Strawberries and Sweet Corn: Just Getting Started

Spent the last couple of days trying to get ahead of the rain and the water in the backyard. It seems so weird that in one part of the country there is a multiple-year drought while right here in Missouri, we’ve been deluged by rain and experiencing flooding.

We were lucky to get a couple of days when it didn’t rain, so yesterday, we drove out to HomeDepot and bought quite a few bags of MiracleGro garden soil. We figured we get 6 cubic feet of dirt into the hole it would soak up the excess water and we’d then be ready to transplant the corn that we started. The starts were on the verge of outgrowing the starter pots and not looking too good, so the next day we stuck ’em in the ground. I have a feeling that we tried to plant too many in too small of a space, but hopefully through attrition, we’ll end up with just enough.

2015-05-27 17.14.31Kind of sad looking, huh? I’ll give it a couple of days and then I think things will be better. (Keep your fingers crossed.)

I also picked up another flat of strawberry starts while we were at the HomeDepot. Now that the third year plants are already producing berries, I wanted to fill in some of the bare spots, mostly in front. I had initially wanted to put something down around the outside edges of the patch, so that I could access all four sides, but then after thinking about it a little more, realized that I still wouldn’t be able to reach the middle. So instead, I opted to place stepping stones into the patch.

At the end of the last year, The Kid and I stirred up a few batches of quick setting cement and made stepping stones with dog paws in the middle. We had started making them in anticipation of planting a tree for our dog that we lost year before. We were going to burying her ashes under an ash tree and then place the dog print stepping stones out to the tree and maybe around it.

Somehow, we got distracted or busy with other things and we only poured 8 of the stepping stones. One actually still is in the form! So, we pulled those out and set them into the strawberry patch.2015-05-27 17.14.15I placed one at each corner-ish and one sort of centered. That should give us adequate access to all the plants without having to step in the soil or on a plant. Once the stones were placed, we then planted the starts. That went pretty easy and quickly.

Rain has been forecast for the next couple of days. Hopefully it won’t be too hard or too much. The yard is one big soggy mess and I think I have had enough of the gloom. I am ready for sunshine!

julie

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you!

Fabric Storage and Organization: Reducing Exposure to Sunlight

Recently I read a couple a handful of storage methods for quilters and their fabric. There are as many different approaches to how this is handled, as many ideas as there are quilters.

Well, I’d like to add my storage plan to the mix. Much as I love the site of fabric, I know that it is not conducive to maintaining colors in fabrics, to allowing your fabric to be exposed to light, especially the rays of the sun. But the plan also needs to keep your fabrics close at hand and easy to get to. Allow you to be able to view your fabrics as a whole while still protecting it.

I’ve seen organizing from many different perspectives, such as style, patterns, colors, even sorted by the amount of fabric. Some store fabric in baskets, plastic containers, drawers and on shelves. The possibilities are endless and many decisions are based on a number of factors, such as how much fabric is being stored, how much of each fabric, how much money a quilter has to spend and also how quickly the fabric is used.

I, myself, am a collector. I have often said that I could quit buying fabric and still have enough to make quilts until I die and will still have one helluva estate sale! My quilting room has been dubbed “little JoAnn’s” as some days it seems that I have enough fabric to start my own store. I have a saying on the wall of my quilt room that reads:

Definition of a Quilter:

1. Knows what a ‘fat quarter’ is.

2. Has at least 5 projects going at once

3. Owns 65,000 yards of fabric

Well, folks, that describes me! So, let me show you how I handle my “65,000 yards”: 2015-05-24 17.56.14My quilting room is actually a converted bedroom. For resale, I didn’t want to eliminate the closet, so I converted it with storage units. On the left wall, there are both drawer units plus open shelving.

