Sunday, September 25, 2011

An Anniversary Weekend

It's been one year since Brian and I were married.  A good year and hopefully many more like it :o)

By Kyana Taillon Photography

To celebrate we decided to take a trip to the coast for the weekend.  The weather at home has been in the mid to high 90's the past few weeks so we were looking forward to getting away from the heat!  I really love the Northern California coast and since we live in the valley of Northern California it's not too far away.  The drive was really beautiful.  The fog started coming in in the late afternoon so we had golden rolling hills with pockets of fog all around.  We took the coastal highway up to Point Arena so we had breathtaking views of the ocean on one side and the hills on the other.
Around 4 in the afternoon we made it to the Wharf Master's Inn in Point Arena. 

And we were so lucky we were in the section closest to the ocean on the middle of the top floor!

Our room was really nice, we had a four poster bed:

Jacuzzi tub:

A fireplace!

And an amazing veiw from our very own private balcony!

Here's the actual view!  We didn't have sunny skies, but this is the Northern California coast, and we were appreciative of the cool, crisp weather :o)

And here's me after our long drive, I was exhausted and the chair was comfy :o)

After unpacking, we went down to the pier to check things out.  There were a couple of restaurants and a few small shops.  There were even a couple surfers out in the cove.

A view of the pier:

After dinner at one of the wharf restaurants we headed back to our room and chatted with our neighbor Mr. Frog along the way.

Then we enjoyed the electric flames from our fireplace, just for fun:

The next morning we were greeted by sunshine and Brian and I hung out on our balcony.  I'm not sure what Brian is looking at, it must have been interesting to distract from the ocean view!

Then it was time to head back home.   The drive through this part of California is spectacular.  It's not too densely populated along the coast and most of it is dairy and cattle land so you'll see farms scattered over the landscape.

And you'll see cute, small towns every few miles:

Oh, to be rich and be able to afford a house here!

And heading inland to go home, we drove through miles and miles of vineyard covered rolling hills.  We are both not wine drinkers but if you are, Napa Valley is the place to go.  And even if you aren't the scenery is beautiful and worth the trip too!

Then we were back in our neck of the woods, the farmland of the Central Valley:

It was the perfect anniversary weekend.  Here's to many more years together, around 170 if we live to be 200 like Brian is hoping for :o)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Windowsill Garden

For a while now I have thought the windowsills above our sink in the kitchen would be the perfect space for plants.  I've been so envious of my mom's kitchen sill with her ever-blooming orchids!  The problem we ran across was our sill was somewhat narrow, and because we like to open the windows every night to cool the house down we needed plants that would not get in the way or get knocked off.  On many visits to garden stores or Home Depot I would think I finally found the perfect planter, I would hold it up with excitement to show Brian only for him to dash my dreams and say it was too wide :o(  But on one recent shopping trip we were triumphant, I think Brian actually spotted them, the perfect planters at Ikea!

Here is a picture of our windowsill before in all it's nakedness.  I had found a few vases at the thrift store a while back that I use for corralling our dish and veggie washing brushes.  And my stash of garlic I have yet to plant in our garden.

Here's a picture of the windowsill we were trying to find a vase to fit.  Not extremely skinny, but skinny enough I had a hard time finding a planter.  We still plan on putting some stay-put adhesive on the bottom of the planters to help prevent any plant spilling incidents.

And finally, our lovely planters!  They are simple, white, glass planters; they may actually be candleholders but they fit PERFECTLY on our sills!

I had thought a herb garden would be nice, but herbs can grow rather tall and bushy.  I could just imagine my frustration trying to wrangle the herbs so I wouldn't smash them while closing the windows.  My next thought was a succulent garden.  The growth is slower and if I forget to water them like I do with most my other indoor plants, they can probably tolerate it.  We found several mini succulent plants at Home Depot and OSH in different shapes and colors.

And here's a picture of our windowsill now, in all it's plant holding glory!

Now I have to figure out how much to water them and hope they grow!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Baby Bonanza!

