Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bow season opener

So, the time has flown by.  The girls started school in early August. I've been coaching their Rec League volleyball team and have practice twice weekly and games each Saturday. So, even though I can feel the coolness in the breezes and I know that fall is quickly approaching, I feel like hunting season snuck up on me.
Yesterday was the opening of our bow season.  I have been excited and anticipating this day, but found myself unprepared.  My plans were to put the girls on the bus in the morning, then get out to the woods.  Well, that didn't happen.  I have felt way behind in my home chores, lately.  For 2 days I traveled with my Dad and grandparents to look for potential homes for my grandparents in this area.  Exciting to think they may move here.  Then, I had volleyball games and then church and a Bible drill kickoff.  Phew. So, Monday came along and I spent the day nurturing my soul and making 4 batches of granola to put up for cereal, granola bars and homemade laundry detergent.  Ah. I felt better.  DH went out into the deer woods after work and didn't see anything.
Along comes today, the second day of season. Hmph. Not in the woods yet.  I am trying to catch up on stuff, house stuff, so I don't feel guilty about being in the woods.  Sometimes, you just need to regroup before you hit the next season of your life, right?  Well, that's where we are, regrouping.  I think DH isn't in total agreement with me, he's thrilled, but I'm regrouping.  I have a few items that are bringing me down and I'm kind of waiting for them to settle before I can reorganize my schedule and time and feel like I can focus on the hunt.
I'm planning on hunting this week, yet, so stay tuned for updates! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

3D Archery Shoot results are in!

This is a sad, sorry tale, so if you don't like those, you may want to read a different post!

We, the Campbell family, got our bows out to prepare for the upcoming bow season (in 2 weeks!!!!!!).  Well, there's good news and bad news to that.
Our girls got a Bear Youth Bow for Christmas.  I can't remember if it is the Brave III or the Warrior III, but no matter right now.  After 2 years (or was it a very long 1 year?) of trying, they can finally pull that bow back!  Yippee!  We were excited to pull our bows back together, as a family, in the back yard.
Now, my DH picks up his bow each year during season, but I, on the other hand do not.  Last year I didn't take it out at all for some reason.  I think I was working, too much, and any time available in the woods needed to go to DH because he was more skilled and more ready than I. I sacrificed last year's seasons to him. I know, I know, I'm an awesome sportsman's wife!  LOL.  The girls somehow break one of the 4 arrows that come with the set.  Ok, we figure we'll still be fine.
So, we figured we needed to get over to the 3D archery shoot put on by the Davey Mtn Archery Club behind Hogsed's Sportswear for some practice.  Very excited we were.  We got up at a respectable time, got to the shoot an hour after it started and began the course.  Well, first thing I noticed was a group before us.  Very serious group.  The lady had on a nice wicking Easton shirt and they all had top of the line competition style bows.  Definitely not hunters.  They were using range finders and fancy sights.  Hmm.  Ok. To each his own, right?
We let 2 groups of 2 go ahead of us because we take so long.  Another lady and her beau shoot.  Her rig isn't as impressive as the first group, but still very nice competition style bow.  Hmm.  I'm surprised there are so many competitors, and ladies at that!  I would think we'd see more hunters in a rural area shoot.  Interesting.
So, we begin the course.  We get up to the blue stake on 2 hog targets and I miss one.  UGH.  The girls miss both, but no lost arrows.  Next target, a wolf.  I do ok, but the girls miss.  They can't find the arrow.  Next target, a bear.  The girls can't find their arrow.  They are down to one arrow remaining now.  Next target, a deer.  Last arrow down and out. Gone. Vanished. URRRR.
DH did okay, but I sucked (to put it mildly).  I missed over half the targets.  I didn't lose any arrows, though. 
Here is my 3D shoot summed up neatly:
Davey Mtn Archery Club 3D Shoot
You can imagine my displeasure.  Well, I better get to practicing!  But, first, I need to finish this canner load of corn and pick up the girls off of the bus, and get ready for volleyball practice.  I hope I have time to shoot today!  A bow or a gun.  Whatever.  Shooting rocks!  

You can keep track of the club's shoots by clicking on the link below:

Now get out there and practice!  Season is a comin'!

Friday, August 10, 2012

My CCW solution search for Glock 27 on a female

Glock 27 in 40 S&W
Good old paddle holster
I don't remember if I was blogging at the time I purchased my uncle's Glock from him.  I was excited.  Totally stoked.  My uncle is a retired police officer.  He carried a Glock 27 as one of his side arms for a little while.  He had a full size Glock, got an opportunity to try the smaller Glock 27, then decided to just use it as a backup piece.  Since retirement, he has worked as a security guard, but carries a different gun.  I purchased his old side arm from him.  I am liking it.  It is the Glock 27 in 40 S&W.  I was going to get a magazine extender to have a better grip, but get this: my uncle heard that and went and bought it for me and gave it to me with the gun!  How sweet is that?!?!?  Well, with the gun came all of the paperwork, the original plastic case and a leather paddle holster.  Well, I thought, great, no need for buying a holster.  BUT.

Now that I've had it for several months and become well acquainted with it, I'm looking for concealment solutions.  Here's the story.

I wanted a purse.  I thought it would be handy and easier to carry, especially in the summer.  So, I got the Gun Tote'n Mamas Bag in camo.  I don't remember the name of it and can't seem to find it anywhere online to reference.  I got it from Cabelas, Inc., however, so maybe they have it exclusively.  But, here's a picture of mine:

Gun Tote'n Mamas concealed carry bag
The holster is part of the deal

I loved this bag when I got it.  I used it exclusively whether I carried or not.  It came with a simple holster that stays in place with hook and loop tape.  It can be repositioned to however you need your gun to be held inside the bag.

