Monday, January 31, 2011

Hurry for the January giveaway!

Hurry on over and 'like' American Pie Designs by Melanie Pinney on Facebook to sign up for her January pattern giveaway.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sunday marathon!!!

The  Hallmark Channel is having a Little House on the Prairie marathon on Sunday starting at 6 a.m. You know what I will be doing. I wanted to clean and move the bedroom furniture around, so I will be hanging out in there along with the Ingalls family. I guess I will do some laundry during the commercials. At least I don't have to scrub it on a rock down by the creek.   : )

Have a good weekend everyone. Stay warm!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My first thrift store finds!

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!! I'm hooked! Check out what I got:

First trip: $19
  The three tier shelf on the left is poorly made in China, but thought it would look great on a table with lots of fun things on each shelf, maybe decorated for the seasons/holidays. The washboard is just a decor item as it has geese and a heart on the other side, left over from 80s country I'm sure. The large shelf in the back is well made. I can imagine everything painted black, brick red, and mustard and hung on the walls. We have absolutely nothing hanging right now. The hubs even wants to help sand and get things ready for me to paint! Yay!! We need something we can do together and this will be great. We are even going to try and make some small furniture pieces this summer as well. I'm so happy! I was afraid of what he was going to say, but he was pleased with my finds. He just wants me to be careful in my future purchases, make sure that I'm not just buying to buy something. Whew! Thought I was in the dog house.

Can you believe that spool was only $1.50?!?! I almost died when I saw it. This thrift store is very popular for clothing, but I never imagined finding an old spool there. It's 11" tall! I bought two smaller ones in Amish country for $7 and $6 and they are about 6" tall, so this one would have been at least $20 in Amish country. They did not know what a treasure they had on their hands at the thrift store! I thought I was on Candid Camera or something. I grabbed it up so fast...right after I put my eyeballs back in my head.

My find is on the right with the small spool I found in
Amish country on the left for size comparison.

I wasn't sure if the scale was an antique, but grabbed it anyway as I've seen some of you with scale collections. I figured if nothing else, it would look good on display in the kitchen or dining room. I can practically hold all of my prim decor items in both hands, so I was happy just to add to the collection and start decorating our home.

I could have strangled the person who labeled the scale. It's dusty and a bit rusty so a price sticker wouldn't stick, so they just grabbed a Sharpie and labeled the tray! Wha???

So that was  my first trip into the world of thrift store makeovers. A big thanks to all of you who have shared your makeovers and addiction.    : )

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Christmas Kits

Before Christmas I was so excited to share with you all what I was giving for Christmas. It was different and it fit in the budget, and I thought everyone would enjoy making it. I realized I never shared with you what that was. lol.

I had been oohing and aahing over the terrarium kits on etsy for a while, but they were out of my price range since I wanted to put together multiple kits for gifts. I did find a few sellers who were selling just moss and thought that was a good start. Yes, I bought moss online. lol. I used to spend my summers with my Gram in Pennsylvania. She helped  me do little fun things like dying Queen Anne's Lace with food coloring and a terrarium using dirt and plant clippings from her garden with just a piece of plastic wrap on the top in a planter I found on the back porch. Those were fun times and good memories I will hold onto forever. When I saw that terrariums were big again (I also saw articles in two different magazines in the past few months), I just had to make them.

So here is what I put together for Christmas.

I purchased directions from Miss Mossy. I know I could have gone to the library or just googled it, but time was running out and I was afraid if I didn't just order the tutorial that I would never get this project done, so I let Miss Mossy take care of that for me.

I also purchased a pack of 12 Ball jars and sprayed the lids a nice blue color (for sky). Fish tank gravel, charcoal (also in the fish tank section of the store), and soil all went into their own baggies.

Little polymer clay mushrooms were purchased from Serenity Mosaics. Aren't they adorable? They are on wire stems for easy insertion into the terrarium. I'm still on the look out for a little sheep to add.

Polymer clay mushrooms with baggies of charcoal and gravel
 Moss was purchased from Teresa's Plants and More and Miss Mossy, and then I divided it up into baggies for each kit (I put 12 kits together).

Terrarium kits

With all the craziness of Christmas, I shoved the box of "ingredients" under the room divider in the dining room, including the leftover moss, intending to make a terrarium for our home with the extras. I didn't remember about it until yesterday! The moss is okay, not great, but I'm hoping that it will love being in its new dirt home since it has been living in a baggy all this time. Oops. I used a Mott's apple sauce jar for our terrarium and still have to paint the lid. Maybe I will just cover it with some fabric and call it a day.
My finished terrarium
Sorry for the picture. Taking photos of a glass jar is not that easy. I guess I could have at least moved the disc sitting near it so that it wouldn't have shown up in the reflection. : )  Hopefully you can't see me in my bathrobe.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Born at the wrong time?

I always thought of myself as a modern girl. My favorite store for a long time has been IKEA. Loved those "clean lines." Then we rented a house that was built in the 1930s and it had character, something you don't get in new homes without a lot of work. I started to really like the look. I painted the living room a kind of mustard yellow color to warm it up. Then, my husband's aunt redecorated her home with lots of crows and I started looking into this primitive style. My first purchase was one of those weeping willow trees. The town we were living in at the time has yearly peddler days, basically a town-wide yard sale. I picked up a wooden shelf with a star cutout (that still hasn't made it into the house) and a tin sheep cookie cutter. I still wasn't aware that I was slowly changing. lol. I discovered the joys of ebay and purchased a framed sheep poster/sign by David Harden. After all I was just decorating to match the house. : )

There was a big hole in the kitchen wall near the ceiling that had been covered up and I often wondered if there was a wood burning stove in that location, how hard it must have been to cook that way, and how easy we have it now with just a flip of the switch or press of a button to warm up our meals. This house also had heating oil and well water, two things this city girl was not happy about. The guy delivering the oil for the first time must have had a chuckle after he left since I met him in the drive and wanted to know all about this oil stuff and watch him fill up. Was it safe, did I need to be home for him to deliver, what if it leaked in the basement while he was filling up???? lol.

