Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Last night I finished my first set of pillowcases in the crochet-a-long being hosted by Cassie at You Go Girl. These are for my daughter's room. They were so much fun to make and easier than I thought it would be.
It's a really fun project and you get to mix two different fabrics if you want. Cassie really takes the time to go step-by-step very throughly. I encourage you to try it. I had barely any crochet skills at all when I started them.
I would like to tell you about another site. Kris from KrisKnits has a fantastic knitting blog. She has the cutest patterns for wash cloths I have ever seen. She hosts a mystery cloth of the month where she gives you just a tiny bit of the pattern every couple of weeks. I'm really enjoying it because it's a small project and there is a great sense of completion in a small amount of time. When I learned to knit years ago, it was through knitting wash cloths. I think you might enjoy both these sites. I hope you are having a good week. Be blessed!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I wish you were here and we could share some coffee or tea and eat something yummy and just chat about random things like friends do when they're together. I'm going to picture that as I write to you today. This weekend I was cleaning out a closet and discovered the vintage dress I had purchased for my daughter awhile back. It's the perfect Easter dress for my mannequin. Now all she needs is a hat!
I picked up some adorable baby chicks at JoAnn's Fabrics the other day. The perfect companions for my swan. I decorate this vintage mirror with the swan for the seasons. What you can't see from the picture is that the swan is covered in glitter, oh so pretty.
Over the weekend I put the binding on this quilt that I made for my dining room table this past Christmas. My table is 96 inches long and I started smiling thinking about the person that will find this in a flea market someday and think how oddly the bed must have been shaped. I have been quilting for many years but continually amaze myself at how I don't remember important quilting facts. I don't prewash my fabrics. I like the sizing in the material. I can't stand washing, drying, and ironing the dickens out of fabric to get it like new again. But, in this case, when you are making a table quilt to the exact specifications of the table, it's important. Obviously cotton fabric shrinks and thus the quilt is smaller than I would have liked but in the end, no one will notice but me (and you when you come to visit...)
The Amish put mistakes in their quilts on purpose. They do this because only God is perfect. Of course I agree with the reasoning but I never have to purposely put a mistake in my quilts, they get there on their own. I used up a lot of material in my stash and was tickled to tears about it. I will put it away for next Christmas and look forward to the joy it will bring me when I pull it out again.
Before you go today, come take a walk with me to the garden. Look what I found! A crocus survived the snow on Saturday. Hope does spring eternal!
Monday, March 22, 2010
I want to share with you something new I tried this weekend. I have always loved these engraved spoons. Normally they are made into markers for herbs, but I thought it would be fun to do phrases. So when I was visiting Anne Sutton (of Bunny Hill Designs) blog, Bunny Tales, she had the directions on how to make these and I dove right in.
I have got a long way to go to perfect this skill. Swinging a sledge hammer isn't as easy as it appears, and obviously that causes the letters not to be straight on these first few tries. I love the simple, rustic look about them, though.
My mind is running with ideas, but I need to practice a bit more. I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and that Monday proves delightful.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
"I pray that out of His glorious riches
He may strengthen you with power
through His Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith. And I pray that you, being
rooted and established in love, may have
power, together with all the saints, to
grasp how wide and long and high and
deep is the love of Christ, and to know this
love that surpasses knowledge -
that you may be filled to the measure of
all the fullness of God."
To God be the glory!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
The t.v., the radio, the people at the grocery store, everyone keeps saying that it's going to snow today. I put my fingers in my ears and say "la, la, la, la, la!" every time someone starts. I will sit on my porch in defiance (in a parka, boots and hat, no doubt) until it passes. Michigan weather, UGH! I thought you might like an update on Mr. Max (Maximus Prime, as my son and his friends call him). He goes in Monday for his big weigh-in and yes, the vet thinks he just might be the winner of their biggest loser program! I think he looks thinner. He tries to climb on the counters and get extra food so the diet food is doing something although we have to remember to not walk away with any food in our hands...ouch.
Max just turned nine this past week. He went to the groomer and got this rather dapper bandana for St. Patrick's Day. I'm standing on the porch taking these pictures while he watches all the joggers, dog walkers and Mom's with strollers go through the neighborhood dozens of times before the snow rain sets in. Besides the Max update, I wanted to share another quilt with you. I had a wonderful visit with my dear Mother-in-love, Martha and her friend, Martha this week. I was able to give her the t-shirt quilt I made for her.
