Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shannon and the Shutters

Hi ya!

I wanted to start off today by telling you about a visit I had with my dear friend, fellow bunny lover and quilt instructor, Shannon Shirley of Once in a Rabbit Moon. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know Shannon from lots of previous posts of when I stayed at her house and taught for her guild.



Shannon taught her Bottles and Blooms class for our guild and also gave us an amazing trunk show of her work. Such fun we had! She has soooooooooo many incredible pieces.


Here she is showing us how to use our Inktense pencil to color our stems. Everyone learned a lot and thanked me for bringing her to our guild. I knew they would love her as much as I do!


Next, the shutter color decision was finalized! Wooooooooooo hoooooooooo! Thank you for commenting. It's really so exciting for me to share this adventure with you. Between here and Facebook, it was almost dead even with no shutters and leaving the shutters, but with a softer color.

I allowed myself several days to just sit and look at the house and the paint swatches in different light. What I figured out is that the house isn't really creamy/yellow at all. It's more of a creamy/grey. All the green colors I was trying to put with it looked awful. So, I decided to do what I like best and that is work in a monochromatic color scheme.


I picked a color that was the closest to our house color and then all the way to the bottom of the paint swatch and picked the darkest version for our front door and the next shade up for the shutters.


Our house looks very similar (just lighter) to Sherwin Williams 7036 Accessible Beige. So I picked 7041,Van Dyke Brown for the door and 7040 Smokehouse for shutters. This soft brownish green did the trick! Shannon loves it and David does too. As for me? Well, I did the happy bunny dance in the front yard. hee,hee,hee



Even Mr. McGregor approved of the color and he doesn't approve of much!


Of course, David wasn't too excited about painting the shutters again and when I offered to do it, he told me "No way!" as I pretty much stink at painting. He did however let me paint the chrome screws. Shannon just had to get a photo. ;)



I will either paint the chairs and porch swing white or....get some brown wicker pieces instead. Hmmmmm....

So, one thing off the list. The landscaping crew should be here in a few weeks. I can't wait to get rid of all the overgrown, dorky looking stuff and the worm eaten grass. It's going to be so pretty.

See ya back here next Thursday for our final block in the Briarside Lane adventure!

Hugs,
Michelle

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In a Fix - I Shutter to Think

Well hellooooooooooooooo! Did you miss me? I sure missed you! Good gracious has it been a crazy few weeks. I still can't believe we sold a house, found a new one, packed our gear, unpacked our gear all within 15 days. Oh and had my best friend visit and worked. As the saying goes though, "If there's a will, there's a way." Darn if that ain't the truth! hee,hee,hee.

So, since we moved into "Bayfield," it has been one thing after another to fix. The people who owned this little cottage were "corporate" people, not "handy" people. Needless to say, we have replaced tons of burned out light bulbs, replaced a broken toilet seat, painted the laundry room before the new washer and dryer arrived and cleaned out lots of stuff they left behind. On top of that, the refrigerator sprang a leak, the microwave is almost dead and the dishwasher overflowed onto the kitchen floor. David is starting to call this the "money pit!" LOL! Even with everything going nuts, we absolutely LOVE this cottage and the neighborhood and our new neighbors. We have no plans to ever move again until we are ready to go to the "garden" as Mommy Syl would say.

Today, I thought I would start off my first installment of "In a Fix," with some photos of the outside and my shutter dilemma. This first photo is the one that came from the real estate listing. The yard and house look so pretty don't they? Well of course they do! Just like they do to movie stars, this photo has been edited and photo shopped. Yep, you read that right, photo shopped!



Here's what the yard, house and landscaping really look like.




How's that for reality TV. hee,hee,hee. The yard got Army Worms and the previous owners didn't treat it, so needless to say, they had a buffet on the lawn. I have already talked with a landscaper about what we are going to do. That will be in our next episode.


David and I decided to pick one major project, since unlike the TV shows, it will take us years to complete everything as we will have to save our pennies for each thing. Thus, we both agreed that the exterior of our house needed some serious curb appeal. We wanted people to drive by and know the cottage was under new management. Haaaaaaaa!

