Cooking, Sewing, Working, Traveling, Gardening and Pondering

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

~Winston Churchill~

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank you to all the men and women who gave their life so I can live in freedom. That I can vote, that I have free speech, that I can choose my religion. Thank you each and everyone of you and your family. I come from a long line of military people, both parents, both brothers, uncles, cousins, great uncles. They all gave part of themselves for this country.

This year I got to spend the evening with my little family.

The hubs made me my favorite, homemade hamburgers! yummy. All the food groups - one meal. I made some jalapeno poppers out of some home grown peppers to go along with them.

While the hubs was sleeping today (he worked 2, 24 hour shifts since Friday) I worked in the back yard - rewind to last Sunday to see the damage.

I put in a couple rows of perennials to start filling in the area and sometime I'll add some seeds and some annuals to start filling in the gaps, but for now this is what I have.

For some reason the grass looks horrible in this picture, but it's not as bad looking in real life. It is slowly sending out runners to fill in the area where the lavendar overhang killed off the grass. So by 4th of July I expect a full recover.

Here's one of the tomatoes from the garden.

We are going to be overrun with tomatoes this year I'm afraid. Maybe I'll can some homemade salsa.

I also made this duffel. I will blog more about it at a later date. I have some pattern comments I would like to write about.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hello! I'm here!

I was so worth the wait!.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finishing Up the Bathroom

Today was a long a day for a Saturday. Our painter Lance, was here at 6:45 to do the last few touch ups to the bathroom and work on the paint of our front door. He wanted to be done with the bathroom before Patrick the handy man got here to do the sink.

A couple things on the pictures, I don't like my soap and lotion dispensers in the bathroom anymore even though I love them. They don't work now that the bathroom is so much lighter. Same for the rugs and the towels. I need to get some soft greens and taupe's I think. Overall, I am happy.

I'm not entirely thrilled with loosing all the towel bars or the fact that the hook on the back of the door is so high now. This is what happens when I get put between Mike and the handi-men.

I think I'll get one of those counter stand hand towel racks and go ahead and put the towel bar back under the window.

I was able to line the shelves and put everything back away so tomorrow I can move back into to using my owner bathroom again. The painter said shelf paper was an old lady thing. I don't use contact paper, but either scented papers or that no slip stuff. Do any of you still use shelf paper? or did I become an old lady and not know it?

Note, this was a minor remake as one day in the life of owning this home, I want to turn our kitchen and when I do, I will move the main wall of the bathroom out and completely redo everything in there. But until I have a cool 70 grand laying around, this will have to do.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Remodel Day Three

More progress and hope to finish up today.

The new light over the tub is in, the new base boards are in and all the cabinets have a coat of paint.

The inside of the door had the old stuck on ugly hooks removed and painted.

All in all it's looking good. Unfortunately, we are not able to use the master shower as he painted the built in soap thingy today.

Oh here's a Dahlia Update - I'm still WAITING.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spruce part Deux

So here is some of what Lance got accomplished yesterday.

Here's a little history on our house. It was built in 1947 by a local builder. It had one owner I believe until the mid-90s. Then a couple of school teachers lived in it for 10 years or so. The neighbor across the street son bought it to "flip" it and did some updating and resold it to the couple we bought it from. Somewhere in here, someone added the dining room and the master bath. Typically houses in this area are 3 bedroom 1 bath but the houses here have separate 2 car garages on larger lots than most of the neighborhoods in our area. Three of our neighbors are original owners. Our house has oak floors everywhere but the bedrooms which have carpet and the baths and kitchen linoleum.

Updates we've made so far have been to copper plumb the master bath, scraped the popcorn ceilings and put in crown molding, painted outside the house, new front door and threshold and screen door, painted my office, sprinklers and sod in the back yard and side yard, storage loft in the garage and all the landscaping.

Not a lot for 4 years, but living here in southern California, just living is expensive much less house remodeling. When we do it, we do it right and save for it rather than just half way doing stuff.

So here is some more of the in progress look we have going on this week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bathroom Sprucing

After having lived in our house for 4 years, we are finally getting rid of the blue sink. I'm so sure you understand just how much I hate the blue sink. I like blue, when it is the sky or sung by Jonny Lang, but I don't like it as my sink.

Did mention it's stopper doesn't latch anymore and in order to keep it from filling and had to be pulled out? Did I mention the TWO earrings that met their fate down that drain because of it? So now I have two mix match earrings left with no mate?

Then there is the light fixture. It's close to being country, but yet not.

I know it's probably not that bad, but it has blue on it. Who ever installed it put in off center. It's the only light in the bathroom too and considering it's in the sink alcove, the tub area can get a bit dark in the evenings when there is no sunlight.

