Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Creative Space

Recently we added this huge chalk board to our wall.  I imagined it as a grand family organization center.  It does do a bit of that but only clear at the top where little arms can't reach!  Up there you will find my cleaning schedule.  The person that loves it most is my daughter.  This is a kid that spends 85% of her free time creating something so it is optimal for her.  A bucket nearby holds all the chalk and something to erase with.  I purchased a 4x8 sheet of fiber board and used the recipe at the bottom to create my own chalk paint.  All told, it was probably a $15.00 project.  I had the board cut to 4x6 at the store so that I could get it in my sedan without too much hanging out the back.  Now to find some old yard sticks to frame it with!

2 Tablespoon non-sanded ground
1/2 cup paint

I used my hand mixer to mix it all together.  I would recommend, mix, set, mix, set and mix again if you feel the need.  The setting seems to help get some of the lumps out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Something to Inspire

Some more from my last visit to Nebraska.  I am always enchanted by the eclectic garden.  The one that looks sculpted by hand and not a professional gardener.  One where you are likely to find a dirt covered dweller thinking up some new way to arrange the wine bottles....

place the plate shards in concrete, or discovering new ways to use an old toilet.  It is typically a place that is overgrown,

with lots of texture and where the common looks uncommon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


During my fathers visit this fall he brought me several garlic heads that he grew in his own garden in Texas.  I have never grown garlic before so there is no better time than the present!  Fall is the time to plant so I selected the largest bulbs and planted a dozen or so.  As a general rule, seeds and bulbs are planted at a depth that equals their height.  So for these, about 1.5 inches.  These are large bulbs with a mild flavor.  It will be fun to see how they do next fall.  I plan to mulch them in with some leaves to protect them.  Hopefully they are not too soft given that they came from Texas!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival Highlights

Had the opportunity to see some spectacular things at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival this year.  I love the purple peach combo of the quilt above.  These are colors I would have never thought to put together.  These first three images I am sharing with you are from the Irena Bluhm quilt exhibit. The stitch work shows a lot of detail and is what makes these quite extraordinary.

Sorry for the poor photos.  I was once again out and about without my camera!

I enjoyed the look of the half circles below.  The circles appeared to be appliqued. I liked the simple design and think the technique might work great with pennants too.

The next two photos are from the booth of Michelle Crawford of Flower Box Quilts.  My sister and I took a class from her in the morning.  The class description read like this "What do you do with all your scraps? Become a frugal and "green" quilter by recycling your scraps! Learn Michele's formula, The More the Merrier for creating scrap quilts. Learn how to use color value in creating contrast, depth and movement in your scrap quilts. Lecture includes PowerPoint presentation and trunk show."   I was thinking great I have have a lot of scraps and could use some information on color theory.  Well my friends, I paid $20.00 and spent 2 hours to look at photos of other peoples quilts and listen to her promote her books for 1.5 hours.  The actual content of the lecture was a scant 20 minutes.

I was disappointed to say the least.  Imagine my surprise when I snapped these photos in the booth and was promptly lectured that she does not allow photos!  I did not see a sign in any of the other booths limiting photos and low and behold if you hit her website you will find this block layout on the front of Quilter Magazine.  

She has a great idea for making over sized blocks from scraps and then cutting them up and resewing them but it didn't require 2 hours of lecture time.  I wish I'd spent my $20 on fabric.  Sigh.  You win some and you loose some.

This little owl rocked my world!  I am truly amazed as some of the ART pieces that show up at the quilt fairs.  I do not have 1/10th the patience of most of these people but I appreciate their efforts.  I would just love to have this guy watching over me at night!

These last two photos are from the Route 66 exhibit.  Its a 60 ft long fabric map dipicting the historic highway with small "picture" quilts from around the country.

Monday, August 20, 2012

UpCycled Greenhouse

While visiting family in Nebraska I came across this little greenhouse at a boutique we visited.  I loved the upcycled nature of the greenhouse hiding around the side yard. Vintage windows, recycled lumber, doors, sink and a bit of this and that to make it all whole.  It was great and  a testament to what you can do with a little creativity!

The sidewalls were solid under the benches.  It really was a hodge podge of everything but seemed pretty cozy and inviting to me.

