Friday, October 26, 2012

Announcement & Friday's Fabulous Finds...

Yesterday my post was about genealogy. That was fitting because a new leaf was added to our family tree. Our twelfth grandbaby -- a girl -- was born last night. We're sooo happy. I will be leaving early Sunday morning to fly to North Carolina to help take care of the momma and baby and to keep "big" brother (16 months old) happy and busy. {Can't wait!} 

My Etsy shop will close while I am away, and I might be gone a full three weeks, so if there is anything you're thinking of buying in the next few weeks please purchase it by Saturday (tomorrow) afternoon! Also, if you've put off requesting the Trick or Treat Bag Pattern, please email me to request that pattern today.

I spy with my Etsy eye... 
a big ray of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

Clockwise, starting top left:

Hoping that your weekend is filled with sunshine!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


For those who read my blog, a less known fact about me is that I love to dabble in family history. I've always had a fascination for those who came before me on our family tree. When my youngest started elementary school I had the time to do research in earnest, and for the last seventeen years I've had some success in that field. It's a wonderful hobby for those who love history. The ancestral line that I have researched the most is my maternal grandfather's line. These ancestors hail from England and Wales. Through my family history research I've linked up with fifth and sixth cousins in England who were also bitten by the genealogy bug. These men have been instrumental in helping me "find" many of my ancestors.

A month ago we traveled to the Washington D.C. area. One of the many things we did while on vacation was to go three graveyards. I don't know many people who visit graveyards on vacation, but when you're a family history junkie that's just the way you roll. My husband had some ancestors buried in three different cemeteries in the area where we were staying. I'd never been in cemeteries that were as old as the ones we visited. There were graves from the 1600's. We don't have cemeteries that old in the west, so it was amazing to be able to walk through such beautiful, old places. We ended up finding the memorial of the man we were looking for, John Carr, who was buried in Leesburg, Virginia. John is one of my husband's direct-line ancestors. If you note the dates of his birth and death in the photo below, you'll agree that his middle name should have been "Longevity."

John Carr 
1684 - 1794

We also traveled to another cemetery in Waterford, Virginia and found the burial plot of my husband's fifth great grandfather Aaron Beans...

Most of the headstones in this cemetery are in disrepair and many of the markers have been lost. It's sad to see this kind of neglect, but this cemetery was in the most peaceful setting you could imagine...

For those who have never done genealogical research, it might seem like a strange hobby, but for those of us who do, there is no other pastime that is as compelling or fascinating. If you would like to begin tracing some of your ancestors, here are a couple of resources to get you started...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fabric Baskets...

I've been busy redecorating my laundry room. For those of you who have read my blog for awhile, you may remember I redid that same room two years ago. What can I say other than the fact that I am easily bored? My husband tells me that I've repainted the walls so many times in our home that we've lost square footage. It's an accurate statement. Anyway, I wanted to change-up my laundry room, so I painted three of the walls "Mushroom Bisque" and left the third one "Oolong Tea."  I also purchased a beautiful curtain and door knob curtain tie back from Urban Outfitters...

We didn't need any privacy for this window, so this light and airy window treatment was perfect. Plus the curtains added a huge pop of color to the room.

I've been hoping to make some fabric baskets for awhile now and decided this redo was the perfect opportunity. I would venture to say that most women would opt for more storage in their homes if given the opportunity. These fabric baskets will hold items -- like our gazillion light bulbs -- that take up room in the cupboards above my washer and dryer. When filled I'll store the baskets on the top of the cupboards.

I came up with three different sizes, but they are about 15 inches long by 9 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall -- give or take a few inches here and there.

I love these baskets. They are heavy-weight and durable and ended up storing much more than I thought possible!

I used muslin, cotton, and burlap on these baskets. I interfaced the lining and the outside of the bag with fusible fleece and even put some soft and natural quilt batting between the layers to give them plenty of body. I didn't want the sides slumping in.

There are a myriad of tutorials on fabric baskets on Pinterest and in blogs. Just alter the measurements to fit your needs. I love the fact that they provides a lot of storage in an attractive manner!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dwipe Pattern and Tutorial...

A while ago I promised to have my Dwipe Pattern and Tutorial available shortly. It's taken a couple of weeks to get it just right, but the pattern and instructions are finally here!

You'll note in the photo above that there are two Dwipe PDF Patterns available in my Etsy shop. A week ago I had an ah-haaa moment. I decided if I can't beat 'em -- I'll join 'em. I have chosen to make both "Personal Use" and "Commercial Use" patterns available in my Etsy shop.

The "Personal Use" patterns {$5} will be for those who intend to use the items made from a pattern for personal use or for gifts for others. The "Commercial Use" patterns {$25} will provide a license for those who would like to sell for profit items made from my patterns.

I've struggled over the last few years with people making profit from items made from the copyrighted patterns that I distributed freely. By having "Commercial Use" patterns in my shop, I will give people the opportunity to sell items made from my patterns in an honest manner.

I feel confident that, given the opportunity, those who would like sell products made from my patterns will voluntarily pay a little more for that option.

Within the next few weeks I will be converting all of the patterns in my Etsy to both "Commercial Use" and "Personal Use." If you've bought one of my patterns prior to that time and would like to use it commercially, I will make a "Commercial Use" license available to you at a lower cost. Just convo (Etsy) or email me when the commercial pattern becomes available in my Etsy. I will be happy to have your previously purchased "Personal Use" pattern go toward the purchase of the "Commercial Use" pattern!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Owl Refurbish...

