Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Last week was busily spent cleaning, cooking, and baking in preparation for Easter.  Did you know that "According to an ancient tradition the three days after Palm Sunday are devoted in many places to a thorough cleaning of the house, the most vigorous of the whole year."   {from a great article found online here.}
I tried some new recipes from The Gourmet Cookbook , which after borrowing from the library, I decided I needed to buy.  A used copy was found online for a good price, and I tried the baked eggs and mushrooms in ham crisps for our brunch.  {Very good, except I overcooked them just a bit...}

Also, for the first time I made Placek.  Placek, which means cake in Polish, is a delicious coffee cake--more of a sweet bread really--that my Polish great-grandmother used to bake.  I don't have her recipe, but found 'Grandma O's Placek Recipe' online, which is quite delicious!  The recipe makes 4 loaves and any that are not eaten right away keep beautifully in the freezer, perfect to pull out and enjoy with coffee or tea.

Hope your Easter Sunday was good,


Thursday, April 10, 2014

chair covers, guinea hens, and pottery

 The other morning, as I was briskly walking the treadmill in the basement, out of the corner of my eye I realized that some one or thing was outside the heart would have raced had it not already been over exerted from the exercise.  I was relieved to see it was only a few guinea hens from next door peering in at me, and who when they saw me, sounded the alarm--hard to describe the sound but it's very loud.
When I came upstairs, Fluffy was most upset about the intruders and was giving them a piece of her mind...
 After a long cloudy winter, we are loving the sunshine.  It has, however, brought to light the fact that some household freshening up is in order.  Now that the couch is finally slipcovered, I decided to recover the seats on our kitchen chairs.  Unbelievably I could not find a Before picture, but they were covered in a natural-colored linen.  The linen had been on for several years and was starting to look a bit worse for the wear.  I decided to go with something a little more bold and easier to clean...

 The fabric is Swavelle/Mill Creek Indoor/Outdoor Finnigan Stripe Tuxedo from  Although I'm not a fan of polyester, this fabric is stain and water resistant and spills can be wiped up with soapy water...time will tell, since spilling here is only a matter of time.
While we're in the kitchen, I want to show you the little pitcher I found at the thrift store...
I only recently found out about this Polish stoneware from Boleslawiec, Poland.  The patterns and colors are gorgeous...I can't believe I never knew it existed!  So, when I was wandering through Goodwill with my 50% off coupon, I was happily surprised so see this deep blue, snowflake design pitcher which soon became mine for $1.50.  Never mind that the matching sugar bowl was no where in sight ~ apparently they became separated at some point in time ~ I love it all the same.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

houseplants tour

I've gone a little crazy over houseplants lately.  Spring fever must be to blame, and they certainly are helping ease the wait for some gardening weather outside.  I never spend very much on them--usually under $5. Overgrown plants get divided and I've even had success growing cuttings from geraniums
Here's my little houseplant tour...sadly I'm not very good with names:
{new fern from our local garden center--brass planter found at Goodwill }

{ kalancho thysiflora from Home Depot--my favorite! }

{ I divided an overgrown African violet into four plants--it was quite overgrown. }

{ On the idea what this one is. }

{ Peace plant, actually blooming! }

{ Snake plant or Mother in law's tongue (?) in the dining room; supposedly needs very little light.  The container was found at Goodwill as was the silver plated bowl. }

{ A Boston fern that came in from the porch for the winter. }

{ Unknown succulent...Home Depot and Walmart have had a good selection, very inexpensive too. }

{ Another succulent, called Gollum. }

{ Another of the divided African violets. }

{In the sunroom, Jade plant on the far right...I'm not sure what the other two succulents are called, though the smallest may be donkey's tail. }

{ Another succulent in the sunroom planted in an old tin cup. }

{ Another snake plant. }

Now, of course, I've thought of a couple plants I left out, but I'm sure you've seen enough for one day.
Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

sewing, some color, robins...but no Spring yet

The robins have returned despite the cold and snow, as have the Canadian geese...sure signs that Spring can't be too far behind...right?  To distract myself from the near-agonizing wait for warm weather, I have been:  visiting the library for books packed with color, sewing some bags, planning some drawstring sacks, painting some furniture, and pulling out all my fabric scraps with some new pot holders in mind.
I found this knitting book at the library, Color by Kristin: How to Design Your Own Beautiful KnitsAfter months of gray outside, this book is a feast for the eyes!  The gorgeous slipper socks have been added to my things-to-knit list ~ they will be a perfect way to use up many leftover balls of wool.  I wouldn't mind making some of the beautiful pillow covers either...
What have you {Northerners} been doing while you wait for Spring?  {I'm sorry, but I know those of you in the South are probably enjoying some sunshine, flowers, and gardening, and I'm not sure I could bear to hear about it ;) ...just kidding! Please let me know what you've been doing--enjoying--making. } 
*This post does contain an affiliate link.

