Sunday, June 26, 2016

SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE...


Iced tea with a sprig of home grown peppermint means summer to me!  For many, MANY years I have not grown anything at all, no veggies, no annuals, no roses...not even peppermint!  But this year I started small...one peppermint plant, two grape tomato plants and two heirloom big tomato plants.  The first thing I was able to harvest was my peppermint...and I am SO happy to see refrigerator tea brewing and a sprig of peppermint in every glass!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MY GOAL OF NATURAL LIVING...


After years of embracing the world of plastic, chemicals and GMO foods that surrounds us, I am on a quest for a simpler, more natural way of living.  This weekend I stopped at an Amish roadside market and bought these beautiful strawberries.  All of these cost a mere $6 and the taste is SCRUMPTIOUS!


Strawberry laden cereal is my favorite summertime breakfast!   I will make sure to freeze some of strawberries before they have a chance to become overripe. 


This is also the year I have decided to begin growing a bit of my own food.  Just a few containers for now, but hopefully that will increase year by year.  The pretty blue pot on the left is filled with peppermint.  Mmmmm....soon I will be able to plop a few sprigs into my iced tea for the true taste of summer!


In this pot I have planted two varieties of heirloom tomatoes, Brandywine and Gold Medal.  I intend to save the seeds to begin plants on my own next year. 


These two plants are Grape tomatoes to use in salads and for eating plain. 

I stil have two more self watering pots so I may plant some zucchini and peppers this weekend.  Hopefully I haven't waited to long to start. 

I am seriously considering planting two blueberry bushes in my back yard.  Maybe....

From the time I was very little I have always wanted a huge garden.  Every summer we spent two weeks "down the shore" at my great-aunt and great-uncle's house.  My great-uncle was VERY big into gardening and I can remember spending hours on end rocking in his chair and browsing through the seed books in the magazine rack at my elbow.  Oh how I dreamed of a big garden!

Marrying a man who does not like vegetables and then giving birth to a son who also turns his nose up at veggies has made my dream out of the question.  But the little guy LOVES veggies and this grandma will happily plant some of his favorites! 

Wish me luck!

Toodles...

Monday, May 16, 2016

MY SEWING ROOM IS FINISHED...


This is the entrance to my Scrappy Happy, Therapy Place!  Since I hung that mini quilt, my Dear Hubby has been referring to my sewing room as my Therapy Room.  Considering that my sewing/quilting is the only thing that keeps me sane some days, he isn't far off of the mark!  It took quite a while, but I was finally able to get my doors painted.  I worked literally one full day from early morning until dinner time to finish the painting.  However, breaking the job up into 8 separate sections allowed me to spread the work out over multiple hours, including breaks, without a "dry edge" showing.  There was one problem, but I am going to "let it go" until the time when we repaint the foyer.

The lighting in my room is HORRIBLE.  On a sunny day the light is a wee bit better, but still not good.  Unfortunately, our area has had practically NO sun for what seems like FOREVER!  So I have been painting in very poor lighting.  When I finally saw the paint in good light, I realized that it was "duller" than the rest of my doors.  A quick check of the can revealed "semi-gloss" as opposed to the "glossy" paint I have used everywhere else in my home.  I was all ready to blame myself for ordering the wrong paint.   When I mentioned to Dear Hubby that I had messed up on the paint order he begged to differ.  "No you didn't mess up.  I was standing right next to you.  You ordered GLOSSY!"  I feel a little better knowing it wasn't MY fault that I'm unhappy with the paint job, and since I have made the conscious decision not to sweat the small stuff...I'm perfectly okay with leaving the doors as they are.  The doors are protected with paint and they will service my sewing room just fine for the time being.


Immediately to the left of the door is my plastic drawer unit and the bench where visitors can sit.  I apologize for such a horrible picture but, try as I might, I could not get a better photo.  This drawer unit holds all sorts of "craft" items...beads, glue gun and glue, paint brushes, etc.; along with my current cotton scraps, denim scraps that will never fit in my designated denim trunk (I really need to make another denim quilt) and miscellaneous white, cream and black fabrics.



Inside the bench, to the left, is where I store all of the information pertaining to machine embroidery patterns.  The patterns are sorted according to type...Sayings, Seasons/Holidays, Inanimate, Living, Food, Unsorted/Miscellaeneous/Techniques.  Beneath these folders is a blue box that holds small pieces of stabilizer.  The right cubbie holds my embroidery module, hoops and a zippered pouch to contain all of the "small" necessities:  embroidery needles, bobbin thread, the embroidery bobbin holder, etc.
 


My 'Perky Petal Pillow" was a project made about a year ago.


After J built the bench, I used scraps from the pillow to make the bench cover.


