Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Closing Out the Holiday Season and Wishing You a Happy New Year

I'm signing on to my blog one more time in 2013 to start wrapping up the holiday season and the year 2013 --- and to wish you a Happy New Year.

2013 was an odd year in more ways than the number. I spent much of the year battling health issues and had a pretty major surgery. The holidays were strange, too. In the picture above you see my dog, Sydney, staring intently at our small Christmas tree after I put it up. (Someone suggested she might wonder if the gingerbread men lights were edible!) Normally I put up multiple trees and decorate everything in sight for the holidays. Although we had THREE Christmases this year, we were not at home for the week of Christmas so I didn't do all that. I missed having the house look so special, but I don't think I had sufficient energy to do that anyway.

Our first Christmas was the day after Thanksgiving and was celebrated with our younger daughter and her husband. Christmas number two was the Saturday before we traveled and just involved me and and my husband exchanging gifts. The third Christmas was on December 25th and was spent with our older daughter, her husband, and their almost 3 year old triplet boys. Those boys are full of energy! As you can imagine, Santa was good to them. Here's one picture where I managed to get all 3 in the shot at one time. They move so fast and go in so many directions, that's not an easy feat.

The boys helped to make Christmas cookies, made paper chains to put in the front windows of their house, and decorated wreaths sent to them by their aunt (using holiday stickers, what a great idea!)

Another wonderful part of our visit was that we got to attend the annual Christmas Eve Polish dinner that is a part of our son-in-law's family celebration. I enjoyed it so much! However, the travel by car in California takes a long time if you have to drive through the LA area, which we did.

Both my husband and I returned home with colds; but as for holiday travel, you have to be happy just to make it to and from your holiday destination. We flew out with a plane change in Chicago and I was very relieved there were no weather issues for the hours we were there. The only flight with an "issue" was our last return flight. The plane was delayed getting into Dulles by 3 hours due to a mechanical problem. So we flew out much later than expected: inconvenient because we got home at a little after 3 a.m., but my schedule is all out of whack from holidays and time zone changes anyway.

As for my UFO list, I completed one more in 2013, but it's a gift so I'll have to list it later.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stockings Completed - UFO Checked Off the List

Here are the Christmas stockings for my older daughter and her family. The picture was taken here in South Carolina, but I know they will be happy in their new home in California. Sorry you can't see the personalization better. I have a close up of one of them in the post before this one.

My quilt guild met yesterday for a holiday brunch so I was able to get these stockings checked off my UFO list. We had lots of delicious food. I made a batch of Mint Julep Kisses for my contribution to the food table. They are so simple to make and delicious! The children in the pre-school group came to the meeting and presented their Christmas program. It gave them a chance to practice the program they will give for their families and we loved seeing them. They learned so many songs and did an excellent job!

With the stockings, that makes 3 of my UFOs completed:
Set of Flannel Burp Cloths
Stocking for Friend in Swap Exchange
Stockings for My Daughter and her Family

I should have a quilt to mark off the list in January!

It has turned cold here. I just took some extra hay down to my horse. She was munching away when I left the barn. Time to get back to some Christmas preparations. I hope you are doing well in completing yours!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sewing and Shopping

Sewing and shopping... if you are a quilter, you're probably doing the same thing. I can't believe that I finished Christmas shopping today! Finishing this early in December must be a first for me. I had to move along this year because we had Christmas with my younger daughter and son-in-law when they were here for Thanksgiving weekend, so those gifts are wrapped, unwrapped, and gone. I didn't know how I would feel about a Christmas a month in advance, but it was fun. Now there can be another one later on.

I've been working on making personalized Christmas stockings for my older daughter and her family. They are almost completed. I got this trim at the fabric store the other day and really like this addition to the cuff. I'll try to post a picture of all the stockings before I put them in the mail. All I have left to do now is to add the loop for hanging the stockings. (I know it seems I should have done that earlier on in the process, but the pattern I am "somewhat following" has you do that as the last step.) The stockings are on my UFO list for the quilt guild so I should have that item checked off when I attend the December meeting.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Checking Off Another UFO

This is the stocking I made for an internet swap. I hope my swap partner likes it and the things I put inside!
It's also an item on my UFO list that I was able to check off! The stocking has been mailed and will soon bring surprises to a friend. The lace cuff at the top is upcycled from some vintage clothing. I think the pieces were the cuffs on a lady's blouse or dress. The yoyos are embellished with jingle bells on one side and a red button on the other.I'm glad my cat didn't locate the stocking. He would have loved the dangling jingle bells!

