Monday, July 20, 2009

Quilt - Pieced and Ready to go

Although this is the first quilt I have posted about, it is my second quilt that i have pieced together. The pattern is based off of Amy Butler's Mid Mod Quilt pattern. I started it after I realized I had a lot of fabric left over from the 20 fat quarters I needed for my first quilt, a Turning Twenty pattern. I trimmed up the scraps to make them square and then sewed 6 together. Once I had nine pieces, I squared them off to 15.5 by 15.5 inches. I alternated the direction of the strips and sewed them together to make a larger block. A 2 inch, followed by a 12 inch border framed the scraps, added size, and finished off the quilt top. Because the top of the quilt is so busy, I bought a beautiful piece of leaf green solid fabric for the back and some blue and green thick thread to tie-quilt the layers together. It's funny that when I thought of quilting it was the cutting and piecing that I thought was a lot of work, meanwhile it is the tying (or stitching) and binding that will take more time. I haven't tie quilted (or any kind of quilted) before so wish me luck and stay tuned for the final results.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Before and After: Sitting Pretty

WARNING: this post has an overuse of exclamation points which may be offensive to some readers)

Oh boy! I am so excited to share this before and after with you! I bought this chair at the local thrift shop about 4 months ago for 15 dollars! I was browsing the store, saw the chair, and actually gasped when I saw it. It was a cat scratch chair in it's former life, the back was completely shredded and it was covered in nasty cat hair.

It required a bit of work to revive it. I started by removing the fabric, all 4 layers of it, along with the disintegrating foam. I then sanded down the arms and legs to remove the old stain and lacquer. Did you know that you can buy spray primer? That's what's I used, followed by black spray paint to finish off the arms and legs. I found a fabric that I liked and ordered it with the intention of upholstering it myself, but then realized it was more complicated and not worth the frustration to try and reupholster it myself. So, I found a great local upholsterer who usually does vintage car interiors that replaced the foam seat and reupholstered it for me.

I love the end result! It has gone from a garage-relegated cast-off (with potential) to a beautiful addition to my living room.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yummy Salad

I've been a bit negligent with blogging, so here's a quick one for today with more to come including a great (really great) before and after, some quilts and other fun stuff.

This yummy salad is my version of a salad from 592 Wellington. Start with a romaine heart. I cut mine into large leaves but for a dramatic presentation for a group, you could just wash it and trim the bottom and lay the whole heart on the plate. Next, I added slices of chilled goat cheese, roasted red pepper and then topped it with a vinaigrette. The salad at 592 Wellington has thinly sliced red onion which I didn't have, and therefore couldn't include. I used the Fig Balsamic dressing by Kraft as my dressing which has a nice sweetness to it, but any vinaigrette would work.

It's fun to cut the lettuce and load it with as much or as few toppings as you like per bite. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

To-Do Wish List

I am a list maker, I love lists. I will add things to a list that have already been completed just so I can cross them off the list. My husband wants lists of things that I want him to do. These lists are less fun to make but nice since when I do make them, the items on them almost always all get done.

I was reading over at simply radiant and noticed her post of things she would like to do this summer. So, in honor of the beginning of July and the commencement of the nice weather, here's my To Do Wish List (a combination of need and want-to do's)

1. Till between my trees in the front yard to give them some breathing room
2. Can the veggies from Rhonda and my garden
3. Spend time at my parents cabin with friends and family for at least 2 weekends
4. Attach chicken wire around the porch to prevent future skunks
5. Landscape front garden and replace shrubs
6. Go for ice cream with my hubby (obviously more than once)
7. Reorganize and clean out the garage
8. Finish the 2 quilts I have started
9. Go waterskiing
10. Stain the deck (done. See, it's satisfying that one item is complete)
11. Go for gelati

What items would/do you have on your summer list?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mom's Garden

My Mom is always offering me plants and help with my garden, so after our successful garage sale, we took a tour of her garden for a change. The highlights? Beautiful peony bushes, hosta leaves the size of dinner plates, massive orange poppies, and snow in summer spread throughout the garden, all taken from a small plant my mom and I picked out years ago during a greenhouse shopping spree. The photos speak for themselves, enjoy!

