Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As June is wrapping up, I am thinking back on why it is my favorite month of the year....
The weather is sublime. I love walking in the early morning and late evening and smelling the intoxicating fragrance of honeysuckle and wild rose that line the road that I live on. The birds chirp and sing and call, as if to try to tell me that it is their favorite time of year, also. And of course, we can't seem to get enough of these:
We gorge ourselves on local strawberries, in our cereal, in shortcakes, in trifle, and of course, just by the handful. Heaven.

Next month..... tomatoes......

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fruitful Hands Available to Order!

 Fruitful Hands: A collection of sewing projects and recipes to nurture your soul
by Jacquelynne Steves

I was trying to decide on a title for this post: Order Fruitful Hands! or maybe, Order Fruitful Hands Now! (even when I added "please" to the title, it still sounded bossy.) Anyway, it is available to order NOW!! I will have an actual copy of the book in my hot little hands sometime this week (I hope). Find it on the Kansas City Star website here!!!

I am very excited about my first book! It has 88 pages of projects, recipes, and lots of little watercolor illustrations and drawings & doodles that I did. You can look here for a sneak peek at a few of the pages (you can even grab one of my recipes while you are there...)

The cover photo shows my favorite project in the book, the House on a Hill quilt. It features the following quote embroidered on the quilt:
A house is built of walls and beams, 
A home is built with love and dreams.
Above is a little bit of art work that I did for the book, but we ended up not having room for it, so I thought I'd show it to you here.

There will be lots of contests and giveaways when I have a few copies of the book, so STAY TUNED! In the near future, I will also give you a sneak peek of some of the other projects in the book.

I have really enjoyed the process of putting a book together. I started on the projects for this book about 3 years ago- and here it is, finally!! Right now, I have 4 or 5 more book ideas in my head- if only I didn't have to sleep, maybe I could get them all done....

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I Did For My Summer Vacation...

I remember way, way, way, way, way back in the 70's when I was a kid, my cousins had a Cheech and Chong comedy album (looking back- that was completely inappropriate for 9 year-olds to be listening to. What were my aunt and uncle thinking?) Anyhoo, there was this bit where this teenage stoner kid had to write a report about what he did for his summer vacation. It went something like this (imagine this being said by teenage stoner boy): "What I did for my summer vacation- I got up, then I got some breakfast, then I went downtown to look for a job, then I hung out on the corner. For the next day of my summer vacation, I got up, had some breakfast, then I went downtown to look for a job, then I hung out on the corner." Repeat ad nauseum. Hilarious to a bunch of 9 year-olds.

So what does that have to do with anything? Nothing, really. It's just a random memory that popped into my head this morning, and I thought I'd share.....

Anyway, last week on MY vacation, besides finally reading through all of my magazines and reading 1 1/2 fiction books (which I never do, because I have a hard time sitting still to finish a book), I worked on an upcoming magazine project, I will let you know when and where it will be coming out.

And we worked on finishing up another bedroom at the beach house. This is my favorite so far. Here are the before shots:

For all of the other rooms we have re-done, we have basically re-painted and re-purposed all of the furniture. I have used a lot of paint in those other rooms to paint bed frames, lamps, tables, dressers, etc. We have now done all of the bedrooms (bathroom is next). But for this room, we splurged and bought new furniture. I still need bedside tables, I am looking at flea markets, etc, but just can't seem to find the right thing. Also, I have a few more pictures to hang on either side of the mirror. It's hard to see because of the glare, but there is a lovely view of the bay from the bedroom window. The after photos:

The inspiration piece for the room was my Nantucket Quilt (pattern available here). I am so glad that I can put this quilt to good use, because it has always been one of my favorites. It is hand appliqued with starfish and sand dollars. On the left in the photo below, you can see the grouping of 4 prints that I matted and framed (see my post from a few weeks ago showing how to cover photo mats to jazz up inexpensive prints). It's not a great photo of them, but they look awesome.

The ones we saw at the furniture store were $80 each, I did 4 of these for less than $120, including the frames and prints. (Prints were $10 each from I got the rug from Target- the colors are perfect.

I also splurged on pillows from Pottery Barn, but I LOVE them. Really, I do. I saw them in the store and thought they would go perfectly with the quilt, and everything in the room was built around that. I found the bedside lamps at Marshall's for only $40 each (including the shade!) They go perfectly in the room.

We are also installing new flooring from Ikea, room by room. It's a big job.
Speaking of big jobs, we are helping my mom and dad move this weekend (they officially moved 2 months ago, but they have been living between the 2 houses.... we are hoping to finish ALL of the moving this weekend.) I will be taking the maximum dosage on Advil.

What are YOU doing for your summer vacation??

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

British Country Living and Cotton Floss- oh yeah!

