Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lace Vase

I always hear people rave about all the cool things that they find at

Home Goods,

but I've never found anything worth talking about...

until this weekend. 

To be honest, I hardly ever go because my boys don't like stores.

They love the double stroller...

but only if  it doesn't enter an establishment that sells things.

Go Figure.

Must be a guy thing. 

So it was my lucky day when both boys fell into a deep sleep in the car. 

After a quick transfer to the double stroller, I had a full hour to shop at my leisure--

Heaven on earth!

So here's what I found for our 2 alcoves that have been bare for almost a year--

Twin lace vases.

I need to find something to put in them.

Is there such a thing as "modern" sticks?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pretty Garland

Isn't this pretty?  Found it on Etsy (of course!)

Sola Flower Garland via Little Retreats

I love the sola flowers, the detail is amazing and it's neat that they're made out of a plant by-product.

This pretty little garland will somehow be incorporated into the Fall Garden Party!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Garden Party - The Invitation

This afternoon I had a few minutes to try and figure out the invitation for my Mom's 70th birthday party.  Since the party is in just a couple of weeks, I really need to get them out, um... yesterday.  So no time to get all fancy.  After a few minutes of playing around with some doilies in an attempt to stamp some blank cardstock with a lacey imprint (didn't work so well), I decided to go with the backup plan--

blank cards via Target

I just need to print out the party details and afix it to the inside of the card.  But to be honest, I was a little bummed that I couldn't personalize the invite a little more. So I decided to play with the doilies that I had onhand. 

Here's what I ended up with--
A Doily Envelope

Hmmm... maybe the butterfly is overkill?

I don't know if this will survive the USPS, so I might put it inside a larger envelope to protect it from the "elements"

Hot! Hot! Hot!

We're in the midst of a heatwave, but yesterday it was extra hot in our neighborhood...

 I applaud the firefighters who were battling the blaze in 110 degree heat and who continue to monitor the hillside for hotspots.

With helicopters dropping fire retardant and 175+ firefighters on the ground, they were able to contain the fire overnight. 

Yesterday was probably the hottest day in Southern California.  Our area usually has a couple of days where the mercury hits 90 degrees... but over 100 is just plain crazy!  Although I love fall, October usually spells "fire season" here in Southern California.  Hopefully the weather cools down, some moisture comes our way and this is it for this year's fire season...

So if you see a firefighter, give them a hug... or at least a big thumbs up. They're amazing!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Good Reads - Fall

For the last few months, I've been reading the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.  Now if  I saw this series in the bookstore, I would have never picked it up.  Why?  Because each book ranges from 650 - 1,500 pages!!!  I would probably strain some really important muscles holding up those books for hours on end.  Okay, they're in paperback... but still!  But since my Kindle is pretty light and there aren't any page numbers to psyche me out, I managed to read 6 books in the series (5,728 pages!!!) in less than 3 months.   Two more books to go... woo hoo!  Although I doubt she's done with the series... it's been going on for 19+ years, why stop now?

Now trying to describe the books gets interesting.  It's part historical  (Scottish Highlands & Colonial America, with some French and Caribbean thrown in), part sci-fi time traveling, and part bodice-ripping romance.  Sounds... weird, right?  But I guess the reason why the series has such a huge devoted fan base is because the main characters are amazing and their love story is the stuff that dreams are built on.

So if you're looking for an escape, and a love story with a twist (and you don't mind some bodice-ripping... heh, heh), then I highly recommend this series.  Makes me want to visit the Scottish Highlands.  And I have a new appreciation for kilts, that's for sure!

Oh Martha Monday - Map Memory Board

I bought a map a while ago, actually 2 laminated maps from Costco for just $17.  I plan on hanging them in our Bonus Room to track our family travels.  I just need to figure out the best way to display them-- magnetic? pinboard?

