Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Decorations

Do you like to decorate for fall? For me, fall/autumn is the best time of year. Weather-wise, we have mostly sunny days and cooler nights. And the smells! The musty scent of decaying leaves, woodsmoke from fireplaces, hot cider or a pumpkin spice latte, soups on the stove or bread in the oven..... YUM!! I did bake bread this week, but it hasn't been cool enough for us to build a fire yet, at least not in the fireplace. Perhaps we can sit out on the porch and light a fire in the chiminea.

But for now, come on in and let me show you some of my decorations this fall......

Our wonderful vintage sideboard is always a great stage for seasonal decor. This year, I decided on a crocheted runner (rather than my embroidered fall one). The cornucopia has some of our Indian corn and silk flowers in it.

Last year, I bought this great leaf swag (it's plastic) from an import home decorating store (Tai Pan Trading - do they have those anywhere besides here?). It was 75% off of $4.94, so how could I resist? My original intention was to take it apart and use it for CQ (rather like those plastic flowers we buy from the Aussies), but for now, it looks nice on the sideboard.

I also got these great blocks for the mantel, then added the floral arrangement above it. In the mirror (the entire wall above the mantel is mirror) you can see the fall CQ wall hanging that I showed you last year here.

In January we got a new bookcase/hutch for the living room, so it was the first time I decorated it for fall. Above is part of the top shelf, and the next two photos show parts of the other two shelves.

I'll have to come up with something a bit more clever than fall leaves to fill up the "birds nest", but for now, this will have to do.

My love of glass extends beyond my paperweight collection. The glass orb on the right moves around a bit according to my whims, but the glass pumpkin gets displayed front and center every year so I can enjoy it. And I'm thinking that I need more of those white pumpkins. Wouldn't they look nice in my new neutral-colored bedroom?

My collection of fall pillows. You may remember my fall CQ pillow from last year.

This is the top of the vitrine (china cabinet) in the dining area of our kitchen. The vitrine matches the sideboard (see above). In fact, there were other pieces in this set. I have the SMALL sideboard. My ex-husband got the large one when we divorced, which fit great in our old "McMansion", but was truly unwieldy. (It did have a cool built-in silverware drawer, though). And we sold the dining room table with 8 chairs because neither of us had a place for it. Anyway, it's Dutch, circa 1860's....

There's nothing particularly fall-ish about the plant stand, above, but I just wanted to show it to you. It was a cast-off that got a new coat of paint and was re-purposed to fill a little corner - next to the vitrine - with color and life.

And below is the silk arrangement (such as it is; I just throw things in a vase) on the kitchen table. Yes, and a cluttered end counter! (Books for DH were from my last thrift store foray). And speaking of thrift stores, that runner came from the thrift store this week (in its original package). It was too long for my table, and I didn't want to open up the table, so I cut off 40% of it and will make a fall totebag out of it!!

Well, that wraps it up for this year. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit! Let me show you to the door........


New Street, New Bedroom

For two and a half months, we've been dealing with the city putting in new water lines on our street. In addition, they decided (and we certainly appreciate) that they would replace our curbs and driveway approaches, and then pave the street. They started at the first of August and finished yesterday. HOORAY!!! This was taken from my front yard looking east. The trees to the right of the orange tree (about the center of the picture) are at Wheeler Farm, where I work. That gives you an idea of how close it is. And isn't the orange construction marker they left behind festive??? LOL The city still has to restore the parkways on the street. We're going to pull up the grass and do some xeriscaping & stonework in ours.

And this summer I redecorated the master bedroom, which was long overdue. In fact, other than the laundry room and one downstairs bedroom that now functions as part of my studio, we've remodeled or redecorated everything in this house since we bought it six years ago.

Our bedroom had (dingy) white walls and ceiling, shag carpet (white with multi-colored specs that was stained and grungy), a pink floral wallpaper border (barely visible in the background in the picture of my cat Boomer in the suitcase here), vertical blinds, and a poster bed that took up the entire room. I hated it.

First we got rid of the poster bed, then we ordered new carpet and wood blinds. While waiting for them, we repainted. I also found a great new bedding set - an oversized comforter with shams and dust ruffle, yadda yadda. That cool mirror over the bed was purchased at the same estate sale that I got my treadle sewing machine at. Finally, we bought a new dresser. I wanted one on legs because there is a heating vent on the wall it goes along.

I hung a CQ wallhanging (the one I bid for at the Crazy Quilting retreat in Omaha last July) on the short wall between the door and the closet. It's a little sparse there, but I really wanted to keep the room uncluttered. I used a neutral color pallette. It's very relaxing and makes the room feel so much larger!

I've got a couple interesting picture frames in white - and I'm looking for 3 more frames or interesting shelves) for a white collage on another wall. But that's the kind of thing you can't force - it just has to evolve as you find just THE right pieces, LOL. When it finally comes together, I'll take a picture.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thrift Shop Goodies & New Appliances

During the week I was able to hit a couple thrift stores. I didn't come away with too much, but that's OK. I'm thrilled with what I did get.

October is such a wonderful time to visit thrift stores, because most of them (at least here in Utah) put out a lot of funky and vintage clothing to sell to people looking for Halloween costumes. The below pictures are of a green poly/cotton dress, likely from the early seventies, with dozens of incredible beaded motifs.

You can see the continuous beaded hem above ; the short sleeves were done in the same manner, but the motifs were smaller. Imagine the CQ possibilities!!

And then there were the yellow/green motifs sprinkled all over the front of the cotton/poly dress.
Regular readers will know that I'm a sucker for aprons, particularly vintage aprons. I spotted this little puppy for a song, and HAD to get it to add to my collection. It's a bit soiled, but nothing that some gentle soaking and laundry won't handle.

