Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hymn Board to Bulletin Board

Another great find last week!  This came from a sale at our local university.  After cleaning it, I bought cork board material from the hardware store (it is sold by the foot from a big roll), cut it to fit, and then slid it in just like you would hymn numbers.  And there you go-- a bulletin board for my room!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Between furniture painting, sewing, and getting this month's book club selection read (Room)--yeah, I've got a good life!--I've had some great luck recently on my jaunts to garage sales and our local thrift store.  Here's this morning's find.  Hmmmm . . . any ideas for these?


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dried Tomato Success

The tomatoes are starting to roll in!  We're not getting a great harvest in our garden this year, but thanks to the generosity of friends, we have a nice supply.  Other years we made and froze sauce--which works great--but this year we decided to try drying them.  We used the oven and various directions we found on-line.  Ours seemed to take longer (12 hours plus), but I think I didn't have the oven temperature high enough (I'm going with 200 degrees on the next batch).  They are much easier than making sauce--and I was surprised to discover that I (not a lover of raw tomatoes) like them!  They have a wonderful sweetness and great texture.

I used a variety of varieties, cut in half or quarters, and sprinkled with salt.

They really cook down--both trays fit in a pint jar along with basil and olive oil.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Great Garland Tutorials!

Check out this post from babble.  There are links to 25 tutorials for garlands.  Fun!

Friday, August 19, 2011


I found this book at our local thrift store (which we all know I love).  It is written by Jonathan Holstein.  A quilt scholar,  he curated a quilt exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC in 1971 that had a major impact on the view of quilts as art.

When J saw the book, she recognized the quilts and said that they were donated by Jonathan Holstein to the International Quilt Study Center (where she works).  Here's the link to that collection which includes 356 quilts:

I don't buy books of quilt patterns anymore--I'd rather do my own thing--but this book was a find and full of inspiration.

Here's my latest.  I pieced this top a couple of years ago and finally got it quilted and bound.  I wanted the squares really random, so I didn't measure pieces until after I added the white and squared them into 12" blocks.  I didn't measure or mark lines for the machine quilting either, so that was pretty random, too.  All in all, it's kind of a surprise that it turned out at all!  I like to call it "Free Range Chickens"!

I like the backs to be kind of a surprise.  This is a fun Jane Sassaman print.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Earring Love

Aren't these pretty?!!!  My birthday present from J & J who got them from the very talented, creative (and did I mention funny) Rachel of Two Dog Pond.  She's one of those people who sees the possibilities in everything.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog Manners 101

Is it bad to let a dog do this?  We don't feed her table food and she stays on the floor and sleeps until we're almost done eating . . .

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Bag

This wonderful book, Carry Me by Yuka Koshizen, arrived in the mail when I was in the middle of painting the new sewing room.  I could hardly wait to try a bag, so started right in after finishing the little quilt.

The book was originally published in Japan.  The designs are great and the directions clear.  I had it in my "cart" for a few months before I finally ordered it--so glad I finally did because I see it's out of print now.

Here's how my bag turned out.  It'll be just right for the flea markets and sewing projects and the beach (I like to pretend we can go there).

Check out the zippered pocket inside.  I got the zipper for 10 cents at our local thrift store.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

First New Room Project

With everything freshly installed in my new sewing room, I dived right into a project that just kind of designed itself.  I decided that I would not follow any of the traditional quilting "rules" and have fun with this one.  And did I!

I did the quilting (by machine) first, instead of at the end of the quilt.  Then I got into my stash of hand dyed fabrics and randomly pieced strips (cutting with scissors instead of the rotary cutter).  I arranged and pinned these onto the quilted background and then hand sewed along the edges.

I am usually a very traditional quilter, but loved the freedom and color that came with this quilt.   It went together quickly and just doesn't take itself too seriously.  I think its name is "Ode to Retirement!"

Friday, August 5, 2011

Garden Walks

I love seeing other people's gardens.  Home gardens, full of vegetables and flowers.  The slow walking, pausing, talking. Seeing what has "done well".  Hearing what the deer and rabbit got.  The sharing of abundance of, say, cucumbers!  And when you do this with your best pals or family, it's a very good thing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


With all of the crazy heat and humidity, the weeds are, well, growing like weeds, and we can't seem to water enough to kept everything happy.  We have a lot of leggy looking annuals that should probably be pruned back or sent to the compost pile soon.

These tomatoes are looking pretty though and make Ben happy.

"There's two things money can't buy, and that's true love and home-grown tomatoes."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Painted Floor Tutorial

I finished our entryway floor last week (before starting in on the great sewing room project).  We are very happy with how it looks and once I got to the actual painting, it was fun to do.

Here's a play by play, in case you're interested (and so I remember how if I ever do it again).

We pulled up old carpet and linoleum, and then scraped off the gook left on the floor with a heat gun and putty knife.  This is not the fun part.

Then came sanding.  We used this little Dremel tool at first, but then broke down and bought a belt sander.  Worth the money!

Finally, it was time to paint!  I bought a Pittsburgh Paint called "Break-Through!".  It's an acrylic so clean-up was easy and it's supposed to be "ultra-durable".  Also, I could buy it in quarts rather than having to spend more buying gallons (which is how a lot of floor paint is sold).  I put on three coats.  I waited a few days before going further to give it time to "cure".

Using my clear quilting ruler and a pencil, I drew a grid spacing the lines six inches apart (the lines don't show up in the photo, but they are there).  Then I took painter's tape and put it down around half of what would become the dark sqaures.

I painted inside those squares with the charcoal paint, three coats.  Then off came that tape!

Again, I waited a few days for curing, then taped off the remaining squares and gave them three coats.

That tape came off and we were done!  Don't you love the way it reflects in our shiny black front door?  And don't you love the way Pip insisted in being in virtually every picture?!!

By the way, we didn't put any kind of sealer on top of the paint.  This paint isn't supposed to need it.

If you prefer, there are a lot of great looking ways to stencil a floor (or walls or furniture).  I found some good stencils at Hobby Lobby and at these sites:

DISCLAIMER:  No small dogs were harmed or painted during the completion of this project.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sewing Room

Yay!!!  My sewing room/office is finished!  I'm having so much fun getting my fabric and supplies (and toys) installed.  It's going to be a great space to work and I can't wait to get going on some new projects.

My design wall will go up this week above these shelves of fabric.