Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Very Special RED DOT TIRES & the Practical Joke

I know I had mentioned before but last spring, we purchased a new car.
The car, for some reason, came with little red dot stickers on each tire.
Now, I don’t know why there were red dots on the tires, but I didn’t bother removing them, knowing that eventually they would fall off.
Right after our car purchase, our neighbors, Ben & Linda, were admiring our new car and the subject of the red dots came up.
Benny, when I asked him why there would be red dots on a tire said,
“Those are the Red Dot Tire Brand of tires.”
I looked at his face closely to see if he was joking because I’ve never heard of the “Red Dot Tire Company”.  He didn’t look like he was joking.  I sorta convinced myself that he wasn’t making it up simply because … well, why would someone make something like that up?
Throughout the summer, every time Ben would see our car, he would always comment about the red dots still being on our tires. I really had expected them to fall off sooner, but they clung (like a stink bug on the screen right before the vacuum sucks them up).
By mid summer, I figured out for sure that Benny was teasing me.  There is no “Red Dot Tire Company”.    But I didn’t tell Ben that I knew he was joking.
I bought some red dot stickers at Walmart.
And this past Sunday morning, when I knew Ben and Linda weren’t home.
100_4584 I gave Benny’s van some special red dots on all four of his tires.
100_4583 And since his Pick-up truck was sitting there  …
100_4585 I gave his truck some red dots too.
So, I went home and waited for the phone call from Benny to yell at me about his red dots …
I waited and waited …. but no phone call came.
So yesterday, I was outside racking some leaves.  Benny was outside racking some leaves and here’s how the conversation went, once he saw me outside.
Benny: “Hey Cathy, you remember how you had red dots on your tires?”
Me, trying to keep from laughing: “oh yes, I do!”
Benny, with really puzzled look on his face:  “well, I came home the other day and now I have red dots on my tires too!  As soon as I saw them, I thought of you!  But …..
I don’t know how they got there!”
Me, not believing that he really doesn’t suspect me of doing it:  “I dunno Benny, maybe there’s a red dot fairy giving special people red dots on their tires?”
Benny, laughing at the thought, but then said: “I think maybe when I pay for parking they put the dots on the tires.”   …. But I have dots on 8 tires and I haven’t taken my truck  ….   “
So at this point, I realize that he really does not suspect me at all and he is completely perplexed by how in the world red dots appeared on his tires.
I was called away from the conversation by the grandson, jumping in the leaves.
I just now looked and he hasn’t removed the red dots from his tires. 
I have some blue dots that will go nicely with red dots.


And hubby said that he would put red dots on his motorcycle tires and sit it out so that Benny can see it…..
I’ll keep y’all posted …. 

Happy Day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Free Penny Rug Candle Mat Pattern! “Fall Freebie”

It’s time for me to give all of you wonderful readers something free.
I’m going to show you exactly how to make this “EEKS!, SPIDERS!” Penny Rug Candle mat.
100_4604 “EEKS!, SPIDERS!”
I made this in one afternoon, so I’m sure even the slowest stitcher would be able to make this in one day.
Use this design however you wish.  All I ask is that if you do sell the finished item on Ebay, Etsy, etc, you give "Cath's Pennies Designs" credit and mention in the item description. 

Let’s start!
Here’s some things you’ll need to make this is:
100_4575 Some wool for the background, size#5 black Pearle Cotton Thread, a ruler, a chalk pencil or marker, scissors, of course, and I didn’t show it in the picture, but you’ll need some scraps of black wool for the spiders.
Here’s the quick sketch of the design ….
The wool that I used for the background is a mottled orange which measures 12” x 20”, but that size can easily be adjusted to make it smaller or larger. 