The other day I was walking through a flea market looking for something I could repurpose into a fall decoration when my eyes lit on the owl below. My first response was, "Yikes.... that is one mangy looking owl. Who would ever buy that?" Five seconds later I was laying down some money...

It just so happens that I was looking for an ugly owl, and although this one looked a little more lethal {note talons as proof} than I would have liked, the price tag sold me. Two bucks is all she cost.

I figured with a facial and full body wrap she might amount to something, and she did...

Ahhhh... the power of paint.

As you can see, she is much happier with a new coat of paint. The anger has gone out of her and she has become an attractive autumn decoration with a pleasant facial expression. A day at the spa can do all that and more -- I should know.

Linked to:
Made by you Monday @ Skip to my Lou

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I've mentioned that we recently returned from a trip to the Washington D.C. area. While there we visited a number of fascinating sites, not the least of which was Hershey, Pennsylvania. Oh my -- even the street lamps are wonderful in Hershey. I'm like Pavlov's dog when I look at those -- I start salivating...

We started our tour at Hershey's Chocolate World, where we learned how chocolate is made and browsed the fully stocked shelves of their chocolatey store and their bake shop...

Believe it or not we didn't eat any of those delectables. Instead we held out for a little cafe in town that features shots of chocolate from all over the world...

For a girl whose never had "shots" of anything -- this was a great place to start. It is amazing how different chocolate tastes from different areas of the world. My favorite: Mexican chocolate -- so yummy. Each person in our party preferred a different chocolate.  At the end we added a little of each of the chocolates to a shot glass and stirred it up. That combination of chocolates tasted like the chocolate we are accustomed to!

Hershey obviously uses chocolates from all over the world to make their luscious treats!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Placemat Pillow...

I'm back from an amazing trip to the east coast. We visited the Washington D.C. area and had a wonderful time. In the next couple of days, I'll have to post a little about a couple of our amazing adventures while there.

This time of year I love to peruse the placemats at Crate & Barrel. They have beautiful placemats, but instead of buying eight for my dining table I usually only buy one. The purpose: to make a placemat pillow. I've used this technique of re-purposing a placemat to make an accent pillow many times, but it's a technique that bears repeating. It's a quick, economical way to make a decorative pillow. Also, there's no skill set for putting together one of these beauties! Anyone can make one because there's no sewing machine required. 

A couple of weeks ago I bought this beauty, the Tessa Placemat...

 Here are the specifics:

Start by purchasing a placemat and some Poly-Fil Fiber "stuffing". Put aside 15 minutes of your time for this project. Make sure your placemat is lined on the back. In other words there needs to be two pieces of fabric sewn together -- the front piece of the placemat and a back lining to make a pillow. (See photo below.)

Use a seam ripper or sharp pair of scissors open a hole in the bottom seam of the placemat that is large enough to fit your hand through. Then stuff the inside of the placemat with the Poly-Fil until it's nice and full. I use one 12 oz. package of stuffing.

Sew the seam back together with your sewing machine or by hand using a blind stitch. The whole process takes the better part of 10 minutes! 

I particularly love the autumn motif on this pillow and the way the branches bear blooms of all the autumn colors I love -- mustard, pumpkin, eggplant, cayenne, gray and chocolate! The aari embroidery -- with its continuous interlocking chain-stitch -- adds to the texture of this beautiful pillow.

Placemat @ Crate & Barrel, $8.95
Poly-Fil Fiber @ Hobby Lobby or Walmart, $2
Needle & Thread (sewing machine optional)
Total: $11

{Comparable pillows at Crate & Barrel sell between $35 - $50.}

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Bloomin' Tuesday...

We have a beautiful pear tree in our backyard that, for the most part, has gone unappreciated until this year. I've mentioned before that we've had a bumper crop of fruit this year. All our fruit trees -- apple, cherry, peach & pear -- have produced far and above what they have in previous years. In past years, however, our pear tree has been more of a burden than blessing. I don't know if pears ripen naturally in other climes, but in our backyard in Colorado our pears have never ripened on the tree. We've never known how to change our hard-as-a-rock fruit into the luscious, juicy delectables one can buy in a market.

Each year I would ask the internet and others if they knew how to ripen pears and each year I received the same answer, which never worked. This year while hoping to take advantage of our bumper crop, I found this article on the internet, "When to pick and how to ripen pears."  The process they describe of chilling the pears, then allowing them to ripen worked! For the first time we have been able to enjoy our bounteous crop!

The pears are all picked now, and it's nice to know that we've discovered a reliable way to ripen this amazing fruit...

Friday, October 05, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012


Some of my best projects have come from ideas given me by my daughters. Several years ago my daughter-in-law Andi asked me to make a diaper & wet wipe holder. From that request I designed a mini-tote for the parent on the go. I named it the "Dwipe" because the name reflected its use as a Diaper & Wipe mini-tote. Carrying this small tote and your child to a public restroom is much more convenient than trying to manage a child and a heavy diaper bag.

The other day I made a slightly modified version of my Dwipe and added a muslin fabric flower to the front...

I think the addition of this shabby muslin flower adds the perfect decorative touch to this already practical gift..

As I've mentioned our 12th grandbaby is due in November. My daughter chose this adorable print called "Pinfeathers Peacock" by Carina Gardner for her baby's Dwipe. She chose well.

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to write a tutorial for this cute and practical diaper carrier and make it available in my Etsy shop. This -- along with some wet wipes and a package of diapers -- makes a perfect gift for a new mother.