This is from the mixed collection and is a beautiful pink.

I think frost will be in order for this week.

I chose several leaves for my mosaic this week. 

Can't say I am fussy about seeing yellow leaves and fall coming.  Not looking forward to being isolated and no outdoor visits.  And this too will pass. 

The challenge for Flicker Macro Monday this week is "pouch" and we had to put something inside it.  Of course, a tea pouch with a tea bag is an easy one.   You can check out my Photo Stream (SMDPics) to see what I submitted for the challenge. 

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #96 and Mersad who hosts Through my Lens #257.

I am working on a quilt this weekend.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Upgraded Photo Studio

I have made a few changes to the photo studio in the last few weeks.
The upgrade to the photo studio started when I rescued these plastic corrugated plastic panels from a soaked Ikea door on my walk in the morning.  The door was just particle board and it had rained a lot the night before so the frame just came apart.  I released 6 panels from the door.

The door was similar to this one but with panels.

I brought them home, washed them up and had to push some dirt out of the channels with a skewer.  It took some time but now I have great translucent panels that can diffuse light wonderfully.  They measure 15" T x 19.5" W.



I asked my brother in law when they delivered the sewing machine if he could make some supports which would allow me to stand the panels as I chose.  I sent a 2x4 and a plastic panel home with him.  When I visited in early August they were ready. 

They are great because I can have a small profile, they can support the panel from bottom or side, provide in nice snug fit so make a sturdy structure.

This black base was the shelf that sat on the support in it's previous life.  It was just sitting around and I went "Why don't I use that for the base?"  It's black which is good.  It is larger than the bases I was using.  

So I placed it on my pine shelf and snugged stuff to it.  The space measures 21" W x 24" D.

That left me space on the left hand side for props, objects and whatever I need for a given photo shoot. 

This is the backdrop support at the back of the space.  It holds whatever I want to use as a background for my photograph.  I use plastic, lace, metallic mesh, and a lot more stuff depending on what I am photographing.  

It could be sturdier if it had supports on both ends. I will put my thinking cap on and come up with a stand that I can make which would work better. This works pretty good.

Now the lights for the studio are stored on the metal shelf across from the studio.  It is behing me when I am taking photos.  The small clip lights just clip onto the shelf support.  The larger lights are stored on hooks attached to the top shelf and just hang down along the side of the shelving unit.  I have had the hooks for a while but this the perfect place to use them. 

I added a power bar along the bottom of the shelving unit which allows the lights to remain plugged in all the time or shut them all off with a flick of a switch on the bar. 

I found some LED light bulbs at IKEA which work well for the E17 base lights I have. The small clip ones and the IKEA lamps need this size bulb.

The camera case has it's spot on the metal shelving unit.  Just a clip and it is easily on my shoulder ready to go.

There's a clip to hold the tripod.  I have added a black ribbon to the head of the tripod and that just gets hooked onto the metal hook.  

I was sure glad that I had about a dozen of these hooks and a sturdy metal shelving unit for all the extra photo stuff.


There's a bit of space between the stand and the boxes to store extra plastic panels, reflector, white reflector panels, and color gels.

I am very happy having made the decision to have a permanent space for my photo studio.  It is a horizontal space that is always available and everything I used has a place to be stored!  

Clean up is quick and easy!

Sewing Project - Photography Reflector

I found a photography reflector on my walk last week.  It had been thrown away because the system to keep it taut was broken. 

I decided I could redesign it for my studio.  I brought it home and washed first thing.

There was a large elastic around the edge that I removed.  Now it was flat. I cut it 16" tall and 27 "wide which the most I could get after straightening the curved corners.  I sewed some narrow bias tape on the right and left edges where was going to attach the elastics.  Finishes the edge and provides sturdiness for the elastic.

The corrugated plastics pieces I rescued earlier this summer are 19.5" W x 15" T.  I cut the elastic into 3 pieces and sewed the first end to the left hand edge.  I then placed it on the corrugated cardboard and determined where it had to be tacked to make the front tight. Brought it back to sewing machine and that was done!  

You can see the wood supports my brother-in-law made for me for these plastic sheets.  They work really well.  I have 3 sets. 

I made some changes to the studio also so I will do a post on those.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Sunflower Birthday

A sunflower card for my niece that celebrates her birthday in September.

The photo was attached to the heavy card base.  I added a greeting with double sided tape.

I added an insert so she can remove it and reuse the card.

I am including a few cards she can use as she is a very busy mom and card making may not always rise to the top of the todo list.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Sewing Project - Fitted Face Mask 2

I made another fitted face mask this week.  I chose to put elastics on this one which is how this one was designed.

I followed the free pattern provided from Sustain My Craft Habit Fitted Mask.

I used navy 100% cotton fabric from a men's shirt on the outside.  The inside is 100% Egyptian Cotton in a embossed yellow. These are heavy cotton fabrics which are recommended.

