A finished couch quilt

I took the last stitches on the binding of the Snowball quilt early Monday morning. Based on a Kim Diehl pattern, though not followed exactly…

Finished Snowball Quilt

Machine piecing, hand applique ( which was a skill builder as I worked around the various corners ) some embroidery on the leaves, hand-quilting in each of the snowballs, and then hand tying the borders…

A finished quilt

It was an enjoyable project to work on…hand quilting snowballs during a snowy winter :) Now, dear Mother Nature…since I am done with my snowballs could you please stop sending yours our way? :) Twenty seven degrees here on Wednesday morning with some snow on the ground and my lilac bush wrapped in blankets to hopefully save its spring blooms. 

Happy Easter to all ! :)

 

 

“It’s like a cruel joke” & other randoms…

On Sunday my son and grandson and fiancee & children came over after church.  They changed to summer clothes ( it was quite warm on Sunday ) and he fixed my lawnmower and helped with a few other things. Later on a young couple with two children that are family friends also came to visit, and the guys went grocery shopping and returned with all of the fixings to grill dinner.

( I got a few calls while they were at the store : “Mom, do you have eggs”  ”Mom do you have balsamic vinegar” “Mom do you have parmesan” )  In the end they cooked the best hamburgers that I’ve had in a long time, hotdogs, chicken, baked beans, and some really outstanding grilled zucchini. I just have a little table top charcoal grill but it did the job! :)

There are a lot of toys in this house. One set is a construction hat, play dress up construction vest, a little toolbox and tools. At some point this was brought down from upstairs by one of the children.  When I was editing pictures, this photo struck me as funny. The friend’s son is getting ready to bat, and his little sister has the hard hat on in the background…I had to laugh; the two were totally unrelated, but in the picture it looks as if she’s wearing protection against her brother’s batting skills! :)

Batting and Protection

As you can see in the picture, the grass is coming back and growing… and we had a few signs of spring here : daffodils that I’d picked earlier, these little purple flowers ( is this  myrtle?) and the neighbor’s forsythia coming into bloom )

Signs of Spring collage

While Sunday was almost too hot and difficult to acclimate to,  Monday was just perfect and the dogs clearly had some spring fever ( I had brushed the white dog and clumps of her hair were all over the yard…snatched up by the birds for their nests in record time : )

Lily Jugsy Spring Fever Collage

In closing, I thought that you’d enjoy the way the local weather forecaster explained how this was all going to end ( and why any seedlings or plants that I’ve started and that are out on the porch will be covered with blankets or brought in on Tuesday )

‘It’s like a cruel joke’: Temps go from summer-like to winter-like in next 24 hours ( Source )

Tuesday snow map

So I’ll be going from sleeping with the windows open on Sunday night back to running the heat and shivering for a day or two :)

You might also enjoy : Why my dogs love Melanie from Comfy House and other randoms  or There once was a lady who started a blog  or  Shimmering Spider Webs: Tuesday Muse

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Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson

Sewing in Sunshine

In a prior post I showed 4 green & purple quilt blocks sewn together…and towards the end of the week a blogger with an eagle eye ( Renee at Quilts of a Feather ) asked a tactful question that made me double check that post and realize that I had some seam ripping to do! : ) I am thankful that she caught it, before I worked on another four and perhaps made the same mistake. So there was a bit of re-sewing this week. ( Sigh )

I have a lawn comprised of many varieties of grass, weeds and clover…and some of the grass has started to grow. On the same day that I started seam ripping, I decided to take a break and mow grass in the spots where it was getting deep. Hmm…I guess my mechanic son needs to take a look at the “Good” mower. I ended up having to use the old-fashioned reel mower. Well it was one of those days! :) Still, while I was outside, I discovered that a few of my daffodils were in bloom, and once I’d finished fixing what Renee had discovered, I started sewing the next round.

hodgepodge collage

Over the last few weeks, I sewed several basket blocks…two were for pillows ( One finished awhile ago, one just finished ) and five were sewn into a row. I didn’t have a chance to take pictures until this weekend. Here are the five in a row:

Basket blocks on the line

Here is the finished pillow, in the middle of the picture…it was hand-pieced, and there is very minimal hand-quilting ( just outlining ) in it. Just finished up a day or so ago.

