Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Purse Parade

I had big, big plans to have a new purse made by now. I have everything I need to start, except time. Sometimes we have do to the things that pays the bills, right?

And the weather has been glorious lately, so I've been spending what spare time I do have working in the yard.

Since I wanted to participate in Pink Postcard's Purse Party anyway, I'm going to dust off last year's purse project.

The purse pattern is Amy Butler's Sweet Harmony Handbag.  The main fabric is Moda's Oz by Sanae.  I love the cell pocket.

Since I chickened out on the option for the interior zipper pocket, I made this little case to tuck away items of a more personal nature.

Here's another purse I made using a pattern I developed myself.

I love the interior fabric.  I found it in a fabric store when I was out of town visiting some relatives, so I bought it without knowing how I'd use it.  When I returned home, I found some striped fabric in my stash and loved how they complemented each other.

Here's another favorite.  I made eight of these for a bridal party.  And I made one for myself because I loved the bride's choice of colors.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but the interior is lined with celery green.  So pretty!

The forecast calls for rain and temperatures in the 40s later this week, so hopefully I get my new bag completed.  In the meantime, you can find me in the garden.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Tale of Two Pillows

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Sorry, Mr. Dickens.  We only want to talk about good times today!  And fun new additions to my Etsy shop.

First, we have new burlap toss pillows for the spring with a delightful stripe of fleur de lis.  Oh, how I wish I had a big front porch!  I'd toss this on a porch swing along with a threadbare quilt for snuggling under on cool spring evenings.

And let's travel across the Channel to merry England.  I have a new handpainted burlap pillow in great natural colors that would be perfect for a shabby-loving Anglophile.

Can't make it William and Kate's wedding next month?  If you are a royal watcher and you live near Kansas City, did you know that Princess Diana's famous wedding gown is on display RIGHT NOW at Union Station?  The exhibit will be in Kansas City until June 12.  You can get all the details here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Space Saving Ribbon Storage

I really don't use ribbon very often in my projects but a spool here and a spool there and pretty soon there's a mess of ribbon on the shelf of my craft studio.

Since wall space is a premium in the room and shelf space is abundant, I decided VERTICAL was the way to go.

Here's how I made it:  I had this piece of craft wood from a previous project that had been retired.  It's 5x5 inches.

And I had found a 3/8 inch dowel rod when I cleaned the back room last month, proving once again it pays to clean that room occasionally!  Most of the spools barely fit on a 3/8 inch dowel rod, but I don't mind a tight fit since I have a pretty curious kitty who frequently hangs out with me while I'm working.

I marked center on the base and drilled a hole, starting with a small bit and working up to 3/8 inch to avoid splitting the wood.

Then I squirted a generous amount of wood glue into the hole and inserted the dowel rod.  Wipe the excess glue with a damp cloth, ensure the dowel is centered and allow to dry overnight.

Paint the whole thing black, and now I have a spool that holds plenty of ribbon and only takes up a 5x5 inch space on my shelf.

I'm linkin' up...
Tip Junkie handmade projects Chic on a Shoestring Decorating UndertheTableandDreaming

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Home Grown Produce

At Casa de Tallgrass, the resident chef (Mr. Tallgrass, not me!) has been working on perfecting pan con tomate, a delicious treat from Cataluña in Spain.  Basically, it's toasted bread that has been rubbed with garlic and ripe tomato.  I could eat it alone as a meal with a glass (or two) of Garnacha.  Yum!

The only problem?  Finding a good, ripe tomato this time of year.  Oh, we have big dreams of home-grown tomatoes this summer.  Then I can enjoy pan con tomate with a cold cerveza!

Do you anticipate the days of digging in your own dirt or strolling farmers markets for fresh produce?  I just finished a new handpainted sign to celebrate home grown produce.

Simple.  Just like great fruits and vegetables should be.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I received a HUGE envelope filled with squares from a kind woman named Rosalie for my Spare a Square project.

