Saturday, July 31, 2010


My Stargazer lily unfurled the first blossom of the season yesterday. There are a total of 13 buds and the weather forecast is mild so I think there will be a real show this year - not to mention the fragrance! Last year they began to open just as we were struck with a 10-day heat wave that withered them as fast as they opened. They are planted next to the patio and the back door so there is ample opportunity to "stop and smell the flowers". Happy Summer!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy News and a Sneak Peek

I got home from work yesterday afternoon and discovered an email from Beth Livesay. My artwork and article are going to be published in the December SEW Somerset! I haven't submitted anything to the Somerset magazines in quite a while so I was excited to get the news. The artwork is the piece I was working on in this post. I was SO late finishing it that I didn't even have time to take pictures before I mailed it off so you'll have to see it in the magazine and I will blog about it once I receive it back. By then I can tell an extra little story behind it.
So what about the sneak peek?? I am working on another piece to submit to Somerset Studio. I'm not sure how they feel about showing artwork somewhere else first so I am just showing a small crop in case they decide to use it. As usual, the muse didn't come calling until the last minute but this should be finished up and ready to go in the mail by Monday.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Man I Love Junk!

Today's treasures from the VofA and a fun estate sale. The gloves in the front are very thin leather - I think they call it kidskin. I guess my picture isn't the best. There is a pair of ceramic chickens. I really needed THOSE... There is a pile of costume jewelry, old hankies, doilies, baby shoes, four tiny salt and pepper shakers, a vintage pin pack, milkglass jar, ornate silver spoon, a neat silhouette reverse painted on glass, an old compact, a calculus text book (great pages!) and a giant brandy snifter.
When I got back from junk shopping my DIL and I went to a craft sale at one of the local nurseries. There was someone offering random glass jars planted as whimsical little terrariums filled with moss and little figurines. I told Alayna the estate sale I just left had MORE big brandy snifters and two boxes of little ceramic and plastic animals so naturally we raced back to see if they were still there. Lucky for us no one else had seen the "vision" and we were able to snap them up. Making the terrariums is going to be SO FUN!
Enough with this corporate life - I want to be an American Picker when I grow up!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Planted Birdbath

Earlier this week I mentioned on FB that I planted my mother's birdbath with hens and chicks so I decided to post about it and show you a picture.
This birdbath was a housewarming gift from her father (my grandfather) for a new house my parents built in about 1967. It has resided in my backyard since she passed away in 2002. The year before last we had a really hard winter by Portland standards and the birdbath didn't fare too well. It didn't break but it doesn't hold water very long. It sat that way all last summer and the husband suggested he could probably fix it with a layer of fiberglass. I wasn't really digging how that would look so just let it sit until I got a "vision" about what to do with it.
In early spring we had our apple tree pruned. It was long overdue so there was quite a bit of damage when the limbs came down. The gutter on the roof of one of our garden sheds was planted with hens and chicks climbing up the roof. It was in harms way and a limb tore off the entire gutter and sent all the hens and chicks tumbling to the ground in a heap. The husband repaired the shed and I replanted as best I could but couldn't make them all fit back where they came from so parked many in individual pots to wait for a new home.
The husband does fine woodturning (check out the link on the left or click here) and occasionally a bowl warps during the drying process and he is not able to use it. Sometimes they become garden art in mine or someone else's garden and other times he just burns them for firewood.
So now I have three things waiting for a vision - can you see where this is going?? One, two, three, a planted birdbath.
I sure hope they "take". I saw something similar when we were at the Hulda Klager Lilac Garden for the Lilac Festival in April. They put rocks around the edges to help hold in the soil but I'm going with this for now and see what happens.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Show and Tell

I got so preoccupied with washing and ironing that I almost forgot to show you the necklace I made while we were camping. Michaels was out of black in the balls of crochet thread and I wanted to make a black and pink necklace so I picked up a little skein of Patons that looked like it was about the same gauge. It worked okay but I don't think it's as sturdy as regular crochet thread. I use random beads and sometimes the holes are just barely big enough. This yarn shredded and broke several times from the abrasion of pulling it through the smaller beads. Still came out pretty and I LOVE making these necklaces.
It is unpacked now, of course, but I thought I'd show you the little suitcase I use for my "traveling art room". It's so cute! The tray of compartments in the top lifts out. It works out great because you can put small things in the top and the long compartment is lidded. When it's packed full (like it always is) things stay put even when you pick it up and carry it by the handle. I think it was probably a toiletry case.
I took supplies along for several projects but only ended up making this one. The weather was chilly for sitting still too long - had to keep moving to stay warm!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Washing and Ironing FINISHED

My husband accused me of trying to wear out the washing machine and I'll admit some of these pieces did take more than one wash. I also used my last-resort-go-to stain remover - Stain Bully on a few of the really bad stains. I tried to find you a link to the product but I couldn't find one and did find a few other people looking for it. It is made by a company in Albany OR called Effective Solutions and I get mine at Bi-Mart.
For the most part they came out looking pretty good. The pieces that didn't come clean will still make good cutters so worth the effort. This might just be the first time I ironed until my arm hurt. The linen pieces were a real bear. There is a reason we don't use that fiber much anymore!
There was a set of crochet covers for the chair arms that I held out to actually use and I forgot to put them in the picture. Yes, I use doileys on my chairs - strange but true. The thing is, they still serve the same purpose they did back in the day. If more people used them then maybe the Salvation Army store wouldn't be full of perfectly nice sofas and chairs with dirty arms - don't you think?? Now I just have to figure out where I'm going to store them. Maybe the drawer where the "tangled heap of lacy goodness" used to be. Yes, I'm still working on that. It's going to take a while! I picked up a couple more rolls of pretty wallpaper at the VofA yesterday for making the cards so that will keep me from getting bored. Making the cards is kind of mindless work so good for relaxing. I need that after my first day back to work after vacation. Good thing since I need dozens and dozens of them!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Good Estate Sale Day