I like how Martha's version includes a place for photos and souvenirs.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Mantel

Since it's officially autumn, I decided to put the finishing touches on my Fall Mantel--

Aah... Fall, my favorite time of year... Now if the weather would just cooperate... 90 degrees is way too hot for me.  I'd like to order up some cool, brisk days so I can break out the boots and sweaters!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fabric Flowers - Variations on a Theme

I was playing around with some material to make an easy fabric flower that is a little more refined-- less carnation and more rose. 

I used the same technique as these flowers created with circles, with one change-- I used a petaled flower, instead of just a plain ol' circle.  I think it especially looks nice for larger flowers (those larger than 2 inches in diameter).

Step 1
Make a flower pattern.  Draw a 5 petal flower on paper to use as a pattern.  As you can tell by my lack of drawing skills, the flower does not need to be perfect... yay!

Step 2
Choose a fabric.  I used a variety of muslin and cotton fabrics.  If you use a printed material, make sure both sides of the fabric are presentable. Cut out your fabric using the flower pattern.

These flowers are around 2.5 inches in diameter

Step 3
Fold your flower in half.  Make sure that the petals are staggered.  Then fold it in half again. It should sorta/kinda resemble a slice of pie

Step 4
Put a couple of stitches into the bottom of the "pie shape". But don't knot it off yet...

Step 5
Keep adding those folded flowers until you have 8 "pie shapes" stitched together.  If you'd like it to be fuller, continue to add more folded flowers.  I found that the larger the diameter of the flower, the more petals you will need.

Step 6
Then run the thread a final time through the entire stack of folded flowers, stitch it together & knot it off. Cut the thread!

 Step 7
Fluff out the petals.  If you have a flower that is larger than 2 inches in diameter, you'll probably see a little gap between the first folded flower that was stitched on and the last.  Stitch together those petals so that the flower will hold it's shape.

And that's it!  An easy, yet refined fabric flower!

And here's another variation (dahlia perhaps?) using this pattern...
Again, as you can see, the drawn flower does not need to be perfect.

Okay, that's it, I'm done with fabric flowers tutorials... I promise!  Hope you're having a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fabric Flowers - Tutorial

I'm back with a simple fabric flower tutorial!  I found several tutorials online, but decided to simplify the process since I'll be making many, many, many... of these little lovelies.  I've been busy cranking them out while catching up on Glee.  I think all that fantastic music helps speed up the process!

Step 1 
Choose a fabric.  For some of the flowers I used the 4x6  muslin bag that Anthropologie uses to package their receipts.  I also purchased some muslin and cotton fabric from Joanns.  If you use a regular fabric, make sure both sides of the material are presentable.

Step 2
Cut the material. I'm all about shortcuts, so I cut the bag in half and folded it into thirds so that I could get 6 circles out of one cut.

Step 3
Cut out your circles. The circles do not need to be perfect, so I free-handed a circle using my pinking shears.  You don't have to use pinking shears, a smooth cut gives the flower a completely different look.

These circles are about 1.5 inches in diameter

Step 4
Take one circle and fold it in half, then fold it in half again. It should be in the shape of a slice of pie.

Step 5
Put a couple of stitches into the bottom of the "pie shape".  But don't knot it off yet...

Step 6
Fold more circles and add it to the stack.  Make sure to put a couple of stitches into the bottom of each "pie shape".

Keep adding those folded circles until you have 6 "pie shapes" stitched together. 
If you have larger circles, you may want to add more petals so that the flower is full and not floppy.

Step 7
Then run the thread a final time through the entire stack of folded circles, stitch it together & knot it off. Cut the thread!

Step 8
Fluff out the petals...

and wah-lah... Fabric Flowers!

And what do you do with all these flowers?  First of all, I'm going to glue them on these pins so that they can be used and reused again and again.

They'd be pretty on place cards:

They'd add a pretty little detail to a simple napkin:

And they sure do gussy-up this plain shirt... is gussy-up a real word?:

[See here for another fabric flower tutorial]

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