Friday, October 30, 2009

A Special Give-Away ... Give-Away

Did you know that this month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month? It's actually more than that. This month is the 25th anniversary that, as a nation, we have recognized October as the month to remember those lost, honor those who have survived and reiterate a commitment to finding a cure of breast cancer. I'm sure I would be hard pressed to find an individual who hadn't been affected by this disease. In honor of those who have contracted breast cancer and their caregivers and supporters, I am hosting an impromptu party and giving away this perfectly pink tote, named "It's a Party!"

Come join us for a celebration of life and love. In the title of this post it lists this contest as a "Give-Away ... Give-Away." That's because this contest is going to be a little different. You will still be submitting your name for a drawing via a comment below, but the lucky winner will have this tote sent to a person of his/her choosing. (Yes men, too, are encouraged to enter this contest for a special woman in his life.) That's why I say it's a "Give-Away" (from me to you) "Give-Away" (from you to someone of your choosing). When the winner is announced, I will acquire the address of the intended recipient from the winner and send it directly to that person with a note from the winner!

Here's where you come in. Most of us know someone who has been affected by breast cancer - whether the person has lived with the disease themselves or been a caregiver or supporter of one. It's a tough job to work your way to a healthier self when you've had cancer, but it is also challenging to be a caregiver or supporter of a loved one or close friend who has the disease. All are deserving of our support. Your job is to think of someone you know who has been affected by this disease and nominate them to receive this Hang Up if you should win. Please give us a little insight into what makes this person extra special to you. If, by chance, you are a breast cancer survivor, then by all means nominate yourself!

Here are the specifics of the contest...
  • Make a comment below and your name will be submitted into the contest.
  • Put a shout-out on your blog, by noon Friday, November 6th, and your name will be added two more times. (Make sure you let me know in an additional comment that you have posted a shout out.) Please spread the word.
  • In your comment, please mention the first name of the person and your relationship to the intended recipient should you win the drawing. Also, please give us a little insight as to why you admire this person. If you are a breast cancer survivor, then nominate yourself!
  • The recipient of this tote must live in the continental U.S. or Canada. (I will provide postage.)
  • Although each contestant can only nominate one person, the same person can be nominated more than once.
  • No anonymous comments. Please leave an email address or blog that I can visit. Private bloggers must leave their email address. If I don't have any way to contact you, your name will not be eligible.
This contest will run until midnight on Sunday, November 8. The winner of the contest will be announced the next morning.

In memory of Dianne
&
in honor of her daughter (and mine)

Friday's Fabulous Finds


I spy with my Etsy eye something...
rustic


Starting at top left, clockwise:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

What surprised me this week?
I've been on the receiving end of a lot of kindness and attention lately. My foot is eons better now and mending perfectly, and it feels good to be getting back to normal. This last week a number of people in our area have come down with the flu. I had the opportunity to help a few of them. It surprised me how satisfying it felt to be once again on the giving end of service, rather than the receiving end.

What moved me this week?
Yesterday Colorado experienced a record early snowfall. It snowed most of the day and into the night. I received a phone call from a girlfriend last night. She was concerned about the snow on my driveway. She knew that I'd had foot surgery last month, and that it might be difficult for me to shovel it with a sore foot. You see, my usual form of snow removal -- my big, strapping hunk of a husband -- was out of town. This morning my friend's husband called to see if I needed any further help shoveling the snow. Good friends. They move me and bless my life.

What inspired me this week?
There have been many times in my life, when I had a thought or feeling come over me that was not my own. As a parent with children living at home, I often felt inspired to do or say something to help keep my children physically, emotionally or spiritually safe. Those feelings have come less often as my children have left home and started their own families. Today, however, I experienced again in a very real way the prompting, guidance, and instruction that only the Holy Ghost can provide with regard to the safety of my family. I am grateful for moments of clear understanding and inspiration.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Fields of Gold"

I was listening to the Playlist on my sidebar this morning and knew as I heard the song "Fields of Gold" that this is what I needed to name my new Hang Up. "Fields of Gold" seems to fit this tote to a T. The fabric on this saucy little number is from the "Annabella" line from Tina Givens. Fabulous. This line is filled with rich brown, sassy aqua, lively pink, moss green and golden hues. It's one of my favorites.

I tweaked the pattern I devised yesterday a little for this one. It's a little fuller up top and through the base of the bag. This one has plenty of room for the woman who carries many "essentials." You know the type. Like me.

