Monday, October 10, 2016

Fall.....yard, neighborhood, mountains.

It's such a "normal" Fall day here in central Oregon. Gray, cloudy, windy, but warm out.. leaves scuttling down the street, and wind in the trees............ an occasional sun break to warm your back. It is so strange to live in town after 25 years of living in the country on acreage! And I mostly lived in the "wet" climates, so the dry is much different. But "town" is pretty too, in many ways.

Views from my front porch....

A close up to the south of us... in the "real" picture, you can see houses!

Across the street.

 My front yard is so "fallish" now! Love it.

Mums cascading over our rock flower bed... they are HUGE!..... and B.K. (black kitty).
Geranium still hanging on! 

Nasturtiums. (oops... lawn needs mowing again... tell hubby.....)
I LOVE my front walkway right now!

Oh the beautiful burgundies!
Thought this would be a nice time to share a little mountain journey I took 3  years ago with my Camp Sherman, Oregon... about 20 miles west of Sisters, Oregon (a quaint western town in the mountains). Sisters is about 40 miles west of Bend, Oregon and about 60 miles southwest of where I live.
This adventure was in October of 2013. I would sure love to go again this year, but don't know if I'll make it as I've been sick, and we have out of town plans next week...... and by the time we get back, there may be snow on the ground there!

Tamarack trees - the needles turn  yellow in the Fall and then fall off until the following spring.

Bye for now!

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Eye Candy.

Since I'm on a roll today doing blog posts, thought I'd just share a little "eye candy"..... something I made for my cousin a couple of years ago, and just love looking at it!........... my favorite colors of course and so darned cute.

It was the sweetest little box that holds 5 cards and envelopes - little mini box, little mini cards and little mini envelopes that I made using the WRMK (We are Memory Keepers) Envelope Punch Board.

I used a magnet closure.. pretty pink bow with little dots of silver glitter blue on it, and of course, lace.

Here are some of the sweet little cards:

The papers were from Ki... Doilies Paper Pad by Hampton Art. The stamp is from Close to My Heart (retired).

Cute little envelopes:

I just loved these papers!

I think I could put five cards and envelopes into this tiny box. 

If you would like to make this sweet set, you can find a video by Dawn's Stamping Thoughts on YouTube here - Part 1.   She also has a Part 2 that she filmed the following day.


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Monday, October 3, 2016

40 year old pillows.

I have many times wondered what happened to those quilted pillows I made 40 years ago! I knew I had kept them, but in all of my (many) moves, they got tucked away somewhere, never to be seen again............ until now!  I found them in some tubs my son had been storing at his house in Washougal.. and he brought them down last Thanksgiving... .and I just recently went through them...... and found my beloved 40 year old pillows.....

(and don't ask me how I got on the subject of pillows today..... it just popped into my head that I should share them with you...... )

These were among the VERY first things I ever quilted. I think I had made a "hoop art" hanging thing for my sister, where I appliqued some hearts onto some muslin and then hand stitched around the hearts. That was my very very first attempt at quilting. Wish I had a picture of that, but I don't.

My girlfriend and I (she had never even sewn before!) decided we'd try our hands at quilting. I had made hand sewn clothing for years (I was in my mid-20's then) but had never quilted. In the 70's, I was making alot of long granny/hippy dresses!  .... and of course, loved decorating them with lots of lace.
1973 - one of my long hippie dresses that I made. See all that lace??
I don't even remember what got us on the kick to try "quilting". I think it's because she discovered lace when I wore one of my long dresses to her house... she loved it. We both became addicted to lace! We would follow the "Lace Ladies" around in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington, as they set up their movable "store" at many different venues, and buy TONS of lace. We were trying to figure out what else we could use the lace for. She wanted to learn to sew, so she could use lace.... so maybe I suggested pillows.. or maybe she did. It seemed quick and simple........ and turned out to be funaddictive.

I think she had also seen a Cathedral Window pillow at a bazaar. She bought it and showed me. Swoon........ we both fell in love with the Cathedral Window design (do you remember it?).  And I think she also got the pattern/instructions from the lady at the bazaar.  Our forms of quilting were more "hand piecing" as we made mostly designs where you sewed a few squares together, and then made some sort of design by turning edges, etc.
Cathedral Window.
We spent MANY happy weekends sewing and making mostly pillows. We became addicted to pillows. My friends got pillows for gifts.. my family got pillows... I kept pillows for me. I wish I had pictures of every one I made. I think at one time, she had at least 25 pillows lined up on the back of her couch. I know I have a picture somewhere buried deep in a tub somewhere.  I wish I had that picture. Unbelievable.

