Sunday, June 30, 2013


My dear pal Jean sent me a email asking if I was interested in some thread she recently acquired. She said, " There's ecru and..." She had me at ecru. I've been collecting spools of ecru (ecru is the off white color) thread for a while...but this morning it dawned on me. Both my Buscia (maternal grandmother) and my Grandma (fraternal ) crocheted with this very same thread. The majority of the beautiful things, tablecloths, bedspreads and doilies I have in my possession are made with ecru thread. It's no wonder I am compelled to collect it. My Mom tried thread as a medium, but yarn was her choice for crochet. Now, her granddaughter Kristen has the same preference with both crochet and knitting, and a large stash of yarn in every color and texture. I know my ancestors would laugh to see the spools of thread on display this way, but I like to see it as a tribute to my dear grandmothers, and the magic they made with this humble thread. Coming soon some photos of both my grandmother's beautiful work.

Thank you Jean for always, always thinking of me. Have a wonderful Sunday my friends, thanks for stopping by.

Love, Penny

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Little Moments

"We live life in little moments that are soon gone. Each day holds possibilities for great discoveries and hidden joys. Enjoy each small amusement. The only thing you can grasp hold of is the moment, now."

Alexandra Stoddard

Have a great weekend my friends.

Love, Penny

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Friday, June 28, 2013

My Heart is in Sharon Springs

Wishing Josh and Brent love and happiness, health and peace and all the kindness and generosity they have shown to their community and to the community of the world, returned to them a hundred fold.  Josh and Brent are getting married today, and my heart is there in Sharon Springs.   Love to Josh and Brent from the Willoughby Family. Love is an Endless Season.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

My "Bastille Day" Banner

If you remember I had one vintage tablecloth that I could cut up.
 Well, this is it.
I thought since it was red, white and blue
 it would make an excellent
Independence Day banner...
That was until I showed it to my son Mike.
He said, "Oh, for Bastille Day!" 
Then I looked at it in a whole different way...
He was right, it did look a little French...

I cut out the pendant shapes from fusible interfacing. 
Since the fabric was so threadbare,
I thought it needed something to give it a little weight.
 I ironed on the interfacing to the wrong side of the tablecloth,
then cut out the shapes with my rotary cutter.

I made it to hang outside, but to show you today
 I hung it on our fireplace.

Then I looked up Bastille Day and found
 it's celebrated on July 14th!
Two birds with one stone!
Celebrating the US on the 4th,
and France's National Day on the 14th.
Thanks Mikey, who knew?...
My baby is so sophisticated!

I finished all my dishcloths...after I ran out of the plain flour sack towels,
I gussied up some Ikea striped hand towels too. 

We finally got the storm, a BIG storm with alot of rain.  We were fortunate and never lost power.  Some in our town got flooded.  I won't have to water the garden for a while...and a few days inside got my creative juices flowing.  Hope all is well with you my friends.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

As You Suggested...

I added some lace to one towel and a ruffle to another.

A little cotton lace...

A towel fabric ruffle.

The perfect finishing touch.
Thanks for the suggestions.  Enjoy this beautiful day!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

One Woman Lavender Festival

Yesterday, right before the storms,
 I had my very own
one woman Lavender Festival.
I have dreamed of attending a actual festival,
 but with many far far away,  I had my own.
I didn't have a band, or booths,
 the parade was cancelled...
It was just me harvesting my first real crop of lavender.

I've grown, or attempted to grow lavender for over 20 years
with little success.
This year I found the secret to growing a healthy crop...

Find it a sunny place, and leave it alone. 
Mine is on the south side of my home.  It gets baked by the sun,
and I do not water it.
I filled my basket and was overjoyed.
Instead of the 15 stems I usually get, I got hundreds of stems.

Enough to make these Lavender Wands.
 I first saw them in Victoria magazine,
back in the day.
 I always wanted to try to make them.
 So after the harvest...
( There was some singing, I was crowned Lavender Queen,
 photos with local dignitaries
 you know how these things work ;-)
I made my first Lavender Wands.
You can find instuctional videos on YouTube,
and instructions all over the web.

My very first wand.

I made a second...

and a third!

I still had a big bunch for drying...

A little bunch for display and a bowl of leaves to add to my potpourri.

It's the little things that make me truly happy!

We got hammered yesterday afternoon and
through the night with storms.
No damage, just a little cleanup.

It looks like a grizzly bear took a nap in the center
of the Annabelle, but she will perk up. 

