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Soul of the Desert

Leo Wins!

You may recall my fabulous slippers from Shepherd’s Flock. Well, recently they ran a giveaway for a Kat Knap (wool pet bed). Leo won! Just look at him. Silly kitten. Junior will only sit on it when things are quiet and and the bed is by Husband’s chair. As soon as I appear with camera in hand, he hides.
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Leo hugs his new present very enthusiastically!

IMG_0029I managed to get Junior later while they were eating. Yes, we have more than one food bowl. Yes, they insist on eating out of this one at the same time!

For your own chance at winning a Kat Knap for your furry friend, like the Shepherd’s Flock Facebook page. And wait for Daniel the cat to announce the next giveaway (entry is to leave a comment on the appropriate post and hope your name is picked from the hat!

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Posted: June 25, 2016

Health & Beauty Tip: Epsom Salts

In the heat of summer, it’s easy to run low on nutrients because you sweat them all out. So whether you exhaust yourself in the garden or at the beach (if you’re lucky!) or just sweat going to and from the car, here’s a quick way to rejuvenate your skin AND replenish your magnesium supply:

Rinse your face with cool water. Scoop up a couple tablespoons of espom salts and give your face and neck a nice scrub. You’ll want your face and hands damp so that the epsom salts partially dissolve and soak into your skin. The little salts will scrub away old skin while they cleanse and refresh. Leave the epsom salts on for a few minutes and then rinse off. You can do this trick before you shower to give the epsom salts a longer time on your skin. Just rinse your face off last. The epsom salts will leave your skin smooth and fresh.

This little scrub makes a great back scrub too–just keep the epsom salts mostly undissolved as you rub them around. For a back rub, put a couple tablespoons in a leak proof container. Hop in the shower and dampen your skin. Turn the water off and use the epsom salts for a nice back scrub–or give your whole body a nice scrub! Rinse and shower normally. Epson salts are are wonderful when used in a foot bath too (will soften your skin).

Magnesium is important for mood (relieves depression), proper sleep and proper nutrition absorption. So rub in a little bit of nutrition next time you wash your face!

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Posted: June 23, 2016
Filed in Lotions and Potions, Melt and Pour Soap

John Levitt: Backlist on Kindle

savingYou may recall how much I enjoyed John Levitt’s urban fantasy series (Dog Days is the first). Well, he has finally put his two out-of-print thriller titles out on Kindle and at very reasonable prices too! These are thriller mysteries–a little edgy with great plots and characters. So far, Ten of Swords is out. The other book, Carnivores, *should* be out this week.

If you like thrillers, check these out. They’re good reads.


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Posted: June 22, 2016

Chair: Ta-da!

Here it is–the brand new chair (well, a new cushion anyway)!

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IMG_0012 I cut the cushion to fit the shape of the chair, but I did a good job measuring it because I barely had to clip the corners to make it a perfect fit.

Next I laid out the material and cut it (larger than it needed to be. But I’m a little skeptical when it comes to actually cutting the fabric, so I gave myself an extra few inches. About four to be inexact!) I enclosed the cushion in muslin to give it an extra layer of protection. I don’t want there to be too much friction pressuring the latex foam as I’m using the chair. Latex is strong and it doesn’t fray like some foams, but it is still a foam so I want it to last *approximately* forever. I folded the edges of the final fabric and sewed them down tight. Since we planned to use staples to affix the fabric to the bottom of the chair, I didn’t want the fabric to be too weak for the staples. I made certain there was a double layer where the staples would be.

I held the fabric tight and centered (okay, so it wasn’t very centered. And we had to punch a hole in it for the seat bolts because I was off by about, oh, four inches or so…) Husband did the staples. Ta-da!

I have already used it. It’s VERY comfortable. I’m undecided about covering the back of the chair to match (the red post office stamps match the red fabric on the back of the chair). I do have just enough fabric to do it. If I don’t screw anything up!!!