So, before the landscaper starts, I thought we could at least paint the faded out shutters and remove the plastic window boxes. Here's how it looked when we took the shutters down.



You can see an outline of the shutters as the house paint has faded so badly.



Here's another angle.



The thing is, I kinda like not having shutters on the house. Now, I know I would have to paint the house to get rid of the shutter outline, but I really like how simple it looks. A fresh coat of a soft creamy, pale yellow on the house, with white trim and a green front door would look really great. Hmmm.....


Since we can't afford to have the house painted yet, we needed to put the shutters back up. I picked a really soft green color for them in a satin finish. Well, David hated the color. He is a creature of habit and we have always had black shutters. He wanted black semi-gloss on them. What is it with men and shiny objects?????

So, black semi-gloss it is....



But, I hate them! I don't like how they make the house look even more faded, I don't like them with the brown roof and I don't like how heavy they make the house look. Note to self, listen to my gut and never use semi-gloss on shutters.

My first thought was to take them back down and paint them a darker, warm green instead of the light green I originally picked. This way it would be a compromise for both of us. However, when I was looking at these photos, my eye goes back to what I think really does look best and that is no shutters at all. David is ok with that option too.

I shutter to think about how much it will cost to have the house painted, but again, if there is a will, there is a way. ;)

What do you think? Would you choose dark green shutters, the black shutters, or no shutters?

Hugs and see ya next week!
Michelle

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Narrowboat - Block 5 of the Journey down Briarside Lane

Hello travelers!

We are delighted you have joined us on our next stop down Briarside Lane. This stop takes us to see The Narrowboat.

The Narrowboat – by Jules Woolford
 
On a fine summer afternoon, the lane runs straight alongside a tree-lined canal. Long ago this waterway was a alive with industry. We are walking along the towpath, where horses once pulled heavily-laden, narrowboats full of goods. Today, though, it’s just us and the wildlife that enjoys the peace and quiet, and tranquil beauty of the waterway. Ducks swim by with sleek heads bobbing, and swans glide past gracefully. Dragonflies swoop and dive above the water -- their iridescent wings glimmering in the sunshine.

Ahead of us, a narrowboat approaches. We can hear the engine chugging and a ‘swishing’ sound as it ploughs through the water. It is a merry little boat which someone has made into a home. We can see it is much loved. It’s brightly painted and transports its own, carefully tended garden on the roof. What a wonderful way to travel along the old waterways of Britain, seeing the countryside at such a gentle pace!



The Back Story
In the 18th century, canals were the freeway system of Britain and used to transport goods between towns. Originally horse-drawn like a wagon, many people lived and worked on narrowboats.

Named after the “narrow” channels by which they were designed to travel, it became common practice to paint ‘roses and castles’ on the fixtures and fittings of narrowboats.

Today these boats are mainly used for leisure purposes, although many people still choose to make them floating homes – but with many modern conveniences on board!


Some of Jules’ ancestors were canal structural engineers and boat owners in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Canals hold a special place in her heart. Since childhood, she’s lived near the Gloucestershire canal and always loves to see a narrowboat go by!

Here is Jules' original painting that inspired me. Isn't it beautiful? I have been having so much fun with these!!! I have received many emails regarding the purchase of prints of Jules' originals and I think once the journey is over, they would make a lovely set of note cards. What do you think? Should we talk her into it?


I got a little carried away again with stitching.


It's really hard not too. I think it adds so much detail and whimsy to plain wool. 





Remember, each design comes with a FREE embroidery version. A special thank you to my dear friend, Babs Fullerton for stitching all the embroidered versions. She had lots of fun with this one too! 



The PDF pattern, as well as, the wool kits are available in the Shop (CLICK HERE).

I still have some Valdani perle cotton thread kits available. They won't be around forever, so if you would like one, get it while the getting is good. ;)



Hugs and hoppy stitching to you. We are delighted you are part of our family.

