Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sitting Pretty

Hi Everyone!
It's Wednesday, we're half way to another weekend, yay!! Today I thought share another little pincushion I made recently, similar to the one I made for myself a few weeks ago. 

I love the softer colors in this one, pale blue wool blend for the cushion itself, with dusty blue, mauve and butter yellow flowers and a hot pink rose for pop. The tiny leaves are my favorite shade of sagey green, and the embroidered vines and leaves are done in a green that's similar, just a bit brighter. 

I love choosing the colors, making the little flowers and arranging them until they look just right, that's the fun part. I like stitching the leaves and vines too, I do those freehand and just let them kind of shape themselves one stitch at a time.

Making these pincushions could get to be a real addiction, they come together in just a few hours and they're so pretty. Maybe I'm just crazy for pincushions.

This pretty cushion flew the coop and is now happily nestled in the home of a friend aaaaallll the way on the other side of the country. She's an awesome lady and it was fun to send her a little surprise, just because. Unexpected mail that isn't bills is fun, no?

I hope your week is going well, it's about to start heating up again in my neck of the woods, the last few days has been cool, and a bit rainy and I've loved every moment of it, SO unusual for Northern California in the summer. This morning it took every bit of steam I had to get up and go to work. I would have very much preferred to open the sliding glass door all the way, get a big cup coffee and crawl back into bed and read the morning away with the rain softy falling just outside and Boswell and Lola curled up next to me snoozing with their little paws in the air... *sigh* summer rain is so rare here, I should have seized the day. *double sigh*...

Anyway, on wards & upwards! What's the weather like where you're at this week?

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Hey Y'all!
So, once again I'm late to the party on this internet goodie, but I'm sharing anyway because this is fun, and I wanted to see if any of you are there too, maybe we can be chums! I have no personal ties to this website, other than it's neat. 

Who's on Goodreads? I just joined a day or so ago, and it was fun going in and finding a good chunk of the books I've read over the years and rating them. I've always wanted to keep a list of those books, but for one reason or another, I could just never make it happen, with Goodreads, I've created a list that I'll never lose, and can add to and take around with me all the time because they have apps for Androids & Apple phones, sweet! So what is Goodreads? I've borrowed this blurb from their About Us page.
A Few Things You Can Do On Goodreads
  • See which books your friends are reading.
  • Track the books you're reading, have read, and want to read.
  • Check out your personalized book recommendations. Our recommendation engine analyzes 20 billion data points to give suggestions tailored to your literary tastes.
  • Find out if a book is a good fit for you from our community’s reviews.
Sound good? You can also follow your favorite authors in a more bookish environment than say Tumblr or Facebook, and read their own reviews of other authors. Pretty cool. 

I know a lot of you are also book lovers, so we should share because great minds think alike! So, here's me! Come find me, pretty please! I want to be your friend and snoop through your bookshelves! Teehee!

Bookclubs. Let's discuss! Who's in one? I'm in one active one with my girlfriends that's been going consistently for years, and another one that was meant for a couple of other close friends and family that's kind of fallen by the wayside... I've been debating reviving that one and opening it up to you guys, is that something any of you would be interested in? I'm thinking a very loose format, one book every two-three months, because hey, as much as I love reading, and I really do, there are only so many hours in the day for each of us, and we've all got a pretty full plate as it is. So tell me what you think in the comments, maybe we can set something casual up, I think that could be fun!

So what else? Oh, just this!!
This may not be a big deal to a lot of other bloggers, but I think it's pretty dang cool, my blog has now had over 100,000 views! Actually, as of writing this, I'm at 100,221! Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my pink, fuzzy little heart!!

Let's talk books, ready, set, go!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Burlap Bunting

Hi Everyone, happy Friday!

A couple of weeks ago was the 20th anniversary of two very special people in my life. They decided to recommit in simple, intimate to-do, just a few family members in attendance around a little backyard bonfire. I made a couple of simple decorations to add to the festivities.

Burlap Bunting, all packed up and ready to go.

Hey look, I crocheted! Ha!! I can crochet a straight line around the world, lemme tell you. But to turn, and actually make something... not so much. I'm trying though, I'm on lesson 8. It's very slow going (mostly because I haven't worked at in months!). But again, straight lines, to tie into a pretty bow, no problemo.

