Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 

I will share a few projects with you after Christmas is over. 
You all know how that goes, keeping secrets and all.

My wish for you is a Christmas season full of family, friends, and cheer. 
May God bless you in the coming year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feed the Birds

The view from our kitchen window.

We feed our birds three types of food: black oiled sunflower seeds, niger (thistle) seed, and suet. Left to right above: a suet feeder, two sunflower feeders (one wood, one red metal), and then a mesh sack and two cylinder feeders, the latter three holding thistle seed. 

This set-up brings a nice variety of pretty birds, while at the same time is not attractive to other birds. These "other" birds might be hungry and in need of food but they tend to scare away some of the more skittish birds. Our regulars include four types of woodpeckers, cardinals, purple house finches, goldfinches, juncos, chickadees, white-crowned sparrows, red-breasted nuthatches, mourning doves. . . and these are just our winter birds.

Here's one of our frequent flyers. So fun to watch!

Learn from my fail

A couple ideas for dressing up some glass jars I have around the house.

Pieces of driftwood? Yes.

Rocks? No.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Traditional Damask Red Christmas
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Vintage Travel Case

This beauty was on the bottom shelf at Goodwill. A little dusty, but no scuffs or scratches. Either it wasn't used much or it was treated with lots of TLC.

In my imagination, the sophisticated lady who owned this piece of luggage traveled the countryside on exciting adventures. Weekends in the city for the nightlife, or meandering through the countryside for the tranquil scenery and fresh air.

She carefully applied her ruby red lipstick before rushing out the door for cocktails before dinner.

 I hope it is content to spend its golden years in my sewing room, holding some of my supplies!

I am linking this post to Vintage Thingie Thursday. Click on the icon below to see many beautiful vintage items!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mother Goose Baby Quilt

One of my dear family members is expecting having twins. Can you imagine? So exciting! A girl and a boy. 

For her shower gift, I put together a Mother Goose themed quilt. The center is a panel and I added a red and a yellow border.

I use these nifty plastic clamps, purchased at one of our local home improvement stores. I clamp the edges of my quilt backing fabric, placed right side down, to my table. Then I layer the batting, then the quilt top, right side up.

I pin the layers together with those special curved pins, leaving all the pins open.

A regular spoon works just great to close all the pins. No need for a fancy gadget for this purpose.

One of my favorite parts of the process = trimming the quilt edges. 
That's when it starts looking like a nearly-finished project. 

The binding is actually the outer part of the panel that needed trimming up. 
And the backing is adorable -- sweet little prints of all the Mother Goose characters.

I hope the sweet new babies enjoy looking at the pictures on their quilt!

Click on the link below to visit Sew & Tell Fridays!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let's Play!

Copy and paste the following into your blog and answer the questions. 
Let me know if you do, so I can see what you write!  
  1. Sweet or Savoury?
  2. Dresses or Jeans?
  3. House or Apartment?
  4. Shop Online or Offline?
  5. DVDs or Downloads?
  6. Cocktails or Juice?
  7. Chocolate or Strawberry?
  8. Laptop or PC?
  9. Magazines or Newspapers?
  10. Facebook or Twitter?
  11. CDs or MP3s?
  12. Kids or Pets?
  13. Cookies or Cupcakes?
  14. Walk or Run?
  15. Breakfast in Bed or Breakfast Out?
  16. Market or Supermarket?
  17. Sourdough or Grainy?
  18. Heels or Flats?
  19. Late nights or Not?
  20. Coffee or Tea?

  1. Sweet or Savoury? Sweet. Definitely sweet.
  2. Dresses or Jeans?  Jeans, at work, at home, everywhere.
  3. House or Apartment? House. On an acre in the country.
  4. Shop Online or Offline? Online. LOVE online shopping.
  5. DVDs or Downloads? DVDs. Internet connection too slow. (see #3)
  6. Cocktails or Juice? Depends on the occasion. Both have their place in my life.
  7. Chocolate or Strawberry? Chocolate. But I do love strawberry too.
  8. Laptop or PC? Laptop. Don't know how I got by in the old days with a computer that couldn't be toted around.
  9. Magazines or Newspapers? Magazines. But I am trying to let some of my subscriptions expire. Trying to, anyway.
  10. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. I have a Twitter account but never go there.
  11. CDs or MP3s? CDs
  12. Kids or Pets? Both. But the kids are grown and kitty is still here.
  13. Cookies or Cupcakes? Cookies. So many kinds, so little time.
  14. Walk or Run? Walk. These knees don't appreciate running.
  15. Breakfast in Bed or Breakfast Out? Breakfast out. Pancakes, please.
  16. Market or Supermarket? Farmer's market is best.
  17. Sourdough or Grainy? Grainy. 
  18. Heels or Flats? Flats.
  19. Late nights or Not? I have to say "not." Sigh.
  20. Coffee or Tea? Tea is my preference, but I drink both.

