Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Needle Felting Fun

It has been one year since I purchased my wonderful Viking Husqvarna Sapphire 870 sewing machine from my favorite quilt shop, Kelly Ann's in Warrenton, Va.  My baby is at the sewing spa getting all oiled up and massaged.....ooooo, that did not sound right. Let me try again..my sewing machine is having it's yearly maintenance check (much better). While I was without a machine to sew with I decided to play with my needle felting stash. I made myself a cute little sheep and of course, because Autumn is here, a pumpkin. Ok...Gretel...If you are reading this , this is where you close your eyes or look away. Ok..now that Gretel can't hear me, I will confess I cheated a little and started with a base of Styrofoam. There...I said it...God I hope Gretel didn't hear that. Be sure to click on Gretel's name to see her fabulous needlefelted critters.

I will never be as good as my friend Gretel, but I do enjoy the process and I guess that is what really counts. Until next time, be kind and stay creative.
P.S. Be sure to check out the beautiful Harvest Moon (full) this year. It comes a little later, Oct 3rd to be exact. It should be spectacular..pray for clear skys.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Attack of the Giant Killer Rabbits !!

Sunday my man and I were driving around town when I spotted a scene that looked so surreal, I yelled "Stop the car!" Being the understanding, obliging and used to my outbursts kind of guy that he is...he pulled over. Luckily, I had my digital with me and proceeded to jump out of the car, ready to catch this bizarre scene on film forever. I gazed at the acres of rolling pastures before me and tried to imagine what had produced the view before me. We had obviously been visited by something huge and their must have been a lot of them. The hills were dotted with their droppings. Talk about the abundance of animal fertilizer...I could grow some fabulously big tomatoes with this stuff. I'm only grateful My man and I came along after they were long gone...they must have been some Killer Rabbits!!!!

Ok..OK...I know they are hay bales and their is no such thing as killer rabbits. But, come on, you know that's what you think of when you see these things in the fields. Of course I also think of those old fashioned Root Beer candies. You know..the candies that look like little barrels. Omg..I am really dating myself now..I should shut up before you think I am 92. Seriously, I got into the habit of yelling "root beer candies" everytime I saw these things. My husband hated it and I finally promised not to do it anymore. That made him happy. So next time you come across a field like this, just imagine the giant killer rabbits that made it possible. Until next time, be kind and stay creative.

P.S....don't tell my hubby, but I still mutter "root beer candies" under my breath...Hey..some habits are hard to break.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

And The Winner Is!!!!!

Congratulations Audrey of Audrey's Country Craft's for being the lucky winner of the RikRak Studio's Sponsor giveaway this month. My online Etsy shop advertises with Kristal, owner of the RikRak Studio. Kristal had a fabulous giveaway and the prize was a $30.00 credit to be used in any Sponsor's shop of Audrey's choosing. I am very proud to say Audrey chose The Empty Nest to spend her $30.00 in. She chose the very pretty, very BIG, soft Market Tote. I just love the fabric combinations and I know this bag will become a favorite of Audrey's. So enjoy your new tote Audrey and keep entering those giveaways ;-)
Until next time, be kind and stay creative.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Felted Sweater Magic

To celebrate the first day of Autumn, I decided to start working on all my felted sweater projects. All through the year I hunt for wool and cashmere sweaters that were once destined for never-never land. I bring them home, felt (or full) them in my washing machine and cut them up for future creations.

Today I will turning this adult wool and mohair pullover into a wonderful child's cardigan sweater. This is what it looks like after felting. It shrunk to almost 1/2 it's original size, yet retained the lovely knitted texture of the cable pattern. The color is a warm creamy white and oh so very soft. The first thing I did was cut it up the center front. Because felted wool does not fray, raw edges are not a problem. I used some vintage fabric strips to bind the front edges and then needle felted, with my wonderful Viking embellishing machine.

I used some remnant wool yarn in a pretty dark pink to needle felt three stems for my Yo-Yo flowers.

I continued the needle felting all along the collar line and added a cute loop at the back of the neck.

I raided my remnant stash for this pretty blue floral satiny cotton which I used for two handy pockets.