Here it is all draped across my fireplace...

Couldn't be easier, I cut several layers at once on the big cutting mat on my craft table with the rotary cutter, and then did a very quick running stitch with cotton twine through the tops. I think I made about 30 feet in just under an hour and a half, start to finish. 

I made some felt circle bunting as well. Cut every single one of those circles by hand, too. With scissors.

I ran them one after another through my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch, easy peasy.

Fast, easy, pretty & festive! Perfect for an impromptu backyard weddin'-non-weddin'.

I like these kinds of quick projects, instant crafty gratification.
What's your favorite fast project? Do tell!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Oh please, you guys know I can't be wordless, I've always got something to say, but I'll make it quick because there's not much to it.

Hey look, I finally made one of those pretty soap dispensers out of a mason jar! I used one of the extra pretty 100th Anniversary Blue editions. FYI, $9.99 for 6 pint jars at Target!

Unbelievably easy, here's how!
1. Poke holes through the flat piece on the top of the jar.
2. Glue on pump from an existing soap dispenser.
3. Set on the patio table with some pretty flowers.
4. Take a picture, post immediately to Instagram.

Oh God, Instagram... I've had an account for a while, never used it, then my brother talked me into it with his cool pictures of Spirooli'd zucchini and gorgeous pictures of Lake Tahoe. Anyway, here's me, are you there too? Do tell, and point me to you!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Stitching

Hi Everyone!
Well summer's just about in full swing around these parts, picnics at the river, camping, concerting, nature walks with the pooches, and as much scooting as possible, but how about something for those warm summer nights when all you want to do is sit very still in front of the air conditioner? I have just the thing for you, the Wild Olive Summer Stitching Club! Click over read all about it, it's really, really cute, here's what we've done so far...

I love the sweet little faces which are Mollie's signature, and this embroidered hexie project looked like the perfect, not-a-lot of hassle thing to do for the summer (along with a few other things, because you know I've always got several crafty pokers in the fire at once), and at the end of July, I'll have a summery little mini quilt to hang on the wall, just in time for my birthday, yay!

Here I am, all set up! I used Mollie's color choices as a reference and picked a similar, though not exactly the same pallet for myself, I like bright, bright colors.

These are the first two embroideries, I stitched them both in less than an hour, a small time commitment with big pay off at the end.

 Hello, little sunshine!

What up, shades?

See? Cute, easy & fun! Have you guys already seen this, who else is participating? Did you know there's a Flickr group in which to share your stitcheries? Yup, right here!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cushy Cushion

Hi All,
While I'm finishing up the project that I alluded to here (it's actually finished, I just haven't photographed it yet) I thought I'd share something else I made recently. A great big, felty pincushion!

I love pincushions, having them and making them, and don't think one can ever have too many. The felt ones are so fun to make, you really can't go wrong, and there are SO many adorable, inspiring felt pincushions on Pinterest

It all started with a little posy of flowers. Felt flowers are some of my favorite things to make, especially with a nice wool, or wool blend felt. To me, they feel like you get a lot of bang for your buck because they're really cute and making them is so much faster than embroidering a whole flower in fill stitch. But when you combine those two elements, you've got serendipity! There's tons of ideas for felt flowers on Pinterest, too! Some of these flowers I hand cut, and others I cut with a small die cutter and my Sizzix, which is brilliant and a great tool I never would have known about were it not for my friend, Paulette and her gorgeous felt  & embroidery work.
A few micro seed beads scattered here and there, a bit of meandering vine, a couple of leaves and viola, happiness.

I didn't really have a pattern for this cushion, I was just playing around. All I knew was that I wanted it to be pretty good size.

As you can see, it's a bigg'n! I like them like that, they don't get lost in piles or fall off the ironing board so easily when they're big and have a flat bottom.

I trimmed the sides with a couple of different sizes of ric-rac in pretty sage green and baby pink, easy & cute.

I am really enjoying using this pincushion, I'm as in love with the colors now as I was when I picked them out of my stash, they sort of remind me of color pallets that Cath Kidston uses in a lot of her products (which I *love* and covet with every email update I get - I want it all!), simple primary colors that feel fresh & pretty.