Anywho ... here's "Field of Dreams." She'll be resting in my Etsy very soon.

woodsy button...

triple pleats...

like a bouquet of fall flowers...

or a field of gold.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Sassafras"

Mmmmm. Ever had home-made root beer? There's nothing better on a hot summer day than a little sassafras. It's a favorite of mine. Very sweet and intoxicating. Kind of like this new tote I created today. That's why I named her "Sassafras." She's sweet and intoxicating! I love these beautiful fall/winter colors -- root beer brown, salmon red, golden wheat, pumpkin orange with a kick of cool turquoise. Turquoise is the color of choice this year in many fabrics -- that's for sure. This (aptly named) fabric line, "Hot Blossom", is the creation of Josephine Kimberling for Robert Kaufman fabrics.

Today I did a little designing and creating. I designed a new pattern and put it together with these beautiful fabrics. This Hang Up has all the usual features. It's fully lined, interfaced and fleeced with two roomy pockets. Yes, it has all that and much more, including:

a rounded frame for the button...

three of the cutest pleats you ever did meet...

an ample, spacious interior for all of your needs
and wants...

I think she's adorable.

Bloomin' Tuesday

We've had a little bit of every kind of weather this last week -- a little sun, a little rain, and a little snow. That's the way it is this time of year in Colorado. As the local saying goes, "If you don't like the weather right now, wait ten minutes and it's bound to change." The weather can drastically change within an hours time in Colorado. These photos were taken earlier in the week in our yard on one of our Indian-summer, picture perfect, days...

Happy Bloomin' Tuesday

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sourdough Bread Bowl

Just one more way to use this recipe.
Creamed Vegetable Soup in a Sourdough Bread Bowl.
After my stress-filled refinishing day,
I needed some good, down-home food to relax me.

It worked.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Lesson Learned...

I prefer it when things go my way. I'm an analytical person residing in an artist's body. I have my moments of creative panache, but deep down I'm a very structured person. If I have a plan, come rain or come shine, I'll stick to it, by golly. Problems arise, however, when "the plan" doesn't cover all the variables. That's what happened last week as I began the refinishing and reupholstering process of the chair I bought a month ago. You will remember I posted details last week of the first phase of my "shabby to chic" chair project -- the refinishing of the wood. I took photos (above) of the lovely wood chair I had painted. It was a beautiful, satin black, and I mentioned in my blog post that I was looking forward to moving on to the reupholstering of the chair. I'll pick the story back up where I left off, but I'm warning you the story gets ugly...

Back to a week ago: Yes sirree, I was feeling very accomplished and, dare I say, a little cocky about my first attempt at furniture refinishing. I had primed the wood and applied two coats of black satin paint on my beautiful chair. It looked charming and I couldn't wait to start on the reupholstering...

Several hours after the picture taking and the uploading of my blog post detailing the painting of the chair, I went outside to check on my handiwork and, much to my chagrin, I notice the black paint had started to bubble in several places on the chair. My calling as a fine furniture refinisher came crashing down around me. Apparently, I had neglected one of the elementary rules of furniture refinishing ... that of sanding. I had drawn the erroneous assumption that one either sanded or used primer. I thought one replaced the other as the first step. A lesson learned. It appears one must sand and prime to achieve the kind of finish one would capture from a professional job.

Well, this totally messed up my "plan" and my analytical self took a tailspin. I wanted this project to be packaged in a neat little box, instead it was turning into a nightmare. My precise plan and time-line for this chair's revamp was booted from here to Kansas. Dang! The only thing left to do was to strip all my applied paint and the old varnish and stain off the chair and start over. Humility is a hard pill to swallow.

Saturday around 10am I started the dastardly deed of stripping all the wood on the chair. A little after 2pm, I was finished. Yes... it took that long. Horrible work. Horrible! Here's what the chair looked like after the first step of applying the paint and stain remover. In keeping with this spooky time of year, it looks like something one might see on Halloween night.

Applying the remover was the easy part. Clearing away all that gobbily-gook was the test. All of a sudden all the handsome curves and rounded corners that I had bragged about on this chair became my nemesis.

After four long hours of back-breaking work, this is what I have to show for it. He's down to his bare little bones. No paint. No varnish. No stain. N'ked as a jay bird. All he needs now is a little sanding and a kick in the pants. Hopefully the weather will improve and in the next couple of days, I'll be able to (1) sand, (2) apply primer, and (3) give him a proper painting...