This month I've been the hostess of a GardenWeb swap. It's rather unusual because I made football the theme. Better still, the group seems to be enjoying the theme! There certainly is a lot of football discussion here in South Carolina. The Clemson-Carolina will be played on Saturday and both teams have done so well this year.

I have more Christmas stockings to complete and will try to finish them and add a picture soon!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter Sowing with the Master Gardeners

Yesterday I gave a talk on Winter Sowing to the Master Gardeners. Winter Sowing is one of my favorite things to do. One of the members brought this beautiful bouquet for the refreshment table and I got to take it home. Isn't it full of sunshine? The yellow flowers are cassia, which I think I should include in my yard when I do some more planting.

If you are interested in Winter Sowing, there is quite a bit of information online. Here are the web sites that I shared with them.

Winter Sowing Organization
Trudi Davidoff
WinterSown Educational Organization
An AgNIC Partner (Agriculture Network Information Collaborative)

            Free seed offer: http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/Free_Seeds.html

Winter Sowing Forum on GardenWeb
Look under the FAQ section for seed recommendations for our planting zone

Winter Sowing Database

This is something you can do in January and February other than to just browse through the seed catalogs that arrive.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

First of the UFO Projects Completed

I explained in the previous post that my quilt guild is once again doing a year long project where we try to complete UFOs. ("Unfinished Objects") Here's the first one on my list that I completed:

These are my own design for flannel burp cloths. I cut the blocks at 4 1/2 inches and then sew 5 rows with 4 blocks in each row, alternating the fabrics between solid and print. They are double sided with the same thing on both sides. They are so soft and some baby (or baby's parents) will love them.

I also noticed that I had some roses in bloom yesterday. I think they are trying to show off for the last time this year. I suspect soon it will be too cold for them and I won't see more roses until Spring. I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Trying to Get Myself Back on Track

It has been a long summer and start of fall with my illness and surgery, but I'm beginning to get myself back on track. My quilt guild is helping. We had to turn in a list of the UFO's we expect to complete from this month through Oct. 2014. As usual, my list is long! Somehow having that list makes me do more than I would without having it. I'll try to remember to post things here as I complete them so you can see my progress. Today I am working on my Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks and a set of flannel burp cloths. Once the fabric comes in I need to work on a quilt for my new granddaughter who will make her appearance early next year and I need to make 6 Christmas Stocking for this Christmas, too.

My UFO's

Quilt for New Granddaughter
Swartz Creek Quilt
Monastery Windows Quilt (from Birthday Blocks)
Coffee Theme Birthday Block Quilt (Birthday Blocks)
GardenWeb Round Robin Quilt
Pink and Brown Irish Chain Tablerunner 
Pineapple Blossom Quilt (also from Birthday Blocks)
USC – Gamecock Quilt (Birthday Blocks)
4 Patch Swirl
Patriotic Quilt
Mystery Quilt from Class at White Oak
Chocolate Ripple Quilt
Dutch Puzzle Quilt

Now the list is much longer than that and can you tell I've gotten behind on completing Birthday Block quilts? Yes, I only have one birthday a year!

The other part to me trying to get back on track is that when I bought my horse in January I had said I would be the one to take care of her - morning and evening feeding, cleaning her stall, keeping fresh water in her bathtub (not for bathing, for her it's for drinking.) All of that got sidetracked while I was sick and my husband had to be the fill in. I am just starting back with horse care, so I hope I don't get sidetracked again. I'm returning to it just in time for early darkness and cold temperatures. I am not too fashion minded when I head to the barn. My husband keeps threatening to take a picture of me, but he wouldn't dare.

Well, that was my break from sewing. Everyone have a good day!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Travel Like a Millionaire

You know sometimes Etsy teams are like potato chips - you can't have just one! After I opened my shop on Etsy I began joining teams. They are helpful and a nice place to get acquainted with one another. It's also a way of advertising. Many of us share our listings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

In May of this year I decided to form my own team and became an "Etsy Captain." You've probably read about that team - Celebration Times. In fact, that team has its own blog! Right from the start we've had friendly, active, and enthusiastic members. We focus on all kinds of celebrations: birthdays, weddings, new babies, holidays - and anything and everything for those occasions (cards, gifts, decorations, etc.) I created the team because in searching Etsy (and I believe there are over 8,000 teams right now), I couldn't find anything quite like it.