2015-05-24 17.56.25I found the baskets and the worked perfectly for this purpose, as they were the right depth as the cabinet and for nine inches of fabric (basically a quarter of a yard). They help reduce the small amount of sunlight and keep things nice and organized.  And you can see the color of the fabrics through the holes in the front, which also allow air flow around the material.2015-05-24 17.56.35The drawers slide in and out quite nicely and I can transport a single basket to the cutting table and back. 2015-05-24 17.56.01Here you can see the basket conveniently sitting on the cutting table. I can pull fabrics and cut what I need, then return it to the basket and the basket goes back into the closet. Almost all of the small pieces of fabric are stored here.

Any larger size, including fabric still on bolts, go into the extensive cabinetry that I had made and installed when we first built the house.

DSCN0186I have, in an earlier post, shown you my wonderful quilting room, but did not share with you what was stored in them.

2015-05-24 17.58.33From left to right: The first cabinet is black, white and black & white fabrics.

2015-05-24 17.57.17

I tend to buy fabrics when they are on sale or clearance and keeping it on the bolts, not only keeps the fabric more organized but also cuts down on the creases from folding. Larger cuts of fabric go on the top shelves.2015-05-24 17.57.28The last cabinet contains most of my solids on the shelf and my reds and pinks on bolts. Isn’t this just wonderful? Sometimes I like to go up and open all the doors and then go through all of the fabric and admire the colors and patterns.2015-05-24 17.59.22And last, but not least, these boxes lined up across the east wall contains pre-cut squares; I most usually use 2″, 3″ 4″, 5″ and 6″. One of my favorite sizes is 2″ x 6″, perfect for the ‘fence rails’ or ‘braided’ patterns. I also store completed scrappy squares that I complete as I have time and scraps.So, I am interested in how you store your fabric; do you store it by color or size or something else? How much fabric do you have on hand at any one time. Is it more difficult to use up your stash than to buy more? Share your ideas!julie

Every Little Girl Needs a Dollhouse or Two… Right?

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my dollhouses. I was never a very ‘girly’ girl, growing up mostly surrounded by my brothers and their friends. I like to play baseball (not softball), football, climb trees and pretty much anything that the boys did. So, I didn’t have the normal toys that most girls play with – although I did have an EasyBake oven and some Barbie dolls.

So, after I had grown up, some how I did get a bit more feminine. I think I started to maybe wax nostalgic for something I think I missed. About the same time, my Dad was working less and spending more time in his wood working shop, so I asked if he would build me a dollhouse. Many, many, many weeks and months later, he did complete it. He sent me photos occasionally to show me progress, and I started purchasing materials, furniture and anything that might work for completing the dollhouse. He built the structure, I was going to decorate it and furnish it.

The only downside was that I was living in California and this monstrosity that my Dad was building was 2000 miles away in Iowa. I brainstormed ideas until I found out that my Dad had given my dollhouse to my oldest sister! She lived in the same town, so I suppose it was just an easy answer, but I was severely disappointed. I had been the one to ask for it, want it and already buying stuff for it.

So, I bought myself a kit and built a little dollhouse. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it did satisfy the desire to build, paint and furnish one.

I didn’t get a shot of the front of the house, but it was completed in the same style. It sits downstairs in a little alcove on these great drawer stacks that originally were bought for storing my fabric in our house in California.

DSCN3378They are nice enough looking and they have nice deep drawers for storing all my little collectibles.

DSCN3379

Because, you see, after many years, my oldest sister had litterally done nothing to the dollhouse that my Dad built. In fact, it was sitting in her basement and with her kids running through, they had actually broken some of the porch and its railing. I had been visiting for a holiday and made a remark about it and my sister said that I should have it, that she didn’t have the time or patience to work on it.

Now the next hurdle was getting this monstrosity to California. A long story short, my parents drove it out in their van when they came to visit. Yowza!

Believe it or not, we had to turn around and move it back to the Midwest – Kansas City – when we moved in 2004. This time we had a shipping place build a custom crate for it and it went on the moving truck with all of our worldly goods.

It took awhile, but it was finally unpacked and moved into the little alcove. Over the years, I have slowly collected materials, furniture and all sorts of great stuff. I painted the house, made a couple of changes to the setup of the house (like turning ‘servants quarters’ into an additional bedroom.

