Ah, look what I found last night while pruning my rose bushes - a sweet birds nest with a tiny speckled egg nestled down in amongst the throrny branches. Pretty smart birdie momma protecting its little one from the crazy squirrels in my yard.
I have to admit, I am happy she decided on the rose bush for building a nest because last year I battle birds nests in my gutters. No so much fun.
On the craft front, I just finished another set of crocheted cotton coasters. This has been my go to easy craft of late. For the weekend, I have two Pieced Together Quilting Bee blocks to finish and 20 packages of fabric to ready for my month - May. I am determined to mail them out early next week. Seriously, I promise.
Did you know there is a big birthday celebration going on at See Katie Sew. Stop buy and leave a comment to be entered to win one of many, many great prizes. Happy birthday Katie!!
And don't forget if you want to win a patchwork belt, be sure to comment on my last post.
Seriously, I am not sure how I missed it, but look what TypePad just told me. My last post was my 300th. Wow. I can hardly believe it. So I guess a celebration is in order, don't you agree? I am thinking a giveaway. Hmm, what could I giveaway? I know, a patchwork belt made special for the lucky winner out of Anna Griffin's Darcey line of fabric. Since the subject of my 300th post was Spring cleaning, to enter please comment and share what is on your Spring cleaning to do list. Are you working on your pantry too? Doing yard work? Cleaning out your basement? Let me know. I will pick a random comment Monday April 27th and announce a winner.
And thank you for all your support over the past few years. I appreciate all the comments and can't believe the friendships, inspiration and motivation that have come out of this amazing community. You are all amazing!
When Kelli posted about this months Craft-along 2009project, I knew I had to participate. My pantry is an ongoing battle for me. I have tried to clean it out a few times, and while it helps, within a few weeks it is always back to a sad state of mess.
So, this time I did a bit of planning. I asked myself what works and what doesn’t. Answers to what works included using jars to store dry goods, a basket to hold little things and snacks and another to hold foil, baggies, wax paper etc. Answers to what doesn’t work included trying to store my plastic-ware on the top shelf, having all my spice and oils scrunched into one shelf, throwing whatever doesn’t fit somewhere else on the floor and keeping all the food I probably wont ever use because I feel bad about throwing it out.
I spent some time online looking for solutions and decided a few little purchases were in order. These included a lazy susan for the spice shelf and two stacking bins for the floor. I really thought I could get away with wiping down the old shelf paper but quickly realized I was wrong and had to make another trip to the store. On Friday night, looking like a mess. Yes, sad, but I spent my Friday night cleaning my pantry.
While cleaning I made an effort to check dates, toss old food and bag up non-expired food for when I hear of a collection. Perfect timing because I just got one of those food collection bags tied to my front railing on Sunday! I wiped everything down and tried to be as neat as possible while restocking. After restocking, I realized I don’t to go shopping for pantry staples for a long time... And my addiction to little jars of Penzey’s spices may be getting out of control.
I ended up using the stacking bins for my plastic-ware – one for the containers and one for the lids. I am hoping this really works. And since I moved the plastic-ware, I was able to organize my cookbooks on the top shelf and had a little extra space for baking supplies I rarely use. My spice shelf is now less cluttered and I am hoping the lazy susan helps me find the things I use most often more quickly.
Inspired by the pantry, I deep cleaned the rest of my kitchen too. By Sunday it seemed so fresh and clean in my kitchen that I smiled every time I walked in. And I couldn’t bring myself to close the pantry door all the way, I just wanted to keep glimpsing my handy work : )
My niece and I were talking about blogs on Saturday. She is considering starting one (well a new one for a fresh start) and was asking for ideas on coming up with a name. As part of our discussion we talked about coming up with a name that doesn’t really tie her to one topic and allows her to grow along the way. So I suggested a brainstorm session – sit down with a note pad and jot down things she likes: animals, times of year, weather, emotions, nick names, books, quotes, symbols, activities, colors etc. Then ask if anything on the list makes a light bulb turn on.
This got us talking about my blogs name, Not Quite Vintage. I remember trying to come up with something way back when (goodness, I started in 2004, but wasn’t at all consistent and it was private at the beginning). I kept a notebook with a list of ideas, but then one day while driving Not Quite Vintage popped into my head and it stuck. As you know I have an affinity for vintage things, not always technically vintage, but always well loved. I am drawn to the domestic arts my Gram was so very good at and many of my prized possessions were once hers. I live in a 1940 bungalow... It just worked for me and although it points to one era, it doesn’t tie me to any one topic.
I have been pretty lazy on the look and feel of my blog. It has been pretty much the same since I turned it on publically in 2006 – especially the masthead. Same pink typewriter, wooden tennis racquet, yellow stand mixer and green dress pattern lady... And same vintage typewriter inspired logo. To me, this 3+ year history pretty much makes it mine – don’t you think?