When I carried my Glock, however, I realized just how heavy it became.  And when I didn't, I wanted more room.  The handle is stiff and hard to adjust.  Whatever material they made it out of, it certainly does its job.  I like this bag, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't quite excite me anymore.

So, then I found this bag:  The Ful Peabody in Camo.
Ful Peabody in Camo

I was excited and geeked about it.  It happens that my Glock can fit in the uppermost zippered compartment. 

The 3 zippered compartments offer options.

But, I like to have a holster to protect it, not just let it hang in there free.  So, I used the simple holster that came with my previous bag and felt better. But, there again, the weight became an issue.

I really like this bag, though.  I wear it cross body style.  It keeps my hands free while I can then swing the bag towards the front of my body to access any of the compartments.

I started thinking about carrying on my person.  But, then, IWB or OWB?
(Confused?  IWB = In the waistband and OWB = Outside of the waistband.)
OK. Well, I was given a leather paddle holster with my gun, remember?  So, we were going to my parents' house one day and I decided to wear it.  I donned my camo belt and placed my paddle holster.  The inside of my elbow was resting on the gun. In fact, the gun was almost touching my, well, girls.  While I drove, a manual trans, the holster was digging into my hip.  I'm not very tall, mind you, about 5' 5".  As I shot and walked around at the 'rents' place, I realized this holster would not do.  Quite uncomfortable when worn with normally fitting pants.  When worn with pants a little big to accommodate said holster, the weight wants to pull your britches off!
Paddle holster from the top

UGH.  So, I keep looking online, seeking direction from some unknown place, some knowledgeable female who has gone before me.  I came upon a few different ideas that I may try.  Or I may try to create.

The thought has crossed my mind that I need to carry a smaller caliber, smaller framed gun, but then... I don't wanna.  The smaller framed guns don't fit my right hand well.  I feel like my fingers are gargantuan when I hold them because my trigger finger wraps all the way around back to my thumb and can even overlap my thumb almost entirely.  I don't like pulling the trigger with my knuckles.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.  Just leave a comment below or find a way to contact me in the sidebar to the right.  Whatever suits your fancy!

Here are a few great resources I found along the way:
30 Cal Gal
Girl's Guide to Guns
GunGoddess Etsy Shop
Packing Pretty

Pinterest Gun Leather and More

Sunday, August 5, 2012

F.I.E. Texas Ranger Mod Tex 22 LR Single Action Revolver

FIE Mod Tex 22 LR or FIE Texas Ranger
My friend, a pastor, asked me to 'tinker' with this gun of his dad's.  He bought his dad a 22 revolver, real cheap. His dad loves it.  BUT, the action stuck or wouldn't work somehow, so his dad took it apart.  He couldn't get it back together.  My friend asked several other friends to take a look at it for him.  All of these men were gun nuts, one had learned about guns in the military. The gun was passed around for 4-5 months. No one could get it to work properly.

Well, my friend is a pretty good friend of my parents' actually.  My dad tells him that maybe my husband or I can help.  Why not?  No one else could. I'm a mechanical engineer that likes to tinker and figure things out.  Both my husband and I like guns (I may like them a little more than he does at this point).  My dad tells me he volunteered me.  A few months go by (or was it a long few weeks? IDK).  I don't hear any more and put it on the back burner.

Yesterday I got a phone call from this mutual friend.  I agree to give it a shot.  You can find almost anything on the internet these days, right, so I should be able to find a video of some sort! WRONG. I was excited to see this puzzle with all of its pieces, but I couldn't look anything up until I had it in my hand.

That evening, after a lengthy visit with my folks and grandparents, we got home to find the mystery firearm in a box on our porch.   There were tiny parts in a plastic container, marked Ham Salad.  There was the barrel with the frame in one piece and the stock in the other.  We put the kids to bed and I got online to try to look up some information on this mystery that lay in my lap in pieces.  My husband tells me that I'm going to lose those tiny parts on that couch!  I tell him I'm just researching, not going to try put it together tonight.  He goes to bed.

So, I begin searching the internet.  The engraving on the side says:  Mod Tfx 22 cal LR FIE Miami, FL.  Well, now that I know, it actually says Mod Tex 22 cal LR FIE Miami, FL.  AFter many different attempts, I realize that there aren't any videos of the gun, aren't any real schematics that I can find.  I also find out that the gun is no longer made, the manufacturer stamp is actually only the importer and it may have been made in Germany or Italy originally.  The importer, from Miami, stopped importing the guns in 1968 due to the Federal Firearms Act.  Great.

Well, I figure that 22 revolvers can't be too far apart, so I find a schematic for the same brand but different model, the E15.  I print it out in two sizes and start looking up part names.  On the Numrich website, there are pictures of most parts available for the handguns, so I'm trying to compare the parts in the plastic container to the pictures on the website.  I label some of the part names on my schematic.  Print out a disassembly/reassembly description from a manual written by United States Fire Arms Manufacturing Co., Inc.  I figure if I can match the part descriptions to the written instructions, and the schematic I can maybe figure it out.

After church today, I'm chomping at the bit to try to put this gun together.  I spent a few hours sitting with it, cleaning parts and trying to see how they fit and work together.  I'm getting so close, I can taste it (or was that gun solvent?).  I can fit the pieces together, but need to figure out the right order and what is wrong with the action to make it stick?  I look up some videos online. Hmm.  Mainspring. Where's that?  In the grip. OK. Let's take the wood grips off.  Hmm.  OK. Now what?
Mod Tex 22 Mainspring

