Monday, July 28, 2008

The Case of the Furry Sofa

Based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

"Evening, miss. You need a private eye because you've got your self in a furry situation? Well, I'm certainly one for the job. Let me see those perpetrators...

Perp 1: The Clown

Perp 2: The Diva

"Those two look like trouble. They are, aren't they? And their hangout is the new sofa? Oh, that's a messy problem.

"So how are we going to get you out of this? Hmmm? The vacuum? That'd work, yes yes yes.... What? It leaves bits of fur embedded in the cushions? Oh, not good, not good...

"I've got it! Sticky rollers! They remove lint and you can throw the mess away. You can even get one of those large ones...

"Oh, you've tried that? It takes 3 sheets to get the whole sofa clean? Whoa, that's a lot of waste...and expensive!

"Well, how about this--the pet hair magnet? I know, I know...As seen on TV doesn't mean it'll work. But why don't you give it a try?"

The next day

"Back already? Worked that well, did it? Yes, it's amazing. It got fur out of places you didn't even know there was fur? Yup, that's what I thought. Best $10 you ever spent, isn't it? No need to thank me, ma'am, just doing my job..."

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Hee hee, not really! I used this. Fun!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tremendous YOU!

It's here! You are witnessing the official unveiling of my first published pattern, the Tremendous Tote:

front cover

I had so much fun putting this together, so I hope you all enjoy it too. This pattern is so versatile; I can see it as a beach bag, a diaper bag, or as a place to stash goodies as you shop (my personal fav). Check out the cuteness that one of my testers put together:

The pattern features full size printed pattern pieces, easy to follow directions, and professional illustrations to help you along. And a metric conversion chart and glossary too! While everything is clearly written, I'd definitely recommend this pattern for advanced beginner or intermediate sewers. If you have sewn a few bags and are not scared of zippers then you'll be golden (and my way of installing zippers is not scary, I promise!) Also, I will be adding tips and tricks to my website as it slowly goes live (get crackin, Mr. Webmaster!), so feel free to contact me and I'll make sure your questions are answered!

The pattern will be for sale starting today in my etsy store. However, shipping won't start until Saturday, July 26th while I wait on one last thing to be printed. So to thank you for your patience, I will be giving FREE SHIPPING to all "pre-orders" placed before midnight (CDT) on Friday, July 25. So pop on over to my etsy shop and take advantage of this deal.

I hope you love the Tremendous Tote as much as I do!


P.S. Want to get a head start? Here's the materials list:

back cover

Monday, July 21, 2008

Art for the non-artistic

I was feeling all artsy fartsy this weekend and staring at the big empty wall over my couch. Oh how I'd love to paint a giant masterpiece that would impress all my friends! But alas, my painting skills topped out with stick figures and some days it is hard just to stay within the lines. Yet I had to do SOMETHING.

My inspiration struck when poking through the lovely blog of Anna Maria Horner, another Nashvillian with a drool-worthy house and studio (and fabric line!). Her appearance on the Martha Stewart Show featured a project that even my so-so painting skills could master - painted fabric silhouettes.

For my lovelies, I picked up some "batik" fat quarters at JoAnn's, some canvases at Michaels (hurrah, on sale), and some Royal Coat decoupage finish. I skipped the Modge Podge because it said something about lingering tackiness on the label which didn't sound cool. My stencils were actually huge printouts of selected letters. I have this weird thing for decorating with text--it always catches my eye--and I wasted oodles of time on searching for JUST the right font.

Easy peasey project. I followed the directions given to staple the fabric, then traced my font outline using a sheet of graphite paper. Decoupage coat over that so I don't rub it off, then paint.

Fabric art panels

And then I shopped the house for other items, put up some shelves, and we have art!

Fabric art panels on display

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Win a quilt!

So through the wonderfulness that is blogland, I stumbled upon this awesome quilt giveaway from Old Red Barn Company. In this post you can see the fabulous quilt made with Sandi Henderson fabrics. LOVE!

Win a quilt at

Quilts are an amazing amount of work, so this is one cool giveaway. I hesitate to share as I want the quilt myself, but it's just too pretty to not show the whole world! Be warned, however--if you are related to me and win, I will be stealing the quilt from you!

P.S. How much do you love the Sandi Henderson fabrics? Soo cool!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cottage Ingenuity

Cottage dwellers are scrappy--and it's a good thing they are! With small spaces, often awkward layouts, and cranky windows, older cottages pose a myriad of trying situations that escape most suburbanites. But with the quirks comes charm that makes these homes as enduring as their owners.