Basket Pillow

And here are the basket blocks sewn onto the first row of the sampler. The third row is going to have to have another round of applique in there for consistency.

sampler quilt second row sewn on

The first row was all hand-pieced and hand-applique: Cactus Basket pattern. The second row was machine pieced…May Basket. I ran into this : the rows were a different size :

One Row Shorter use this one

FUN!  ( not :)  I just sewed some strips at each end of the second row…I’ll have to see what happens with the third. Different methods, patterns, etc. And then there’s me..throw me into the mix and there will be problems :) Learn as I go ….

For instance, here is my ‘fixed’ green and purple 4 block section,  thanks to Renee, and another one done that did not repeat my first mistake ( at least I don’t think it did :)

2 amish blocks done

As to hand-quilting, what to do next. The pillow was done, and the snowball quilt as well.

At the end of March I showed these 3 blocks:

I was debating whether or not to hand quilt them for a table runner. The other day I decided to go ahead and do so. This is in the hoop for Slow Stitching Sunday.

starting to quilt BB runner

We finally have a weather break. Warm temperatures and sunshine. I got a nice bit of outside work done on Saturday,  and Sunday will be more of the same…When I Slow Stitch, it will be out on the front porch, enjoying the weather! :) I have one more side to complete in regards to the snowball quilt binding…while I ‘allowed’ myself to start hand-quilting this block, the deal was I had to finish the binding and finish the snowball quilt before I do any more hand-quilting. I suppose that I am nuts but this is how I manage myself :)

And I can’t get carried away and complacent…checking the 5 day forecast it will be going down to 28 degrees in just a few days. So Spring is here but She’s in & out again…like a quick revolving door. Therefore I will greatly enjoy and appreciate sewing in sunshine this Sunday.

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Slice of Life on an April Thursday

I received an envelope in the mail with four lovely fat quarters not too long ago.

giveaway

This was not your average give-away. Visit the 29 Gifts and a Giveaway story HERE at Super Mom – No Cape!.  It is one of those heartwarming / blessing kind of stories…

It’s been a cold spring thus far but I have a small clump of daffodils getting ready to bloom. And one of the little squirrels is trying to convince me that I don’t need an Easter bunny…that he’s far cuter than any bunnies in the neighborhood and will do just fine :)

squirrel and daffodils

Basically, April thus far has felt like March, and March felt like February. On Wednesday there was some sun in the afternoon though it was still chilly and windy. I had my little grandson here for a bit and we went outside for a trike-ride around the neighborhood. I worked on cleaning up the front porch a bit more, and cut down some tall grass that I’d left up for the winter for bird-shelter. There’s alot to do outside but we’ve had so much rain that most of my back yard is still a muddy mess, while in other areas the grass is growing so thickly that I might have to mow soon. Well, a little at a time each day, right? :)

It’s hard to believe that within a month all of the bushes and trees will be leafy and green and I won’t be able to see these birds so clearly anymore.

Cardinal and Doves Collage

cardinal

Sparrow still has suet on his beak

This trumpet vine will be covered in leaves and growing like mad and need constant trimming and will no longer be the resting spot for the squirrels to enjoy their peanuts.

squirrel on trumpet vine

Or for the starlings to just hang out…

Euro Starling

Hoping that rain holds off for a few days and more cleanup and raking and trimming and such can continue on around here ! : )

You might also enjoy : Baskets & Laura Ingalls Wilder or Sewing Pillow Covers & More

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Frugal Outdoor Cushion Covers Solution

I do not recall what I paid for my wicker chair cushions as they are about 13 years old now. One set was wearing worse than the other and developed a hole, which a little squirrel decided to enlarge over the winter. ( Tuesday Treasures : Silly Little Santa Squirrel HERE  )

Anyway, here is what the set looked like…a shot from my front porch last spring / early summer.

porch

And then needing some TLC:

cushion needs covered

I priced new cushions and they were quite expensive. Armed with some coupons, I set out for JoAnn Fabrics. The outdoor fabric ran from 19.99 and up and was about as far from the muted look of my prior cushions as I could get. I didn’t like any of it very much so in the end I purchased 4 yards of Home Decor fabric, on sale for 5.99 per yard ( originally 11.98 ) though I was not sure if that would be enough. Between the fabric being on sale, and a 15% off total sale coupon, I spent about 20.50.  When I came home I discovered that there was not enough fabric, but I really didn’t want to spend any more than this. I had enough to cover the cushions, just not enough to make full covers, as in not enough to sew covers.

I did have plenty of heavy duty basting pins, used in basting quilts, so I just used those and wrapped the fabric around to the bottom and pinned it.