These photos have nothing to do with this post, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two Renewed Bathrooms

All of this happened during the summer and I am just getting around to blogging about it.

BEFORE: We have lived here since 1994. For the first 10 years, or so, this bathroom was our Packer bathroom. In recent years I put away the Packer decor (got a little tired of it) but it was still Packer colors and still ugly with really dated plastic tiles. Who ever thought plastic tiles were a good idea?

AFTER: Finally this year we bit the bullet and stretched the budget to remodel both of our bathrooms. Below, behold Bathroom #1 in all it's glory. These two rooms are very small, but I absolutely love how they turned out. They look fresh and new but still in the style of a mid-century ranch/cottage style house in the country.

Beautiful tile job, wainscoting. 

On to Bathroom #2 . . .

I failed to get before shots, but picture, if you will, a teeny tiny claustrophobic closet-sized bathroom with a leaky mildew-prone shower stall with a glass door. Hate glass doors and those tracks that get full of crud.

The bathroom is still the same size but seems larger since the shower area is now open and beautifully tiled.

Two shower curtains, purchased from Kohl's. I then shortened one of them into a window curtain.

Nice tile detail on the floor.

Very happy with how these two rooms turned out. Bathrooms are a pricey remodel (yikes!) but totally worth it. Makes life easier and much more pleasant when you have two new bathrooms.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Painted Pumpkin Faces

We're getting to the stage around here where some of the local growth is turning brown and dried-up looking. But it's still quite beautiful.

Every year I paint pumpkins for my dear mother-in-law. This has been going on for quite some time now. You'd think she'd be sick of these, but no, she loves them and enjoys using them to decorate her doorway. Pretty sure her neighbors get a kick out of them too.

Simple project: use a Sharpie pen to outline your design. Eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth.

Fill in with acrylic paints. Use basic colors or not-so-basic. It's your pumpkin, be creative! 
Important: don't forget the white accents. Apply these after the first layer of paint is completely dry. The white highlights really make these cuties come alive. Have fun!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Bit of Progress

I whipped up this simple project, using two fat quarters. Right sides together, stitch along sides leaving space to turn right side out. Press and topstitch close to edge. I placed it on a side table, but it would make a cute basket liner too.

I think those are bittersweet blossoms.

My mom embroidered these squares and I finally got them sewn together with sashing. 
Still need to add one, or maybe two, borders. 

Then I will machine quilt along the sashings. After that, I plan to hand-quilt around the motifs themselves. Or, I should say my mom and I will quilt them, having our own little quilting bee. She sounded a little hesitant, since she's never hand-quilted before, but we'll manage just fine. And end up with a precious heirloom as a result.  I'll keep you posted!

In the meantime, enjoy your week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall is in the air

A dilemma. Fresh air through the open windows (and I do mean "country fresh") or closed windows and stuffy house but minus those certain scents that go with country living.

Easy! Open windows! It's worth it, really, this time of year.

This year's pumpkin count: 57

Pumpkins just glow with fun. No matter what their age, kids LOVE pumpkins. We enjoy this time of year and having family and friends come out to pick out their own special pumpkin. 

Some choose a big pumpkin and some like little ones.

 Milkweed pods fully open, spreading their seeds on the wind. Yay butterflies!

I hope you find a pumpkin that makes you smile as you celebrate fall in your corner of the world.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Make a Garland of Indian Corn

This is the third year we have displayed these garlands of Indian Corn.  For most of the year, they hang from the rafters in the garage. We hang them in the center of the garage and somehow they have remained safe from mice. 

This was an easy project, but might be cost-prohibitive unless you grow your own corn. But, as I said, it will last for years if stored properly. And I really love the look of it on our house.

Bundle three ears of corn and bind tightly around the husks with florist's wire. Use the ends of the same wire to attach each bunch securely to heavy jute twine, leaving some space between bunches. Make loops on the end of each swag and hang from hooks or nails. We leave the nails there and use them to hang our Christmas greenery.

Below is my absolutely favorite perennial: Gaillardia aristata. As you see below, all stages of blooms are attractive: buds, full blooms, and spent blooms. It blooms for most of the summer. I have never deadheaded it, but an online search recommends it. It also recommends dividing every 2-3 years, but I've never done so. I do notice that it spreads up and down my flower bed, which I love (nothing better than free plants!).

Enjoy your week!
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