Vacation is nice, but then you come home to this:

Piles of mail to be sorted through! (To be honest, it was a fairly small pile, compared to what I usually come home to. Thank goodness.) However, I have forgiven the mail carrier this time, because the giant pile included something so wonderful.
First, my latest issue British Country Living- love it!!! (and you all know how I feel about magazines! By the way- I managed to read my stockpile while at the beach last week... bliss... I even read some of my magazines twice.) I tell you, I am a sucker for a beautiful cover, and this magazine does it to me every time, I just want to walk into this photo and live there....  (Oooo- wouldn't that be a cool Super Power to have- walk into a photo- Hello, British countryside in the summer! Hello, Tahiti! Hello, South of France! OK I'm getting distracted now...)

And even better, a package from Natalie in Australia:

Natalie of Cinderberry Stitches has just released her first book, called Cotton Floss, and she was so kind to send me a copy (autographed!) If you are familiar with and love her style, you won't be disappointed with this book. It is just darling! It contains lots of Natalie's signature adorable embroidery designs: little fairy girls, owls, mushrooms.... And of course you will love Natalie's bright and cheery color palettes. It's hard to choose a favorite project, but I guess I would have to pick the Market Folk Quilt, with it's fun fabrics and completely lovely embroidery designs. Make sure you grab a copy of this book and settle down with a cup of tea for an afternoon of poring and perusing. I'm sure you will love it like I do.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Monday

This is really funny. If you like Paula Deen, or even if you don't, you will get a good laugh out of this.
Happy Monday!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

How To Go On Vacation

Relax on the beach....

Take in the views....

 Eat yummy food....

Go for peaceful walks and hikes...

Study the wildlife....

Maybe squeeze in a trip to an amusement park....

(Then repeat as soon as possible!!)

See previous beach vacations here and here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Moab National Park

A few weeks ago, I took dragged my husband to Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. I told him that if he went with me, he could choose somewhere fun to go as part of the trip. He chose Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. It was stunning. The formations are massive, and as you can imagine, photos cannot begin to describe it.

Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:
   Blessed is He who comes,
      the King in God's name!
   All's well in heaven!
      Glory in the high places!
 Some Pharisees from the crowd told Him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!"
 But He said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise."
Luke 19:37-40, The Message Bible

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheap Chic: Fabric Covered Photo/Print Mat

I was in a furniture store a few months ago and saw some framed prints that I really liked for the beach house, but they were too expensive. I determined that "I can make that!" (How many times have we all said that? How often do we go home and Actually Make It??) This is a super simple, quick project that will add texture and interest to any photo or print you want to mat and frame.

I went online and found some reproduction prints of old sketches of sea shells. They were only $10.00 each at I got inexpensive mats and frames at Michael's, and some textured fabric at JoAnn's to cover the mats. I chose a fabric that reminded me of burlap or sea grass, since my prints were beach related. Here is how I did it:
Cut a piece of fabric that is about 1/2" to 1" larger than the outside dimensions of your mat. Place mat right side down on wrong side of fabric. Use a ruler to draw lines from corner to corner on the wrong side of the fabric. Then, draw a box that is 1/2" from inner edge of mat.

Cut fabric on lines, including the diagonal lines at the corners.

Tape 2 opposite sides of the fabric to the wrong side of the mat. (If your print or photo is an original, or is valuable, make sure to use acid free tape.)

Tape the remaining sides of fabric to the mat. You want the fabric to be pretty taut, but try not to stretch it.

Tape 2 opposite sides of the outside edges of fabric to the mat. Tape the remaining 2 sides, folding under the corners as if you were wrapping a present.

Place matted print in frame, hang, and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Need of a 12 Step Program

Last week I bought 4 new magazines at Barnes and Noble.
The week before last I bought 3. Two of those remain unread.

I subscribe to Country Living, British Country Living, American Patchwork & Quilting, Better Homes & Gardens, House Beautiful, and Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Somehow when I ordered something totally unrelated online, I ended up with a complimentary subscription to Field and Stream. Dead serious. It arrives every month with my name right on the front cover. There is an excellent chance that there are a few others that I am forgetting right now.
When it comes to pretty pictures, I am like a moth to the flame.
I try to tell myself that they are a legitimate business expense. Market Research, yeah, that's it. But deep down I know the truth...

My name is Jacquelynne, and I am a magazine addict.

Can I get an Amen?!?!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Fun Weekend

Friday we went to a wedding, kicked off our shoes (literally) and danced the night away (OK not the whole night, just till about 11- but that is pretty late for us!)

Saturday we managed to get up by 7 and go to the flea market and produce stand. I love the produce stand- it is one of my favorite parts of summer! All the colors and textures, so beautiful. And tasty....

Hello, tomatoes!  I can't wait to make fresh salsa out of you! And maybe some bruschetta, too!

 (I love asparagus on the grill!)
I don't really care for radishes, but the little "bouquets" sure are cute.

Local strawberries at this time of year are THE BEST.

I love, love, love lemon. In everything.

Daughter made a Foccacia with fresh rosemary from our garden. Yum. (find the recipe here).

I also managed to start a new Christmas project using wool and my Joy, Love, Peace, Noel fabric.
Hope you had a good weekend, too.

P.S. Stop by my friend Sandi's blog for a giveaway and to celebrate her 3rd Anniversary of blogging. I know you will really like her blog- she is a very busy, talented, generous lady!!!


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