Friday, January 30, 2009

Oiling Wood Floors and Knitting Socks

These floors are in our shop and boy, are they ever ever dried out! Believe it or not, the floor on the left is actually clean.... just dry as a bone. They seem to have no finish on them, and a floor man who was here for another part of the building told me I could just oil them. I decided to oil them little by little as I'm rearranging the shop for spring....ufff. What was I thinking?!! Anyway, they are going to look a lot better.

I'm using tung oil and it really isn't too hard, just a little time consuming. I clean the floor first using an all purpose cleaner in water and a microfiber cloth, rinsing often. Those cloths really pick up the dirt. Then I let it dry thouroughly.

Next apply the oil in a small area at a time...this floor is so dry, I pour some on the floor and then spread it around with a rag. Let it soak in for 5 minutes or so, and then buff with a different rag. Move on and do the same to the next patch of floor. I will apply a second coat tomorrow. It makes such a huge difference.

If these floors were in our house I would be trying to get off old paint when I come to it and really make it look more perfect. These floors are in the 100 year old city hall building in our town. I rent space here for our shop...there is a lot of traffic through the building. I just want to bring some life back to them and protect the wood a little. I thought I share the project here, because you could certainly finish the floors in your old home the same way.

eta: I've been reading on the web that this finish, while it says tung oil in the name, does not actually contain tung oil. Fortunately, many people seem to have had good luck using this on their floors even though the label says "not recommended for floors." I was happy to hear this, since I really don't want to put a poly over this wood. Poly can't be renewed without a lot of sanding and I think I can refresh this easier with out having to remove all my stock. I'll let you know how it works out!

I finished my socks and I love the Mountain Colors yarn. I will definitely be buying more of was soft while I was knitting with it...but after I washed it, it is just the softest and warmest pair of socks I have.

Now I've started a new pair of socks for my daughter's best friend Kylie. Those are some pretty wild colors, but take a look at Kylie:

I think she has enough attitude to pull off wearing socks like that.

My friend Dawn passed an award along to me. With this award I'm supposed to tell you 6 things I'm thankful for and pass the award along to 6 other bloggers.

I am so very thankful for...
  • My relationship with Jesus and that I have his word to guide me.
  • My husband and kids and all our extended family.
  • Having my parents living in the same town.
  • Our home
  • My dog
  • My health...including my eyesight and the use of my hands because I love to make things. I don't take this for granted after seeing my grandmother lose both to her battle with rheumatoid arthritis.
I'm awarding:

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Here's the temperature on my back patio this afternoon. And with the wind chill factor it was -30! We closed the shop and museums early and went home to get warm. They even called off classes at ISU, which is pretty unusual!

I spent the afternoon knitting. Joe got me some lovely new Signature Arts knitting needles for Christmas...they came in the mail yesterday. I have to say they are a huge splurge, but oh so nice to knit with! If you are a knitter you might want to put them on your wish list.

My father-in-law gave me a gift certificate for Christmas and I bought a great little bag for carrying my socks-in-progress around in....and it was on sale so I got a sock pattern book too. It was a very knitty Christmas for me!

Then I made these this afternoon. I really shouldn't have. Really. I think I'm going to have to pack them up and give them away.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Indian Pride Cowl

Indian Pride Cowl
by Joyce Cole © 2009

I designed this cowl to show off those school team colors. I bought a skein of each color and made two cowls (reversing the colors in the second one), and still had a little yarn left over. Round up your favorite team's colors and keep yourself warm at the game!

Plymouth Encore Worsted 100 g skeins
1 Main Color (MC)
1 Contrasting Color (CC)

US size 8 circular~16 inches long

Stitch marker
Darning needle

Gauge: 18 stitches = 4 inches (though a bigger or smaller gauge will just change the look a little)

Cast on 96 stitches in your contrasting color (cc) using long tail cast-on. Join to knit in the round, using a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round.

Row 1 and 2: Knit
Row 3: *YO, K2tog, repeat from *
Rows 4 and 5: Knit
Row 6: Purl

Change to MC.
Rows 7-16: Knit.

Change to CC and work an eyelet band as follows:
Row 17: Knit
Row 18: Purl
Rows 19 and 20: Knit
Row 21: *YO, K2tog, repeat from *
Row 22 and 23: Knit
Row 24: Purl

Change to MC.
Rows 25-34: Knit

Change to CC.
Rows 35-42: Work eyelet band above (rows 17-24)

Change to MC.
Rows 43-52: Knit

Change to CC.
Row 53: Knit
Row 54: Purl
Rows 55 and 56: Knit
Row 57: *YO, K2tog, repeat from *
Row 58 and 59: Knit
Bind off loosely.