Oh I almost forgot...How about those Blackhawks?  I watched the first few games, but they made me anxious.  Can't they be nicer to each other?  Silly I know, but I decided to sit the maybe last game out.  I was watching a very interesting show about Moose on PBS in bed. (Yes, really about Moose) I turned the channel when I heard my guys whooping and hollering, there were 50 some odd seconds left...  seriously,  I went back to the Moose until I heard my guys yell and the neighborhood erupt in fireworks. My sweetie recently traveled to Boston and brought me home a Boston Strong tee shirt, that I had hanging right next to Mikey's Blackhawk jersey. I kept it upstairs for my personal enjoyment. (Not popular with the real hockey fans...I don't know why...)  My favorite part is when they shake hands at the end.  (Right after they regain consciousness, nurse their wounds...)  Oh well, civic pride takes over, you know I am a proud Chicagoan.

Take care my friends, have a great day, and thanks for stopping by.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Using Those Rummage Sale Finds

I bought a bunch of this fabric a while back.  It was actually large valances.  I took out all the seams and threw the fabric in the washer with regular detergent and oxyclean.  (How about a sponsorship?...I mention them every time I wash a vintage piece or thrift store find. It works great ;-)
Anyway, I was left with many large pieces of this fabric.  What to do?...

Then I saw a photo at Into Vintage.  Amy has an amazing blog.  I just found her, and she collects and repurposes vintage tablecloths among a million other amazing things.  She made a tea towel using a floral motif from a tablecloth, cutting out the floral and appliqueing it to the towel.
 I also collect vintage tablecloths,
but all of mine are too precious to cut..except for one that is not floral.
Then I remembered my fabric stash.
A good sharp pair of scissors and a hubby on the road
was all the encouragement I needed to get started.

After I had a stack of florals cut out, it was off to the sewing machine.

My machine is a simple one, but it does have a zigzag.
So I pinned and placed and zigged and zagged
until I had a stack of towels.

What do you think?  I think they are terrific.  Do they need a ruffle?  A crochet edge?  Would I just be gilding the lily?  Let me know. I think they would make a sweet gift.  Now to wash them and see how they hold up...  Experimenting is fun.

Thanks for stopping by, I so appreciate all of your kind comments, and especially your friendship.
Enjoy this beautiful day. 

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Out Front/The First Day of Summer

Funny that the front of the house sometimes gets neglected around here.
Everything is focused out back for the most part.
Our front yard is larger than our back yard was in Chicago.
Not to mention a driveway...only a  former Chicagoan can really appreciate a driveway
with your own parking space.
(probably any major metropolitan area, right?)

I was inspired to try a fern this year by Dawn at The Feathered Nest.
Dawn's lovely farmhouse boasts 3 large ferns along her front porch.
It looks so cool and inviting. I decided to try it myself.
Our front is shady and it's hard to grow anything unless it likes shade.
This Boston Fern seems to like it here.

This pot is flourishing too.

Coleus love the shade and still produce such vibrant colors.

On the south side of the house where nothing wanted to grow,
this lavender has found a home.
The largest "crop" I've ever had.
The smell is delicious...I run my hand over it each time
I walk by.

The weeds like the south side too. ;-)
Happy First Day of Summer!
Have a great weekend my friends.  Thanks so very much for stopping by,
and for all your kind comments.  It means so much to me. <3>
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Friday, June 21, 2013

You've Got A Friend

Dear Melanie from Comfy House came for lunch. We are kindred spirits in many ways...except that she is craft shy! Well, I'm going to work on that. Anyone with such a creative eye, taking thrift store treasures and creating a beautiful home is hiding her light under a bushel basket.

After talking over lunch, I prepared a small project for us to complete.

Mel was so good natured, and followed my lead. We made some fabric sachets from a postcard image posted by Dawn of the Feathered Nest. Dawn is so generous and makes a beautiful sachet that can be found at her etsy, Sew Many Roses. I printed the image directly onto some drop cloth material. Then I sewed the image to a fabric backing leaving a small opening to fill with lavender and fiberfill. I also used a trick we use making sachets in our guild. I use essential oil on a cotton ball to boost the fragrance of the lavender . The polyfill will not absorb the essential oil, thus the use of the cotton ball. Mel did a great job, but she is not fond of hand sewing.
I hope she'll let me continue our craft sessions, I see she has talents that have never been tapped. What do you think Melanie? ;-)

Melanie came bearing a stack of magazines, Folk, Artful Blogging, Cottages and Bungalows and Freshstyle. So generous! She also brought me a cookbook, but not just any cookbook, The Tasha Tudor Cookbook! This girl knows the way to my heart. Mel also loves to read, and collects books by the stack. We had the most pleasant afternoon, more like old friends catching up than new friends. Not an awkward moment between us. Thanks Melanie, you are a special woman and I look forward to our next adventure.

The first day of Summer, oh how I love the longest day of the year! Take care my friends, and enjoy this beautiful day!

Love, Penny

P.S.. This week my sweet p. said, "Hi Grandma" to me. I have waited my whole life to hear those words. It was the sweetest moment, bringing this Grandma to happy tears. Seeing Penny smile everyday on our FaceTime visits is such a gift. Thank you Steve Jobs and Apple!

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