Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wishing You Good Cheer, Too

Monday I had started to prepare a post of Mosaic Monday. I had photos on my iPhone that I wanted to use, but that Air Drop feature does not always work, so I cranked up the iMac, hoping to have quicker access to the photos than on the lap top. Too many devices. I have had a problem with malware on the big guy and it can never find the lap top to use Air Drop on the iPhone, so I called Apple. I was on the phone with them for over an hour, but I got rid of the Malware and updated the operating system, using up all of my blogging time.

So here I am today with a short, quick post to let you know that I am still kicking. I have been working on the prairie dresses for the 18 inch dolls. The pattern is very easy, but I am finding that the directions in the book that I am following are somewhat lacking, so it is a good thing that I know a little more about sewing dress patterns to help me past the rough spots.

I have been buying my fabric at the thrift store when I can find the homespuns and the calicoes. The dress takes a 1/3 of a yard; I had this piece in my stash. It is my trial and error version, first time around piece. You will note that as my sister-in-law suggested that I have not added straps with buttons to the apron because  "way back then", instead of buttons the women would pin their aprons. I may make straps for the next apron.

The bonnet was a bit challenging. I have made this type of bonnet before, and I like this pattern, too, but I need to be more patient. 

I will give this little dress outfit to my sister-in-law since purple is her favorite color. I have another dress finished, and I am working on three more. I cute out 4 at a time and do an assembly line. I stitch all of the hems on the skirts and put in all of the gathering stitches for the skirt and sleeves. Next I will assemble all of the tops and then make the sleeves. Once the dresses are done, I have the aprons and bloomers cut out ready to stitch. I know that when I take this to the next DAR meeting women will want dresses. I haven't not set out to sell them, so I will tell the ladies to provide the material that they want and I will sew the outfits.

I will tire of sewing soon. I will clean up my sewing mess and make paper Valentines. I will also get back to work on the Texas farmhouse dollhouse that I started last fall. There is so much work to do it. And soon it will be time to garden. 

Thanks for visiting. I must get on with my day. I am tutoring at the university today then I'll get groceries so I my day is planned out. 

Can I take a moment and really thank you for being a kind and gentle audience and friend?  Here in Blog Land I have such a wonderful, eclectic group who all lift my spirits, helping me stay cheerful and happy. I hope that I do the same for you. Enjoy your day.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cheerfully Pink

This is one of those days when you stay inside, light the fire, and get out a good book, or you blog. I have already been downtown this morning; now it is time to get this post written on published before Mosaic Monday closes.

Cheerfully Pink: these supermarket carnations
and baby's breath add a warmth and cheer
on a cold winter's day.
Yes. We have snow. Not much, a skiff, but it is a cold, slushy snow. I have plenty to keep me occupied inside. This time of year we have to find indoor projects to keep us entertained. The Head Gardener caught the "clean out the closet" fever, and now I am no longer fearful of opening up his storage for all of his guy gear. You will glad to know that order has been restored to the crafting/sewing/office area, only to mess it up again with my latest sewing project. I enjoyed reading your comments, and I hope I inspired or encouraged some of you tackle that out of control closet or drawer.

At the November DAR meeting, the Colorado president came to speak to us and brought her American Girl doll that travels with her. Word went around that our local leader would like to have a doll dressed to reflect the Colorado pioneer spirit, so I am making a dress that I will submit or donate if it is good enough. Today's mosaic tells that story:

Just before Christmas I found this beautiful Madame Alexander 18 inch doll at ARC, our local charity thrift store, face down on the pile of donated stuffed toys. I love her. I could not believe that someone would donate such a beautiful doll. She came in her original costume, a lavender ballet tutu. Her hair in a messy pony tail brushed out very nicely with out needing any washing. Her skin is a bit soiled, but will be easily cleaned. Her head is a wee bit wobbly and not as tight as the first thrift doll that I bought. None-the-less, she was a great find for $5. And no I will not donate her with the dress. She will be my model. I think the lady who wants the costume already has a doll.

My sister-in-law purchased the pattern book at JoAnn for me. It is really is a great book with wonderful patterns that come on a CD and great "show me"  instructions . All I had to do was to find the pattern on the CD and print at 100%. No sizing. No sweat. The book is expensive, but can be purchased when JoAnn puts such items on sale.

I have chosen the little blue prairie dress representing the 1870s, which seems rather appropriate since Colorado joined the union in 1876, thus, known as the Centennial state for having become a state 100 years after the union was formed.

I found two very nice pieces of fabric from ARC as well. I have not decided which piece I will use. The bonnet and the apron will be white.

I ordered the sweet little boots from from Silly Monkey, a website for 18 inch doll clothing. By next week I should have my practice outfit finished so that I share it.

 Other Projects

I have also been crocheting. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of each of the projects that I created, but here are two. Top: first pair of mittens that i have made. The thumb, by the way, is rather hard to get correct. The mittens are very warm.