I think my husband would be horrified if I started collecting piles of debris to build this sweet little unit.  Sigh. Sorry for the poor photos.  I am notorious for going on adventures without my camera but I bet you get the idea!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival

Just a little note to remind you that the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival is this coming weekend! August 17-19 at the Ranch. Check the Website for more information. Maybe I'll see you there!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sphinx in the Garden

I love having unique visitors to the yard.  This is a White Lined Sphinx Moth.  Also known as Hawk Moth or Hummingbird Moth.  They are rather large and really beautiful.  So furry you almost want to pet them.  This one sat in the jam of the door for the day so we could ogle it.  They are great garden pollinators so be sure not to harm them.   I like the idea of a Sphinx coming to visit!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Millions of Peaches

This is my peach tree.  Just a little tyke in the world of peach trees and hardly more than about 7' tall.  It has been in the ground two seasons now.  The warm spring brought tons of little peaches.  I picked about 50% off to start as I knew there was no way the tree would hold that many.  The second time I cleared another 25% as it was looking really heavy.  Last week I came home to find it nearly laying on the ground and decided it was time for a little intervention.  The peaches were mostly red so I picked 75% of them keeping the largest.  I knew there had to be a way to turn them so they didn't go to waste.

A google search turned up the following idea.  I placed them in the basement between two tea towels.  Carefully laying them in one layer, stem side down and not touching, I tucked them in. About one week later, I have some wonderfully ripe peaches!  I wish I had kept the small ones too but it will be wonderful when the few left on the tree ripen naturally.  It seems pretty common to think they can be put in a paper bag to ripen but most of the research I turned up discouraged it.

The birds are coming now.  Pecking at the ones that are visible.  After the birds come the ants come.  I hope there are a few ripe ones left on that that tree for me!

If you were wondering, I picked this tree up at Happy Life Gardens here in Greeley.  It is a Red Haven Peach.  I couldn't be happier with the selection!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Girls World

A recent browse through Borders had me bringing home Jennifer Paganelli's Girls World.  It's a great little book with patterns and ideas for several girls dresses, decorating a girls room and general girly girl fun.  The first project I tackled was Mary's Fancy Sash Dress.  I made the sash twice because I didn't like how the first one turned out.  You be the judge...I think it turned out rather festive!

I would have liked to put the grain of the fabric on the diagonal but I didn't have enough fabric in the stash for that.  The sizes may run a bit large (or my kid a bit small).  I sized my daughter for the small but she probably would have fit better in the XS.  The instructions were easy to follow with the whole project easily completed in 2 hours. This will be a go to pattern in the future.  I look forward to exploring the rest of the book. If you feel like you need to be inspired check out Jennifer Paganelli's blog.  Her fabric makes my head spin with ideas!  Happy Independence Day to you all!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Insect Damage

One of my very favorite places to go camping is in North Park Colorado.  It has been nearly 5 years since I have been up in that area.  During that time the pine beetle has pretty much decimated the area.  I had heard stories but what I saw for myself was shocking.  Hard to believe a tiny bug could do so much damage.  In some areas I would estimate the hillside to be 90% kill.  It is clear to me that the forest will never be the same in my lifetime.  Fire will come, succession will occur, and I will be forced to embrace something very different from the forest that I grew up with.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peach Promises

Two summers ago I took a chance and bought a peach tree.  When I purchased it, dainty little peaches lined its limbs.  At the time, it was a bit of a leap of faith.  I wasn't sure I would get peaches again but decided to take a chance.  When living in an urban environment, you have a better chance that someone nearby will have a pollinator.  Peaches are self fruitful, but having a pollinator is always a better bet.  I am proud to say my little tree is loaded with little fuzzy fruits.  If this wonderful weather holds and violent winds do not blow them off, I will be eating peaches this fall.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trying to Motivate

Trying to get motivated to think GARDEN.  Doing some seed sorting, clipping, mulching and bed cleaning.  I don't feel very ,motivated this year.  Maybe its because the other project list seems a mile long.  It looks like this:

  • Rebuild the Chicken Coop (I don't like that I cannot see them doing their chicken things.)
  • Finish the deck
  • Seal the deck
  • Finish the arbor
  • Paint north side of house
  • Put new plastic on greenhouse
  • Finish rain barrel system
  • Finish guest bedroom(this project is over 2 years old)
  • Fix Garage door
  • Make yard furniture
It seems to go on and on and on.  When leaving things to the weekend it always seems difficult to accomplish anything in a reasonable amount of time.  My husband thinks my goals are too lofty.  I think I just need an assistant!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Did you make that?

