My little town doesn’t have a Target and, oh, how I truly miss clearance shopping at Target! I enjoyed poking around the store and took a few snapshots of some cute knitted Christmas things. Enough to spark a knitting or recycled wool felt project? Probably! Enjoy!
So I haven’t started yet. Unless you count scouring Goodwills, garage sales, estate sales and thrift shops for the perfect armoire to hold linens, which, everybody knows, is the absolute funnest part other than having your project done. I’m all about envisioning and finishing. The middle stuff gets a little murky so I thought I’d document my project so I’m a little more motivated to get it done. I found this Ethan Allen cabinet for $35 at the Tulsa downtown Goodwill — the only one in the area that sells furniture. Even as the store put it on hold for me (with a sign and everything) while I still shopped, another couple went up to it and I actually heard them discussing that they could just take the sign off…and I quickly mentioned that I WAS CHECKING OUT WITH IT. Geesh. That’s a sure sign of a good find!
Then, I went to buy the paint at Canabananas at The Market at Walnut Creek in Tulsa which is an adorable selection of mini boutiques. Some great, some just okay. The staff was a bit snobbish and less-than-helpful, but I enjoyed wandering around there just the same. Next time, though, I’ll buy my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint right here in Bartlesville at the French Nest. Candi Peaster is the owner and I have met her and she is super nice and helpful. Wish me luck on the project! I think I’m going to try graphite underlayer and Antibes green with dark wax to match our black bedroom furniture and green polka dotted comforter. I hope it turns out as well as I envision it!
I ran across a new website that I love and the companion video is too good to not share: Wendy’s Look Book is the site and she has produced a phenomenal video giving instructions for 25 variations of scarf-wearing!!! Her hair tutorials are wonderful as well. I hope you enjoy the ideas as much as I have.
It’s almost better than reading books and much more instantly gratifying: Pinterest. I love this site. It’s the new method of flipping through magazines for ideas and putting them all in one place: quotes, decor, motivation, design ideas, garden ideas, etc. Now if I could only get OFF pinterest and start working on my own abode…I’m still planning, okay?! This is everything I love all mixed in one.
A very good friend from my Utah days recommended her daughter’s etsy shop HUGSANDWICH for hair bows so I’m passing the word along. I do not have any girls that need hair bows but I wish that I did!!! If this girl is half as talented as her mama, they have got to be fantastic bows. Genius runs in the family.
Have you seen these cargo bucket bikes from Madsen Cycles? I want but cannot afford! Maybe after next year’s tax return!!!
Book club at my home was approaching. All the other book club ladies have such nice homes and nice furniture to go with them. I was aching for a coffee table and perhaps an end table or two so that people wouldn’t have to put plates on their laps. It is a tight week for us this week so I also wanted to make nice things to eat without going to the store. Which meant no fresh fruit. Hmmm. I made a blackberry coffee cake streusel and a bundt cinnamon coffee cake as well as a hash brown bake. No going to the store also meant no paper plates (at least not sturdy enough ones to use)…no problem, I don’t mind doing dishes, and using real plates is always nicer than paper.
I was trying to clean stains off the couches, stains off the carpet and feeling bad for myself that I didn’t have all new-matching-beautiful-perfect furniture. I could quickly see everywhere the dog has been…but would I give up the dog? Definitely not. She is worth the stains and hair. Then, I quickly got a grip and realized none of those things are important.
The house looked so nice from midnight to about 10 minutes AFTER book club was over. I was very thankful for Cole – one of the BEST KIDS EVER – who was more than willing to stay up and help me clean. He even manually picked out leftover red M&Ms from the Christmas bags I stocked up on after the holiday when they went on sale (he did the same thing with candy DOTS! What a kid!). The red looked so cute in my valentine heart dishes and nobody knew how frugal I really was.