So yeah, pincushions. I love 'em. How 'bout you?

How's your week going? Is your summer off with a bang? Schools all over the country are letting out for the summer, do you have any big plans? Do tell!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Good Clean Fun

Hey guys!
Wild hairs. Sometimes it pays to go with them. This one hit me this week when I went to the store to get laundry soap and decided $14.99 was just too much, so I made my own!

Not long ago, my pal Tara posted about making her own laundry soap. I'd heard of people making their own soap, but figured it was complicated and/or time consuming, but I'd told my husband about it and we decided to give it a shot. The supplies for this project are pictured above, 1 box of Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda, $3.24 (not to be confused with baking soda), 1 box of Borax, also $3.24, and 1 bar of Zote, $1.09. Grand total: $7.57 (plus a little tax), and based on what I've read, this one batch will last us approximately 2 months, and if I'd made it all at once, a whole ONE YEAR! The recipe that I used can be found right here,  But since I love you so much, and I did make one small change, I'll write out how I made it as well. 

Powdered Laundry Soap
1 bar of Zote
2 Cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
2 Cups box Borax

Two bars of this Fels-Naptha soap is what the original recipe calls for, but I used Zote (pictured below)... because I like pink.  I'll use this Fels-Naptha for my next batch.
Fun Fact: If you hand your husband or significant other a little pinch of this soap, which has been run through the grader of a Cuisinart, and say "try this new cheese I picked up at Trader Joes" he will immediately put it in his mouth because he trusts you. That is a mean abuse of power. And also, funny. In my defense, I didn't think he would move that fast. Behold the power of cheese. 

Ok, so let's get to it! This is such a simple process, the whole thing only takes about 5 minutes. Like I mentioned above, the original recipe calls for 2 of the Fels-Naptha bars, but the bars are small (5.5oz.), this bar of Zote is 14.1oz., I know that's more soap than was called for, but for a penny, in for a pound. Seems ok.
In the picture above, the Zote (which I chopped into three chunks to fit into the top of the food processor)  has been run through the cheese grater of my Cuisinart.

And then the chopping blade. Kinda looks like Dippin Dots at this stage. 

I dumped the soap out on to a paper plate then added a little at a time with the other ingredients back into the food processor until it was all ground into a pretty fine powder. 
The powder ingredients really help pulverize those pieces of soap. 

Hey look, a batch of soap! It's really that simple. And here's the kicker, you use TWO TEASPOONS per load of laundry. Yes, 2 tsp.! Crazy right? I've tested this already with a large load of Sean's work clothes which can be pretty dirty, and they came out just as clean as they do with the All Free & Clear that we've used for years.

Pretty neat, aye? I'm curious to see how we like this over time, but as it stands, I'm pretty happy. Have any of you made your own soap? Do you do anything different? Do tell!

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer the best I can, and I'll answer in the comments this time around, so check back if you have a burning Q.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Knotty New Stitch

Hi Everyone,
Just a quick post today, and a little peek at something I'm working on that will be finished very soon!

Since I don't crochet (I'm trying, but dang, I just can't seem to keep things square and it frustrates me), I needed to devise some kind of pretty edging for this little project. Enter Pinterest, naturally. I keep a board called Stitchy Goodness for embroidery and embroidery techniques, and that's where I found this little gem, the Knotted Buttonhole Stitch, tutorial courtesy of Purl Bee.

It's a simple modification to the standard Buttonhole Stitch, only one more step, but it makes such a difference. Because of the knot, the thread (or my case perle cotton) stands up off the edge of the fabric, and indeed looks a bit like a crocheted edging, Lisa likee! I'll get a better photo of the edging when the project is finished so you can see the detail of the stitch, this is just a fast cell phone picture.

Hopefully within a day or two (ok, maybe three, I'm making laundry soap tonight!) I'll have this pretty little project done to share with you.

I hope you're having a fabulous day, try something new!

p.s. Thank you for your response to my last post, my first Thrifty Thursday! It seems many of us like collecting little treasures, so from time to time, I think we'll see more Thrifty Thursday's here, yay!