Now here's the potato chip part to this - I started a second team a few months later. It's Passport to the World and came about because I couldn't find another team that did what I wanted this team to do. It's for any Shop on Etsy that sells things reflecting other countries and cultures or items that would be useful for travelers... and it's even for shop owners or shoppers who simply love to travel or day dream about traveling. We get to experience travel through the games and treasuries created by the team. Our members are from around the world and have so many interesting and beautiful items. Here's a link to the team if you would like to check it out.


Finally I am getting to the title of this post: Travel Like a Millionaire. We sometimes have a theme to the treasuries we make and this month I decided to list this topic.

What would it be like to travel if you were a millionaire?
What would you see?
Where would you go?
How would you get there?
What would you buy as a souvenir?

I'm sure some of this we might not be able to imagine. However, it's been fun to look at the luxurious side of travel and there are cetainly items on Etsy that might reflect that feel.The two treasuries I've made for that heading so far include a handmade crown, a collection of antique works by Rudyard Kipling from 1909, a Tiffany pillbox made of sterling silver, a patchwork quilt made with rich colors and metallic gold, and a journal encouraging you to "let out your inner princess."  There's so much fun there! As I say in my comments though, the most important thing about travel is getting to see those special places and it's even better if we get to see them with people who are dear to us!

I don't have any million dollar travel items in my shop, but I'll share these interesting operetta books called librettos that reflect another time and another place. I frequently get to do research when I go through boxes of treasures that have been stored away many years ago by my family and you'll see that here.

These are two Grand Opera Librettos: Aida by Verdi and Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti. Edwin F. Kalmus Orchestra Scores in New York published these. A libretto contains the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera. Grand Opera was a genre of the 19th-century, generally in four or five acts, characterized by large-scale casts and orchestras, and lavish and spectacular design and stage effects. Normally the plots were based on or around dramatic historical events.

These librettos come with the Italian text and the English translation. A summary of the story and the characters is at the beginning of each. Lucia di Lammermoor has a setting in Scotland in the 18th century. The libretto is 31 pages in length. Aida takes place in Egypt. The libretto is 42 pages in length. Some of the music from the opera is also included towards the back of the librettos.

Now I'll be in the mood to travel to some distant place. I would love to visit Egypt and Scotland. Maybe one day....Maybe I should make a quilt that envokes the feeling of Egypt or Scotland. Now, there's an idea!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Shop is Having a Sale

My Etsy shop is having a sale. One week only through to November 10th. Come by to check it out. I have everything from vintage to quilts and quilting supplies.

Fabric with Native Flowers of Australia 

Mid-State 1960's Harvest Design Trivets

Granny Square Hand Crocheted Stocking 

"The Sandlapper"

I also have two hand crocheted stockings made in the same pattern that have a camo design: perfect for the hunter, outdoorsman, military service member, or really anyone!
There is a coupon code to use when you are checking out in order to get the 10% off. 
Use Coupon Code THANKS10 when making your purchase.

I'm thankful for the Etsy folks who've made purchases from me since my shop opened last May and really enjoy all my Etsy supporters and friends.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween at the Dentist's Office

I don't believe I've ever gone to the dentist on Halloween before. However, I had to reschedule my appointment because of my surgery in September, so I went for my cleaning and check up today. What an interesting day to be there! The staff dressed up like characters from the Wizard of Oz. One of the Flying Monkeys was the one who cleaned my teeth. Aren't their costumes great?

Anyway, Happy Halloween to all and I think Halloween may be a good day to go to the dentist.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bonnie Hunter Days ... and How About those Gamecocks?

Bonnie Hunter was in Columbia, SC, on Friday and Saturday to present a lecture and workshop for our guild and guests. Did you guess from my picture that the workshop was Scrappy Trip Around the World? Yes, all of those fabrics are from my stash. My problem was finding scraps that were at least 2 1/2 x 16" - most of mine are much smaller. Of course, Bonnie has uses for the very small pieces, too, in other scrappy quilts. If you look carefully you will see my champagne bottle blocks with the year 2000. Oh, that was a very good year!