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Posted: June 20, 2016

Fabric for Chair

I forgot to post a picture of the fabric I’ll be using to recover the chair! I know you must have been wondering. 🙂

Here it is! This is the magic fabric that will transform my office chair:
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What do you think? It’s kind of a light color, BUT it has a great pattern on it. It’s very soft. It’s a light canvas. I’m hoping it will hold up well.


Update on the SleepOnLatex mattress:

As you can imagine the mattress is VERY comfortable. Foam mattresses are not at all wobbly or bouncy like an innerspring mattress. That means when Husband comes to bed later than me and plops down on the bed or the cat jumps up on the bed–the mattress doesn’t move! When you first lay on the latex mattress, you think, “Hmm. Comfy. Firm.” Then slowly the latex gives way against what they call pressure points (And I call, “my bony edges”). What I notice most is that with the non-latex foam bed we had a few years ago, I couldn’t sleep on my side with one leg stretched out and one leg curled. My hip would end up hurting, and I’d get pretty crabby. In the latex bed, I guess I sink in more or the bed supports me better because I fall asleep pretty soundly in that position. The innerspring mattress was better than regular foam for that side sleeping position, but we also had the SleepOnLatex topper on it, so that helped too.

Another thing I noticed about this latex mattress is that it is lower than the old bed. The first night when I came back to bed after using the bathroom in the middle of the night, I laid down on instinct. Meaning, I sort of knew the bed was there, because who would bother to move it in the middle of the night, but I wasn’t really oriented. The old innerspring was a 10 inch mattress with a 2 inch topper. This is a 7 inch mattress. I was jolted awake as I realized I was falling all the way to the floor when I finally hit the mattress! WHEW! I thought I had missed the bed completely. That would have been bad. And embarrassing. Even the cat would have laughed at me. That would have been fair because when Leo was a kitten, he rolled over and fell off the bed! And yup, I laughed at him.

Today I’m washing the sheets and we’re going to put the 2 inch latex topper on. (I assume that would be the equivalent to the 9 inch latex bed that SleepOnLatex sells–if I understand correctly, it is basically the 7 inch latex mattress with a topper of your choice built in–scroll down to where it shows the diagram of the two sizes side by side.)

Oh–one other thing that I noticed today when reading on their site. The instructions for unpacking the mattress CLEARLY tell you to put the mattress in the plastic on the bed/boxspring/frame or whatever you will use as the stand. We didn’t READ the instructions, of course. We just unwrapped it and let it roll out on the floor. The mattress is not light. It’s rather bulky, mattress-like and hard to handle–it doesn’t have handles. Husband lifted his side readily enough while I grunted and wheezed on the other side. My feet pedaled away, pushing like mad, to no avail. Husband had to set his side down–no, not to help me with my side. He was laughing at me so hard, he nearly fell over! Hmph.

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Posted: June 19, 2016

Reupholstering a Chair

We have bought many an office chair over the years and each one was progressively less comfortable. I don’t know if they put ANY foam in the last two we bought. From what I can tell they staple fabric to a board and sell it for 100 dollars. If that fabric is leather, they ask 200. I guess the foam is extra. In this case, Sleep On Latex custom cut a piece of foam for me for my project. It’s two inches of about 40 density. We are talking plush, but firm. It’s bouncy, but not too soft.

So this is the project. The chair. The foam. What say you? Can I do this?

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IMG_0015 Look how thin that chair seat is!!! It’s a disgrace, I tell you.

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Posted: June 17, 2016
Filed in Quilting

Mattress Test

SleepOnLatex-F-0222You know how we writers go to the ends of the earth and back doing research. You also may recall that I’ve touted my preference for latex pillows and cushions and mattress toppers. We have a mattress topper from SleepOnLatex and at least one pillow from there–I like the high loft pillow, but husband says it is too lofty so he has a low loft one and a shredded latex one (he also has about four other pillows, but since he purchased the latex one, he has not used the others).