I’ve been thinking about my pledge to finish all the projects that I have started and I’ve done pretty well. I have spent a couple of days, on and off, looking it over and taking photos and making a mental inventory of the supplies, crafts and furniture that I have. Trying to figure out if I have the umpfh to actually get it finished.

The only issue that I see, is that this behemoth is in the basement and all my tools and most of the crafting tools and materials are on the first floor. And the sewing room and fabrics are on the second floor. That would entail a lot of stair climbing… I am going to have to think about the logistics on this one.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the house in its current state. It was a little tough to get a shot of the front, but you can get an idea of how big the house really is. Oh, and the trunk under the table is also full of supplies for completing the dollhouse.

Oh and FYI… this house is the generally accepted standard of dollhouses, in 1:12 scale.

DSCN3365Couple of other notes, my Dad had actually built little doors, windows and staircases, which I have since replaced with more modern versions.

DSCN3376

The little photo book in the photo below are some of the original photos my Dad took while building it. I need to scan in those photos and share them with you.DSCN3377So, there lies the project. Will I finally get around to finishing it?

julie

Corn and Tomatoes: Traditional and Container Gardening

This will be the fourth year that The Kid and I have attempted gardening. The first year was pumpkins in the ground in the backyard. I think we actually got one little pumpkin. The next year, we bolstered the ground with Miracle-Gro and made an attempt at watermelons. We had tons of flowers but not a single melon! The Kid was seriously bummed.

At the same time, I planted my first strawberry plants in the area under the ‘martini deck’ that hangs off the master bedroom… it gets great moisture and gets great morning sun and then is shaded from the afternoon heat. The second year saw more berries but I knew that it was going to take at least two years to get really established plants and fruit. I lost some of the peripheral plants and want to add some starts, but first need to re-plant some from the back to the front and make a pathway to get around the two back sides against the house. The ground has been so wet that stepping in between the plants has caused my feet to sink low enough in the soil to completely cover my feet and shoes!

Last year, The Kid went back to pumpkins and we did keep a lot more of the vines, but still only three pumpkins. And those were about the size of grapefruit! I don’t know what we’re doing wrong, but we’ve opted to switch to sweet corn in the garden this year. We dumped almost 40 gallons of compost into a large hole and then covered it – once again – with Miracle-Gro soil. Its been a wet spring so we started the corn inside. It is about to overtake its current containers, so I hope that things dry out a bit.

2015-05-12 21.10.52So The Kid is growing the corn, so I opted for tomatoes. After spending the better part of two afternoons weeding my strawberry patch, my knees are screaming! So, I have decided to grow my tomatoes on the back deck in containers. This should help the strain on the knees – damn getting old sucks!

I have a great idea on how to do this container growing without laying out a ton of money. The tomatoes will grown in 5 gallon buckets, gotten for free! Yes, FREE!

I stumbled onto a site that talked about getting these buckets free, so I decided to see just how true it actually was. So, I spent a few hours today trying to wrangle buckets.

My first stop was Panera Bread. They were able to give me 3 5-gallon buckets, they were indeed pickle buckets. They are soaking now to help reduce the pickle smell (I personally do not like pickles!). A second Panera later in the day resulted in being told that we could dumpster dive for them. Not sure I want them that badly.

Then on to Burger King – they said they normally just throw them in the dumpster, but would stack them next to the dumpster and I could come by periodically and pick them up. The manager I was talking with said she would love some tomatoes – wink wink. I will definitely bring her some if I am successful and actually do pick up some buckets from her store.

Next was KFC, McDonald’s and Subway. All of them say they no longer get the buckets, either the food is delivered in different containers or no containers at all. HyVee Bakery (food store) said they didn’t have any but a second HyVee bakery turned up a single frosting bucket that was square and maybe 3 gallons in size. Wendy’s manager was no where to be found but the cashier said they had buckets and they go into the dumpster in the morning when prep is done. I may pop back over there at another time and actually track down the manager. I eat at Wendy’s a lot, so hopefully it will be successful in the future.

