Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Outdoor decor...

You know how I've given you tours of the inside of my house ...well today we are going to do a tour of the outside as recently I have been spending lots of time on this. Okay, this is what my house looked like a couple of weeks ago...drab and BORING!!!



This is what it looks like today... (you can make the pictures bigger to see the details)



The window boxes were my first addition to  the outdoor decor... I'm loving how the wave petunias are filling in and spilling over! Then I got rid of 3 barberry bushes... all scratchy and sticker-y... and replaced it with this Ninebark Treeform and lots of perennials...


Then I added more flowers in pots...


Zinnas and sunflowers in the middle...



And on the end a new rose bush... now I told myself no more rose bushes as I have enough trouble keeping the deer from pruning the 3 I already have but I could not resist this one. It is called Fired Up and the blooms start out being yellow and orange striped and the as the bloom matures it turns to almost all orange. A striped rose??? If only they made a polka dot one...LOL!

Around the corner from this display are the 3 rose bushes  that I and the deer attend to regularly...



From left to right.. the first one is a David Austin English rose called Charlotte... I love how the blooms look like peonies!


And the next bush is a floribunda... I wish I remembered what the name of this one is... I vaguely remember something like Jump for Joy... if that isn't the name it is a good one...LOL...anyway, the roses start out being a peach color with tha yellow center and in real life they glow...really they do. This bush is loaded with buds. I'm going out almost every day and clipping off buds whenever they are in clusters of 2 or more so I get one bigger rose versus two smaller roses... and it never seems to stop producing buds... love it!



The last bush is another one that I don't remember the name of but it has lovely deep rose pink blooms with an English rose look... it didn't have any really good blooms to take a picture of today but it has tons of buds so maybe tomorrow. I pruned all 3 of these bushes back to about 15" tall in the Spring and they have just exploded... each one is about 3 feet in width and at least 3 feet in height. My first successful rose garden!

Now around to the front of the house... I live on a corner so I have two front yards...



This is the first window box I planted and it has a 2 week head start on the ones on the other side of the house..


Next year I'm going to mix up the colors more instead of having the white seperate from the pink...and I think I'll throw in some of the purple and white striped ones like I put in these boxes...


I've got 3 boxes like this on the front porch and they kinda mimic the windox boxes...

And on the front porch steps my geraniums and alyssum is doing well too..


Along with the pyramid of petunias by the back door...


When I moved to this house one of my biggest regrets was giving up the large garden I had at my other house...however I think I've made up for it... I don't have a bunch of large beds like I did there but I'm cramming as much as I can into the small spaces I do have. And it makes me HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!

I've had some lovely comments from the neighbors... a lady walking her dog the other night stopped to tell me that it gets prettier every time she walks by... what a lovely thing to say! And another person told me that the yard has personality... I like that too! I do feel that I am putting my mark on the house and the yard. I was told the guy who owned the house before me was quite a character and he doted on the lawn and the yard... another neighbor said she thought he was looking down from heaven and smiling when he saw what I have done... I hope so!


Hope you enjoyed the tour... as you can see I've used every color that I could in the yard... kinda like my quilts... that is probably no coincidence...LOL!

happy gardening-
carol fun

Monday, June 20, 2016

BB in a boxcar....

I shouldn't be surprised that at my age my behavior is not changing... I'm still bouncing around like a BB in a boxcar...Last week was busy and I tried to cram as much as I could into every day. I've been working in my yard planting and mulching and trimming and repotting. And last week my new trees got planted...yeah... I'll show pictures before this week is over.

And the weather has been HOT HOT HOT... so I've gardened in the morning and the evening and then I hunkered down in between in my basement sewing room where it is cooler and I've played with several projects... bounce... bounce... bounce...

Now this has been on my wall for about 2 weeks and it is getting closer to being done...


I'm happy with the layout ... I like the stars that form in the negative space...and I think a small inner border in brown and then a wider border of the Phillip Jacobs Spiral Shells fabric and I'll be good to go.

And I got a few more of the chubby shoofly blocks done too... but my design wall was full so I layed them out on the floor. I'm not sure I'm using that really light one in the lower right corner. Oh my friend Linda suggested that this block would look great using Christmas or Halloween novelty fabrics...yes yes yes... can't wait to try that... I've got a lot of larger scale Christmas fabrics and you can always use another Christmas quilt...right????




And then there was a shiny new squirrel that could not be ignored...




This is from the Timeless Treasures  Color Me collection by Gail Cadden and you can find it here at Fabric Shack...that's where I got it.  (Oh they are offering free shipping on orders of $25 or more in the US... great deal!) Anyway, this fabric just begged to be stacked and whacked... and I was happy to oblige...





This is half of one repeat... I will be able to make 40 hexagons from one repeat... 80 hexagons if I stack and whack another repeat... decisions...decisions... I LOVE how these look... there are 17 different colors in this print according to the selvedge...