Michelle, Jules and the Bunnies

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quick update and reminder

Hi ya!

Just a quick hop in as I'm right in the middle of moving, closing and hopping through a million hoops that realtors, inspectors, attorneys, buyers and sellers have lined up. What a mess!!! Note to self...never sell and buy a house at the same time ever again!!!

Anyhow, block 5 of Briarside Lane will be here on Monday, May 1st, so hop back over. I can't wait to show it to you!!

Hugs,
Michelle and the fuzzy ones

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Sneaky Peeky and a little Lindsey

Hi sweets!

Well, this little bunny has been running around with packing tape and bubble wrap! hee,hee, hee. The movers come next Wednesday to get all our stuff. Bunny ears crossed that everything goes smoothly on Thursday and we can move into our new cottage, which I have decided to name "Bayfield" as our street name is Bayfield Dr.

Today I wanted to give you a little sneaky peeky of the 5th block on our journey down Briarside Lane. Jules and I are having a total blast with these and we hope you are enjoying your creative journey as well. This block will debut on May 1st.



Also today, I wanted to share a new video from my favorite violin gal, Lindsey Stirling. She is touring in Australia now. Hopefully, some of my Aussie friends will get to see her in person!

See ya next week!

Hugs!
Michelle

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"In a Fix"

Hi ya!

Well, I guess I really did shock you last week when I told you David and I were selling our cottage and yes indeed, it did sell. There are many reasons behind it like trying to cut down on his 50 minute commute to work, or the fact that we thought we would live here for nine years until he retires and then move to Florida. However, we discovered how much we LOVE this town and never want to leave! Prices here keep going up and up and up. We decided that if we were going to retire here, we better get to where we want to be before we couldn't afford it.

That being said, we have felt like we were on an episode of Property Brothers. You know where they show the people a really nice house with everything they want and then shock them with the outrageous price tag? Well, that has been us. Most places have increased $30k in the last 18 months. But like everything in my life, the winds of fate bring me right where I should be and then the moon and stars align to make it all work out (even if I have to go through pure HELL first).

You know I have a HUGE love of houses and honestly, just like when I design quilts and wool pieces, I can envision what a house will look like finished. I get down right giddy thinking about what can be done! hee,hee,hee.

So back to the winds of fate. We were lead to a house in my FAVORITE neighborhood here in Wilmington. My bestie, Lydia, can tell you because I always drove through here saying "One day I will live in Wilmington and live in this neighborhood."



If all the banking, inspections, blah, blah, blah go as planned, we will be moving into this cutie cottage in TWO WEEKS!!!! Yep, you heard that right. Yikes! Although it looks large, it's actually smaller than our current house and that is just fine with us. We love little houses with big character.

So, if all goes according to plan, I will be adding a segment to my blog called "In a Fix" because we will literally be living in a fixer upper. I thought it would be really fun to take you on this adventure with us and show you how we transform this little cottage and the yard into our dream home.

I'm still pinching myself that what I said all those years ago is coming true. I'm living in my favorite place and in my favorite neighborhood. You ready? We sure are!

Hugs to you,
Michelle

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cottage for Sale

Helloooooooooooo! Well, I woke up this morning and realized I didn't write my blog post yesterday. LOL!! Time gets away from me as there has been much happening around Bunnyville. I haven't really talked about it because I wasn't sure how it would go, but David and I are selling our cottage. In fact, it may be sold and thus the reason I was busy with that yesterday and forgot to write my post.


1

I will give you more details on all of it next week. If it has indeed sold, we will have to move out of here in three weeks. Yikes! We are not sure where we are going yet, but let's just say we are looking forward to an adventure and if it all works out, we can't wait to share it with you!

Until then, here is a 3-D tour of our cottage. It's amazing how buying and selling a house has changed over the years. Looking forward to reading your comments.


Hugs and see ya next week!
Michelle

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Packhorse Bridge - Block 4 of the journey down Briarside Lane

Hello travelers! We are delighted you have joined us as we make our way across the Packhorse Bridge, the fourth stop on our journey down Briarside Lane.