I thought this would be the final look...but the more I looked at it, the more I thought something was not right in the design. After staring at it for an hour, it hit me....it looks too heavy! I wanted a light airy look, something more whimsical in style. In an instant I knew what I had to do...and it wasn't going to be easy.
I had to perform Sweater surgery....this cutie had to go under the knife...I mean scissor.

The operation was a success and the recovery was complete! Now this is the look I envisioned in my mind. After some additional needle felting around the arm holes and a cute blue bow tie closure, my lovely cardigan vest is complete. I really love how you can still see the great cable detail from the original garment. I think this would look adorable on a young girl ..maybe over a turtleneck and with a cute pair of jeans. This will most likely end up in my Etsy shop this week.  I would love to get your feedback, so please leave me a comment if you have a moment. Until next time, be kind and stay creative.

It's Here!! Happy Autumn Everyone

Hooray...I thought I smelled autumn and it is finally here. I feel like breathing a sigh of relief. All my favorite smells, colors and festive holidays rolled up into one spectacular showy season. Let the pie baking, pumpkin carving, leaf raking (ok..not so much that one) and trick or treating begin. Off with the AC and open those windows so you can catch every crisp breeze that blows by. Gas up the family car for the leaf peeping Sunday drives and visits to the local orchards to go apple picking.

Check your local paper or the internet for the best place to pick your own pumpkins. Maybe you will get lucky and they will have homemade donuts and cider ..and even better yet..HAYRIDES!!!


This is an old photo of my guys when they were little. We found a fabulous farm with all of the above features I just mentioned. It was a delicious place with aromas I still remember. Heres hoping all of you find your own little slice of Autumn heaven this year...it's worth searching for.
Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I smell Autumn......

 I have noticed the mornings here in beautiful Virginia are coming later. My sun is rising farther to the right of it's usual summer spot. I can always tell when fall is upon us because the sun rises take on a warm rosey glow. I must admit autumn is my absolute favorite season of the year. Everything seems so different..the air is crisp and my late blooming flowers sigh with relief that the heat is gone. My marigolds are so very ...how do I describe them....oh yeah, ORANGE!! My lovely Montauk daises and mums will be blooming in a few weeks.
 I am digging out all my stew and soup recipes, unpacking my sweats and turtleneck sweaters and looking for the best deal on Pumpkins. I love having lot's of pumpkins all around my home. I enjoy driving through town and seeing rows of pumpkins in front of peoples houses..it makes me smile.
I have my cozy chenille bathrobe on and I am going to have my second cup of coffee and savor the last few early morning moments of this wonderful Monday. I suggest you do the same..until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Playing With Fleece in the Studio

Hello fellow bloggers, hope this week is going smoothly for all of you. I have been in my studio playing with some polar fleece that I had purchased a while back. I saw some really cute hats on the Martha Stewart website and Etsy so I decided to make some of my own. I have two bags of fabric yo-yo's that I made during a long drive to New York and I thought they would work beautifully as an embellishment. I made my hats in all different sizes..infant all the way to adult. I think they came out pretty cute.

I found some great red tartan plaid fleece and had a little more fun.
I would love to get your opinions on these little guys  With the endless variety of patterns available with fleece these could be adapted to any age or sex. I could really go crazy with my embellishing...hey Alison how about a little embroidery??? I could make some to coordinate with my felted childrens cardigans!!! Ooooooooo..the ideas are coming like crazy now. I look forward to hearing from you. Until then be kind and stay creative. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thank You Mike...Whoever You Are !

After all the rude behavior I witnessed this past week, between the South Carolina Senator yelling "your a liar" to our President , to Kanye West disrespecting Taylor Swift at the VMA Awards, I was beginning to think kindness, integrity and honesty were becoming antique ideas. No matter your music taste or political affiliation, the places those two men (I use the term men loosely) choose to express their opinion were totally inappropriate and immature. Shame on them!
This past weekend, something happened to my son that restored my faith in my belief that people are basically good and honest. I got a phone call from a guy named Mike. Mike was calling me from my son's cell phone. My youngest son is on vacation in Myrtle Beach and must have lost his phone. This honest young man Mike was calling the contacts listed on the cell phone, trying to locate it's owner. Now a less honest person could have found the phone, a very good phone I might add, and popped out the memory card and walked away with a new phone. My son contacted Mike and they met up later that evening to hand over the cell phone. Mike expected no reward, but was doing this because it was the right thing to do...gotta love his integrity! I'm proud to add that my son said thank you to Mike with a nice gift card (you make your mama proud).
So Mike...wherever you are, I tip my hat to you and say a huge THANK YOU!!!
Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Something Spooky This Way Comes !!

