Tuesday, February 26, 2013

'Saturday Sparks' Party - starts this Saturday!

Joining link parties is one of my favorite ways to find inspiration.  I love seeing the wonderful projects that people share. I thought it was about time for me to join in on the fun and start hosting my own party. The first party will start this Saturday at 9am EST.
It will be called 'Saturday Sparks', being that inspiring projects tend to 'Spark' my interest and get my creative juices flowing. My hope is that you will find and share inspiration. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Scenes from the Side of the Road 4

I didn't have to travel far to show you these 'Scenes from the Side of the Road'. These photos are from our yard and give you a glimpse of a winter day here in New Hampshire.

This mighty oak hibernates for now, but Spring is not far away.

This Red Maple was planted by my husband some 26 years ago, when our children were just babies. Time goes by so quickly.

This last storm brought heavy wet snow that has weighed down the branches of this hemlock tree.

Our picnic table and clothesline rest for now. Their season will be upon us soon. 

Our home is hidden in a blanket of snow, tucked away in a winter wonderland.

The wood pile is visited daily during the winter season. There is nothing like a cozy fire on a cold winter day.

 Snow laden trees greet you as you drive along our road.

Some do not care for the winter months but I savor every moment. Their is nothing like the beauty and peace of a freshly fallen snow. Spring will be here soon, but I will enjoy the remaining days of winter for now.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bird Pincushion Tutorial

We are in the midst of a bitter cold snap and I felt the need to warm my soul by creating this new pincushion. The sweet little bird reminds me that Spring is just around the corner.
On a recent trip to one of my favorite antique shops - 'Log Cabin Antiques' - I spotted this silverplate gravy boat and knew it would make a great base for a pinkeep. I couldn't resist that lovely, tarnished patina.
You must first decide on a fabric for the bird. I chose a soft brushed cotton/flannel. Wool would work nicely as well. There are many different sewing patterns for birds. I found one on  'Lavender's Blue' site and modified it by printing off their pattern and reducing it on my printer. If your printer does not have this option, any copy store should be able to do this for you.
A 62 percent reduction worked out to be the correct proportions for my base unit (the gravy boat). You may need to increase or decrease this depending on the size of your base unit. My completed bird measures approximately 4 1/4" wide by 2 1/2" high. 

I wanted larger wings for my bird, so I drew a simple pattern for a larger, curved wing.  You will need to cut 4 wings from fabric and 2 from a lightweight cotton batting. The batting is used to give the wings more stability. Place the cotton batting in between the brushed cotton wing pieces and hand stitch around the 'wing sandwich' with a blanket stitch. Using a blind stitch, sew the completed wings to the body leaving the back half of the wings unattached. 
For the beak, cut yellow wool in a long diamond shape. Fold this in half and hand stitch on the fold line to the body. In keeping with the 'art of making do', I used small pearls (that I had on hand) for the eyes.  I simply colored them with a black permanent marker. Other options would be small beads or french knots. Attach the eyes with a strong thread (such as quilting thread) and pull the thread tightly to draw in the eyes slightly and give more definition to the face.
You need to choose a fabric for the pincushion. I chose linen for mine. Make the cushion by cutting a circle of fabric twice the diameter of the opening of your base (my base is the gravy boat).  Sew a running stitch around the outer edge of the circle and pull the thread tails to gather the fabric into a pouch. Fill the gathered opening tightly with polyester stuffing.  Pull the thread tails tightly to close the opening and then stitch the opening closed.
Turn the cushion right side up and place inside the base.  The cushion should have a nice snug fit in the bowl with no puckers or pleats along the sides.
Add some subtle details to the cushion with vintage buttons and corsage pins.
Sew a necklace using vintage lace and adorn with a tiny rosette, buttons, pearls and silk ribbon.
The pouring spout of the gravy boat needed to be filled. A linen rosette worked out to be the perfect solution. If you are unsure how to make a rosette, 'Freckled Laundry' has a nice video tutorial on how to make fabric rosettes.
Cut some leaves from wool and tuck them under the rosette for a finishing touch. Use a few spots of hot glue to anchor the pieces to the base. Now, enjoy your completed pincushion!

I hope that you find this tutorial helpful and would love to know if it inspires you to make one of your own.
Linking up to the following parties:

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl Ad Favorites

We don't really watch sports in our home. I know that this is a rare phenomenon, especially here in the good old USA. On occasion, I have been known to watch bits and pieces of the Superbowl. Actually, I watch the commercials. These are a couple of my favorites from this years game.
We have a Budweiser plant here in New Hampshire.  They offer tours which include a visit to the barns where they keep the Clydesdales. They are such beautiful and majestic animals. You can't help but be amazed by them.
Paul Harvey was always a favorite of mine. His voice was made for story telling and there was always a lesson to be learned from his carefully chosen words.

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