Tuesday, September 09, 2014

FAIRY GARDEN

I don't consider myself a "cutzy wootzy" type of person.  However, the past couple of years little "fairy" gardens have become extremely popular and I found myself very attracted to them.  But, I really didn't want one in my house and there was no place outside that I thought one would work.

The other day I went to my favorite garden center, Autumn Hill Nursery - Four Seasons Gift and Garden and saw this:



I loved this!  I didn't want to use a Buddha, but it gave me an idea.

This is how the bird bath looked
in the corner of my yard in Milwaukee.
I have had this beautiful bird bath for years.  It is great looking, but the birds hate it.  The center "ball" can be removed and I usually place it on the ground near the bird bath.  I tried putting a large rock in the middle of the bird bath for the birds to stand on, but they didn't go for that idea, either.    They avoided it when it was in my backyard in Milwaukee and they avoid it here in Georgia where it is in my front yard.  I think it is just too deep and slippery for birds.  I finally decided to just sell it in the spring and get one better suited for the birds.

But, the Buddha I saw at the garden center gave me the idea for a perfect place for a fairy garden! The useless bird bath would work very well!  And, they sell fairy garden pieces in the gift shop.  So, I purchased a few pieces with a "fall theme."

After putting gravel in the bottom of the bird bath, I added dirt and some small plants.


My sweet little neighbor girl, Meredith, came over to help me decorate. I think she did a great job, don't you?


Meredith loved the two fairy friends.  Me, too!  She is welcome to come over any time and rearrange the pieces.


There are probably hundreds of pieces you can purchase for fairy gardens.  I have already gone back to Autumn Hill and purchased some pumpkins and several pieces I can put out for Halloween.  They had just gotten in a whole Christmas setting.  Well, that will work, too, when the holidays come around.   I will try not to go too crazy purchasing pieces!

Sometimes being whimsical is a lot of fun.   My little fairy garden makes me smile and I hope my neighbors feel the same.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

ECLECTIC LIGHTING

I tend to see things I like - mostly junk I have to confess - purchase it and then haul it around with me for years.  Eventually, I either repurpose it and use it or I pass it on to someone else.  After all, one persons junk is another's treasure!

Dining room chandelier
Lighting seems to be one of these things.  I purchased my dining room chandelier over 20 years ago. After I moved to a new house here in Georgia I did not care for the basic builder's light fixture in the dining room, so I hauled out the brass chandelier, spent hours cleaning it up, had it rewired and hung it up.  I love it.  I probably paid under $40 for this piece years ago.  I now see similar fixtures in antique stores for $300-$400.  While the rewiring cost me around $35, I had electricians hang it while they were here doing other work.  I also had to purchased additional crystals for around $10.  So, I probably spent around $125 total for a chandelier I love.

When Christine from Front Porch Indiana decided to switch out a lighting fixture in her old house she offered it on her blog for whoever wanted it for the cost of shipping.  I grabbed it.  For under $16, I received a box with a brass rimmed light fixture with a zillion glass prisms most unattached.  I took a look at it, moved it to a plastic bin and stored it in my garage for at least two years.

Pretty much the way this light fixture arrived
A couple of weeks ago I was in a junk/decorating store in Cartersville, GA.  As I was leaving my eye was drawn to a lighting fixture laying on its side in a corner.  A ceramic porcelain fixture with a beautiful glass shade in perfect condition.  I dug it out and fell in love with it.  For $35 it came home with me.

Just could not resist

Where to start?  Original
owner must have been
a smoker
Detail 



Now, what to do with two old light fixtures?  I knew the porcelain fixture would work great in my quilting room.  I thought it would offer me better lighting when I wanted to sew at night.  The prism light would be pretty in my guest bedroom.
Reattaching the prisms was challenging!  I balanced
the fixture on a decorative piece I had.
Luckily, I have a great guy in my subdivision who is a jack of all trades.  Tom has done work for me before including installing all of my wood floors.  Tom was able to rewire both fixtures for me as the wiring in both was highly questionable.  I then needed to clean the fixtures before he could return to install them.
Detail work on fixture

The prism fixture was the most challenging.  The prisms not attached were soaked in a mixture of vinegar and water, rinsed and then dried in the sun.  The ones that were attached were carefully wiped clean with the same mixture.  I purchased a small jewelry making pliers to help in the process of attaching the prisms back onto the fixture securely.  The $3.99 investment made it much easier!