I figure that I will grow two plants per bucket and line them up, side by side. On either end I will have another bucket, this one filled with either stone or cement with a 2×2 in the middle. And then I will place screws or eye hooks in the posts and run twine or other thick line back and forth between the posts to create a kind of ‘fence’ which I can then use to support the branches of the plants.

 My doodle of the setup:
photo
 This initially stemmed from the fact that I could easily lay out a hundred dollars for pots and tomato cages… and there is no guarantee that I will get any fruit! Plus, this seems like a more challenging path to take.
2015-05-17 12.26.01
I hope we can get everything we need to get the plants into dirt. They seem to grow like crazy in the house!

And You Light Up My Life…. Art Deco Chandelier Restored

My creative work has suffered recently with the advent of job hunting. The good thing is that it seems I am still in high demand which always makes the hunt easier, but it is hunt nonetheless. It takes time and energy and concentration. The great thing is that I have completed most of the big projects, so, the ‘to do’ pile isn’t taking up so much of the garage.

One thing that The Kid and I did recently was a real change of styles. We were notified of an old abandoned house that was scheduled for demolition – as the farm land was being incorporated into a commercial farm.

Side note: I would love to find one of these old farm houses that is still in good shape and just buy the house and the land under it and live on it. Out in the middle of no where with just enough land to grow vegetables and a few dogs and have a barn for restoring furniture. But then I am reminded of the whole “no internet” thing and having to drive everywhere for groceries and materials and restaurants! And then I put that little dream back into the dusty recesses of my mind.

Anyway, these old houses can be a treasure trove of goodies. Sometimes you get lucky and find all kinds of wood work – such as doors and trims and moldings, even staircases and sometimes even stained glass! This particular farm amazingly had this pristine chandelier hanging in the living room… with five perfect shades on it! This is just about unheard of!

photo 1In fact, the same chandelier hung in the next room – sans shades of course – so we took that too, just in case we needed extra parts for the first one. Believe it or not, it was still wired and I am betting that if the house had electricity, throwing a switch would have resulted in light!

Once home, it was time to clean up that bad boy. I had order new sockets and fabric wrapped wiring from my new favorite lighting place, Color Cord Company. The selection available is so great, that it took me forever to finally choose a color! Great problem to have, I say!

I snapped a couple of photos of the wiring so I would know how to put this thing back together:

photo 2

You can see what decades of neglect can do to a fixture… even one of this quality.photo 3I set about taking it all apart and cleaning all the pieces. The finish was word very badly in a couple of places, so I just opted to spray paint everything. Another decision that took a while to make, whether to paint it to look like the original brass or update the color. After perusing the paint aisle at Home Depot, I selected a beautiful new shade called Rose Gold.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.49.25 AMThis is similar to the brass but prettier and softer. I had cleaned up both sets, just in case we needed to use parts from one, but everything was there! Now The Kid set to re-wiring the fixture.

2015-05-16 13.39.46

We were actually able to salvage the original sockets! Talk about quality!2015-05-16 13.40.01I love his attitude when faced with something new. He researched it online and then went and bought the materials he needed and set about completing the job. Then it was time to piece the chandelier back together. 2015-05-16 13.51.16Slipped the shades on to it (they are called “slip shades”… something I learned in working on this project. No holes!) and we were done!

2015-05-16 14.52.58And here is the finished project:

2015-05-18 11.36.51

A few more photos taken to be able to list the item:2015-05-18 11.36.34

I had chosen the deep brown fabric cord and included about 8′ of extra cord so that if someone wanted, they could add a chain and hang it from a higher ceiling.2015-05-18 11.37.32

From the research I did, I was able to find that this was about 1930’s era, called ‘Art Deco’. Amazing that after 80 years this was still hanging and its five slip shades were in pristine condition!2015-05-18 11.37.46

I have been on the lookout for five more shades, up to this point, I can only locate four. If I am able to acquire the necessary five, I will put the other fixture together as well. What a bonus it would be to have matching chandeliers! I am so tempted to use these in my hallway, because they are simply beautiful and elegant, but they really do not match my house’s more modern style. And I do need two in the hallway. So, we’ll see what comes first, if I find five more shades or the first one is sold.