Next along the front wall of my home is my massive Ikea PAX storage unit.  (Peek Inside!)  My old sewing room, though small, did have a large closet.  This being the old living room...no closet at all.  I am in LOVE with this PAX unit.  Inside I store all of my precuts, UFOs, clothing patterns, sorted scraps, larger cuts of fabric, cotton yarn, sock yarn and crocheting supplies.  I have a large box of assorted acrylic yarn under my cutting table.


On top of this metal rolling cart is my pink and white onyx chess set from Mexico.  I carried this bugger, along with a matching backgammon set, onyx bookends, onyx ashtray and 8 pieces of onyx fruit home from Mexico as a "carry on"...on my lap.  By the time our plane landed in Philadelphia I had extremely sore arm muscles and totally numb thighs!  Some 30+ years later it is still one of my favorite possessions.  The pretty pink and green trunk behind it holds all of my embroidery thtread.

Inside of the top drawer is a Tupperware craft container purchased back in the 1970s.  It holds all of my "sewing" supplies...thimbles, chalk, beeswax, pins, etc.  The second drawer holds miscellaneous design scissors, a craft knife set, and even a small automotive tool set, complete with a seat belt cutter and window punch.  I really need to get that out into my glove box as it isn't at all useful in here!  The next drawer down holds all of my ribbons and trims; while the bottom drawer holds pellon products, freezer paper, zip lock storage bags, etc.

Next to the rolling cart is a box that holds items I am selling on ebay and my vacuum cleaner...a necessity in ANY sewing room.



On the back wall of my room are my Sizzix cutting station, my design board and my cutting table.


The top of this cubbie holds my Sizzix machine and a pink bucket for scraps/trash, complete with a small pair of scissors to cut the occasional incomplete die cut.  The extension for our land line also sits on top as it is the ONLY oulet in the room that has not been occupied!


Three of the cubbies hold my Sizzix dies; while the fourth holds a porcelain piggy bank given to me when I was an infant.  Another sentimental piece.


The verdict is still out on this portable design wall.  While I am sure it will be WONDERFUL for use while on vacation, the bars that provide the standing structure are way too large for the design board to sit close to the wall.  I took off the standing bar, along with the vertical bar in order to move the design board closer to the wall.  Because there is no vertical bar holding the top and bottom parallel, the top is bowing.  I must say, however, I don't know how I EVER existed without a large design board! Maybe some day I will have J make me a permanent design board attached to the wall.  Maybe...


In the center of the room, sitting directly in front of my sewing table are two bookshelves that I purchased from Big Lots.  I desperately needed more storage in the room and was looking for something that would provide a bit more support when quilting large items.  Nothing is worse than a quilt pulling downward while you are trying to FMQ!  I, personally, built these bookcases and they were easy as can be (pat-patting myself on the back).  The top narrow shelves hold my scale for mailing out eBay items, my old chess set for playing chess with my 4.5 yo grandson (his favorite place to play is on the button rug) and a large box from chocolate Christmas candy which holds all of my larger pieces of embroidery stabilizer.  The far left middle shelf container holds packing tape, while the other three middle shelf containers hold my essential oils.  The bottom row of containers are empty, but eventually will hold scrap fabric cut to 2.5" squares, 5" squares, 2.5" strips and 5" strips...I think.  I will see which precut sizes I use most often before I finalize the contents.


This is the area to the left of my sewing table.  The peanut butter jars contain pony tail holders, rubber bands, miscellaneous safety pins, 505 spray, tape measure and dressmakers tape, Best Press, sewing scissors and pinking shears.  My FMQ gloves and super glide are also stored here.


On the right side of my machine is a six sectioned container to hold my frequently used items.  The little purple tin is my thread catcher.  The shot glass holds my pins.  I very rarely use a pin cushion as I find just dropping the pins into the magnetized shot glass to be much easier.  As you can see there are numerous lights to try to improve upon the lighting situation in this room.  They don't really work and I believe the only solution will be lights in the ceiling.  That will take some saving up to afford!


On the end of my sewing table I store the bench that came with the table, a turqoise container full of books I intend to read some day, an orchid afghan in case my legs get chilly and my own personal tool kit.


I use an Ikea table for my cutting/ironing table.  Unfortunately, now that it is placed in a corner, I have lost the use of 3 of the drawers in the table.  But it was a small price to pay for moving to a much bigger room.  Next to the drawers are an Ikea Helmer set of drawers.  They are used to store all of my threads.  On top of the table I keep my small pressing board and iron, my current project fabrics (behind the iron), a bin full of mending, a metal bin full of glues/adhesives, a zippered pouch full of empty bobbins, pink boxes full of bias tape, ric rack, etc.  the blue CD holder contains all of my small templates while the white letter organizer holds my rulers.  There is a small ceramic "bag" for pens and pencils and a small pink tray for presser feet.  Below I store my cutting ruler and my tiny iron.


