Thursday, November 29, 2012

Really Random Thursday, 11/29/12

November almost over? How is that possible? Seems there is an "extra" week before Christmas this year--because Thanksgiving was early. So does that mean I have a lot more done already?


It simply means that I have an extra week to procrastinate...

Today I'm traveling down to spend the weekend with my good friend, Elizabeth. In case anyone even remembers that I made all 111 Farmer's Wife blocks along with Carla (whose quilt top has been completed for a couple of months already...), I'm taking them along to start sewing them together!

My original plan was to drive. To Los Angeles. Which I have never done by myself before. Then someone said, "Hey, take Amtrak." Brilliant!  For a round trip ticket for only $75 (and the train terminal is only about 15 minutes from Elizabeth's house), there is no way I could drive my Honda Pilot down and back for that. Besides less money, here are the further benefits: less stress (yes, I mean you L.A. freeway system!) plus time to sit back and read a book (loaded a new one on the Kindle app on my iPad), or listen to music while I do some stitching (because I just bought this pattern).
I will travel in style with these little pouches, thanks to creative friends, which are just perfect for this trip:
I have all my embroidery supplies in the "Keep Calm" pouch, which has a clear plastic window. My sewing supplies are going in the Anna Maria Horner pouch--just the basics as I'm relying on Elizabeth letting me use some of her supplies, and my electronics (iPod with lots of Christmas music, chargers, etc.) in the cute yellow pouch with the ruffle.

What about you? Do you have your holiday sewing all completed? If so, don't even tell me because that means you are not a part of the procrastinator club, please share how you managed that...

Note: Don't forget that you have until December 8 to leave a comment to win a $20 gift certificate from Zipit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deck the Halls: Selvage Christmas Tree tutorial and giveaway!!

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for stopping by!

It's true--Christmas is less than a month away! Today I'm a guest at Jennifer's blog, with a tutorial on how to make this cute little selvage wall hanging:
Zipit is generously giving away a $20 gift certificate. An early gift!
I hope you will check out my tutorial, and then leave me a comment here telling me whether you are decorating with traditional colors of red and green, or going out on a (Christmas tree) limb and doing something retro or modern. Pink...aqua...limey green...purple? I'd love to know! A winner will be chosen on December 8.

Be sure to check out the rest of this fabulous schedule for lots of fun ideas!
11/26: S.O.T.A.K. Handmade / Giveaway from Sew Me a Song
11/27: Live A Colorful Life / Giveaway from Zipit!
11/28: Petit Lyons /Giveaway from Zipit!
11/29: Little Bluebell / Giveaway from Mountain of the Dragon
12/4: Jednoiglec / Giveaway from Sew Fresh Fabric
12/5: Owen's Olivia / Giveaway from Sew Fresh Fabric

Monday, November 26, 2012


Every year, my birthday falls close to Thanksgiving Day.  Sometimes it's actually ON Thanksgiving Day. My birthday was yesterday. It was a biggie--and one that I had tried hard to forget about. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against celebrating birthdays. I love celebrating the birthdays of friends and family. in fact, this is my  basic philosophy on birthdays:
 (Card I found on etsy a year ago--SO sorry I don't remember the artist)
Gifts aside, and even though we should do it more often than one day a year, it is a chance to tell someone "I'm glad you were born because you matter to me."

Mark and Aaron had left the day after Thanksgiving to go to a Texas A&M football game with my brother and our niece (a senior at A&M), and came home yesterday afternoon. Christa planned a girls-only lunch with family and a few close friends at a lovely restaurant. It was the perfect celebration, as I had been quite adamant about not wanting a surprise party. Across the table from me was this little sweetie--things don't get much better!

 After a delicious lunch, I celebrated with a butterscotch creme brulee--with candy-coated popcorn on top (yummy!).
 The restaurant graciously only put a single candle on the plate. But I still needed help blowing it out.
I love this picture--with my mother and granddaughter.
And the other two exceptionally special women in my life, Christa and Jill.
The whole group who made my day so very special.