Garage Sale

I went to my hometown today to spend some quality time with my mom and to have a garage sale. A small town, signs on the corner, tables in the driveway deal. In anticipation of the sale, I went through each room in my house yesterday and added anything that wasn't beautiful, useful or had sentimental value to the bin (read Peter Walsh's 'It's all too much' for more info and inspiration). Well, maybe I wasn't as ruthless as I could have been, but I did feel satisfied with the boxes of sale items I managed to collect. My hubby made us some garage sale signs (the advantage of having a husband in the graphics industry), my mom picked up some pre-printed price stickers and borrowed some tables and we were set. My Uncle also brought items to add to the sale and my Grandma came with banana cake and butter tarts. We enjoyed fresh, sun-brewed iced tea and enjoyed the beautiful day. At the end of it all I made just over $40 and managed to unload all of my large items. Whatever is left at the end of tomorrow will go the the local thrift store. Overall, it was an enjoyable day in the sun.

Any garage sale (hosting or attending) plans for the summer?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Those Stinkin' Skunks!

When we moved to the country almost 2 years ago, we knew we'd have a few more wildlife experiences. For the most part it has been positive such as seeing a fox cross the road at night or watching a deer cross through our field. However, last February we noticed a smell starting in our living room upstairs and couldn't figure out why it smelled "skunky". It wasn't until we went over to the former owners house one evening for a visit, that they mentioned that there was a history of skunks digging under the front porch. Sure enough, when we got home at checked at the end off the porch, there was freshly dug soil sitting on top of the snow.

I'm not a hunter and don't like the idea of killing animals in general, but when it comes to skunks, all bets are off. We acquired a trap and my brother-in-law came the next morning to shoot the skunk. Bad Idea...Our house stunk for a month. About a month ago I mentioned to my husband that there had been some more digging at the end of the porch. After the last fiasco, we had filled in the hole with broken glass, hoping to deter future animals from digging and had laid large rocks over the area. My dear hubby ensured me that if we had a skunk, we would smell it. A few weeks later, there had been more digging and I mentioned that I was beginning to notice a bit of a familiar smell in the living room and perhaps we should take care of it in case there were any babies in the hole, it being later in the year than last time. Once again, he insisted that no we didn't have a skunk under the porch, and there definitely wouldn't be any babies. Last week, I was coming around the side of the house at dusk with my cats and I noticed something moving by the hole. Skunk!!! (Did you know that skunks will play with cats a la pepe la pew?, so gross)

I quickly ran around the other side of the house and called my husband. He couldn't deny it this time, we really did have a skunk. We phoned the exterminator the next day, but all of their skunk traps were out (apparently this is a really bad year for skunks?) but were informed that we could buy a trap for $150 and still have the exterminator come and pick up whatever we would catch. Done. Meanwhile, that afternoon, I was cleaning our house when I smelled skunk in the house. Great, I thought, our skunk just sprayed right next to the house. When I went outside, no skunk. What we think happened it that it was hit on the road close to the house because we haven't seen it since.

However, that isn't the end of the story. Guess what my husband saw playing with the cats the next day? A baby skunk. That's right, a baby. And yesterday I saw a grand total of four babies wandering outside their burrow in the middle of the day as I was doing some work in our front yard. (Did I mention that my husband is gone out of town for 9 days?) Nervous that I would accidentally have a run in with them since they haven't developed their sense of smell, but needing to finish the work in the front yard, I began singing showtune-like, made up songs very loudly in the hopes that they would know I was out there and stay away (thank goodness we don't have any neighbors close around).

So, now I am left with 4 baby skunks under my porch, unable to trap them because they haven't developed their sense of smell, so they won't go for that smelly, KFC chicken bait (apparently this is the best bait for skunks).

Well, I'm off to make a plan and to drown my troubles in a Starbucks Latte. Wish me luck?