Tuesday 26 July 2011

Thanks Again!

So is everyone having a good summer?! Hopefully you're getting some good summery weather where you live! We have had rain, rain, rain and thunderstorms nearly every day here...so we're hoping for lots of good summery days ahead of us in August (just in time for hubby's holidays, preferably)!

I want to say a BIG, HUGE, GINORMOUS thanks to a few bloggers for featuring my Girly-Girl Pillow from last week. The response just blew my mind! I was almost a bit embarrassed to publish that post because I didn't think anyone would actually like it! (How's that for confidence, hey?)
I was more than a little surprised when I saw notifications of it being pinned and repinned on Pinterest as well...wow, wow, wow!

But enough with that...let's get to the point!!
A big shout-out to these great bloggers...
katherines corner


One Row

Thank you SO much!!
I know I keep saying it, but it just blows me away every time I see a project featured on another blog.
Do go on over and check them all out!

The first time I saw a ruffle pillow, it was on Jones Design Company.
I absolutely adore Emily's blog, and when I first discovered it, I read every post I could find in her archives.
I noticed her tutorial on her ruffle pillow, thought it was so cute and mentally tucked the inspiration away for the future. In the weeks and months that followed, I saw some other variations of the same style pillow and loved those too. When I decided to make one myself, I purposely refused to look back at any of these sites because I wanted the pillow to be mine and not a copy cat.
After it was finished and the post was up...I went back to Emily's tutorial to refresh myself on how she had done it. At first I was amused...and then completely horrified when I realized that they were almost identical!!! Even the tutorial, right down to the pictures, was SO similar! Gasp! Yikes! No, no, no!
So, in the off chance that some of her readers would happen to wander over to my little blog, I knew I had "some 'splainin' to do, Lucy!" So let me assure you...in absolutely every way, it was completely a fluke!
Or great minds think alike...however you want to look at it.
But it was most definitely not intended to be a copy cat!!

Phewf. Okay, glad I got that off my chest!
Having said all that... now march on over there and check out all the other beautiful throw pillows she has created. Her tutorials are awesome and there is inspiration to be found in every corner!!

Well, things might be a bit slower around here this week.
Several of my family members are here visiting, so my attention will be a little more focused
on things like cooking, laundry and showing off the surrounding area!
There is one fun little re-do coming up this week though,
so keep your eyes peeled for that...ooooh the suspense!! *grin*

Before I sign off though...a BIG HUGE WELCOME to all my new followers!
It's always so exciting to see those numbers going up! I appreciate your support so much!!

Until next time!!

Sunday 24 July 2011

Cherry Cake and Other Fiascos

Yesterday my family had a big reunion on our former hometown. Since we were celebrating all the summer birthdays, my sister-in-law asked if I could make a cake to bring along. I somewhat reluctantly agreed, not being sure if I would have enough time to pull something off.
After a bit of thinking, I remembered this gorgeous cake that I saw on Amy Atlas' blog. Isn't it stunning??

I love everything about it.
The turquoise and red. The cherries. The ribbon. The two perfect layers.

So I decided to take inspiration from that, and create my own.
I should have known right then and there.
I should have remembered.
Cakes and Evie just don't seem to go together. I'm too much of a dreamer
and not enough of a think-it-througher.
I just don't think about all the facts.

I once made a blue heart shaped cake with cornelia lace all over it for my brothers birthday. All his friends were there. I wonder if he's recovered yet.
(I thought it was pretty and I was 13 at the time. He was kind enough to never once complain.)

I made a sugar cake layered with whipped cream and raspberries for hubby's 30th birthday. It did NOT occur to me, until I was halfway through icing it with raspberry flavored icing...that I was serving a pink cake for my arr-arr-I'm-a-MAN-husband and all his best guy buddies were there to witness it.
(He's made very sure I never forget it.)

