August 31, 2011

The Summer of {quilt} Love

What started on Memorial Day weekend as a "gee I think I would like to try quilting again" turned into a full blown love affair with quilting over the summer. First up was the red and aqua table runner that confirmed that "yes indeed, I think I like quilting".

Becky then asked if I would make her a quilt, which led to the purchase of the adorable Daydream fabric and the San Francisco Windows quilt top. Progress on this quilt was interrupted by the quilt along at P.S. I Quilt and three weeks later the completion of the Americana Cottage quilt. And winning a fabric gift card for participating! Quilting is becoming a part of my daily routine.

I added a blog list devoted to my favorite quilting blogs. And I finished Becky's super cute quilt

Which led to the destruction of not one, but two sewing machines. So I tried hand quilting. I fell in love with Perle cotton and making hexagons.

Finally, I pulled out squares that were abandoned during my fall fling with knitting. I started cutting hundreds more 4" squares out of fabric in my stash. I added a dose of clean crisp white fabric and started stitching together Happy Little Quilt. It is true love.

Three quilts, one table runner and one pillow later, summer is now almost over and I cannot wait to cozy up with my colorful, happy projects!

August 29, 2011

The Teahouse

The Teahouse at the Treehouse Gallery is my favorite spot for lunch during the summer.  This house was built in 1850 and now is a gift shop filled with really cute housewares and collectibles. But if you walk around back you will find this delightful patio that feels like someone's back yard.

There are only a few tables surrounded by potted plants and herbs, and it is the perfect spot for an outdoor meal and a fruity sangria. The door leads to a side porch which has inside seating, and is so lovely in the winter. But in the summer, I am all about dining alfresco!

The food is so fresh and delicious and wonderful. The staff is so friendly and make you feel like family. My salad had gently sauteed chicken, with fresh greens, homegrown tomatoes, feta cheese and candied pecans, topped with the most delicious balsamic vinaigrette.

Becky's wrap was delicious, and was served with fresh fruit, and the cutest and tastiest tiny muffin. I have to admit, that even though this is a tea house, and serves tea and delicious baked items, I am always so full after lunch that I have never ordered dessert.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the kind that you savor knowing that fall is rapidly approaching. The gift shop was decked out in all things Halloween, and we spent most of our lunch deciding how to decorate the house for fall. We even bought a few things on our way home to get ready for the fall holidays. Call me crazy, but I can hardly wait :)

August 25, 2011

Pioneer Woman

No not that Pioneer Woman. I spent today with no electricity. All day.  We had a ginormous storm last night, which knocked out  power to tens of thousands of my fellow neighbors. No electricity. All day. No computer. No internet. Just like a pioneer woman.

Guess what? I really didn't miss it. And I was productive. I cleaned my bathroom. Swept all the floors. Emptied the dishwasher. Dusted. Cleaned up fallen branches from the storm. I was surprised how much I was able to accomplish without the internet electricity.

Did some knitting. Ripped out the knitting. (But don't you think my stitch markers make this look like a charm bracelet?)

And opened some really happy mail!

Obviously since you are reading this post, my electricity is back. And I am grateful. There was no damage to my house. And for washing machines and coffee makers!

August 24, 2011

All Quiet on the Crafting Front

I have had a temporary change in my work schedule this week, so crafting time has been limited. The knitting bug has hit again and I hope to share photos of my latest project soon!

August 19, 2011

Happy Little Quilt

one year later....

and it's done! Happy Little Quilt!!!! This quilt really does make me happy. When I started cutting the squares last fall, I was in full on knitting mode and I quickly put the squares away and forgot about them.  I pulled the squares out a few weeks ago, and started cutting more 4" squares to join them. This was totally a stash busting project.

Then I started chain piecing the squares together. Using my vintage machine was such a pleasure. Why did I not know about chain piecing? What a time saver. I basically just grabbed squares and sewed. I love the random placement of color!  This is a larger lap size blanket. It is approximately 60" x 64" or 16 squares x 18 squares :) I quilted 1/4" away from each seam, though I had a bit of trouble in the middle of the quilt. I spray basted, but the middle did not hold.

For the backing, I used a vintage sheet. I am now on the hunt for vintage sheets. They are perfect because there is no piecing AND they are so affordable. The sheet above was $1.65 and I have lots of fabric leftover.  And the binding!!! I am in LOVE with this binding. It is fabric leftover from a Christmas project, and I think it is perfect for this colorful, happy little quilt.

August 18, 2011

Summer Fun

This is how I spent an entire day. I grabbed an inner tube

 and drifted round and round on the lazy river.

Took a short break to snack on a sandwich and then it was off to the wave pool.

I got a kick out of the lady in the corner of this picture. I think she spent the entire day right in that spot getting an awesome tan, and relaxing on her inner tube when the waves were not in action. Her swimsuit was adorable too! I chose to be a teeny bit more active and actually rode the waves in the deep part of the pool. I felt like a kid again :)

I did NOT go on this. The day was devoted to total relaxation and enjoying the sun. It felt like we were on vacation even though we were only about an hour from home! We went through an entire bottle of sunscreen. We arrived when the park opened and left when it closed. I slept like a log when I got home!