Morning Bloggers, I have been busy getting some Halloween aprons ready for my Etsy shop. I thought I would give a little preview fashion show. I think these aprons would perfect for all you teachers who want to be festive without all the halloween makeup and involved costumes. I will be offering to add a pocket if requested ( for candy.. of course ! ). Hope you enjoy and I have more in the works.

As always...be kind and stay creative !

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Dream Kitchen!!

I found it...the kitchen of my dreams. Isn't she beautiful. I don't even remember where I found it on the internet, but my jaw dropped when I saw it. As we blog..I am making plans to paint my kitchen walls, paint and antique my cabinets and have my man install beadboard around my island cooktop. I know we can do it as I already did it once in my Texas kitchen. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Ok...have to go take dinner out of the oven ;-)

A Photo To Melt Your Heart

A friend sent me this photo and it just melted my heart. My first thought was " why can't we all get along like this?" Imagine the peace we could have if color or background or ideology did not matter. Just a little something to think about on this rainy Tuesday here in Virginia. As always...be kind and stay creative.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kings of Customer Service

Hello Friends, I would like to first say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who were kind enough to take  time to wish me a Happy Birthday. Your wishes made my day even better than it already was.

My son Sean and his lovely girlfriend Crystal ( of 8 years! ) invited my hubby and me to Crystal's new townhouse for dinner. Oh...what a dinner it was. They had cooked all day. On the menu was eggplant parmesan , which is my all time favorite, corkscrew pasta and homemade sauce, crisp green salad and fabulous italian bread. The table was beautifully set , the food was delicious and the company was perfect. My older son Billy turned up as a surprise, which made the evening even better. It is not very often I get all my three favorite guys all together at the same time, so I was in heaven. To top off the evening I was presented with a Coldstone Creamery strawberry and Red Velvet ice cream cake...YUM!!

I also gave myself a birthday present in the form of a new coffee maker. My old pot was a Farberware electric percolator I had bought a few years back. I love the flavor that you get from these oldfashioned pots..so rich and flavorful. I would always get compliments on my coffee when I had guests over.

Unfortunately, appliances do not last forever and mine gave up and died Sunday. I went online to research a replacement and to my dismay Farberware no longer makes my model. The new model is cordless and sits on a base and is now made in CHINA. The minute I read that I knew I was in trouble. After reading consumer reviews (89% bad) I decided to expand my search to other makes.

I owned a Bunn coffeemaker years ago and loved the coffee it brewed. I remember it being super fast also. My mom always had a Bunn as did my sisters. I did some online searching and found a few models that sounded pretty good. I settled on the Bunn BTX-B. Sounds like a rocket ship ;-)

I found them online at prices between $137.00 - $189.00. All the reviews were excellent and I noticed Target and Kohls carried them. Off I went in search of my new family member.

Target did not have it so I went to Kohls who did stock it. To my dismay it was priced at $189.00 ! I knew I could by it online at Amazon for $140.00 w/ free shipping. I asked to talk with the manager about the price. A very nice young lady showed up and I told her what I wanted and about the price I had seen it for on the internet. Mind you...not the Kohls official site, but just a general product comparison site.

Kohls was under no obligation to match any lower price just because I said I found one. Unbelievably, the manager offered to sell me my Bunn BTX-B for $139.00....that's a $50.00 savings!!! Kohls rocks big time!! That to me is the ultimate customer service and why Kohls has a lifelong patron in me. The moral of this story....don't be afraid to ask, they just might say YES!!

  Here is my new morning buddy! My Bunn BTX-B Thermocarafe coffee maker...isn't she a beauty? She brews the most delicious 'Hot' coffee in 3 minutes! The best thing about this girl is that she is MADE IN the USA!!!  The flip lid on the top had a tiny chipped hinge when I took it out of the box. I e-mailed Bunn Sunday night and Monday am I received a personal e-mail from Greg, telling me my new lid was in the mail, no charge. Talk about great customer service...Yay America, we can still do it ;-)

 Until next time..be kind and stay creative..I'm going to have a second cup of coffee ;-)