We’ve been trying to do some gardening but we have been having an unusually wet and cool spring. The Kid digs the hole for the compost and the rains come and fill it like a miniature swimming pool! I will share more tomorrow!

julie

Finished. Again!

Just a quick post to show you the last two pink ombré dressers that have been completed and are ready for sale.

These are so simple, at least for us once we have a routine defined, to clean, fix and then paint. This time was kind of a neat dichotomy of styles in the same finishes, both have their unique charms.

2015-05-18 11.30.42I’ve always been partial to the older, antique styling of the right dresser. This was in amazing shape for its age, actually has the furniture maker info stamped into the inside of one drawer: Better Kennard’s Furniture Company. It still had working wood wheels on the ball feet!

2015-05-18 11.30.50The only work to this one was to replace missing drawer guides. Here is The Kid grinding down one of the guides so that the drawer moved more smoothly. Sparks were flying!

2015-05-18 11.21.23The other dresser is from Bassett. An name easily recognized for quality. I like the larger roomy drawers and even the smooth face of the drawers as the drawer pulls are built into the bottom of each drawer face.

2015-05-18 11.31.06I love the way these colors go on, and they are so shiny!

2015-05-16 14.47.20Isn’t that beautiful!? A couple more photos of the garage en progress:

2015-05-16 14.46.58The dresser on the far left is a beauty that I picked up for a mere $20 which has minimal veneer loss. this will be my first restoration piece in many months.

2015-05-14 17.25.52I have a nice small supply of various finished veneers that I have been collecting to be able to repair the chips and missing veneer.2015-05-16 14.47.10Garage almost seems like a small assembly line. With The Kid’s help, we are able to complete these quickly without much fuss. I love that the garage makeover has added dramatically to the ease of doing so.

A few more photos of the finished projects:

2015-05-18 11.31.362015-05-18 11.31.18We’ve been doing some work and arranging in my computer room as well. Seems my six month long sabbatical is rapidly coming to an end. For those who aren’t aware, I am a full time computer software engineer. I do these projects on the side as my way of reconnecting to my creative side (hence the blog name: On My Creative Side). The projects that I complete are usually sold simply to further fund more projects and at times, it does get expensive. So back to the daily grind.

Be sure to stop by again soon. I have the antique chandelier that is almost complete as well as a few other projects. I’ve actually managed to put some time into sewing again, challenging myself (or at least try) to use up my scrap bin. We’re also doing some gardening! Look at our starters!

2015-05-17 12.26.01Those are corn (in front) and tomatoes (in back). Now we just need to get the holes dug in the backyard to hold the compost we’ve made from the back deck to the garden and get them planted. It has been almost non-stop rain for the last two weeks and the ground is seriously muddy. I went out to weed my strawberry patch and with every weed I pulled, I took with it a baseball sized root ball! I stepped into the middle of the patch and sunk to the top of my ankle!

julie

Second Verse, Same As The First… and Charlie The Unicorn!

A little over a week ago, I easily sold both of the pink ombré dressers. I have done, literally dozens of those dressers and they never fail to surprise me how easily and quickly they sell. You can check them out all over my blog, but here is the latest pair.

Well, I had requests this time around to do complete a couple more. And wouldn’t you know that supplies of dressers have all but disappeared from CraigsList. I’ve been on the hunt big time trying to acquire suitable candidates with price tags that didn’t eat up all the profit.

Well, I did manage to put my hands on a couple of very nice dressers (or are they chest of drawers?) and we’ve started the all too familiar process. I am actually letting The Kid have a bit more hands on this time around, so that he is finally earning some of his keep!

