Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Landscaping -- Karen Style

I have mentioned before that I have a handy husband.  This spring he took some bricks and lined our flower beds in the backyard.  They look so much better than the haphazard dirt areas that they were before.  I was so excited envisioning all the lovely things that would grow in those flower beds. 

Here is the problem, though.  Neither my husband nor I have a green thumb.  We both love the outdoors and love nature, but we never really seem to cultivate that on our own. 

So sadly, our beautifully outlined flowerbeds stayed dirt areas all summer long (with the occasional weeds, of course). 

So I was thinking to myself that it would probably look better if we at least filled them in with woodchips.  I like woodchips, but unless you have a shredder and can make your own, they cost money (and I don't really like spending money). 

Then I had a brilliant idea.  Peach pits! We have been eating peaches like crazy lately and we don't usually compost the pits because they take so long to decompose.  So we were just throwing them away (which I hate doing).  I thought, what if I filled the flower beds with peach pits?  This is a good idea, but it would take forever to fill the space, so I expanded my brain-storming. 

Pine cones! Yes! They are everywhere.  They are all over our backyard and around our neighborhood.  So I started gathering them.  One of the neighbor kids saw me and actually joined in on the fun. I have filled one flower bed and I'm working on another.  I decided to throw the peach pits in with the mix because they are just so colorful and a fun addition.  The round balls are avocado pits. 

I am very happy with the way my flowerbeds are looking now.  I may not be a great gardener, but I am an excellent scavenger and collector.  Let's hear it for free landscaping.  Yay!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Scrappy Rambler: Round 2

Jody was the next gal to work on the Scrappy Rambler.  I met Jody way back when at a fabric swap at Mama Said Sew.  Actually, I think I ran into her at a number of fabric swaps that were held there.  She and I would always be the last two people digging through the huge mess of fabric, oohing and aahing over the tiniest little scraps.  She is my kindred spirit when it comes to using scraps and leftover pieces.  How fun, then, that she would get to add some scrappy love to the Scrappy Rambler.

Here is how she described her additions: "Two very scrappy and happy (very Karen) wonky log cabins (very me) with 'traditional' red centers - an idea inspired by Karen's red pj label centered in her starter block."
Photo by Jody Deschenes
Aren't they so fun?  I love all the bright and cheery fabric all mixed together.  I also love how she took a very traditional quilt block and made it fun and funky, but still kept up the tradition of the red centers. Those are two wonky log cabins of happiness right there.  I love scraps and I love this quilt!  Thanks Jody.  :-)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Bedroom Redo Redo

While I was in Michigan, my husband was a handy guy and painted our bedroom.  He is a super great husband because this is actually the second time that he's painted the same room.

When we first moved in the back wall was a really, really dark brown.  It looked nice with the previous owner's decor, but it really was not our style.

Mr. Paws was wishing we would paint in there.

So Michael did paint the room.  We both agreed on the color of blue, and then I left for the weekend while he painted. 

It was definitely an improvement from the brown, but it was just a little too blue.  You can't see it in the pictures but the ceiling was also painted blue.  It felt very closed in a lot of the time, especially later in the day.  And the color, as pretty as it is, didn't quite jive with the rest of the house.  It was supposed to feel serene and peaceful, and instead it felt like living in an aquarium.   

I was really happy with the new curtains, though.  So that was a step forward. 

So, Michael painted the bedroom again and I LOVE IT!  He did the walls the same color as our daughter's nursery and painted the back a wall a more slate grey blue.

It is so refreshing.  I'm so happy (finally) with the way it looks.  What a good husband to give it a second go.

Now I just need to hang some fun things on the wall and make a new quilt for the bed. Yay for the bedroom redo redo.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Scrappy Rambler: Round 1

Let me tell you a long-winded story.  It had been way, way too long since I'd gone to the dentist.  I was carrying around this huge amount of guilt for not getting into the dentist for regular cleanings like I knew I should be, but there were a number of reasons why it just wasn't happening.  When I finally made an appointment with a new dentist, I went in sheepishly, knowing it would not be a fun visit, but thankful that I was getting my oral health care back on track.

The hygienist was very nice.  I was expecting a lecture as I confessed my dental sins, but she was very gracious.  Then we started making small talk.  She asked where I worked and I said that I'd been working at The Sewing Circle before I had my daughter.  She said, "Oh, so you know Beth."  Yes, I knew Beth, she was one of my co-workers and my friend.  I asked how she knew Beth, expecting her to say that they went to church together or something like that.  She answered, "I know her from the Modern Quilt Guild."  Then I looked at her name tag.  It said "Penny" in nice shiny letters.

OH NO! No, no no no no no no! is what my brain immediately said.

I had heard of Penny a number times.  Why? Because she is super cool.  She has an amazing blog, is published in books and magazines, and has a super talent for creating paper piecing and other beautiful sewn items.  Whenever I'd heard anyone mention Penny it was always like, "Penny, she's the coolest."

So there I was, with my mouth hanging open and spit running down my face, embarrassed by my overdue dental visit and meeting super cool Penny for the first time.  I thought I would die of mortification right then and there.

Lucky for me, Penny is as nice as she is talented and she wasn't fazed by my awkwardness in the dental chair.  I texted Beth later that day and said, "I met your friend Penny today."  (I casually left out the part about my bazillion cavities.) Beth responded with, "We have a Modern Quilt Guild meeting this week, you should come."  So I did go to the meeting and the rest is history.

The good news is, I survived that trip to dentist (and the fillings that followed, blerg), and I joined the Modern Quilt Guild after that first meeting I attended.  I'm so grateful that all of this happened because joining the guild has been a huge blessing in my life.  It's been so fun to meet other crafty people and also to have a creative outlet in my little-kiddo filled life.

With all that being said, let's move on to the fun stuff: the roaming quilt bee.  Yay! As you recall, this is what my starter block looked like:

Penny was the first person to receive my quilt. Inspired by the tiny pajama pants on the Old Navy label, she paper pieced a giant pair of pajama pants (15"x25").

Photo by sewtakeahike
Aren't they fun!?  I love them! I wish I could wear them around the house they are so fun.  I especially love the colorful fabrics she choose.

So now this quilt block will become traveling pants (haha) and roam around with the Scrappy Rambler.

Stay tuned for the next installment. :-)

P.S.  You can check out Penny's blog here: