Saturday, May 29, 2010

Name Your House ...

Or apartment, or farm, or camper ... As you can tell by the photo that goes with this blog, I've named my house The Burrow. I chose that name because I think rabbits are adorable and because I enjoy coming home to my burrow and "burrowing" in for the evening.

My sister named her new cottage "ShellSeaker". She loves the beach and has decorated her cottage in a beach theme, plus all of us sisters enjoy looking for seashells, collecting them, and creating things from them. My sister chose the name and the symbol for her cottage, I collaborated with my boss to have the sign cut out of 1/2" salt-treated plywood then sent it to my niece for painting; she has such a talent in that direction. Anyway, the sign for my sister's cottage was quite a group effort.
I am fascinated by the whole concept of naming where you live. It took a little while but now when I say, "I'm going to The Burrow" folks know what I mean.
Would you name your house? If so, what would you name it?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kitchen Makeover - TaDa!

Here are some "before" photos of my kitchen. I was pretty okay with it as it was, although I'm not sure a kitchen can ever have enough storage space or work surface area. I get a lot of comments about my "red" kitchen. But everything red in my kitchen can be removed. This kitchen can be any color you want it to be.

This is the north wall in my kitchen. It was blank so I added these two storage units and that's all it was - storage space. I've lived with it this way for 10 years and never thought anything of it ... until ... two months ago ... as I was walking through my kitchen the thought just about knocked me over ... that is totally wasted space - add some base cabinets, a counter top, some shelves and viola! useful kitchen space.

While I'm somewhat handy around the house, this was slightly more than I wanted to tackle by myself so I hired a guy. He's great. His name is Brad Bonds and he works from the Williamston, NC area - if you want his phone number send me an email ( He met me at Lowe's a couple of evenings ago and we bought all the supplies and loaded them in his pickup truck, then transported them to my house.

I helped [got in his way] with the project. He was great about letting me help and I learned a lot.

One electrical outlet did have to be moved, but there was no plumbing work involved.

Here are "after" photos. I'm thrilled with all the additional storage space and work surface area but an unanticipated benefit is that this project encouraged [forced] me to reorganize my kitchen - so now my countertops are less cluttered, my little pantry is more user-friendly, and things are stored in a more logical way.

I have one last thing to add somewhere in my kitchen - a sign, because I'm naming all the rooms in my house. The kitchen/dining area will be Wild Flour Bakery. I have the boards for all the signs but just haven't had time to make them yet.

The first party is tomorrow - my mother's 83rd birthday - we're having a pizza bar! I'm blogging about that tomorrow on my weight loss blog - - because weight loss and pizza go together, right?

I supsect that in a few months the main-floor-very-blah-bathroom will be project fodder! Game On!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Is Not Always Better

I've always had a bit of tendency to think "more is better" - an abundance mentality, if you will.

It's been a very difficult mindset for me to change, but over the past 20 months as I've lost weight, I have made a concerted effort to try to see everyday things in a simpler light.

Quilting for instance ... I typically use a lot of colors in my quilts. But lately I've been toying with some ideas for monochromatic quilt designs and tonight put together a prototype of a red & white pinwheel design. I like it okay - I think instead of using 2 different red & white prints it would look better with 4 different red & white prints - I think that would make the actual pinwheel design stand out more.

I also did the pinwheel design using a foundation paper pieced pattern that I drew up - it went together beautifully and the points are so pretty. On the downside, foundation paper piecing is a wasteful technique - you end up with a lot of little fabric scraps.

Thankfully I do a LOT of applique projects which require little itty bitty pieces, so I save all of these scraps - they will get used one day.

So slowly, in crafting, sewing, and everyday life, I'm learning that more is not always better.

Rose Cuttings

One of the gals I work with (Marina) has a real talent when it comes to raising roses. Not only can she grow them, but she knows their names and so much specific information about each rose (like their grade with the rose associations!). I, on the other hand, just buy plants from a local nursery that I like and put them in the ground hoping they'll grow, and then can never remember the names of the plants other than something broad like "that's a hosta" (but not the specific type of hosta). Marina is graciously sharing cuttings from her roses with me and I'm going to attempt to propagate them. Here are the cuttings - they look so healthy.

