Monday, December 11, 2017

Quick Trip...


Last week I traveled to Omaha to have fun with four of our grandkids while their parents enjoyed a weekend of fun in New York City. I always get home from watching the grandkids exhausted, but satisfied and happy. I love being able to treat our sons and daughters to a little time alone with his/her spouse, and I also love being able to have time alone with the grands. If you throw a teeny tiny pekepoo puppy into the mix, it's heaven.

Last night after our kids arrived home, we went to the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters. Winter Quarters was a temporary settlement along the Mormon trail where Mormon pioneers waited during the winter of 1846-1847, before they made the trek west to Utah. The Church has erected a visitors' center in Omaha that helps tell the story of those amazing pioneers.

Every Christmas Season the center hosts a gingerbread display. People and organizations from all over the area contribute to this family-fun event. I thought you might like to see some of my favorites.

Some gingerbread displays take on the theme of the visitor's center, namely pioneer life or the trek west...





These were two of my favorites and were more traditional gingerbread houses...



Here are a couple of "larger buildings" that might be representative of places in the city (not sure)...


 

This was very touching. In loving memory of the Brown Street Church of Christ in Texas and those who were killed there in November someone paid this tribute...


And my favorite was a beautiful gingerbread panorama with the theme, "Anne of Green Gables." Having just been to eastern Canada, it couldn't have been more sweet to me. I should have taken a front view of the "town," but can you see Anne Shirley sitting on the front steps of the thatched-roof school?


Visiting this amazing event made me want to pull out the cookie sheets, turn on the oven, and start assembling. Then I remembered our family's last attempt at making gingerbread houses, and I came to my senses. These are the finished products of a boys/men against girls/women gingerbread contest we had in our family one year. I'm sad to say the boys won -- but only because they used power tools and geometry...

First Place

Second Place



Friday, December 01, 2017

Another Quilt...


It's funny, but the one person I can guarantee won't read my blog posts is my husband. He's not exactly a social media butterfly, so I feel confident that I can publish a post about his finished Christmas quilt and he will never know. I love this guy so much. Throughout this crazy 45-quilts-in-a-year project he has encouraged me every step of the way. I'm a lucky girl to have been married to him for 40 years.


In looking for fabric for him I knew I could go several directions, but the most obvious was something to do with planes. He's a private pilot, and he loves to fly. I picked out this beautiful organic cotton fabric for the inspiration fabric of the quilt...

 Trans Pacific Cream - Trans Pacific - Birch Fabrics

I love this fabric because you can put so many different colors with it and it's more "adult" than many of the fabrics with planes. I chose two taupe fabrics and a burnt orange for accent fabrics. 


For the quilting I chose a "cloud" pattern...


Last time I posted I mentioned that I was going to redo one of the quilts I'd made for one of my sons, because the color on one of the fabrics went wonky (purple) on me. I ended up making a new one that day, and I think it's perfect. His quilt is the only quilt I have left to bind. Sooooo happy about that!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Emery's Quilt and Full Disclosure...


Here's the latest "Emery" quilt. The first quilt I made for this little two-year-old granddaughter was shipped off to Texas for flood relief efforts in October, so I whipped up another one for the kiddo. I love these adorable Little Red Riding Hood fabrics.


Emery is our two-year-old granddaughter with a ton of personality. She's the one that stands at the edge of the pool, yells "cannonball!" and belly flips into the pool. She needed a quilt full of color and a little sass.


Two colors that I don't put together a lot in "real" life are red and pink, but I have to admit that they have been a favorite color combination for granddaughter quilts this year. Red, pink, and white are so bright and cheerful...


Here's the full disclosure part of the post... So, a few months ago I finished a quilt for one of my sons. When I was making the quilt, I was very happy with it, but after binding it I took it outside for pictures and noticed something rather startling. Here's the photo I took of it before it went to the longarm quilter's...


It's good, right? Manly, man and all that -- with airplanes and gray complimentary fabrics. So that's what the fabric looks like inside, but here's what the fabric looks like when I take it outside...


That dark "gray" fabric turns purple. I wish I could say this was just my camera that brings out the purple, but it isn't. It looks just like that. Has that ever happened to you? Sigh. So here's the lesson I learned... When you're at a fabric store take the fabrics over to a window or outside to make sure the colors are true and complimentary. Lesson learned. {Maybe you can learn from my mistake.}

Well, this morning when I picked up the last four quilts, I knew I wanted to make said son a new purple-less quilt. This purpley quilt can still be used and it's a nice quilt, but the purple just doesn't represent this son of mine. So, this morning I high-tailed it to my favorite fabric shop, picked out some other fabrics, came home, and sewed like a banshee. I'll drop it off at the long-arm quilter's house tomorrow. Now I feel like all the quilts are "just right." It's a good feeling.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Banner Display Holder...


I'm not sure this is even blog worthy, but a few months ago I made a little banner holder that I know  will get a lot of use. At the time I made it for a table display for the buffet at a baby shower. This month I used it at a church party for the ladies in our congregation. It's so easy that I thought I'd share.


I like a buffet to have a little height and I love banners, so I made this little banner holder in about 10 minutes. All you need is two 8" {or larger depending on your preference} wood rounds and a couple of wood dowels about 1/2 inch in size. You can find these wood rounds and dowels at most hobby stores and a great online source is Save-On-Crafts... here.


Find the center of the wood round and mark with a pencil. Then drill a hold the size of the dowel. Done. 


You can find banners, pom-poms, and tassels to hang from the banner holder at a myriad of places... Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, World Market, party stores, etc. So many fun options out there. I found the two I displayed here at Hobby Lobby.


Here's one little trick to make the dowels stand up perfectly straight. If the dowel is leaning a teeny bit to one side, just slip a natural colored toothpick between the dowel and the wood round and break it off so the end of the toothpick is left between the dowel and the round. The toothpick becomes a shim and forces the dowel to "straighten up." Or you can glue the dowels in place, but I think it's easier to store the holder if the pieces aren't glued together.


A banner display makes for a fun and affordable way to decorate for a party...


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Two More Granddaughter Quilts...


A few months ago I gave away a few quilts I'd made for three of our granddaughters for Christmas to those in need in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey. So... in the last couple of months I made three more to compensate. All of the quilts I've made have been "one of a kind" till these two. I walked into the quilt shop by our home and instantly fell in love with these fabrics and decided to make two from these sweet prints.


I just don't think it gets cuter than this...


I made these identical quilts for Hazel (18 months) and Charlee (8 months). I used the star pattern that I've used on a lot of the baby and toddler quilts. I love the simplicity of it. It works up so fast!


I can hardly believe it, but this Monday I pick up the last four quilts from the quilter. All I have to do is bind those four, and I will have finished the quilts for the hubs, our children, the kids-in-law, and all our grandchildren. Forty-one quilts in all. I feel relieved and pretty accomplished, if I do say so myself. I'm so grateful that my husband fully supported me in this mighty adventure. He was so sweet to encourage me every stitch of the way!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kitchen Renovation Reveal...


Well, folks, it's been long in coming, but I've finally gotten around to posting our kitchen renovation. For starters, it took about 5 1/2 weeks from start to finish, but I'm sure it could have been a week less if we hadn't gone on a 10 day vacation in the middle of it. I did get sick of eating out -- and for a girl who eats out a lot, that's saying something. One tip I would give if you are thinking about a kitchen renovation is to keep your microwave till the end of the reno. We had the kitchen gutted and all the appliances but the fridge taken away at the beginning of the project. It would have been great to have the microwave on a table to use during the reno. That's about the only thing I would have done differently. Also, we didn't change the footprint of our kitchen. I've always loved the spaciousness in our kitchen and I've never needed or wanted an island. That's due to the large peninsula we have with so much working space. Not changing the footprint really cut down on costs, which was great. Our kitchen does have plenty of room to add an island if someone would want to do so in the future.

Let's start with some before and after photos from different angles. Here's the angle showing the before desk area and the after. I guess you could say we changed the floor plan by taking out the desk. In the 25 years we lived here, we never used the desk as a desk. The counter above it became a catch-all for mail and the likes, so we didn't want it in the new kitchen. We love that the new area has more storage with more cupboards below and above...



Here's another angle. We always had a "built-in pantry" in the kitchen (shown in second photo), but the new pantry has pull-out shelves, so it is much more usable.



Another angle...




I absolutely love the products we decided upon. The cabinets are a warmer "white" than it shows in the photos, and the glaze around the cabinets picks up the dark brown in the granite. I wanted a really simple subway tile for the backsplash. I don't care for a "busy" backsplash. I would much rather the granite and the cabinets be the star, than the backsplash -- although the backsplash is often what your eye is drawn to first. I love the gray tile with the cream cabinets. The tile picks up the gray in the granite, and the cupboards pick up the whites in the granite -- beautiful...


I love decorating once a room has been renovated, and I always tend to add a touch of whimsy. I didn't want a lot on the counters. Most of the time anything on my counters in the kitchen has to be functional... except for these mice. I bought them in Bar Harbor, Maine, on our trip. Fell in love with them... even though I cannot stand the real thing...


Well, that's about the end of the tour. I did buy one more thing that pretty much typifies my life right now. It's this sign....


I choose joy. That's something I want to be reminded of daily -- that joy and happiness are a choice we make -- not a circumstance. One more thing I choose is fresh flowers -- often. {P.S. - I'm a sucker for Joanna Gaines' new line at Target. Get a load of that beautiful pitcher.}



Monday, November 06, 2017

Another Dishtowel Curtain...


A couple of days ago I posted about a dishtowel curtain I made for our kitchen windows. I decided to make another set of dishtowel curtains for our nook area -- our informal dining area just off the kitchen. A little background info...

I've had a collection of blue and white plates for years. My parents started my collection with plates from Williamsburg and various places in Europe. Each time they would visit a spot they would bring me home a blue and white plate. After awhile other family and friends continued the tradition and soon I had enough blue and white plates to cover the soffit around my kitchen. Here's what it looked like...


I liked it for a long time, but for the last several years I was definitely in the mood for a change. Ergo, the kitchen renovation and the removal of the plates. The plates, however, have a sentimental place in my heart, so I wanted to find a way to use some. I ended up moving some of them to a wall in our informal dining area off the kitchen, but that created another problem. What to do with little window to the left of the plates and the other identical window on the other side of a sliding glass door in the same room.


I knew I wanted to play off the blue and white plates, and I had just bought the dishtowels for the curtains in the kitchen, so I decided to look for another dishtowel that might work. I found another dishtowel at Cost Plus World Market that I loved...


I bought a tension rod from Amazon and made a simple gathered curtain.  These windows are narrow -- only about 17" in width. I used two towels per window. 

Here are some very simple instructions for how to make these curtains. All you'll need is:

a tension rod
double fold bias tape
 & dish towels 
That's it!

I picked up some double fold quilt binding bias tape at Hobby Lobby and cut a length the width of the towel + 1".

Unfold the bias tape and iron the middle fold flat. {See above right.}


On the wrong side of the towel, pin the bias tape 1 1/4" from the top of the towel to make a casing for the tension rod. When you get to the edge of the towel, turn under the ends of the bias tape about 1/2" on each side. Then stitch the bias tape to the towel close to the top and bottom edge, leaving the ends open.


Insert the tension rod through the casing you've made and you're done. It's the easiest curtain I've ever made. 


These curtains literally take minutes to make. Like... five minutes -- maybe six if you're feeling a bit sluggish that day.


I was kind of limited by colors, but here are other samples of cute dish towels at World Market that could be transformed into curtains...


Love those pom-poms. Anyway, one last look at the dishtowels turned curtains I made. Love these simple and easy-to-make curtains...