Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leaving for vacation....

We're leaving tomorrow, the 22nd, and heading to Indian Rocks Beach, FL to spend about 10 days at our friends' beach house. Patrick and Katie are nice enough to have us down every year and we have such a good time there.
We have a wonderful dog/cat/housesitter named Carole who will hold down the fort while we're gone and keep things running smoothly around here so we'll have absolutely NO worries at all. And isn't that what a vacation is supposed to be all about?

This is the view from the front yard and we eat dinner every night at this table. In the background, you can just barely see the roped-off sea turtle nest, this is the one that 147 babies hatched out of 2 months later.

The water looks different almost every day.

This was taken last year on our last night- we hated to leave, the sunsets were spectacular and we saw the green flash at least 5 times, which is a record for us because some years we didn't see it at all.

I'll have photos to share when we get home and I'll get to go to my absolute favorite quilt shop in the whole world, Rainbow's End in Dunedin, FL which is about a 15 minute drive from the beach house. I could spend a whole day there, and I might if it's raining! Anyway, I'll come home with new fabrics to work with and that's pretty exciting for me, since I am addicted to fabric.

Stay out of trouble!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Confessions of a plate addict... and new fabric, too.

After making the pillowcase for my mother, I was reminded of some Melmac plates we had when I was a kid. They had violets on them and I know she bought them piece by piece, or maybe a place setting at a time, from the grocery store in Mequon, Wisconsin, probably Sentry grocery store. I think it was a deal like if you spend $10, you get a place setting for $2, something like that. Well, we had these pretty plates and ate off of them for years. Little by little I think they yellowed or broke, somehow they all disappeared.
Ebay is a wonderful thing. :) I found a set of the exact same dishes, made by Royalon, Inc up for auction and I was happy to win them. Service for 4. I think I'll split this set with my mom, if she wants some of them, and I think she will. Not microwave safe, but I don't care, these plates bring back such happy memories, like eating birthday cake in May- cake that was decorated with big bunches of lilacs on them, which were always blooming right at my birthday in late May in Wisconsin.

Look at how prettily the seller package it up for me! And the set is in near mint condition! Yay! 40 years old and almost perfect, that's amazing to me. I don't really need more plates, I can't even use all the ones I have now, but I couldn't resist these. I think this will make my 6th or 7th set of dinnerware. But come on, don't you think they're sweet?
I had a great sale on Etsy the other day and took the opportunity (and the money) to buy some more fabric. This is the same fabric I used on the triangular bag I blogged about earlier, along with 2 accompanying pieces. Love this stuff, it's Moda's Swanky by Chez Moi.

And I got some more of Timeless Treasures Gypsy fabric, like my red purse is made out of. I love the bright, bold colors and the graphic.

This is fun, hot fabric! It makes me happy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Irises in the pond.....

Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but I actually stepped foot out of the house and into the soggy yard area to get a few pix of our water-blooming irises. We have a decent sized pond out where we feed the deer and in it are 2 different kinds of irises. The yellow ones bloom first, purple ones will follow in a few weeks. As you can see, it's been quite rainy around here, the pond is full and the plants are waking up. We have parrot feather/fern and floating hearts, fiber optic grass, yellow lotuses and irises. There are frogs and tadpoles and sometimes even fish and an occasional water snake, ugh. Murphy likes to hunt frogs here.

Two of the cats followed us down there and were so funny- when they got to the real soggy parts of the yard they would run like hell through them just to get it over with, I guess. I didn't know Murphy could still run like that, he's a bit "lunchy" as my mother would say. lol

About 16 years ago, the county was giving away tiny little trees, they looked like twigs in a cup. Jim figured out which tree was which as they weren't labeled and he planted one in this spot, a green ash. He nearly mowed it down several times, it was almost impossible to see in the tall grass, but it lived and look at it now! It's right next to the pond and now he's so proud and I'm amazed at what a gorgeous tree it turned out to be.

Now, if only it would stop raining so much and dry up a bit and WARM up, I'm too cold for nearly mid-May!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day Gifts....