Porcelain fixture hanging in my
very messy quilting room
A few days later Tom stopped over and hung both fixtures.  The fixture in the quilting room is perfect. The light it projects makes it much easier to work/sew in the evening.

Yes, I need to touch up the paint where the
fixture meets the ceiling!  LOL
So much more light and isn't
the glass shade just beautiful?
While the prism fixture hangs a little wonky, it still looks great.  It makes my guest bedroom a little more "girly."
Looking good!  

So pretty
Both fixtures add a sense of the unexpected to each room.  After paying Tom approximately $120 for the rewiring and installing, my total investment for both fixtures is around $175.  They aren't "cookie cutter," fixtures seen in houses like mine.  The are unique and eclectic.  I love them!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

AVIARY / EGG QUILT


I've been living in Georgia for over four years now.  I still have quilt tops or quilt fabric or quilt kits I purchased in Milwaukee that I have to either start, finish or have quilted and complete.  It's a little overwhelming considering I am still quilting like a maniac.

One of the quilts tops I actually finished in Milwaukee is what I call my egg quilt.  I believe the fabric is from Three Sisters aviary fabric line.


The fabric is soft and girly.  I loved the "egg" fabric.  It is all bird's eggs with the names of the bird printed underneath.  According to pictures of the quilt top, I was making it in 2009.

I decided I needed to get my quilt tops quilted.  Taking them in to have them professionally quilted in chronological order seemed like a reasonable way to do it.  However, gifts come up and other projects I want done first, so this idea didn't always work.

But I finally took the egg quilt to The Quilt Shop on Main to have Karen work her magic on it.



I love the finished quilt.  It makes me laugh, though.  I was a "newbie" quilter when making this quilt.  I loved it, but wanted it longer.  So, I just kept adding borders!

Pink border print border, blue border and "egg" border!  I
think I got a little carried away!

Four borders later I felt the quilt was long enough!  And, it is a good queen sized quilt.

Now that it was quilted, I could not remember if I had purchased fabric to bind it with.  I dug around in my stash and really didn't think I had anything.  However, while downloading pictures for this blog, I found this picture.


Guess I found my binding fabric!  And, I think I know right where it is!


I also love the backing fabric which was picked out at the The Quilt Shop on Main.  I think it is pretty and has birds in it!  You can see the beautiful quilting job.

Quilt tops are slowly getting done, but now I see another problem arising.  How will I ever get the binding done on all of these quilts?  LOL

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SWAP A BLOCK QUILT


I joined an awesome online quilt block swap.  So far we have made and are submitting  churn dash blocks and we are working on a holiday block swap.  I will post more on this later.  However, I do want to write about the holiday quilt block.

The rules are we should submit 12 blocks measuring 12 1/2" each.  We can use any block pattern we want.  I decided I was too busy to make a complicated block for holiday block swap so I decided to do a basic nine patch.  I picked out rich holiday fabric to make up for the lack of a fancier block and my laziness!


Rich green and red, both with gold specks, for the surrounding squares and great poinsettia fabric for the center square.


I alternated the blocks - some with red highlighted, some with green highlighted and always the poinsettia fabric in the center.  Making the 12 blocks for the swap went fast.

As I made the blocks I kept thinking of the other fabric in this line.  I liked the idea of a holiday quilt with black as the background.  I am not really a "cutzie, wootzie" person so laughing snowman or dancing penguins is something I wouldn't pick out for myself.  I also want it to stay out long past the holiday season.

Now, I have around nine quilt tops completed waiting to be quilted.  And, I have at least 4-5 quilts tops either started or waiting to be started.  I don't need more projects.  But, there is something about quilting that makes me act stupid!  LOL  So, I went back to my favorite quilt store, The Quilt Shop On Main, and purchased coordinating fabric.


It is beautiful fabric.  Deep, vibrant colors accented with gold.  I love the partridges and the pears.  I just think the fabric is elegant.  So, I needed to make a quick quilt.  I made additional 12 1/2 " 9-patch blocks and cut the coordinating fabric in 12 1/2" pieces and sewed them together.



