Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Thanks to everyone who entered my latest impromptu giveaway for a copy of the latest edition of Victoria magazine with my article as well as a half yard of adorable flannel woodland friends fabric. It was delightful to hear from old friends as well as so many new ones. I'm go glad you found my blog and hope you'll return for future visits. I enjoyed reading about what you all love about spring. I share all your sentiments about this lovely season! Greta, you expressed my sentiments about spring so well in your comment! It does come around just when you need it! As promised, I drew a random winner via Random Generator and that person is:

I have started following you on google. :)

Congrats go to mlhummy! Please email me your mailing address by this Wednesday by clicking the Email Me button in the right-hand sidebar. I will ship your package out on my weekly run to the post office this Thursday. As always, I wish I could give something to everyone who entered but rest assured, there will be more little impromptu giveaways this year. I always like to share the wealth whenever I can!

Sunday, February 22, 2015


                          THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

The January/February issue of Victoria magazine with my article on the Dallas Arboretum arrived in the mail last week and it definitely got me in the mood for spring.

I enjoyed writing the piece on the Dallas Arboretum, which puts on a spectacular botanical show of color every season. The article is aptly named "Season's Best". I hope you'll check it out (Read on for details on an impromptu giveaway for a copy).

I hope you all had a happy Valentine's Day. My heart purse, which I ordered from England, showed up a week late but I still had a fantastic day. Thanks to some styling help from the online shop I ordered my dress from, I got a cute vintage-inspired pair of shoes that complemented my Valentine's dress, and best yet, they were on sale for less than $15! I was so glad to get some styling guidance as I have no idea how to pair shoes with dresses or tights. You might call me fashionably impaired!

My dear hubby surprised me with a couple other gifts, including this handy shoe storage unit that hangs on a door and accommodates up to 36 pairs of shoes. Unlike many women, I don't have that many because I'd rather fill my closet with what's photographed in the next photo. Nonetheless, it's a great storage solution for a closet in our 1885 Victorian home—These old Victorians aren't known for their ample closet storage or storage space in general!

Yes, I'd rather fill my closet with fabric than clothes, and more than half the built-in shelves are taken up by fabric rather than clothing! 

Hubby also gave me this sweet owl book of quotes. Even the little bookmark is an owl!

This quote echoes my sentiments exactly!

And how sweet are these quotes? Winnie the Pooh was certainly a wise little bear. His quote on the second page is so true.

Hubby saw this owl bag on my Pinterest Wish List page and ordered it for me all the way from England. I thought that was really thoughtful of him. I never thought I would actually get it.

Hope you are all starting to think spring, too. To get you in the mood, here's a little impromptu giveaway for a copy of the Victoria magazine shown in the first photo in this post and a half yard of this owl/forest friends flannel fabric (shown below). You needn't be an official Google Blogger follower, though if you are, please feel free to enter a separate comment telling me you are for an extra chance to win as a thank you for your support of my blog. The giveaway is also open to my international blogging friends. This is just a quick little giveaway, so it will end Tuesday, Feb. 24, at noon central time, and I'll draw a name that evening. Winner will be responsible for contacting me as several bloggers are non-comment bloggers, which means your comments come through with no email address for me to reach you at. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what you like most about spring.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I'm trying the auto-post feature of blogger and hope this post pops up Saturday afternoon! We will see! Several years ago, we found these vintage valentines in the attic of our 1885 Victorian, and it seemed appropriate to share them with you today as we celebrate Valentine's Day. They just don't make them like they used to!

To celebrate this special day, I surprised my hubby with these sugarless mini chocolate cookies made with unsweetened 100 percent pure cocoa and natural stevia in place of sugar. As I mentioned earlier, he is pre-diabetic and I'm trying to find ways to indulge his sweet tooth without raising his risk of diabetes. I even purchased a cookbook on using natural sweeteners in baking--I know that many artificial sugar substitutes like Splenda or ones containing aspartame, sucralose, etc. are harmful to your health. I served the cookies on my vintage shell pink leaf plate.

I found the sweetest little mini mint chocolate chips at my local baking shop and sprinkled some of those on top to give the cookies a hint of sweetness. Mini chips are certainly a nice alternative to the regular sized chips. These little mint green chips are sprinkled with brown spots—such a delightful color combo!

I have a wish list on my Pinterest page and if I'm lucky, my hubby occasionally surprises me with one of the items on it. Here is one such gift that my hubby surprised me with this morning—a new Marc Jacobs quilted pink iPad case! I love that it has a strap, which will make it more likely that I'll take it with me while on the go. It goes perfectly with my new pink plaid wool coat, which is pictured with it. 

Tonight the hubby will take me to my favorite downtown Des Moines restaurant for a special Valentine's dinner. I bought the pink heart dress (featured in my previous post) just for this occasion and plan to surprise the hubby with it this evening. Hopefully he will like it! Hope you all have a very sweet Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Looking out my window at our slumbering arbor garden, it is hard to believe that spring is next month! January is always the hardest month for me. By February, I can at least see the light of spring at the end of the tunnel!

Even though winter still has us in its icy grip, it's not too early to think spring! Our latest issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine will help you cultivate the seeds of creativity with a fresh crop of projects ranging from quilts and hooked rugs to wool appliqué and punch needle. It's on newsstand now! I'm currently editing projects for the summer edition. 

Now that it's February, I'm in a Valentine's Day mood. My fabric stash is lacking in Valentine motifs but I recently found this cute fox fabric. Have you noticed that foxes are becoming as popular as owls? Seems like I see more and more of them. 

Speaking of Valentine's Day, my hubby made dinner reservations at one of my favorite downtown Des Moines restaurants and I ordered a special dress and purse for the special occasion. As usual, the online boutique I ordered the dress from was very helpful in giving me measurements to make it more likely the dress would fit and luckily, it did! Yippee! Since it is always so cold here during this time of year, I will wear my black shrug over the dress to stay warm. The purse is in transit, so I hope it arrives in time.  

I will eventually post more details about the dress on my Pinterest as well as my pink blog, Tickled Pink, that I started last summer (There's also a clickable button on my right sidebar that will take you there). It's just my fun corner of cyberspace devoted to my love of all things pink. I had so many things in that hue that I decided it would be fun to have a place to record many of them.

In other news, February finds us continuing our goal to eat fish 2–3 times a week. I've always said that if fish weren't so expensive, I could live on it. Ever since I was a kid, I've loved all sorts of fish except for tilapia (Not a fan of that). Best yet, fish is easy to prepare even on nights when I don't feel like cooking. My father-in-law is taking a little break from ice fishing, which has prompted us to try some new fish. I saw some wild-caught hake fillets in the grocery store last weekend and decided to try them. Hake is less expensive than one of my favorite fish—wild-caught Pacific cod—so I thought why not give it a try? I first tried baking them and they were okay. The next night, I grilled them, which produced a much nicer flavor. If I were to have them again, I would definitely grill them! It seems like fish like this and halibut are best grilled, and it's so easy to do that on my stovetop grill pan (No need to brave the cold with an outdoor grill!). All Clad makes a nice stovetop grill pan that makes those grill marks on the fish like you see in my photo below. Broccoli is about the only veggie that my hubby and I will eat, so we steamed some to go with our meal. The verdict? I still prefer cod to hake but I wouldn't rule out buying it again.