Let's talk paint job. I seriously think they only painted it to sell the house.

Several areas like this.

And a bunch more like this where the paint was so then you can see the paint color underneath the top paint color.

So today is the beginning of the sprucing up. Lance, our neighbor and friend, owns a painting company. He painted the outside of our house as well as my sewing/office room. Sometime this morning - usually early- he'll come by to start on the paint, baseboards, fixtures, lightening. He says it will take in 2 days and then on Saturday, Patrick, our all around handy man, will come by to install the sink and faucets and any other thing I need done to finish (hang my pictures back up because it took the hubs a year to do it).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dear Dahlia,

I am still waiting.

But I did pick up the quilt batting, backing and binding yesterday for both the stacked coin and dresden plate projects.

The mailman brought me these wonderful twills all the way from France too!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Because I didn't get enough done yesterday

I had an early start yesterday weeding the front flower beds. I try to walk through everyday either in the evening or early morning and pull a few weeds. This just helps keep it from looking out of control. But yesterday, I was down and dirty weeding. I have one of those long weed tools that I meticulously pulled weeds with yesterday. For the record, whomever lived in our house and planted the mondo (aka monkey) grass - I'd sure like to have a word with you. That stuff will NOT go away.

Then the hubs came home with a laborer to help removed the lavender hedge in the back yard. But then he also had him remove 4 perfectly good plants around the pergola. I was not thrilled.

Where the lavender was is along the back wall of our house and the dogs loved to tunnel under it, but poor Dazzi is allergic to the blooms and would just itch and itch every year. So we are taking it out.

Break here - the husband took me to the farmer's market to get some fresh veggies - found some yellow peaches and made a cobbler. He also got me some beautiful flowers for the house. :)

Anyone know the name of these? I just loved them.

This meant that I had to relay the edging, clean out the old mulch, fill the holes and prep the soil for new plantings. By I, I mean me, myself, solo, uno. The hubs does not do yard work. But he did buy all the soil, manure, and some additional plants I wanted for the front yard and 4 beautiful hanging baskets to replace the ones he killed off while I was out of town for work. Where the grass doesn't meet the edging is from the lavender overhanging so far out it killed off the grass - but I'm going to change all that.

So I got the beds ready for planting and put in the new yellow lilac and sorbet peony I received last week from Gurney's. The Peony is a tuber not a plant and the lilac is a sapling. So it's a bit bear back there right now. Not to worry, I'll be browsing all my plant company catalogs this week.

Insert shower here and an apricot update.

Then his friend from work who had stored his motorcycle in our garage came to pick up and the hubs invited him to dinner. Make dinner here. Dishes.

Can you believe that dinner was consumed, dishes done by 7 pm? I liked it! I sure wish we did that every night but that would mean I'd have to get home before 7. *ugh*

So what do I do after a few motrin 800's? I work on my candy bar quilt. I get the top done! Now I need to find a backing fabric, binding and the batting to finish it.

It's to date the largest quilt top I've made.

How was your Sunday?

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Look out they are everywhere! Between the stitching and the sewing I have no where to turn

Here is the dresden plate UFO that will one day either be a christmas quilt or a tree skirt.

Here is the lap quilt I want for myself for the sofa as the weiners have take over the other TWO throws.

And last but not least, I have all this Spirit by Moda fabric that I want to make a large *gulp* quilt for one of the beds here at the casa.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Whatcha thinking 'bout?

Because I'm thinking this here Dahlia is about to bust open!

I planted them this year and will be one of three varieties I ordered from Spring Hill Nursery.

Now this was a random picture I took this week of my two favorite things.
Talk about doggie trust.

Then last night's Friday Night Sew In, I did the last few rows of the lap quilt. Did get much time to sew but I did get all the strips finished.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I worked a little bit on the modified stacked coins last night when I meant to post a blog post. I had some silly goal to post every day in May. Well I missed a day yesterday. Bummer.

This coin quilt has me all wound up inside. Will it still be a stacked coin if have 4 rows of coins sashed up with a solid color, then another row of 4 coins. Does that make sense? What I'm seeing are these rows of coins that are 4 deep going across the quilt with a mocha fabric sashing between the "bundle" of 4 rows and then stacking this with the other sashed bundels...

mocha row
coin row light
coin row dark
coin row dark
coin row light
mocha row

then finish up with a border and binding.

is it still a stack coin?

Do I need to think this hard about it?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Last night's JL meeting...

