Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We bought our first house during the month of October years ago.  The lot had been neglected and I found a rather ragged looking plant next to the fence.  I dug up the clump and tossed it in the back corner of the yard with the rest of the compost.  In the spring, I discovered it was sprouting.  I had big dreams of a garden on a tiny budget, so I figured if this clump was sending up fat stems so nicely, I'd give it a second chance.  I planted it next to the gate and crossed my fingers I didn't just transplant a weed.

A couple of weeks later, my in-laws stopped by for a visit.  Noticing that my mother-in-law's husband hesitated when he walked past it, I asked him if he knew what it was.  He slowly blinked at me, the way he does when he's collecting he thoughts before he speaks.  Inside I was already cringing, afraid I was growing a prize-winning weed.  Finally he said, "It's a peony." 

What a relief!  And a few days later, I was rewarded with enormous blooms.

I usually grow flowers to enjoy OUTSIDE, but after a heavy spring rain, the big sagging blooms beg to be brought inside. 

I just have to make sure there are no ant hitch-hikers.  And the lilacs bloomed last week and smell wonderful!

Hmmm...I think this old-fashioned scene could use a doily.  What do you think?

Alas, it's not the original doily I planned to use.  In the midst of planning the tablescape, I had discovered a most unfortunate thing had happened to some of my doily collection.  Check back to learn about the Great Doily Debacle.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Garden Scenes

Images taken over the past 10 days in my backyard garden.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vintage Animals

First, I'd like to thank Sammy Davis Vintage for featuring one of my pieces from my Tragically Retro shop.  She was featuring animal-inspired jewelry and was kind to include this necklace.

Tragically Retro is an alternative Etsy shop I opened to showcase really, ahem, unusal jewelry.

Birds seem to be a common theme in the necklaces.

Where else could you find something like this:

Or elephants.

Now you are seeing why I named the shop Tragically Retro?

It's not all so bad.

Like your vintage jewelry a little more tame?  I have this sweet articulated owl necklace in my Tallgrass Design shop.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Aging Concrete Birdbaths

I have this fantatic birdbath base that belonged to my great-grandmother.

When I received it, the bowl was broken in two pieces, probably from being left outdoors in the winter upright.  Surprisingly, birdbath bowls haven't changed much over the past 60+ years, so I was able to buy an identical basin.

The only problem is matching the finish.  I'm sure my great-grandmother's birdbath has been painted several times over its life.  And my new birdbath bowl looked like this.

Brand spanking new concrete.  Charming, isn't it?

Not really.  I left it alone for a couple of years to see if would develop a patina of its own.  Nope.  It was time to take matters into my own hands.

I used a combination of green, blue, and gray craft paint designed for patio use.  Using a small brush, I slapped paint on the bowl, randomly hitting the surface and leaving some areas unpainted.

Next, I used a damp scrubbing sponge to scour the surface.

It was a sunny, windy day and I didn't want it to fully dry, so I worked in sections.  Some of the paint stuck, but some of it became diluted and acted like a stain, which is exactly what I wanted.

The end results:

Hey, there are flowers in the picture now!  I actually started this project last month before everything started coming up.  I'm planning more garden posts over the next couple of weeks, so check back soon.

I'm linking up...
Metamorphosis Mondays at Between Naps on the Porch
Amaze Me Mondays at Dittle Dattle
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking
Transformations and Treasures at Pink Postcard
Transformation Thursdays at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring
Inspiration Friday at At the Picket Fence
VIP Party at Designer Garden
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quilt Update

Yes, I finally have an update on my quilt project!

Recap: This year I'm making a quilt that I am going to donate to SRS of South Central Kansas.  It will be given to an anonymous child in foster care this Christmas.  Some of you generous readers have been so kind to donate your scraps to my project.  Thank you!!

I'm planning on making a disappearing nine patch, so I've trimmed down the squares to make them uniform.  Let the sewing begin!

I have groups of three squares sewn together so far.  Then I'll start making the squares.  Here's a glimpse of my progress so far.  Don't they look great?

I still have more squares to sew together.  By my calculations, I have enough for a little over half the quilt, so if you'd like to donate, you still have a chance.  Learn more by going here.  Thanks!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Love Me, Loves Me Not (and the Bubble Burst)

Are you enjoying being OUTSIDE as much as me?  Beautiful spring days are not to be taken for granted in this part of the country.  But this week we've had temperatures in the 90s, followed by mid-50s with a stiff wind from the north today  Good grief!

No matter, I have had some sewing projects that have been waiting for me while I've played in the garden.  I'm tinkering with a new bag pattern.

The fabric is by Anna Maria Horner.  I wanted a spring bag that was colorful and fun.  Since the reality is spring days can be cold and rainy too, I complemented the main fabric with something a little more subdued.

I love the names of the prints.  The main body is "Loves Me, Loves Me Not."  And the brown accent fabric is "Bubble Burst."

It's a rather appropriate combination, yes?

I know I promised some garden projects last week.  I had expected some of the flowers to be in bloom by now.  We'll just have to be patient.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cherries Jubilee

Did you think I went missing?

I've had the most terrible cold for over a week.  Horrible sore throat.  Nasty cough.  Dripping nose.  Aching head.  I completely missed Easter festivities.  The laundry is miles high.  It's been too long since the carpet has seen the vacuum.  The grass needs to be cut.  Sigh!

I put on my game face to go flower shopping Saturday afternoon, unloaded the car when we came home, then crashed on the sofa for an hour, fast asleep.

It was a busy Etsy week, and I finally felt well enough to return to my craft studio yesterday to put together this new Farmers Market Tote.

The burlap has a hint of sage green to it.  It's lined with cotton fabric printed with cherries.  I love the print and think it has a hint of retro to it.

More details are here.  I should have some garden projects to share later this week!