This fabric is a far cry from the muted floral that I was used to, but it is actually pretty calm compared to some of the outdoor stuff.  I decided that for 20.50, pinning was a decent solution, as I am not sure how this standard home decor fabric will hold up. And I know that if it does hold up alright, and if I come across something that I absolutely love down the line, that I just need about six yards, versus four, to sew full covers for some other summer.

cushions example

TO sew full outdoor cushion covers, I have bookmarked this excellent and clear tutorial, over at Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer that I would have used if I’d had more fabric :) I am providing the link in case any of you are in the same situation this summer. All-in-all, covering the cushion sets for two wicker chairs for 20.50 worked for me, for the moment.

You might also enjoy : Late Summer Porch Changes or  Saving Money : High Quality Bible for Half the Cost  or  Saving Money : Sewing & Craft Supplies

 

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Light, Shadows, Reflections & Rainbows

One early morning last week I stepped out onto the back porch and saw the sunrise reflecting in a neighbor’s windows and it was so lovely that I went to get my camera.

Sunrise in Neighbors windows

I went to the front porch to observe the sunrise from there and when I came back inside I took a picture of the indoor light being reflected in my living room window.

sunrise and indoor light reflected collage

When I turned around, I thought that this looked pretty as well ( isn’t it funny how one thing will make us see another through fresh eyes / it is not as if this lamp and picture are new or anything…it was just the light :)

early morning lamp

 

Then on Friday we had pouring down rain for most of the day. A clearing, more rain, and suddenly in the early evening there was an eerie light…that sort of light has me running outdoors to see if there is a rainbow. Sure enough, there was. Very short and fleeting but the first rainbow of the season :)

RAINBOW April 4

What was truly amazing was that after another shower, looking out the back…there was yet another rainbow. Perhaps it was the first one reappearing in the sky…not sure about the exact science of rainbows…I was just enjoying it all. On both occasions a double was faintly visible but never fully formed.

double rainbow trying to form

If I can’t have daffodils and tulips here yet, I will certainly take the rainbows! :) Spring you have finally arrived. ( even though you snuck in a light dusting of snow on Sunday morning )

Beautiful cloud formations that evening were the icing on the cake. It’s nice to have something to enjoy looking up, because looking down…well, it’s mud season here.

cloud formation

Indoors: Sunlight streaming in…

sunlight streaming in

creating shadows…

Shadows

And then there is this kind of sunshine! :)  My soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s little twin girls. Hmm…I think a certain person gave the girls their dress-up outfits a week or two earlier than their birthday but their mama was okay with it and they had so much fun putting them on! :) Look at their little faces…if they were at YOUR house, could you have waited until their actual birthday?

Twins collage

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Weekend Sewing

The snowball quilt top is finished up and in the binding stage. I am bringing the backing to the front; the backing material fabric is used in a few of the snowballs so it should compliment everything nicely in the end.

Awhile ago I had finished up a hand-pieced basket block. I did machine quilt all around the border edge but it is in the hoop now for hand quilting. I will use it for a spring/ summer pillow cover when I am done. I like to hand-quilt and this little project will keep my callous built up.

sew collage

I have done a little bit of machine piecing…a few more basket blocks ( not shown ) and 4 Crosses & Losses Blocks:

( and just think…that naked bush will be covered in large white blooms a month from now! : )

Amish purple and lime green four blocks

For Sunday Slow Stitching, in the morning, I can either do some more quilting on the pillow top or continue to work on  binding the snowball quilt. Later on in the day, it will be about The Wedding Gown hemming project. On Friday we had heavy rain for most of the day, so with all of the mud out there at the moment, it’s best to spend the weekend sewing versus attempting to do anything outdoors.

You might also enjoy: Spring Signals Crossed  or  Making a Rag Rug on a Loom

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Wedding Gown

My frugal future DIL went to a few local consignment shops this past weekend, and I got a call about a wedding gown and a hem. She was very excited…something about it being a vintage gown and only 50.00 and could I make it longer…there was a very big hem in it.

I quilt a little but am no seamstress…I was a bit worried…but I said to bring it over and we’d decide. I guess that it would not be too bad if she wore flats, but she wanted to wear heels. 

After she’d dropped the dress off and left,  I did a little Internet research out of curiosity and found the same dress for 750.00 HERE.