Keep in mind too that this background wool wouldn’t have to be a mottled orange.  Other colors would work for this design too.  A light brown or off white colored wool would work or for something really dramatic, you could try a black wool background and make the spiders and web a silver/grey color. 
Once your background wool is cut to the size you wish …
100_4576 Use your chalk pencil to draw the lines for the spider web. 
Just 3 angled lines is all that is needed for now.  The lines I drew are 8” long, but you can adjust your measurements according to how much smaller or larger your background size is.
100_4578 With the size 5 thread, backstitch along the drawn lines (you can find this pearl cotton thread right in with the regular embroidery floss at Joann Fabrics or Micheal’s)
The stitches look a bit puckered here but no fret, once it’s steam ironed, it will lay flat and smooth.
*TIP*   If you notice some chalk still remaining on your wool after you’ve stitched, take a damp cotton cloth and lightly rub to remove the chalk.
100_4579 Now just make straight stitches to finish the web.  I didn’t bother drawing the lines with chalk.  This part of the web doesn’t have to be even or perfect so just stitch and have fun with it.  I think the more crooked the lines, the better it would look!
100_4581 Just about done!  …and again, don’t fret if the threads don’t like perfectly smooth.  As long as you  make the stitches not too tight but not too loose, a  steam iron will do the job for you.
Once this side is done, flip the wool to the other side and stitch the same web on the other corner.
100_4582 Once both webs are stitched, now take this to your ironing board.
With a pressing cloth and lots of steam , steam press the top of this, right over the stitching.
*TIP* I like to use a cotton pillow case as a pressing cloth.But anything cotton that will hold up to the temp of the iron will work.  Thin Cotton towels work nice too.  
100_4589 Now we’ll stitch in the line that the spider will dangle from.
I measured about 2 3/4” from the right side and drew an 8” long line with my chalk pencil.  Depending on the size of your background wool, adjust your measurements accordingly.
100_4590 Backstitch along the chalk line.  We’re ready to create the spiders!
100_4587 We need to make two circles for each spider.  Always use a penny (or coin) to make a penny rug circle!
Here, I used a quarter and a penny to create the circles.  Just draw around the coins with your chalk pencil.
100_4588 You can see that these circles aren’t perfectly drawn, so  don’t worry about being exact … it’s just a spider body! 
Cut the circles out and place them right at the end of the dangling thread ….
100_4591 Blanket stitch the large circle first, but leave a little opening ….
100_4592 and stuff in a little bit of wool roving or polyfil, if you wish.
It’s not necessary to stuff the body but it plumps up the spider a bit.
Finish blanket stitching the rest of the way around the large circle to complete it.
Stitch the smaller circle the same way, stopping to stuff just a bit of fiberfil or roving.
100_4595 That spider needs some legs!
Just make two straight stitches to create each of the legs.
I want to add some spiders to the web too so I stitched them on the same way.
100_4599 EEKS!  SPIDERS!
Can you see how the stuffing in the spiders make them plump?
Yikes, these are creepy looking spiders!
Ok, so the top is done now.  See, that didn’t take long at all, did it?
Now we’ll attach the backing.
I’m using a cotton backing here. 
To get the correct size for the backing, I added 1 inch to the length and width of the wool top size.  So in this case, the wool top is 12” x 20” so I’ll cut the cotton backing 13” x 21”.
I pressed the fabric edges 1/2” under all the way around the outside of the cotton fabric and then pinned it onto my wool.
100_4601  I blanket stitched all around the edges.
And finally, to finish, I steam pressed the back of the entire penny rug so that the edges lay nice and smooth.
100_4606I wish I had a black candle to use for the center of this, but my autumn candle will have to do!
100_4608  “EEKS! SPIDERS!”
A quick and easy Penny Rug Candle Mat to make for your Halloween Table … and it’s FREE!
If you’d like to purchase the mottled orange wool to make this, just email me at   and I’ll send you a Paypal invoice.

Happy Day y’all!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh Fall, How I Love Thee!

This is the view outside my front door.  Even though it’s drizzling with dreary grey skies, I can still enjoy the fall colors of my Marigolds.
I was going to pull them all out this past weekend, but decided to wait until after the first frost. 

Soooo…lots of stuff going on around here.  I’ve been really busy with watching the grandson and fighting the Stink Bug battle.
Thank you to all of you who have offered suggestions on how to best battle them.  I actually did try spraying them with vinegar water just to see what would happen.
They didn’t die but they did move/crawl away from the wetted area, so maybe the smell repels them.
Vinegar really is a useful thing to have around.  I use it when I dye my wool, so I always have a few big jugs of it around.  I use it for cleaning the bathroom too because it cuts through the hard water stains.  So yeah, if by chance vinegar will repel some Stink Bugs, the outside of our house is going to smell like vinegar.  I don’t mind.
I know the vinegar smell won’t repel Rachel.  After the last time she cleaned the bathroom, using vinegar,  she wrote “Lays Salt & Vinegar Chips” on the grocery shopping list because the vinegar smell made her hungry.  Silly girl.

So hey,  I thought that perhaps I had a computer virus because my computer has been so sluggish lately.  I virus-scanned my computer and nothing showed up though.
Thanks to Google, I discovered that I had waaaay too many things running in the background, which was taking up the processing time.
So, I spent a few precious hours going through my start-up menu and disabling things that didn’t need to be running and WOW … my computer is almost back to being like new again.  Thank you Google.
Ok, business stuff now …
Thank you all for the wonderful response to my newest pattern, “Christmas Sugar Cookies”.  I hope you all have started working on it because Christmas and holiday baking time will be here before you know it and you’ll want to have that candle mat ready!
Also,  I’ve finally taken the time to figure out how to do a newsletter.
This is something that I know that I’ve needed but just delayed it simply because I’m really not a business person.  I have trouble motivating myself to being a business person simply because it takes precious time away from doing what I really love to do which is the actual sewing. 
But, it’s done and I’m excited to announce that I’m taking sign ups for my newsletters now!
Now, don’t worry that I’m going to bombard you with even more junk mail in your inbox.  I promise that my newsletters will only be to announce things like new patterns and upcoming specials.  I’ll be offering special pattern discounts to newsletter subscribers too.
I have the newsletter sign-up right up there on the left sidebar.  Just type in the email address where you wish the newsletter to be sent.  You’ll get a notice in your email telling you to verify your address and then Voila`, you’re on the list! 
And just so you won’t have to scroll up to find the Newsletter sign-up button, I’ll put it right here ……

