I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mid-August Lull

Hello, friends! It's been a quiet time here at the beach, a brief lull before the End of Summer excitement and celebration of Labor Day. The weekend at the beach with friends was glorious. In a gale wind and chilly sort of way.

Mellow and relaxing. People read books and Kindles, and buried toes in the cool underneath sand.

I'm making eggplant parm for a friend's birthday, for the weekend ahead, and meatballs in the same sauce. Not the enormous trays I sometimes make, just enough for my friends and maybe a bit for us here at home. I'm trying a new way of pre-cooking the eggplant,  roasted in the oven, instead of standing for hours deep frying. Not sure how long that will take! Today I made the marinara sauce and the meatballs, also oven roasted instead of fried. I just tested a meatball, mmm, yummy.

I haven't accomplished as much deck sewing as I had hoped. I finally realized that the current deck chairs are not as comfortable as the old set.  I get up from an hour of sewing and can barely straighten up, let alone walk Mo. Too bad, maybe cushions will help.

I've been working on my Year in the Country "August" block. Love the sunflower.

I decided to do a prim running stitch to give the petals dimension and texture, This was fun and fast but not a good choice for a very windy beach day---I kept sewing the corners into the back, like folding in and catching. Much snipping and redoing.

The background represents my view of ocean and sky.

I added a heart shaped leaf, one of a sunflower's subtle charms. [but yes,, this is a morning glory,lol.]

And I found a ladybug button to hide some bad machine sewing.  (Something is wrong with my good machine, it spits the fabric off to the left side! Cannot sew a straight seam or smooth curve.)

Next month's block is an empty birdhouse...I am thinking it should be an empty nest instead, but then the eggs I want to put make no sense. I just hate when the kids go back to school, I enjoy having them home and the September beach is so beautiful. Hence, ''empty nest''....?

Gully--we were worried, he'd been dragging a wing.
Maybe just molting?

Another day--or days---I experimented with ''tea-dye'' aging for this small quilt.

No tea, which tends to appear pinkish; I tried two kinds of coffee, instant and boiled grounds of espresso. Dingy but no real impact. Then I used RIT dye in brown and lemon yellow. Closer to what I'm looking for but not wonderful.

Here is the antique I am using for inspiration. HERE

Doll Quilt - Circa 1830-1860.

I wanted that golden aging look. I was also surprised and saddened by the green squares' overall loss of color. No more bright poison green, but just dull green, after the first  no-dye wash. Not a real FAIL but not quite what I wanted.

I do like the back I chose, though those fabrics faded a lot too.

I finished the top of a baby quilt today. Can't show you yet, though I doubt the mom reads my blog. It is simple and modern, not a Lizzy look but maybe they will like it and use it?

The Christmas Tree Shop sale flyer came today, online. They're showing my fave Tiffany aqua [that they call teal, even though teal is a deep green with a bit of blue: TEAL]. I love this look. Immediately texted my friend L:"Roadtrip!" I hope we can go. HERE

Mo got wet today during our dinner walk. He was so indignant.


Tomorrow I have to go buy a bushel of eggplants! Wish me luck.

Full Moon tomorrow! The Corn Moon.



gone to the beach.....

Friday, August 9, 2019

Beach Cottage ~ Midsummer Re-dos and Style Changes

Hi everyone! The past few days I've been changing things around just a bit here at the beach. I love summer but it drags on endlessly through October, so by mid-August I am ready for a change. But not a PUMPKIN change.

My bedroom is simple and mostly white except the blue painted Shaker blanket chest and blue six-board chest. So it lends itself to any color I want to feature. Here I have veered off my usual blua and white runway into a bright and cheery tropical look.

 Pineapple coverlet, flamingo pillow cases, Beach Umbrellas quilt, bright roses throw pillow. Plain white linens on the bed.

This textile is a recent thrifting find, a butter yellow washed twill, with a classic Ralph Lauren flag tag.

I think it's a tablecloth, but it could be a bed topper, used on top of my white comforter to collect Mo-hair.

Usually I use a white ruffled flat sheet. This allows me to lift off just the sheet to wash or shake out, and supposedly keeps dust bunnies of Mo down in check. [hahahahah]. Or I may cut the piece up for pillow shams that go on my stacks of pillows. 

In the living room I put away all the red/white/ and blue patriotic accents. Everything is simple, cool blue and white.

The coffee table features a white ironstone platter with lovely candles, tropical scents.

Pineapple board for clutter, like remotes and wine glasses.

Nothing took much effort and having a small change can ward off the August doldrums. Though I imagine the bedroom will be back to blue and white by the next sheet change.