Anyway... here are the five that I've kept all these years. They don't match any of my color schemes now... and I don't know what to do with them... but they are like old friends and I can't part with them.
"String patch" pillow - see the tiny lace around the green ruffle? Sigh.....

"Radiant Star" as it was called then. It's now making a resurgence and is called the Folded Star. I loved making those! And I have MANY more that are made and ready for pillows... or???

Cathedral Window - more lace!

Soft peach full Cathedral Window - peach lace! Swoon.......


I even started a "string patch" vest and never finished it. It's STILL stuffed in a bag in one of my tubs of fabric!

We hand-stitched everything. See (above). This pillow making phase did NOT help my fabric addiction. It was so fun to go to the many fabric stores and pick out different gorgeous fabrics for our pillows. I mean...we went crazy!....... we made the Pineapple Design, the String Patch, the Radiant Star, the Flying Geese, Grandmother's Flower Garden........ the Cathedral Window.... and many more. 
Traditional "Pineapple" pattern. I used some really neat black velveteen with flowers... loved the effect. I think I even made a velveteen jacket out of this black!

Grandmother's Flower Garden. I still have this block but have never made it into a pillow.

I tried my hand at tracing a design onto some muslin, coloring it and then quilting around it. Made this pillow for my mom way back in the 70's.. see all that lace? Oh yes... love it.
Our sewing bees continued over a period of probably ten years... in the 70's and 80's. We had weekend sewing bees, even though we lived 75 miles apart. What fun and what memories........ and I'm glad I have a few old friends pillows left.

Here are some of the Radiant Star blocks that I have made over the years, that are still waiting to be used for "something". Every now and then, I'll pull out my pattern and little bag of pre-cut Radiant Star squares, and take it with me on a trip for some  hand sewing. Sigh.... the Radiant Star is probably my all-time favorite design. I even inset one onto the back of a denim jacket "way back when".... wish I still had that jacket. Maybe one of these blocks will make their way to a denim vest now. What do you think?

I loved pink and green even then.

I was thinking of putting these blocks in my Etsy shop.. but just don't know.... kind of hard to part with these blocks old friends too! See the "2014" copyright? Still haven't made up my mind whether to keep or sell.

If you are interested in making the Radiant Star, I have discovered some good videos and tutorials on YouTube for them. Just search for Radiant Star or Folded Star.

Shabby Fabrics has a great tutorial, How to Make a Cathedral Window Pillow
Her method is a little different than the way I made them (but hey.. I don't really remember now how I made them anyway!).. and she uses more machine sewing.. but the outcome is the same and just gorgeous! 

FOR A FUTURE POST: Another really really fun and neat quilted item my girlfriend and I used to make, was a fabric bowl... very unique and very different.... and I have searched far and wide on the internet, blogs, Pinterest, and Craftsy for the pattern, without success. I couldn't remember how to make it... and of course, I love a challenge.... so have been searching for the pattern for at least the last two years. I'm happy to say that I finally found a pattern (in Japanese) on some obscure website! I'm so happy. Now I just need to make one. That will be a future post hopefully.

OK... that's my trip down memory lane for today. I sure enjoyed it and now am inspired to  make some more Radiant Stars and Cathedral Windows! How about you???

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nature's Bounty and Salsa.

This is the first time in about 5 years that I've had a vegetable garden! And I'm loving it. I didn't plant too much this year, but it's a start on the right track. Although I've lived at places for the last 5 years that had acreage, we were renting and I just couldn't get enthused about putting in a garden on land that wasn't mine. It's alot of work to develop and nurture a garden!

But the new (old) house we live in now is ours! so I feel much more motivated to put in flowers and plant a small vegetable garden.  And mind you, it's only a small LOT in town, not on acreage, so not much room here for a garden in the ground (and besides, about 6 inches down I swear there is a layer of cement under our back yard!).......... so I decided to use some of the plastic tubs that we  used for moving (3 times in the last 4 years!) and get some additional use out of them! Plus... there is a big gravel area on the side of our house that is a perfect place for all those tubs. 

Our biggest "crop" was tomatoes. Five plants (that were pretty sad when we bought them) have yielded us probably a good 25 lbs. of tomatoes or more. So what do you do when you have an excess of tomatoes and you can't eat enough every day to keep up with them? You make salsa!

I must have chopped and minced and sliced for 3 hours at least! I could have made FOUR six apples pies for all the chopping and cutting I did! I don't think I'll make salsa again..... too labor intensive for a small reward.  I didn't want to "can" the salsa, so opted to make a batch for the freezer (after searching the internet for hours, of course, for a freezer recipe). 