Back from camping and still on vacation so what better way to spend a Friday morning that hitting some estate sales. I NEVER get to go to the sales on Fridays when the plunder is fresh!
This was spur of the moment when I realized it was Friday and I was home (for crying out loud!) so I checked my purse and I found I only had $19 in cash. I thought about stopping at the ATM and then thought, what the heck, sometimes you don't find anything at all so I'd just go for it and stop along the way if I needed to. Wow! I need to get out more on Fridays! I came home with 25 cents left and everything you see in this picture plus a book I left out on the patio because I was looking at it. The picture is a little dark so it's hard to see the two old oil cans, a mirrored dresser tray, a wooden carving mallet, gorgeous salt shakers I'm going to fill with glitter, one of those folding tape measures and a neat yardstick, two powder blue lingerie boxes and some vintage serving utensils. Plus I got a huge box of linens for just $5 - over FIFTY pieces! I'm sure a few will end up as shop rags but lots of goodies, too. There is a whole lot of washing and ironing in my future!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Timothy Lake Camping

We just returned from 4 days camping in the Mt.Hood National Forest with family and friends. There is nothing like leaving the city behind and spending time with no calendar and no clock and no to-do list. Quality time hiking, canoeing, eating yummy camp food and gazing at the night sky so filled with stars that it looked like glitter. Ahhhh........!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Own Worst Enemy

It's true, sometimes I am my own worst enemy. Look at the mess I've made! After looking at some of those beautiful and well organized studios in the Where Bloggers Create party I started feeling guilty about what I call my "tangled pile of lacy goodness". That sounds kind of yummy but really - it's a pig pile. Really.
So... Thursday night I started pulling it all out and sorting it by color. And quickly realized this wasn't going to be one of those "instant gratification" kind of projects. Oh no.
On the flip side, it is going to take a LOT of cards to wrap all this lace and those are fun and easy to make. And I like the wrapping part. When I've had a hard day in my other world and all my brain power is used up it is a vaguely creative and mindless activity that is very relaxing.
I use pretty much any kind of cardboard I have laying around, including cereal boxes. I pulled out some rolls of wallpaper in muted shades and some of that wrapping paper I save because it's too pretty to throw away and got to work. You can see some of the finished ones in the front of the picture. It is going to take a lot of glue sticks to make enough cards but luckily the Dollar Tree sells them in 3-packs for a buck so I ran over and bought $5 worth.
Now I need to think about where I will store them once they are organized. I could put them back into the lace drawer but I'm kind of worried I'll just end up pawing through them and turning it back into another pig pile. Maybe baskets. Old sewing machine drawers would be pretty. Maybe someone will leave a comment and offer a suggestion!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence Day Serendipity

Yesterday morning I posted my thoughts about how much we truly have to celebrate on Independence Day and the sacrifices that have been made to afford us the freedom we enjoy.

When I finished that post I headed out for my weekly treasure hunt at the VofA. I picked up a nice poke sack of sewing notions. I nearly passed it up because it contained several zippers and, goodness knows, I really have NO use for any more zippers. It also had this mysterious olive-drab bag in the bottom. The bag looked kind of old and ratty and I could feel thread spools inside, yet another item I don't intentionally seek out.
Imagine my surprise when I untied the bag and peered inside. As soon as I saw the needle cards were printed with "Handy Needle Assortment for Service Men" I realized this very worn old bag was a soldiers sewing kit! My heart beat a little faster as I reached inside and wondered who had reached in there last and where and when and why. Suddenly the raggedy little bag took on a whole new meaning.

I have no idea of the age, although the threads are on wooden spools, The zippers look like brass and there are some buttons with anchors. The metal of the scissors and the small pile of straight pins has an odd black color that must have something to do with preventing rust. I have never seen straight pins like that. Above the scissors there is a small skein of olive-drab wool. The needle card includes a darning needle so expect this was for repairing socks. How appropriate that I find it on this, of all days!

The photo below is the rest of the loot, which just goes to show that strange notions can be good notions!I will store the little sewing kit away for today but I think I see a shadow box in my future.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

Happy Fourth of July everyone! For many today marks the unofficial start of summer with picnics and parties with friends and family, parades and fireworks. We hear and say many things like "Let Freedom Ring", "Freedom Isn't Free", and "God Bless America" but how many of us really stop and think about what freedom really means to each one of us, every day.
I have been watching "America the Story of Us" and "Revolution" on the History channel. It's quite a different reality than the condensed history book version most of us learned in school. I am in awe of the huge personal sacrifices our founding fathers and every generation since have made to maintain the freedom we so easily take for granted. Freedom is a battle that is never won. It is ongoing and constant. I am humbled by this gift I am given.
I am free. I have choices. I can voice my political views openly on this blog if I choose to. That isn't what this blog is about and I don't but I can if I want to. And I won't vanish in the middle of the night. With the touch of a button or the click of a mouse I can select from an astounding assortment of political viewpoints and opinions. And if I don't agree, I can just as easily click away. I can exercise my right to vote - by secret ballot - and make my single little voice heard. I can move freely through my neighborhood, my city, my state and my country. I can circle the globe and back again. I can effect my own future and my own happiness in the career paths and life choices I make. These are the privileges freedom affords me every single day.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July - because you can!