Do you guys subscribe to Polka Dot Chair? I swear, Melissa’s sewing and quilting tutorials are some of the best I’ve read. Her ideas are fresh, she’s got a cute new line of fabric out, and I’m receiving nothing in return for this glowing review. It’s just honest.
She is creative and generous in sharing her ideas.
One of those recent ideas was a Mickey-themed earbud pouch. It shamefully took me way too many attempts to make this work. I didn’t follow her instructions, which was dumb. Mercifully this weekend, I had a bit of time to finish this and the corresponding tote bag for the Mickey fan in our house.
Another thing Melissa does well is emailing her subscribers. Her monthly quilt block project makes it more than worth it.
Our friend Sagar came over last weekend for dinner. He is quite the foodie, and is intimidating to cook for. (The type of foodie who spent six months working on a croissant recipe until it was perfected.)
So… I over thought this. We ended up grilling steaks, with carmelized onions and mushrooms. We roasted sprouts and asparagus, made some pesto with basil from the garden and made bread. The bread was a multi-day process, but it was well worth it.
Also, there was chocolate whiskey cake. And it was a bit dry, but I loved it.
Add the rest of that whiskey to the party, and it became a partaaaay. It was fun to spend time with Sagar and his pup, Voo.
This project required using both a staple gun and a glue gun. It was fun, and I’m happy with this fabric.
Next up: updating the murphy valences. These should really be called dust holders. I am so thankful Jason is okay with me taking this house apart room by room and adding my sense of style.
Jason finished up the addition to the garden bed this weekend, including a new irrigation system — which will come in handy as soon as temps climb over 100 and hauling buckets of water gets old. I am thrilled! Three weeks ago, I planted cucumbers and zucchini by seed, and with the addition, I was able to thin the starts by replanting them in the new bed. Additionally, we planted more tomatoes, onions, and I’m trying melons for the first time.
I am thrilled with this crazily (perhaps suggestively) shaped garden. It was my Christmas gift and I am so happy Santa heard me! And really happy we are all heirloom and organic. I mixed egg shells into the soil this morning and sprinkled everything with a heavy dose of bone meal. We are going to have a bounty of vegetables in a couple months. I’m dreaming of an early-summer tomato party, and trying pickles again with all those cukes.
A house feels like a home to me when I can get a garden going, especially one where I’ve had the time and resources to work the soil. I know with time, this will be my best garden yet.
I promised my friend Sue two years ago when she visited that I’d sew her an Amy Butler Sun and Surf halter.
And, two years later — it is done. (This project was so easy. I just dragged my feet getting started and I am so happy it is done because it was easy! And now I’ll make more.)
Do you have tips and tricks to keep yourself from procrastinating? I’d love to hear them.
The citrus are blooming, covered in bees and making the yard smell like perfume.
We’ve got two types of basil and some lavender going. I’m hoping they’ll all perk up with the increasing heat.
Especially you, lavender. You’re on notice.
The geraniums are going strong. These are some of my favorite flowers to have around because they last so long, and they are such a great pop of color.
A few succulent cuttings for a friend.
These small palm trees are having some sort of weird sexual awakening.
The rest of the yard is screaming in color. All I can hear in my head when looking at this is, “FABULOUS! WORK IT, GIRL!” (Because you know, sometimes the plants talk back.)
And the ‘maters are in and doing well. I tried growing from seed again this year, but they are just too small to produce. So, I bit the bullet and bought some heirloom plants at the local mom and pop nursery. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep these going year-round, like I did the last year in Tempe. A new garden bed is being added soon too. The irrigation is already in. Woo!
And that, folks, is how the garden grows.
This pillow is spring on one side, and Valentine’s on the other. And, I’m done making pillows for a while. Time to find a new project to tackle!
Are you noticing a theme? This is what happens when I craft. I find a pattern I love and I make it until I am sick of it. (I’m not sick of these log cabin pillows yet. I’ve yet to make any for us.) This pillow was part of Sue’s birthday gift. (This photo of us was taken the day I met Jason!)
Sue is South African and a world adventurer, now living in southern California with her family. She has a specific sense of style; her house is thoughtful and worldly. The art on the walls is meaningful, the books on the shelves loved and well read. This is one of the many things I admire about her.
When I saw this map fabric in Seattle last summer, I knew I needed it for a Sue project.
Happy birthday Sue!
You may have already seen photos of this beauty on Facebook or Instagram — but it’s worthy of some blog love too. My mom surprised me with this gorgeous quilt for Valentine’s day. The postwoman came when I had a couple girlfriends over sewing, and I jumped up and down. “IT IS A VALENTINE FROM MY MAMA!”
I ripped open the box and pulled out the quilt on the living room floor. And then I realized it was made with scraps of my sewing projects from 2015, and I had to hold back years. I’d brought my mom a Target bag full of scraps from various projects I’d sewn and she used her magical powers of alchemy to turn them (and a bit more) into this quilt. There is ASU for Jason, and Frida for me. And I simply love it.
There are some pretty cosy perks of being a quilter’s kid.
Spring is in full bloom in Arizona; our “winter” lasted all of three weeks, or so. As such, the citrus limbs are heavy with golden orbs and the acacia are flowering with the most delicious scent. (It really is my favorite smell.)
When you have a hundred pounds of citrus, or so, what to do? My go-to is marmalade. I use the recipe from the traditional Ball Canning Book. It is essentially a 1-1-1 ratio of citrus, sugar and water. Boil this as hot as you can muster for a good 55 minutes and then let simmer until you see it thicken. The natural pectin in the citrus should be sufficient, but when a batch doesn’t seem to be setting up — I add a package of Sure Jell.
When there is only a bit left after a canning adventure, or I haven’t prepared enough jars, I will stick a half-full jar in the fridge for experiments. This week we used this jar over a pork loin in the Crockpot. Cooked for 8 hours on low, we had orange pork over steamed vegetables and rice for dinner. The kids inhaled it. (My new mark for a winning recipe.) I also used a bit in a yellow cake mix to bake a couple loaves of orange bread. Easy, sweet and using what we have.
In the garden, we have broccoli that went to seed and pepper plants that have been producing. Carrots, onions and flowering bulbs are coming up strong. And the basil and lavender have found a sweet spot in the yard, tucked under a giant ficus. They get enough heat, but not direct sun and plenty of water.
I am so happy this time of year. The windows are open when possible, the geraniums are flowering with colorful abandon, and our backyard is full of love birds, hummingbirds and three noisy dogs.