I must confess I have mixed feelings about this question.  If it is a cute toy or something I have made for someone else as a gift I am flattered to say "YES" because to me, nothing is more flattering than to get a hand made gift.  I want you to know I went the extra mile and took the time to do that for you.  On the other hand if it is a piece of clothing and someone asks "Did you make that?"  I immediately wonder if my seaming skills are so bad that my clothes hang in some funky manner and the question is more like "Oh dear, honey did you make your clothes?  You really shouldn't."

What do you think?  How do you feel about someone asking if you made it?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cherry Bomb

Is a thirty nine year old women going to look ridiculous in this?  I don't care!  I love it!  The fabric has a little vintage flare to it and the cherries scream summer!  I bought this fabric at least 5 years ago with a strawberry selection.  The strawberries made it to a nice summer dress too but this one sat on the shelf.  I picked up Simplicity 2209 and thought the two would go together nicely!  This is another Lisette pattern.  I can't tell you how much I enjoy that line of patterns.  Usually pretty easy to put together and the results are always nice.  Now I just need to find a summer party.....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Short Season

Have you been watching all the cute short trends for summer?  I have!  So out I went looking for a really great shorts pattern!  This one is from the Lisette line of Simplicity(1879) patterns.  They have the cute little cuff, small pleats in the front and a side zipper.  Supper wearable.  I plan to have one in every color by the end of summer....seriously.  Have to make sure I get in on the cute print and color blocking trend this season!  Some great variations on this pattern would be to take out the pleat in the front and to leave the cuffs straight.  Try some denim, bottom weights, decorator weight cottons.....the options are endless!  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Picnic Dress

 In about one month I will be setting off for that tropical vacation.  The one that will rescue me from the dregs of winter and give me hope that I will once again be warm.  In the meantime, I have set about sewing my vacation attire.  I figure a few new dresses, some shorts and blouses....everything needed to at least distract me from the fact that vacation is still a whole month away!
This is Simplicity 2180.  I picked it up through the "Make This Look" section of Sew Weekly.  I absolutely love that site for idea stealing!  It was a pretty easy pattern though I did manage to bungle the side zipper.  Lucky thing for me its on the side and under the arm!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vintage Style Sewing Resources

My favorite sewing is vintage style sewing.  The reason for this is a) I like vintage b) you typically can't buy it in the store c) it gives me a reason to frequent the local thrift stores.  My favorite resources for patterns are thrift stores.  My trip through the thrift store usually involves a look at the sheets and fabrics then on to the patterns.  Always fun stuff there!  Some I use and some I display.  I also have a few websites and blogs I reference regularly.   The Coletterie is great vintage inspired sewing web site that posts new projects regularly with great advice.  You can purchase the Colette patterns but they also have some free tutorials.  The sorbetto top is on my list of things to do.

Another favorite of mine is Sew Weekly.  This site started with the premise of sewing one article of clothing a week.  I love the idea but doubt I am going to crank out one article of clothing a week!  If I can get half that this year I'll be happy.  My favorite part of this web site is the make this look section.  They look at mainstream designs and offer pattern alternatives for you to make the garment yourself!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

With a candy free holiday declared in the classroom we needed to come up with something a bit more creative.  This is our rendition of something I pulled off of Pinterest.  I think they turned out cute.  Annika and I had a great time making them.  Sending you all a little love bug to let you know that you are the best today and every day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Is it really almost mid February?  Surely a testament to how busy I have been.  In addition to working my regular 40hr job I have been working at my husbands office and have some private landscape clients I have been working with.  To say time is short is an understatement! That has of course not kept me from sneaking in some sewing. I just have not taken the time to blog about it!  That said, I would like you to share in my most recent victory.  I made a pair of pants that fit!
 Making fitted pants is difficult and I have avoided it accordingly.  With a dress or blouse you can fudge a bit and it will be o.k.  Pants must fit. It took me a total of three tries and about 6 yards of wasted fabric but I finally got it! For this adventure I chose a loose legged pattern hoping it would be a bit more forgiving.  This is Simplicity 2656.  I love the pattern because it has a bit of that vintage flair but getting that front placket in on the diagonal with out puckers was not an easy task.  This is probably not a beginner pattern. Regardless of all the frustration, I love the pants and have worn them twice already. The details are great and I will probably make another pair.
After I wasted 6 yards of expensive fabric I found this at the ARC.  Four yards for $5.00.  The buttons cost me about $6.00 and the zipper in the back another $1.50.  In the future, I will start with cheaper fabric first for new adventures!  Who knows, maybe if I shed a few pounds I'll be able to utilize the others that are half built!

On a last little note, I want to say thanks to those who tracked me down and asked when I was going to post again.  I appreciate your encouragement. And BTW: Happy New Year!