The plastic bin on the floor holds outgrown clothing to make my grandson a quilt.  I think eventually I may purchase an Ikea Raskog cart to hold works in progress.  The big piece of furniture has a file cabinet drawer for sorting PDF patterns and two more drawers for more supplies.  GEEZ we quilters use a LOT of stuff!  My collection of quilting/crafting/sewing books is at maximum capacity!  The cubbies that sit on top hold all of my buttons, a vase of artificial flowers bought for me by J when he was a little child.  He took his money into the Dollar Store and picked out the vase and flowers and paid for them himself.  I will treasure it always.  Next to it is the only toy still remaining from my childhood...a Kozmic Kiddle!


I painted this little table YEARS ago.  It is perfect to hold my tea for one pot and cup along with a selection of teas.  Below it is the cash box I use whenever I have a garage sale.


Next up is my desk area.  I will admit...it is MESSY!  The bookcase stereo belongs to J and will eventually be moving off of my desk.  When my computer died a month or so ago, J bought speakers for my new computer so I no longer need his stereo.  See that pile of folders in front of my monitor?  They are the items that I am still working on daily!  Between our two floods, residing the house, taking care of my parents' medical issues, my medical issues and Dear Hubby's medical issues...I've got enough paperwork to choke a horse!  And, like the proverbial plumber with a leaky sink, as someone who worked with papers every day for the 30+ years I worked....I procrastinate horribly!!!

So that is it for my new sewing space.  Dear Hubby has been trying to talk me into moving to the living room for the past three years and I refused to.  I will say it here for all to see...I. WAS. WRONG!  I love this room more than I could have possibly expected.  Being on the first floor has made my life physically much easier.  And with two windows looking out onto my front porch and landscaping I feel like I am almost sitting outside!  It is, in a word, heavenly! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

PROGRESS ON MY CHARITY QUILT...


I have gotten a bit more done on my charity quilt.  Originally I was very unhappy with the scrappy look of the quilt, even though I tried to keep the zig-zag going.  Then I had the idea to frame it all up with a black border.  Now I'm lovin' it!  It is still VERY scrappy inside the black boundaries, but the calm gray is really making the colors pop.  More to come...

Toodles...

Monday, May 2, 2016

A LITTLE CREATIVE MENDING...


Would it surprise you to learn that I'm not a big fan of mending?  Frankly, I don't know anyone who is!  However, I AM a fan of making the things that I and my family own last as long as possible.  Sitting on the top of my mending pile is a pair of jeans belonging to J's girlfriend.  She gave them to me last week and asked me to mend a rip.  The rip is located below the waistband and is a tear in the actual denim...not a seam.  They are a well loved pair of jeans and she was hoping she didn't have to trash them.  We all have those well worn jeans, don't we?  I told her I would do my best to try to match up the fabric as closely as possible.  She said that "close" would be fine since she usually wears her tops "out" as opposed to "tucked".  As long as the tear was closed/covered, she would be happy!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the before.  That is probably because I didn't decide to add a bit of creativity to the repair until after I had begun the mending.  The first thing I did was to look for a bit of denim in my stash that wasn't too "off".  


The denim that matched most closely was a pair of her 4 year old son's outgrown jeans.  She had given them to me to add to my denim collection months and months ago.  Oh how absolutely PERFECT!  By mending her pants with his old jeans, she could carry a piece of her son's clothing with her! 

The first thing I did was cut a piece of denim that was significantly larger than the rip...about 1" all around.   Using Wonder Under I "appliqued" the square of denim to the inside of the jeans.  Now how to handle the outside patch?

Anyone who meets this sweet young woman realizes very quickly that to her "family" is everything.  One of her favorite quotes comes from the movie Lilo and Stitch.  Having never seen the movie, I may be misquoting here but you will get the idea..."Ohana means family and that means nobody is ever left behind or forgotten".  Ohana...the perfect word to tie her son's jeans to her mending! 

So I cut another piece of denim and after trying a few different fonts on my sewing machine,  I embroidered the word "Ohana" onto the denim patch.  I chose a thread as close in color to the top-stitching as I could find.  I then cut the denim patch to size and using Wonder Under attached it to her jeans.  A bit of blanket stitch to make sure the patch stayed in place and it was done! 

The finished mending...


She hasn't seen these yet, but hopefully the significance of the patch fabric and her favorite phrase will make her smile.  To me it is certainly better than a simple piece of denim slapped over the tear.  When you think outside of the box, even a bit of mundane mending can ignite your creative spark!

Toodles...

Monday, April 18, 2016

COME IN AND SIT A SPELL...


My bench pad is finally finished!!!  I am so in love with it.  It still needs a good pressing and I'm waiting for an Office Depot order that includes 3M Command Strips to attach it to the bench so it stays firmly in place.


I used the leftover fabric from the pillow in the above photo to make the geese.  The red stripe fabric is the backing on the pillow. 


The backing is a prequilted fabric that I received for free.  I added an additional piece of polyester batting to make it a little more "cushy" for the "tushy"!  

This is my favorite kind of project...completely made up of scraps and freebies!  Hmmmm...what to make next?

Toodles...