Monday, May 18, 2015

Adventures in Pest Control

So, what have we been doing lately? Besides a road trip to Ventura on Mother's Day/Jennifer's birthday where I actually drove all the way down there and all the way back, which is an accomplishment for me since I don't do all that much driving anymore, not a whole heck of a lot. I did buy a bunch of fabric and have been doing some sewing, which I'm really enjoying so far, but  other than that, business as usual around here.

I did do some research on natural pest control remedies, we get teeny tiny black ants in the house as the weather warms up, and also have nasty fire ants in the yard that love hot weather. The teeny black ants are just sort of annoying and there are usually only one or two of them out scouting so I just smoosh them with my finger (and then of course wash my hands) but occasionally they will find the cat food bowl or a pan that wasn't washed out well enough, and then out comes the bug spray.

The fire ants are a whole different story. And not a pretty one.

They are nasty mean little devils that love to swarm over your feet and up your legs if you should happen to disturb their nest by walking across it or doing mowing or weed whacking by it. Before you know what is happening, they have swarmed up your feet and legs and are biting away with a bite that stings like crazy and hurts for a long time. Nasty.

We've used ant crystals in the past that work really well, but my meanderings on the internet for natural pest control solutions were quite interesting in that you can use instant grits for the same effect at a whole lot cheaper price and much safer for the environment. The way it works is similar to birds and rice at a wedding, the ants take the little instant grits granules back to the nest and eat them where they swell up in their tiny little stomachs which causes the ants to explode. Tiny little ants exploding in the nest. Ha ha!

I found a few new nests forming recently, you can see them by the mounds of dirt along the driveway or sidewalk, so I tested out the instant grits, sprinkling them around the nest and whaddya know, ants like instant grits! I watched as they grabbed up those grits to take back to the nest but unfortunately didn't get to see any of them explode.

I'm wondering if this would work on our nasty yard cockroaches, which are starting to come out for the summer and are totally disgusting. Might be worth a try!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Getting My Sewing Machine Out

I used to sew on a daily basis, making clothes for myself and my kids back when fabric was so cheap it was worth sewing clothing. Not so much today what with fabric on the upside of $10.00 a yard. I also sewed crafty type things to sell at holiday boutiques and spent a few years making fabric purses to sell.

Then one day I just got tired of sewing and put the machine away, actually ended up getting rid of it entirely, it not being a really great machine to begin with and my sewing muse having withered up and died. I did buy the bottom of the line Singer at Walmart a few years back, a little machine for 'creating and mending' that I used in an attempt to make crepe paper ruffling for paper crafting purposes. The crepe paper ruffling was kind of a pain to make and back into the closet my machine went.

Until now.

I had been on Etsy working on my shop and saw some kitchen towels where they had taken retro type kitcheny fabric and embellished the towels with strips of fabric. How cute, but at $12.95 a towel, a bit steep for something you are going to wipe your hands on.

But, hey, I've got a sewing machine, so maybe I'll just make some for myself. I went downtown to Beverly's where I wandered about the fabric department and chose a few fabrics and some huck toweling material, then went home to experiment. I did wash all the fabric first and then played around a bit with the sewing of the towels and adding the fabric strips. Since I didn't really know what I was doing, the first few came out okay, but not quite what I had in mind and the toweling material was rather expensive.

So, over to Walmart to see if I could just buy ready made towels to decorate. I did find a pack of 6 bar towels for $6.00 so brought some of those home, washed them to see how well they would hold up, then played around some more with the towels and the fabric. I also tried a few coasters with the scraps, those coming out pretty well.

Then, the fabric buying bug bit me full on, and off to Joann's, where I did find some more fabrics but had to put up with the store smelling like poo for some reason. Also, they don't have any music playing so you kind of feel like you are in a warehouse. A little depressing shopping in there actually.

I also shopped for fabric on Etsy, there are quite a few fabric sellers there but the downside is paying shipping and then waiting for your order to arrive.

I went online to search for any other fabric stores here in town and SCORE! a quilting shop that I'd never heard of that wasn't too far from the house, so off I went again. And oh my, this quilting shop was like walking into a candy store! It's called Strawberry Patches and walking in there was instant inspiration, with the store laid out in little areas of coordinating fabrics with all sorts of quilts, pillows, girls dresses, aprons, etc made out of the fabrics offered in each little area. Bright and clean and colorful, and I'm going to start making all kinds of stuff so that I can keep going back to this store! I didn't take any pictures but did find a few online.

I bought about 10 different fabrics that day, just for starters, ha ha, and did make a towel and coaster set that I'm going to send off to stepson James in Florida. He is really into cooking so I think he will enjoy the towels.

And now off to get the sewing machine out again! And yes, everyone will be getting towels and coasters for Christmas this year.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dollar Store Garden Decor

First, here is a household tip for those of you who have trash cans in different rooms of the house. Put the roll of trash can liners in the bottom of the trash can and then when it's time to change the liner bag you don't have to go hunt down a fresh one.

However, don't do like Keith did one time and take the whole trash can out to the can and dump it all in, trash AND roll of liner bags.

