Granddaughter Fun

2014 Hannah eating AugustHannah came to visit for two separate weeks during the summer – once in July, and once in August. She looks so much older here all of a sudden! We did a lot of visits to the “splash pad”, and a lot of projects and silly fun with swords and forts.

2014 Hannah fort AugustAlso did a lot of painting . . . I love the colorful nose paint. 🙂

2014 Hannah August painting1 2014 Hannah painting3 August 2014 Hannah paint2 AugustHannah had a lot of fun making a variety of lists in a small notebook, and then crossing them off as we did them. I love the glasses here, so obviously hip . . . one of my favorite things on her list was “eat chocolate.” 🙂

2014 Hannah July list makingThis past week we also had Macee for a few days while her sitter was not available. It was fun seeing her by herself, as she is usually such a shadow to Kaydn. Here she is also enjoying some painting.  2014 Macee painting2 Sept 2014 Macee painting1 Sept

A Bit of Quilting

2014 HST blocks before cutting AugIt’s been a few months since I’ve done much sewing, but I did find time in the past few weeks to make a quilt for a co-worker of mine. She had given me some old clothing to use in my quilts that she otherwise was going to give to GoodWill. Most of these were Indian dresses in a variety of fabrics. For more stability, I fused any of them that were very light and gauzy to a cotton backing which worked pretty well. Half the blocks are from the clothing, and half from my own cotton solid stash.

I decided to do half-square triangles, and used the method of sewing eight blocks at the same time by cutting large 9″ squares, then drawing a large X connecting the corners. After sewing 1/4″ on either side of those lines, each is cut into quarters and then split apart into eighths.

2014 square color sortPrior to unfolding and pressing, each block was trimmed to make a 3.5″ square. While rather tedious, it did assure that the squares were perfect.

2014 quilt layers pinnedI played with a variety of layouts, and HSTs are great for a whole range of possibilities. I settled on randomly placing them into small 4-square blocks that alternated between the mostly patterned former dress fabrics and the cotton solids. While they are more or less random, I did take care to distribute the prominent colors and fabrics throughout the blocks, and to do the same while laying them out into the total quilt. I made this to be a throw quilt. The back of this one is dark brown, with one strip of blocks running off-center.

This shows the result of all the stretching and pinning of the layers. This is my least favorite part, but I did get it done in a few hours. IN the background you can see the second quilt top I made at the same time. I’m going to make this one for myself. It wasn’t my original intent, but in my enthusiasm for making all the blocks I ended up with way more than I needed – and it turned out I had exactly enough for a second quilt. Also in the background is Toby, sleeping, who managed to nap through my entire pinning session and never got up to run across the quilt as he was basically trapped in that spot.

2014 quilt folded2 Sept. . .  2014 quilt full view Sept. . . and here it is, completed, with quilting on either side of all the seams. This quilt will need to be dry-cleaned due to all the various fabrics used. I wasn’t sure about how some of them would look together, but I ended up liking the silk fabrics and the contrast it made throughout. All in all, one of my favorite projects.

Now, I need to get myself to pin and quilt that second one!



Catching Up

2014 July succulents

Somehow I became woefully behind in my efforts to record what I’ve been doing this summer, but I did manage to take some pictures during that time and finally got around to getting some of them on my computer. I’ll have to do a few posts to get caught up, so this one highlights what was blooming around the yard at the end of July. I’ve always got some succulents blooming, as seen above. Immediately below are a number of my day lilies that bloom throughout the last half of summer. They’ve really been taking off this year, as it is the 3rd summer and they have multiplied well.

2014 July curled daylily 2014 July day lily pink 2014 July purple daylily 2014 July purple yellow daylily 2014 July red daylily 2014 July red ripple daylily 2014 July spider daylily 2014 July spider lily2And  2014 July yellow daylily

2014 July 21 lily red

Following are a number of lilies – they were just stunning this year.

2014 July lilies 2014 July lily 2014 July pale yellow lily 2014 July speckle lilies 2014 July white red lily. . . and not to be forgotten, many other shrubs and flowers were in bloom as well – clemitis, hydrangea, roses, and lots of hostas.

2014 July clemitis 2014 July front hostas step 2014 July front hostas 2014 July pale pink roses 2014 July plants

An Abundance of Lanyards

fabric lanyardsThis was crazy fun to do for some reason. Most likely, it’s because each takes hardly any time to make so I could feel like I’d accomplished something. I had a day off last week, and used part of it to whip up these 30 lanyards in all colors. We are now required to wear IDs at work, and just happened to have a bag full of all these swivel clips. I just cut a 1.5″ strip of fabric from various mini-bolts from my fabric wall, and folded and pressed each prior to sewing them and attaching the clips. The pressing took longer than the sewing did. I have plenty of variety to match virtually everything. While some are bright and fun, my favorites are the ones from some silky Liberty of London fabrics.

This weekend I started making some beaded lanyards. More about those when I have more to show. I’ve made a few in white and brown, and then decided to also make necklaces that coordinate that I can wear with the lanyards. Next up are some in black, silver, dark red, blue and green. Should keep me busy for a while!

Early June: Peonies and Clematis

peony pink white yellow peony pink white June peony white red flecks peony redPeonies are blooming everywhere this week. They are just stunning.

clementis white clementis white pinkClematis are beginning to bloom on the three obelisks that also house climbing roses.

planter pumpkin etc flag iris hostas in JuneElsewhere in the yard other plants are doing well. The flag iris have multiplied quite a bit in the last few years. The hostas are definitely filling in. I lost a few over the winter, but they were small and did not have much mulch around them. Most are thriving, and all the planters are beginning to fill out. Beautiful weather mostly in the 70s and some 80s, with just enough rain to keep things healthy with little need to water.

