Blog description

A little blog about my big loves; family, friends, stitching and yep, chocolate!

Chocolate Loving Followers!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Traveling Bags

Dear friends,
     Have you made anything out of an Altoid's tin? 

I've seen so many clever ideas, have wanted to do it for a long time and finally did!  I found this great tutorial for a little suitcase tin which you can find it here on the Graphics Fairy website.  My old Sucrets tin was not embossed on top but I added the foam, as per the tutorial, to give it some added dimension.  I am really happy with how this turned out and will use it to house my needles, small scissors and needle minders.  The tiny tacks were buttons, which I cut the shank off of and the lock is a tiny shield from a 1941 bowling medal I had picked up at an estate sale.

Layering the alcohol paints on the bright blue metal really helped give the metal edges a warm and worn vintage look.

Inside, a lovely Robin and a flower button.

It's not perfect but it was so fun to do that I made two more.

Making them is kind of addictive.

The one on the bottom is an Altoids tin and after the paint and mod podge, it doesn't close quite as easily as the Sucrets tins.  
Do they even make Sucrets in a tin anymore?
They take longer than you might think to make but I think the results are wonderful.
So, tell me, will you try this?
 I am trying to organize our guild auction which is on May 1st.  I've asked guild members to stitch a scissor fob to donate.  We will display them at the auction prior to the sale and then put them in brown bags.  Throughout the auction we will draw a ticket and if yours is drawn, you can buy a "fob in a bag" for $25.  We will reveal which fob you bought after all of them have been purchased.  Sneaky, right?  In addition to raising money, my thought was that this might give folks a chance to buy something stitched that doesn't cost them
an arm and a leg.  
No bidding.  
No arguing.
Believe me, some of the beautiful things these talented women make, go for a lot of money; as well they should!
Here's my little fob, in progress:
Prairie Schooler
1 over 1 on 32

Here it is in the middle of being assembled.


I stuffed it with lavender from my garden.  
The hanger and bottom will be beaded but I've yet to get to that, as you can plainly see!  The ribbon and bead ruching is taking longer than I would have thought.
I hope this whole idea isn't a total bust.  
Rob will be busy moving furniture, painting and doing other things to ready the house for mom and dad's arrival.  The added wall with pocket doors is up in the dining room and the door between the dining room and kitchen is also up.  Rob has finished the painting and I'll show you some pics when it's a little more presentable.  
I hope my parents will love it.
 I also hope to get back to stitching on Yuletide Welcome and the Joyful World SAL this weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have progress to show you next time you visit.
Thank you so much for stopping by and for your lovely comments.
I appreciate them so very much!
Be well,

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Treasures Found

I don't always find treasures
But when I do, YAHOO!

One of my favorite places to hit estate sales is in Grosse Pointe, MI.
There are old money folks, or the swells as some might call them,
and there are the nouveau riche and there are the waves (somewhere between the swells and the not so swells) all living in this beautiful community.  
Sometimes we go to the estate sales  just to see the homes.
You know nothing is going to be a bargain, or even affordable 
but it's worth going to see an estate you'd otherwise never get to see.  
At least, I'd never get to see it since that's not typically the crowd I socialize with.

Perhaps you would get to see them.
I shouldn't have lumped us all together.

Anyway, this is a home that was built in 1927 for the founder of Pewabic pottery, Mary Chase Perry Stratton, by her architect husband.  It is located at 938 Three Mile Road in Grosse Pointe.  
The estate sale was ridiculous but Sheila and I went just to see the house.  
There was tile everywhere - even on the ceilings.  
Here are a few pics….

Pewabic address tiles, a Pewabic porch light with the address,
a secret garden gate just to the left of the main house.

The radiator grate cover and a view to the front entry area from just inside the front door.
A Pewabic tiled ceiling and tiled stairs.

The outdoor details were just as beautiful.

This house was huge inside and had a very deep backyard.  A lot of the house was blocked off so we couldn't see the entire thing but it was a fun tour.

I was much luckier at another sale, at a more modest home in Grosse Pointe!
The woman that lived in this house was a lover of books, baskets and Shaker boxes.
I bought a couple of boxes the first day and Sheila and I were third in line on Saturday morning to take advantage of the 1/2 off sale!

Get ready…

There are lots of pictures.

A lovely, hanging candle stand with the glass globe and candle holder (and mostly burnt candle).

Shaker boxes, Shaker napkin rings and Shaker candle lids with heavy glass.

Look at the teeny, tiny divided Shaker box.  It's holding a dime.
How about the tiny one with the lighthouse on it?
And the black one that says Chocolate on it!  Swoon…..

How sweet is this little strainer?

How about these cute baskets?
Love the tin pin box.

I thought the napkin rings might make pretty pin balls.
The square box is just calling out to have something pretty put on its top.
The pin box speaks for itself!

This looks like a puzzle purchased in a museum but I thought

the cute puzzle pieces might make fun thread winders or floss tags.
What do you think?

I've already started rearranging my samplers so that my mom and dad can put things 
in their spaces that will be meaningful to them.  
As you can see, I didn't waste any time getting my new treasures on the wall and on the mantle!