I once spent an entire day baking and decorating a hazelnut torte with an elderly Swedish lady.
When I got home and got out of my car, I put the cake carrier on the roof of my car and turned around to gaze at the full moon. See? Dreamer.
The cake slid off the icy roof of my car and smashed all over the sidewalk.

Another time I catered a froofy garden birthday party. I had several layer cakes to assemble, so I just went down the line, methodically filling, icing and decorating. After a while I realized that I had forgotten to take the waxed paper off the cake layers of one of the now-fully-decorated cakes. I had a bit of red-faced explaining to do to the guests who had to pick paper out of their slices.

So you see? I should be catching on by now.
But noooo. I don't.
I decided this cherry cake would be two layers. A square layer of golden cake and filled with luscious lemon curd. Then a round chocolate layer filled with uber decadent bavarian cream.

Umm yah. In true Evie-cake-fiasco style, I yet again failed to remember that lemon curd just doesn't work for a filling. For cupcakes, yes. For donuts, yes. For cakes...NO! At least if it does...I have not figured out a way to keep the layers from sliding apart.
Not to forget that store bought icing is JUNK!!!! I KNOW this and I STILL try to use it every.single.time.
I did the best I could to get this cake to hold together, but alas...it was not to be. It slid all apart and the icing happily dribbled and pooled around the bottom.
This was all after I sliced my index finger open while trying to level off the cake,
which you can see didn't work at all.
Even if I had decided to make the best of it and use it regardless, I knew it would never have survived the 2.5 hour drive. So I had to give up altogether on using it. Which really was alright since the blue fondant I made three days before was only enough to cover the little 8" round level...

In the end I guess it turned out alright, though the cake was hardly big enough to feed
all the 10 or more birthday people, never mind 30+ people in attendance!!

It in no way compares to Amy Atlas' beautiful cake,
but I am rather fond of the little cherries and leaves.

Every time I left the room, the cherry "stems" would get a little shorter. My niece seemed to be a bit captivated with them and had a hard time keeping her fingers off!! Haha!

It's a far cry from what I had hoped for, but I still like the turquoise and red color combination.

But...next time I'm asked to bring a cake to a party, would someone please remind me to read my own post and then politely say "no"?



Thursday 21 July 2011

A Girly-Girl Pillow Just for Me...

I've been noticing quite a few throw pillows with ruffles and fabric flowers around blog land lately.  As I studied these pillows, I realized that I had somewhat unknowingly left any
kind of romantic-homes-style decorating at the altar. 
I think being married to a guy who loudly and proudly states his intense dislike for frills and lace 
will do that to ya!
Well I determined to get back in touch with the inner girly-girl that I know still lurks there and decided to whip something up one afternoon. I had a nicely textured remnant that I thought would fit the bill. As I started cutting, pinning and sewing, I had a good laugh at myself. "Whipping something up" is what I did when I was single and could eat a handful of grapes for supper and eat said supper at midnight if I wanted. Not so much with a one yr. old and a two yr. old that are both very determined to see exactly what Mommy is doing at the very closest angle possible.

Here's how I did it...I sort of apologize for the 501 photos...but I blog like I tell stories...way too many descriptions and details! I tend to find tutorials easier to understand if I can study the pics.

To make the fabric roses, cut long strips in your fabric of choice. I like the frayed look, so I didn't want to hem the sides. My strips were roughly 2" wide by 24" long. Give yourself a little "tail" and then fold over like in the picture. I can NOT for the life of me think of what it's called.

Wrap the fabric around itself and keep doing those little quarter folds...I'll call them that cause I still can't think of the right term - if there is one.

Tack it together at this stage so that the center stays put.

Keep folding and wrapping until you get the size rose you like. Make sure you vary where you fold, other wise you'll end up with a very square flower. Experiment a little until you get the look you like.

Donations for a manicure gladly accepted.
I kid.
When you are happy with the size and shape of your rose, wrap the thread around the tail and tack together with a few stitches. Cut the tail/stem down to about 1/4" below the base of the rose.