I didn't bring my camera on Friday or Saturday, but Bonnie took pictures of our quilters and blocks so let me refer you to her blog. If you look at her slide show you will see even more. Yes, you've got an idea of what to look for with my blocks - mostly fall colors and those champagne bottles. As for me, I have the long white hair and the peach colored shirt so maybe you will see me in the group.


Now even that was was plenty of weekend excitement, but if you follow college football you may have noticed the University of South Carolina and Missouri game that took place Saturday evening. Lots of suspense, but it was a wonderful game to watch. Congratulations to the Gamecocks! Don't worry us so much next time. Okay?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blitz Treasury Weekend

First of all, wow, I had no idea it has been so long since I posted anything. Excuse me! Actually, I've been sick all summer and had surgery a few weeks ago, so there hasn't been a lot to say. I've done very little sewing, but the cooler weather is here and it's time to think about making Christmas gifts so I will need to get my act together soon.

Some of you know that I have two teams that I am captain of on Etsy. They are Celebration Times and Passport to the World. Celebration Times is having blitz treasuries this weekend and for the following two weekends. Our blitz price for this weekend is $5 and below and most of the items are Christmas related! Buy a pattern or two, a gift, something to wrap your gift in, or even something for yourself. You'll be proud that you shopped early and what a fantastic deal on these items!

Here are some examples:
Tote Bag $5.00

Glitz Dog Collar $5.00
Burlap Red Rose $5.00

Retro Potholder or Hot Pad $4.00
Crocheted Gift Card Holder $5.00
And see the shop code for an even lower price!
Pattern for making these charming bowl fillers $5.00

Here are links to my Etsy shop and all the other ships that are participating in the blitz.

1. www.etsy.com/shop/TheSandlapperShop
2. www.etsy.com/shop/TheVineDesigns
3. www.etsy.com/shop/bowwowWowBoutique
4. www.etsy.com/shop/VintageShowOff
5. www.etsy.com/shop/PaxtonValleyFolkArt
6. www.etsy.com/shop/BinduDesigns
7. www.etsy.com/shop/Patchworkcrafters
8. www.etsy.com/shop/TwoOldeYoYos
9. www.etsy.com/shop/SpringJewelryThings
10. www.etsy.com/shop/TKSPRINGTHINGS

Once you get to the shops listed above, you can sort the listings by lowest price and will find the ones that are $5.00 and below. I hope you enjoy shopping with us!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An Update on Christmas in July

Christmas in July

 I have part of my Christmas in July sale already in effect. Anyone who purchases two items from my shop at the same time always got a reduced price on shipping, but I have dropped it even further for the month of July. It's not too early to start Christmas shopping and you may find some items you want for yourself.

Here's a Christmas in July Treasury that I made for my team - Celebration Times.

Incidentally, the official Etsy dates are July 11 – July 21, 2013, and during that time I will have some additional specials. Check out my team on its blog.
We are just finishing up with our cake baking contest. I'll post some pictures of that soon.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Etsy's Christmas in July

I've been adding a few items to my Etsy shop lately to get it ready for Christmas in July. What's Christmas in July? You've probably seen that used with some of your local stores. On Etsy it's a time for sales, special offers, buying items for Christmas and buying Christmas gifts. I've read that the dates are July 11-21 this year. Some shops will have sales and some will have special offers on shipping or will include an extra little something when they mail the package to you. It varies from shop to shop so I would start watching for it at the beginning of July. It's always lots of fun!

TheSandlapperShop on Etsy

This crocheted camouflage granny square Christmas stocking is an item I've completed recently.
There is a similar one in the works that will get posted very soon so watch for it. My family has used this pattern of crocheted Christmas stockings for over 35 years so I can attest to the fact they last and last.
I also have a woodworking pattern to make some gorgeous reindeer and a pattern to make a family Christmas tree, take a look at it  quilters. There's still plenty of time to make these before Christmas!

You've read before about the new team I started on Etsy called Celebration Times. Check out some of the lovely items some of our shops have listed for Christmas in July.

