Thursday, December 27, 2012

For the love of a paperback book, hands-free

I love to read.

Much of what I love to read, especially when I just need something that doesn't require much effort from me (unlike reading to learn), comes in the form of a paperback book.

Hardcover books are nice, but I don't in the least mind a paperback book. In fact, I often prefer their smaller size and lighter weight. But when I am reading for pleasure, I am often also trying to do something else, usually involving food. That can be a challenge.

Most paperback books simply refuse to stay open by themselves. Book weights are useful if you are sitting at a table, but when you are sitting in bed with a book propped up on your knees while you enjoy a dish of ice cream... Well, to say the least, it is challenging.

Or, when you are eating your lunch at the park and want to make the most of your hour before returning to work by walking at least half the time, you might read your book while eating. Again, challenging.

 I looked all over online to find a solution and I didn't find anything just quite right, so I spent time on my commute thinking about what I could make. What I came up with is a hardcover for your paperback. It holds your book open and even saves your place when you close it.

Admittedly, it took a little getting used to, but I soon found I was using a hands-free holder for any paperback I read, even if I didn't need the hands-free option. Then my son tried it and claimed a cover for his own. Sometimes he uses it and sometimes he doesn't. Now he tells me that it's caught the interest of some of his classmates.

E-readers might eventually replace paper books, but it will be a long time before everyone quits reading paper books. After all, they are in abundant supply at local new and used bookstores, libraries, library book sales, tag sales, and even still at the big box stores. And, I do have plans to incorporate a system to hold an e-reader in my hands-free book covers just as soon as I can. There is no point in fighting progress, after all.

Hands-free book covers may be found in BountifulWoods shop on

Monday, December 17, 2012

Red and grey squirrel proof bird feeder


Perhaps when you viewed my last post, you were looking at the bird feeder and it made you wonder, after all it is a bit comical looking. Well, I'll tell you a about it.

Our bird feeder is mounted on a piece of conduit that is attached to our deck railing. It is supposed to be a squirrel proof bird feeder, but the squirrels in our neck of the woods figured it out a long time ago. No doubt the squirrels in your neighborhood are just as crafty.

Add a few trees conveniently growing within jumping distance and the squirrels had a free all-you-can-eat buffet. Not that I mind feeding the squirrels, but it was soon going to cost more to feed them than us!

Then I found the cone shaped squirrel baffles. I think the intent is that you just put one on the post underneath the feeder and the poor squirrels sit there and look at it confused. Then they stand up and climb the pole and get more confused. It really is quite entertaining. I'll try to get a photo someday. The squirrels don't like me anymore.

But, we have have those ever so convenient trees from which these acrobats dance to the ends of the branches and then gracefully leap to the feeder and stretch out across the top and feast away. So, I put a baffle above the feeder and now when a squirrel lands on the baffle, it is in for a great tipsy ride followed by an unceremonious plunk to the deck. See? They really don't like me anymore.

The baffles are not attached to the pole, instead they just rest on a clamp on the pole which makes them tippy and they can spin. Now the squirrels are mad and confused, but the birds are happy, and I am amused watching the antics of the poor squirrels trying to beat the baffles.

So why is this post titled "Red and grey squirrel proof bird feeder"? 

Because the midnight raiders, the flying squirrels, have much better aim when leaping from the trees and successfully feast nightly. At least there are fewer of them.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Snow! and a fix for holes in the jeans

We started the morning with rain and a forecast of that changing into ice pellets or sleet then snow by the afternoon. But it changed to snow from the rain and it is piling up fast... hmm, that might impact some of the plans for this weekend.

It's the big, heavy flakes that are beautiful, although they do cause concern for the poor pine tree that gets so weighed down and looks as though some branches might break.

There is less snow on this railing because I had scraped it clean earlier—messy squirrels!

Some of the holiday goodies have been made with lots more to come. I post about them later.