I made all the pillowcases for ours, of course. That means they do not look as good as the ones in the picture. I bought my pillow (and fabric too) on sale, of course, because that is the way I roll. But my first latex pillow, bought twenty (mumble) years ago, lasted at least 10 years. That’s the thing about latex. It springs back rather than mushing down and getting flatter and firmer until you have nothing but petrified pillow. I have tried other pillows, but none worked for me even when I bunched them into a ball or beat them into a wedge.

When we started having issues with finding a comfortable mattress, we ended up buying the two-inch latex mattress topper for our bed. We have a medium firmness and I *highly* recommend it. It can give an old mattress a bit of new life–and boy, it can make a new mattress a thing of luxury even if you didn’t spend much on the mattress!

Anyway, as you know, I’ve been making latex seat cushions of late and that led me to email Sleep on Latex to ask about scrap product. While I was at it, I ordered a mattress topper for my Mom because her hip bothers her at night and she wasn’t able to get comfortable. The long and short of this story is that I’ll be testing out a luxurious Sleep on Latex 7 inch mattress. Tonight! Notice the gorgeous mattress cover that I did not sew. You have no idea what it is like to find a product made of natural materials that I didn’t have to sew myself (the main reason I sew. I don’t actually LIKE sewing. I like having certain products and often the only way I can achieve that is to let the sewing machine beat me up.) The cover is made from wool and organic cotton–quilted. It’s pretty awesome. It zips off if washing is required, and the natural materials means that it breathes well.


Unwrapped and waiting to be moved into place

Unwrapped and waiting to be moved into place



IMG_0012In addition to the mattress that arrived today, I have a nice 18 inch piece of latex foam so that I can learn to reupholster my office chair. Yup, embroidering with a broken machine wasn’t challenging enough for me. Nooooo, I decided that if I couldn’t find a comfortable, affordable office chair…I’d just make one myself…

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Posted: June 15, 2016

No 1800 Dresses for Me

I’d never have made it in the 1800s. I’m a shorts, sweat pants, t-shirt kind of gal. Oh, I had my “fashion” days when I was younger–I wore heels, skirts, dresses and the like. But even then I tended to wear them on limited occasions for a limited time. I still like dresses–long skirts, capped sleeved sundresses and anything with pockets. I read through this entire article on 1880s fashion and didn’t find a single dress I could wear. I loved the material, but didn’t care for the draping and flounces. I’m more of a straight-skirt kind of gal, and I still think I ought to be able to run in a dress if necessary. I never, EVER wanted my butt to look bigger. And how does one sit down in those things anyway?

When I went to prom with my best friend (and our dates) I remember my best friend (Yes, Suzy, I am going to tell that story. Again.) had a hoop of some sort under her very lovely pink frothy dress. It was a gorgeous dress. She looked stunning and much like a princess. But when she sat down at the dinner table, that hoop just about upended the table onto our dates! When her dress flounced straight up towards the ceiling, I think Suzy was worried about revealing the yards and yards of petticoats (or whatever all those white layers are called) but the guys were too busy wondering why Suzy had thrown the table at them to worry about unmentionables. Oh, it made for a great evening. I still recall that time with great fondness. Who but a great friend of mine would think to use a hoop as a weapon?

Just AWESOME. I still admire her use of that hoop to this day.

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Posted: June 15, 2016

The New Mexico Sun

I picked this design to go with the Soul of the Desert. I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Embroidery on a terry cloth tea towel is a little difficult because there are blue threads sticking up all over the towel! But this design had enough threads to do the job. I think it would look fine in just plain yellow too.

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Related book: Soul of the Desert

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Posted: June 14, 2016

We have a Witch!

I found the cutest witch! This design took a long time to stitch–there’s a lot of detail. I think it turned out well, however, and I hope to use this piece as a pocket on a book bag.

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The design was done by Ann the Grand.

Related book/series: Under Witch Moon

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Posted: June 12, 2016
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