Cath’s Pennies Designs Newsletter Sign Up!

Happy Day Everyone!

Friday, October 8, 2010

BUGS (Get Outta My House. Now)



bug bug bug

bug bug bug

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to shrink wrap your house so that no creepy crawly critters could come in? 

I imagine they’d still find a way to come in anyway though.

We have a problem with Stink Bugs.  From what I read and hear, it’s a big problem in our state of Pennsylvania and surrounding states.

I guess, if there’s a good thing about stink bugs, it would be that they’re big and slow so they’re easy to capture.

The bad thing is, even when you capture it, there’s always another one. 

Nothing seems to work to kill them either.  I did spray some Clorox Bathroom Cleaner on one and it worked after a few minutes.  It’s probably best not to spray Clorox everywhere though. Exterminators are making a fortune on this.  From what I understand though, the bugs still come back even after paying an exterminator.

I’ll never ever call another exterminator to our house. Years ago, we had some carpenter ants in different spots in our house.  I really hate those things.  I hired an exterminator and got the year contract where the guy would come once a month to spray.

Because, after a few months of treatment, we still had the problem, I decided to follow him around as he sprayed.  As I was showing him the different spots where I’d find carpenter ants, he would spray that area.  I thought he would move things away from the baseboards and spray.  I became frightened when I pointed out one area and he sprayed right over the kid’s toys. 

I didn't say anything at first, thinking that I would just scrub the toys after he left.  But then, the final straw which made me kick the guy out of my house was when he opened our bathroom medicine cabinet and sprayed inside, right over our toothbrushes.

Just thinking of what he was spraying, without me knowing, all those other months when I wasn’t paying attention, still frightens me.

I took care of the ant problem myself by putting out Terro ant bait.

I imagine that there are exterminator companies that provide effective and safe spraying methods, but because of our experience, we don’t ever want to risk it again. 

So, I’ve found that the best way to get rid of the stink bugs that are coming in is to just vacuum them up.  Dyson does the job for me.

I wish I had a little portable vacuum to carry around in my pocket so that I could instantly capture them.

Hey, that would be a really good invention for someone … Hmmm…


Thank you all for the tremendous response for the “Christmas Sugar Cookies” pattern. 

I hope all of you who’ve ordered it will send me pictures when you’ve finished them.  We can have a cookie exchange!

In the meantime, I’ll keep the price at $8.50 for a little while longer.  If you wish to purchase the pattern or the wool kit and pattern, just click that Paypal button over there on the left to purchase. Or email me at  to order.


Happy Day and weekend everyone! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

“Christmas Sugar Cookies” New Design That Makes You Want To Bake!


I’ll tell you what, this candle mat, sitting on your table, will make you hungry.  I can almost guarantee it. ChristmasSugars I just know from personal experience.  Family members are telling me how real the cookies look…..


ChristmasSugars7 Especially when the ornaments are put on a plate in the center of the mat.

So, the pattern is done and ready for mailing.

The finished size is 13” round.  Basic stitches are used … blanket stitch, whip stitch and french knots … lots of french knots!

If you don’t like making french knots, seed beads will work very nicely instead.

I have wool available to go along with this pattern. 

The white wool that will be in the kits is the same wool that I have used for the candle mat in the picture.  It’s vintage wool fabric and it’s super thick and dense. It’s just the perfect texture to make these cookies look real.

The “Icing” wool that will be included in the wool kit is my own hand-dyed wool made with new regular weight wool.  The kit will include the black background and enough black wool for the backing too.

The kit doesn’t include the threads, but those are easily purchased at Joann’s or Michaels. 

As always, I offer the pattern here, on the blog, at a special discounted price. 

Prices include the shipping cost for US customers only. International will need to pay just a little extra, just ask.

For now, the pattern is $8.50

The wool kit for the candle mat, which includes the pattern is $38.00

The wool kit for the candle mat and enough wool to make 6 ornaments is $45.00. (Includes the pattern too)

Any questions?  Just ask!

If you don’t wish to pay with Paypal, I accept personal checks and money orders.  Email me for mailing info.


Happy Day!