Did I mention that there were gifts? All so very wonderful. I'll share just a couple of them:
A "Live a Colorful Life" mug--and it's orange inside!--and a scarf that will surely inspire a quilt (don't they look perfect together?)

My family knows that pictures are probably my very favorite gift in the world. And while I'm so very thankful for each gift and card I opened (and I'm sure everyone will understand when I say this), it would be hard to receive a better gift than the hand-painted and hand-written cards I received from Levi and Charlotte.

A special thank you to all the many people who took the time to leave a message on Facebook or Instagram. I appreciated them more than I can say. I feel very blessed.

Just a reminder--tomorrow is my tutorial for a cute selvage Christmas wall hanging over at Ellison Lane Quilts. With a giveaway! The fun has already started so you might want to head over right now and check it out. And then come back tomorrow!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday and a sneak peak

I know Black Friday is over already but Fat Quarter Shop still has their amazing sale going on through Thursday! And it IS Small Business Saturday so FQS would be a great place to spend and save at the same time!

I actually stayed home most of the day yesterday. I ventured out at 5:30 a.m. to take Mark and Aaron to the airport so they could go to a Texas A&M game with my brother and niece.
(picture courtesy of Aaron)
They went to midnight yell practice and had a great time. The game is tonight at 6 p.m.

I'm spending the weekend sewing. Want a sneak peek?
You can read all about it on Tuesday, the 27th, here:

 I'm off to spend more quality time with my sewing machine. Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


This is probably an odd way to start a Thanksgiving post, although I am thankful for my morning coffee.

Here's the thing. I ordered this poster from an artist in the Czech Republic! Isn't the world a small place? This is the picture from her shop--I don't have that awesome catherineholm orange coffee pot or that retro clock. But I just love the happy colors of my new poster that has come from around the world.

In the last week I have been getting to know a friend who has linked to Really Random Thursday. I love her funny and witty writing. It made me want to get to know the person whose writing I was so enjoying. Little did I know she would change my world in a small but significant way. My friend, Elisheva, is from Israel. Israel! So what started as a little conversation on my end of "Hey, thanks for linking up. I love your writing...." then turned into "Is it hard to get fabric in Israel?" which then turned to a request on her part for prayer for peace, not just world peace, but to make changes in my own life.

On this day of Thanksgiving here in the US, I encourage you to read Elisheva's current blog post. Give thanks for friends and family. But if you live in a place where you do not listen to planes flying overhead and sounds of bombing, give thanks for the peace of quiet.

Elisheva has a list of ideas. She ends by saying, "Cultivate peace.Put it front and centre." I confess that peace isn't always something I actively think about. I want to change that.
Picture from Pomegranate Quilts
Happy Thanksgiving to all I hold close to my heart.

Feel free to be random:


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Really Random Thursday, 11/15/12: Before and After

What? You thought this was a quilting blog? Hmmm...

In the last month, I have been a painting, DIY-ing, makeover-obsessed maniac. I am running out of steam. The idea was to be creative. And cheap frugal. Mostly it was an exercise in redoing--what we already had--and reusing--moving things to different parts of the house, with a few purchases here and there.

So let's do a quick recap with some before and after photos:

Our entryway. I love that curved cabinet for so long. But the entry needed updating. I saw a picture in a magazine that had a butcher block shelf on some cool brackets. I located the exact brackets but to save money, I purchased a stairstep riser from Lowe's for $9.99 and had them cut it in half and then I stained it. Mark did the installation. Purchased a new vase, moved the candle, "W" and some wheat from another room. And voila.
Our two kitchen chairs originally came from Target. Cheap--like under $50 for two of them. They came upholstered with muslin, so years ago I stapled on the red fabric. A month ago I got a yard of cool fabric from Hancocks (on sale, of course) and was able to redo both chairs. I like that they are not matchy-matchy.