In the meantime, I have finally finished my secret project. And I have to tell you, it turned out spectacularly! Now, I expect this project to be one of those that people feel pretty strongly about – either they will love it or absolutely hate it. I had the inspiration forever ago but I never could find just the right “animal head” to mount.

So, without further waiting, I give you, Charlie the Unicorn:

photo 2Okay, I admit it is a tiny bit disconcerting and the inspiration piece was a teddy bear, but I love this. There is the littlest inside joke that all my friends who worked on the Copia project will understand.

photo 2This is how “Charlie” started out. Quite a fascinating toy actually. I picked it up off CraigsList (of course) and it had a happy short stay in the living room for a while. As you may recall, the process of getting him to the final stage took some time.

photo 2It was quite an interesting “autopsy”, fascinating how this thing was put together. We never saw it work, but I suspect that it whinnied and blinked and “chewed” on its accompanying carrot. The little girl who owned the horse was apparently a little hard on it and broke it, pulled off one ear and the tail. It was decided that the little horse had to go.

photo 4

“Charlie” spent quite a bit of time on the floor in front of the television. The Kid found the thing to be quite disconcerting, as it would be the first thing he saw in the morning as he headed downstairs and made the first turn towards the kitchen. Once I managed to break all the connections and unscrew his support from the body, it almost was worse. Much like the scene from “Godfather” when the man wakes up to the horse’s head in his bed, this thing laid on the couch of the footstool for while as I figured out how to finish the project.

photo 3

So, with his head removed, I had to figure out how to mount the head on the board. I picked that beautiful board at an online auction, I knew it was destined for better things. It was tough, as well, working inside the neck of that thing, it really took two pairs of hands to make it work.

2015-05-12 15.18.10But I finally figured out how to get a support mounted to the base of the head. I held it and The Kid first screwed it into place and then we used expanding foam to fill up the space and to cement the connection with the head. Even though it is meant to hang on a wall, I wanted it to be rock solid and not just “fall off” some night.

Then it was just a matter of tucking the ends of his fur and mane to make it look nice and seamless.Then it was time to turn the horse into a unicorn. The little horse actually came with a brush and a carrot, both I suspect triggered some kind of response in the piece – like a whinny or a chewing motion. We never did get to see the little guy work.

I searched and searched for something to use as his horn. I thought that a glass ornament might be the perfect solution, but in this off season, I wasn’t finding anything. Especially the scale that I needed. Then I remembered his little carrot. After sawing off the ‘leaves’ end of the carrot and making it flat, I spray painted it ivory and following by a healthy sprinkling of glitter. Then a couple of sealant coats and it was perfect! I made a slit just large enough to wiggle the end through the fabric and glue it to the framework of his head. Viola! Charlie the Unicorn was born.

I think it turned out fantastic! I did notice, however, that once the head was successfully mounted, it was quite centered up and down, so I took the opportunity to add a little name plate. I had the little wood frame and it was just a matter of printing out his name with a great font.

Now I want to hang Charlie in a place where lots of people may see him. We have a six foot tall nutcracker that always stands in the foyer and I thought Charlie would be the perfect thing to stand guard with “Arthur”. The Kid is vehemently arguing that it be anywhere than a place that he will see it constantly. Even after completing it, he says it still gives him the “creeps”.

So, I find in my experience of crafting and making things, that sometimes you may do certain projects over and over (that is, after all, my bread and butter) to generate the money necessary to do the fun projects. I still am amazed every single time I finish an ombré dresser just how gorgeous – especially in the pinks – that style is.

So, am very interested in hearing what you think of Charlie. Please, take a minute to comment? After all, as another blogger that I respect, it is the way the audience shows me love!

julie

A Little of This, A Bit of That, More of Something Else

Do you ever find yourself pulled in many directions at once? Well, that’s me for the last week or so. I feel like I have so many irons in the fire and yet, never feeling like I am accomplishing anything. At least not accomplishing enough.

I will share with you a project that has been in the works for sometime. Way back, I was given a wonderful gift of four antique phonograph player cabinets. An acquaintance of mine does old fashioned Victrola type restorations and much like anyone who restores things, it often takes two or more pieces to be able to get something that old working again. So, my friend would strip the cabinets bare of the music parts and then not have anything to put back into them.