She has backpacked and camped in so many places in the past few years and she thought her t-shirts would make a wonderful keepsake and record of the trips she has taken. She plans on hanging it on the wall in her bedroom. I am thrilled that she liked it so much. It is one of the most meaningful quilts I have ever made and it made me happy to see the joy on her face.
I have just taken orders for three more t-shirt quilts and I have got to get myself organized and producing. It certainly is hard when there is so much I want to sew for myself. I hope you all have a blessed Saturday. Take time to go outside and enjoy your sunshine for me!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The weather has been so wonderful that I decided to bring my three season porch out of hibernation. It's a bit risky because there are rumors of snow flurries coming next week. I just couldn't stand it any longer and decided to take my chances. Would you like a tour?
The porch is a work-in-progress. The floors were put in about a year and a half ago. It was just poured concrete and we had a company come out and resurface it with concrete which has a color in it and then they texture it to look like large ceramic tiles. This cupboard came from a barn sale that I love to frequent.
I purchased this wonderfully, whimsical, windmill at my friend, Diane's barn sale. I just love the charm and color it adds to the room.
This afghan was one of my most favorite finds purchased at an estate sale. The dear lady that owned this decorated most of her home in roses. I believe we could have been good friends.
I enjoy decorating with old doors and screens. I think they add a bit of texture and interest to an otherwise bare wall. Perfect for porch decorating.
I keep playing with color out here and love this pretty pale sea foam green chair with the cobalt blue one above. This pillow came from the same estate sale as the afghan.
I love that someone took the time to make this iron stool a pretty ruffled seat cover. The perfect spot for my "Cup of Kindness" teacup planter.
Pretty pink geraniums add color by the windows. I do use silk flowers in the porch so I'm not trying to water live plants over the wicker sofa.
My dear friend, Joyce made the banner for me. I love it on the porch where I can see it every day. She has a beautiful blog and you can visit her here.
I get so much enjoyment out of my wicker coffee table. The little wedges come out and you can use them for foot stools or extra seating.
Aren't they fun? I recovered them last year with rhubarb colored gingham. Fabric doesn't get much happier than gingham.
A sweet little arbor to hold some herbs. A fabulous iron sculpted rose from Joyce in the wine bottle that comes from the restaurant of the first job I ever held at 15 years old.
A favorite sign purchased at my friend, Nancy's barn sale. I realize that lilies is spelled wrong, but that just adds to the charm.
I can get so much joy out of ordinary, everyday objects especially when they are painted in two of my favorite colors. You would have thought I had won the lottery the day I found them, I acted so silly.
The birdhouse was a fun project. It came unadorned and I, of course, couldn't have that. So buttons it was. Makes me smile every time I look at it.
One last sign to show you. It is the back of a chair. The chair was attached for quite some time and sat in my garden, but this is all that remains. The best part really. I hope you enjoyed the tour!
Sunshine & laughter,
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The weather yesterday crept into the low 60's. Today should be more of the same. Hurrah! Time for some iced tea. Would love to have you over for a visit!
I snatched up these glass cozies on my latest thrifting adventure.
Do any of you have a pattern for these? I would love to make more.
Be sure to wear green today so you don't get pinched!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Today I would like to share with you one of my favorite recipes from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook. I like to make this when the snow has melted and spring is on it's way. It always gets me in the mood for Easter. Maybe it's the asparagus? Risotto does take a little extra time, but it's worth it. Enjoy!
Have a blessed day,
1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1½ cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1½-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside off the heat for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.
Have a blessed day,
Monday, March 15, 2010
I decided to venture outside today and inspect the gardens for signs of spring. I wasn't feeling very hopeful, one look at my climbing rose and fall Clemantis just about sent me back inside to the sewing machine. I heard a whisper, "look closer to the ground."
Oh yes, through the dead leaves and decomposing garden waste lay the ever sturdy Day Lily. I can always count on the Day Lily to reach out first.
And there is my friend, the Poppy. One of the first plants to show foliage but one of the later ones to bloom in the spring.
I was so thrilled to see the magical Foxglove showing some color. This flower comes up all over the garden and I just leave it where it lands. Nothings says fairy garden, doll tea party and conversations with the rabbits like Foxglove.
But wait, what's this? With closer inspection I realize it's not a plant, animal waste or THE missing sock. No, it's a bone. Buried during the winter, saved for later. Max has walked by it several times and could care less. Of course, he prefers socks...
Have you seen any signs of spring?