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There’s No Place Like Home (A Home Tour)

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I just saw this quote on Pinterest today by Jane Austen; “There’s nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” Being a homebody myself and a desperate Jane Austen fan, I fell in love and decided to make a print of it myself.

Today, as Spring days often are, is dreary, rainy, and romantically cozy. I find that my house is sprinkled with comfort and all things romantic as I walk through it. I wanted you to take a walk through it with me. DSCF1880

As I walked up the steps toward my attic office, I caught a glimpse of our cat, Picky-Picky sprawled out lazily upon our guestroom bed. I picked up this bedspread at an antique shop tucked away in a quaint little town while on vacation. The curtains draped haphazardly over this antique bed (found for a steal for $75 at a local flea market just down the street) were made from sheets found at Salvation Army.

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Next door is our girls’ room, papered with scrapbook sheets with paper stars dangling above the bed. Sometimes, when I tuck the girls away into bed at night, we pretend they are real stars and the ceiling is a night sky full of wonder and shooting stars.

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Then there is my room, painted a delicious, buttery yellow, complete with three windows that stream the sun through it. Even on a dreary day like today, it is bathed in luxurious light. The four post bed was crafted by my grandfather a quarter of a century ago and makes me feel ridiculously spoiled. It is high and soft and romantic. It is accented with bird pillows and a throw quilt, both crafted by yours truly, and is piled high with quilts acquired from different places, but my favorite being the one on top that was tucked away in my grandmother’s antique chest made by a relative long ago. As you can see, we, too, have stars above our bed. I am quite obsessed with paper stars.

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This vintage tray is one of my proudest finds, picked up at an estate sale for a few cents that sits on a shelf in our bathroom, topped with lotions and potions.

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When we first took a tour of our house when we were looking to buy, I nearly melted on the floor when I caught sight out this fireplace. It’s flanked by fluted pillars and has a built-in mirror that gives the room depth.  Do you see them? I told you I was obsessed with paper stars!

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This is our little breakfast nook, tucked into a corner of our kitchen. Can you tell I like vintage style? We got this table (that has two sides that pop out) and chairs all for $30 at an estate sale. Estate sales are my absolute favorites for the best finds!

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Seriously? Is there anything more romantic on a cold or dreary day than a hot cup of tea in a pretty tea cup? Most of these were my great grandmother’s. Aren’t they lovely?

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Along with paper stars, I am obsessed with birds (did you notice them on the pillows on my bed?). My dear, sweet mother knows this. This is Vivian, as I have fondly named her, given to me by my mom.

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….as was this one, which dangles nicely from the china cabinet in our dining room.

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Our reading nook, tucked between our stairs and living room, is papered with wallpaper I found for a dollar a roll at Micheal’s. I am quite fond of it.

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Aren’t they handsome? Perhaps one of the coziest of coziness on a dreary day are my two pals, Burton and Henry, that keep my company while the girls and Sam are away. Look at those faces!

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Lastly, this is the hope of things to come! This was taken in our backyard at the end of summer last year. This picture doesn’t do anything in it justice. Those zinnias and forget-me-nots brought me such joy! They were absolutely breath-taking. And that cute little girl in rubber boots watering flowers? Words cannot describe how cozy she is to cuddle!

So that is a glimpse into my cozy home! More to come later…….

xo

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Easy Mitten Quilt and Tea Staining Fabric

ImageQuilting as you go is a really popular way to quilt it seems these days, which absolutely thrills my soul! With two businesses to try to keep afloat, two girls to keep after, errands to run, a house to keep in order, murals to finish painting, custom orders to keep up with, youth group activities, church functions, upcoming showers and parties, Christmas presents to be made…..(you get the idea) I am so happy when I see something that helps me to shave off some time on my projects. I have sold my quilts in shops in the past (real storefront stores, not online) so I have to have an inventory of quilts on hand ready to be shipped out. Fall is just around the corner, and Christmas and snow shortly to follow, so lots of stores are already carrying winter items (which is terribly depressing to me, but that is for another day).  Anyway, I came up with this mitten quilt that is an applique quilt-as-you-go quilt that literally took me just a little over three hours to make, start to finish (minus tea staining the fabric). 

Here are the supplies you will need:

* 2 pieces of fabric measuring 48″x36″

*Batting measuring 48″x36″

*Fabric scraps of your choice for the mittens and binding (I found this adorable cotton fabric that looks like it’s knit, but I think using real salvaged sweaters would be cute, too)

*Rickrack

*Fusible webbing

*Thread

*Tea bags (if you intend to tea stain the fabric first)

Pretty simple list, right? 