Here's some close ups....




Now my first thought was to use a solid black for the star points but the more I look at these the more I think maybe a deep turquoise would be striking...  can't wait to whack some more!  But in the meantime I have dueling projects on my design wall and I'll just bounce from one to another...



Hope you have time to sew this week... the weather forecast here is for more heat... it seems too early to be this hot... 90 degrees... hazy...HOT...humid...ugh!!!  So glad for AC and fans...and ice tea!

happy stitching-
carol fun







Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday... Monday....

I have no right to whine in light of the horrible tragedy in Orlando but it has been a Monday here... my son's lunch date he was so looking forward to, got cancelled.... my car's AC isn't blowing as cold as I think it should and last time I took in it for this it cost me $1000, ugh... the insurance company denied coverage for my son's crown... the one I've already paid $600 for...need to fight talk with them... the first two quilt blocks I cut today I cut wrong and they couldn't be salvaged... and the new Stack N Whack I was hyped up about is awful... it will make a nice SNW but not with the shape I cut.

On the bright side this UFO is improving...


The last time I had this on the design wall was  May of  2015... it has spent a year sealed up in a giant ziploc bag waiting for me to release it.  Now the last time I pondered this quilt top I had a different vison for it... it was going to be a lap sized quilt... almost twin size with the number of hexagons I had made. But in the interim I decided it should be a wall quilt in my living room and for that space it has to be smaller. Now I'm not sure exactly how big this is going to be, but my rudimentary math skills lead to me to believe it will fit the space I want it to fit....keep your fingers crossed.  The fabric is a Phillip Jacobs print from the Kaffe Fasset collective called Spiral Shells, in case you wanted to know!

And then there are the chubby shoo fly blocks I started last week... after tossing the two I mis- cut this morning this is what I have...


my plans for this one it for it to be a lap size quilt... if I use all the squares I have left in the layer cake I can make 40 blocks...hmmm...I'll  probably not use all of the squares.

While both of these projects are nice they aren't making me real excited... I had high hopes for a new Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric that I stacked over the weekend... but when I whacked it today I immediately realized that I had made a mistake. I only stacked 4 layers with the idea of making the blocks from 4 squares. I've done this before and it came out beautifully... however this print really should be whacked as a triangle or a diamond...  I walked away from it after cutting just 2 blocks... but now that I think about it, perhaps there is a way to salvage it, but it will require some fussing and fudging... not in the mood to do that right now ... and I REALLY want to make a SNW with just squares... I don't know why I just do... and  at the moment, I'm feeling a bit like a two year old throwing a temper tantrum.  I think I need chocolate... there are some Oreo Thins in the kitchen.. maybe that will help.

So I hope you are having a good Monday... I'll be linking up my paltry offering with Patchwork Times...going over there now and I think that will brighten my mood... and the Oreos won't hurt either.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

And it only took me...

Six months and two hours!  Okay I'm posting a picture of my Avant Garden Vintage Stars quilt top... I thought that I hadn't posted a pic of this top completed... and I haven't ... at least not totally completed... you know ready to go to the long armer... but I did post a pic of it almost done back in November, 2015... so think of this post as a clip show... kinda lame... sorry!


Here it is with the borders on the outside edges and it now measures about 85" square...  I have been procrastinating about putting on the borders for SIX MONTHS... it took all of about 2 hours to do and most of that time was spent getting the last side a bit smaller as the top measured 85" on one end and 87" on the other... sheesh don't know how that happened... I am feeling good about getting this done and I even ordered fabric for the back from Fabric Shack. They have some Momo fabrics marked down to $6.98 which is a great deal... I wanted an interesting fabric for the back of this one.



This is the little star in the center... it measures 4"... I think it is the perfect touch on this top. To recap... all the stars were made from one Layer Cake of Avant Garden by Momo... you know I LOVE MOMO! The background is a butterscotch Grunge and you know  I LOVE GRUNGE... and I LOVE anything yellow... so I LOVE LOVE LOVE this top.... then tell me why it took SIX MONTHS AND TWO HOURS to get it DONE ... insert shaking head in disbelief.

If you want to read details about what I wrote about this top six months ago you can read that here  and if you want to see Jen Baker's Vintage Star pattern you can read about it here.   You can make the Vintage Star any size... from a baby quilt on up...when you break mine down it is sort of 4 baby quilt sized Vintage Stars sewn together. I like the idea of getting a bed size quilt from one Layer Cake and some background fabric.

I have plans to break out another UFO this week but first I have to deal with some dental issues for my son and I want to do some gardening... the weather here is currently GORGEOUS!!! I want to work in my yard before the 90 degree temps come in on Friday. I'm off to pick up some mulch and another perennial or two... now if I can just come home without another petunia that would be an accomplishment.