So, I clean up the mainspring and the area hidden by the grips and start fiddling some more.  Wait, if I put the gate on, the cylinder, the base pin, install the gate detent and gate screw.  I installed the hand and spring onto the hammer, put the hammer into the assembly in almost the right position.  I put the grip section on to hold the gate detent and gate screw in place.  Things are looking like a firearm around here.  But, the hammer isn't sitting right yet.  So, I have to hold the stock tight to compress the gate screw, push down on the hammer to seat it properly, while flexing the mainspring in the grip.  I don't have a third hand to screw the hammer into place!  Um, honey, I need your help.  He makes smart remark.  I tell him, no, I just need a third hand because I don't have any left to use the screwdriver.  He complies.  It doesn't cycle.  He remembers jamming up a rifle in his younger years. He backs out the hammer screw ever so slightly.  Voila!  Perfect working order. No joke.  I dry fire it several times. Over and over. I place a wooden skewer in through the barrel to see if the cylinder lines up with the barrel properly.  Don't want it to be out of timing.  Ugh.
Mod Tex 22 Base Pin & Hammer Screw

When we are convinced that it is ready to fire, we go outside.  Eyes and ears on everybody (just me and DH).  Fire in the hole!  (Yes, our whole family watches American Guns!)  I duck for cover and fire into the mud.  It works.  All 6 times.  Sweet!  Really?!?  I reload.  Now I'm confident enough to pull it up and try to fire looking down the sight.  It is only about 1.5 inches left on 4 rounds and pretty close to dead on with the other 2.  NICE.  I win!

I'm known not to let puzzles and mysteries win over me.  I want to be a gunsmith.  Maybe.  I am looking for a new career choice when we decide that the kids don't need me to stay home from work anymore.  I'm seriously considering it.  This would be my first gunsmith job and I won.  In less than 24 hours.  I probably only spent about 5 hours total on this gun and loved every second.  Especially when it fired!!

Hopefully this will help someone else who is looking for info. on this little gun.  Here's some helpful links:

E15 Schematic:

Mod Tex 22 parts pictures:

Ruger Single Action Revolver Disassembly video:

Ruger Single Action Revolver Reassembly video:

A helpful forum talks about the ejector:

And the grand finale!  The Owner's Manual!  I finally found it.  Thanks, Steve.  Whoever and wherever you are.  This link may start the download immediately.

Enjoy!  Feel free to comment with any help, advice or questions!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Paypal Here is Here!

I'm very excited about being able to accept credit cards securely from anywhere.  I upgraded to a Droid phone in order to be able to do it.  Now, I have the Paypal little blue triangle to make it work! Paypal keeps customers' information secure, so I don't have to worry about writing it down or entering it, just swiping their card like a store does!
I am excited about this new technology and can't wait to give it a try!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Climbing Treestands

Well, we are seriously wanting to start getting ready for deer season this year.  We are gearing up for groceries to sky rocket because of this drought the country is in currently.  We had a hearty garden harvest and are about to plant a second round for a fall harvest, we hope!

My husband has been talking about a new, lightweight climbing tree stand for deer season since last year.  So, he saved up his 'Good Daddy' gifts, from Christmas, Father's Day and his birthday, and he'll be getting a new, 15 lb. climber.  He likes to have this because he wants to walk, or shall we say hike, back into the woods as far as he can and setup to surprise the deer.  He gets up much earlier than I'm ever comfortable to do and gets out there.  More power to him.  I want a little more sleep than that!

He really wants a Lone Wolf climbing tree stand, but those are quite expensive.  I think he'll go with a Summit.  We are shopping at Bass Pro Shops since that is where his gift cards are redeemable.  His main concerns are the weight and the silence (like any hunter, right?).  So, we are still going to do some comparison shopping right up until we purchase, just in case something changes, you see.  I have actually read that the Summit stands are more comfortable.  These may be the ones with the deluxe seats on them, however, and to make it lighter, we are going with bare bones.  If he wants a backrest later, we may make him one.  Um, I may make him one!  Hmmmm.  We talked about having a mostly hand made Christmas this year.  That's a great gift idea, come to think of it!

What kind of tree stand do you use?  What would you recommend?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Envelope Pillow Craft Notes

There are many versions of the envelope pillow case.  Recently, a friend asked me to show her how.  Circumstances prevented me from going to her house to do so, but I explained it to her and drew this diagram to assist.  She did wonderfully and so I thought I'd share.

This is a simple pillow cover that can be removed for washing or seasonal changing.  It is "sew" simple!  There will only be 4 seams to sew, unless you have an old curtain or sheet that has finished sides to take some of the work out of it.

Let's get started:
Start with a rectangle of fabric, then finish the two short sides by folding in the seam 1/4", then folding it again and seaming it to enclose it.
After that you fold the fabric in thirds, think of the shape of a C here, only overlapping the short sides by about 2" to close the gap and sew the two remaining unfinished edges.  Maybe the diagram will help here.  But, really, it is simple once you get the concept.
Envelope pillow cover pattern notes

If you think of it this way it may make sense:
Place  the pillow face down in the middle of the fabric, with the right side of the fabric facing you.
Fold down the top of the fabric to cover the middle of the pillow.
Now, fold up the bottom of the fabric to overlap the top, creating an envelope!  Like a C that connects and overlaps itself (if the opening of the C is facing you and you pull down the to top overlap the bottom leg)!  You'll sew the sides shut.  You can make these in no time at all!

The hardest part will be deciding how big to make the rectangle.  So, for that we'll assume you have a 12" x 12" square pillow so you can see how the calculations work out.

Width of the fabric:
You'll add 1" to the width of the pillow.  That'll be the width of your fabric.  On the sides I use 1/2" seam allowance since these need to be strong to be able to put the pillow inside and take it out repeatedly.

Height of the fabric:
You'll add the 12" length of the front of the pillow to the measurements of the back pieces.  So, 1/2 of the pillow is 6", but you want the overlap to be 2" to enclose the pillow.  So, the top portion of the back of the pillow needs to be 8" and the bottom portion needs to come up 8".  They'll both overlap the middle of the pillow by 2", see?  They come up to meet each other and overlap to cover the back side of your pillow.
Then, add 1" to that for seam allowances (folding 1/4" down twice on each end leaves 1/2" total needed to finish both seams, thus 1" total).
So, 12" + 8" + 8" + 1" = 29".  This is the height or length of the fabric you'll need.