So, when Shannon Googled Not Quite Vintage to see if my blog popped up near the top of the natural search results, she was quite surprised to find an Etsy store called by the same name (opened in August 2008). Her first thought was “If Colleen opened an Etsy store without telling me, I am going to be so mad.” Of course I hadn’t, but someone else had. My Etsy login is Not Quite Vintage, so that confuses me a bit. It looks like the shop owners address and login is her name and she just used Not Quite Vintage in her store masthead, but take a look at this masthead:
Looks a bit inspired to me. I can see someone who is thinking vintage might think old typewriters and sewing patterns, but it seems a bit too similar in my mind. I know nothing is original – this has been a big blog topic – but I am still surprised.
Well, I guess it all isn’t technically mine. I own it in TypePad world, but not everywhere else. I am just a bit aggravated and possibly mad at myself for not protecting it more. I work in marketing so I know the whole “your brand is the most valuable thing you have” thing. But I didn’t follow through.
And, I even dug a bit more. There is a not-quite-vintage BlogSpot blogger a n.quite.vintage Google mail user and more out there. This is so interesting. I guess if I ever really want to do anything with Not Quite Vintage I better start protecting it better... At least my blog and flickr are still the first two Google result!
There have been a few times over the past month when I have thought Spring might have actually made its way to St. Louis and there have been other times when it still felt like Winter. We have had snow, rain and temps in the 70s over the past month. When you wake up, you never really know what the weather will be like and you just can't trust the weather guy/gal.
So yesterday when the temp got into the 60s, the sky was blue and the wind wasn't gusting I decided to take advantage and head out to the park for a walk before crochet class. My favorite neighborhood park is right across the street from class, so it was a perfect opportunity.
Francis Park is a great place for walking. It is square and one time around is just over 1 mile so it is really easy to gage how much exercise you actually got. Plus, there is much to look at: a pretty church or school on every corner, large houses, five year old giddy girls learning to play softball, boot-campers getting weighed and measured, puppies - lots of puppies and more. It really helps keep you entertained while you walk.
Typically my niece Shannon and I walk the park together and catch up while we walk. It is always nice to have a fitness buddy, but I have to say I am enjoying solitary walks too. I just turn up the tunes on my iPhone and set out, breathing deeply, walking fast and enjoying the scenery. I think I am going to make this a habit before crochet class.
How is Spring going for you so far?
And sorta on another subject - do any of you use a heart-rate monitor while exercising? Any recommendations? Pros/Cons? I am considering investing in one.
Yay, I am finally all caught up with my March blocks for Pieced Together Quilting Bee! Everything is in the mail too. I just love checking things off my list. Now I can focus on the April blocks with half the month left.
So, this block is a spider web. It is a paper-pieced block. I was originally very intimidated by this block, but I am so glad I was "forced" to give it a try because it wasn't all that bad. It was relatively simple actually, especially because you have the paper piece to follow and because one of my fellow PTQB-ers put together a rocking tutorial for it.
All things considered, I am not sure I will ever make an entire spider web quilt for myself, but I am glad I gave it a try.
Last night before I went to crochet class my Pops told me about a news story he just heard. It was about a 98 year old woman who had been burried in the rubble of the Italian earthquake for more than 30 hours. Do you know how she passed the time? She crocheted!
Isn't that just amazing? I can totally see how she was able to focus on her crochet instead of the reality of her situation and how it helped her pass the time. I use crafting for similar reasons sometimes - to redirect my mind, to keep me busy, to feel like I am accomplishing something.
I've mentioned before that my crochet teacher Erna is in her late 80s. I know her love of crochet and knitting and her passion for passing along the crafts to others (she has been teaching for over 30 years) has kept her life moving forward. How many of would feel so incredibly blessed to be so healthy, so mobile, so patient and so sharp in our 80s.
It is so nice to come home to a package tucked in the door. Especially one from Amazon. I wonder what is inside?
Yay, Crochet Bouquet and Weekend Sewing. I can't wait to dive in and explore. Can I just tell you how lovely Weekend Sewing is? The cover jacket is thick, the hard back cover has the most gorgeous flower pattern, the drawings are lively and the pattern pieces are great. I am really going to have to prioritize the projects I want to make. It will be hard. Take a look at all the great stuff people have been making in the Weekend Sewing Flickr group. Wow.
I love oatmeal cookies and I love brownies, so what could be better than oatmeal brownies?
Last weekend I tried out a new recipe for oatmeal brownies. I am not sure how I came across the recipe, but I am sure glad I did. It is a total cheater recipe since you get to start with a Betty Crocker brownie mix. Simple is good.
I made them as a special treat for my Pops. He has the incredible ability to enjoy just a hint of dessert every day and not ever go overboard and eat every piece of dessert in sight. I am not quite that good, so I took some to kickball on Sunday and some to work on Monday. I think I may have eaten two total and for me, that is a great accomplishment.
I am definitely saving this recipe to make another day.