I found this sweet carpenters trunk in the basement.  It's had some new hardware put on it
but for the price, I couldn't leave it.

How about these sweet tins?  There are about 8-10 in each stack.
Pin cushions, maybe?
Clutter?  For sure!

At another estate sale, also in GP, I found four of these pretty Hancock chairs for $25 a piece.  
They look great with the four I found last year and look pretty around my table, 
alternating the two, slightly different styles.
Seems like there may have been a few other things but for now, I can't remember what
they might be so I will close for this week.

I am off to Florida on Wednesday to spend about a week with my folks.
I'll try to give my dad a break and will help organize things for the big move.
Wish us all luck.

We had a very busy weekend…
A Donate for Life fund raiser on Friday which was a lot of fun and quite elegant.
Last night we went to Ann Arbor (A2) for a Chieftan's concert and a 
wonderful dinner prior to the show.
Have you ever heard the Chieftan's?
Fantastic traditional Irish musicians, they've been together 
(at least the part of the group that still remain) since
either 1962 or '63.
Great show!!!

Last weekend was The Who.
Tonight is the final show of DOWNTON ABBEY.
So sad to see this series end….

Thank you so very much for all the comments on my last post!
Each and every one makes me glad I hopped back into blogging.
Without you, it wouldn't be much fun!
Thank you!

Be well,

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Installer has been FIRED!

Yep, you read it right.  I've had to fire the window installer.  
Will you look at this house?  

How in the world could a professional NOT put in a window?  
I am baffled by the incompetence of this supposed expert.  
What a nincompoop!
   The hired replacement will have to dismantle the house in sections and re-install the missing window.  What a waste of time and money!  As I'm sure you're aware, building materials are not inexpensive.  Talk about wasting valuable resources!  
It is just so hard to get good help.  
The project inspectors (yep, that'd be YOU), are equally to blame for not notifying the project manager about this egregious error.  

Honestly, people.  What do I pay you for???

In other developments, I am working away on the monthly SAL, Joyful World, which is being gifted by Maja at Snowflower Diaries.  Find a link to the the SAL on her blog, here.  
I am working a bit ahead by trying to complete the borders prior to all the monthly designs being released.  
I'm trying to use my time wisely, while I have it!
You can find many versions of the SAL on the Facebook group called Stitch Along - Joyful World.  
It's not too late to join.  Here is my progress to date.  I have changed a few things, as you know I tend to do.

Aren't the four corners that meet pretty?  I love how lacy they look. 

January: I changed the white flowers to red winter berries because the white just wasn't showing up on my linen.  I also added a small berry stem to the bottom right.

February: I changed a lot.  I turned the ducks into Shepherd's Bush inspired sheep with a sweep of my magic wand needle and I changed the flower colors to red.

March: No major changes but I did add a few extra flower stems and leaves and changed the flower colors a bit, too.

I'd have kept on stitching but I ran out of thread.  That's what I get for using a partially used skein.  I had another skein of the same color but it was the same in name only.  Not even close.  I'll have to hit up the store in the next few days and get the borders DONE!
I'm looking forward to seeing what April brings. 

Finally, I got the WTN&T Mystery Sampler back from the framer.  The frame, although it looks blue, is actually black with a bit of red.

Have a great week.
Thanks for all your comments and notes of support and understanding regarding my family and in particular, my mom.  Every note, regardless of the length, is very much appreciated.  
Thank you for letting my know you stopped by.
I am blessed.

Be well.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

New Starts, New, Old Friends and New Beginnings (not necessarily in this order)

Dear friends!

I hope this finds you well and happy.

I have had a great last few weeks but have been virtually absent from blogging, Facebook and Instagram. 

Thank you for the many notes of concern. 

My folks were in town for an almost three week visit. 
It was wonderful! 
They will be moving to Michigan to live with us in late April or early May.

You may or may not know that my beautiful mom has Alzheimer's disease, as did her older sister and as does her younger sister.

We used the time of their visit to figure out what did and didn't work well for them.  As a result, we will be making some home renovations to accommodate them and hope to be ready (or almost) for them when they move.  I will have to take some before and after pics to show you when it's all done, which may not be when they move, but at least we have a plan. 

Her having Alzheimer's, as it is for everyone, is absolutely devastating, heartbreaking and painful. 

It seems to me to have progressed quickly but she is still functional and still knows who we are (thank God).  She has a lot of confusion though and really needs someone to watch over her at all times.  Moving in with us is a safety net for her and for my dad and
we are very happy to have them join our family. 
My mom loved being around Sophie and Gracie (and the rest of us too) so I think this is a great move for her. 
My dad will be joining Rob's golf league which he is very excited about.  He hasn't been able to go play a round of golf (and trust me, he's GOOD) in a couple of years so that should be fun for him.  All in all, the stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer's will be spread among several people rather than all on my dad.
"It's a good thing." 

In stitching news, I have completed the gorgeous, yellow house on the Yuletide Welcome Sampler from Plum Street Samplers (Paulette).