For a 12" x 12" pillow, you'll need to cut a rectangle of fabric 13" x 29" and you'll be ready to sew.

So, take the following formula to any size pillow:
Pillow width + 1" seam allowance = fabric width
Pillow height + (1/2 the height + 2" for overlap) + (another 1/2 the height + 2" for overlap) + 1" seam allowance = fabric height

Just for fun, let's assume your pillow is odd, like 11" wide by 5" high.
For the width of the fabric, add 1", so cut 12" wide.
For the height of the fabric, add 5" + (2.5" + 2" = 4.5") + (4.5") + 1" = 15" fabric
Cut fabric 15" high by 12" wide.  This is important if you want the fabric print to be facing the right way, be sure to place the width of the fabric along the side of the pillow you want the print to run.

I've made these several times for my daughters.  I have 3 of them, with different styles and tastes and color preferences.  If they find a fabric they like, I can sometimes buy a fat quarter and make it work if the pillow is small enough.  Otherwise, it is usually only 1/4 yard up to 1/2 yard of fabric with leftovers!  That's cheap and easy.  Love it.  It is best if you have a leftover sheet you don't use or find a fancy fabric shower curtain at a garage sale to upcycle.  Love it when I can repurpose items to new glory!

Feel free to leave a comment with any questions.  I'd be glad to help if I can.  Now, go create a cool pillow cover to change up your room!  Once you get the first one you'll want to create them for your friends as cheap gifts!  :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On being a squirrel and other preps for the upcoming deer season…

My green bean soldiers, standing ready for duty!
At the end of April, I quit my outside-of-the-house day job.  I had lofty aspirations of all of the things I could accomplish in one day at home.  Well, that plan has been derailed by real life.  I still have more to-dos on my list than time.  I am trying, however, to prioritize them.  I need to prepare for the upcoming craft show season, gift season, deer season and summer (the kids and I will be home together ALL day for 2 months!).

Canning central
My kitchen during canning

During this preparation, I am also channeling my inner squirrel.  I am gardening and canning like crazy.  I figure that if I can all summer, then I will have plenty of stores to get through winter until the veggies and fruits come back in season.  Hence, the hours spent over the stove.  There have been whole days that my oven and stove haven’t had a break.  My feet are complaining!  But, it brings me great joy to have stores to prepare for the family, and tasty, healthy alternatives, to be sure.  My DH and I had a conversation about the amount of sugar needed for a batch of jam.  My argument is this: I can alter that if I desire, and it has no preservatives like mass produced grocery store items.  I like that.  And, you can’t beat the taste of home canned green beans any day.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store bought green beans, except in the raw form.  The only thing I add to my green beans is salt, and they taste exceptionally good.  I challenge you to try some.  Find some at a local farmers’ market and see what I’m talking about!

One day's work, chili on left, green beans on Right
As far as the upcoming deer season goes, we are preparing by saving money.  My DH wants a new climbing tree stand.  His weighed over 20# and he wants the new one that only weighs 10-15#.  I figure if we save up his gifts between Father’s Day and his birthday, and his Christmas gift card from his parents, we’ll get him the new stand by bow season in North Carolina.  He works hard, he’s earned it.  With his new job, he gets paid days off for once in his life and he’ll be taking some days in the woods.  That is exciting for both of us.  Maybe I can get my Mom to watch our girls and I can go with him a couple of times.  I enjoy going with my partner, even if I hold him back.  He likes to trek far off the beaten path to surprise unsuspecting deer.  I am not as gung-ho.  I love hunting, to be sure, but not enough to hump hills for 2 miles to do it.  I have other things that I need to take care of, like canning our fall garden produce, etc.

Other preps we are making for deer season include my plans to continue making cold weather gear both for sale and for my family.  I aspire to keep everyone warm and have some great ideas for blending in this season.  Stay tuned to our shops!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lessons from the turkey woods 2012

So, the end of turkey has come and gone.  Kevin's turkey was the only one brought out of the turkey woods this season.  Since we don't have a fall season, we'll have to wait until next year to try to outsmart Big Tom. 

Here are a few things we learned this year:

1.  I love my ThermaCell.  It works.

2.  I love my ghillie cape.  It works.  My Dad said I all but disappeared across the creek from him with it on.

3.  You have to get out in the open areas early in the afternoon and wait.  Otherwise, you may need to get back in the woods between where they are and their roost.

4.  Morning hunts may be more productive because you can hear them talking off the roost.  Might be able to call them in with a little more success.  This one is hard for me.  I'm a night owl and don't do mornings!  BUT, turkey is my favorite season, so I'll be able to force myself into this thinking next season.  Can't let DH show me up next year!

5.  Turkeys don't like pop up tents.  We've never had success with this method.  We see it on the hunting shows all the time, but we've never been able to see much from a tent.  I feel like I move around more to try to see from all of the angles, and I'm hunched down to look out of the window.  My chairs must be too tall for the hut I'm in, but overall, we don't tend to like these things.  Their material is loud, too.  That's a no-no in our woods.

6.  Camo covered turkey guns are a nice thing to have.  I feel like they help you stay hidden.  My Remington 870 is just more noticeable in the woods.  Probably just my impression, but I like my Dad's camo Mossberg 20 gauge (that I think is now mine) even if it is just for my piece of mind.  My husband even covered his Remington 12 gauge with camo web tape (I know it as vet wrap, like they use for wrapping horses' legs - it sticks to itself, not the gun) to conceal it.

7.  A quality turkey seat is still hard on the tail bone.  For those of us with back issues, I haven't yet been able to find a really comfortable way to sit in the woods for long periods of time.  If I do, I'll blog about it.