“VINTAGE 1980′S ST. TROPEZ BEADED WHITE HALTER COLLAR MOCK NECK STRAIGHT SKIRT PRINCESS WAIST BACK SLIT BRIDAL WEDDING GOWN”

THIS gown had been taken in, and there was a large hem in it. Very expert sewing. While I took the pictures prior to getting my seam ripper out, I had a hard time. Tiny, tight stitches…and I was worried about ripping the wrong threads and ruining the gown. I think that hemming it will be less nerve-wracking :)

wed dress collage

Here is the hem prior to me letting it out.  She is coming over on Sunday after church and putting the dress on,  wearing her heels, and we will go from there.

shows the slit and hem

Purchased for 50.00 in a local consignment shop. I’d say she’s a smart thrifty shopper! If you visit the link that I provided you can see that it is a very tight, slinky gown on the model provided. This is how it will fit my DIL.   What is amusing to me is that were I to think of a ‘vintage wedding gown’ I would picture one from the 30′s-50′s.  This gown is vintage and from my era!   I did not have the money for a fancy gown when the boys dad and I married but I wore an ivory colored slinky halter style dress to my casual outdoor wedding.

Well let’s just hope I hem this correctly in the end! :) It will certainly be some Slow Stitching

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“Pretty-Pretty” and other randoms

The last time that I bought fresh flowers, they were carnations and lasted almost a month. This past weekend the grocery store had small bouquets of miniature roses for 3.99 so I brought one home with me.

Roses in Vase

Roses Closeup

On the way to the grocery store, I pass the local Catholic church and they have a Fish Fry every Friday. Their menu is online and it is not cheap…well, they are out to raise money and the food is going to be good, so of course it won’t be cheap. But as soon as I see their sign I start to crave the fish fry food…so seeing the breaded shrimp and clams on sale at the grocery store, I purchased some. For about the cost of a full dinner at the church, I’ll have four this way. And I satisfied that craving :)

Fish Fry

I have a bush that I’d planted years ago, and I thought that it was a potentilla. A few years after planting, it began to bloom late spring…the scent was intoxicating…a mix of lilac and honeysuckle, and I assumed it was a late lilac of some sort. It grew and grew and got out of hand and I trimmed it as much as I could last year. Then it developed purple berries and I knew the bush was a privet. The berries are poison. Before it developed leaves again I decided to trim it further…drastically. I hope that I didn’t kill it but I want to take it back to the no-berry stage while I have little kids visiting around here. I will have to fill the two garbage cans with the remainder of the branches once this is picked up on garbage collection day.

privet bush

I wrote HERE about my dog Lily’s original owners being back for a visit last week. They returned on Friday for a final goodbye and I got some nice shots of my beautiful prior-neighbor loving on Lily before leaving to go back to Alabama.

Valerie and Lily

As to the last of my randoms this week, this guy used to emit the quietest little cheep-cheep when he visited during the winter. Now he sits outside singing “pretty pretty pretty” over and over again to the missus. I guess she needs reminded…

cardinal collage

You might also enjoy:   Late Summer Porch Changes   or   This Late Summer Week  or   Frisky Dogs, Pillow Fights and Yard Work 

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A creative genius & her cat

I have a few touches of Spring / Easter here…

touches of spring and easter collage

glass and easter eggs

But the main thing going on in the living room right now is what is happening on top of the piano. Not too long ago I posted about starting some seeds with my little grandson ( 5 Dirty Randoms HERE )

The Cake Holder Greenhouse is working…lift the lid and you can see the Sweet Alyssum seeds starting to sprout and the Cardinal Vine seeds are doing well in the other section.

Seeds are growing collage

Some transplanting was due so I changed out my ‘vignette’ ! :) Classy! :)

new seed starting arrangement

See what I mean ? Creative genius! Home Decor at its finest :)

Seriously, usually I wait until warm weather and then start seeds outdoors on the porches, and I have many more to start in that manner but the “Dirty Randoms”  post explains why this batch was started indoors.

And the reason this is on the piano is because a certain cat here doesn’t jump up there.  It and the room dividers are the only ‘safe’ places  here.

Oh look…she just said “While you are mentioning me, could you take a few pictures for Prince Richard of Poppyview? Here, let me pose for him! ”

KANGA Collage

She’s really got a thing for him, you know.

You might also enjoy :  A Wonderful Day for My Dog Lily or Why My Dogs Love Melanie from Comfy House & Other Randoms  or Shimmering Spider Webs: Tuesday Muse

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