I loved how it turned out.  Now for the borders.  It is a dark quilt so for the first border I went with a lighter color, picking up the tones from the light colors in the feature fabric.


This fabric has the same gold in it as the others.  So soft and pretty.


The first border really "popped" the quilt.  With the help of the "quilt ladies" at the shop we tried all different fabric ideas for the second border and ultimately decided on the same poinsettia fabric as in the center of the 9-patch blocks.  I think it is a good decision.


This is a simple quilt, but I think the fabric makes it look sophisticated.  And, check out this fabulous fabric I am going to use for the backing.



Not your typical Christmas quilt, but I plan on having this out from December 1 through January 31.

I love the way it turned out.  I have fabric left so I will increase the number of blocks I submit for the swap from 12 to 16 or 18.  And, I hope the ladies in my swap group forgive me for making myself a quilt and don't mind getting a simple 9-patch block!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE PART I


I love the old fashioned farmhouse tables.  Plank wood, plain or spindled legs, stained top and painted bottom.

Good example of what I want,  only I like thinner legs and
not quite so much distressing.  This table can be custom built for 

over $3,000.  Ouch!  No way I could afford this.
Since moving to Georgia four years ago I have wanted one of these tables for the dining room. Periodically I would scan the web looking for good deals.  I've been to many furniture stores looking and looking.  Either the costs were what I considered ridiculous or it was not made well or not exactly what I want.
My little drop leaf table with two of the chairs I 
like and want to use in my dining room. .
Picture is looking out into my screen porch and
Lady having some dinner in the foreground.

One issue is the little drop leaf table and four chairs I purchased for my kitchen when I moved in.  With the leaves up it was the perfect size for my small kitchen.  And, because I have a small kitchen I eventually purchased a portable island for storage and more counter space.  I didn't need the all of the chairs since I dropped both side leaves of the table to accommodate the island.  But, I love this little table and the chairs.  I wanted a farmhouse table to match.  My idea was I could use two of the chairs in the kitchen and two around the farmhouse table in the dining room.  At the head and foot of the table I would have two parson chairs with slip covers.  This was my plan.

Last fall I wandered into a little decorating store - one of those little stores somewhere between a junk/rehab furniture store and a design store - called One Unique.  I met the owner, June and we started talking about a farmhouse table.  One of the gentlemen who happened to be related to June said he could make one for me.  Hmmm - we talked size, dimensions, color and stain.  A few weeks later they called me with a price quote.  An extremely reasonable price quote - less than a one fourth the cost of the table in the picture above.  But, I had bills to pay and time when by.

I sold my current dining room table for enough to put a down payment on a farmhouse table.  But, should I settle for something I saw at a local furniture store or keep saving until I could get exactly what I wanted?

I went into the funky store again.  Both the store owner, June, and the gentleman were there and we talked about building a farmhouse table to my specifications.   They also showed me several pictures of furniture recently built, including a farmhouse table close to what I wanted.  We decided I would return the next day with one of my kitchen chairs so we could match the wood stain and the paint color, which I did, and the order was placed.
On of the two chairs for the head and foot of the
new table.  Fabric will be used on the cushions on
both chairs.
The owner, June, asked about chairs and I told her my plan for using parson chairs.  As I was poking around the store (you need about three trips around the old house they use as the store in order to see everything) I noticed June was painting two wood chairs a pretty blue and had matching fabric nearby. They would be awesome when finished.  Well, before I knew it we picked out two chairs to use at the head and foot of the table.

Now, the two chairs do not match, but have the same basic curvy design.  June will paint them to match the table and I brought in fabric which will be used on the cushions.  Cost?  Fifty bucks per chair.  I could have never purchased even one parson chair for the cost of both chairs.  And, the fact that they don't match?  I don't care!  It will just add to the charm of the table and the over all look.  The fabric for the cushions is from the same fabric line of the valences I have in my dining room.  So, the fabric will tie everything together as well as the paint color.
Chairs will be painted to match the table and my current
chairs.  June will stain the chair carved details before painting and
lightly brush over them, which will make them pop.
Now I have to wait.  It will be about five weeks before the table is completed.  June promised me the chairs in about two weeks.  I will be able to watch the progress of the table and take pictures!  It is exciting.  The best thing is that I waited  and I saved up and I am getting exactly what I want.  Let's hope that in this incident the phrase, "good things happen to those who wait" is true!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

FOSTER FAILURE

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

After fostering for Mostly Mutts for 7-8 months and lots of foster dogs, along came Lady and stole my heart.