Needing to pass time, keep my hands busy while I watch TV, and use up odd bits of yarn, I am finding these simple patterns that I found through Pinterest severe all of these purposes. Ellie got this set.

On last Christmas left over. I have to share my new teapot and mugs with you. I will keep it in the china hutch and not hide it away with all of the other Christmas serving ware. I especially love the mugs because of their size and they have great balance, feeling comfortable in the hand. I drink coffee first thing in the morning then herbal or decaffeinated tea later in the day, do these mugs are perfect. I had seen this lovely set in our favorite kitchen gadget store in Ft. Collins last year and again this this year. The HG is an amazing shopper for a man, so when I fussed over the set this year, he  bought it me for my birthday. Thank you sweet heart.

And there you have it. A quiet snowy day. A holiday to celebrate Dr. King. Peaceful and quiet. I hope your day is the same. Thanks you for visiting. 

I'll be linking with Maggie for Mosaic Monday. Join us. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Where I Work

The New Year is a week old. Has yours had a good start? I'd say yes to my own question. As I am putting away Christmas, I am cleaning, sorting, reorganizing, and purging.

I began with the hall closet that should serve the guest bath and bedroom; however, when we moved in here 8 years ago, I just loaded up the closes and kept piling stuff in it. At the old house I had two closest that held the junk that I pushed into this one. I wanted to have a better, easier way to store my good serving dishes, so I unloaded this closet, put all of the junk in a storage tub, which my husband moved into the guest bathroom, and I piled that counter high with more stuff. My serving dishes have a safe, nice home and the bathroom is a mess. I have sorted the tub: throwaway, give to the daughters, and donate. Then there are the things that I don't know what to do with sitting on my coffee table.

I have 36 glass punch cups that I use for the holiday parties that have been awkwardly stored on a high shelf that requires a average height man on a short stool to get them out and put them away, so I bought those Christmas ornament storage tubs with the little compartments to store the punch cups in. Love it. And I reorganized with the help of the Head Gardener, those high, out of my reach kitchen cabinets.

I purged the closet in the guest bedroom and reorganized my yarns. I am also redecorating that bedroom which has been the Lady Bug room with red and white since we moved in. I like to display the only patchwork quilt that I will ever make, but it has to come off the bed when company comes, so I have put it away. The room will be pink and shabby chic. Girly. I am sure that our farmer friend will enjoy the frilly pink when he comes to stay.

Then there is the closet downstairs that spreads underneath the stairs, an odd, awkward place to work with. The majority of the closet is easily accessible, but it gets really cluttered, so as I put away all the tubs of Christmas decorations and the village, I sorted and purged. The storage looks great. I even unloaded another closet in the downstairs family room, asking the HG to go through a couple of boxes that he had in the closet--I needed more room to store Christmas boxes. Lucky for him, he found battery operated head lamps that he hadn't been abel to find since we moved here in 2009. He showed me his closet where he stores his hunting/fishing gear. I am never opening that door again.

I am sure that you have seen the beautiful magazine in the supermarket magazine rack Where Women Work Create. (After a note by a reader that I had the title of the magazine wrong, I have made the correction, thanks, Anke).I take time to browse through it, awed by the beautiful work spaces that these professional crafters and artisans have created with their vintage, shabby decor, their beautiful antique furniture and their perfectly organized art and crafting supplies. Would like to see where I work?

My Space: Office/Craft Area

When we decided to finish the basement, I had the opportunity to design my own workspace. the HG's uncle, a talented finish carpenter, built the cabinets, but not quite exactly what I wanted, but the layout works as long as I don't overload it, which I have done. So I am purging this area, too. Now I am sorting through the clutter. That's what I did most of this afternoon.

The nice counter that I had built was supposed to be my workspace to scrapbook, sew, make cards, and house the computer and printer, but I never have enough space so I put up a table as a work space.

Two summers ago my daughter talked me into buying this desk because it was so cheap at the hospital thrift store. It spent a long time in the barn after I sanded it down and painted part of it. Last summer I determined that I would finish it, so I had the HG move it into the garage where I painted it. It took many coats of paint. This is as close to an antique I can get: a junk desk purchased at a charity 
shop. It works.

I like this shelf, but it needs some help. It is supposed to hold ribbon and wrapping paper. It has a razor sharp serrated edge on the bottom bar to tear the wrapping paper. Now the shelf is unhandy because the desk is underneath it. 

Photo Storage

Some years ago I was introduce to Creative Memories scrap booking. Then we were still doing film. I have a box for photos for each family member. Now all of my photos are in iPhoto, Picasa, and Shutterfly. I do a mass printing when I want to do a photo album. I bought a lot of scarp books paraphernalia to create photo albums, and that all has to be stored, too.

The open shelves on one side hold more boxes, buttons all sorted by color and stored in spice jars, and the bottom shelf holds miscellaneous dollhouse minis--part of my stash.


I worked on this pile this afternoon sorting a variety papers: computer paper, stationary, miscellaneous envelopes, notepads, and writing pads. What a collection. More purging and piling.