The mask also allows me to add a filter to the mask if I chose.  Today I ready that a non woven filter material similar to

your re-usable grocery bags could be used in it.  That is a great idea. It should be removed when washing the mask.  The material breaks down every time it is washed.  I would just soak it in boiling hot water to sterilize then reinsert into the washed mask.

I put in the piece of terry cloth fabric in this one also which helps to capture the moisture from your breath and not to fog your glasses.

Another check mark on the sewing ToDo list.

I bought small dollar store gloves the other day as I had lost at least one pair and this gives me a cushion.  I don't leave the house without gloves on.

It ensures at least 1 load of laundry a week in hot water.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Sewing Project - Sewing Machine Cover

The cooler weather is here and I feel like staying indoors more.  That means the sewing projects are starting to be tackled.

The first was a cover for the sewing machine when it is left up.  This should only happen when I am in a midst of a project.  There is a window just above and I was concerned about dust getting into the machine. 

I chose a fabric leftover - Sweet Peas by P&B Textiles 100% cotton.  It measures 14" W x 9" T and 5" D.  The piece of fabric was just the right size no leftovers. 

I sewed the side seams then hemmed the bottom edge.

I then created my corners but putting a seam across the width. Measured down 2.5" ran my seam then tacked down the triangle to the sides.

I found some coordinating green fabric and made a handle about 1" wide. This was sewn in the center of the top to make it easy to remove. I reinforced the stress points on the handle as well as putting a piece of the same fabric on the inside.

I am very happy with this project. 

I have applied graphite lubricant to the mechanism that brings the machine up and down and that is working much smoother. 

I have added this lubricant to the rocking chair as well and the squeak is gone.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I am so grateful that frost has not yet arrived and the blooms as still in beautiful condition.

I found these pretty pink blooms yesterday morning.  They are Foxglove - Pink Panther. What a great name.

I love that I have pink bokeh in the background as the bed was in full bloom.

I recently finished reading this book. Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James.  I have read most of Austen's books and watched most of the movies so the backdrop of this story was familiar.  The Bennet sisters and their families.  I love old English historical novels so this was a real pleasure to read.  There are rabbit holes to go down, and it does not get fully resolves till the very end. 

On Tuesday I did a big grocery shopping trip to get ahead of whatever result will happen with Covid 19 and the schools reopening here on Wednesday.  

I managed to get 2 large containers of blueberries so they are now in the freezer for the winter serving on my rolled oats.







I finished the new lampshade for the sewing area this week.  It provides light on the right hand side of the sewing desk and on the craft table I will use for cutting.  

The light switch is very convenient at the level of the top of the desk. 

You will recall that I revamp the other light in this room here

I made Chokecherry Syrup yesterday.  I had picked fresh ones on Friday morning. I decided that since I confused the ones in the freezer for saskatoon berries on my cereal last week maybe I should be doing something with them.

I added the frozen to the fresh and made Chokecherry Syrup.  I made the syrup by boiling them and then pressing the juice through a strainer. I added sugar and a bit of lemon juice.

I processed the jars in a water bath.

I managed 3 small jars but it will add a bit of variety to Highbush Cranberry and Maple syrup for pancakes!

Flicker Macro Monday Challenge this week is "Footwear". The macro on the right is the buckle on my summer sandals. You can check my Photostream SMDPics to see what shot I submitted.




I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #95

and Mersad who hosts Through my Lens #256.

With temps at only 4C this morning frost is not far away.  I will enjoy the next few days.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

How To - E Collar to Lampshade

I needed a lampshade for the other area of my sewing space.  My sister had given me an Ikea Hemma light cord.  I had added a LED daylight light bulb but it needed a shade. It has a UNO lampshade connection. The one Ikea shade I liked was 18 inches in diameter so was too wide for the hanger I was going to use.  It would accommodate max 14 inches. I headed to the thrift shop to see what I could find.  No lamp shades but a clear plastic dog E Collar that was the right shape and size.  I think I can work with that. 

I needed something to create the lampshade connection.  I decided a clear plastic lid from a food container would work.  I scored the size of hole I needed and cut it out with an exacto knife.  Then I put the 4 slits so I could slip the straps of the collar through and secured them as designed.

I like this because it allowed for the warmth of the bulb to escape through the spaces at the top. 

The hole I had cut was perfect and I could run it along the threads of the light fixture. Very secure. I then screwed the washer piece from the inside of the lampshade and then added my light bulb.  That was working really great!

Now I needed a covering for this structure. When I revamped the other lamp in the space I had leftover lace.  I measured the circumference of the lampshade and sewed the lace to that size.  I added a hem to top edge of the lace as well.   Now it was just a matter of threading a piece of ribbon through the holes in the lace to allow the lace edge to come even with the lampshade's bottom edge.

The shot on right is looking up from under the lampshade.

The light fixture came with clips so I just ran the cord along the hanger then down the pole to the outlet.  It has a switch which is at the height of the desk so very convenient to turn on as needed.