Lady was an owner surrender.  Apparently, her elderly owner had to go into an assisted living facility and there was no one to take her.  He took her to the local shelter and cried when he left her.  Luckily for Lady, she was only there one night before volunteers went and picked her up.


Lady was at the Mostly Mutts facility for a few nights and then I volunteered to foster her over the long 4th of July weekend! Ha!  Within a few hours I knew she was here to stay.

And, I have tried to find her original owner.  I would be more than happy to bring Lady to where he is for a visit and to let him know she is adopted and loved very much.  But, I have ran into dead end.  I will keep trying, though.

Nice to have another female in the house.  I got her a
"girly" girl tag!
Lady is an older girl - somewhere around nine or ten (probably not the 14 as we originally were told by her previous vet clinic).  But, she is full of spirit and loves to be loved.  She is also a perfect lap dog.  She can definitely keep up with Sam and Oliver!
Oliver, Sam and Lady
Lady loves Sam and Oliver and after a few days they were all playing well together.  Our daily walks can get a little crazy, but it's fun, too.  

So, no more fostering for me.  Three dogs in the house is plenty.  But, I can help the rescue group in many other ways and plan to.

Here is my "official" adoption picture.  Not the best of either of us!  But, now my doggie family is complete.  Life continues to be good!  Being a failure at fostering dogs is great!  A new little pup to love!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

A YEAR OF QUILTS

I've been a quiltin' the past year.  Some of my own design and some as part of the Saturday Sampler group that meets at The Quilt Shop on Main in Jasper, GA once a month.  Here is a sample of what I've been up to:

I worked every month on the Block of Month, Women of  Courage quilt and it was well worth the work. 

 
 
The colors are vibrant and rich.  It was easy to put all of the blocks together.  I also received a history of each woman the each block represents. While it was fun to learn about all of these women, but the blocks to not represent them in the literal sense, so it was a little disappointing in that respect.  Still needs to be quilted.  I think it will grace my bed when finally done - which may be in 20 years or so!  LOL
 
*****
 
When Karen at The Quilt Shop on Main offers a projects for the Saturday Sampler, you always have two choices as to the fabric.  Cotton, batik, solids, etc.  Below are two exact quilts that I made.  The project was called "Tea and Cookies."  While I like the batik quilt, I love, love, love the cotton quilt!
 




I guess I should have made sure they were both held up in the same direction so that it is more obvious that they are the same "quilt" as far as each block is concerns, but you get the idea.  Both need to be quilted.

*****


The above "Jiffy Nine Patch" was another Saturday Sampler.  Jiffy?  Glad the picture of this little quilt isn't a close up!  I had issues with every block and had trouble putting the blocks together.  Whoosh!  Just happy it is done.  Still needs to be quilted.

*****
 

This little winter themed quilt will be given to my friend, Martha, when completed.  I just used a couple of charm packs, added borders to each individual 5" square and a border.  Click on the picture to get a better view.  Making it went really fast.  I'm not happy with the border.  I might cut it down to 2" and add another 5" border.   But what fabric?  Hmmmm.  Still needs to be quilted!

*****


Here is a little doll quilt I made for my great-niece, Shannon.  I used 1930 fabrics and the pin wheel pattern.  Except for the border and backing, all of the fabric used was scrap fabric from other projects.  It is modeled by my sweet, little neighbor, Meredith.  Her mom, Lisa is the other "arm" in the quilt pictures and her daddy, David, was the photographer.  Big brother Keeton decided to stay out of the pictures.  I have great neighbors!

I currently have three quilts ready at the shop waiting to be quilted.  I have two more Saturday Samplers just about completed.  I think I need to win the lottery in order to have enough money to have all of the quilted!