I had been at Kohl’s earlier that day and had a clearance banquet tablecloth in my hand for $19.99. Mind you, I have two white banquet tablecloths that I can’t seem to locate since our move. I searched. Don searched. No such luck. I put the purchase back on the shelf at Kohl’s and walked out empty handed. Even though I felt like I desperately needed that tablecloth. So, I went home and took a cream colored fabric shower curtain and washed it and laid it out on half the table. Then, I took another cream colored tablecloth I had (smaller than banquet) and put it over the other half. Then, I took a small square tablecloth my mother made for me and put it over the seam. I can honestly say that I doubt anybody even noticed and it looked so good! I really AM learning how to make do and it felt pretty good! Give it about 3 days and I’ll find my white banquet tablecloths somewhere…isn’t that how it always goes?!
When all was said and done, I was so happy with how everything looked and tasted and the company was the best of all. I learned a couple of things: 1) if you refrain from the impulse to buy something just because you think you need it, DON’T DO IT!!. You’ll feel better in the long run. You and your home can shine with what you already are or have. 2) Women who don’t care about those things, anyway, are the best friends to have. If anybody would have cared in the least, I really wouldn’t want to have them as a friend, anyway!!!
Houston’s International Quilt Market didn’t indicate any sort of economic recession to me. These people have a passion and they take it seriously. There are some wonderful men at Quilt Market (if you’ve never met the big wigs over at Clover tools, run their direction as fast as you can – they are funny, generous true gentlemen!). But overall, the estrogen was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Husbands lined the walls, held the bags, and stood aside while female shop owners and designers worked the floor. Fabulous!
In Amy Bradley’s booth.
They even have little green ribbons for those of us who were venturing there for the first time. Other newbies stopped me to ask where I got my ribbon. You see, at Market, it’s all about what you’re getting: contacts, friends, food, fun, but most importantly…inspiration. And I’m not even a quilter!
Izzy & Ivy Designs won best new booth or something like that (an official award; not a made up one like mine!).
I came upon Quilt Market almost by accident: hubby transferred to Houston and my good friend Benay, of Beany Boy Quilts, wanted me to help her design and layout a quilt book. We’ve been in Houston about 14 weeks and – true to her word – Benay came down to visit me and we headed out for downtown. The rows upon rows of interesting fabrics and quilts were mind boggling. I don’t quilt, you see, but any girl with graphic sensibilities can appreciate a good quilt design. You could immediately tell which pattern and fabric designers stood out from the crowd because their booths were crowded. There were so many fun exhibitors who actively passed out fliers, smiled and said hello, inviting you into their booths. In contrast, there were quite a few exhibitors who just sat in their booth looking unfriendly and not even saying a word. I noticed a trend: those with traditional patchwork and passé designs were the ones looking uninviting. The best exhibitors had not only fresh, fun quilt designs but they also included other projects: animals, backpacks, books, you name it! Their creativity wasn’t limited to quilt design. And it showed. They were genuinely creative people.
L to R: Benay Derr, Amy Bradley, Lizabeth Rolfson
Amy’s quilt design for baby – great idea!
The sweetest and kindest exhibitor has to go to Amy Bradley and her daughter and mother. What a fun crew! They are the kind of people you just know you love instantly. And her work…well, she was a graphic designer first (I’m not biased or anything) and it shows.
Mary Cowan, right, of Mary’s Cottage Quilts
Another trend I noticed was that the freshest designs of the lot were not from good old Moda or Windham Fabrics but from independent start ups – most coming out of Utah. Riley Blake was a huge hit – what a great setup out of Alpine, Utah – and Mary Cowan of Mary’s Cottage Quilts in Sandy, Utah. Another Utah favorite was Abbey Lane Quilts: Marcea Owen and Janice Liljenquist were so friendly and patient with us as we had to touch every. single. thing. My favorite fresh designs outside of Utah were from The Noble Wife. Designer, Jacquelynne Steves and her stalwart husband showed that all of the hotbed of fabric designs is not exclusive to Utah as they hail from Woodstown, New Jersey.