I went to the 99c store the other day, I had cleaned out my spice drawer and need to replace a few spices and sometimes you can find them at the cheapo stores. I don't shop at those stores all that often, I really don't enjoy shopping these days, finding it just another chore rather than a fun outing. Every once in a while I will go look and see what kind of junk they have and sometimes find a gem in there though. Like the glue sticks that work really well for my paper crafts, well enough so that I bought every glue stick they had. Glue sticks that have never been restocked despite my looking for them in three different 99c stores. I did find a place to order them online for $1.19 with free shipping though.

Anyway, 99c store time and the new one by us is not all that bad to shop in, convenient to the house and clean. I found some parsley in the spice section and some dog/cat wet wipes in the dog/cat section. Dog/cat wipes that come in very handy now that the cats are outside a lot and really like to roll around in the dirt. I wandered down the aisle with garden stuff and found some metal 'yes I like tacky decorative stuff in my garden' yard art things. They were a little more than 99c though (yes, shocking!) being 1.49 for the small ones and 1.99 for the larger ones.

I was in the mood to do a cleaning out of the flower beds yesterday, getting rid of dead blooms and a few dead plants and then planting more in some of the bare spots, so my little bargain trellis things got planted as well.

And as you can see, we are not watering the grass at all. I will water the flowers, but these are flowers that don't need a whole lot of water once the new ones get established.
It was a good thing I decided to do a little gardening yesterday, Keith had shut and locked the shed door the afternoon before, while I usually leave the door open an inch or so in case one of the many animals we have is inside nosing about. I didn't realize he had locked the door and when I went to feed the cats yesterday morning Pepper was not first in line like she usually is. I didn't think much about it, being so early in the morning, not having had my coffee yet, and just the fact that we have a lot of cats and what is one less for breakfast anyway. Hours later when I went to get my trowel out of the shed, here comes Pepper, who had been locked in there overnight. She was happy to see me to say the least.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Guess The Funeral Business

Is pretty darn lucrative!

Of course, people are dying to get in there, ha ha. And you never run out of customers.

We have a local funeral home that runs commercials on TV, so when you see the founder, Ray Mish, in person it's kind of odd, like I know that person from somewhere, and oh yeah, he's the undertaker guy! He's probably about 90 now, having started his business here in Bakersfield in 1961, and now runs the place with his son and another partner.

Well, last night I decided to take myself to dinner at Hodel's Country Dining, which is a buffet restaurant but a nice buffet, not like Hometown Buffet or Golden Corral, the feedbags of America. Hodel's is locally owned by, you guessed it, people named Hodel and the founder was a lunch lady who started the restaurant after retiring from lunch lady duty some 40 years ago. I guess she really liked to cook! They do a lot of business meetings, catering, weddings and such and are open 7 days a week to eat as much as you want, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Anyway, it's always a little strange going to a restaurant by yourself, but since you don't have to wait to get your food at Hodel's, not quite as weird as sitting in Denny's or someplace like that waiting for your food while people look at you like why are you eating alone? Which I have done, not the staring at people, the eating alone thing, one time riding the bike over to IHOP for dinner just because I wanted to.

They have a salad bar, soup bar, rolls, fried fish, fried chicken, side dishes, vegetables, and an assortment of other dinner type dishes that change each day. The last time we went for dinner they had an enchilada casserole thing that was really really good. They are also famous for their cinnamon rolls, which they keep warm for you on a heated serving thing, along with cupcakes and cobblers for dessert.

I'm getting my plate(s) of salads and chicken and green beans last night and pass an elderly man all dressed up in a nice suit walking with a cane, and I realize it is Ray Mish and he is having dinner with his son.

Then, as I'm leaving, so are Ray and his son and they are parked opposite me in the parking lot and they are getting into a giant Hummer. I also noticed as Ray was getting into the Hummer, which I think his son should have helped him do but didn't, that he had a couple of huge incredibly sparkly diamond mens rings on his fingers.

Lucrative indeed.

Monday, April 27, 2015

There's a Bird in My Shoe!

I guess we are going to have to put all bird feeders in the front yard so the birds won't keep getting preyed upon by big old bad old Buddy. Yesterday I was fixing my lunch (the last of the egg salad) and usually sit at the counter in the kitchen to eat. Buddy was napping on the chair at the counter so I thought I'd be nice and not disturb him, instead eating my lunch at the table in the living room. I'm eating, hear a flapping noise, and then see Pepper jumping off of the cat perch and going over to the corner by the kitchen behind the couch.

And there, in my pink croc shoe, is a tiny little bird. I don't know how it got there, there were no feathers in the house so the bird hadn't been in the house long, and as far as I knew Buddy had been asleep. He is the usual suspect, though, so he must have snuck out and then snuck right back in with that bird.

I covered up my shoe with a towel and took the shoe and bird outside, where the bird sat there long enough for me to get a picture and then flew off.
Then Buddy and Pepper spent about 20 minutes sniffing around my shoes wondering where their new toy had gone.