How darling is this tote bag for a child? There are adult sizes and designs, too. How about this beautiful tote bag with an angel that is ideal for knitting supplies? You'll find a variety of tote bags, one to suit everyone, on PatchworkCrafters.

PatchworkCrafters on Etsy

Personalized ornaments are great, too. I can imagine lots of people who would be delighted to receive one as a Christmas gift. There are styles for Christmas, engagement, the newly married, and more - even one for the fisherman in the family. Check out OrnamentallySpeaking.

OrnamentallySpeaking on Etsy

One of our shops makes wonderful corsages for special occasions. Here is one of her designs made for Christmas. She has many others though - for baby showers, birthdays, even one for Girl Scouts! She also has some lovely vintage hankies and tea cups.

Meaicp on Etsy

Well, those are my shopping suggestions for today. Another thing I like about Christmas in July is it reminds of me cooler temperatures. If you are in the south like I am, you'll understand. (...And now I want to do a bit of sewing!)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vitamin D

From ABC News
 I've had more than my share of health concerns lately, but I thought I would post to you about Vitamin D. I eat many of the things that provide vitamin D on a regular basis and take a multivitamin - multimineral supplement. I even take cod liver oil which is a source of Vitamin D. Yet when my doctor tested me recently I was deficient in Vitamin D. Amazingly, a Vitamin D supplement is helping me and the difference is noteworthy.

I found these facts on
"For anyone who has suffered through the achy slog of sleepiness during the day, the dream of a quick pick-me-up is all too familiar. Naps are generally unrealistic for the post-preschool set and an afternoon coffee never really quite cuts through the fog. But what if the solution was as simple as taking vitamins and getting some sunlight?
According to research presented at the 25th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, patients with daytime sleepiness and musculoskeletal pain are likely to have vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency.
"Clinicians should be alerted to the fact that patients with [sleep disturbance and] pain may have a potentially reversible mechanism for musculoskeletal discomfort," said Dr. David E. McCarty, sleep medicine specialist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at Shreveport. "Testing for vitamin D deficiency should be considered, even in areas with high amounts of natural sunlight exposure."
Vitamin D is found in dietary sources like fish, eggs, fortified milk,and cod liver oil; in addition, the sun contributes significantly to the daily production of vitamin D in the body.
The researchers reported that in general, many patients with vitamin D deficiency also experience diffuse musculoskeletal pain, known as osteomalacic myopathy, which can often sabotage a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, it responds well to supplemental vitamin D treatment.
With this in mind, the team decided to test the vitamin D levels of patients who had complained of chronic pain as part of the workup that was done for other sleep disturbances. McCarty and colleagues performed research and reviews of 153 patients at a sleep clinic. Eighty-four percent of patients had either vitamin D insufficiency (30 percent) or deficiency (54 percent). 
They discovered that some patients who exhibited low levels of vitamin D experienced complete resolution of daytime sleepiness symptoms after treatment for vitamin D deficiency. McCarty and colleagues concluded that it is biologically plausible that low vitamin D could contribute to sleepiness because of its role in systemic inflammation.
Noted McCarty, "More research is needed to define whether vitamin D deficiency mechanistically contributes to excessive daytime sleepiness and to determine if supplementation offers a novel method for alleviating it."
I'm just glad my level was tested. It's nothing I would have ever thought about. I hope this information helps someone.

What have I been crafting lately? I've been making some camouflage style Christmas stockings to add to my Etsy shop - perfect for the military person, hunter, or outdoors person! Watch for them to be listed!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Yo-Yo Table Mat

 I completed my yo-yo table mat today.  At the top you can see them a bit better... and here they are in place on my dining room table.

Maybe eventually I will add another row to the mat. It's there simply to protect the table when the plate and fruit bowl get moved around. I had a doily on there for quite awhile and then a place mat, but both were larger than what I needed. That's why right now it's barely peaking out from under the plate. (I wanted to keep it small and I don't like stitching by hand so there are two reasons!) We'll see if there will be more yo-yo projects ahead.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I opened my new team on Etsy and the name is Celebration Times. We are taking baby steps now, but the group will be lots of fun. We're going to focus on making treasuries that relate to special events (like a new baby in the family, anniversaries, weddings, etc.) and holidays. I have a blog for the new team so stop by if you like. http://celebrationtimesteam.blogspot.com/
Would you believe some people join Etsy just to make the treasuries? They are fun and sort of addicting. If you use Pinterest and like doing that, you would probably like treasuries in Etsy.
On the quilting side of things, a craft group I belong to does a swap every now and then where we go through our craft items and play "the stealing game." My package came to me a little over a week ago and is great! I have a watercolor quilt kit and lots of yo-yos. I'm making a table mat for the first project and have it almost complete. I'll post a picture soon. I'm trying to decide if I prefer sewing the yo-yos together on the machine or by hand. Since I don't like sewing by hand I may have to perfect doing them by machine!

