Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend Update

Is this Spring growing on you?  I mean are you enjoying how slow Spring is revealing itself, at least here in the Great Lakes.  I get reports from Cleveland daily, so I know that they've had snow, cold temps and gloomy days too.  When the sun comes out, so do the colors, the buds and flowers.  When the sun shines the days warm up, if not literally, but warm the spirit.  We enjoyed this weekend with it's many different kinds of weather.
 The blue sky after a couple of windy rainy days was a welcome sight.

 I spent a day remaking this apron.  I made it too large and used binding I made on the straight of the grain.  It just didn't look right.  I was inclined to leave it alone but something made me tear it all apart.  I ironed and recut the pattern a bit smaller and I took the time to cut bias binding.  It made all the difference.
 The bias took the turns beautifully, and I sewed it by hand for the second time.  It took me hours!
I also used french seams but forgot to put the pockets in again.  I am happy with how it came out this time and I will make another.  I will have to wear this often to justify the time I spent getting it right.  I love the old curtains look of it, perfect for a spring event, perhaps a flower sale.
 We did rummage a bit.  Some fabric at .25 a piece.  The Laura Ashley full sized top sheet for a dollar.
 At another sale this pillow cover spoke to me.
 Even more when I got it home and saw my favorite label.
 This is the back fabric.  I didn't pay the 75 cents, since everything was half off.
I had to rescue this embroidered piece for a quarter.  I am always cheered by a bluebird!

We entertained our babygrand and took her to her first Flea Market.  She loved it and looked and walked and touched everything.  She was the only one to make a purchase, a baby boy doll that came in an clear plastic backpack.  Penny had so much fun with the $3 baby. Once home he got a bath and as you know there is no play like water play.  Tea parties, washing dishes and baths are all favorites.  Later Kris and Doug, Jon and Charlotte joined us for dinner and a fire in the yard at dusk.  Penny slept all the way home.
Here's to a happy week.  Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments.  Enjoy this beautiful day.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This Spring Feels Like Winter

It actually snowed yesterday here in English Valley.  What's a girl to do but get busy inside.  I watched bad TV as I made some of these flowers for Mother's Day.  They are the very same flowers I made for Jon and Charlotte's party, except this time I made them in pink.
I am using my thrifted rose bowl just for display as I will tie on a small card to each rose (lolly pop) to wish all the women in my life who love and nurture me through the year a Happy Mother's Day.
 A little something made with love.
Feeling a bit edgy this week I needed a bigger project...  I grabbed this coffee table, aka a butler's table since the top is removable.  I made this table from a kit back in the 80's.  It's had many makeovers but none as bright as this.
Grabbing my Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint from the hob lob...( If you don't have the app on your phone for coupons at Hobby Lobby you should.  It's 40% off on one regular priced item, everyday.). Anyway, I had this paint waiting for a project, so I got to it.
 I only painted the tray or top, not the legs since I am fickle and may change my mind about this.  By the late afternoon, I distressed the edges and waxed it up.
Bright and cheery on even a gloomy day.  More projects.  I learned a new stitch from the Crochet Crowd. Have you ever watched Mikey's video tutorials?  You'll find them on You Tube.  This is the corner to corner afghan pattern, worked in cotton thread.  Just making wash cloths, so nice to have a stash of small gifts around.  It also seems I haven't gotten the ball jar cozies out of my system yet.  That pattern is mine.
 The washcloths are just double crochets worked from corner to corner.  There is a shawl in my head, since you can make this as large as your want and it's so simple once you learn the stitch.

We did a impromptu drive into the city to see our girl last night. (These little flowers seem to be everywhere in the city.  I've never seen them before, but they are beautiful.)  To say that our babygrand was happy to see us would be a understatement.  She literally jumped into my arms and hugged me tight.  It was just what this grandma needed, and grandpa got lots of hugs and kisses too.  Thank you Kris and Doug, just THANK YOU a million times.

Going to put my planter back outside since the temperature is going up from the freeze warning of last night. Lets see what other trouble I can get into today...  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's the simple things...

 When I look through things at a rummage sale, it's the simple things that attract my eye.  The handmade things, the pretty things.  Things I can reuse to embellish a craft, decorate a table or in the case of fabric, sew something up.  Such was the sale we attended with our baby grand. As grandpa and sweet p. were wrapped up at the toys, I went to the linens.  They are almost always priced at a quarter, fifty cents to a dollar...hours and hours of labor went into the creation of each piece.  Sometimes crocheted, embroidered, sometimes machine made but beautiful.  When I can come home with a handful of  inspiration, I am happy.
The radio thingy is a dock for an iPod.  Since my phone is old, and had the right connector, and my  iTunes filled with music, I can listen to my music amplified anywhere. All with 4 AA batteries!  It was $2 in the kids section.  I picked it up and asked my IT guy (hubby ;-) if it would work with my phone. It does and it sounds great!  I always listen to music while sewing, cleaning, baking...and this little thingy makes me happy. I can even take it to our service nights, and be able to hear the music over the sewing machines!
When I find a cut of fabric, I see pillowcases!  This fabric is really cheerful.
 I see sachet hearts filled with lavender...
 White on white embroidery, hard to see but lovely as a tablecloth or maybe a shawl on a cool evening.
And on this cool evening,  I am looking outside at sunset, the light in Spring is so beautiful, the colorful buds...
 the sunset makes it all pop...
My view to the east as the sun goes down.  Yes, it's the simple things that make me happy.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend Update