Friday Flea report: The tent had darling dishes for a quarter, but no. Inside a row of wonderful prim stoneware jugs, very large, 10.oo each. Not particularly old-old, but HUGE, like 10 or 15 gallon. Maybe Red Wing,c. 1920-40? They would look really great on my pine bride's bench but they were very dirty and I just couldn't pay 50.oo or cope with what might be luring inside. Jugs have those closed tops, unlike crocks. So, no. And---no  coffee tables! I even had a few guys around ready to help me bring them home.


Mo had a sleepover last week. I got a text: " He insists on belly rubs!"

Later, "He took my space in the bed!"

Have a good weekend!



gone to the beach......

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My $20.oo Deck Garden

Hi everyone! We're having a bit of a storm this evening. I have the curtains wide open so I can enjoy the lightning flashing above the ugly locust tree as the day fades to too early darkness. Mo is happily napping, though he did have a brief bout of being sick just now---not storm nerves! No he stole a slice of salami off a small antipasto plate we humans enjoyed on the deck, earlier tonight. So naughty, but just imagine the deliciousness of a spicy salami compared to the  dull dry brown kibble of  his everyday meals.

My deck garden will be happy for the rain, we had a bigger storm early today, at dawn. The garden pleases me this year. It reached its peak of prettiness last week, end of July, I think. Note to self to be more ruthless cutting back  the zinnias.

I believe I spent less than 20 dollars this year! Most of the seed packets were bought last fall when the market had them on sale for a dollar each.  I kept them over the winter in the freezer. The big expense was the $6.oo elephant ear bulb, and a few heirlooms from the spring flower show.[not all of these were used, including lost pack of Whirligig zinnias; and the the freezer yielded more common zinnias, sunflowers and marigolds from the dollar sale. The pollinators/ mix packs are gifts to folks who buy my bee inspired sachets.]

The pots, pushed together, create a tiny version of an English cottage garden, or so I tell myself, and form a sweet outdoor space for me and Mo, friends and family, too, to enjoy. The pots form a barrier to keep Mo from managing to fall of the deck, raised one story for hurricane safety.

Here is Mo trying on his rainbow sweater. I like to knit for a change from sewing sometimes.

I do love the zinnias, these are Cut and Come Again and State Fair.

 I love the palest pink zinnias, some so pale they begin almost white, then slowly deepen. [Zinnia blooms last a long time, weeks, even.]

More pink zinnias, different shade with dark centers and golden stamens.

This is my heirloom Green with Envy.

 A few varieties of marigolds.

I love marigolds but I don't like this one with the very prominent ferny leaves, kind of icky.

Sunflowers are just starting in August. These are Lemon Sunflowers.

This is a huge  volunteer sunflower! What will it be? Looks like a Russian Giant.

I have also been interested to watch and see what wildflowers have bloomed this year from last year's Pollinator Mix. Catmint?

Yes two pots have only mystery weeds, a drawback my dad impressed upon me when as a teenage gardener I wanted him to let me make a property ''fence'' area or ditch with prairie  wildflower seeds. He'd always grump and refuse, saying after a year or two only the the ugly weeds would survive [and ruin his lawn, lol.] He instead planted a hedge of small rose bushes---floribunda? Ugly little flowers, gorgeous red berries, lethal thorns---for his birds and wild critter pets in that spot, and gave himself his first heart attack, one 100* Illinois day. [Age 49!]

 But the in this seed pack last year were the lovely coreopsis, which did bloom twice again as I followed Mel's instructions to deadhead them.

The borage returned. A heavenly blue, and the Nigella from Mel too, also blue. Plus maybe dill or coriander? [at front]

The pretty white cosmos .

The bees did come, and wildly pollinated the lime tree. I have dozens of baby limes forming. Big harvest! I don't see honey bees here but many other bees and butterflies, even cute chubby bumble bees love the lime tree.

The other seeds that were a fail previously but finally woke up and grew are two kinds of ornamental prairie grasses. I thought they'd be pretty in the fall  with  new mums or a small pumpkin, because this year I am determined to cut back and clear up the pots by mid-November, not let them straggle on through December, and then be too frozen to remove.
And a few mystery plants: what is this tall ugly thing? With it you can see the early blooming nigella that I let go to seed for next year.

And this oddity, growing in the marigolds? It looks like a zinnia but the leaves and shape of the plant, almost a vine, aren't ''zinnia'' at all. A single petaled calendula?


This week I am making a baby quilt, modern in style. I hope it pleases my friends.

Have a good week!



gone to the beach.....