I'll post a picture of the turkey vest I made for my young'uns when I get it 100% complete.  It is now 99% complete.  When they tried it on, I realized we need a front closure of some sort, so I still need to add that.

Well, that's all for now!
Now, get out and scout for deer season!  It'll be here before you know it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sunday Shooting

Sunday Shooting Fun
I wasn't quite sure what to call this blog post, but since it is about my family going out back into the yard and practicing our shooting, I'll stick with Sunday Shooting.  I've got some photos to share.  This is about 2 weeks ago.  Obviously, I'm behind on my blog posts.
Since then, i have finished my almost 3 week notice at my job and have been home for 3 days now, not counting the weekend.  But, it can't be that easy, right?  Since then I've also gotten sick.  I almost never get sick.  Boasted about how all of the folks at work got sick regularly and I always escaped.  My kids got sick. Not me!  My husband, too.  Not me!  I was so proud of my immune system.  Well, that's when you fall.  Pride always does it.  I'm sick.  Sore throat. Really sore throat.  Stuffy and runny nose. Mild chest congestion.  Just generally, ick.  Well, I am trying to salvage my day, so instead of waiting to post on my new schedule I have for myself, I decided to knock one out.  I'm sitting down, right?  Should be minimally taxing and then I can figure out if I need to lay down again or do something else before the ducklings get home.

DD2 with Marlin .22 bolt action rifle.  
Well, anyhow, enough of that update.  On Sunday, we like to make it a family fun day type of environment, with low stress.  We end up doing chores a lot of times because we are so busy.  But, lately we are trying harder to keep the chores on a Sunday to a minimum.  We have wound up outside a few times, practicing shooting.  It is a fun and relaxing family activity that we enjoy, so why not?  I don't think God would have an issue with that.
We have DD2 wanting to be a SWAT team member or Sniper, so I guess we need to practice, huh?  She has a long way to go, but she seems to be a natural shooter.  She does surprisingly well most times we practice.  She enjoys it and we encourage it.  Not for her to be a killer, mind you, just to practice, start competing and developing this interest.  We like to be supportive.  Besides, shouldn't daughters be strong and independent?  My daughter, should she ever get lost in the woods, would survive.  We keep working on all of their skills and knowledge to teach them independence, including in the woods, DH's favorite place.  We want them to know where their food comes from and how and be confident to ward off unwanted attention, be it man or bear!
Teach your daughters to hunt.
We firmly believe in teaching your daughter to hunt just as much as your son.  Besides, we have no sons!  My girls enjoy this as one-on-one time with their parents and get excited to go out in the woods with us.  We love hunting with the girls.

DH practicing w/ Bersa 9mm Thunder 9, one of the first models

Here is DH practicing with his gun.  I like this gun.  It is dead on for me, but we needed to adjust the rear sight to suit DH's shooting style.  More on that in another post.

Adult target post-practice.

Bragging time.  See those 4 holes on the left of the bullseye?  My DH's 9mm.  Now, see the one outside at 11 o'clock, then two more at 1 and 2 o'clock, then 3 in the bull, with one just at 7 o'clock?  Mine.  Dialing it closer and closer with my .40 S&W Glock 27.  I love my gun.  I'm deadly with my gun.  I'm happy with my gun.  :)  I'll review it later & my DH's for interested parties.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First Turkey Down

DH, me and the threesome
Saturday, April 14, 2012.  The first turkey our family has killed.  A Jake, but we are proud.  Turkey hunting is fun and challenging.  We've spent many hours in the woods, gotten chances to shoot, but missed or gotten busted by the turkeys' keen awareness.  So, this day is particularly sweet to us.
Here's the hunting tale:
My in-laws were in town.  My husband and father-in-law had went into town, but had forgotten one important item: our present for his mom for Mother's Day.  They'd be leaving on Sunday, so rather than mail it, I wanted to go back towards town, a bit of a drive seeing as we live in a mountainous area that is sparsely populated, to get the present.  My husband and I went to purchase the gift, my in-laws took our brood and went up the mountain to my parents' place.  I was getting worried.  We needed to get out in the turkey hunting woods.  But, we'd make it work and get it all done.
We got to my parents' property and immediately went fishing at their stocked pond.  The girls wound up pulling 4 or 5 fish out, but put them back because my DH said it wasn't worth the trouble to skin them out since they wouldn't feed all of us.  I drove my mother to the house on their 4-wheeler, went back to the pond to get my mother-in-law and went to the house again.  I started helping my Dad cook the supper, heating up things that had gotten cold.  The mothers were bird watching on the porch.  Dad and I started to get antsy, as we do.  We needed to get out in the woods.  I wish I had a drawing of the property to show you the layout, but I'll do the best I can to describe it.  Maybe one day I can scan in a drawing and add it to the post.
Dad's house sits atop a hill.  Just southeast of it is the valley, with another ridge opposite the house.  From the bottom of the driveway, if you go northeast, there is a drop off into a valley that has a creek running through it.  A noisy creek that branches off creating three distinct areas that birds my peck in the grass.  They heavily use two of those grassy areas on either side of the main section of the creek.  The creek runs northwest, so we'll call one side of it the eastern side and one the northern.  So, my Dad walked down the driveway, around the top of the eastern ridge that dropped him down into the eastern grassy area.  I walked behind the house to walk across the roadway and drop into the northern area of the two sections.  My Dad already had warned me that he thought we were scaring turkeys off walking in that way, but I was stubborn.  I'd walked in that way many times last season and still saw plenty of turkeys during my hunts.  I was going in my way.
As I rounded the curve of the road, starting towards my final hunting spot, I felt sure I was being quiet.  Walking a couple of steps, stopping, listening and looking.  I searched the opposite bank, expecting that Dad would take a lot longer to walk to his spot than I had.  Suddenly, he jumped up from behind some tall weeds next to the dirt road he was crouching on, waving his arms, pointing downstream, towards the woods where the creek empties into a marshy area and on into an old grist mill, then a pond.  I didn't see or hear anything.  Couldn't figure out what in the world he was up to.  I figured he could see one coming off the ridge, so I had better get situated quickly.
I found a spot, put on my ghillie cape and disappeared.  I placed my camo Mossberg 20 gauge shotgun with a full choke tube across my legs and waited.  I clucked a couple of times using my slate call, made contented feeding noises that calm turkeys make and then stopped.  Birds can be call shy, so I didn't want to overdo it.
In the meantime, my DH and his father finally brought the girls back from fishing, stopped up at the house to eat and started to dress and come down to hunt.  They went behind the house, to the road/drive that feeds to other areas and walked it around to drop down into the valley below Dad's house.  They climbed a little ways up the ridge opposite the house to sit and wait.
FIL left, DH right with his Remington 12 ga shotgun a.k.a "Killer"

