Saturday, July 27, 2013

Made the Noodlehead Sidekick Tote

This is a great pattern!  The instructions are well-written and easy to follow.  I will admit I chose a boring color--again. 

The photo above, however, makes it look old and worn out already.  It looks much better in person--a nice chocolate brown.  The lining has some color, though.

My flap pocket has a snap because I'm still in my snap obsession phase (or should I say craze).

The recessed zipper instructions were so clear even I couldn't mess them up. 

I pretty much stuck to the pattern.  Yeah, I can't believe it either. I only made a few tiny changes.  First, I used a medium-weight canvas material instead of the interfaced cottons and linens the pattern shows.  Then, I didn't make the strap adjustable.  I convinced myself I didn't need it, but I may regret that later.   When I'm getting close to the end of a project these things happen. 

For some reason, my bag came out an inch narrower and almost two inches shorter than the size listed on the pattern. This problem with getting the sizing right happens to me way too often.   I even used a little metal piece with different seam measures on it to make sure I was using the 3/8" allowance.    Must get new glasses.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gurgling Water for the Front Porch

I do love the sound of flowing water.  Sadly, the container I used for the small water fountain I had in my sunroom cracked.  I reused the filter and some of the stones to make this one for the front porch.

It's just a plastic planter, large and small stones, and a cute little potted plant from Joann's.  I thought the little flower would sink, but it floated.  I like that even more.  The bubbling water makes it slowly move around.  Both the sound and movement are quite relaxing.

With the Adirondack chairs, little side tables, citronella candles,  Kindle reader, and a cup of green tea, the little gurgling fountain makes my front porch just about perfect.  Number of people who sit on their front porches in my neighborhood: one--me.  We've got lots of nicely decorated porches, but I never see anyone on them.  Is it just my little suburban area???

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My House, The Blue Phase

While sitting on my back patio enjoying the heat wave (over 90 that day--aka heaven), I noticed that I could see the entire house in my blue garden ball! 
This is the freaking coolest effect!  As a blogger, I did what all bloggers do--ran for the camera so that I could entertain (or bore) the virtual audience.  You can see me sitting at the table taking the photo, but I still think this is  a fun shot.

Our heat wave is over.  I'm a bit sad about that.  It will only be in the low 80s this week with nights in the 60s.  I need to move further south!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yup, Another Glass Garden Totem

No one else in this area is going to be making glass garden totems because I think I bought up all the glass in the thrift stores.  Then I used all of them in this one totem. 

Yeah, I may have gotten carried away with this one.  That tends to happen when fairies are involved.   The bottom bowl has a fairy on a horse in some sand.
And the top one has a baby fairy with some fairy dust. (Some might say glitter, but I'm sticking with fairy dust.)
 No more garden glass for at least a year.  I promise. 

partying at
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quick Look at the New Quilt Top

Remember this hand embroidered square I showed in this post?
design from Lecien site
  It was supposed to become a baby quilt, 
but it grew and grew
 Into a twin size.
I decided it would look nice in what will be the pale yellow bedroom when Kiefer moves out in a few months.

Now, onto the quilting.   I'm going to do this one by machine.

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Favorite Hand Quilting Notions

I often find new sewing products by reading blogs. I'm not talking about the paid reviews, just the "here's what I use" posts.  Just in case I'm not the last remaining hand quilter, I thought I'd share a few things that make my hand quilting easier.

First, a new one I stumbled upon at the fabric store, the Protect and Grip thimble from Clover. 
 It is grossly over-priced for what it is, but  since only Clover is making them, they can charge whatever they want!  I got this from for $7.99--cheapest place I could find one including the local store.  Overstock has a lot of sewing items and no shipping charge. 

Why is this thimble so great?  The rubber keeps it from falling off your finger and the metal tip has that great rim that helps push the needle through tough spots. This turned out to be worth the extra money.  Added bonus:  freaking cute!

That thimble still won't replace these plain, old rubber finger tips that I've been using for years for hand quilting. This goes on the top hand to help pull the thread through. the thimble is on the bottom hand, right?
Please don't buy these at any specialty sewing stores.  You can get them at the office supply store for so much less--$2.49 for a twelve pack at Staples.  They stay on and make pulling the need through so much easier.

Next are these flat-head pins from Fons and Porter . 

I held off on buying these because I thought I pin was a pin.  I was wrong.  I bought some because I read that the flat head caused less distortion when piecing.  That really does help, but the super thinness of the metal part of the F & P pins also greatly lessens the distortion.  Another plus is that they come in the pretty tin WITH a window to see what's in there.