My love/hate (no, not hate, just frustration) relationship with our cottage has had its moments. We overcame the couch fiasco by avoiding the big box stores and going custom. Finding a cute dining table to fit a small space is nearly impossible. And you all know my prior struggles with lighting due to this post.

Well, I'm happy to report that we finally see the light! I went with the CB2 double dip lamp mainly for the fact that it actually fit our budget. (It's out of stock now, but this one is similar). However, nothing is ever simple in a cottage.

The lamp arrived and went together swimmingly and I actually loved it! Until I tried to put the sofa back in to position that is.... See, this lamp has a huge 15" diameter base that weighs probably 40 pounds. Great for not tipping over a precariously designed lamp, not so great for small spaces.

<--- Huge base is the bane of my existance

I tried the lamp in every possible spot in the living room and only really liked it in the corner, with the light hanging over the sectional. The only problem was the giant base kept the sofa from being pushed into the corner. Our options at this point were to never fully open the closet door or to not use the cute end table the boy has almost finished making me. Not satisfied with either, we whipped out some good ol' Cottage Ingenuity.

Arched lamp minus base plus four 1.5 inch conduit bracket thingies (in the electrical department of the hardware store) plus some big screws equals:

(Please ignore the unsightly gash where the drill tried to eat the wall)

And the result:

Yippee! Now the lamp and the couch can co-inhabit the corner without sacrificing any precious space (or the sofa legs!).

Next up: Some lively pillows that aren't ridiculou$ and art with a heart!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eat your wheaties

My dear dear boy is a hoarder. Not the scary every-newspaper-since-1976 kind but more like a boy scout--always prepared. That is why our new storage room he built (remind me to show you how awesome a job he did!) has many many 5 gallon buckets of food staples. Like beans, chickpeas, and this:

Yup. A huge a$$ bucket of whole wheat. Not whole wheat flour. Actual whole wheat. And what do you do with whole wheat, you ask?

Step one: Purchase grain mill (reviews here). Attach to sturdy work bench and get your arm muscles ready.

Step two: Add wheat. Now you know what whole wheat really looks like!

Step three: Skip the gym and get your workout by giving the mill a good ol' crank. Catch the flour in a bowl.

Step four (optional): Sift out the bigger bran pieces for a finer whole wheat flour. We saved the bran to add back into bran muffins or mix with granola for yogurt or for beefing up instant oatmeal.

Bran left, flour right

Step five: Make something yummy with your fresh whole wheat flour. We cut ours 50/50 with store bought all-purpose flour for bread and pizza dough (didn't want the dough to be too heavy). Both were awesome and eaten before I had a chance to take a picture! I promise to stop back with the recipe when the boy tells me which one he used...

Tip that I learned from the boy (he's such a foodie): Whole wheat flour lasts longer if you keep it in an air tight container in the fridge. We actually use the vacuum sealer so it does not get damp. I had no idea flour actually went bad... Go figure!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Flea love

Last weekend was the Nashville flea market and I trucked over there determined to find some treasures. Waste not, want not, right?

The day started out threatening to rain, and I was hoping that it might be somewhat non-crowded. What a pie in the sky dream! I ducked into the first building, which turned out to be "new" items like designer knockoff perfumes, cheap jewelry, beef jerky, and made in china tote bags/doggie purses... I fought my way through baby strollers, rolling carts, and clueless shoppers to get to the GOOD stuff!

And did I find good stuff. Lots of eye candy with antique furniture, and beautiful dishes I don't need. I kept myself in check but did manage to score bunches of lovely trims from various sellers:

If I ever get back into my sewing studio you'll see those making an appearance on some bags!

But the pièce de résistance was this gorgeous cathedral window table runner:

Hand quilted. Beautifully done. Lots of lovely patches. A labor of love by someone that was sold to me for $25. Fortunately I know the value of this hard work and wouldn't DREAM of doing something irrational like cut it up into pillows or dolls. (shudder)

The runner is HUGE--100 inches long, and wayyyy to big for my table. I'm thinking of giving it the glory it deserves as a wall hanging. Wouldn't look fab hanging on a blue wall--the one that will soon be in my dining room?

Of course, AFTER my excursion I come across this useful post of the top 5 flea market tips. Cash? Check. Tote? Check. Tape measure? Check. Hmm, I think I'm only lacking a hard core flea market buddy. The boy gets bored just about the time we get to the good stuff (thus turning into my shadow) and mom only comes up a few times a year. I usually shop alone because of the whole "too much talking, not enough shopping" issue but an extra set of eyes would be helpful.... Any takers? :)