My mother, aka "The Mumster" is going to be 89 in Dec. She's such a neat lady, she's from London, England but she is a naturalized citizen of the US, something she is very proud of. She is incredibly funny and I love to make her things that I think will make her happy. She (this must be where I get it) loves colors, especially bright colors, but purple is both of our favorite color. When I saw this fabric, I knew I had to make her something. It was going to be a purse like the red one I did in an earlier post, but I didn't think I had enough time since I bought the fabric Friday and Mother's Day is only 2 days away, so I thought PILLOWCASE!

I quick washed the fabric and got right on it and about an hour or so later, had it done. OK, maybe it took 2 hours, I wasn't counting, but it was a lot faster than making a purse! I had only purchased a half yard of 3 different fabrics, so each side of the case is different. I love this fabric! It has soft, pretty colors and a sheen to it, it's by Lakehouse and it's gorgeous. I think she'll like it. She better use it or I have to bop her on head!

Don't tell her but she's also getting some good black licorice, Aussie Style, and some lovely chocolate covered Bing cherries. And a card and visit from us- her only daughter and her favorite son-in-law. lol

Isn't it pretty? The dots are shiny and the swirls on the background of the butterfly piece are shiny, also. I would love a bedroom done in this fabric, but my husband might not think so much of it. lol

She's also getting a new pinnie, done in cat fabric with mice pockets, reversible and lined with a great striped fabric. The pattern is from The Brassy Apple, it's the Lucy pattern and comes as an e-pattern, so there's no waiting if you order one, you'll have it so fast in your email inbox. And the pattern is fast and easy and fits great. I shortened this one a bit as Mum is quite petite, but I like the shorter version for me, too.

Happy Mother's Day to The Mumster! She's the best mom and best friend a girl could ever hope for.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Triangle Zippered Pouch.....

I have been bothered a lot lately with the less than perfect corners that you can get when making a zippered pouch because of all the bulk with the zipper and 4 pieces of fabric and maybe even interfacing, all coming together at the top corners of the bags. After seeing a pattern at the local quilt shop with nice, clean corners, I decided to try something to make mine better.

I took a strip of fabric, slightly wider than the zipper, about 3" long maybe and turned under the 2 short ends about 1/4" and pressed. Then I laid one pressed edge over the zipper and lined up the under one even with the top and stitched it into place. I did that at both ends, about 3/4" in from my desired length, stitching slowly so I didn't break a needle. Then I trimmed away almost all of the zipper tape that was under there, reducing the bulk immensely. Trim the rest of the fabric to the same width as the zipper tape and continue on making the pouch as normal. It worked really well, as you can see! The fabric is Swanky Chez Moi, Moda Beverly Hills Vintage New Floral Blush, it's really pretty and has a pattern repeat from selvedge to selvedge. I think I need more of this pretty fabric!
The side...
Open- lining....
The bottom..................

The Beach House Gourd...

OK, I'm shamelessly posting photos of older crafts, to beef up the blog and immortalize my thoughts on them forever. :) I painted this gourd for our friends with the beach house a few years ago after our first vacation there. It looks like their beach house, as best as I could do it. Like the beach house sign, I painted two, one to keep.
It's an older home and divided into 2 halves, each with a kitchen, living area, bath, dining area, Murphy beds, porch and screen room. There's a connecting door between the halves so we can interact with each other. We had had so much fun, friends and family came over to spend time with us and we tie-dyed t-shirts and shark-tooth hunted, etc. Their house is right on the beach, go down about 4 steps off the sea wall, walk thru the sea oats on the dune and you're on the beach. We just love it there, there is a constant breeze and it's never too hot unless you're standing still on the sand in the hot sun.

We eat in the front yard at night and watch the sun set, last year I think we saw the green flash 4 or 5 times, it was amazing. Sometimes you can go years without seeing it, it all depends on cloud cover, pollution, the breeze, etc.
This gourd has a secret hiding place in it. If you remove the hose from the front of the house, it releases a wire loop that is holding in the door on the other side, where the flamingo is. This door will come out and you can access the inside of the gourd. I got this idea from a gourd book years ago and have used it a few times. I like to disguise the door in the painting on the gourd so the lines of the trees coming together hide the cut marks.

The 3D mailbox is an exact replica of their actual mailbox in the back yard by the street. A neighbor lady made it for the 3 homes there and she attached mosiac tiles and shells to it, it's adorable and so beachy.