She even labeled each cutting!

And then she wrote on a notecard all the pertinent information about each rose cutting.

In my shed, a.k.a. The Crafty Cottage, I'm going to make it a point to keep this information about the roses so maybe one day I can share cuttings with someone.

I have other plants propagating right now, too. These are Nikko Blue hydrangeas - they were supposed to be white, red, blue, and pink hydrangeas but in my soil they're all blue or lavender.

And these are different color Christmas cacti. They look pretty when they bloom because there will be 2 or 3 different colors in one pot, although sometimes they don't all bloom at the same time.

My Easter cactus that I propagated from my cousin's plant a couple of years ago is trying to bloom for the first time - it has a beautiful, frilly flower - I'll take a photo of the open flower later - it takes a while for the flower to grow and bloom - am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing happens to the flower before it blooms, like the neighbor's cat who enjoys playing with my plants.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just A Little Teaser ...

This weekend I'll be doing a small makeover in my kitchen. I have "before" photos and will take "in process" and "after photos to post. Can't wait. Isn't that something when creating additional kitchen work space and storage space makes us giddy with excitement??? hahaha Hopefully by Sunday the kitchen remodel blog post will be published. Stay tuned ...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Flip Flop Wreath

Nothing says "summer" quite like flip flops. Everyone seems to love flip flops and they come in such happy, summery colors.
So I made a wreath out of flip flops - super easy to do and super inexpensive. Buy five pair of flip flops - I bought size 7 - and a straw wreath. Hot glue all the rights or all the lefts onto the wreath form. If you have trouble getting the flip flops to actually stick, you might have to use a little fishing line to kind of tie the flip flops to the wreath.
Then adorn the flip flops however you like, with ribbon, beads, whatever floats your boat. I've made several of these wreaths for my sisters and friends. Too cute.

Friday, May 21, 2010


They're in bloom all over my yard and to me, they are a flower that I associate with the south. All of mine hydrangeas bloom blue, white or a funky lavender color. This year has been the best year ever for them - they are about 6-7 years old. I have about 20 cuttings that I'm propagating and plan to transplant in the shade garden during the first part of July. I also have 2 oakleaf hydrangeas that friends have propagated and given to me that seem to be doing great.

They are such a delightful flower!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wine Bottle Stoppers

Somehow, I seem to have started a collection of wine bottle stoppers. But they spent most of their time laying in a drawer and they're much too pretty for that. So I decided to display them. My boss had this piece of driftwood laying around his shop and he drilled the holes in it for me. Not all of my stoppers fit in it, so I guess I need to start looking for a 2nd piece of driftwood or a way to display the others. I did see a cute display idea in a shop - they filled a pretty bowl with coffee beans and just stuck the stoppers in that. Very simple. And it smelled good!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bird Houses - Cheap (Cheep) Fun

These bird houses come from Michael's ready to paint. They are around $8 each so when you use one of their frequent 40% off coupons, it makes for a fun and cheap project. I painted these using paints I had and embellished them with stickers, seashells, "gems". Then I sprayed them liberally with varnish. Too fun. This is a great project to do with children.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Bern, NC

One of my favorite antique/flea mall shops is located in New Bern (Kirkman's) and also my favorite restaurant (Captain Ratty's). These are photos of Kirkman's, some of the fun things in Kirkman's, the "bears" of New Bern, and the fabulous clam chowder from Captain Ratty's. We always have a fabulous time when we go to New Bern. We always say, "next time we go to New Bern we're going to try a new restaurant," but when push comes to shove, we always go back to Captain Ratty's.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Little Sewing Kit Gifts

I made several of these little "sewing kits" for Bunco prizes a couple of years ago - the ladies loved them. Especially since the gals that won these prizes don't sew, but occasionally need basic sewing equipment for mending a button or torn hem.

I picked up the teacups and saucers from antique shops for about $2 each. The rest of the stuff I either already had on hand or I bought from Walmart, like the pin cushion. Pins and needles I had. Thread I also had so all I did was cut some small squares of plastic and wrap a length of the standard color threads around it - white, navy, cream, and black. I also included a little needle threader, about 6 white buttons and black buttons in various sizes, and a little thread cutter.