A weekend with summer temps followed by winter's chill, then came the rain...Springtime in Chicagoland.
Last week at the rummage sale I scored some fabric which I put to use.  Most went to our guild for pillowcases. A few have already been cut, hot dogged, sewn and serged.  I saved one cut and made a pillowcase for Penny, and the 70's patterned fabric I sewed into a tablecloth for Charlotte and Jon's vintage kitchen table.
 Great when things get used and shared.
Spring really got a boost with a beautiful 75 degree day on Friday.  We headed to the city and got to pick up our girl for a little visit.  By the time we were headed home on Saturday the wind kicked up and the temperature dropped.
We took the scenic route home, Lake Shore Drive to Sheridan Road for a walk along the Lake.  We were just wearing light jackets over our summer weight shirts. By the time we had walked a block we were cold. By the time we walked to the road near the Lake, we were freezing, fingers painful cold!  The web said it was 43, but it felt like winter!
 We stuck around long enough to take a few photos...
 Never can resist this view...
 We couldn't get in the car fast enough.  Once inside without the wind we were better, but it took a while till I could get some warmth back in my hands.  We came home to a bowl of soup, a quiet house and a early bedtime. Being a Grandma and Grandpa is the best job we've ever had, but sure tires us out.
Sunday was a quiet day.  I planted a spring pot with all the flowers I've collected since Easter.  Don't they look well together?  I borrowed a small fence from a pot in the garden and found a banner Elizabeth gave me last spring.  It looks very welcoming just outside the front door.
The ranunculus is doing so well, such a beautiful flower and so hardy.

We did manage a rummage sale on Saturday with our baby grand.  Penny loved looking at all the toys and choose carefully before making her selections.  I found some fabric, a couple of pieces of crochet lace and a tablecloth.  We were too early for the bag sale, though the little one could have stayed and played all day with the toys.

A cool week ahead, I'll be finishing up a few indoor projects till the days warm and the garden calls.
Thanks so much for stopping by.  Enjoy this beautiful day.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ode to a Pond

Not a real duck!
Once upon a time, in a place called English Valley, there was a pond.  It was in a shady spot, just off the deck under a silver maple.  The water was clear and filled with goldfish...  (It was one of the reasons we fell in love with the house) Then, on the very first day at the house, a small boy went spear fishing for a goldfish and fell into the drink.  That is where my worries about the pond began.  That incident was over 20 years ago, but there was always some fear about the pond.

The pond was the focal point of a shade loving perennial garden, sheltered by a beautiful silver maple.  One day we woke up after a storm to find the silver maple split in half.  Half still standing, the other on the ground.
Just $900 later we had a full sun garden and no protection for the pond.

Every year I'd clear the muck out of the pond, (algae loves a sunny pond) and every few years change the liner.  It was a big job, requiring muscles and at least someone else to yell to if I ended up in the drink myself. Cleaning the pump, filling the pond after raccoons tipped over the fountain head and all the water ended up out of the pond was no fun.  It was hard work keeping it up. I'm not getting any younger and now we have a frequent little visitor who's safety is paramount.  So....
 This year the pond is no more.  After some thought and discussion with my dearest we decided to
drain the pond and fill it in.
 With my hubby's help we stacked the flagstone, pumped out the water, pulled the liner after dredging up 2 dozen rocks at the bottom... and the muck...

This is a time to be grateful that you cannot smell this photo, just awful!

Then to pull out the protective quilt batting that kept the liner from puncturing from rocks and roots.

Now all that's left is a deep hole needing to be filled.

My sons both sounded disappointed when I told them the news.  I know that Kris is relieved.  Still, it's going to be missed, the romantic notion of it.  Not the mucky reality.

We still have a water feature for the birds and for visiting children to fill their watering cans from.  After all, I do love the sound of running water in the garden, it is so soothing.  Now to get a load of topsoil, and some strong guys with a wheelbarrow!  I want to plant some Annabelle hydrangeas in this spot, since I have some that desperately need thinning.  We also need to use the flagstone somewhere in the garden, and a bunch of black river rocks.

I'll show you how it all turns out as things progress.  Thanks so much for stopping by and for all your kind comments.  Enjoy this beautiful day.