She's making a quilt herself for the Eisenhower Quilts of Valor Challenge.  I'd like to send a big THANK YOU for her generous donation and commend her on her own project.

Aren't these fabrics lovely?

Of course, we have to have some sunflowers from our Sunflower State.

There are lots of great complementary fabrics in the lot.

And I swooned a little over the pretty toile print.

I'm busy cutting the pieces and I hope to start sewing soon.  It's not too late to donate squares if you are interested!  Here is where you can get all the details.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Basement Window Solution

This is the story of a tiny egress window and an old swivel rocker.  If you have a walk-out basement or daylight windows in your basement, you may as well stop reading now.  (And by the way, I'm slightly envious.  Just slightly.)

Anyone else got one of these tiny windows in their basement?

Yup, that's what we have.  And it's the ONLY WINDOW IN THE BASEMENT.  Thankfully, it's nicely trimmed, but it butts up to the soffit and looks out onto the air conditioning unit and some dormant sedge plants.  It's also on the southwest side of the house which means the furniture takes a direct hit from the sun during late afternoons.

The window is on a long wall and since there is a triple bookcase on one end of the wall, it leaves a large blank space that has been hard to work with because of the soffit and the hovering window.  Which brings us to the swivel rocker.  It belonged to my husband's great-grandmother, and it's moved with us through our various living rooms then to the office and finally to a spare bedroom.  Finally, I start whispering "Craigslist" and he won't hear of it.  So it lands in the basement, floating between the bookcases and the window.  Ugh!

Several years ago, I had stuck some short white curtains on that tiny egress window.  It cut back the sunlight to protect the furniture and gave us privacy, but it just looked dumb to have curtains that stopped above your head.  What I really wanted was full length curtains.

Remembering how Thrifty Decor Chick used contact paper on her pantry door, I thought I'd try the same thing on the window.  Learning from her experience, I cut the contact paper to fit the window first rather trying to trim it with a razor after adhearing it.

Then I soaked the glass with window cleaner and peeled off the backing.  The contact paper will glide on the glass like a gold medal figure skater.  

Using a plastic pot scrapper, I pushed the bubbles from under the film.  I started in the center of the window and worked to the sides, catching the liquid cleaner as it oozed out.

Now we have soft diffused light AND privacy!

Next issue: Adding visual length to the windows.  I made several trips to ReStore looking for shutters.  Originally, I wanted big creamy white plantation shutters, but when I found them, they were either the wrong size, broken or outrageously expensive.  So I broadened my search and found these brand new exterior shutters still in the box for only $15.

Not quite a perfect fit, but close enough because I'll be adding panels to cover the sides.

In order to continue to keep the cost down on this project, I reused the old curtains that used to hang in our hearth room.  They were really too short for that 9 foot tall room, so I replaced them during the recent makeover.  Since I'd be hanging them at the ceiling in the basement, they were still just a little too short.  But they are cheap, unlined curtains, and they have big rod pockets at the top.  To let them out, I just ripped out the top seams, hung them upside down using the bottom hem as the new rod pocket and rehemmed the top (which was now the bottom).

Are you still with me?  Good. 

To complete the wall, I "shopped" my own house for accessories, using an old lamp from the backroom, some of my own photography that I had used to decorate my office at a former job, a wooden storage box from my craft room, and an afghan made by one of my great-grandmothers.  And the end results:

The reveal was a big success with Mr. Tallgrass, who immediately proclaimed he really liked it, which is rare. 

The cat likes it too.  :)

I'm linkin' up...

Transformation Thursday Chic on a Shoestring Decorating > Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special UndertheTableandDreaming Savvy Southern Style

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring is Coming

Are you ready?

Little bird - on sale at Michaels
Eggs - find in the wood crafts department at Michaels, paint and speckle at home
Nest - fashioned from ordinary Spanish moss
Vintage Reader's Digest books available here.