These were a big hit.

Super Easy Picnic Sets

These are so easy and fun and fast to make. I used linen napkins I found at a flea mall for these but you could also use inexpensive dishcloths from Walmart. Stitch up a channel for the knife, fork, spoon, and napkin. Add a cute ribbon to tie it closed and you're finished.

You can fill them with plasticware if you want, or if you find a good buy on silverware at a flea mall or antique shop, especially if they're mismatched ;-) They make a great gift for a housewarming. Just plop them in a basket with some other fun picnic ware, like pretty plastic glasses, paper plates, salt & pepper, artisan bread/cheese/pasta, fun jams

Teapot Lamp

An inexpensive silverplate teapot or coffee pot, transformed into a lamp. Super simple project. Drill a hole in the top and bottom, add a lamp kit from Lowe's or Home Depot, add an inexpensive lampshade and viola!...a teapot lamp. How fun is that?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One of my critters ...

This is Charleston, a.k.a. Charlie. He has been with me now for about 2 months - he's 8 months old and weighs about 5 lbs. He's a terrier-poodle-something-or-another. No matter. He's totally adorable and is such a great source of happiness in my burrow. Well, he's a great source of happiness to everyone in my burrow except the cat, who so far is not impressed with this mongrel. Charleston is a rescue pup and I think he's made out pretty darn good. I wish all rescue pups were so lucky.

This is my cat. His name is Lucky. I found him as a little 4-5 week old gray dustball in the middle of a busy highway and picked him up - hence, the name "Lucky". He's not a very appreciative cat; in fact, he's downright mean. But after 14 years we've figured out how to co-exist and that simply means that I let Lucky make the rules. This burrow and everyone in it is his "pride" and he doesn't hesitate to keep a tight reign on his subjects.

How would our lives be so different without the wonderful animals that become a part of our family? I simply cannot imagine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to make gardening more fun ...

Decoupage your gardening tools. Seriously. Inexpensive wood-handle tools become something special, and they're so much fun to make. I made these for my sisters for Christmas. I hope they're actually using them!

One more bag ... last one for a while ... I promise ...

Isn't this the sweetest set? A grab bag and a matching lunch tote. And in such summery colors. Stitched up both pieces in just a couple of hours.

Monday, May 10, 2010

More handbags

Then I promise, like the quilting, I'll give it a rest for a while. This is just a simple tri-folded bag to make a clutch, and is adorned with a vintage brooch. What could be simpler?

I don't carry large bags or I'll fill them up and then they get heavy. So I gravitate towards smaller handbags.

These are small clutches (about 8 x 7) and I got a roll making them using fabrics from my stash. They're called "Snap Happy" clutches and the "snap" part in the opening is simply a metal tape measure cut to whatever length you need. Ingenious. Wish I'd thought of it. So anyway, I made a ton of color combos and carry something different just about every day.

Then of course there are the cigar box bags ... I'm telling ya, a gal can never have too many bags.

And of course bookcover purses ... lined with pretty fabric. Believe me, no one else has a handbag like these!

Wineglass Teacups & knitted fabric handbag photo

This idea came from Country Living magazine. I got some cheap-o wineglasses from Walmart, cut off the stem portions, and glued them onto teacups. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Well, it wasn't. Just goes to prove that not all craft projects are successful.

First, it was hard to cut the wineglasses and get a somewhat smooth cut. For all but one (I made 8) I ended up having to wet some coarse grit sandpaper and spend a tremendous amount of time smoothing down the cut edge. It was not easy and didn't turn out that great.

Next, I used Superglue for Glass that cures quickly in direct sunlight. It worked great ... for a short period of time ... but suffice it to say that I would NEVER trust really drinking anything any from these wineglass teacups.

They are adorable, though, so I use them for holding knick-knacks.

If anyone has any ideas about good ways to cut glass, I'm all ears. And, if anyone has any ideas about a really good way to glue glass together, I'm all ears again.

Here is the finished knitted fabric handbag. I love it! And the color is perfect for summer and autumn. The pattern calls for 3.5 yards of fabric and you know what? I took every bit of of it, so needless to say this handbag has a bit of weight to it.