August 12, 2011

Photography 101

Wow! I loved having so many visitors yesterday! Thank you so much for leaving so many sweet comments! And thanks to Brenda at Cozy Little House for featuring me on her Friday Welcome Wagon!

The majority of comments and questions were about my photos, and lots of you wanted to know about my camera. I have always loved photography, and bought my first  film SLR camera in high school and had fun learning how to use a completely manual camera.

But I LOVE LOVE LOVE digital cameras! I now use a Nikon D40 which was a Christmas gift a few years ago. I also have an inexpensive Kodak point and shoot digital which I almost always have in my purse when I am out and about. The photos on my blog are a combination of both cameras.
I just recently learned how to use the Nikon on manual, and my pictures have improved dramatically!

I am not an expert by any means. I just love to take pictures!! You do NOT need to spend a ton of money to get great photos. Just grab your camera AND

1. Turn OFF the flash. Take photos wherever you have an abundance of natural light. Most of my closeup pictures are taken outside because my house is so dark. I do get some strange looks from my neighbors. What is that lady taking a picture of now :)

2. Get close to your subject.

3. Learn whatever you can about your camera. An inexpensive point and shoot can take terrific photos if you follow 1 and 2, and play with the dial on your camera. Don't be afraid to experiment!

4. Take lots of photos of the same subject. Sometimes I take 20 pictures of the same thing from different angles just to get one good shot. And sometimes I am just lucky. :)

5. I use picnik to post process my photos. It is free, and relatively easy to use. I don't do alot to my photos. I usually just crop them, and increase the exposure so my photos look "brighter".

6. Look at photos on your favorite blogs and see what it is that you like about the photos. The composition? The subject matter? The colors?

7. Have fun!! This is the most important part. Photography is such a creative outlet, and you can take hundreds of photos and use the DELETE button as much as you want!

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions, and I will be happy to try to answer them for you!

August 11, 2011

The County Fair

Scenes from our county fair. A glorious blue sky behind the ferris wheel.  We ended up spending the evening. Eating our fill of funnel cakes and cotton candy. Listening to the entertainment. Watching people being flipped upside down on rides.  Getting a henna tattoo with your daughter.

Enjoying the gorgeous end of the summer flowers.

I love visiting the animal barns. The 4-H kids are always so proud of their animals.

Baby pigs are adorable. The mama, not so much :)


For a city girl, it is fun to be a part of farm life for an evening. The county fair is always such a juxtaposition of country beauty and carnival atmosphere, and a reminder of small town America at it's best!

August 10, 2011

Flower Power

Dear Trish, Mary and Alicia,

Thank you for introducing me to the joys of hexagons. While I was without a sewing machine, I started cutting little squares of fabric and then sewed and sewed and sewed. I did not want to go to work, I did not want to go to the grocery store, I did not want to make dinner and I did not want to do laundry.

Yours sincerely,

August 8, 2011

It's Vintage

This is my "new" vintage sewing machine. I love it.  It sews like a dream. The stitches are beautiful. It barely makes a sound. It was given to me by a family friend who wasn't sure if it worked.

Well it does, and it is perfect for quilting. Quilt sandwiches glide right under the needle. My broken cheapo Walmart Singer is headed to the tree lawn, but the accessories are staying, as they fit this machine! YAY!

Remember these squares? I am using them to make a Posie Gets Cozy inspired patchwork quilt.  It is a pleasure working on this quilt with my vintage machine. My seam allowances are exactly 1/4". Everything is straight. I am in quilting heaven.

August 4, 2011

Summer Afternoon

I've always loved this quote by Henry James:  "Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." 

I love the laid back feeling of summer afternoons. Time to relax on the porch with a library book and some hand stitching. A glass of iced coffee within easy reach. The sound of cicadas. Waiting for just the slightest breeze. 

I am enjoying "Summer Rental". It really is the perfect summer read. I also have discovered that I love doing hand work. I have been hand stitching this project all week and I love it. It's not ready for it's ta-dah moment, but I thought I would share a little of what I have been working on.

I hope that you all are enjoying a few summer afternoons of your own!

August 2, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer

As I was working with photos from my camera, I had put them all in my July 2011 folder. And then realized that it is August and that I haven't posted here in over a week!

The summer is flying by at an alarming rate. This past week has been spent celebrating the birthdays of several family members, learning a new skill (hand quilting), reading and dreaming up a new project. I have to admit I have been online for HOURS in the evenings soaking up all the inspiration in blogland!

I have also discovered PINTEREST. Oh dear. Another way to waste spend hours on the interweb!
I am a visual person, and love being inspired by beautiful photographs. There is a link on my sidebar if you would like to waste lots of time follow me.