First, I tea stained the fabric by boiling some water on the stove with a few tea bags, then I turned the stove off and let the fabric soak in it for a good hour, then rinsed and rung it out and hung it out to dry.  Don’t toss the water or bags yet because they will come in handy later.

102_2205After it had dried, I dipped it in the water a few times, then rinsed it out and rung it out really well, the put it in my dryer to really set the stain. DO NOT PUT IT IN WITH OTHER ITEMS!! It will stain other clothes, so I don’t recommend it and you might want to run a rag over the barrel once you are all done with this process. It has never left residue on future cycles for me before, but it probably doesn’t hurt to use this precaution.  You can always hang it up to dry again if you want to.  After it was dry again, I took just the tea bags and would put them in the fabric and squeeze for a very highly concentrated staining.  I have found that it’s always better to make sure the fabric is completely dry when you do this. 

102_2206Then I toss it in the dryer once more for good measure, pull it out and it’s good to go!

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I love anything vintage or antique, so I love this method because it makes your fabrics look “aged” quickly.

Once the fabric was tea-stained, I went to work cutting out mittens. I traced around my own hand for a pattern (very scientific 🙂 ) and then cut out two pairs of mittens out of each of the fabrics and webbing I had, totaling six pairs of mittens. Then, I sandwiched my three layers together (backing, batting and front fabric) and pinned it all together nicely as you would any other quilt.  Then I went about pinning and ironing the mittens in place. This part was fun to me, because I liked putting them around a little haphazardly like mittens strewn about after a morning sled riding and building snowman, discarded in the haste of warming hands on a mug of hot chocolate.  

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After I had the mittens where I wanted them, I pinned on some matching red and green rickrack to connect four out of my six pairs of mittens. I love rickrack! It adds a vintage touch to any project.

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*Note: I know one if dark brown and not red, but I was going to use the brown until I found I had some red after I took this picture. 

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Starting from the middle of the quilt outward, I went about quilting the three layers using a free-motion stitch, and sewing around each of the mittens and across the rickrack. 

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Once it was completely quilted (which took only about an hour total time) I cut out 1/2″ strips for the binding from different fabrics, just to keep things interesting. 

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Last but not least I attached the binding by machine. I know, I know…..that’s the lazy method. But, doing it this way is the difference between 30 minutes and three hours. So, I will take the easy method, please.

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Aaaaaaand (drum roll please) there you have it! A cozy quilt for the upcoming winter chill.

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Now all that is missing is a hot cup of cocoa, a crackling fire, Dean Martin singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside”, and snow sticking to the window outside. 

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Pottery with a Purpose

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For about two years now we have been sponsored a child from Haiti (Ermione)  through World Vision and the girls have loved praying for her and sending her specials cards and pictures.  When we were searching for a child to sponsor, we chose Ermione because she is from Haiti which is still reeling from the earthquakes which ravaged their land a few years ago. Also, her birthday is just one day prior to Nora’s, so they feel a special bond to her because she is so close in age to them.  As the girls have gotten older, my husband and I have been wracking our brains in how to teach the girls gratitude for all that God has provided for us and for caring for others beyond themselves; hence this little project. It’s experimental, to be honest, but we wanted to involve the girls more in sponsoring a child of their own, earning the money themselves (well, with our help of course) to care for another child overseas. Rather than spend time telling you about it myself, I thought I would let my guest bloggers speak for themselves. 🙂

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EVIE:

“My name is Evie and I am five, almost six. I like to play with my Mommy sometimes and I love Mommy. I like to play games, eat popcorn and watch a movie. My favorite movie is Tinkerbell and I have a necklace and I make pretend food for everyone.

Today we painted plates. What colors were on the plates were brown, pink, purple, black and let’s see….think, think, think, think, think, think, think….We did the plates for us to keep and to tell everybody in our country about Jesus…um…I meant about to make money for other kids like Ermione and other kids so the Moms and Dads and kids could buy food in a poor, poor, poor, poor place. I was on the plates. I showed what face I wanted to do and color things in.”

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NORA:

“My name is Nora and my favorite thing to do is play outside and I like to eat macaroni and cheese and have some color in my macaroni and cheese. I like to go to the candy store and especially is go to camp and get popsicles there too; eat there, spend time there, too. Go in the pool and play in the playground.