I got bored, looked over to where my Dad was sitting behind a tree and realized he was gone!  Well, that is not uncommon, let me tell you.  He is impatient and has major, life altering back pain, so if he doesn't see and turkeys during a hunt, he leaves.  He figured we'd scared the birds off, so why bother sitting any longer than necessary. 
My DH and his Dad had gotten situated around 20 yards apart so as to confuse the turkeys.  His Dad was calling them in, unarmed, since he is from Michigan and has no desire to purchase an out-of-state license for this one day.  He just wanted to tag along.  He's a hunter.  He had an excuse to be in the woods.  Nuff said.  So, my FIL is calling turkeys, but I can't hear it because sounds travel in unique ways in the mountains and valleys.  They begin to hear footsteps.  Unsure of what is making that sound, they both go on high alert. 
Next thing I know, I hear a shot, and two hollers.  Like woop sounds.  So, I get up, get my gear together and holler up to the house.  My Dad comes to get me on the 4-wheeler so I don't have to walk up the monster hill on my way up.  He tells me that yell was my DH.  He said, "I got him!"  So now we are excited, waiting to see the turkey.  The first one in camp.  The first out of our threesome to get a bird.  Dad drove me up to the house, I dropped off my gear and we headed out to pick up DH and FIL.  The bird is a Jake, legal and we are proud.

DH flexing his killing muscle
Fast forward about 7 days.  I want to cook this turkey!  But, there is some more processing to do.  There is a fine skin, fine layer of, well, I'm not sure what it is.  But, it lives between the skin and the breast meat.  So, with much fussing and cussing, I removed as much of that layer and any sinew or blood vessels remaining and proceeded to bread the wild turkey meat and fry it in oil in my cast iron pan.  It didn't go well.  Now, I was frustrated with removing all of the extras and in a rush now, because I felt under the gun to get supper on the table.  I piled Italian Bread Crumbs on the meat, and they proceeded to stick to the pan, so I pulled them out, put them on a broiler pan to catch the excess grease, and put them in the oven to bake them until done.  My daughters and husband liked the turkey supper.  Me, not so much. 
Here's where I sidestep into some background: I was raised in a suburb of NYC, in Rockland County, NY.  None of my family hunts.  None have probably even thought much about it.  My husband was raised in rural MI.  He was raised on deer meat, wild turkey, squirrel, pheasant, goose, duck and more I probably don't even realize.  Deer was an acquired taste for me.  It took me a long time to learn how to cook it.  Now, I'm pretty good at it.  Anyway, back to turkey.
Fast forward another couple of days.  I am determined to make the leftover turkey better the second time around.  I decide on soup.  I fast soaked navy beans and pinto beans, rinsed them, then let them cool.  I added water, chicken bouillon cubes, onions, celery, garlic powder, salt and pepper and I let it simmer for about 2-3 hours.  It was G-O-O-D.  Yummy delish.  Now that's the way to cook wild turkey!
Wild Turkey Soup Recipe was Y-U-M-M-Y

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New focus for blog and Youth Turkey Day Story

So, I have made some pretty drastic changes recently.  I have decided, well, my husband and I, that I should and can stay home to be the home manager now.  He is working 50+ hrs per week and we have the ability to manage our household this way.  I will also be doing some virtual work.  In thinking of how and what my focus will be, I came up with an idea.  Not only to focus on our craft business and make more products, but to focus on a hunting blog.  A crafty mom blog that has a hunting theme or vice versa.  I have seen some blogs that are decidely technical in their talk of guns.  I have seen others who are going to be about moms and their hunting / shooting, but really focus more on the mom part.  Don't get me wrong, this is fine.  But, there are few female hunting resources out there.  I am going to give it a shot.  I hope to make this personal, educational, funny and full of resources.  This will tie in nicely with our crafting business: Hunters' Workshop.  See the theme I have going there?  LOL.

So, to start us off, here's our first hunting story.
The background: I have identical triplet girls.  I'll affectionately call them DD1, DD2 and DD3, using their birth order (and yes, they actually exhibit the traits of their birth order!)  We hunt, the whole family.  The first Saturday of April was Youth Turkey Day.  An exciting day here.  So, here goes...

The youth turkey hunt went by uneventfully.  All three girls got to go into the woods with their Grandfather, Mom (me) and Dad.
Our middle daughter was so excited, she had me set her alarm for her.  She got up, by herself, got her Grandfather up to go, got dressed and ready, ate breakfast and was out the door!  They went near the house, in a cow pasture that is our neighbors'.  After she walked down to her spot with her Grandfather, they heard a gobbler sounding off from his roost.  As I lay in bed, listening, I heard him and I got excited for her!  But, the turkey was pretty close to the house and I wasn't sure they had heard it in time to adjust their position.  He must've sounded off for a half an hour at least, may've even been an hour.  Suddenly, he went silent.  He must've come off of the roost and stopped talking.  In the meantime, DD2 and her Grandpa had decided to move towards the house to listen for him coming.  In doing so, their feet got soaked from the dew and DD2 got very cold.  She decided to give it up.  Oh well!  That was exciting, though!
Our lessons: try a locator call immediately, you never know when a gobbler may answer.  After locating, get situated quickly.  Wear waterproof boots (DD2 had children's hunting boots on, but didn't cut it).  Bring hand and feet warmers - guys, you, too!  Answer gobblers in kind.  Talk to him when he's talking, but don't overdo it.  Shut up when he shuts up.  But, keep him interested with some contented feeding noises and low clucks occasionally.  And, sit tight.  Sometimes they take a long time in getting to your position, but an interested gobbler of any size will always come check out hen noises.