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Wonder Fall"

In early September I decided to make three totes out of the four fabrics to the left. I had been to a fabric store that day and had a difficult time trying to figure out which of the fabrics to buy, because they all appealed to me for different reasons. So... I decided to buy them all and do a little experiment. I thought it would be fun to see how different or similar they would appear by using slightly different combinations of the four fabrics in three different totes.

As you will remember the first tote I made was christened "Fall Fever."

Then I went on to create "Loose Leaf"...


Today I finished the last tote in this set of "triplet" Hang Ups. I named her "Wonder Fall." She's a whimsical little thing with those funky dots covering her top!

Here they all are. Triplet sisters, but definitely not identical. Two are residing in my Etsy. One has already flown the coop...

Friday's Fabulous Finds


I spy with my Etsy eye something...
"butterscotch"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thankful Thursday

What surprised me this week?
My foot is recovering. I had a similar surgery two years ago on the other foot and the process was so much more painful and the recovery so much longer. It's a wonderful surprise to have this recovery go smoother. I'm so grateful!

What inspired me this week?
I have been inspired lately by those who can reuse, refurbish, refinish and recycle materials to meet their needs. I've visited a number of blogs trying to find out the best way to refinish the chair that I've been working on. I'm amazed and inspired by those who have the talent to take something that I would consider "junk" and change it to something beautiful and functional. (Here or here are two examples.) We live in such a disposable world. I know I've been guilty of that philosophy most of my life, but I'm beginning to realize the advantages of refurbishing an item to suit your needs. It a creative, inspiring attitude -- and I like it!

What moved me this week?
I wish I could live near my children. They are spread across the country from one coast to the other. My husband and I have seven children, five children-in-law, and seven grandchildren and if I had my way they would all live within a five mile area of my home. There's nothing I like better than spending time with family. The fact that I don't live close to them never makes me more anxious than when they are ill or in need. Oddly enough, that's the time that I miss being closest to them the most. What moves me and makes me feel grateful is when other people step in to help my children and their families when they are in need. I am so grateful for their support and kindnesses. Their service may come in the form of babysitting needed, an invite to dinner, a plate of chocolate chips cookies, an arm around a shoulder or an offer to bring in a meal. It moves me to see the service and sacrifice of others on behalf of my precious family.

It's "Party Time!"

Are you ready for a little soire'e? Well get ready, because it's "Party Time" at Just Another Hang Up! That's the name of this fun-filled tote I made yesterday out of Lila Tueller's fabric line called "Soire'e." I've loved this collection (currently on sale at The Quilted Castle) since the moment it was introduced.

The dictionary defines "soiree" as "an evening party or social gathering." That's a bit subdued for the dynamic, opulent designs and pigments in this fabulous line. Lila's "Soire'e" is set in a lush garden with overgrown vines, blossoms and gazebos. Vibrant shades are found in the buds, leaves and blossoms in this lively line. Everyone loves a garden party. It's definitely "Party Time!" ... and you're invited.

"Party Time" will be found in my Etsy later today...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday

As is much of the nation we are having some fabulous fall weather in Colorado. When we speak with out-of-state visitors, they are usually surprised by the weather along the front range in Colorado. Often they associate Colorado with freezing temps and heavy snowfall. That may be true in the mountain regions, but along the "front range" (from Ft. Collins in the north through Denver to Colorado Springs in the south) the temperatures are much more moderate and the snowfall considerably less. It's not unusual for us to have 60 degree weather on Christmas day. This time of year we enjoy crystal clear, cerulean skies and rich earthy shades saturate the landscape. The small photo above was taken a few minutes ago in our front yard. A couple of days ago I went into our backyard and took the pictures below to give you a taste of an October day in Colorado...

I hope you're having a beautiful day
in your neck of the woods!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The refinishing begins...

You may remember several weeks ago I posted about a chair I had purchased and was looking forward to refinishing. It had the ugliest raspberry fabric covering it, but its bones were fabulous. Beautifully turned and carved features. I mentioned that I needed some advice as to how to reupholster and refinish it, as I had never done either before. I then mentioned that I was thinking of painting it black. That caused a bit of a stir. I heard, in no uncertain terms, that I should not paint that chair -- let alone, paint it black. If I had to paint it at all, a couple of you suggested that I paint it a lighter color to show off the beautiful detail of the chair. I've heard this advice before, and generally I agree wholeheartedly. I appreciated your advice very much.