Today, I'll show you what I've done with a couple pair of jeans belonging to a certain someone. I know, holey jeans are cool. But sometimes they are too cool for winter, if you catch my drift. (Uff-da, that was a few too many puns.)

I love the book, Mend it Better; creative patching, darning, and stitching by Kristin M. Roach. It is perfect for someone like me who knows there is a little more life left in those clothes but am not always sure how to keep them out of the rag bag.

What I love most about the book is that it frees you from the need to have the mending look perfect. That works for me, because I simply don't have the time to always make things perfect. In fact, in this way, things are more playful and creative. Lots more fun to wear. And, I just might learn a few embroidery stitches along the way!

 The pair with the pink patches was worn after the patching and before the pictures.

There is one more pair to mend, and I'm looking forward to it. ;)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pine cone topped jar lids

Good morning!

There is a fresh skiff of snow on the ground this morning and the kids were taking guesses as to what made the tracks up the sidewalk. Was it rabbit or a raccoon? Or?

Today I'd like to share a little project that I've featured in our shop: pine cone topped jar lids. Mason or canning jars are really great for storing things and they can hold so many different kids of gifts.

I have three old blue pint jars on my kitchen counter filled with different flavored and colored baking chips (butterscotch, white chocolate, and cherry (found those at Fleet Farm)) simply because they remind me of my grandma, who always had some old blue jars full of chips on her counter. I only wish I could find the miniature purple chips or the mix of white, red, and purple (blue?) chips she used to have. Also, my jars don't have the zinc lids she had, and so I think they look much better and more fitting with my "up north" house in the woods with pine cone topped lids.

What you'll need:

wide or narrow mouth canning jar rings
pine cones
hot glue or other craft glue of your choice


Mark and cut a 6" diameter circle out of your fabric with pinking shears or deckle edge rotary cutter for narrow or regular mouth jar lids. For wide or large mouth jar lids, cut your circle at 7 1/2" diameter.

Run a bead of glue around the top of the jar ring and press onto the back side of your fabric in the center. Run a bead of glue around the side of the ring and quickly press the fabric down around it, allowing it to gather a bit in a few places. Hold it until the glue sets enough to hold the fabric on it's own. Hot glue sets quickly and that's why I use it instead of craft glue.

Tip: I found a plastic cap from a small jar of a very popular hazelnut chocolate spread is the perfect size to hold a narrow mouth ring, so I simply center the fabric over that cap, glue around the ring and quickly smash it down into the plastic cap. Viola! Much faster.

Next, cut three or four strands of raffia long enough to go around the ring and tie in a knot. Put a dab of glue on the fabric in one spot on the ring and press the raffia strands into it. Do this again 1/4 turn around the ring either side of the first spot. Tie the raffia together in a knot in the front, pulling it tight. Slide the knot up slightly, add a dab of glue and push the knot down over it.

Finish by placing your pine cone on top and when you have it just so, put a good dab of glue on the part of the pine cone that you want to rest on the lid and press it gently onto the lid.

Ta-da! Enjoy. I only have pictures of the completed project, but if will try to provide additional photos of the process in a future post if requested.
This year's canning adventure: crab apple pickles.

The really great thing about making the decorated rings this way is they can be used over and over and they don't involve the lid so they can go right onto your own home canned goods.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome to Bountiful Woods

Life in the woods is indeed rich and full.

My intent with this blog is to share some of that richness and fullness of everyday life.

Every day is different and so I anticipate that the posts to come on this blog will be about a variety of things.

Everyone has more to do in a day than seems possible most days, so I will try to keep posts short and sweet. To the point. Sometimes though, please forgive me, I may ramble. A ramble through the woods can do wonders for your heart.

And just as there isn't time every day for a ramble, I don't anticipate this blog will have new posts daily. Just as often as I can. So join me when you can in the Bountiful Woods.


P.S. This is a design in progress, so if looks different next time, and the time after, and so on... well, it's just me doing the rearranging, just like the furniture in the house and the annual flowers in thier beds.