Friday, May 10, 2013

One Year Ago

One year ago today I started my Etsy shop: TheSandlapperShop. It has been fun - although hard work at times, too. The best part was having a friend who helped introduce me to the world of Etsy. I've also enjoyed getting to know the owners of the other shops; we all try to help one another. No farther down on the list is having some of my customers respond with utter delight in the items they have purchased from me! I've found that making Etsy treasuries can be fun and rather addicting, too. My treasuries have won many top picks from teams and I think that only happens because they are a creative expression of art for me, just like a painter would paint a picture. I love the combination of colors and textures, picking out an appropriate name, and seeing the final product as it takes shape.

There will certainly be another year ahead. I hope to get more items entered into my shop... and a major plan for me soon is to become captain of a team. It's going to be a really fun team and I'll be sure to introduce it here.

Meanwhile, I have a set of coffee scented sachets (above) that would make a wonderful gift for someone or you can simply buy them for yourself. The fabric lends itself for a man or a woman. Every time I open the package they are in, I get that delightful aroma of coffee. Love it!

You might wonder why more quilts aren't listed. The truth is a am very persnickety about quilting so it's a long and slow process for me. I measure exactly, pin every little piece that I stitch, remeasure after I stitch and trim again if necessaary...I also get attached to most of them by the time they are finished. Only a few get listed. My Halloween table runner last year - I just had to keep it! A lovely quilt with pink and cream sold last year, Currently I have this toddler or baby sized quilt listed in my shop. I love the fabrics used in it and the combination of white, purple, lavender, green, and pale yellow make it a beauty! I think it has just the right look for a summer time gift. Don't forget that a baby gift can be given to a new grandmother, too. I had never heard of a grandmother shower until some online friends of mine did exactly that for me. Think of it, when baby comes to visit, grandma needs some baby care items in her home. It can also be used as a lap quilt, at the foot of the bed, or as a wall hanging. ("Grandma" could use it for the baby and later wrap it around her shoulders on a chilly evening or snuggle her feet under it to keep them warm. My feet can frequently use something to snuggle in!)

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers... and stop by to visit my Etsy shop!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Birthday Blocks: Lavender and Sage

Here are the birthday blocks that I made for one of our Birthday Block Exchange participants this month. The recipient is going for a Victorian look with her quilt and I think the sage, lavender, and cream will be beautiful. Can't wait to see it!

The background color is cream (the very same fabric in both) but sometimes my camera is unpredictable with the settings, so I usually need to make adjustments after I take the picture. For example, the original shot made the lavender look pink.

The weather has been so lovely here lately and my flowers are doing the best I think they have ever done... without me having to water them! I bought some tomato plants a few weeks ago and they have blossoms and even a few green tomatoes already. Very exciting! I guess our hot weather will be here soon though. I usually plan on Mother's Day weekend as the last of the reliably comfortable temperatures for my liking! After that, it's only a cooler day now and then. Also, our amount of rain will probably drop off drastically. Can you tell I am not a summer person?

If you check out my other blog, you'll see some of my comments about Jumpstart to Skinny.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Voles May Top My List

Voles may now top my list was being the most horrid creatures in the garden - even coming out above that other hated creature, fire ants! What you see in the picture what used to be nice full, healthy root on my 9 year old bay tree. They nibbled away every bit of it, even hollowing it out up into the base of the plant. I guess I won't be picking fresh bay leaves for my beef stew any more.

Fire ants, we have under control, but there doesn't seem to be any way to get rid of voles. They don't come above the ground so you never see them. They've eaten so many of my plants by nibbling off the roots that I am getting more and more hesitant to plant anything in the ground. It's becoming "pot city" at my house! Even rose bushes have been nibbled away until the plant would simply fall over.