So last night was the night. The night we gave the two wonderful ladies that help our event a thank you presentation. The league gave them awards and our committee chair gave them a thank you package. In that package were the aprons I made. "no pressure here". Anyway, here they are in the their aprons. They look pretty cute!

Several things happened at the meeting last night. The Helen Newcomb award was presented and the sustainer that was presented gave one of the most sincere speeches I've ever heard.

Then the new board of directors for next year was inducted :) yeah for our new president. The new members were made active members (yeah me!) with flowers and the JL pin.

The outgoing president then presented 4 president service awards. Our committee chair for the Kids in the Kitchen event was presented with the first award. We all sat together so during our congratulations to her, the president was starting the intro on the second award and our chair looked at me and said listen. Then I listened. I heard the word "crafty" then I heard "she's a great cook" and she helped "prep food for 500" and takes "charge" when needed...GO FIGURE. Then I heard my name. ....insert ::THUD:: here.

I was very honored and humbled to get this in a group of women that really exceed what I do. I just like to work and help.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday Pondering

Last night on the drive home (in my Mini) I saw this adorable vintage Mini on the road. Isn't just too awesome for words?

I've also been trying to work on a small lap quilt for myself out of the Moda candy bar pack I bought last year. Here is a sample of what I've done. Kind of a modified stacked coin.

I think I'm going to add sashing to the strips in a mocha color to add some to the overall finish size.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Aunt Pitty Pat's Sewing Accessories Swap

As you know I participated in this swap. It was an open swap, meaning we knew who our partners were and we were to communicate with them to find out what they like. My partner was Nadine over at Apron Valley Road. We exchanged a few emails to each other outlining fabric lines we liked or designers, the dimensions of our sewing machines, if we wanted pockets or not. We were to send each other a sewing machine cover, apron and pin cushion thread catcher. All things we should already have, but never take the time to make for ourselves.

I received my swap package yesterday from Nadine. When I got everything opened, I almost cried at just how wonderful it all was. She is really a creative person with some mad sewing skillz.

Then I started ripping into everything. I just was overwhelmed...

adorable snips!! love her

An Awesome thread catcher pin cushion

The Sewing Apron for under the sewing machine to keep you tools handy. She even backed it with no slip shelving liner - totally smart.

Look at this cool catch all basket! I already have it full!

She made me TWO of her shoop shoop bags! I'd read her tutorial and they were on my to do list when I finally took time to sew for myself!

In her note to me, she described the wonderful applique pieces with all the fun words on them to me. She used to create the printed fabric with her ink jet printer. The words are from my blog! Is that not uber fabulous?

She also sent this awesome grey marking pencil, a quilt pattern, some flower top pins (I've been wanting and not getting these for some reason)and this incredible little tool called a "Lil Twister" for making pinwheels easy! I can not wait to try it - I have a charm pack screaming for this!

When I opened up the sewing machine cover, I literally almost fell down. I have no idea how she knew I'm having a love affair right now with dresden plates, but holy buckets batman!

I am kinda sorta new to quilting - I've only made 3 small quilts so far, and made my first dresden just a few weeks ago from a Missouri star Quilt Company tutorial on you tube!. So when I saw this, it just really did me in. I can not thank Nadine enough.

Ok so here is a little of what I sent to Nadine, that I feel a little like a schmuck about. I had started on her set twice before I finished one set I liked. Yes this means, I made almost 2 of everything. The first one was using the Central Park fabrics. Here is a picture of the sewing apron I made.

I got all concerned it was a little too bold and crazy. Go figure. I always worry that my mixing of prints and fabric will get me in trouble on day and here I thought I'd gone a bit overboard.

That's when I ordered more fabric and a thinner batting. I ordered up Free spirit Moon dance and linen. I love linen and for some reason just thought Nadine would too. I had bought a pattern from Bloom and Blossom. I really liked the ruler tape but wanted to tone down the design and mute it a little since the Moon Dance fabrics are calming to me. I was afraid if I patch worked them, they'd turn all crazy.

This is the cover and apron that I made up with the Moon Dance and linen.

I was hoping to get to a nice neutral that would go in Nadine's house as her sewing area is out in the open inside her house. I wanted it to be part of her decor with out scream "HERE I AM".

I included some tuck ins, but nothing as fabulous as what Nadine sent me. I'll just have to surprise her one day!

Also, I decided that I may not be sewing the most perfect line all the time, but that I need to trust myself a bit more and reach out to those areas of creativity that I feel I've lost from working too darn much. The quality of work Nadine sent was off the charts and her creativity is something I truly admire. She may not know it but she has set the bar for me to reach out a little farther in my scope of work on just how creative I can be. Thank you so very much Nadine!

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