Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Garden planning

This time of year I start dreaming of my garden.  The brick paths that feel so sunshine warm under my bare feet, the raised beds with flowers and vegetables spilling over the sides. I can almost close my eyes and smell the earth.  Soon my friends, soon.
My dreams influence my designs and I have been loving the new pillow covers that I have worked on in the past month.  Reproductions of real vintage seed catalogue pages and vintage seed packets! This cover photo from an old catalogue has all my favorite veggies beautifully illustrated.

 I always love to have Nasturtiums and phlox in my garden. I am a fan of the old fashioned flowers, and nasturtiums make big mounds of bright flowers that are just beautiful. As an added bonus you can add their petals and leaves to salads for a peppery punch!
 I've had a soft spot for the brightness of cherries too. Of course they are my favorite color, red! I added these vintage images to some faded French script and found the perfect black and cream polka dot to  trim them in.
 And a coordinating Queen Anne cherry pillow.  These would look so pretty for a punch of color on a neutral sofa.  All just listed in the shop.
Are you dreaming of the garden? What are your must grow favorite vegetables?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Royal Mail

Global warming? If only it were so.  *Sigh*
Fortunately I had a lovely pick-me-up waiting in my mailbox this Saturday, a delicious package marked "Royal Mail" all the way from beautiful England.  Isn't a package in the mail just the most delightful day brightener?  This one is from my dear friend Barbara at Cornish Cream. I won a giveaway of the most beautiful things. It came all wrapped in tissue and ribbons so it was fun to unwrap each item and see what was inside.
 See the beautiful fabrics she sent over there on the right?  I plan to incorporate them into a quilt and each time I use it I will see those and remember that she sent them from so far away.  I have had fabric gifts from friends before and it is almost uncanny how I can remember which patterns came from each person. It's a sweet way to remember someone with an item that is used and loved.
There were also some garden seeds, which I cannot wait to plant! some Earl Grey tea, of a different kind than I have ever tried, (I have water heating now to have a cup), some beautiful Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady notecards, British Red Cross coasters, and the loveliest linen tea towel.  I can't wait to feature it in the newly redone kitchen (soon!). 
Barbara has counseled me on my Ikea countertops, shared photos of her old kitchen with the same counters and shared her delicious crabapple jelly recipe with me this fall. It was fabulous and much appreciated by the friends who received it with fresh home made bread for Christmas.  I hope you'll stop by and say hello to this sweet blogger. She made my day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cheery Cherries and a Question

 As you can see, I am focused completely on Spring.  This old Kitchenaid was in need of a makeover. It has served me well for at least 15 years, but I have to admit I've dreamed of trading it in for something a little brighter. I don't think the company offered all the colors they do now way back then, and I would have a hard time choosing just one! At any rate,  I have an oldie but goodie plain white machine and I needed to brighten the old girl up.  Enter my silhouette machine and vinyl decals.
Don't you love the cottage feeling she has now? So fun and cheerful, and when I get tired of this design I can peel them right off without damaging the finish. I love it! I've listed a few of these in the etsy shop and I'll be working on some other designs so you can Springify your machine too:>)
I've bitten the bullet and joined Instagram. I'll be honest, I find it hard to keep up with social media sometimes, so my Instagramming, Facebooking, Tweeting is sporadic at best. But if by chance you follow me on Instagram you would have seen this photo of our Valentine's day dinner.
Our dining room table is still hosting the Ikea countertops and copious amounts of sawdust, (progress is being made!) so I dragged a little table that we used to start seedlings in the basement, up to the living room and threw pillows on the floor. I lit some candles and made my sweetie a lobster tail and filet mignon dinner with parmesan crusted asparagus, salad and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.  We hate fighting the crowds on holidays and I have to say, the change was fun.
I love pulling out all my garage sale and thrift store finery to make things special:>)
While we are on the subject of setting a pretty table I have been hoping you would tell me your opinion on something. I have been talking to friends about entertaining. It seems that so few people have someone over for dinner anymore. Our lives have become ridiculously complicated and busy. Earl and I look forward to warmer weather because, with a small home, we do most of our entertaining outside in our yard and garden.
What I want to know is this, do you think that using "good" china, fancy tablecloths, centerpieces and things make people comfortable or might it intimidate them? It almost seems like a silly question when I see it here in print, but I have heard over and over again that people hesitate to entertain because they are afraid their house isn't nice enough or they don't think they have nice enough things. Maybe they don't "get into" decorating the table and think that is required.
At any rate, I have daughters who are setting up their own households, their friends are starting out too, and they have asked me to write a few posts about entertaining.
I would love to do a linky party if you would be interested in adding your advice for the next generation. What have you learned about making people comfortable? About planning a low cost but nice meal? What would you tell your own kids about hospitality? And if you wouldn't mind giving your opinion on the poll on my sidebar, I would love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Hello friends :>) I took a few days off for some projects and just getting things done. I'm behind in answering my email, so bear with me. If you haven't heard from me it's because I've been unplugged for a bit.
This is one of the projects I worked on. Remember the spray roses that my darling daughter got for me? Well this rose wreath is now hanging in the cottage window in the bathroom brightening things up and making me think of spring mornings and roses blooming.
 I started by cutting a hollow heart shape from a large piece of cardboard I had kept.  I used the rest of the cardboard to try to keep things contained and easier to clean up because this is a fairly messy project! If you have some dried roses hanging around, (and you may after Valentines day!) and you want to try this you will need just a few simple items.
     1. dried flowers
     2. a package of moss from the craft store
     3. white glue
     4. hot glue
     5. scissors