This only started a few years ago. We used to have an outdoor cat and I think he was able to keep them controlled. The next cat I adopted is declawed in the front, so he is strictly an indoor cat. I think I'll have to look for poisonous plants from now on and hope the roots are poisonous, too. I tried potatoes last year and I know the plant is supposed to be poisonous. Yup - those voles ate every bit of the roots on them, too!

Kentucky Derby Etsy Garage Sale

Incidentally, this is the weekend of the Kentucky Derby. I really enjoy the triple crown races and have been planning my menu so we can enjoy watching it on TV. I've been to see the Belmont in person, but I don't know if I'll make it to either of the other two triple crown races. In conjunction with that, my Etsy shop is having a weekend garage sale. Not all the items are on sale, but the garage sale items are marked down by 50% so check them out! My sale will end on Monday, May 6th.

Here are the shops involved with our little Etsy Garage Sale:\

Have a great weekend and I hope your garden is happier underground than mine is! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Etsy Wedding Ideas

There's no wedding ahead for my family this year, but my husband and I have a special anniversary coming up. Sometimes I find myself looking at the all the wedding things available on Etsy and Pinterest.

What's on Etsy that you can consider for a wedding? The list goes on and on. It includes invitations, napkins, picture frames, ring bearer pillows, bouquets, garters, toasting goblets, cake toppers, table decorations, decorative clothes hangers, favors for the guests, and so much more! The other day I saw a handmade wagon for transporting that "little flower girl" up the aisle. It was darling!

A few weeks ago I made an Etsy Treasury called "Cowgirl Wedding" so there definitely are themed items.
If you want to see my Cowgirl Wedding in its entirety, take a look at

Etsy shoppers can be so creative: I had this pair of vintage bluebirds for sale in my shop and someone bought them recently and presented them to the bride and groom by using them as a wedding cake topper. The cake was decorated with blue flowers and decorative ribbon and was stunning. I'll bet they got lots of comments on it! Best of all, they had these lovely bluebird figurines to display in their home as a reminder of the special wedding cake. I knew these were bluebirds of happiness!

The owner of an Etsy shop who stays in touch with me regularly is Ellen at Seagull Smith Jewelry.

This link will take you to her shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SeagullSmithJewelry

Ellen has all sort of lovely jewlery. She uses quality materials and artistry. You can find something to use as a gift for your bridesmaids, maid of honor, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, etc. You can purchase a set of matching jewelry. Ellen offers  "Dress the Party " Bridal Packages:

Beautiful classic jewelry for your entire bridal party is now available for your special day. You can now have elegant bridal and bridesmaid jewelry made with STERLING silver ear wires and Genuine SWAROVSKI Crystal and Pearls. All items are personally designed with the option for customization.

Not your color? Ellen offers all these other earring colors, too:

Looking for something trendy or a bit unusual, how about this lovely kumihimo bracelet? I can see this working beautifully for bridesmaids when there is a garden or seashore theme.

Ellen will be happy to help with you any jewelry needs, not just wedding items. There are items in her shop for dress and for casual wear. She has a variety or materials, styles, and colors.

Remember that your flowers and attire and all the bling and even those special little favors that you select for your guests are not the most special thing about your wedding day. It's having that other person in your life as your bride or groom though all the days ahead. Be sure to cherish having that person as your partner in life!

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.
~Author Unknown

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pineapple Blossoms

I think it may have been two years ago I requested this block with the GardenWeb Birthday Block Exchange. I asked that the blocks be made in bright tropical colors and you can see them in the photo. No one let me down. I sewed many of my blocks together at the GardenWeb Quilt Forum Retreat in the fall, but need to make a few more blocks in order to have a larger quilt top. I pulled this out from my storage bin on Monday and hope to get back to working on it soon.

Right now the idea of blossoms appealed to me. All of our magnificent spring flowers are in full bloom. I don't like the pollen a bit, but all those azaleas and dogwoods in bloom are a marvelouss sight! I'll post a few pictures on my other blog if you want to look at natural flowers instead of quilt block flowers. Stop by!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Poisson d'Avril

Pans Used for Poisson d'Avril
Read below for the full story.