See my cute little "helper"?!
Make as many roses as you want for your pillow.
Once you get the hang of it, they are super fast and easy to put together.

I made three and varied the sizes slightly. I love the frayed edges showing through!

Now it's time to start on the pillow! I was trying to put this together as quickly as possible, so I did not do a professional job by any means. My grandma would be horrified if she could see this!
Anyhow - measure your pillow insert and cut your fabric according to size, adding a half inch seam allowance on every side. I did an envelope style, meaning that I cut two pieces for the back instead of one. Those two pieces need to be a bit longer than half the length of your front piece. So in other words, if your front piece is 20" long, the two back pieces need to be around 13" long each.

Next, cut out long strips of fabric. Because I had a remnant, I just cut up everything that was left and didn't measure at all. But if you like measuring, I think the rule of thumb for ruffles is to cut the fabric twice the length of your desired end result. So - if your pillow is 12" tall...cut your strips at 24".
Or do like I did and wing it!

Now going back to your two pillow backs...(are you still with me?!)...I give you full permission to be imperfect and forget the "rules" if you had a fussy teacher like I did!...she'll be getting hives when she reads this (hi Mom!). Fold your edges over 1/4", pin it, then fold it over again, repinning as you go. No need to iron your fold...unless you really like ironing.

Stitch it up so both of the backs have seams like this on one edge.

Now move on to your strips of fabric. Set your machine to the largest stitch setting and sew down the middle of each strip. Once you're done sewing, cut the thread and gently pull on the bobbin thread and watch the fabric gather up.
Adjust your ruffles so they are all nice and even.

Take the front pillow piece and pin the first ruffle right down the center on the right side of your fabric.

Carefully stitch together with a medium thread setting.

Lay out your ruffles on either side and adjust them until you get the spacing you like.
Some pillows I've seen had a few inches between each ruffle and some had no spaces at all. I chose to leave about 1/2" between each. Make sure your last ruffle is in far enough that once you sew the pillow together, the edge of the ruffle is flush with the edge of the pillow, not hanging off. You can see what I mean in the picture. Now you know why I take so many pictures. I stink at verbally explaining things!
Once everything is pinned, stitch all of the ruffles in place. Pretty huh?!

Before you stitch the front to the back, make sure you pin the edge of the outside ruffles back, so it doesn't get caught in the seam and look all strange. No strange wanted after all that effort!

Pin your backs to your front, right sides together. Now you can get a better idea of what I mean by an envelope style. The back pieces overlap each other and then the pillow can slide right in.
It's much easier than fussing with a zipper!
Stitch all the sides together and voila! A beautiful girly-girl ruffly pillow!

Next lay out your roses in the pattern you like. I debated between having them in a vertical row down one side and clustering them. In the end I went with a cluster, but you can really do anything you like. Tack the roses into place by freehand stitching the bottom "petals" to the ruffles. I inserted the pillow first so that I could get an exact idea of where the roses would sit best.

And there you have it!
I originally intended to use this cushion on a vintage chair in my kitchen, but decided instead to use it in the guest room. I think it goes pretty nicely on our antique Swedish sofa. And since it's now downstairs, I no longer have to see hubby's face turn green and listen to gagging sounds
 every time he looks at all those ruffles.
See? It all works out in the end!

I'm really loving those roses! I'm thinking they'd be really lovely in a nice stripey blue and white too!

I thought I'd play around a little and create a little vignette...

...but in the end, I preferred the look of the throw and book...


Linking up to Feathered Nest Friday

Design Dazzle

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Bedroom Sneak Peek

Anyone out there still remember that we have a bedroom-project-in-progress going on over here?
It's been a long stretched out process. But I think we might be at the halfway point now!

Here's what we're (and in this situation, "we" means "me" for a change!) up to now....

Whaddya think? Like it or hate it?

I'm somewhere in the middle but I think I'll really love it once everything is done. Hubby is keeping quite a stiff upper lip on it...which means he really hates it. But I think I know him well enough to rest assured that once everything is completed and he sees what I see in my head...he'll love it.
Fingers crossed.

