Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Time is slipping by!

I can't believe it is almost Easter!  Where does the time go???  Maybe that is what happens when you keep busy!  Anyway, I have made a lot of tote bags for the ETSY store and also managed to finish the saw painting for the 4-H club raffle.  I have gotten lots of nice feedback on it.

Here is what it looked like before I started!  Not too attractive and probably wouldn't saw much wood!

Here it is after it has been cleaned up, sanded, and primed with rust preventing primer.


And here is the finished painting!

Since I don't do a lot of painting, I had to mess with the paints and brushes a little before I got the hang of the technique again.  It is a scene from the Rogue Valley here in S. Oregon.  Table Rock on the extreme left, Rogue River running through the middle and a nice big bull elk watching over his domain on the right side.  Our 4-H club will be selling raffle tickes for $5.00 for one and 7 for $20.  Several people have expressed interest already and my wonderful grandson already purchased tickets!  There are a lot of hunters around here, so maybe the tickets will go fast!  We will be selling tickets for a couple months.  (The proceeds go toward getting rewards for  our 4-H kids.  Tack is spendy!)

My next project will be a quilt that has to be finished for graduation.  I have purchased all the fabric so now the fun starts!  Hope the time doesn't get completely away from me!

Thanks for stopping by.  I would love to hear from you, so leave a comment below if you like.  And here is hoping everyone has a blessed Easter!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


This blog is going to be about pollution. 

Each year the US consumes 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil!  The pulp and paper industry is the 2nd largest user of energy in the US!  (Paper or Plastic, Delicious Living Magazine. March, 2002).

More than 46,000 pieces of plastic contaminate each square mile of our oceans!  (Reusable Bags Tackle Plastic Bag Mess.  Organic Trade Ass.)

Only 1% of plastic bags are recycled annually, nationwide!  It costs more to recycle a bag than it does to produce a new one!

 Numerous recent international, national, state and local reports have called for the banning or drastic reduction of plastic bags due to their environmental damage. Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environmental Program, recently said "there is simply zero justification for manufacturing [plastic bags] any more, anywhere."

A study in 1975 showed oceangoing vessels dumped 8 million pounds of plastic annually. The real reason that the world’s landfills aren’t overflowing with plastic was because most of it ended up in an ocean-fill.

A plastic stew twice the size of Texas, has formed in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have dubbed it the “Eastern Garbage Patch”, and its volume is growing at an alarming pace.

With plastic particles outnumbering plankton 6 to 1, it’s inevitably entering the food chain, of which YOU are at the top. Bon Appetit!

Plastic bags do not biodegrade, they photodegrade: Over time they break down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers which eventually contaminate soil and waterways everywhere.

Plastics, from large chunks to microscopic particles, have entered the food chain. The effect on wildlife can be catastrophic.

At least 267 different species of sea life have been scientifically documented to be adversely affected by plastic marine debris, including whales, dolphins, seals and turtles.. Plastic bags are considered especially dangerous to sea turtles, who may mistake them for jellyfish, a main food source. They die after ingesting plastic bags which they mistake for food.

If just 1 out of 5 people in the U.S. used cloth bags, we would eliminate 1,330,560,000,000 plastic bags over a life time. That is one trillion, three hundred thirty billion, five hundred sixty million plastic bags!

Here is an alternative that will save the landfills (and the oceans) from all those plastic bags:

These market totes are made from  feed sacks that family and friends save for me.  I am selling them on ETSY.com/shop/GladiolaSmiles.  They are very sturdy, 15x15x8 inches or whatever size you might want.  They are washable and double stitched for strength.  One tote will hold as much as numerous plastic bags and will last many, many years.  We can all be good stewards of the planet and do our part by using up, reusing, repurposing, and recycling as much as possible.

If you learned something, or see something that you like, leave a comment for me.  I would love to hear from you. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

So Much Talent!

We are a large family and there is a lot of talent shown in lots of people within this family!  I am going to feature one brother in this blog.  He is the middle brother of 5 brothers and his name is Roy.

                                                 Isn't he a handsome one?!

His talents are many and include woodworking.  He has made many furniture pieces for me and I am so blessed to have a custom made cutting table/storage unit in my sewing room, a stand for my aquarium, a custom made turntable for my dinning table, several shadow box display cases, a storage shelf for painting supplies, a tall cabinet for projects, etc., etc.,  He does intarsia work and did this eagle for my husband.

This eagle has a wingspan of 30+ inches!

The work Roy does is what I call excellent!  He has done toy wooden "vintage" vehicles, puzzles, and some wonderful things for himself, including an Irish harp, which I am sorry to say, I don't have a photo of!

What I want to feature here today are these scroll saw designs that he did for my daughter's horse 4-H club fundraiser.  We will be selling raffle tickets for these, but I wanted to show them off here and brag a little bit about my brother!

 The little cowboy
This reminds me of Charles, one of the boys in our club!
(I have to apologize for the photography!)

Dog leading horse

Several people loved this one last year because of the golden retriever!

And last:

Cowboy and his horse

Hope you enjoy seeing these pieces of artwork.  They make me smile!

Thank you, Roy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Some of my flock including the cock of the walk!  Isn't he a beauty!  He is a buff orphington rooster about three years old that I bought from local feed store as a day old chick.
These are year old hens, except for the other buff orphington there eating hen scratch with the Rhode Island Red hens.  She is old! about 6 years old.  She still lays a few eggs in the springtime!

Here are the Bourbon Red turkeys that live with the chickens.  All the neighbors get a kick out of watching the tom strutting and gobbling whenever someone comes within his eyesight!  The hen lays lots of eggs starting in spring and going all summer!  She will lay a dozen or so, then go broody and tries to set.  It takes several days of keeping her from the nest to get her out of the broody mood, then she starts laying again.

