September 25, 2012

Afternoon Tea

Recently my sweet friend Heidi was entertaining
some family members from out of town.

{Waaaaaaaaay out of town.  They were from Canada and Australia!}

The guys planned a golf outing,
so Heidi thought it might be fun to do 
something  special for the ladies.
She extended invitations to my mother and me, 
plus another good friend, to meet her visitors for tea.

Our party of six met at the Victorian Lady of Academy Hill
in Greensburg, PA on a Sunday afternoon.

{Photo from Victorian Lady of Academy Hill gallery}
{The tearoom is located within a historic 1880's Queen Ann house.}

{Photo from Victorian Lady of Academy Hill gallery}
Besides the tearoom, there is an impressive gift shop,
spilling into the various
rooms of the Victorian house.

All sorts of tea-themed items are available for purchase.
Soft music sets a gentle mood for browsing and chatting.

There are also many Victorian accessories among the teacups...
jewelry, stationery, and home decorating items.

Even the bathroom was stocked with pretty treasures!

Oh, if I had a little girl...I would have to choose one of these
miniature tea sets, in a picnic basket!

We requested seating in the sunroom,
and it was the most pleasant of surroundings.

{I had to restrain myself...I had the urge to speak with a British accent!}

We were presented with a full menu of tea types,
and we could each select two different flavors.
There were classics, like Earl Grey, available in several blends.
There were also fruity flavors, like peach and raspberry.
Seasonal selections were offered, too. 
 I had Snickerdoodle,
and Heidi tried the Pumpkin Spice blend!
The most popular flavor is French Creme delicious!

We enjoyed a full afternoon tea, which started with a poached pear.

{Warm and luscious!}

Next a three-tiered plate arrived.  
There were frosted grapes and scones on the bottom tier.

{Just look at these pretty dishes of lemon curd and Devonshire cream!}

Next were tiny sandwiches with savory fillings.
On the top layer were tempting cookies and brownies.

{Photo from Victorian Lady of Academy Hill gallery}

My mother needs to follow a very strict gluten-free diet.
I had contacted the wonderful proprietor ahead of time,
and she advised us on what to bring 
to make sure my mom could enjoy her teatime. 
 My mom's eyes lit up with delight when her special plate was served.

I was so glad to meet the visiting women,
and I hope we can get together again someday!

We had a leisurely afternoon, 
sipping and talking, and getting to know one another.

Well...I did have to leave a bit early,
to go directly to work, but I had a great attitude when I got there!

{Two pots of tea...three cups per the math...I was feeling great!}

I would highly recommend gathering a few friends
and family members for a special afternoon tea.
I've never been to a spa...yet...
but I would bet a tea party is every bit as relaxing, get to keep all of your clothes on!

{Thank you, Heidi, for a truly wonderful day!}

{Photo from Victorian Lady of Academy Hill gallery}

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September 21, 2012

Tea and Cakes Mug Rug

Hello, again, friends.
It's been six months now since I began blogging,
and I've really enjoyed meeting new bloggers
and readers from around the world!

I wish I could invite each of you to come over 
for a nice cup of tea.

{Blogging is nice, though, because you can make your own cup of tea...
or coffee...or whatever you enjoy, and sit down at your computer for a visit any time!}

One of my new-found friends is Amanda, The Patchsmith.
Amanda has been busy churning out mug rugs 
ever since we arranged our little swap.

{You can read about it here and here.}

And now, Amanda is busy designing patterns,
so you, too, can make sweet little mug rugs!

{Here's my version of the Scotties Mug Rug.}

One of her latest patterns is called Tea and Cakes.
I just had to make this one, being a big fan of tea.

 I chose some more of my Fig Tree Quilts fabrics...
little scraps from Dandelion Girl, left over from my Bird Song quilt.

Also, I had some bits from another Fig Tree line called Urban Indigo.

{See the print on the binding and the main body of the cup?}

I used fusible webbing for the appliques and fusible fleece for the batting.
and in no time I was done with this little sweetie!

I loved this color scheme so much that I made a matching pincushion.

{I'm making a bunch of these pincushions, so they will be
featured soon in their very own post.}

Come back soon, to share another teatime adventure!

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September 18, 2012

Bird Song Quilt

I featured the set of nesting boxes I'd made
to coordinate with a quilt.

I thought it might be fun to share more about the quilt,
even though I made it a couple of years ago.

From the first time I saw the pattern design in progress
I knew that "Bird Song" was in my future.

Pattern from Fig Tree Quilts

I love the theme of "home" as much as the beautiful applique images, 
and the pops of black against the soft palette really work for me.

{The WORDS are my favorite detail!}

was released in the spring of 2008.