Next post: adult opening day, when DH got a Jake!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Did you know?

How easy it is to make some items from scratch?  I make home made granola now.  EASY.  TASTY.  Try it!  If you want the recipe or source, just comment to let me know.  It came from a Home Made Simple booklet in my All You magazine.

Another easy item, iced tea, iced coffee, homemade drinks.  Iced coffee is easy.  Whenever we make a pot of coffee, we have a cup or two left over.  We rarely have the luxury of finishing the pot these days.  I take that cup, that has sat all day in the pot, mind you, and put it into a mason jar, add lots of milk, add sugar and vanilla extract to taste.  Place in refrigerator overnight, and voila!  Iced coffee for the a.m. or whenever.  Another idea: add sweetened condensed milk instead of the milk and vanilla (or in addition? LOL)  That's the beauty of your own coffee bar.  Make it how you like it.  Add pumpkin spice, whatever floats your boat!

Pancakes shouldn't come from a box, they are SO easy.  There are tons of recipes out there.  The simplest, plainest one is this: 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 egg.  That's IT!  Others involve oats, which is hearty and filling.  Others still involve pumpkin, yum!  EASY.

Dryer sheets are disposable, but making your own is cheaper and so easy.  Mix a small part fabric softener and water, place in a plastic dish with a cover.  The mixture is customizable.  I've seen up to a 1/2 and 1/2 recipe mixture of softener and water.  I've even seen hair conditioner mixed with water (but I've not tried that).  Each time you need a sheet, soak a sponge in the mixture and put it in the dryer with the wet clothes.
This is an all natural idea from the site Live Renewed:  http://www.liverenewed.com/2011/06/how-make-homemade-dryer-sheets.html
Or, how about tearing that dryer sheet in 1/2 or 1/3 before adding it to the machine?  I find that even that small piece still keeps static at bay.  The smell is less overwhelming, too.

Three new sites I found interesting:
Money Saving Mom
Live Renewed
Northern Cheapskate

Making items is fun and can be rewarding.  I'll try to chronicle some of the items that I try to make from scratch periodically.  Feel free to comment, discuss and exchange ideas!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Hello!  We are battling one child being sick, Mother having a neck that won't work and Dad getting a new job 1.5 hrs from home.  We are going to have to come to some new sense of normal for our family.  Hopefully I can continue to blog and create, as I had been getting good at it (if you ask me, I was doing pretty good!).
Having a locked neck is a definite damper to sewing and computer work.  I think that may be what has me locked up.  I need to order a back stretcher that I can lay in or sit in to put my spine back in proper position to relieve the tension.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!
I've had to let Dad drive my little VW Jetta TDI.  I'm not thrilled, but so happy that we have it for him.  Otherwise, we wouldn't really be able to manage this new normal very long.  He'll get 50+ mpg.  Using about 11-12 gallons per week to go 160 miles per day.  These are rough figures, please.  I am an engineer who LOVES math, so I know they aren't right.  Don't even get out your calculator to check me.  BUT, they are a ROUGH estimate of where he'll be in the fuel usage.  Not too shabby.  I anticipate it costing us around $45 per week.  Nice.
On the other hand, I get the mini van back.  18-19 miles to the gallon, with me driving 25 miles or so to work x twice a day = 2.6+ gallons per day = averageing it at $4/gallon = about $10 a day to drive that van!  UGH.  Double UGH. and YUCK.
We better get our taxes done and find another Jetta TDI and quick!  :)
So, I hope to unlock my neck and get back to creating and updating the websites, etc.  I'll try to learn my lesson and take breaks to stretch out so I fatigue my muscles and lock up again!
Good luck in all of your endeavors and God Bless!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Deer Antler Project

We had the great fortune of knowing a Cherokee Indian descendant whose father hand carved recurve bow frames.  He gave us two.  One was stringed already, but more for show, which we gave to my Dad to decorate his man cave.  The other we purchased and is not yet stringed.  It has adorned our window sill in our bedroom for years.  Well, Kevin got his druthers up to hang the new curtain rods we got on clearance at Lowe's and I wanted that bow frame to be properly hung while his tools were out!  Kevin took two of his many deer antler pairs and drilled holes into the base, parallel with the main beam of the antler.  Now, he admitted to not doing it properly and it being a dangerous prospect as a result.  So, if you are going to do this, clamp the antler down, use stop blocks, whatever you need to get it out of your hand! Phew, thanks.  Anywho, now we had the quandry of how to attach it to the wall.  So, we glued, yup, glued a heavy duty nail into the hole left by the drill press.  We used Gorilla Glue because it expands to fill the space needed.  Worked like a charm.  Fletching glue doesn't work.  It is good for all sorts of other things, but this project was not one of those items.  So, once those nails were properly installed, glued and dried into the hole, you now have a sturdy base to attach to the wall, and is easily removable with no visible nail or screw heads on the front of the antler.  Then, we gently laid the bow frame to rest in its antler base.  Check it out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Upcycling Flannel Flat Sheets