Charlotte has used this little outdoor chair for years. It was yucky. I recovered it with Anna Maria Horner home dec fabric. But it's only held together with heavy-duty velcro. So now her little brother uses it instead. (I have plans for a cool little rocking chair for her...but not this month. I'm tired of painting.)

And my father did an amazing job of recovering this chair (with more on-sale fabric from Hancocks).
I love my family photos. But I was kind of tired of the mismatched sizes. I got an idea from watching "Major Crimes" (one of my favorite shows) so I pared down the number of photos and got some square frames (on sale) from Target. One photo of each grandchild, one of my parents, and one of the whole family together (after painting the whole hallway first).

The clock is from trash pick-up days quite a few years ago. With a major "oops" on the first DIY try (cantaloupe paint and ginormous numbers--what was I thinking??), I'm pretty happy with the green frame and chalkboard paint.
The kitchen ceiling was painted blue (Valspar Sea Air).

I made "modern art" for the family room--a canvas from Joann's 50% off plus some bottles of paint at 59 cents each. Big bang for little bucks.
Major redo of the master bedroom.I have enjoyed the "red licorice" wall and the red and white quilt, but the room seemed crowded with furniture and I was ready for a more calm, spa-like feeling.

This was my inspiration photo:
Thanks to Kilz latex primer, covering the red wall was easy-peasy. Then I painted the entire room the same color as my sewing room, entry, dining room, hallway. Yes, I really love Valspar Oatlands Subtle Taupe, which is really a warm grey.

After painting the room, projects involved rearranging furniture (free).

Then I painted the headboard with Annie Sloan paint (this is amazing paint--a little pricey but you don't have to do any prep. Seriously. No sanding, priming, nothing!). Mark hung the headboard upside down in the garage by cup hooks and ropes, which made it so much easier to paint! And I felt no guilt painting Ethan Allen solid maple.
I used the same Annie Sloan paint on a little bench, and spray painted a mirror frame (with spray paint formulated to cover any surface).
 Painted just the fronts of the drawers (inspired by a picture in Better Homes & Gardens from July 2011).

New bedspread, matching (inexpensive--from Walmart's) nightstands, matching lamps with black grosgrain ribbon hot-glued on. Ta-da!

(This the quilt that was pattern tested by me for Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew and then she quilted it and sent it back to me!)

There was this little log in the garage and I think I saw this idea somewhere--maybe on Pinterest. Anyway...I painted a little heart on it and put it next to our re-framed wedding invitation.

1980s valance: gone!

Master bathroom: painted the same color as the kitchen ceiling. Bonus: I had just enough paint to finish the bathroom. (I'm not sure whether to add a valance to the window or not...)
Spray paint rocks--the red is gone. It is now a classy black.

So that's about it. The best part was when Levi walked through the house the other day and said, "Grandma, you have a new house!" Yes, it kind of feels that way.

But I'm not quite done with before and after.

I seriously thought this tooth was never going to come out. She could even twist it sideways. Is it just me, or are 6-year-olds missing their two front teeth extremely adorable?? Mark lost his tooth during a football game when he was younger. Don't worry--he has a replacement. But it's on a removable plate. Dentists always want to give him a permanent tooth implant. But he has too much fun taking it out--and freaking out his grandchildren. Although they are kinda used to it by now...

My favorite cousin's son got married (in Portland a couple of weeks ago) and they had a local wedding reception here last weekend. Fun!
Back row: Terry and Cathy (my cousin)--parents of the groom, Travis and Shannon (bride and groom), Tim and Rachel (their other son--and Rachel has a cool cooking show), me and Mark.
Front row: My aunt and my parents. 

Our grandchildren have amazing eyelashes.

So really. This is basically a quilting blog. It just hasn't seemed that way lately. Because with all the DIY-ing and painting, I have had no time to sew. Although that hasn't stopped me from buying a little fabric.

Ah...that's better... And now we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.