Monday, March 17, 2014

a finished less than a year!

This is the morning after last weeks snowstorm--the 
sun beautifully shining on a new foot of snow.
Thanks to a warm up in between then and now,
much of the snow has melted, though the temps
are quite frigid today.
Thank goodness for some indoor blooms...

Also making me happy is a finally finished slipcover
for our sofa, which is a vintage mohair model and
solid as a rock.  I finished the cushion cover last
year and have lived with it all, half-finished
since then.  {Why is that when I had two little 
ones, I could complete a slipcover in a couple

I would love to say it's a heavy, oatmeal-colored linen,
but due to budget and pet concerns, I instead chose to
use a very large canvas drop cloth...
I seem to have gotten lazy in my old age, and cut corners where possible.  No piping, which I've almost always added to my slipcovers in the past--I couldn't bear the thought of cutting and sewing the miles that would be required. So, rather, I just topstitched along all my seam lines to give it some strength.
The drop cloth, being very large, did come with some seams--I incorporated them into the slipcover as you can see below, at the end of the couch.  I also used the existing hemmed edges of the drop cloth for my hems--probably not proper, but probably no one else will ever notice.
 While at the machine, I also sewed some new pillow covers.  The large ones in the corners reverse to a solid blue linen that I found in the remnant bin at Joann Fabrics.  The red & aqua floral was also found at Joann's.

Marley decided he needed to be in the picture so you would all see how worried {and sometimes frantic} he feels when it's windy outside...poor guy, it's not always easy being a golden retreater!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

sewing and red velvet cupcakes

February...I have to admit I'm glad it's over and we are one month closer to Spring.  March has brought us a couple days of sunshine and 50 degrees, though tonight another storm arrives--a Northeaster--and we can expect 7 to 12 inches of snow and temps down to the single digits.  It has been a good winter to get some basement cleaning, sewing, painting, and baking done.  I've gotten a few totes and pouches sewn, the two above which can be found in the shop; and I finally finished the slipcover for our couch.  Next up, some new seat covers for our kitchen chairs.

February is also birthday time for one of the kids and I made these Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  I have good luck with recipes I've found on, and this one was no exception.  They are delicious, got rave reviews, and the recipe makes 30 cupcakes.  I froze up the extras, which tasted just as good after being defrosted.

Hope are out of the path of the storm and enjoying some warmer weather.  Have a good week,


Monday, March 03, 2014

a long, hard winter...and a winner!



Somewhere under all the sparkly snow are my raised beds.  This has been our view out back for the last few months--constant snow cover and record cold temperatures.  One morning this week was -5 F and we will be down around 0 F tonight...I know there are some of you that have been much colder...brrr!  The weather news on TV tonight was not encouraging, as they are predicting that the Great Lakes will keep our area colder than normal for the next 90 days.  I shall have plenty of time to make garden plans...

On a happier note, I would like to announce the winner of the "Where Women Create Giveaway"...chosen by Random Number Generator:

Lori has left a new comment on your post "Where Women Create Giveaway":
thanks so much! And hope you are feeling much better... Thank YOU for your blog which will bring me spring inspiration

Lori, please contact me via email {you can find a link on my blog sidebar} so I can get your address.

Thank you everyone for your interest in the contest and for taking time to leave a comment!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Where Women Create Giveaway

How nice it was this past week to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a new magazine while I was feeling a bit miserable with a cold.  Luis, from Stampington and Company, kindly sent out the latest issue of Where Women Create and offered to provide another to one my readers as a giveaway prize!

If you're already familiar with the magazine, you know how well-done and inspiring it is.  The photos are gorgeous, and I could spend hours pouring over the details of each artist's workspace.  The accompanying articles reveal each woman's story--whatever your creative level, I think you will find inspiration.

The current issue features the work spaces of Kristin Nicholas {seen on the cover}, Joanna Madden, Lisa Leonard, and Karla Nathan ,just to name a few...
If you would like to enter to win a copy of this Spring issue, please leave your comment below {only one per person, please}; it is sure to help banish the winter blues!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

knitting notes

 First, let me say thank you so much for all the wonderful comments you left regarding the leather bag I made.  Your kind words are always encouraging!

Today I thought I'd post some pictures of slippers I knit back in December.  The free pattern is Drops 129-17



The slippers are knit mostly in seed stitch with garter stitch at the toe.  Instead of the super bulky yarn called for, I combined some cashmerino aran and organic cotton that I had on hand--together they gave me the gauge needed...and made for a luxuriously soft pair of slippers, perfect for gifting!
A great pattern, and I can't wait to make a couple pair for myself--though probably in a more practical-for-me, dark colored, sturdy wool  :)

Details on my Ravelry page.


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