Cuckoo Buds 3 Column

Thursday, August 25, 2011

25 Things for Charity

I just joined a new group - 25 Things for Charity.  This is not a commitment to send everything or actually anything to this particular group.  The rules are the simplest I've ever read in a group ~

The Rules
There are none. Craft as many items as you want, send them to where ever you want, and then let them know about it.  That is the most important part - share your charity crafting pictures and favorite charities.

Honestly, I don't know how long I will stay in the group, as I'm so new, less than a few hours.  But, I love the idea.  It keeps my charity work front and center for me.  I am not (as they do not) recommending to any one to donate to a certain group.  I do have a few groups near and dear to me and, actually, this has encouraged me to do a little more in the crocheting and crafting department. 

I will share mine with you, but encourage you to find what touches your heart.  I love giving to my local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) group.  I am a proud member.  Our chapter has been very active making lapgans, scarves, caps, gloves, and tons more, along with donations of other items veterans and soldiers in the Veteran's Hospital in Fresno, California, may find comforting.  We have so many talented and giving ladies in our group!

Another is our local Women's Shelter.  I had no idea how much these groups do for battered and abused women and children.  We had a family member who needed assistance and were amazed at what is offered, no strings attached, just helping women and children who are in terrible and desperate situations!  This sometimes means the difference between life and death, in extreme cases.

The last one is Loaves and Fishes, a group who feeds the hungry.  While it is a Christian organization, there again are no strings attached when it comes to religion.  They feed people who are hungry!  Singles and families in our local area, who don't have enough money left and the end of the month, or have no money at any time of the month.  It's not just at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas when so may of us think of giving to our local food banks or shelters, our friends and neighbors are hungry all year long! 

What do I have to do?  We don't HAVE to do anything.  We may do anything we want to do.  I know many of us don't have a lot of extra money to give, but maybe we could buy a couple of extra cans of soup, or vegetables when they are on sale.  Start a box, and when it's full, take it down.

No extra money?  Do you craft?  What about a comfort scarf, or shawl, a cap, gloves?  Maybe you use beads, polymer clay, woodwork - what craft do you have?  We are all blessed with something!  Make a little something, and give it with love to cheer someone.

Time!  Do you have an extra hour or two a week to help out?  That's a gift of one's self, and we hardly ever think of it!  Give up an extra hour or two of TV time and help someone or some group.

My most important gift - prayer.  This is personal - say what you want to God - He listens to everything we say, and answers every prayer. 

Do what you can, what you are lead to do.

Many blessings,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hexagon Afghan

I finished this beautiful afghan a couple of months ago.  I originally made it as a throw for the children's guest bed, but it grew into more of a spread!  I used a total of 195 hexagons, 13 long by 15 wide.

This "Hexagon Afghan" is made of all the little bits of yarn we have left over from projects passed.  You know . . . all of those partial skeins.  The leftovers that won't really go with anything else, and there's not enough yarn left to even make a cap with or colors we needed to use with another project, but by itself it just didn't seem to go with anything - like the bright orange!  I took all the bits and strands and made this afghan with it.  Like all crocheters, I save everything that's left over.  Some little balls of yarn were no more than two yards or so - you just never know what you'll need or when you'll need it!  

This was a great "take a long" project.  I took this every time I was going to be in the car for more than 20 minutes or traveling away from home.  What I liked best about this project is I made step one, just the inner part of the hexagon and make five or six from one color, start another color and so on.  I made 100 to start with, of the centers.  Then I did the second round on all of them.  Then the third.  I laid them all out before starting the last, adjoining row.  It did end up almost double than I had originally planned.

Mixing the colors so none looked exactly alike.  True scraps!  In fact I didn't use any new skeins at all!  All were left overs!  All were done in acrylic yarn from different yarn companies, but all were the same weight.  As I got to the fourth and final round of the hexagon, the joining row, this is where having all of them laid out really helped.  This turned out to be a lot of fun!  I'd forgotten how much yarn I have! 
While putting this together, I had to use the guest bed to lay them all out because, as you can see, I needed there to be a way to make sure I mixed up the colors well.
I love seeing what we all do with our left overs!  This reminded me a bit of quilting.  I bit of this and that and beauty appears!

Blessings and thank you for taking a look at my project!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grow Camp Meltdown Replaced

I wrote a post on July 3rd about the terrible meltdown we had with our Grow Camp Greenhouse.  I also mentioned we were not able to get a response from the US Distributor by phone or email.  We ended up going through Costco, where we originally purchased our Grow Camp Greenhouse.  We purchased the 4'x4', along with the 4'x4' extension, which is quite pricey, over $500, for the unit alone (this price is pretty standard regardless of where you purchase it.)  This doesn't cover the cost of the soil mixture, water system or garden plants.  So, the entire endeavor was closer to $1,000.  We felt at the time, well worth the initial cost, as we would use this garden greenhouse for many years, and heaven forbid, if it had to be moved for any reason, it could be.  We really didn't want to use a permanent brick and mortar structure.
To refresh - here's what happened after only one year!!!  As you might guess, walking to the back yard and the two of us talking about what we were going to grow this year and finding this - well - to say we were stunned would be an understatement!!  We tried calling the US Distributor, no answer, no answering machine, no email response.  We called Costco.

I had been told by an employee last year when we were looking to buy a completely different item, after asking about the guarantee or warranty process with Costco, "Ma'am, the entire time I've worked here, if a customer has a problem with something they buy, all they have to do is bring it back.  No problems.  Costco stands behind the products they sell!"  Well, I don't know about you all, but I've been there, done that, and it's not always the case AFTER there's a problem!

I have to say Costco stood behind this product 100% and then some!  After one, only one, phone call to let them know what the problem was, we received an email saying they would be sending a truck to pick it up, ship it back, and we would be refunded 100%.  From the time we contacted Costco to the time we were refunded our money, was right around 30 days!  No problems, no stalling, just customer service that is outstanding!

I sure hope those of you who contacted me personally don't experience the problems we did, and that the ones you are experiencing can be easily resolved.

Here's what we've had built for our fall and winter garden -  and while it is made of stone, there is no mortar, just interlocking stone - this will work just fine!

We found a Gardening Supply site showing how to build a PVC structure with some material used in the professional gardens in the Northeast of the US.  We figure if it will work there to keep the plants nice and warm, it will work well here on the Central Coast of California!  I'll show our handiwork when we finish this process.

On an other note, Ames Tiedeman, the US Distributor of the Grow Camp Greenhouse, actually contacted me via my blog email around the same time we were being refunded!  He wanted me to phone him, gave me his number, and when I called - I was told he would be out of the office for a week!  After emailing him and asking why I was being contacted and how he got my email, he wrote back and said, "We just want you happy!" 

I'm happy now!  Thank you Costco!!

I'll be taking photos of the garden where we have our squash planted this year.  Our zucchini and butternut squash plants are really producing well this year!!  Yeah!!  We planted them in a more protected spot this year from the wind.  I'm making lots of zucchini bread and we'll have lots of winter squash!

Many blessings,