I totally love how this is turning out and have decided what to do with the grass so that I can leave it out year round but you'll have to wait for that!

Love this deer.

I recently put this aside to start on a SAL called Joyful World.  I'm sure you've seen this on many blogs/facebook/instagram posts.  The first block, with its darling fox, drew me in but I still resisted.  

The problem was, the 2nd block sort of put me off - it was a couple of ducks in love but they just didn't do it for me.   Then I saw the March block, thought it was super cute and had to jump in. So, as you can see, I changed the February block to a couple of Shepherd's Bush inspired sheepies and changed the purple flowers to red.  For me, February just had to have some red in it.

Is this a boy and girl sheep in love or a momma in love with her baby? 
You decide! 
I think it turned out pretty cute.  If/when Maja uses sheep in the design, I may have to do something else.
Time will tell.

I am stitching this on 32 count linen, one over one with a combination of fibers in my stash.
I am not keeping track of colors used, just toss them in a bag once I've used a color so they'll all be together to use again, if need be.

The other thing I'm not doing is filling in the lacy corners of the border.  I kind of like the lacey look and think the symmetry will be really pretty.

In fun news, I got to meet Chris from Tot Hill Farm Stitches blog.  She often travels to Detroit and we finally got to meet up.
We had a lovely time chatting and the few hours I got to spend with her really just flew by.  Chris is a fascinating person with great stories about her travels.  I admire her for doing all the things she does when she's on a trip - far more than I'd EVER do by myself.  I look forward to the next time she's in town!

Because my folks will be moving in, in the next few months, we've been doing some contracting and some shopping.  Rob and I had a great day looking at closets for the room they will occupy (currently the dining room) and then we hit a fun bar for lunch and a few cute shops.  I thought you might enjoy a few pics.

A beautiful antique desk top cubby….

The shopkeeper's chair.  I have two round-seat chairs that are similar in my craft room that I may have to do this to.

A collection of fun tape measures:

Either an old box, covered in vintage inspired paper or an actual old cubby.
It was not wood but heavy cardboard.
Loved it.

Darling bunny hand towels.

My new family room arrangement, which used to be my living room.  We moved the brown, family room, leather sofa into the living room where it will better go with the two red, leather recliners my folks will be bringing with them to Michigan.  
The boys hate this room.
It's not as lay around comfy as before.
But I kind of love it.
I do need a new shade for the hanging lamp and it will have to be moved back into the corner a bit, but I like the arrangement.

This is the little gathering of goodies on the small chest on the left.
It includes a pic of Rob and Matty when he was about 1 month old,
a few stitching treasures and Tyler's first pair of glasses that he got when he was 8 months old.
Treasures, all.

Finally, to go with the blue checked chairs are Rob and me in blue, too.
He's wearing checks, I'm wearing stripes and I didn't notice till we went to take this goofy pic in the mirror that we looked like Mutt and Jeff.

That's it for today, my friends.  Thank you so very much for all the wonderful comments on my last post about how you build your houses.  There are lots of similarities and lots of differences, too.
But, we all get to the same place in the end.

Have a most wonderful week ahead.

Be well.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How do You Build a House?

Dear friends,

Happy day!  I am so glad you've stopped by.

I am happy to report that construction on the big, beautiful, yellow house has begun.
I'm sorry to report that it hasn't been without its complications.
Do construction projects ever go smoothly?  
It has taken days for the roofer to complete her work but I'm happy to say that the roof is ON!

The window installers were the next to show up.  Awesome, isn't it, how a roof and windows can be installed without any supporting structure?  Sadly, the window installer didn't pay attention and hung the double paned windows too far to the right so they had to be removed and replaced.

The installer was pretty upset but what can you do?  I asked if she counted.  

She insists she did.
Said she counted twice.
Said she was sure she counted correctly.
She didn't.

Finally, the 2nd batch of windows were hung and lit.

How do you build your homes?  Do you start at the bottom, layering brick upon brick to build a solid supporting structure?
Maybe you put the roof on first and work from top to bottom, like I do.
Or maybe you start in the middle and work over to one side and then do the other side?
Clearly, there are many ways to build a home and no one way is better than another.

The important thing is to do as I say, not as I do.
(pretty sure I learned that from my momma)


I love houses on samplers, I just don't love the construction process.  Do you?
Same thing goes for grass.  I love grassy fields and yards.  I love the way they look, I don't like how long it takes for them to grow!  The grass hasn't quite taken root yet but the Christmas vine is growing and the berries are blooming.  Love it!

I would love a house that looks just like this.  I can imagine the light filled rooms, the gorgeous, Georgian furniture and the carriage house that is surely in the back.  I'm sure there are spectacular gardens and beautiful hills and views to set your heart aflutter.   sigh……

Oh, yes.  I could be happy in my beautiful, yellow, Christmas house.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving a note for me, when you have a second or two.  For me, and all bloggers, they are greatly appreciated.   If you're a new visitor, and especially if you're a new visitor with a blog, please leave me a note so that I may also visit you.

A short blog post.  At least by my standards.

Be well.