And speaking of laundry, our dryer went out yet again. We've had it. We've been washing our clothes in the washer and taking them to the laundromat to dry for the last two weeks. Actually, if I had a clothesline and pins, or even enough space and a little ingenuity, I would rather have hung the wet clothes outdoors (which I used to do when we lived in Idaho). But rather than walking down that memory lane, I digress...

We did lots of checking (Consumer Reports and online sources) of customer satisfaction reviews on washers and dryers, and finally ended up purchasing a pair of new front-loading, high efficiency machines. Truly a major purchase!

These are our machines, although we purchased both in white and with pedestals. They're being delivered on Wednesday. In the meantime, I must quote one of the reviewers, because his/her experience mirrors what we've been through over the last year: "Good riddance Maytag, hello GE". I think the "lonely" Maytag repairman is (if our experience is any indication) a very social creature these days....

And our old Maytag washer (6 years old) will go to my son & DIL to assist with all their additional laundry since DGD London has arrived. :-) The 8-yr old dryer is dead (would cost more to fix it than buy its equivalent new) and will go to appliance hell (it didn't make it to heaven).

Before these appliances, I never had a washer or dryer that didn't last at least 17 years. Shoddy workmanship? Planned obsolescence? Cheap parts? Whatever. This time we bought extended service warranties.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crazy Quilt Retreat - Last of the PIctures

It's been fun going through all the photos and reliving our 2009 CQ International Retreat. Now I'll get to play with all my new knowledge and goodies....

Gerry K. & Ingrid

Looking down the stairs

Below: Some of the laces I dyed (on the left),
The new CQI (Crazy Quilting International) logo embroidered on a tote (center), given to all retreat attendees as a gift. Gerry K. designed the logo and Leslie machine-embroidered it Other Stuff: gifts from various attendees. Everyone was so generous!

Below: Piecemakers Calendar from Ingrid, yummy fabrics from Connie, lavender sachet made by Carolyn and won by me in the Chinese Auction

Below: Darling Teacup Pincushion made by Lauri B. Claudina won it (along with an incredible Cabin in the Woods stitchery commemorating the retreat). Claudina generously gave me the teacup because she knew how much I loved it!

Below: Some of the polyclay images and molds I made, two mother-of-pearl buttons I painted, and five silk buttons that I dyed with potassium permanganate.

One afternoon Connie and I went out to get some photographs of the surrounding area of Breckenridge. I got dozens of great photos, but will spare you (although a lot of them will be great ideas for landscape stitcheries!). Here are four of my favorites.

An autumn hillside

A mountain meadow after the first snow melted

One of my favorite, almost magical-in-feel photos. An autumn Fairy Hollow?

The beautiful lake just two miles from where we stayed. What a gorgeous day it was! Look at the picturesque shoreline ...

Until next time...

Monday, October 5, 2009

CQI Retreat

The only way I'm going to get this blogged is to do it in segments like some of the other ladies in our group have done. And since many of you have seen their posts, I'll keep the narration to a minimum. But I must say it was a BLAST, and all the ladies were so fun and enjoyable. It was a great 4 days of sharing, learning, laughing and solidifying friendships.

Leslie and Claudina test out the tire swing on the hill above our rented house.

Theresa smiles from the kitchen. Picture taken from upstairs landing that looked out over the living room and kitchen.

In our Chinese Auction, Debbie Q won this cute stuffed CQ penguin pincushion made by Gerry H. Isn't it cute? There were several of us who had nice presents stolen away from us and had to keep re-picking other gifts. But we all ended up with something wonderful.

This is Kerry, who won Leslie's coveted stitched Santa. Notice that smug look. In fact....

Here she is, doing the Happy Dance! Yes, the picture is blurry. I'm here to tell you that Kerry was really shakin' her BOOTY!!

View from upstairs looking down the stairs.

I know, I know. Pictures of people are way more interesting than pictures of Things. But since no one has shown the sleeping arrangements, I'd like to share with you the Bunk Room, where the troublemakers.... er, I mean, Connie, Gerry K, Diane & Debbie slept. Connie's bed is further right, out of the picture.
This is where Kerry and I slept. Note that our pillows are at the FOOT of the bed. We are, after all, CRAZY quilters, hehe. (Hint: it may have something to do with our C-PAP's) Hmm.... I do notice my personal Happy Trees pillow at the head of the bed, but pay no attention to that.

Well, must get to bed for now. Will post more pictures - candids, stash, projects and scenery tomorrow.


Making Memories and, well... Making Memories

Making Memories is the name of the organization that Crazy Quilting International works with every year. They send us bits and pieces of wedding gowns, our group makes individual blocks which are then sewn into quilts. The quilts are donated and auctioned off, with the funds going to breast cancer research.

This year our color scheme and theme was to do jewel tones (on the given white/ivory) with the theme of butterflies and/or dragonflies. These are 8" blocks. I did my block at the CQI Retreat.
And then I got to babysit my new little granddaughter London last week for several hours. It was her one-month birthday. Here she is pictured in her carrier, asleep (at this age, it's what she does best!)
Actually, she spends a surprising amount of time awake, looking around and observing things. She really liked some small colorful windchimes I have in a guest bedroom. She wasn't overly impressed with the brown stuffed giraffe, and my singing certainly got her attention, although I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, LOL.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of us TOGETHER, but when my DIL came to pick her up, and I decided I would let sweet London go back to her mommy, I did get this cute picture of the two of them.
It was certainly a memorable afternoon for me!