Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sewing with Paper--Odds and Ends






I tried to focus on summer stuff! Honestly I tried! But in the end I failed. I even made my first three loaves of Pumpkin Bread. Delicious! Never before have I started baking Pumpkin Bread this early in the year. So with the cooler (but oh so beautiful) weather, I have instinctively been drawn to all things FALL!

This morning, I played around with paper and tried to use both summer and fall patterns. I don't want to rush fall for those of you who are still firmly planted in summer. My roots seem to be planted in both seasons but may be spreading unintentionally towards fall.


I wanted to make up a stash of gift card envelopes. Generally when I give a gift card as a gift I grab a couple cute little tins or boxes in the store to "wrap" them in. They are very pricey! I picked up one that was $8.99! So, I decided to make some of my own, they are even lined on the inside with a coordinating paper.


A peek inside


Very easy! I just traced around a gift card and left an extra 1/4" around the outside for the front. Then I traced the pattern that I used for the front and added a flap. You will need to cut two sets--outside and inside ("lining").  When stitching on the sewing machine you just have to keep in mind that the card has to fit inside.


You don't have to be too picky about the sewing. Little discrepancies in the stitches adds a little shabby (but chic!) touch to the envelope.






They are pretty cute! And free! Great way to use up scraps of scrapbook paper.


This is my favorite!

Then I stitched up a heart ornament. I stuffed that as well. I added some burlap patches, a burgundy craft button and a little bedazzling jewel, scraps of lace and finally a rafia bow. 




Who says you have to use only fall colors!


I have many lace, ribbon and fabric scraps. This is another project that can use those little scraps up!


Then I made myself a little garland to hang on my hutch. My walls are already gold. So to add a little color, I cut little pennants out of 2 burgundy prints. They look more pink here but they are a deeper shade in reality.


It just adds a little festive touch to the room.

Below is a work in progress--my stuffed pumpkins.....have not decided how to embellish them yet, they are made from kraft paper bags. I stitched two pumkins (front and back) together. (Before stitching I cut a little trap door on the backside. This allows you an opening to stuff it.) Then I just quilted it with a zig zag stitch.


I will let you know how these turn out. 

That's all for now. Have a nice weekend! It's a beautiful day here in NH! Hope it is where you are too!



Friday, August 29, 2014

Tote du Jour



Today I completed a bag that I started last night. The color scheme of this tote:  blues, greens and golds, remind me of early fall colors when everything takes on a golden glow. I am already seeing that glow in my backyard. Seems a little early to me but if we have an extended fall--that is alright with me. What I don't want is an early winter!


These various fabrics came in a bundle of fat quarters.


Inside is a trendy chevron print.


I love making totes that are reversible. Twice as fun and twice as useful!

Well--that's all for today folks! My husband is taking me out for dinner at a nearby restaurant with outdoor seating. It is going to be a beautiful evening for dining outside! Have a great weekend!



Saturday, August 23, 2014

By the Sea


When I see sunsets, I take photos! Lots of them! We recently spent some time in Rhode Island and we were blessed with perfect weather for the entire trip. Normally this time of year we experience very hot, humid weather in New England. The weather we had in RI was pleasantly perfect. (not hot, not humid, not cloudy, not rainy.....you get the drift.) Just perfect!


The first night we were there, my husband and I went looking for a nice place to eat dinner. Well, we could not find a place to park in town so we drove to a nearby town. We pulled into a parking lot of a restaurant that was pretty nearly empty. The place looked closed but we got out of the car to see if it was open. It was.

We were escorted to the outdoor seating area with a nice view. The waiter told us we were in for a beautiful sunset! That was all I needed to hear! I love sunsets!


I ordered codfish tacos and they were delicious. Once the sun began to set, we turned to watch. It was beautiful! The photos do not do it justice and those darn telephone cables were certainly annoying.






After we left the restaurant we returned to the hotel where we were staying. We sat on adirondack chairs that were facing the bay and the sky was still beautiful.

The next day we spent a lot of time walking around town.We ate our breakfast dockside. It would have been so pleasant except there was a woman seated behind us who was telling her life story to an elderly woman. She was not using her inside voice and most of what she was saying was not appropriate for the time or the place. (way, way too much drama and totally disruptive to our peace and quiet) Many of the other guests were annoyed with this woman's lack of decorum as well. We finished and moved on....

 My husband thought it would be nice to take a sunset cruise. So we made reservations to take a 7:00 cruise of  Narragansett Bay. At that point,  we were the only ones on the boat so the woman selling tickets asked us to call back later in the afternoon to make sure the boat would sail. They needed at least 10 people aboard or they would cancel the cruise. As luck would have it, there were more than enough people so we got our sunset cruise.


The boat apparently holds 100 passengers but when we checked in we were told that it was not going to be filled to capacity. The upstairs deck could seat 36 passengers and of course every seat upstairs was filled. A couple of people climbed to the top but did not have a seat and they were asked to sit downstairs.

It was comfortable enough to just sit and cruise but it was difficult to take good photos because everyone's head was in the way. The purely selfish side of me wanted to ask them all to bend over and place their heads between their legs or to take a seat on the lower deck where it wasn't crowded at all. Thankfully, the rational, reasonable and respectful side of me triumphed. To my knowledge I did not irritate anyone nor did anyone try to throw me overboard.

The tour guide began to talk to us, telling a few jokes, engaging the guests and breaking the ice. He asked how long people had been married and as it turned out we were one of the longest married couples on the boat. Almost 32 years! WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? He said congratulations and told us we were in the minority. Then as we were pulling out of port, passing some pretty impressive sail boats and yachts, he asked how many of you have kids in college? Many hands were raised. He said, "if you took the money you are paying for tuition, you could buy one of these luxury boats." He then told the college kids, "See what your parents have given up for you?" LOL!

OK back to the sunset!


It was spectacular !


The wispy clouds were so beautiful!



Isn't the sun beautiful reflected on the water? 




Even after the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, the sky was still beautiful and provided a perfect backdrop to boats passing by. In this photo we were heading back in to port.

We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and got to spend quite a bit of time near the water. Even on our last day there, we purchased our breakfast to go and found a beautiful spot to sit and eat by the ocean.

While we were sitting, we watched a woman assisting an elderly gentleman as he crossed the road behind us with his walker. I noticed the woman was carrying a beautiful bouquet of yellow and orange flowers. It took quite a bit of time for them to cross as he moved ever so slowly across the pavement. Cars stopped in both directions and patiently waited for the couple to cross.

They sat on a bench next to us for a bit and talked and laughed. Then the woman (who was quite a bit younger than he) got up with the bouquet of flowers and walked quite a distance to some rocks and it hit me that she was probably going to toss the bouquet into the water for the elderly gentleman who was too frail to make the short journey to the rocks.

She tossed the flowers into the ocean. I watched them as they bounced on the waves and headed out to sea, assuming that they were commemorating an anniversary either of a wedding or day of birth or death of someone he loved. I felt a little sad as I watched the flowers disappear out of my sight. I could not hear their conversation but the man seemed pleased that his gesture of love had been carried out.  It was very sweet, really.

As they got up to leave I was reminded of these lyrics from Sunrise, Sunset-- Fiddler on the Roof

Sunrise, Sunset.
Sunrise, Sunset,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.....
(lyrics by Sheldon Harnick)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Harvest Angel




 I should have known that yesterday's sewing project (making a tote and some zippered pouches in fabrics in rich fall tones) would inspire me to create another fall project. I had some scraps leftover from the rust/gold fabric and I have been thinking for a couple of weeks about making an angel in autumn colors. So last night I put her together and here she is! 


   A friend of mine had given me a bag of these adorable little yellow/orange flowers  that you see tucked under the angel's halo. I           knew they would look so sweet attached to her hair.



          Here's a closeup view of her hair accessories.....