There's still a lot left to do here even after the painting is done, but for now I'm kinda enjoying improving any freehand painting skills I may possess...and believe you me, I am using the word "skill" verrrrryyyy loosely.

Sunday 17 July 2011

A Few Favorite Garden Spots...

Here's a picture of the courtyard garden I mentioned in a previous post about repurposed candle holders. This was at our first home, which we recently sold before we moved to our current location.
 Hubby and I spent countless hours landscaping...growing plants from seed, potting, watering, pruning and deadheading. The yard was a complete disaster when we first moved in, so we poured a lot of love, sweat and tears into everything (okay maybe not tears!). 
I have to admit I really, really miss that yard. I so loved stepping out the door in the morning 
to water and deadhead in the cool morning air.

Then we moved.
Once the snow melted...this is what we saw to be our new backyard.

Granted this is right after the snow melted and even the most beautiful yard doesn't look nice then.
But still...my heart kind of sank.

Since then, we have done a bit of rearranging, a lot of container gardening and lots of weed killing! There is still a loooong way to go before we have things looking the way we'd like, but I'm happy to say I have come to love a few different areas in the yard. So I thought I'd share them with you too!
Come along for a little tour...

This old bench was sitting all forlorn along the fence, so I pulled it over and plopped it down into a corner of a rock bed and then planted a couple of pots with...what else...red geraniums! Someone needs to remind me every year though, that I can NOT grow sweet potato vines! I love, love, love the look of them at the greenhouse, but every year I plant them I just make them miserable. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. I'm positive they just see me coming and then decide to shrivel up and lose all their brilliance.

That bench has a special spot in my heart. If there is anything my momma taught me, it was to pray about ab.so.lute.ly.ev.ery.thing. Nothing is ever too small or too insignificant to pray about.
Well a few years back, still in our previous home, I decided that I wanted a twig bench to put in my garden. I looked and looked at every garage sale I ever saw, and even debated going up to a complete stranger's home to ask if I could buy theirs. (I chickened out) So then I decided to ask God for one, thanks to Mom's constant preaching. But I never saw one again. Eventually I used a different garden bench in the spot I had in mind, wholeheartedly loved it and never gave it another thought.
Then we moved in to this house. A few days later, hubby pointed out, "Guess God answered your prayer honey....you got your bench!" It's true! And I love that bench! Now I'll probably drag it along with me to every new house we live in because I can't ever seem to part with anything sentimental!

My parents gave us this beautiful fountain,
and I've really enjoyed watching the lilies grow up and around it.

These lilac bushes were already here, but we decided to add another garden bench in front to create a little focal point along a long stretch of bare fencing.

Hostas are my other plant crush. I just can't have enough of them!

You've already seen this spot in this post. Those trees were in desperate need of pruning this spring, with their branches all the way down to the ground.
We're looking forward to tasting the cherries and apples later on in the season.

I used some of my courtyard garden furniture and pots to create a quiet little corner to sit.
The kids play area is right across from here, so it's nice to have a place to soak up the sunshine
while they play...err...fight...no play.

The petunias are finally starting to fill in nicely now
(not so much when this pic was taken).

And lastly, the deck right off our kitchen.
I did not like this spot at all for a long time...too small...too hot and not enough privacy.
But the addition of an outdoor rug and a big umbrella has turned it into a spot where I now love to enjoy a morning cup of coffee and listen to the breeze blowing through the trees!

I think my candles sat out in the sun a little too long! Recognize them?!

More geraniums! My salute to my Swedish heritage, where so many of the homes have beautiful red geraniums growing in the sunny windowsills.
I absolutely adore them.

I like adding palms to my potted plants for their tropical touch...much appreciated in this Alberta climate!

That's about it for this year, but next summer we have lots of plans for a pergola, a rock patio
and maybe even a fountain. I can hardly wait!

Thanks for walking through the garden with me today!!


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