We colored the plates and that was really nice and we did pictures on the plates and smiled. We did the plates to spend money to eat because it’s for them to have…um…for Ermione. It’s cost some to buy food and it’s for them to help buy food because they don’t have much food. It’s for them to learn about Jesus and to help them go to school to learn about Jesus. Ermione has the same skin as me and her birthday is the day before mine. She’s the same age as me and Evie which is five….the same thing as us. Some day we would like to play with her sometimes. “

I am going to be offering personalized plates like these and other hand-painted pottery by me and the girls in my Etsy shop and other pottery (like these mugs) and all proceeds will go to our sponsored child. Who knows? We are hoping to be able to earn enough to sponsor more than one a month!

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Time to reevaluate…

I have had my Etsy shop on “vacation mode” for about a month now trying to catch up on orders I have in. I specialize in custom quilts, and though ten orders might not really sound like a lot, when they take about three months to make, it takes up a lot of time….and time is money. I am really no business woman. It’s all very overwhelming and confusing to me sometimes. So, I have been pondering whether I should cut back on taking customs orders in general, or just offer simpler patterns and quilts of a much smaller size, like baby quilts or throw size quilts, or if I should do away with quilts in general! I do a lot of custom guest book quilts for baby showers or weddings, and have done family tree quilts as well. So, here are some pictures of what I have made and some things I have currently for sale. I could use some serious feedback or any advice anyone might have in making a more profitable business, and if any of my items stands out to them! Thanks!

Superman Baby Tag Blanket1. Superman sensory blanket.2.Guest book tree quilt 3.Patriotic quilt4. Baby pinwheel quilt 5.Custom baby shower quest book quilt 6.Charlotte’s Web book purse 7. Custom team quilt
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TV stand to TV Grand

We inherited this TV stand about nine years ago from my sister who upgraded to another TV stand. Though I have been so thankful to have this treasure, it has been a source of contention for some time now. It is wobbly and a little outdated, so when I found a sweet wardrobe-esque TV stand sitting across the street from our house, beckoning to me with a “For Free” sign duct taped to it, I believed providence had brought it there for me. Unfortunately,  my husband wasn’t as convinced as I was. While I begged, pleaded, (manipulated, a little), and stomped a foot, he being immune to my tantrum, the manna from heaven was scooped up by someone else within an hour.  You need to understand that the only new piece of furniture we own that we didn’t get second hand is our sleigh bed that my family all pitched in and bought us for a wedding present. We have a dresser, two wicker couches, two chairs, and about twenty windows that we picked up along the side of the road. Every year in our city, for an entire month you can set out a piece of furniture for garbage pick-up. We pack the kids in the car on garbage night and “shop” for new furniture. I kid you not, my friends. This is the best way to shop! You won’t believe the things that people throw out, and how you can turn trash into treasures with new upholstery or a coat of paint.

Anyway, since I didn’t get the other stand I wanted, I decided to make do with what I had. I dragged an old window out of the basement that had lots of character. It already had that fashionable stressed look, so I didn’t have to do much to get the look I wanted. I also dragged out a can of celery green paint I had left over from painting our bedroom and went to work. I lucked out because the window fit into the cabinet almost perfectly with very little altering needed to the original structure.  I found some pretty fabric I had as well (being a quilter by trade I have totes and totes full of lovely fabric) and went to work stapling the fabric to the back of the window. Then I went to work painting the cabinet. First, I painted it with a little red paint, just a light coat, for a primer. I did this because I wanted to sand away at the top layer of paint to give it that distressed, aged look and thought the red would be pretty showing through underneath the green.I bought these little beads at the dollar store to use for my door pull. As you can see in the after picture, I have yet to put my pull on the right side of the door. Originally I wanted to put my hinges on the other side of the window, but this side provided more room to attach the hinges. But, these were so cheap and have the look of an old, glass knob. I thought they were charming!I enlisted the hubby (isn’t he adorable?) to help me with some minor alterations. I am not good with power tools, and although the window fit almost perfectly, a few cuts were needed to be made, and he helped me pick out and attach the proper hinges. We got these ones at Lowe’s for a few dollars each.After he attached the door and she was all painted, it was pretty much ready to go! I just sanded the top layer of paint very lightly with a low grit sandpaper, and it was all ready to go! Here she is in all her glory!