Image from Fat Quarter Shop

For a long time, I've been a member of the Birthday Club at Colonial Crafts.
During my birthday month, I get 20% off any regular-priced
That year, I treated myself to the fat quarter bundle of Dandelion Girl.

{Happy Birthday to me!}

I needed a bit of yardage for the borders and binding, 
and I jazzed up the palette with a green polka dot that was a tad bit brighter.

There are also a few wee bits of felted wool for a few of the details...
like the flower buds and centers...

and the birdie beaks and eyes.

Those WORDS...they are still my favorite part!
I used an alphabet panel, and I didn't have enough of some letters
to duplicate the pattern, but I made my own substitutions.

{As I recall, it was quite an effort to get the spacing and positioning right, but I loved the end result!}

I stayed true to the pattern as much as possible and learned to do
the starch method of applique for this project.
For the most part, it was very enjoyable.
I really loved making those eggs!

{I did not have as much fun on the pointy parts of all those flowers, though!}

When it came time for the quilting,
I stitched on top of the appliques, which kinda took away from the impressiveness of all that hand applique, but...I think it's pretty.
I did a lot of stippling in the spaces between appliques,
but wherever there was a large enough area,
I added lots of freeform feathers!

{I used invisible thread on the top, and cream thread in the bobbin.}

For my feathers, I drew the design on Golden Threads quilting paper in pencil.
This kept me from being a nervous wreck...about THAT, anyway...
especially on the long borders.
After quilting, I just tore away the paper.


{Ahem...I may have spent quite a long while picking out the bazillion tiny pieces 
with a set of tweezers...but I don't like marking my quilt tops, 
having had a bad experience or two in the past.}

For the backing, I just used a creamy solid cotton...
I think it was a Bella Solid, but I don't remember exactly.
I wish now that I had used yardage of one of the prints, or had even pieced part of the back with some of the leftover fabric.

{On the plus side, I can see the quilting really well on the back.}

So why did I use the solid back?
At the time, I had planned to use this quilt as a wall hanging,
and never as a quilt.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but I live in a little house with my husband and two teenage sons.  My husband is not really crazy about having quilts on the walls.  It kinda drives him nuts when I even drape them over the railings in our entryway, but I do that all the time to decorate for the seasons.

{At least our dog Ginger likes this quilt as much as I do.}

I used to put this quilt out only in the springtime.  
For some reason, this year it makes me feel like getting ready for fall
in these last few warm days of September.

I think I'll curl up with a cup of tea, my Bird Song quilt and a good book.

{Tea...more to follow about tea in upcoming posts!}

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September 15, 2012

Farewell to the Zakka Sew Along

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, 
you've already seen just how much fun I've been having 

{A big thank-you goes to Amy and Lindsey for making this event
an outstanding success!}

I've been reflecting on this event, and I must admit that
I'll be relieved not to have a due-date each week
for a project that I've never made before in my life!

Having said that, though, I made several projects NOW, rather than SOMEDAY,
or NEVER...because of the deadlines and the wonderful prize opportunities!

{I almost skipped this week's project...there are other things I should be doing.}

But I gave myself a little pep talk last night and convinced myself
to get started on this week's project...Nesting Boxes.

This project was contributed by

{I've been aware of Laurraine's lovely work for a while via Flickr...
Look at this fantastic classic example of her style!}

Photo from Patchwork Pottery blog
This final project has been a tempting one for me...
I knew I would want to keep the boxes for my own use, so I chose some fabrics that would coordinate with one of my favorite quilts.

{The quilt pattern is Bird Song by Fig Tree Quilts.}


It took some time to cut all of the pieces out,
but it was good to see my favorite prints from Dandelion Girl again!

{I had used a fat quarter bundle to make my quilt, and there were
some nice scraps left.}

I really enjoyed stitching the leaves, though I chose to use fusible web
instead of using the method described in the book.

{Can you see the pretty veins on the leaves?}

I was running out of linen, but I had a nice big piece of Mill House Inn,
also by Fig Tree Quilts, that I liked for the lining.

There were some moments I wished I had not tackled all three boxes!
Yet I love the way they came out. 
They really make me think of September days.

I keep thinking there must be a better way to sew the sides and bottom
together.  I was such a rebel...I actually just stitched mine together by machine, and it's not very neat, but it doesn't really show.

{I never did come up with that "better way" to do it!}

I have no idea what I'm going to put in these little boxes,
but I know they're going to make the stuff look extra pretty!

{That's the best part about zakka style.}

I joined this adventure when my own blog was brand-new,
and I feel that I owe much of the joy of blogging
to this sew along!

I've met so many wonderful people through the linkies and the Flickr group.
We are spreading zakka throughout the world,
making things that are useful AND beautiful!

Visit the Flickr group Zakka Style Sew Along
for more inspiration!

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