Kids Bedroom Photo Wall

Kids bedroom 5-14This was a really fun project, and it was inexpensive and quick to do. When we took the bunk beds apart, we suddenly had a lot more wall space that needed something. We painted the back wall a neutral gray/green that actually ties in nicely with the quilt colors. I had seen some photo “film strips” mounted on boards at this site I found on Pinterest. All the examples were vertical, meant to mimic a series of photos you might get at a photo-booth. My wall did not have enough height for the 4-foot panels, so I turned my horizontally and they worked fine.

Here’s a closeup of the strips on each side of the wall:

Kids bedroom wall 2Kids bedroom wall 1

Each one is a 4-foot x 1-foot 1/2″ MDF board. Because I needed five of these, I had Home Depot cut a 4’x8′ board into five 12″ x 4′ sections, and then the remaining as two 18″ wide sections that I’ve put away for another project. Cost of the board was $25. Some of these projects I’d seen on Pinterest used 1/4″ thick plywood. While that would be lighter weight, I wasn’t confident that they would stay in shape without warping. I liked the thickness of the board panels I used, and they have the advantage of letting me use small nails to hang the fasteners on the back. Those who used the thinner boards used a strong adhesive for the fasteners, but that seemed like it might not last. So – thicker boards for me.

Each board was painted on its side edges with flat black acrylic paint. Now I needed photos of each grandkid. We had Kaydn and Macee for a weekend, and I got them to pose together and separately for all of 90 seconds, but it was enough. My new Canon camera lets me take multiple exposures in a row, which let me find the ones where the expressions looked the best. I took these inside against a blank wall with just room light. The following weekend, I had a chance to also get pictures of Ethan, Isaac and Hannah. I pulled the photos into Photoshop, cropped them at 12″x12″, and converted them to black and white. I upped the contrast and brightness on most of them as well.

As suggested in the post I was following, I uploaded the photos to Costco. I have a Costco membership, but hadn’t ever thought to have pictures made there (usually I focus on chocolate!). I picked the option with a black border, which helps to frame them so it looks more like a photo filmstrip. Each 12″x12″ photo was $2.99. The first batch of Kaydn and Macee were mailed to me, which took longer, included a mail charge, and arrived rolled up in a tube. I had to press them under books for a few days to get the curl out of them. For the next batch of the other three kids, I picked them up at the store. They were ready within 48 hours, and were nice and flat! Definitely the better way to do it.

Anyway, the next step was mounting them. Some people used a spray adhesive, but I decided to listen to someone’s advice to use double-stick tape around the edges instead. That way, if any pictures are damaged or if I want to swap them out later, I can reuse the boards. Good plan! It took about five rolls of tape to run it around the edges and across the middle and corners, but they seem to be adhering wall. We then nailed two saw-toothed picture hangers on the backs of each one.

I love how the series of pictures captures some of their individual personalities in a way that a single picture cannot. We hung them up last night, and I’m pleased with how they look. . . . although it was quite a math problem to figure out exactly how to center and space these. Total cost for all five was around $80.  It’s good to have pictures of the kids on the walls, something we didn’t have until now.

Next, I want to get a table and lamp for between the beds, and replace the awful dresser we’ve had in there for some time. I’ve got a few things picked out on Overstock, so I just need to wait for some spare cash to get them. I’m also planning some canvases for over the book pouch, but that’s for another day!

Peonies and Alliums

Tree peony 1One of my tree peonies is in bloom – this one is in its third year, and while it did produce a few flowers up until now, it is really looking amazing this year. My other tree peonies are younger and smaller, so hopefully it is a good sign that this one is doing so well.

Alliums 2Alliums 1I planted a lot of spring bulbs last fall,but didn’t realize how many allium I have. A member of the onion family, these are spectacular in full bloom. I have these in the back yard by the patio, and some others in the front yard.

planter fushiaI’ve always thought that fuchsias are so complex and beautiful that they almost don’t look real. I love how these look when they drool over the side of planters . . . this one is still pretty small, but I look forward to these filling out more over the summer.

hosta tulips front yardI was a bit worried that some of my hostas might not have come back after our harsh winter, but most seem to be fine. I have quite a number of small hostas in the front, including this one with some pale pink doubled tulips that look a bit like peonies. It is so refreshing to see so much growing. Every day there are more things in bloom.


Modern She Made Swap Pillow – Received

She Made Swap Rnd 4 ReceivedI participated in Round 4 of the Modern She Made Swap on Flickr. I received this pillow from Bright Little Fish . . . the theme was hexies, shown here with the bright colors, with neutral grays and text fabric on the back. I stuffed it today and it is ready to use – it’s a perfect size for on the couch. . . . a nice gift in the mail for a holiday weekend.

Mid-May Flowers


tulipsMy tulips are in full bloom this week – these are a few examples. It’s great to see the color everywhere.

Macee flowersMacee and Kaydn were here for the weekend, and Macee went around the yard and checked out all the flowers.

veggie pots MayLast year I stuck a few tomato and pepper plants directly in the ground mixed in with my flowers. Our soil is heavy clay, and the veggies were very unhappy. This year, I potted all of them so they’ll have the benefit of potting soil. Here are my tomatoes – two to a pot, nine pepper plants, two eggplant, and two mini-pumpkins. I’ve also got about eight different herbs also in pots. All the annuals are now in their pots as well. This year I decided to not put any pots of flowers in the front, as it is too much work to water those. This way, everything in a pot that will need more frequent watering is within easy reach from the back patio. Hopefully that helps me take care of them!


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