This oak biology lab table from a school district is my favorite work area. On the wall, sweet memories of my tour of Ireland in 2003.

Sewing Center

This computer stand has been in the family for a long time. I purchased it on sale for $40 at Office Depot. It was a great computer table; still is. I wanted to get rid of clutter to make the downstairs family room look clean and uncluttered, so I had the HG take down this computer stand that I was using for the sewing machines. We hauled it to Denver to our grandson. His parents decided that he didn't need it, so we hauled it back home. It is a great table for sewing. It holds both of my sewing machines. Side Comment: The serger and I are not on very good terms. We are not the of friends.

The map has pins on it representing the general locations where my blogger friends live. 

Here I am, a few years decades ago. I was 15, barrel racing at a Little Britches Rodeo.  My foot is roughly bandaged because it got stepped on by a horse. That's my best friend at the time Sailor, a young gelding, a throbbed/quarter horse. What grand steed he was. 

So this is where I work. I'll spend the week bringing order to the chaos, with the hopes of getting rid of unnecessary stuff. 

An alternative blog topic might have been about the weather, but I am sure that of many of you are experiencing the same cold weather, unless you are in Florida.

The snow turns the Garden Spot into a winter wonderland, and it has been very cold. -20 early one morning last week. 

The birds are hitting the bird feeders pretty consistently. The HG spotted a new visitor to the avian food court, a male ruby crowned kinglet. This part of Colorado is their breeding ground, so he is hanging around a little late. He should be out on the prairie down by the river. 

Thanks for visiting. Stay warm. Drop by Maggie's at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Year in Review Part II: The Flowers

Happy New Year, Friends. What plans do you have 2017? We are hoping to do a bit of traveling. In March we'd like to go to Kearny, Nebraska to the Sand Hill Crane Festival when the great birds migrate. It is something that we have long talked about. Another short trip will take us to Eastern Colorado where the Northern Cardinals live in the tamaracks along the Platte River. We will take the camp trailer and camp somewhere in hopes of finding the red birds. We don't have them here in this part of the state, so a trip east is called for.

The gardening catalogs will soon start arriving. We have already received White Flower Farms, my favorite, I am now creating my wish list. Right now everything sleeps in the cold soil underneath left over snow from Christmas--with more on the way this week, so we won't get too serious about gardening anytime soon, but here are some of my favorites from last summer:

A few years ago, I attended the Denver Botanical Gardens annual plant sale held each May. One of little finds was a 2 inch pot of For-Get-Me-Nots, along with other little pots which did not do well, including the water lotus that died. These little blue flowers have seeded and reseeded to the point that they are taking over this little garden. Late, late into the fall they were lush and green, so I am hoping for a profusion of blue at the back step.

Ever a favorite, we planted more daffodils, but didn't get all of them in the ground. They rest of the bulbs are stored in the cool garage, so I am hoping that I can get them potted and they will grow in pots this spring. The spring flowers are always favorites.

Both water gardens provide a lot of joy, as much work as they are. The little waterfall in the front courtyard leaks and we have never been able to find it or fix it, so this year I may have the water fall removed and go for a different look. We worked on the landscaping on the south side of the big pond out back in, so I am excited to see what it looks like this spring. 

Always my passion pink, this gorgeous peony made me smile every time I looked at. The peonies have really taken off, to the point the they will need be divided.

We have a nice variety of trees here at the Garden Spot. The acreage had an established yard with many of the trees already in place. The pine trees, a variety of them, have now reached maturity, the ash are still growing, an the aspen sucker like crazy, so our tree planting plan focuses on the deciduous  trees focusing on shade, color, variety, and hardiness. We have a professional arborist is the family who always offers sound advice on what to buy. One risky tree here is the Eastern Red Bud. I've killed everyone one that I have planted, but look at this beauty, what a bloomer it was last year. Fingers crossed this year that we don't have untimely frost to kill the blooms. 

I have indoor winter projects that I am working on, too. Right now I am cleaning out closets again. I cleaned out the hall closet to make room for seasonal dishes, filling a tub with junk that is now sitting in the guest bath. I have to sort through the stuff: throw away, keep, donate. Ugh. I decided to redecorate the guest bedroom too, changing it from the red Lady Bug theme to a pink floral shabby chic. I ordered new bedding from Target that has already arrived. Now I need to find a picture or two to replace the reds. I have always wanted a pink room. 

Immediately, today, I will tackle the downstairs room which becomes a dumping area for the Christmas decorations as I dismantle Christmas. It is all stacked in a pile. I still have to take down the village, a worse chore that putting it up. So my day is filled, or two days. 

And so a new year begins, always hopeful for a pleasant year, knowing that there will be challenges and changes, but we will roll with the punches, as they say, and take life day by day, making the best of each day. 

And you? Do you have any special plans for the coming year? I look forward to reading all about them.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Linking to Normandy Life with Maggie for Mosaic Monday. See you there.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Jackson and Perkins roses have been in the garden for at least 10-12 years. This year they have been spectacular. The bushes were taller and...