Oh since both of the pics I've shown have been pretty much reruns here is a pic of something new... the latest stuff I've potted up...




I've done two pots like this...they sit on either side of my garage...white geraniums, purple verbena, some dynamite orange petunias that followed me home from Natorp's, along with some other little orange petunias (I think these are a million bell variety) and some creeping jenny.   I'll be watering like crazy come the weekend with those 90 degree days...hopefully these will have settled in by then.

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, June 6, 2016

Playing around with Layer Cakes...

Occasionally  I make a mental list of quilts I want to make and the order I want to make them in...and then out of the blue I get an idea and the list is totally forgotten...like my sainted Father use to tell me "you bounce around like a BB in a boxcar''....so true! And this is where my bouncing has taken me...

I snagged a bargain on a layer cake of Momo's Neco collection...lots of lovely good sized prints that I didn't want to chop up too much. I saw a part of a quilt that looked similar to this, somewhere out there in blogland and decided to make it work for me.



I cut the layer cakes in half so they measured 5 x 10" in a landscape fashion. Then I searched my stash and found some left over Robert Kaufman Quilter's Linen in a lovely gold color for the squares. I went together very quickly and it measures about 70 x 72 inches... a nice size throw. I love the colors of this line... to me it has a retro 70's vibe... do you remember Harvest Gold, Avocado Green, Coppertone Brown?  My Mom LOVED these colors and painted every room in our house with these latest hip colors in 1969. I still have fond memories of her with paint in her hair... tired by very pleased with her work.

Aren't these prints groovy??? BIG dots and dogs running free and polka dot trees... kinda psychedelic...



More running dogs and cats and what I'm referring to as hedgehogs...


Now they may actually be porcupines but I have a deep seated dislike of porcupines ever since that time when I was 10 years old and I came within inches of stepping on one in my bare feet...scared the bejesus out of me!

I really like the way this turned out and I will use this pattern again... it used almost the entire layer cake... I think I may have 1 square left over, so it shows off the entire collection nicely.

And then I saw a picture on Instagram of a quilt in a booth at the big trade show the other week and it had a rectangular Shoofly looking block. I was curious if I could make a block like this using a 10" square from a layer cake. Now,  I have a great pattern by Loft Creations called  String Beans that you can see here... I've made this pattern before and you can see my version here...It is an easy pattern and in thinking about it, you can probably make  a block with a 10" square but it wasn't the proportion I was looking for this time around.  I wanted a fatter Shoofly block... so I putzed around and came up with these blocks...



I started by cutting that middle piece 5 1/2" wide by 10" long... then I made half square triangles for the corners that finish 2"... I like how it looks but the block ending up being  an odd measurement of 9" wide by 13.5" high finished.. oh I am NOT a pattern maker...LOL!  Anyway it will work for me... I'm not sure how big a quilt this will be as I have enough problem figuring out how big a quilt will be with square blocks...rectangular blocks have me totally baffled. I will go old school and graph it out and then I'll have a better idea of the size of the quilt I'll be making... maybe... I just want to make a lap/throw size quilt using one layer cake and some background fabric.

These fabrics are from a  collection called Blueberry Park... I keep thinking Blueberry Hill and hear Richie Cunningham singing "I found my thrill..."  oh my mind is a very strange place. Here are the colors I haven't cut yet...


I read somewhere that this collection starts with Kona solids and is over printed with the graphic white designs... I am sooo NOT a solids gal no matter how pretty they are but this really appeals to me. This is the Cool line of Blueberry Hill... I mean Park... there is also a Bright line and a Neutral line.  The fabrics in the upper right corner are a very dark navy blue... I may leave them out of this quilt.

So I bounced from one thing to another but I'm happy with where I landed.  Lately I've been having a very good time in my sewing room. I got two tops off to Terry my long arm quilter 2 weeks ago, and I may have another two tops for her this week. I was even motivated to get out a top that only needs borders and I have them cut...just need to attach them and get the backs together...oh I am being soooo productive... along with telling me I bounced like a BB, my sainted Father also use to tell me I was a fantastic starter but on a mediocre finisher... he may be right about that too. But now and then I do get motivated to go back and finish what I started... my robust stash of UFO's always has something that needs to be completed!

Well, I've got a busy week ahead... something going on every day...so while right now I'm raring to go and sew sew sew, we'll have to see if I really get the time to do that... keeping my fingers crossed. Hope your week has some sewing time in it!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Slow Stitching on Sunday...

I know I've said it a hundred times before and I'll probably say is a hundred times again, but where does the time go???? I think I'm living in a parallel universe with a different measure of hours... I'm keeping busy and there is always more I want to do in a day than there is time...

Well this week is starting with a finish...ta dah!!!