Even the bottom of the gourd has a story- manatees have been known to cruise up and down the beach and one scared the snot out of one of our friends when the large, gray shape next to him popped up! He said he could count his whiskers! Our other friend was busily walking on water to get away from the large, gray, unknown shape. And there you have it, the beach house gourd.

The Funked Out Peasant Blouse and my very first quilt...

Pattern by Lila Tueller, fabrics by Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler and one other. I love this blouse, it takes a little getting used to wearing it as it's quite busy and flamboyant but after it's on and it's so comfy, you forget that you're making a real statement when you're wearing it. OK, honestly I felt like a clown the first time, but after a couple of compliments, I relaxed. :)
In March, I participated in a quilt-along put on by Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson. I decided to do bright colors with white and it came out better than I had hoped for.

The front.

The back, label in bottom corner.

Closer view of the fabrics I used.

Elizabeth's tutorials were outstanding and I learned so much. ALL her tutes are great, be sure to check out her entire blog. I finished the quilt in April while my husband was out of town, I needed a good block of time (ha, no pun!) to do the actual machine quilting, I think it took me at least 8 hours and I was scared to death, but it turned out really well, especially for a first attempt. The cats all seem to approve, too, they can hardly stand to be off of it! I usually keep it with the back up so it won't show the dirt and fur as badly as it would on the white, but it is machine washable, thank goodness.

Beeswax and Murphy, all cuddled up. No matter where I put the quilt, they always seem to find it, even if they have to squinch up in the rocker to share.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Spring Purse.... butterflies and brave husbands...

A few days ago, Elizabeth, from Oh, Fransson posted a purse pattern at Sew, Mama, Sew and it's so cute and easy to make! I made one for a friend yesterday, I swear it only took about an hour and a half from start to finish, including cut out the pattern. I made the large one as my friend is very tall and slender, I thought the small one might look silly on her. I had 2 fat quarters of a great Hoffman butterfly fabric and since my friend adores butterflies AND blues and greens together, I knew I had to make this for her. Could this fabric BE any prettier?

The bag is spacious, I imagine she'll probably use it to haul her knitting around with her, or some books. I added a divided pocket inside so her cell phone or pager would have a place of its own.

The inside is a green and white stripe that I don't particularly care much for, so using it as the lining was perfect. It actually looks better in person than it does here. And the strap and pocket are a great blue/green/purple stripe that I had run opposite the lining stripes.

So you can see its size, I asked my very brave husband to model it for me. He's a good sport, but he needs a haircut, so I chopped off his head! Ow! lol

This bag will be going to FL in Monday's mail, adios little butterflies!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some close ups...

The tiles are about 3.5" high, and about 2.25" wide. I had a lot of fun finding things to put on the right letters, it was a challenge. My husband helped a lot, though, he comes up with some good ideas. Had to drag out the dictionary, too, because some of the letters were hard. A- What did we do at the beach house that started with an A? Not a lot, as it turns out!
I made 2 of these boards, one to keep and one to give. I have a hard time parting with things I've spent a lot of time on, so I always make 2 if I can.

My first adventure into blog-land...

Gosh, I hope this doesn't end up boring anyone to tears. Maybe if I don't tell anyone about it.... :)

So I've been painting for a couple of weeks now, a gift for friends who invite us down to their FL beach house every year where we have the best times with them. We walk the beach looking for sharks teeth, the black/prehistoric ones, we do crafts, we watch the sun set every evening from the picnic table in the front yard, we have pirate adventures and go on hikes and just have the best 10 days/2 weeks of the year, at their lovely old beach house.
So this year, we decided to make them something wonderful.... well, we think it's wonderful.

It's a board with 10 tiles on it, each tile depicting something to do with our vacations there.



A-Arts and Crafts

C-Coconut Cups (my husband made one for each of us and our guests the first year.)

H-Hatch- A loggerhead sea turtle made a nest there our 2nd year and she had 147 eggs hatch 2 months later!

H-Horizon for the sunsets we watch over the Gulf

O-Oysters at the local oyster bar

U-Umbrellas cover the beach and our drinks!

S- Sharks teeth

E-Egrets, these are great, fun-to-watch birds!

I got the idea for this from something a lady did for her baby's room- it was a great idea and we had a lot of fun planning this out.

Anyway, this is my first post on my new blog. What a way to start a May!