01414_146BGjp6j5f_600x450I was able to fix up two of the four I received pretty quickly. I love how they turned out. I like one so much I opted to keep it – yes, it was done in my signature red color. But it was extremely handy to have my financial information all in one place and look good to boot! You can read about it here.

This photo shows the four I received. Like I said one sold quickly, and you can see its transformation here.

I did some preliminary work on the other two, but we were pulled in many directions and the other two went into the “To Do” section of the garage. That space was arranged and re-arranged a dozen times. But I knew I would get around to them eventually.

Eventually was this week for one piece. I stumbled onto a color when I was sorting through paint chip cards and have fallen head over heals for it. It is called ‘Deep Aubergine’ and it just screams elegance. So, being (sort of) close to finishing the third Victrola cabinet, I opted for a quart of this beautiful color.

DSCN3384This is one of those colors that is just plain hard to photograph accurately. Trust me when I say that this is a gorgeous color in person. Its a deep brown with just a hint of ‘purple’ in it. But you can see the difference in how it photographs between this photo and this one:

DSCN3385Either way, it is gorgeous! I had to replace the top, it seems that the tops of all this cabinets were the first to go. The right side of this cabinet had a horn that was covered with the dropping front.DSCN3387That piece then can be slid into the cabinet to keep it out of the way (when they were listening to music). I loved the construction and only briefly considered changing it. The other side has an added shelf to use for storage. I think this piece would be nice as a entry way or hall cabinet. I think grandmother’s silver box and the good crystal would fit nicely into this cabinet.

DSCN3386So, I have a number of other projects in the works as well. I stumbled onto a thrift store that had all their clothing marked down to $2… so I snatched up all of the jeans I could find. I spent the better part of the last two days with scissors, seam rippers and razor blades taking everything apart. I am planning to use the fabric to make a denim braided rag rug. I’ve seen a few photos and they just look awesome! I have plans for almost the entire pair of jeans – I am going to use the seams and waistbands with belt loops – I even have a plan for the back pocket label

2015-05-12 21.11.10Sitting and working on this gives me a chance to catch up on some of the old movies I missed the first time around. I love streaming content! I am taking full advantage… we have AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire!

2015-05-12 21.10.52The Kid and I are, once again, giving gardening a try. Last year we did pumpkins and the year before watermelons. Didn’t have luck with either of them. This year I am trying tomatoes and The Kid is planting sweet corn. Which of course reminds me, I have to get down and weed the strawberry patch. This is the third year for the strawberries and this is supposed to be the year that they really bear large and flavorable berries.

Oh, and we’ve got the antique chandelier that we rescued out of an abandoned farmhouse. I’ll provide all the info when it is complete. Like I said, we have many irons in the fire… we are constantly doing something around here.

julie

Manners Are Still Being Taught (And I, For One, Am Thankful)

I was touched, today, by the kindness of a mother and her daughter. It would seem in this impersonal age of computers and email and smart phones, something as corny as manners are still being taught. And it warms my insides!

I wasn’t much of a ‘girly’ girl, considering that I really grew up with five brothers (more or less) and so pink and frilly and sparkly was never my thing. As a mother, I had just my son, so I never had the chance to do girly things for a child. Or live vicariously through a daughter.

As many of you know, I have a sister blog. Its all about creative stuff… and to continue to fund projects, I sell what I finish. So, often I will work on pieces that are pink and frilly and sparkly. Last week, I sold a dresser -painted in six shades of pink – to a mom and to my delight, she brought her daughter along with her to pick up the piece.

Lovely conversation followed. (Maybe I am ready to be around more people?) Morgen had an awesome story behind her name and I had remarked what an awesome name it was. I guess her age about 8 or 9, and she wasn’t shy and was quite engaging as well. So, once we had finished the transaction, I asked if she liked American Girl dolls. (And I haven’t found many at that age who aren’t just ga-ga over those dolls. Me, too, I guess, since I had actually built a doll house in proper proportions – that thing was nearly seven feet tall!). But I digress.