My all-time favorite booth of the show, however, has to go to Melanie Hurlston of Melly & Me. This group from Australia and their lovely accents were not the only thing that attracted me to their booth. I was hooked from the Friday night Sampler Spree and sought them out Saturday to get another hit from their hip wares. The books – all designed and produced by themselves (including the photography!) – were a breath of fresh air. They exuded confidence in their own designs and it just plain didn’t look like everybody else’s version of the latest trends. They were fantastically independent and I cannot toot their horn enough. I will be seeking them out for personal inspiration, graphically speaking, and I don’t even quilt! They totally were the Homecoming Queen of Quilt Market in my book!
Speaking of graphic inspiration, the award for best overall graphic sensibilities in quilting design would have to go to Patrick Lose of Patrick Lose Studios. I had the chance to chat with him and it’s no wonder – he used to teach Graphic Design at a design college in Des Moines, Iowa. Now that’s so close to home, it gave me goose bumps (I’m still a little midwestern home-sick!).
Lizzie B’s groovy peace quilted rug.
Other standouts: Lizzie B Cre8tive – she would have to be runner up for Quilt Market Homecoming Queen – great rugs and all around design. Very eye catching! I also liked Cloud 9 Fabrics, organic and super soft fabrics.
The Miss Congeniality award goes to Laura and Lynnette of Beach Garden Quilts in Seattle. They were wonderfully friendly – like instant best friends – and helped us feel at ease. They have some innovative quilted looking floor mat designs – be sure to check them out.
A quilt in the display section…name anyone?
The only thing left is to recuperate. But I don’t have time. I’ve been so inspired, I have all sorts of graphic design inspiration to work out.
p.s. You can look at all of my Houston Quilt Market pictures at my flickr account.
I was first introduced to Aldi’s by a good friend back home (thanks, Sheila!). I have yet to actually visit the store but I found this almost-as-good link The Aldi Queen. She’s got some great, budget-conscious recipes.
Well, small things plus the image of FOOD (it’s all about the food here, unfortunately). I’m giving in to temptation. I am surfing. I just spotted these watermelon bowls on Decor8’s article about Samatha Robinson Porcelain and I am smitten. I don’t even have to own one. Just looking at the picture makes me happy. I think I need to go to the store for a giant Texas watermelon. All of a sudden it sure sounds good!
Two hours later (update): 4:22 p.m. Watermelon purchased and sitting gloriously on the counter waiting to be devoured. All is well.
I’ve been looking for farmers markets (or farms!) close to me that have raw cow’s milk (I see lots of raw goat milk) and grass fed beef. I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding just the right place. I have lots of links left to check out from the Weston A. Price Foundation but I did find that Grogan’s Mill in the Woodlands has a farmers’ market with organic veggies and grass fed beef starting in October through the beginning of December. I’ll have to check it out in a few months! If you know of a farm, please email me.
So it’s time for back-to-school shopping and I am not ready. Not even close to ready. I probably will hope that when we unpack on Friday that relatively new clothes, socks, and underwear will magically appear in my boys’ rooms and they’ll be ready. And shoes? Haven’t even thought about them (well, okay, so I thought about it but only long enough to write it down here!). All I can think about is making sure we have enough cash for closing on our new home on Friday which means not another dime will be spent until after then. Since the mortgage guy quit last week and every good faith estimate has gone up and up in final cash at closing cost per subsequent revision, I think we’d better sit tight until we know the final numbers! Our file has been in limbo-land and we are hoping and praying (and triple checking) to make sure that we don’t fall through the cracks. Friday is 2 days away, people!!! I think I’ll be too tired this weekend but maybe next weekend we can replenish the skivvy drawer if need be for school.
p.s. The jeans above are L.L.Bean’s Katahdin jeans on sale for $12.99. Not bad for the quality! Although, I hear Old Navy has some for $10 this week. Happy online shopping for those of you with the funds!!
My newest online addiction is Steep and Cheap. One item is listed for 15 minutes or so – only one item at a time – and when they run out they’re gone! They have all sorts of great markdowns on popular gear and clothing including Marmot, Patagonia, Smith Optics, and other varied camping and backpacking gear. My hubby gave me the link and I’ve only bought one thing (yeah for my new Smith Optics sunglasses!) but the shipping was extremely reasonable and FAST – I had them in hand in 2 days!