So, we did another wonderful project with unused items!  I am so excited when we re-purpose items.  This time, we took flannel flat sheets that we don't use - my family is full of flat sheet haters, except for me! - and we created curtains.  For the window curtains, I just had to cut the flat sheet into 4 panels. It was the perfect size, almost exactly.  Very little waste here, as you can see in the photos.  Our windows are old, odd sized and hard to fit properly with modern curtains.  You can see the window sill peeking out form the middle of the curtain panels.
Yep, saddles are decoration in the girls' room

Ignore the unmade bed!
 Each panel fit one section of the curtain rod perfectly.  I had to cut open the sides of the top portion of the sheet to put the rod into.  So, if you look at a flat sheet, the top is folded nicely down about 4" or so and sewn.  To create the rod pocket, I opened the sides of that fold.  I cut it with pinking shears.  One of my new favorite tools, I must say!  For the two panels that came from the bottom portion of the sheet, I just folded them, pressed the seam at 4" and sewed it at the bottom of the 4" to leave the pocket open to insert the curtain rod.
Another wonderful use for flat sheets

For the other flat sheet we had, I cut open the sides of it, also, and hung it on the tension rod in the closet.  I had to cut the bottom up so it didn't lay so heavily on the floor, but that's about it.
Now, my husband keeps telling me that these all could be so much more fancy.  He told me I could add trim to the sides or bottom.  I could.  I agree.  I'm just so happy with repurposing all of these flat sheets that have laid around for years that I could burst.  Yes, my girls' room looks like easter colors, pastels.  But, they like the colors and they like the repurposed sheets.  So, they'll stay "unfancy" for now.  I'm conjuring up Caroline Ingles, making do with what is available. A stretch, to be sure, but it makes me feel connected to the old ways and more simple in nature.

I love being green!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  It feels good.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Burlap Cork Board Project

Home project #1.
I bought some burlap coffee sacks at a flea market Tuesday.  2 for $3 after my husband joked with the guy about coming down 50 cents each bag.  He was sincerely joking, but the guy sold them to me for $1.50 each happily and I was thrilled.  Both men asked me what I was going to do with them.  Don't they understand?  I don't have to have a project in mind yet, I just know I want to work with burlap.  That's good enough to spend the $3.  So, after getting home I started looking up projects.  I found a bunch.  So crafty some folks are!  I fancy myself a crafter, but really, I'm more of a copier when it comes to some things.  Or, a twister.  I take their idea, and twist it until it's mine.  
So it goes with this project.  I wanted a bulletin board for my kitchen.  One that's crafty and organized.  Her is my finished project.  Regrettably, I didn't think to make this a tutorial and take pictures of each step, so I'll post my steps instead.

I took a cardboard box, and split the sides into two equal pieces.  
Layering them opposite each other to shore up the weak spots.  
Then, I duct taped them together.  Yup, good ole' duct tape.  
I had some self adhesive cork material around, so I cut that to size, stuck it to the cardboard.  
Cut the burlap sack open, laid it on the cork, wrapped it around the edges and stapled them onto the back.  I used my husband's staple gun from his wood shop.  I love that thing and hate it.  It always seems backwards to me.  I almost stapled the floor and not my project on my first try.  
Anyhow, then I put more duct tape on the edges of the burlap on the back to keep it from unraveling more and called it good.
We tacked it up on the wall with finishing nails in each of 4 corners and one smack in the middle to keep it from bowing, since it isn't very strong in the middle.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rack Plaque Project

We have 41 items in our shop now.  It feels so gratifying just to have selection for people to look at.  The challenge is where and how to store items until they sell!  Don't worry, they are safe and sound.  But, we find small snippets of time to finish personal projects, too.  This Rack Plaque has been waiting since 2009.  The buck finally got the respect he is due.  We decided, after researching whether you could sell antler items, that we could sell our service to make this plaque.  So, we listed it as a custom order item, also.  It looks stunning with the Mossy Oak fleece.
First, my DH took Plaster of Paris to create the base and attach the antlers.  Then he sanded it into the shape and texture he wanted.  He finished the wood, wood burned the date into the bottom and set me free with it.  I cut a piece of fleece, which is thankfully stretchy and used fletching glue to secure it.  My fingers stuck together and everything!  But, the rack survived and so did I.  And, we are incredibly proud of this item.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Online Seller's Quick Guide To Fees

Hello!  I have someone asking me to list their items in my shop.  Now, they aren't really related, they are jewelry, so I'm thinking of splitting off my inventory into two categories.  But, I need to deal with explaining the fees, deciding what site is cheapest for them to use.  They aren't going to get the same benefit from Etsy as I do, for instance.  So, I'm in a decision making conundrum.  In looking at the fees to compare, I realized that it takes quite a few clicks to get all of the information.  I would have loved to find a site that details these items.  So, I thought I'd post about it.
Now, the caveats are these:  this is only a snapshot in time - the fees may have changed, so always look before you leap.  this is based on my research, for my shop, for my situation.  If you are a high volume shop, for instance, you may encounter bigger fees than I would, or smaller transaction fees, but monthly payments.
So, this is a compiled list of fees for the small crafter business as of 2/1/12 in alphabetical order to be fair.

webstore: 1 Month Free then $24.99/Month
Transaction fees for items sold on Webstore from 1.0%.  
Selling on Amazon Fees Not included

ArtFire offers 2 types of accounts: a Buyer account, and a Pro Seller account.
Pro Seller account - unlimited listings $11.95 per month
$0.50 listing fee
10% transaction fee

$0.20 listing fee
3.5% transaction fee

"Glider" - 25 product listings $9.99 / month
"Helicopter" - 250 product listings $29.99 / month

sellers pay 2.9% final transaction amount + $0.30


Yahoo! Stores
e-commerce starter $25.97 / month for first 3 months, then $39.95 / month thereafter
1.5% transaction fee on top of the monthly fee

Hope this helps!!!!!  If there are any more interesting ones, leave a comment and I'll try to add it, or at least approve it to be in the comments area!