My Etsy Poisson d'Avril Treasury http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MjE1NjQzMDR8MjcyMTYxOTcyMw/poison-davril?index=1
I couldn't figure out how to add the picture of this Etsy treasury that I made here on my blog, but I did manage to figure out how to add the link.  Now, a bit about April Fools Day or Poisson d'Avril.

Poisson d'Avril, if you studied the French langauge, means April Fish. 
"What the ____?" you might ask....

The following is summarized from How Stuff Works

April 1 is a special day that celebrates foolishness. April Fools' Day, or All Fools Day, is an odd celebration with a strange history.

There's some uncertainty about when and where this bizarre tradition began, but the most accepted explanation traces April Fools' Day back to 16th century France. Until 1564, the accepted calendar was the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year around April. According to "The Oxford Companion to the Year," King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year's Day to January 1.

Not everyone accepted this shifting of dates at the same time. Some believed that the dates should not be shifted,. Those people may have became the victim of some April jokes and mocked as fools. Citizens in the rural parts of France may have also been the  victims of these jokes because in those days, news traveled slowly. They might not have known about the shifting of dates for months or years.

Today in France, people who are fooled on April 1 are called Poisson d'Avril, which literally means the "April Fish." One common joke is to hook a cardboard fish to the back of a person. Why the fish, I don't know. Some say the symbol is the fish is related to the zodiac sign of Pisces, which falls near April. It's interesting to point out that Napoleon earned the Poisson d'Avril monicker when he married Marie-Louise on April 1, 1810.

When my great grandmother was alive, she would bake a little cake in a fish shape for each of her granddaughters on every April Fools Day. A picture of the cake pans is at the top of this post. Have you ever seen some that are similar?

Happy April Fools Day! Happy Poisson d'Avril!

Friday, March 29, 2013

My End of March

Do you see the size of this stack of presents? Wow! Sometimes I have trouble thinking of what I might like for my birthday, but having a new horse gave me lots of ideas this year. There are a few quilting goodies in there, too. The large wrapped package on the right contains a gift that inflates to be a giant training ball to use with my horse. Unfortunately the weather forecast sounds like 3 or 4 days of rain ahead. At least our freezing temperatures should be gone by now. We don't usually have that issue late in March.

Rain does allow for quilting time though; doesn't it?

These are the birthday blocks that I got from the GardenWeb Birthday Block Exchange this year. I think I am going to set them on point as you see them laid out in the picture. Of course, some of the colors will be set in a different spot. A high caffeine quilt in the making!

Monday, March 18, 2013

National Quilt Day, St. Patick's Day - Cupcakes!

I didn't sew on National Quilt Day. I'll blame in on the pretty weather. I think everyone wanted to be outdoors! However, it was a big weekend because right behind that was St. Patrick's Day. There's no Irish in my family, but I love the color green and love to celebrate holidays so we always have our corned beef and cabbage dinner and I always make green cupcakes. I hope you had a good weekend, too.

White icing with green sprinkles, but the inside is also green. I tint the batter!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy National Quilt Day

It's National Quilting Day! I hope you are able to fit some quilting into your schedule today.
The National Quilting Society has a free pattern for this event and you can view it at:

And there are certain advantages to being a quilter!

I have been working on finishing a table runner that is made from birthday blocks I received several years ago. My goal is to finish it in time for our local guild meeting on Tuesday. Wish me luck. It's so pretty outside that I definitely need some outdoor time first!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Birthday Blocks Coming and Going

I've been mailing birthday blocks and I've been receiving them. It makes birthdays so much fun! This year I requested a coffee theme and designed my own block. If you look a few posts back (September 23, 2012) you will see step by step instructions for how to make it. Below are four blocks that arrived recently. They should make a really fun quilt.

Here on Blogger I started a new blog based on my horse, Piper, so if any of you are animal lovers and want to read about her, I'll be posting more soon. The blog is: jeannesapp.blogspot.com and the title is "There's an App for That: Piper's Story ". Once I figure out how to link it to this blog I will. It's been a long time since I set up a blog from scratch and I'm working my way though it.

We're supposed to have much warmer weather tomorrow and I'm so glad to hear that. It will be an "outside day!" I've had too many days with too much time indoors. It's definitely time to work a bit more in the garden and Piper needs a long lesson. Most of our recent lessons have been.short in this cold, rainy weather.