Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sewing with pet screen

Hello, everyone.

As many of you will recall immediately, last summer while on the Camino del Norte, we had a bad day, and DH was injured. We concluded, after reflection, that both of us need to be using hiking poles.

Poles have tips--little rubber ends that screw on so that if you're using them to keep from falling on slick pavement, they don't go "click, click, click" and also don't make holes or catch in pavement that is, like some asphalt, a little bit rough. The tips are not large, and I became worried that they would fall to the bottom of the pack and be unfindable--totally a word, guys!--when needed along the trail.

Thus the pole tip bag was conceived.

Tip bag, closed.

Tip bag with tip sticking out of opening.
The little bags are about 3"x3" in finished size. The chief difference between these and your standard boxed-corner utility bag (like a dopp kit) is that these have an overlap on the top for the Velcro closure. They were made of pet screening, a sturdier version of window screening that can be found in one or two colors at the hardware store (it's used to screen windows that pets scratch on as it's resistant to the damage caused) or many colors online at sewing/crafting shops. I have seen a bolt of black pet screen on the Utility Fabrics shelf at my local JoAnn store as well.

The blue fabric is ripstop nylon that was on hand, and the Velcro tape was also on hand. Stash usage! (Well, the pet screen was stash as well--we have pets.)

The idea with these little bags is that we will tuck them into the top zipper pocket of our packs, or if the tips inside are wet maybe we will hang them from a loop on the side, and when taking the pole tips off to walk on dirt trails, we will put them into their very own place so they don't get lost.

(Links go to examples of the thing described. The fabric may have been purchased at or the local JoAnn store instead, but these links were handy to illustrate with.)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy (chilly) New Year

Hello, everyone.

The new year has started with freeze warnings! And we have gotten out some of our "freeze sheets" from the box in the storage shelves.

The lows are supposed to be hitting about 31F around dawn. Yesterday and today it has been cloudy all day and drizzly for much of it: this creates the expectation of freezing rain. (Rain that is liquid until it lands, then freezes. Especially on fencing, cars, etc. etc.) We've been staying in a lot.

The above pictured "tent" is created from 6 old bedsheets and a big handful of 3" quilter's basting (safety) pins. Under the sheets there are 2 strings of c7 incandescent Christmas lights. Don't let anyone tell you that incandescent lights are useless! We have used them many times to keep tomatoes and peppers alive. This year, they're on the frangipane bush (large for a frangipane) and the hibiscus bush. There are other tender plants, but I'm banking on the idea that they won't get cold enough to outright die on us. A lot of pots were hauled up onto the porch for the duration, and the spider plants and the lone surviving orchid plant were brought inside.

That's all the news from south Texas! And to all of y'all, I wish a happy and prosperous new year.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Hello, everyone.

Weather report: last night it was supposed to get down to the upper 40's (F) and today we should hit the mid 70's. It's cloudy, but other than that it is what we call "Chamber of Commerce Weather."

An ornament for the peregrinos. Also a rendering of the Flight into Egypt.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A small beading post

Hello, everyone.

It's been very busy--even though I thought things would settle a bit after the angel party, it's only held on High Level since then. But--to my personal amazement--the United States Postal Service is not only very busy but according to my email they're working 24 hours at this point. (God bless them!) The last package is supposed to come to me today...halleluia!

This little picture is from my very first experiment in freeform peyote stitch, It's a bracelet.

The seed  beads were part of a mix--mostly browns with some accents--and in the end I was not enthused about the "mixy" look. The strands of the mix I tried just never seemed to work out. So when I decided to try out the freeform style of peyote, I pulled by color from the dish of mixed beads and added accent beads into the weave as y'all can see. (Dyed freshwater pearls, glass beads, and I think a piece of agate.)

The freeform weaving is fun, and with a limited palette of colors it works, but it does require a lot of creative decisions to be made all along. Whether you enjoy it or find it a burden to do that many decisions is probably related to whether your life outside the bead bowl is frenetic or calm.

Most of the beads were from Fire Mountain packages--I like to get the Bosses Bead Bag assortment just to see what's in it--and over the years many interesting things have appeared. Lately, however, they've gone to having a lot of different assortment packs and the Bosses Bead Bag is more fillers and small bits of findings. There is often a dusting of seed beads in the bottom of the bag, though, and many of them have turned out to be Delica types over the years. Thus the brown color assortment that turned into this bracelet!

Just in case it gets too busy tomorrow to make a post, I wish for all of y'all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. (If you're Jewish, a happy Hanukkah.)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Remembering Estero Llano Grande

Hello, everyone.

It's cool out and getting chillier. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and sloppy. It makes me want to remember the lovely warm day we visited Estero Llano Grande a little while back.

 An egret admiring his reflection in the pond.

A "tuna", or fruit, on one of the cacti. This is possibly the same type as some of the bird-gift cacti in my little pots.

Friday, December 8, 2017


Hello, everyone.

Here is a small view of a rare event: snow falling in the Rio Grande Valley. The snow is now sticking on frangipani leaves, grass, and the newly plowed field. We will enjoy the moment as it will melt soon.

Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This is the patronal feast of the United States: the title under which a saint in heaven, in this case Mary the mother of Jesus, is the patroness of the nation. This is separate from the title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, under which Mary is the patroness of all of the Americas together.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Returning to those gifts from the birdies

Hello, everyone.

The little birdie gifts have been in pots for a little while now and are doing fairly well...I still don't have a really good idea what kinds they are, other than some rough generalities.