I have a sizable amount of inventory to a failed idea about creating affordable clothing, accessories and props for the doll line – called “Dolls and Cupcakes”. I thought it would be a great idea, as the actual American Girl doll line is crazy expensive. A pair of shoes for a doll can range upwards of $20 to $30! I hoped that I could fill that need.

Alas, it was not to be. So with Morgen and her mom standing in my foyer and finding that Morgen was, indeed, a doll enthusiast, I retrieved one of the two remaining beds that I had made and presented it to her. She loved it. I was happy to have a little more gone from the house.

Now, here is the crux of the story. Today, I received a thank you card from Morgen. Hand written on a cute card, she expressed her appreciation of not only the doll bed, but for the dresser as well. I was floored! In a good way! I cannot recall the last time that someone took the time and effort to actually thank me, and especially using the good old USPS and something as archaic as a stamp and a pencil!

What a joy! I loved that her mom went above and beyond to teach her daughter the proper etiquette and for Morgen to sit down and author the note.

Totally made my day. No, totally made my week and month! I am so warmed!

Okay, y’all can make fun of me, but this really meant a lot.

End of rant! :-)

julie

PS If by chance you read my other blog, you may note that I posted the same story in both places. That’s how much I was pleased!!

Better Late Than Never, Right?

So based on my post last night, the orange quilt I finished up wasn’t for my friends’ – Lucien and Jenn’s – second daughter, but for their first, Maxine. Who, according to emails we exchanged today, is six and a half. That has to be a record for late baby shower gifts, six and a half years! And, much to my chagrin, never even started a second quilt for their second angel, Eloise! Wow… I know things get busy, but I gotta do better!

But, I have filled you in on the unfinished pile, right? I’m estimating that there is something like a hundred more quilts just sitting and waiting. Waiting on money mostly. :-(

DSCN3256So, I have completed two more. They were long arm stitched for me and returned. I just needed to do the binding. And sew on my little label.

2015-05-01 17.39.24First up is this green nine patch set inside framing triangles. I have this thing with color families. It really helps to reduce the fabric stash – well, not really – but I will take what I can get. I love when I get this many shades of a single color, although in quantity, some of these color would be garish and definitely clash, but in small amounts it all works.

2015-05-01 17.37.48There were a couple of centers that differed from the norm. All of my sewing machines are also embroidery machines and when I brought home the first one, I embroidered every single design. There were a couple of quilts that had quite a bit of embroidery, some have but a little. These were obviously one of the first attempts at embroidery and they came out well. And I can never throw anything like that away. So, as I was working on this quilt, I trimmed out these two blocks and included them in this quilt. Just a little something extra: a pine tree…

2015-05-01 17.40.11

…and a bow in green.2015-05-01 17.39.51And to switch the color, the final one is in red. Shades of red. It seems that red is the one color that doesn’t really range far… there is really two base shades of red; One with the underscore of blue and the other with underlying orange. If it gets too bright, its pink and it gets too dark it becomes maroon. But I think it is one of the most happy colors there is and I love it.

2015-05-01 17.38.42You see that this one is displayed on one of the two country rustic benches that I recently finished. Base construction is two twin head-boards and foot-boards, and the addition of a few boards and a seat, these benches were born. If you want to read more about it, you can read here.2015-05-01 17.36.42I tried a little different technique on the corners and while I like how the concept, I am not exactly thrilled with my execution. I definitely want to explore more options as to finishing techniques.

Most of my projects have been completed, although we have two of the antique victrola cabinets remaining and a small wood table. After that, I am going to have to start coming up with new ideas!

Ah, the weekend has arrived. Even with the fact that I am not actively working – a so called ‘9 to 5′ – the weekend holds different tasks and schedules. And it starts with sleeping in. LOL

julie

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,269 other followers

%d bloggers like this: