I am so thrilled with this quilt! It only has one major problem, and that is that I didn't make it twice as big.
It was beautifully quilted by Mary of Quilt Hollow, and I don't think I could be any crazier about how it turned out. Zoom in if you can and take a closer look at her wonderful quilting.
This quilt was a big deal for me: bright fabrics, a more modern vibe than I was used to, and the fabulous secondary circular pattern formed by the blocks. A lot of new things, that all turned out surprisingly well, especially once I figured out that I was using the wrong method to attach the corner triangles. (Clearly I have issues with corner triangles).
For this project, I used the Kaleidoscope Smart Plate Ruler, and a collection of mostly Denyse Schmidt fabrics. My quilt ended up being smaller than I intended because I had to trim all my blocks down smaller to accomodate the error I had made. I would definitely make this block again, and highly recommend tackling the difficulty level required.
Well, this isn't actually my closet, but I did spend all day yesterday organizing my closet for the spring/summer season. The funny thing about any closet organizing photos you find on the internet, is that whose ever closet it is, it only seems to have maybe 24 clothing items. That definitely is not the case in my situation. I have loads of clothes. I do try to cull out the things I haven't worn in a few years, and toss items that are stained or don't fit. Now things are paired down, and I actually have space between my hangers, and can get a fix on what is in there to wear.
I was very pleased at the end of my effort, as I did compile a nice pile of items for donations, and reorganized the items I do plan to wear this season. The most fun aspect of closet reorganiztion is rediscovering items that are super cute that you kind of forgot about.
I recently was reminded of a technique to help you decide what to toss at the end of a season. Put your hangers backward on the rod.
Like that. Ok, so as the season progresses, if you choose a clothing item to wear, hang it back up with the hanger going in the normal direction. At the end of the season, any hangers still facing backwards are items that you did not wear and might want to consider donating or tossing. Brilliant, don't you think?
Do you keep clothes in three different sizes? Your Fat Clothes, your Thin Clothes, the Clothes that actually Fit Right Now? Yup. Been there, done that. I am here to tell you, pack the Fat Clothes, and the Thin Clothes into boxes and either donate them or store them. Do not let them take up valuable real estate in your closet. Believe me, and I speak from experience, when you lose weight and go back to wear those Thin Clothes that finally fit again, they will be out of style and funny looking and you won't want to wear them after all. With a few exceptions. And if you go back to having to wear your Fat Clothes...well, I do not know what to say, except I am sorry.
In your closet, only keep the clothes that fit, that flatter, and that are on trend right now. If you cull out the things that don't fit, the things that need repair, the things that are stained, you will be left with a basic collection of things that are appropriate to wear right now. With things paired down, you can see what you need: dark wash jeans, more basic cardigans, dressy pants, a new dress... whatever. Try, it and you'll see! What I discovered is that I have a ton of lovely "Work Clothes" that would be amazing in an office environment. In my "Country Style" life now, those work clothes are never going to get worn again. As beautiful as they are, those jackets, dress pants and silk blouses would be better used if I donated them to an organization like Dress For Success that helps women find employment and self sufficiency.
Is this not amazing? It is a clematis vine, one of two, that has been trained to grow over a wrought iron gate on our property. I had no idea in the world what that spindly, not so interesting looking vine was, until it bloomed. Breath taking. Who knew. That is the fun thing about moving into a new house, you just don't know what interesting plants might be lurking about.
I did do some sewing last week, on my pear blocks, and have the units nearly ready to put together. Hopefully there will be more progress in that area this week.
I have had some family parties to attend, which took up the better part of the weekend. One party was for my one year old great nephew, who is just the cutest little button ever. Is he into eating that cake or what? They should get that child into modeling I swear. His looks are so distinctive, and that hair... We are Irish after all, and every now and then a Ginger turns up!
Our roses are going bananas this year. This big bouquet of yellow ones that my husband brought in the house didn't even make a dent in the profusion of blooms on the bush! You couldn't even tell any were missing. I am not the only one with beaucoups bouquets. Everyone is remarking how amazing the roses are this year. The first crop is always the best, but this year is astonishing.
I know it seems like bringing coals to Newcastle, but these red roses were from the florist in honor of our 45th anniversary. Can you even believe I have been married that long? Yes, I was married pretty young by today's standards, but that is a heck of a long time. In five years I could be one of those old people who have their picture in the newspaper for their 50th. (No, I won't be doing that).
Look at my Mickey Mouse water cup on the left. I wanted a distinctive cup that no one else in the family would take, and this is what I chose. No one in this house is very respectful of what I declare is MINE, but for some reason everyone leaves my Mickey Mouse cup alone! Go figure.
Hope you are all having a splendid week!
This last weekend I had a chance to visit one of my sisters. My husband and I had tickets to a play in the City, and we spent the night at my sister's place on Saturday night. Sunday morning my sister and her husband took me to a local garden nursery that was simply amazing. If I lived near it, I swear I would be visiting it at least twice a week. I'd need a truck, and a gardener to plant all the stuff I bought.
Since money and space in the car were both tight, I had to content myself with the purchase of the makings of the little succulent garden you see pictured above. I had such fun choosing the plants and the ceramic dish I planted them in. It was hardly a bargain, but I know I will enjoy it all summer long and hopefully for seasons to come.
The little succulents that look like rosettes are called Hens and Chicks. The lighter green and pinkish plant on the right is a Donkey's Tail Sedum. I don't know what the shaggy looking specimin on the left is, but I think it will spill over the sides of the dish eventually. I can't wait to see how this fills in!
We are having a couple of dinner guests this week, and I felt like I needed to spruce up the spring decorations a bit. I spent Monday planting some hanging baskets for the back porch, and doing a couple of little vignettes for the front doors and the front porch.
I found the little "lunch box" pictured above at my local Ace Hardware, which is known for going all out with their seasonal decorations. I have never known an Ace Hardware to do this, but they are independently owned, so I guess there is some latitude to what sort of merchandise they can carry. So I got the little lunch box for $18, and filled it with some faux blooms I had on hand from previous arrangements. I really think it is cute, and have it displayed on the coffee table on my front porch. Go ahead, enlarge the photo, it is super cute!
My front doors were crying out for some embellishment. At Christmas time, my husband hung two matching Christmas wreaths on each of the doors, which I loved, and thought looked quite elegant. However, when the wreaths got put away....Oh oh. What was left on the door were two really hideous white stick on hooks. Where we live now, I don't really have access to a great home decorating shop that might make custom wreaths. When we lived in the Monterey area, I had an acquaintance that made custom wreaths and other decor items, and I don't have anything remotely similar out here in the country.
What I did have were two copper baskets I had purchased from said friend in Monterey, and was able to repurpose them for a more springy door decoration. Some faux white blooms, a big of spaghnum moss, and a sprig of faux fern to hide the hook, and I am good to go.
I wish they were a bit bigger, but they are just fine and a great improvement from the ugly white Commando hooks! Now for some more pots of flowers and I will be a Spring Flower Show all on my own!
It feels so good to have finished something. This little table topper is from the pattern "Paganini", a Schnibbles pattern designed by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company. The pattern has three or four variations, including a beautiful one with a scalloped border. I made a variation of my own with this project, making my version rectangular, to better fit my oval dining table and outside table.
Once it is quilted and bound, it will be the perfect centerpiece for a spring or summer brunch. Those faded vintagey colors are so pretty.
This is what the rest of the house looks like with my Easter decorations. I kept it pretty simple this year.
I definitely needed a distraction last week, and applied myself to assembling a Princess Castle. What do you think about that? This sort of task is not my forte by a long shot, so I went into it with some trepidation. My first problem was trying to figure out the drawings and assembly instructions. After putting a piece or two together backwards, I became a bit more careful.
The second issue I had was that my hands aren't strong enough to really turn those little screws in as tightly as they are supposed to be. After rummaging around in my husband's tool boxes, I came up with a screw driver that was a little more user friendly and had better success.
It took me a lot longer than it probably should have, but Princess Eva will now have a Princess Castle doll house to play with!
I got the set on Amazon, for around $50. Putting it together must not have been too difficult if someone like me could manage it. It seems to be made adequately, but there is an "elevator" on the left hand side that really doesn't work very well. I guess it is for Rapunzel's prince to get up to the balcony where she is letting her hair down. We don't have that prince in our set, so who knows if any of the other characters will be using it. I think Eva is going to love this and put in a lot of play time with it.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all the sweet messages of condolence that you shared with me and the family. We truly suffered a terrible loss and will be a long time waiting for the sun to shine again. My niece would want us to perk up and carry on, so we are all doing our best to put on a smile.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Just a quick post while the dogs take it easy. I seem to be playing catch up today, trying to make up for not being home since Saturday. Between working, going to the Fancy Food Show and attending my aunt's memorial services, I just feel wrung out and like the house is falling apart.
I guess Ozzie and Remy must feel wrung out too, since they have each found cozy spots in which to curl up and nap. Heaven forbid they should help me with anything. At least they aren't pestering me to death.
No nap for me! I have been trying to work on my black and cream half square triangle blocks because I wanted to have something to show the person I am gifting the quilt with today. I don't think the blocks will all be done, but hopefully I can get enough up on the design wall so he can get an idea of what I am making. And you will too, when I share some pictures with you tomorrow.
What I am doing today, besides laundry and scouring the kitchen, is making a fun birthday dinner for a family member (the person who is to receive the black and cream half square triangle quilt). This dinner involves fresh home made pasta with porcini mushrooms, leeks and Parma ham. A Jamie Oliver recipe, which I have altered by making my own fresh pasta.
I've got the pasta dough all made. Now to roll it out and cut it into pappardelle strips! I will let you know how that works out for me.
This was such fun! You add a lump of your pasta dough to the pasta machine, which is set on a wide setting.
Keep adding the ribbon of pasta, on increasingly narrow settings until you get the thickness you want.
Take a knife and cut the ribbon of pasta to the width you want. Mine is "pappardelle:, about half the width of a lasagna noodle.
Dry it on something--my laundry drying rack was just right. However, the dogs suddenly came to life, so I had to put it on my kitchen counter. Imagine if I came out to the kitchen and found my pasta ribbons had mysteriously disappeared...