I think I'd rather have apple pie for all the chopping and cutting I did....... just sayin'............

Used LOTS of limes.

Hubby had to try some poured over his roast beef and spud dinner. He said it was very tasty!

Ready to put into the freezer.
I'd much rather just eat fresh tomatoes.... I love the sweetness of a "real" tomato from the garden..... wish there was some way to just keep them fresh and not have to can or freeze or roast or dry them!

And the ironic thing is..... I can't eat this salsa! I have had bouts of diverticulitis over the years, and for some reason, eating this made me hurt really bad. I think it's the Cumin Seeds that I used.. they were pretty big and I don't do well with seeds. Next time, I'll use ground cumin, not the seeds... buy hey... I already said there probably won't be a next time so I won't have to worry! 

Live and learn............. next year there will maybe be only two tomato plants. We've had some night time freezes already, and they just keep on keepin' on! There are still tons of green and pale orange tomatoes on the vine. I may be forced to make some fried green tomatoes or something? Or green relish.........

I think planting marigolds by the tomatoes kept all the pests away..... companion planting is a great thing and I didn't even think of it when I slid that tub of marigolds over by the tomatoes! And then I remembered that years ago I used to companion plant all the time. 

In my younger years (my 30's), with two small children, I managed to work full-time and have three huge gardens. I really don't know how I did it... plus did tons of canning and freezing at the end of each summer.... PLUS went out scrounging for free stuff, like plums, blackberries and apples.... and usually made jelly, apple butter, and jam too. Oh to be young again and have all that energy!

Mums from my front raised flower bed - they have blown up like crazy! the plants bushes are gigantic!
I also had one lemon cucumber plant this summer that survived and thrived... so we enjoyed just eating those sweet little gems fresh. They were so sweet, and the neighbor kids loved them also.. so I think they got about half of them.

I planted one celery plant - see in the picture below.. it got overtaken by the nasturtiums I planted.... where I wrote "celery plant", the "p" is touching the top of the plant.... but I got quite a few stalks of celery from that one plant!

I experimented with potatoes in one of the tubs... planted them only about 3 inches deep, and once they started popping up through the dirt, I threw straw over them. The plants are  huge now and I haven't harvested the spuds yet, but I think they're just about ready! I did pull up a smaller plant two weeks ago and was rewarded with about 10 little potatoes and one big one! That's always exciting... wasn't sure how they'd do in such shallow depth..

My two raspberry plants (above) that I hauled all over for the last 4 years in a tub, that I brought from our home up in SW Washington.. .finally found a home here in the ground..... and they have THRIVED! I'm eating raspberries today as I write..... I didn't know they were everbearings, but they must be and they are so so sweet. I'm in Raspberry Heaven!  I even bought another plant to keep them company.... a golden raspberry.......  you can see it way in the back... very small and a lighter green. And added two strawberries to the mix which I'll probably transplant into a tub of their own.. and I know they'll multiply next spring.

So........ I've been enjoying nature's bounty for the first time in years.. at my own hands.. and it's been really rewarding and fun.

Not to be outdone by the tomatoes... all of my flowers have been flourishing also... under my green thumb.. which I forgot I had... but I am relearning the do's and don't's of flower gardening. I am in Flower Heaven too! Nature's "bounty" in a different way.
Hollyhocks that we just planted 2 weeks ago.

My "almost" patio.... still has a gravel floor...... but I love the flowers that surround our sitting area.. and love how the sun peaks over the trees as it sets........ and am hoping by next summer we will get the much longed for pond installed over there behind the row of flowers! A girl can dream can't she?  And oh.. I need a tree to shade our sitting area too... not the blue canopy.

Our rescue kitty, Maddie, that we found last Fall right before we moved to our house. loves playing in her own little jumgle amongst the pots and tubs. She's not a kitty any more... she has definitely grabbed our hearts and keeps us on our toes.

Never thought Coleus would do well outdoors in such heat... but it has been thriving too.... we have watered everything every day (and sometimes twice) through this long hot summer.  I've taken a couple of cuttings from it and they are indoors in water.. hoping for some roots so I can grow it through the winter.
A few more pretties:

I finally got my Potting Shed sign up on the fence..... I like it above the little yellow bench.

I know I've been "ga ga" over my flowers and "garden".... (and overwhelmed everyone with pictures), so this will probably be the last post for the year as far as summer, gardens and flowers go! (maybe...................)

We got something new to dress up our house a little bit, which I'll show you next time...... have a nice day everyone!

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