                Before I added buttons to her patched wings.....
                         

                               After the buttons were added
and her curled wire hanger. (difficult to see above, easier to see in closeup below)


She can be hung anywhere....


                 I hung her on the door of my hutch. Isn't she cute?




She would make a sweet hostess gift at Thanksgiving, or she could be tied onto baked goods all wrapped in kraft or tissue paper and     tied up in twine. She would also add a  nice homespun touch to each place setting, or to a floral centerpiece on the Thanksgiving table.   


I am really looking forward to fall, but while summer lasts, I am taking plenty of time to smell the roses.....hope you do too!

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Just a Trip to the Farmer's Market


My daughter and I made a quick trip to the local Farmer's Market on Tuesday.  Here I purchased some organic lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, bok choy and garlic. I love buying produce from local farmers!



We also picked up some blueberries and some peaches. My daughter is a "smoothy queen" and she loves to add both to her morning smoothies. I confiscated one of the peaches and it was so juicy and sweet, perfectly ripened! YUM!



I sliced up a tomato and ate it for lunch. I love tomatoes and there is nothing like a fresh one! Supermarket tomatoes pale in comparison to freshly picked!

My trip to the farmer's market was actually a mission to find some Halloumi cheese. I had been reading a post on Daphne Bryson's blog post at Ivy, Phyllis and Me:  Tomato and Pepper Salad with Halloumi cheese. Click here to view her post. I am not familiar with this particular kind of cheese. Daphne explained to me that it is a Greek cheese made from goat's milk with a firm enough texture that you can actually brown it in a frying pan. Being a cheese lover, I cannot imagine anything more delicious than a cheese, lightly browned on the outside and warm,soft and gooey on the inside.

There was no Halloumi cheese at this farmer's market although there was one lady selling some flavored goat cheese and I picked up a cranberry and a boursin flavored goat cheese spread. She gave us samples of all the various flavors! Delicious! It was hard to narrow my choices down to two.

Next place to look: our local food coop as I am sure I will find Halloumi cheese there.

Today I was craving some more fresh lettuce and tomatoes so you know what I did? I made a tomato and lettuce sandwich  You might wonder where's the beef? Well.... these tomatoes are so good on their own, topped with just a sprinkling of boursin goat cheese and some fresh ground pepper. Why make it any more complicated when it can be so simple and delicious?






YUMMY!

Now, in addition to buying some Halloumi cheese, I need another bunch of fresh tomatoes! I cannot wait to make Daphne's Tomato and Pepper Salad. 

Do you love fresh tomatoes? What's your favorite summertime recipe using fresh tomatoes?



Sunday, August 3, 2014

New for Fall





Now, I am not wishing my summer away, as memories of a cold, snowy winter that just would not go away, still linger. Let's just say that last winter overstayed its welcome. 

But...fall is right around the corner, and it is my favorite season of all. It's no wonder, that when I saw a bundle of fat quarters in all my favorite fall colors, I snatched two bundles up and made them into a tote and pair of cosmetic cases. 

There's still some fabric left--probably enough for another set or two of zippered pouches.



I will be adding this fall bag and cosmetic case bundle soon to my newly opened Etsy shop. Yes, I finally got it up and running! See my sidebar for a link to my shop and a sneak peak of what's in there.



This is what the inside looks like. I pieced the pocket together from three vertical strips of two coordinating fabrics, added fleece interfacing and quilted it with a zigzag stitch to be a little different. The bag can be used either way.



Here is the matching cosmetic case.


Here's a peek inside. I love the fabric on the outside of the larger cosmetic case. It's on the inside of the smaller case too.


I really like the way it looks inside out!


This orange pocket on the front of the bag has flecks of gold in it.





I am still enjoying my mild summer (we have not had a heat wave in NH yet which is very unusual--but yeah!) but I am really looking forward to fall. I love everything about it except that is seems to slip away too quickly.

August is a busy month for our family and with all of the extra activity, the rest of the summer will fly. Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

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