This past weekend my friend Vicki and I threw a baby shower for our good friend Bonnie. I found these cute invites at Hallmark................

And they went with the zoo animal cupcake decoration kit Vicki found at Target!

We now had a theme ............... a circus party! We decided to have food that you would find at a circus: pizza, corn dogs, popcorn, peanuts, and candy.  I set up a favor table with jars and dishes of candy and cookies for the guests to fill red and white popcorn bags with as favors.

For decorations Vicki made an adorable diaper cake:

And I hung up my bunting banner in the dining room with the desserts (the cupcakes and an ice cream sundae bar..YUMMY!)

I also made a "baby shower" banner following the tutorial on My Blessed Life.  

I plan to replace some of the letters and add a few more to make it into a "happy birthday" banner

And one of the other gifts I gave besides the baby quilt was to prevent something like this from happening.

Sandy, my parents' dog found an abandoned pacifier at the race track!

 I found some pretty ribbon at Joann's sewed it to a clip at one end and used a snap to attach it to a pacifier at the other end. 

So there's the culmination of the last couple of weeks of my baby crafting extravaganza :o)

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Baby Quilt

One of my best friends is having a baby girl in a couple months so I decided to test my sewing skills and make a baby quilt.  I really love the look of stacked coin quilts I've found on the web.  The design seemed comparably simple to other quilt designs, just a bunch of straight lines so I thought it might be doable. I picked out fabric from Joann's in pink, lavender, a light teal blue, and a bright green. Here's a sneak peak of the finished product:

To get started I washed all the fabric and then cut the fabric into 2.5 inch strips and sewed them together along the long edge.  I initially sewed four strips together of each color then cut the width of the strips to 6 inches wide.  These pieces I randomly mixed until I had segments in the length I wanted.  I wasn't too worried about everything being perfectly uniformed, I wanted it to have a little character and being a new sewer my seams weren't always straight!

And then I ironed the seams open before moving on:

Next I cut white fabric in 6 inch widths to the same length of my colored fabric segments.  I had three colored fabric segments so I cut 4 pieces of the white fabric to go the length of the quilt (along the long edges and between the colored segments) and  also 2 pieces to go across the top and bottom of the quilt.  I sewed all these pieces together and then ironed the seams open.

Then I placed the quilt front on top of the quilt backing fabric with a cotton batting in between.  I chose a ice cream fabric in similar colors to my strips as my friend is a sugar-a-holic :o)  I decided to use cotton batting as I've read that cotton will give the appearance of an old fashioned quilt (sort of dimply) after washing in comparison to a synthetic batting.  (In the picture my edge fabric was 8 inches but I cut it down to 6 inches to fit the batting.)

I then pinned all the layers together so they would not shift during the quilting step.  

I wasn't ready to try my hand at free-form quilting to make the neat swirly pattern so I decided to do rectangles in the white segments of the quilt.  To make it even easier I made the stitch a sewing foot distance from the colored strips instead of trying to match the seam perfectly.

The next step I was a bit worried about because I couldn't quite picture how to do the hand stitch for the back of the quilt binding.  I decided I would give it a try since it would give the quilt a nice finished look.  I followed the tutorial on Crazy Mom Quilts and I figured it out with her detailed directions!  First I sewed the length of the binding strip I would need from a pink pin dot fabric in 2.5 inches wide.  I then ironed the binding strip in half.  Then I pinned it around the edge of the front side of the quilt  with the open edge of the binding towards the edge of the quilt.  Next I sewed it into place, 1/4 inch in from the edge of the binding strip.

And used pinking shears to cut off the excess quilt fabric:

I then flipped the binding around to the back side of the quilt and began the hand stitching:

It took me a little while, but once I got the hang of it I was moving right along.  The corners were a bit hard to do, but after the first two I figured it out.  Here's a front side corner:

And then the back side corner.  You can also see my hand stitching, not quite invisible but not too bad.

Here's how it finally looked at 1:00 am the night before the baby shower!

And after washing it the following morning to give it a slightly dimpled look:

I hope baby Molly will enjoy it! :o)