The first thing I did was pour a liberal amount of white glue on the cardboard form.  I didn't have a lot of hot glue sticks and wasn't sure I would have enough to glue the moss and the roses on. The white glue did a fine job of holding the moss on.  I also cut some of the brown roots off the moss so it wasn't so thick and so I wouldn't have a lot of brown in my background. The moss still held together well even with the brown stuff trimmed off. Just pack it on so all of the cardboard is covered.  I also ran hot glue along the edges of the heart so I wouldn't have any corrugated edge showing when this was finished. I used all the tiny bits of moss that fell off or were left over to cover the edges.

Then, I just glued the roses to the front with my glue gun until it was covered.  A few loose outer petals fell off as I handled the roses, but they lost very few and if I had needed to, I could have used some of the petals that fell to fill in areas that had a gap.  When I was finished, I hot glued a deep green velvet ribbon from my stash to the back as a hanger.  It's a pretty simple project but I love how it turned out. I can enjoy my roses for a long time, and see how well they retained their color?

 I had enough moss and roses left over to cover the little center heart that I cut out of the cardboard form for my larger heart.  So two rosy wreaths from one little bunch of grocery store roses! This one got a pretty green and white polka dot ribbon hanger and I am going to hang it from the lamp in the dining room.
So there you have it, a simple and inexpensive way to enjoy your roses longer.  If I were going to make more of these, I would keep an eye out in the mark down bin at my Kroger store. They often have a surplus of spray roses reduced.
I need to go catch up with everyone.  I hope you're having a good week so far. Spring can't be far now:>)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Looking for Spring

Happy Monday friends, and Happy February! 
The sun is shining and Spring is in my heart if not in my yard. Isn't that just the way it should be?  I'm afraid I let myself get down about all the snow and cold when I'm longing for green and flowers. But February is short and there is Valentines day to look forward to and I am busying myself with making Spring things for the etsy shop. It cheers me up to use some bright colors to sprinkle here and there.
 Now I admit, I am usually a coffee drinker, but lately I have been wanting tea more often. My only problem is that the pot gets cold so fast I always end up wasting a lot.  I was inspired to make a tea cozy to keep it hot longer and of course I wanted something that reminded me of Spring!
I am having a wonderful time mixing and matching fabrics for these little cottage cozies! And just so you know, that is a sneak peek of the new kitchen counter going in:>)  It's Ikea butcher block and  Earl finished the little spot near the stove where the coffee maker usually sits this weekend.
I love it, no more stained grout to clean!
The next piece will take a bit more work and much longer to install but we hope to have it done in a week or two. This little area gives me a preview and I love it so much I just can't wait to see the rest. This isn't a full remodel just a little freshening up, with new counter tops, sink and lighting, but it will make a huge difference and be a totally different look when it's finished.
So I have lots of projects to keep my busy and before I know it Spring will be here and I'll be ready for it.  How are you preparing for Spring? Any big plans for February?