Here is the nest with a couple eggs freshly laid.  We love fresh eggs and when the hens can wander around the yard and eat greens and bugs, the eggs are really full of nutrients.  You can tell when they have been eating lots of greens when the yolks turn a really rich orange color.  I love my flock and always enjoy spending time keeping their feed container filled and the water fresh.

Now, here are some of the tote bags I have made from the chicken feed sacks that I have collected.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Several years ago I decided to make some tote bags out of animal feed bags.  The first ones were not very attractive even though they were and are still functional.

I carry all sorts of things in these totes, and the big one is used for our supplement containers whenever Bob and I go on overnight jaunts. I have worked at getting the dimensions just right and now I can cut and sew one of these wonderfully strong bags in less than an hour!

Here is one of the latest totes, made out of pig feed.  Some people love green and some people love pigs!

These are the baby pigs born recently at the pig farm where I get the pink and purple feed bags from some wonderful, generous and friendly people, Greg & Susan Gonzalez at West Coast Show Pig Genetics.  Aren't they just the cutest!!!?  You can find them on Facebook.

These totes are strong as iron and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.  Some of them I use plastic grommets to  make them more "stylish"!  My daughter posted a guest blog on her blogspot PonderedPrimedPerfected.blogspot.com and it was picked up and featured on Roadkill Rescue and most recently, BetterAfter!  What a kick in the pants! There is something fulfilling and rewarding about making something useful out of something that would otherwise be thrown away.  It is something that makes me smile.

This blogspot is still in it's infancy and has lots of room for improvement, but it will come with time and study, when I am not making more totes.  Hope you find something that makes you smile every day!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How GladiolaSmiles came to be

With a name like Gladys, names like Grace, Gladiola, etc., are often used.  Gladys is not a common name, but it is an old one.  I have often wished I had been given a different name, but could never cause my mom distress by changing it.  When I was trying to come up with a catchy name for my Etsy store, so many names that came to mind were already taken.  I thought of "SewMuchBetter", or "SewMuchMore."  But these names seemed to limit me to sewing, and anyway, they were already spoken for. 

How to give my title a personal note and be catchy at the same time?  Our minds are wonderful things, and so I let the idea rest between my ears for the time being, and finally Gladiola came to mind.  I have always been accused of smiling all the time, and I will admit, being positive and happy has always been one of my attributes!  After thinking of the name, writing it down and seeing it in print, and then putting it in the search engine to make sure it wasn't being used anywhere else, I was happy to take it as my own.  Hopefully, it will bring to mind lots of happy thoughts and smiles to others as you join me on this journey on the blogger and the Etsy store.  Right now I am making tote bags out of feed sacks, but quilts are in the planning stages, along with painting projects and lots of gardening and canning.  I love growing some of our own food as well as enjoying the beauty of flowers and birds all over the property.

Join me in future posts as I chronicle my adventures in GladiolaSmiles.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Before I get into the real reason for this blog, I thought it might be a good idea to show the clan.  This was taken in July at our Smith Family Reunion held once every two-three years.  This is only a fraction of the family, there were so many who couldn't attend.  But the ones who did had such a good time and the weather was great.  And the reunion this time was held in honor of our oldest sister, Mary, 5th from the right in the middle row.  She turned 83 this past summer!  She had a great time and was so pleased to be able to attend, to visit, see the horses and even took a ride on the ATV with her son.

Family is very important to me and we always enjoy each other's company, with laughs, stories of the past and sharing of dreams and plans for the future.  The next reunion will be held in a couple years, probably in S. California and the hosts will be nieces and nephews.  Hopefully there will be more in attendance and the family memories will continue to be made.  Until next time, keep smiling.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I made it!

Hello!  I did it, finally!  I have been watching my daughter and son-in-law making such beautiful things together and then posting them on their blog spot and it has inspired me to get in there and do things myself.  Wow, just a few months ago I would never have guessed it!  Right now, this is bare bones, but I will be working at learning as I go along.  The purpose of this little blog is to share my adventurous nature with others and maybe get a little smile from you once in awhile. 

My life has been one of surviving in a normal world, 9th child in a family of 10 kids, growing up in the country on a small farm, with all kinds of animals, birds and bees and never a dull moment!  I have seen technology grow and grow.  As a child, we lived in a house without an indoor bathroom!  We took a bath once a week in the old galvanized tub, littlest kid first.  You know the old saying:  don't throw the baby out with the wash water!?  My mom was a saint and taught me how to embroider, knit and crochet, wash clothes in the old ringer washer, and how to butcher a chicken from start to finish!  You know the saying:   running around like a chicken with it's head cut off!?

I remember as a kid I would spend hours planning some project...planning, planning, planning.  I would never actually get started on doing the project!  Ever been there?  I think it might be called "fear of failure!"  Well, I think I have finally been able to get past the planning stage in my life.  I am the mother of four wonderful, inspiring, grown kids who make me so proud!  I have been able to finish several very large bed quilts and several wall hangings, have done oil and watercolor paintings.  I learned to can from my mother as well as garden, (my garden has never quite come up to the standard of hers, but she is a saint and I don't think I will ever come up to her standard in anything...she had 10 kids!) make clothing and in general, work hard.  In fact, I get as much pleasure from the process as from the outcome!  Oh, I do get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a finished project, but working on it has to be fun, too!

Come along with me on this new adventure and I will try to join you in yours, too.  Smile a little, it is good for you!
Cheers, Gladys