Monday, August 22, 2011


I am lucky to have a friend with a knack for baking the most delicious treats. Those of you who follow my blog regularly have seen some of the beautiful confections my friend Merry has given to me. We got to see each other this past Saturday at my local quilt shop's Prairie Women's Sewing Circle. She knows that I love macarons and she surprised me with a box full of them (below). Aren't they lovely? Merry made two flavors—orange flower water and lavender vanilla rose with vanilla bean buttercream filling. For those of you who are interested in trying your hand at making these French-style delights, check out Merry's blog here, where she has graciously shared some tips on making them and her recipe for floral-infused macarons.

Not only did Merry make these delicious macarons, she also gave me a bag full of her homemade jams and jellies. She knows that blueberry jam is my favorite, so that's the largest jar in the bunch. Among the other flavors were strawberry jam, peach jam, apple pumpkin butter, and a new flavor—honey lemon basil. Merry is always experimenting with new flavors and her friends get to taste test the results. Lucky us!

I photographed Merry's edible delights on my newest furniture find. A dresser with a mirror in a former life, this dresser bottom in my favorite shade of green had to go home with me (Sorry for the overly sunny photo—I'll try to take a better one later). I found it while thrifting on Friday and my husband picked it up for me on Saturday after my sewing gathering. I knew just where I wanted to put it. It seems perfectly suited for our sunny foyer, where I keep light-loving houseplants such as orchids and kalanchoes. I'm looking forward to staging it but for now, it's rather sparse with only my gone-with-the-wind lamp.

I'm always searching for furniture with good storage and this piece has it with three large drawers that will be perfect for stashing things craft supplies or other stray items that still need a home—like my ever-growing stash of fat quarters, perhaps? 

Friday, August 19, 2011


Over the past several months, I've been working on a fun editing project with the wonderfully creative and talented designer behind Liberty Star patterns, Renée Plains. And now I can finally share a few details with you! As those of you who are familiar with Renée's work already now, she designs everything from quilts and bags to pincushions and dolls. I was fortunate to get to work with Renée as her editor on her first book with Kansas City Star, A Bird in Hand. And now she's back with a new one inspired by the enduring charm of one-room schoolhouses. Hot off the press, this is the cover!

Renée's books are always packed with inspiring projects. This one features a whopping 19 projects that honor the legacy of humble classrooms of the past. Five classic quilt patterns will please patchwork and applique lovers alike, while stitchery fans will enjoy the trio of samplers that echo a simpler time (My blogging friend Cheryl of So Many Quilts, So Little Time made one of the quilts!). Renée even included a hooked chair pad and a cross stitch sampler. You'll also find a delightful array of sewing accessories, including an apple pinkeep, a schoolgirl's sewing kit, and a wool needle book. You're going to love them! 

We shot a good share of the photography on location in a restored 1875 one-room schoolhouse in the Kansas City area that Renée found through a friend of hers. It was the perfect setting for the quilts. I snapped this fun photo of Renée at the teacher's desk and the above photo of one of her endearing quilts on the day of the shoot. Doesn't she look like she'd be a sweet teacher?

I'll be back in a future post to share more details about this delightful book as well as a couple more photos I took at the location shoot. The book should be arriving in quilt shops next month! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


What colors spark creative inspiration for you? When I need to recharge my creative batteries, I turn to my favorite color scheme of pink and green. After seeing the famous vibrant green dining room in Mount Vernon 10 years ago, I was inspired to paint my own dining room walls a shade of green. A couple summers ago, I purchased some pink and green chintz fabric and some matching decorative trim from Calico Corners when it was on sale. My mom and mom-in-law came and helped me sew curtains for the three windows in my dining room.

To dress up the curtains, I found this reproduction Victorian pink glass hardware for a cheap price. 

Earlier this year, I spotted the same fabric in one of my favorite magazines. The designer had used it to reupholster chair seats. I love the color of the chairs as well. I have some of the fabric left over and may just have to reupholster a chair seat or two in it. 

Now when I walk into my dining room each morning, I can't help but feel a bit uplifted. For a violet lover like me, the room wouldn't be complete without a little living pink color, too. This miniature pink-flowering beauty is a welcome sight. Whether you decorate with just a splash of it or devote an entire room to it, I hope you've found a way to invite your favorite color into your everyday world.

And although this photo doesn't have any pink, here's some green decorating inspiration. When I worked at Kitchen and Bath Ideas magazine, we featured this gorgeous kitchen. The green shelves were my favorite feature!