Today I started the refurbishing process. The first order of business was to take off that delightful raspberry fabric. Oh, I hated to see it go. Not really. I delighted in ripping that fabric right off ... or at least trying to rip it right off. There were no less than 12,532 tacks holding that fabric onto the chair. Seriously. Well, not "seriously" seriously. I might be exaggerating, but there were far more tacks than I think would be necessary. However, never having reupholstered anything maybe it is necessary. I'll have to look that up. Anyway, when I started taking off the backing of the chair, looky what I found under that raspberry facade...



I should have warned you. Should have told you to put your sunglasses on. So very attractive. Sort of helps you get your Halloween on, doesn't it? I actually really like the color orange, but I prefer it in splashes rather than tidal waves. Know what I mean? I was hoping to find an envelope with a stash of bills or a Revolutionary revolver worth thousands tucked inside the upholstery. I've watched enough Antique Roadshow to realize those things can happen. Instead I found fuzzy orange upholstery fabric. Dang. I decided to leave the orange fabric on for the time being. I think I'll just rebatt it a little and upholster right over that orange fab and new batting.



Next I had to take the fabric off the bottom of the chair. When I took off the raspberry fabric on the bottom, thankfully there wasn't a stitch of orange fabric. I know I'll have to totally rebatt the seat as it is starting to sag. That happens as you get older. I won't tell you how I know that. After yanking out no less than 10 thousand tacks, I had the fabric off the seat. It was nasty. {shiver} I had the urge to wash my hands during this process. A lot. Here's what the chair looked like at this point...



Now, for the apology and explanation. I'm sorry I didn't take your well-meaning and expert advice as to how to refinish the wood. I truly did appreciate your suggestions. When I first read all your advice I decided not to paint the chair and decided to strip the wood and stain it instead. I even bought the wood stripper and all the other equipment to do just that, but my heart kept telling me I was making a mistake. My problem is this. This chair is going in my family room. That room consists almost entirely of brown leather and wood. The room screams for a little variety. I decided to throw caution to the wind and paint the chair black, then if I really didn't like it I could always use the wood stripper and all the supplies I had on hand to restain it.

I first used a primer. A few of you were right on when you said you would paint the chair a lighter -- cream -- color. It did show off the details...



But... Oh Mama. I'm so glad I followed my heart. It may not be what you would want in your home, but it is exactly what I was looking for in mine. Here's a little sneak peek of how the wood looks this afternoon.

Hello handsome...



What fine looking curves you have...



Care to hold my hand?



More to come when he's dressed properly...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday's Fabulous Finds

I spy with my Etsy eye something green....
lime green to be precise!

Clockwise from top left:

Lotus lil Hoot, $42, by Manic Muffin Totes
The Princess Earrings, $22, by rafya
Recipe & Treat Cards, $15, by DingbatPress
Patty Young Fabric Bundle, $27.25, by FabricCloset
Hairclips, $7, by cutecumber
Hand Dyed Yarn, $20, by vieuxrouet

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mouthwatering Magic

I've decided to hang up another shingle. I believe I've found something better than sewing. Years ago my daughter encouraged me to open a bakery. That was back when I cooked on a regular basis. Judging from how often my oven gets turned on now, that thought probably wouldn't cross her mind. We even had a name for our bakery... "Sweet Mamas." Great name, don't you think? Well, if ever I should open that bakery I have found my signature item.

Do you remember last week when I told you I made a sourdough starter? I mentioned in the next few weeks I would show you a few of the items I made with that starter. Well, strap on your seat belts ladies because the next few photos might have you lunging for a bite of your computer screen. Seriously. I have baked a lot of breads in my time, but I honestly believe this is the best. The sourdough goodness of this bread is absolutely delicious. The crunchy exterior is heavenly. I'm not kidding when I say it rivals San Francisco's marvelous sourdough delicacies. FYI: Here's where you can find this "Classic Sourdough Bread" recipe and the recipe and instructions I used to make my sourdough starter. (I divided this recipe into four smallish rounds.)

Now, are you strapped in good and tight? I wouldn't want to be responsible for the ruination of your computer screen. Without further ado...

Maybe I'd better stick to sewing...
It's calorie free.