To finish: Fold up the cast on edge to form a picot hem and stitch in place using matching yarn. I used an overcast stitch catching the edge and the purl bumps on the backside. Do the same for the bind off edge. Weave in all yarn ends and steam to block.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mission Trip-Building a home in Mexico

Colleen went to Mexico over Christmas break with the church she is attending while at college. They took a team of young adults and built a house through the group Casas por Cristo. This organization uses volunteer teams and donated materials to build houses for families in and around Juarez, Mexico. I was so nervous to have her going to Juarez, but I tried to hand my worries over to God while she did His work. I tend to be an overprotective mama, so this was a growing experience for me too.

Some neighborhood girls

Colleen was so excited to find that she spoke Spanish well enough to serve as one of the group's translators. She was minoring in Spanish, but now is thinking of changing to Spanish Education. She learned so much and was truly blessed by going on this trip.

Colleen and one of the littlest family members.

Here she is working on the inside of the home. They do not have running water inside the home, but they do have electricity. It's built on a concrete slab the team poured the first day. This home has 3 rooms and was built in 3 days. The homeowners were given instructions and supplies to mud the drywall inside after the team left.

Helping a little homeowner drive a nail.

Jill and Colleen stucko the outside. Jill also grew up in our church and is dating our son.


The family's children putting handprints on their new front stoop.

New homeowners!

This is what it's all about.

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
~Galatians 5:14

Saturday, January 03, 2009

How to give your christmas tree extra sparkle

Now, the information I'm passing on may seem obvious to you. I would never have thought to make these suggestions except for a visit from a friend. She kept gazing at our tree and finally she said, "I get it! You put lights on the inside of your tree...that's why it's extra sparkly."

So here's how I get maximum sparkle...'cause I'm all about sparkle in Christmas decorating.
  • I use multi-colored lights, but I always add a stand or two of white lights up the inside of the tree. It really brightens up the tree. We use a real tree, but if you use an artificial one, you can wrap the white lights up the trunk before you put on the branches (learned that from my aunt!)
  • Next, I hang a bunch of plain old glass ornaments all inside the tree...more sparkle from the reflections. I literally have a big shopping bag full of cheap red and gold and silver glass balls that I hang mostly on the inside of the tree.
  • Then I add the garland...mine is reflective for more sparkle.
  • Finally I hang all our special ornaments which we've collected through the years. Our tree has no theme...we hang everything from the ones the kids made in school to antique ones from great-grandparents, to the ones we've been giving to the kids each year.

My last tip is to buy your Christmas ornaments on sale. I love glass ornaments from Germany and Poland. I wait until the after Christmas sales and buy them at a huge discount with some of my Christmas gift money. I got the garland last was still in the store at the end of January. Originally it was 17.99 for a strand 60 feet long. I got them for 1.99 a strand! Gotta love that!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy Hiefer International New Year!

I think our New Year's family fundraiser for Heifer International was successful. As you might recall our family decided not to exchange Christmas gifts among the cousins and aunts and uncles. We've had some lay-offs and downturns in business in the family this past year, so it was time to rethink the gift exchange. Instead, we threw cash into a basket...could be any thing from the change lying around the house to whatever you would have spent on gifts...totally up to the giver.

Then we had the kids sort and count the money. They took their job very seriously. It turned out to be a fun activity for them. I don't think most of them had ever handled so much money.

Here Jacob is using the cowboy's rifle to hold up the bank. LOL


Counting.....We totaled up 580 dollars.

Then it was time to figure out what animals the kids wanted to buy. I put up pages from Heifer's catalog describing each animal, how it would help a family, and the cost. They picked a llama, pig, 6 rabbits, goat, sheep, flock of ducks, flock of chicks and honeybees. The adults were thrilled to have a more economical Christmas, less fuss trying to find presents for kids who already have so much, and we wanted to show the kids how important it is to help others. The kids seemed be excited that they were helping kids around the world have a better life. We were a little worried that the little kids would miss the presents, but they were excited about what we were doing and they want to do it again next year.

Of course, we were not just counting money all night....we were having a party too!