Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Summer!

 Happy Summer friends!
The summer busyness is in full swing around here, lots of comings and goings and lots of projects getting accomplished. We are still hard at work on the trim, but very close to having it done, we are on to the painting!

In the mean time, how about a garden tour in honor of the first day of summer?

We always have fun trying new combinations of annuals in our large flower pots. This year's choices are petunias, marigolds, dusty miller, snapdragons, alyssum and celosia.

 With all the warm weather in the last two weeks, they have really taken off! We are loving all the colors!

 The garden seems to have gotten a bit of a slow start, but is finally coming along nicely. The usual carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, beans, lettuce and peas. Oh and dill that re-seeded from last year!

 Our one raspberry plant has gone a bit wild, it is the taller plant in the front of the box. Mandy is trying to decided what we are going to do about it, in the meantime, it looks like we will get a nice crop of raspberries!

The strawberries are going strong! A bit on the smaller side because of the warm weather, but oh so good.

I have been working on my "cutting garden". Trying to decide what to plant and what would be just enough. I was so excited the peonies bloomed this year, but missed the chance to pick any or get pictures.

 It is amazing how much all the bushes have grown! You can't quite see them, but there are two more hydrangeas behind the boxwood and they look like they will also bloom this year. I am so looking forward to it!

After last years renovations of the sidewalks and flower beds, I am finally happy with the way this side is shaping up. Because I took out the bit of a sidewalk that curved around the house, I was able to make the bed bigger. I think I might need another plant or two, but while I think on that the bleeding heart fills the space. The bleeding heart loves it here and I am not sure if I want to move/replace it. It does get a little wild, but because of the shade it stays green for most of the year.
Well, there you have it! That is what is growing at the little cottage.
How is your garden growing this year?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Happiness is a pot of giant Zinnias!
(Planted along the side of the house in the cutting garden.)

A sneak peak at the current project underway! Yes, trim!!
It has been a few full fall-into-bed-already-half-asleep kind of days, but I am so so excited to finally get this project accomplished!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Sewing Room Re-Do

I finally have pictures of the new bright and airy Sewing Closet! I am so excited with how it turned out, better then I imagined actually! There are a lot of the same things, but a lot is new.

 The biggest difference is a new sewing table! Getting a new table was a big decision for me as my brother had made my old one, but I am so glad I finally decided a change was needed. The old table was just taking up too much space and it wasn't being that useful. To be honest, it collected messiness like crazy!
So, I picked out a basic table from Ikea with just enough room for one sewing machine and the project I am working on. It makes the room look so much bigger!  My goal is to never never leave anything on the table after a project. I am going to try my hardest not to let the mess pile up!

 I don't know where the idea for little shelves came from, but one day it popped in my head! A very clear picture of white shelves lined with milk bottles, the sun from the window glinting off them. It took a bit of searching to find just the right shelves, but they are exactly what I pictured!

The back wall is the only blank unoccupied wall. At first I was going to fill it with a couple of pictures, but then I realized two things; the white wall makes a perfect backdrop to photograph finished items and I love seeing that white from my bedroom! I did put two hooks to hang newly finished makes, but when I want to admire the beautiful whiteness, I can just take down the hangers.

Another big change is my "closet" area. I had put up a small rod from the wall to the end of the shelving and it worked perfectly fine. But when Mom suggested putting an old fashioned coat rack there instead, I said, yes indeed!
I love how it has tidied up the corner. It works quite well for me as I only hang blouses and dresses. Most of my dresses (which I don't wear everyday) are in white muslin garment bags which also keeps it calming to the eye.

 On of my biggest worries was were to keep my shoes? I had them in a bin tucked under the hanging clothes, but with the coat rack, there is no place to hide them! Then I came up with the idea of muslin bags hung from the end of the shelving. Now they are tidily tucked out of the way and kept free of dust. (I love my basic white hooks! You can find then at any hardware or building store. They are liberally sprinkled about the house.)

This is the little wall to the left of the doorway, just large enough to fit my dresser full of patterns with all my sewing tools on top. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the entire dresser. It is the same one that I have had though, Here it got a stencil makeover.

I love how this picture really show how big my sewing room is! I can never remember the dimension, though I know I have measured it. A twin bed should be able to fit under the window, so about six and a half feet by six and a half feet? It is amazing what one can do with a bit of space once you put your mind to it!

Now I am ready to sew! A good thing too as this little room feels like it is bursting with fabric!
Want to see what my sewing room looked like before? In 2014, With new wall art, Two months ago.

And this is my "happy" view from the bedroom!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Porch 2017

 This morning I dashed out and snapped a few pictures before the clouds rolled in! We did a little rearranging of the porch this year. It is all the same elements, just a different way. But my what a difference! It feels fresh and new again.
I just have the windows left to wash, then the porch will be spick and span for summer! Last week when the heat wave came through I hauled all the wicker out onto the front lawn, gave it a good hose down and scrubbed the porch floor. Earlier in the day the pillow and cushion covers were put through the wash.

I love how this picture captures the green surrounding the porch. We have such a leafy neighborhood. The tree in front of the house also provides a larger and larger amount of green each year.

Last year's porch in the Spring and Summer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Caning Chair Seats

Chairs are at a premium when all the family is over, so with visits already planned for this summer, I knew it was time to get a couple of seats re-done.
Unfortunately, the blue side chairs with the covers I made to match the curtains haven't held up very good. but I had always planned on caning them once the covers gave out!

 This is a fairly easy project. I don't use any special tools, though there are plenty available.  An extra wide flat head screw driver, a utility knife and heavy duty scissors do the job just fine for me. The pre-woven caning I purchased from Rockler.
To start, you need a chair that is clean and has a groove around the center hole(if there are small holes around the center hole, it was caned by hand, not pre-woven caning). You will also need to soak the roll of caning and spline in water for at lest twelve hours. (Mine actually soaked for almost a week as I didn't get to it as soon as I thought I would!)

 Cut off a square of caning that will cover the center hole with plenty of extra around the edges. Trim to shape so it covers about 1/2" past the groove. To help make sure I put the caning in straight I lined up a row of caning along the edge of the center hole.

 Along the front edge, gently push the edges of the caning down into the groove with the flat head screwdriver. Check frequently to make sure the caning stays straight.

 Push the spline firmly into the groove working your way across the front.

 To get around the corner, while bending the spline, push it into the groove.

 Trim the caning if it looks like it will stick up beyond the spline.

 Continue poking the caning into the groove and pushing the spline down.

 Once you have worked your way up both side and around to the back, continue until the spline ends meet.

 Now all that is left is trimming the ends!

 Make sure you trim the spline so the ends are at lest touching or overlapping slightly. When the caning and spline dry it will shrink.

And that is it! One chair seat done!

 I am really liking the contrast of the natural caning with the blue, so I will probably just put a clear coat of shellac on it.

Another project crossed off the summer To-Do List!
What is on your list this summer?