My Lizzie Kate Summer Alphabet Sampler... I even got the little charms sewn on! I need to get in touch with Bev my framer friend and get this and several other pieces framed. I so enjoyed stitching this series... I've done all 4 of the seasons and display them throughout the year. There are so many cute seasonal/monthly pieces that have caught my eye. I'm going to start the little June one from Lizzie Kate... and I have a couple of the monthly pieces from With Thy Needle & Thread ...and since I have ALL of the monthly Prairie Schooler charts I want to stitch them...and IT NEVER ENDS!!!!

Also there is a sampler that I've been itching to start in my  basket and I thought I would start it today until I realized that I didn't have all the flosses or the linen...drat!!! So I picked up this one...


Fragments in Time by Summer House Stitch Workes... I'm about half way done with this one. Again I like the concept of working one square at a time... I can see my progress more easily. Now I was very very happy when that border met all the way around and when I got the dividing bands done... there was a bit of reverse stitching involved there. I still have to add the little flower buds in the outer border but that seems like great stitching for watching my British dramas tonight...oh carp... I just checked the guide and no Call the Midwife tonight...or any of the shows I like...well there is a special on Carol Burnett ...I'm sure I'll like that ...and I probably have seen all those clips when they were first on TV...oh I am getting old old old!!!!

Edited to add that 123Stitch has Summer House Stitch Workes charts on sale for 20% off this week...here is a link. 

Things are going well on the gardening front...my window boxes are filling out and I bought 3 trees to be planted in my yard. Two  Nyssa Wildfire Black Gum trees for the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street...hopefully they'll give me some shade in 5 or 10 years... they have pretty leaves that start out with a red edge and then mature to green...and in the fall they are a showy red! Right up my alley... I wanted to plant stuff that is different from all the other stuff I see in my neighborhood. Don't get  me wrong I LOVE all the trees we have... several 60+ year old oak trees... but I think variety is the spice of life and gardening.  And  I got this striking Physocarpus Diablo Tree-form to replace a Barberry bush that I detest!!!!

The links are just to general info on the trees... I'll post some pictures when I get them planted... first the Barberry bush MUST BE DESTROYED!!!  It is going to be a bear to get  out...luckily the guy who mows my lawn is going to remove it. Should be fun to watch...he's planning on yanking it out with his truck and a chain.

Well my lasagna for tonight's dinner is prepped... I was thinking of going outside and planting up some geraniums and petunias I got last week... I know MORE petunias??? yeah I couldn't resist they are orange... okay maybe deep coral but very orange-y... I'm going to pot them up with white geraniums and purple verbena and some creeping jenny and I forget what else I bought... however at the moment it looks like it is going to rain...I just opened all the windows an hour ago .. trying to air the house out while it isn't over 80 degrees... they are forecasting temps in the 70's this week followed by a 90 degree weekend...TOO HOT!!!

Soooo... back to the cross stitching... hope you are having a restful Slow Sunday... I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts today and Super Mom - No Cape on Monday...

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, May 27, 2016

Dueling socks...

Well this week I have dueling socks on my needles!  My usual pace has me knitting one sock a week but somehow this week I have two socks going and... neither one is done.  Oh well... it has been fun knitting.

The sock on the left is a Frankensock using scraps of Opal yarn... the cuff, heel and toe will be a gray yarn of undetermined origin that I found in my stash.


Think I have enough scraps? Yeah me too!  I wound little 5 gram balls from a big bin of leftover yarn I have. I weigh them on one of those little kitchen scales you can weigh food on... if you are into that sort of thing...but I'm not. Funny aside, my older son who is a prosecuting attorney saw the little scale and asked "why do you have a drug scale?"... obviously his experience with this device is very different from mine.

And while I distinctly remember telling my friend that since I've discovered Frankensocks and ragrug socks I would never knit a pair of socks from just one skein of yarn, this skein snuck into my house and my heart!


This is Opal Hunderwassers in the colorway 2104...oh how I LOVE this skein! (I got it off of ebay and I did just google it and there are few skeins still out there in the internet.)  Varying widths of stripes ... big and little bands of faux Fair Isle... a touch of yellow!  However, while this sock is primarily from one skein I did do some alterations. The creamy white band is much shorter than the skein had it... a bit too much white for me so I broke the yarn and started back with that cute little red faux Fair Isle band. And when I got down to the heel I decided to use a solid creamy white... some older Paton Kroy.  This is very enjoyable knitting... totally mindless.  I think this sock yarn has a definite Frankensock vibe too!  Makes me happy happy happy!

Do you have plans for the holiday weekend?  I have an airport drop off to do and plan to go to Taste of Cincinnati one day and then nothing definite...I'm sure some knitting and cross stitch and sewing will find its way into the weekend... and if the weather cooperates some of it will be done sitting on the front porch...life is good!

happy knitting-
carol fun