Fast forward a few years and we have been in our own home three years. It's a 1930s bungalow that has been added on to a few times in the 80s. It still has a little character in the two front rooms, but the additions are more "modern." That leads me to the purpose of this post. I was at a friend's home yesterday and she has a new wood burning stove to heat her home. Since I live in the suburbs, this is new to me, but it really got me thinking. We have a fireplace that we never use because I know it needs to be checked and cleaned before we do and for some reason a regular ol' fireplace scares me. I did a bit of googling and discovered you can get wood burning stove inserts for your fireplace! Woohoo!! We are currently on heating oil and due to the fact that the house has been added on to (and I don't think insulated well), those additions are cold. The fireplace is in the addition and so I was thinking that would be perfect for a wood burning stove. I don't want to heat the whole house (I don't think it's possible with it being added on to in such strange ways and two stories) though it would be nice.

So my questions to you all: Do you have a wood burning stove (insert or free standing)? Do you prefer one brand over the other? Do I just have stars in my eyes and it's really more work than it's worth? And lastly, does anyone use it to just supplement a few rooms and not heat the whole house? I need all the help I can get convincing the hubs that this is what we need to save for.

I love watching re-runs of Little House on the Prairie on Hallmark Channel. I never read the books, but I think I might want to look into that as I love to read and haven't done so in a very long time (besides craft and decorating magazines!). I know life was hard in those days, but they spent their days on things that mattered: taking care of their fields, feeding and tending to livestock, working hard, feeding their families, and a little stitching by the fireplace at night. lol. I used to think it would be great to live in the 50s, but I do think the late 1800s was my time. I would be so content to sit by the fire in the evening with my stitchery. I know it wasn't all fun and games, but to live without the distractions of "modern life" is very attractive. Don't get me wrong, I love my cell phone, computer, and modern appliances, but sometimes things that are supposed to make our life easier tend to just junk it up.

I've fallen in love with wool and stitching, and feel very "at home" while browsing prim blogs and websites. There is just something so warm and inviting to it all. Thankfully the hubs is open to this style of decorating as long as I don't take it too far "country."

Did you make a 180 in your decorating style or have you always liked the "country" look?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First go at coffee staining

Well, live and learn.........

I stitched a cute little pattern from Chestnut Junction and decided to coffee stain the fabric since I couldn't find my natural muslin fabric when I got the itch to stitch. Not having the patience, I stitched first. I guess this would normally be okay, but I used dark red wool and, well, you can see where this is going. I had good success with a scrap piece of fabric to test this method (though it is a simple technique, I had never done it before) and went ahead with the stitched piece. A few minutes in the oven and the red wool bled a bit. You can see on the second picture where the fabric is a bit pink. I had intentions on putting this on my website for sale, but it looks like this one belongs to me! : )  Lesson learned: Stain first, then stitch, especially when using red wool.

I know this piece doesn't look coffee-stained, but it indeed is. I used white cotton so it just stained it a more "natural" color. The really good staining was on the edges, so that got cut off. I had much better luck with the sample piece when doing the staining, so that's another reason to do the coffee staining first.

The back is a red and off-white leaf pattern on cotton. I do plan on making a new one for sale in the next few days, using the piece of fabric I first coffee-stained.  : ) 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Blog land is full of hearts and love, and I am working on finishing a little bowl filler stitchery of my own. I experimented with coffee staining for the first time and can't wait to see what you think. I'm horrible at taking photos and that's probably why I don't have anything to show all the time, but I'm going to work on that. I have so much inspiration from blog land.

Photos of the stitchery to follow soon!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Updated website: *items for sale*

I finally got around to changing my website a bit to offer items for sale directly instead of through etsy. I love etsy, but I'd like to have a little bit more control of things.

So far there is just one item for sale, but I still have that itch to stitch and have a few more items in different stages of completion. Having a sick kiddo at home for the past few days and headaches on my end have slowed me down a bit. And that darn job keeps getting in the way.  : ) 

Using Diana Klaassen's snowflake candle mat pattern from Create and Decorate February 2006 as a guide, I added hearts for a bit of Valentine's Day fun. I just love 100% wool. The way the stitches blend into the thickness of it, the feel, the ease of stitching......

Friday, January 7, 2011

Good news/Bad news

The good news is I've got the itch to stitch. The bad news is I've got the itch to stitch.  : )

I guess it depends on how you look at things. There are dishes and clothes to wash, toilets to be scrubbed, and meals to plan, but this morning I'm spending a little time stitching. I go through moods where I will really feel like creating a mess in my craft room (I like to call that productivity) and then other days where I feel guilty about the other things in life that need taken care of and will put off stitching for weeks. One day I will figure out how to get it all done without feeling guilty about neglecting one or the other. Until then it's a roller coaster.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner so I'm creating a few 100% wool candle mats with hearts. This is the only time of the year I really get into hearts. Hopefully I will have something to show you in the next few days.

What are you working on today?

Happy stitching!