This one is also from Fons and Porter, curved safety pins for holding the fabrics and batting together. 
I'm not convinced that this brand is necessarily better than any other curved pin.  It's the curve in the pin that's worth paying a little extra.  These pins are easier to put on and create less fabric distortion than regular safety pins.  I've never been a fan of using straight pins for this purpose.  Straight pins are  either snagging fabric or pricking my fingers. 

The F & P pins are good quality, and I love the nice box with a window--decorative,  convenient, and matches those straight pins mentioned above.  Gotta make the sewing room look pretty.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ever Make One of These??

I love these recycled pieces that decorate the children's area of the local library.  If there were any little guys staying here, I'd definitely do a few.

This one is my favorite.

The longer I look at them the more things I identify as having had another life.

The hair is rolled pieces of paper.
Sorry for the bit of a blur in the photos.  I'll get better shots and update soon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

So I Decided to Put the Sofa in the Washer...

I finally got around to doing something I pinned about using alcohol to clean the micro-whatever they are making furniture out of these days fabric  The man cave furniture has had a tortured life with hoards of teenagers eating and sleeping on it.  Cleaning was way overdue.

The alcohol works great! Before:

and after:
But this furniture needed a lot of work.    Ten minutes into the process, I went back to read the post.  At the very end, it says you can just unzip the covers and toss them into the washer and dryer.  Okay!  I was expecting the usual foam-covered pieces like these in the seats:

However, the back cushions innards looked like this:

Once I have an idea in my head, I am not gonna stop.  I soon had four piles of fluffy fill on the floor, and all the covers in the washer. The fill is freakin' awesome.  It sticks together, doesn't leave any mess on the floor, and goes back into the cushions looking better than before.  I cleaned the base of the furniture with the alcohol, and two hours later:

The man cave furniture was all back together and looking better than ever.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Miss Angelica and the Bibs

This is Keegan's step-granddaughter.  I finished up bibs with the left-over fabric from the blankets just before she arrived for the 4th.  These are the baby bibs for the soon to arrive Arabella.  I used the free pattern from
These are Angelica's bunnies in matching bibs.  I just reduced the free bib pattern by 50% to make bunny bibs.  The neck is just a bit tight for the Baby Binky Bunnies.  Next time, I would reduce the pattern just a little less.
We had a perfect day for celebrating Independence Day, 90 degrees and next to the pool.
Keegan and Angelica

My son, Kiefer and Keegan's partner, Pep

My lovely husband, Brian. 

Angelica with her dad and mom, David and Keita.

Oh, yeah.  That baby is coming soon.

Angelica's Uncle Carre
 Hope all my American readers had a spectacular, fireworks-filled Independence Day!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Prairie Home Companion at Tanglewood

I finally got there!  I love Prairie Home Companion on the radio and have wanted to get to see the show at Tanglewood forever.  I mentioned that I was going to the ladies of the book club and got looks as though I had just admitted to loving porn.  Turns out that some people see this show as the high school play of the performing arts world.  Fortunately, I've never seen a high school play I didn't like either!

LOVED both the show and Tanglewood.  Tanglewood is my new favorite place for music.  First, there are the magnificent grounds and views.
Second, you can bring a picnic complete with wine and spread a blanket just about anywhere.  Not in the mood for toting food?  You can buy all kinds of goodies there and even rent lawn chairs. Third, the sound is crystal clear.

Garrison Keilor and all the performers were really wonderful. After doing the regular show, they started singing everything from Rolling Stones to Andy Williams classics.  What I thought would be a small encore ended up going on forever.  All the singers had truly amazing voices. Heather Masse of The Wailin' Jennys and the DiGiallonardo Sisters--must get anything they have recorded.  Joy Kills Sorrow with Emma Beaton were freakin' awesome!

The one downside is that the theater seats are not angled.  This was my view.
Brian changed seats with me giving me this view.
Fortunately, I was there to listen for the most part.   

I shall leave you with some of the words of wisdom Garrison Keilor put in the souvenir pamphlet.

"There isn't a lot you can do, but you ought to do that much. And if you do, you'll find there is more you can do, and you should do that, too. 

It's good to dream, but the urge to perform is not in itself an indication of talent."

Geez, he must have heard me singing at some point in time to have come up with that last one.

A Glass Birdbath Worthy of Gracing the Grounds of Hogwarts

I think I outdid Sandra the Sewing Muse with that alliterative-laced post title.  Now about the birdbath...Since my daughter was going to Marshall's for a little shopping, I gave her $20 just in case there were some interesting and inexpensive glass pieces to feed my glass garden ornament obsession. 

Were I not being chewed up by mosquitoes, I would have gotten a better shot of the bottom piece.  It looks like green glass roots coming up out of the ground.  Keegan says it looks like something that would grow at Hogwarts. 

Love it, love it, love it!  Thank you, Keegan, my new personal shopper.

Partying at:
 More the Merrier Monday