Working with a two-year-old always requires patience. And, if you persist long enough you are rewarded with beautiful smiles, scampering little feet, tiny toes, curious blue eyes and unexpected emotion and fun. Grace’s Daddy just returned from Afghanistan yesterday and had not seen her for ten months. Grace was so excited to see him she didn’t get much sleep last night. I had lots of ideas for the session but, as usual, the toddler’s spontaneity shines through!

Daddy and Grace

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Last time I was in Iowa City Erin and I had such a great time hunting for real and fake pumpkins for their upcoming party. We had to check out JoAnns, of course, and Erin was like a kid in a candy store – oooing and ahing over all kinds of decor and fabric. She chose this Cloud9, organic fabric, that was designed exclusively for Joann’s stores. It’s such a nice weight and we both loved the color combination. The most important thing to Erin?? Dogs in the print. I have coordinating fabric for the leggings that I’ll work on next. I also have yarn for a dog that she wants me to knit – oh, and yarn for a scarf from The Knitting Shoppe in Iowa City.

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Since I retired last October, I’ve completed many, many knitting projects. I love how easy it is to pick up a knitting project, that the projects are so portable, AND that the supplies create very little mess. I can knit and create while watching TV with my husband or sitting on the deck while I listen to an audio book.

However, I used to sew a lot and recently went through my “stash” to see what new projects I could work on. Happily Paige has an interest in sewing and we had fun creating a blanket for her newest baby cousin this summer. She has renamed the “baby bedroom” into the “sewing room”.

This is a sewing project I just completed today from fabric I bought years ago for a quilt. I just don’t have the patience to quilt big projects any longer. I had been searching the fabric blog world and came up with this little project over at Pumpkin Patterns – my first attempt was fun! I think it’s sort of an odd shape but it was a test, or prototype, project. I do like the squared bottoms and next time it will be quicker. Next time I’ll use this tutorial at Noodle-Head instead. Can’t wait to make a couple more of useful these little bags.

Squared Bottom

contrast lining

Funny Shape

3-2-1 Ribs

August 21, 2013

3-2-1 Rib Smoking was Jim’s project this past Saturday. I’m just learning about the fine points of BBQ but now know that the ribs are cooked unwrapped for three hours, wrapped in foil for two and then unwrapped for the final hour. This gives the meat time to soak in smoke during the first three hours, when most smoke is absorbed. During the wrapped period the ribs are steamed, making them more tender and loosening the meat from the bone. During the last hour the ribs are exposed to the dry, smoky heat again to form a surface crust. This crust is actually called BARK and it’s so yummy! The night prior to smoking, Jim rubbed the ribs with mustard and spices before wrapping them in foil. Being out on the deck with Jim for part of the long cooking time gave me the opportunity to knit in that beautiful weather and to observe this Hummingbird Moth in our back yard.

Jim used a ceramic cooker Dawn found for us at a neighbor’s garage sale in Iowa City. These cookers weight 400 pounds, so, Lars needed to take out some screws so we could lift it into the Highlander.

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Bathroom Remodel

July 18, 2013

After reading The Pioneer Woman’s remodeling posts on her beautiful new blog, I feel quite unworthy to post these photos. That said, we are thrilled with our renovated bathroom. I’ll start with a couple of the wiring photos. I always needed an additional light over my dark shower and had also seen such lovely sconces over at Houzz.com. Actually, I got most of my inspiration there. I originally wanted them at the ends of the vanity but the barely visible pocket door caused a problem. I searched for something affordable and loved some at Restoration Hardware but these from Lamps Plus are taller and the shades are glass instead of linen which seems quite important in the bathroom. The first step in the project was to paint the walls Gray Wisp by Benjamin Moore. After I finally hunted down the paint chip in Rockford, I purchased the paint from Sherwin-Williams in Freeport. Next, Heidi Stukenberg of Lily Field Furniture painted the oak vanity with chalk paint called Graphite by Annie Sloan. Love this so much I want my master vanity painted, toO!

Old Light Bar

Old Light Bar

Sconces from Lamps Plus

Today was just my day. I went to Twice as Nice Home with a mission and, this time, I scored – big time! I was actually looking for dessert plates to match my old, old punch cups from the Unicorn Restaurant. Find #1: 20 dessert plates for $15. They have one rectangle for dessert, one to fit the punch cup and one is an ash tray! How shockingly retro. Find #2: This sweet antique doll that was asking to go home with me and sit on the bed with Grandma’s quilt. She reminds me of the China Girl from Oz a little bit – can you think of a good name for her? Find #3: these hand-painted plates that were made in China. 20 dessert plates and seven dinner plates came home with me for $9.99. Leaves are so beautiful, aren’t they? Find #4: paper towel holder now holding the garden string that I’m fond of using to tie up my climbing roses. Find #5: a garden angel that matches my purple bird bath and candle holder. Find #6: this tray magazine holder. I’ve been sorting through everything in my house and was having such a tough time giving up some old Southern Living, Country Living, Midwest Living, Martha Stewart, etc. and now I don’t have to!

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Plates

Princess

Princess

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Garden Angel

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Last week Emma and her family came to see me from Rockford. Emma was 13 days new and just as sweet as she could be. She slept and posed so pretty.

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Oh, my, these two boys are growing into knockouts, aren’t they? Our photographic journey has included many stages, so far, but the session today was the best. So, so cooperative and full of great ideas for poses and those eyes and eye lashes. Wow, GQ here they come! Dad, Nathan, suggested getting out a fan – LOL! Seriously, to see how these kids change over a few year’s time is heart-warming. These aren’t your typical Christmasy, cutesy setups but they are perfect for Andrew & Jacob.

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Jake

Party

In the Zone

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Kelby immediately corrected me when I called them “Urban Chickens” since, technically, they do not live in the city limits so they are not truly urban chickens. However, Kelby’s family is surrounded by a housing development so, it doesn’t really seem like they are outside the city limits. They have struggled to maintain a small flock of chickens but, sadly, the urban predators find them time after time. Hopefully, these will last a little longer. Dawn and her Dad added the coop’s side panels so the flock will be protected during the cold weather.

Saturday the weather was beautiful and warm and we were able to be outside playing and studying the newer chickens up close. On Sunday, I used four little eggs in the pumpkin pie I baked.

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Kelby assured me that the chickens do have ears.

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Luv these Chickens!

I’m a little slow to become aware of the need to recycle everything. I just read that plastic grocery bags never break down in the environment and have been regulated in many places which then led me to look at how I clean and store things and make changes there. My latest change has been to always look at ways to re-purpose furniture that I own or that needs a new home. Enter Lily Field Furniture.

I have been watching Heidi’s Facebook posts since purchasing the cute turquoise piece; waiting for the right one to become available to hold our new TV. The size was right in every direction and appeared to be a quality, well-made piece of furniture. Now, it’s sitting in our “West Wing”, adding a beautiful design statement with its color and form. Seeing the inside label in the drawer made me do some further research into the rich history of White Furniture company of Mebane, NC. I learned that the company was started in 1881 and finally closed in 1993. This research led me to Bill Bamberger, a photographer known for documenting social issues, who shot over 350 rolls of film when the factory equipment was being dismantled. His images of the laid off workers are especially touching and emotional. I’d love to find a space just like that old factory to re purpose into my own photography studio with an abundance of natural light.

Fits TV Perfectly

Fits TV Perfectly


White Furniture Mebane NC

White Furniture Mebane NC

Lily Field Furniture

Dovetailed Drawer

Dovetailed Drawer

Lily Field Furniture