I also love the pale upper green shelves in this pretty kitchen featured on the BHG website. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011


As you regular blog readers already know, I'm a little crazy about pincushions and love to experiment with new designs. I recently designed a star pincushion—a fun twist on the traditional LeMoyne Star pattern. It's currently featured on the Moda Bake Shop blog. If you'd like to make one for yourself, come visit me over at the Bake Shop by clicking here and feel free to leave a comment on their blog letting me know what you think of it. I'd love to hear your thoughts. See you there!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I've missed you all this past week. Work deadlines have kept me from blogland. I have multiple projects going on, including an interesting papercrafting assignment for one of the magazines. But thanks to a fun flea market we visited while home visiting family this past weekend, I do have some new photos to share with you. Sure, there's a lot of junk to sift through at these things, but the variety of items is quite amazing. Where else can you find everything from lovely antique china dolls... miniature pot-bellied pigs (also known as "tea-cup" pigs)? This little girl was getting quite a bit of attention from curious passersby.

One of the dealers had an interesting assortment of antique sewing accessories, including this charming thread box. I was tempted to buy it but couldn't justify the expensive given its condition.

I also loved the artwork in the lid of this thread tin but the price wasn't in my budget.

I thought this vintage toy sewing machine was cute in mint green but it was missing its carrying case. So I passed on it but will keep my eyes peeled for one in the future. 

One of the dealers had a fun booth filled with 1950s and 1960s vintage fabrics and accessories. Fabric packs were arranged sweetly in vintage suitcases. I bought the small aqua-striped suitcase on the left for $2.50. I wasn't sure if this was a lady's or child's carrying case, so I'd be glad to find out if anyone knows the answer. 

Also, couldn't resist buying this vintage barkcloth from her as it was only $5 total for a few yards. I plan to use it for my pincushion orders. I found out she has a shop, too, so I plan to head over there in the near future.

And how cute is this little vintage pincushion—another fun find from the flea market. It was in pristine condition considering its age and it came with the original box.

One of my favorite finds of the day was this antique paper-covered doll trunk. It can be challenging to find them with their paper-covered trays still intact. The blue and brown floral paper in this trunk really spoke to me. 

I am a sucker for vintage children's furniture and noticed this one in a dealer's booth but didn't buy it. I have a small collection of little cupboards from flea markets past.

I know a lot of crafters love to use antique skeleton keys for their creative projects. This dealer had a wonderful array of them and they were selling like hotcakes. Three people bought some while I was perusing his booth!

As you can see, it was a very fun day at the flea market. Come back later this week for a post about something fun that my parents-in-law found for me at the flea market.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for an AccuQuilt Go! Baby Cutter. I had a terrific response, so I let Random Generator do the honors of choosing a winner and that lucky winner is....

Diane, who left a comment on July 30 saying:

I am a follower and would love to win. My choices are strips, hexagons, and Bountiful Baskets.

Congratulations, Diane! Please email me the following info by Tuesday, August 9 at noon (CT) so I can get your Go! Baby and dies to you!

Full name
Mailing address
Phone number
Email address
3 dies of your choice

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


What do these three things have in common? Absolutely nothing other than this post. It's been a crazy week here with work deadlines, so I'm afraid I don't have a lot of exciting sewing-related projects to share. I was up till 3 a.m. in the morning working on an article and then got up at 6:30 to enjoy a few precious moments working in the garden, where I spied the first heirloom yellow pear tomatoes ready to harvest. My husband and I don't eat a lot of tomatoes but we like to grow the heirloom varieties. If anyone in the Des Moines area could use some yellow pear tomatoes, we will have more in the coming weeks and would be glad to share.

While getting some supplies for a work project yesterday, I stopped by one of my favorite antique shops and found this. Af first glance, it appears to be a pink dog toy with a funny face but it also has another purpose...

Yes, it's a vintage tape measure made in the 50s or 60s. I hope she will forgive me for temporarily pinning down her tail for this photo but it was the only way to show you the tape measure part as it retracts immediately. At $15, I'm sure I overpaid for it but I love it because it is unique and in my favorite color.

She came with her original label...

If anyone knows anything about the history of these tape measures, I would love to hear from you. I know there is a wealth of knowledge out there in blogland, so don't be shy! Once things calm down, I'd like to do some research on them and will share my findings on this blog. I hope to be back to regular blogging by early next week when I can dig out from underneath my in-box. In the meantime, there's still time to enter my AccuQuilt Go! Baby fabric cutter giveaway here if you are interested. See you again on Sunday when I announce the big winner.