The Packhorse Bridge – by Jules Woolford

On an early autumn morning, we are wrapped up warmly against the frosty air. The lane is leading us through the wooded valleys of Exmoor, where a tumbling stream murmurs and chatters as water flows over moss-covered rocks. We need to cross the creek – but how?
The answer lies ahead of us. Framed against the purple and gold of the distant heather moorland, is an old, stone, packhorse bridge.
Today, it’s a beautiful remnant of the past, bedecked with moss and lichen, wreathed in wild flowers and clambering ivy. Once though, centuries ago, this was a much busier crossing place; many travellers walked and rode across the cobbled arch. We follow in their footsteps, pausing a moment to take in the tranquil scene. Almost on cue, a heron, standing like a sentinel on the far bank, silently takes flight across the water. It’s the final touch of wonder in this lovely, peaceful place.


The Back Story: Jules’ favorite place in the world is the beautiful Exmoor National Park. It’s a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland, shaped by people and nature over thousands of years. Medieval, packhorse bridges are common here. Today they are used by hikers and horseback riders… and much photographed! This stop on Briarside Lane is based on the famous ‘Robbers Bridge’ which crosses the tumbling Weir Water. A magical place where brown trout swim, heron fish and Red Deer roam over the moor.

Here is Jules' original painting that inspired my wool and embroidery version.


Here is how the block looked before I stitched it. Isn't it amazing how much life the embroidery and Valdani threads add?


My dear friend, Babs Fullerton, stitched the embroidery version. I love seeing how she is inspired to stitch each piece.



The e-Pattern and wool felt kits are available in my shop.



I still have a few of the Valdani thread collections available



and Soft Fuse fusible web


and embroidery needles


and bunny scissors if you are needing a few extra goodies for yourself or a perfect Easter gift for a sewing friend.


So hop on over to the SHOP.  As always, we are delighted to share this adventure with you and are truly grateful for your friendship and support of our small business.

Hugs and hoppy stitching!
Michelle, Jules and the Bunnies

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Sneaky Peeky and Changing Times

Well hello there! I want to start out this week with a little sneaky peeky of the 4th block on the journey down Briarside Lane. This block will be debuting on Saturday. How are you coming with your other blocks? I know it's the time of year when everyone starts running out of gas for creative things as the warm days and fresh air are calling them outside. Yet another reason Jules and I made this a 6 month project.



Also today, I wanted to share this note I received from Kona Bay fabrics. Not only are quilt shops closing up, but so are fabric manufacturers. I received another notice that Red Rooster fabrics is closing. The times they are a changing. First, many quilters are aging and have sooooooooo much stash, that they are overwhelmed and have decided to reduce what they have and not buy any more. Second, there aren't that many young quilters or young people interested in quilting. If they are, they tend to be attracted to the modern quilting. Also, they don't buy like all of us did. They buy what they need or buy a kit. They don't collect hoard fabric like we all did. The industry is changing for sure. I noticed it a lot when I vended at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival. A lot of the vendors I have seen for 25 years are gone and more said they are retiring within the next year or two. It makes me rather sad to say the least, but I know that nothing stays forever and times change. It will be interesting to see what it is like in the next 5 years.

Here's the letter I received.

After 26 years in the fabric business, it is time for Da Textile Samurai to close down Kona Bay Fabrics.  This is our last week.

I'm sure you realize how tough this economy has been for many years and can understand how challenging it has been for so many.

The last few years, in particular, have been very hard but I wasn't ready to quit before I could honestly say that we gave it our all and did what we could to try and keep Kona Bay Fabrics alive.  Alas, it just wasn't meant to be.

Many shops have closed during these tough economic times.  Attendance at Quilt Market has fallen off over the years.  Colleagues and friends whether they be competitors or sales reps have also decided to change their profession and move on.

Having said all this, I look forward to the future and await what it will bring.  I'm still young and energetic and am merely ending but one chapter of my life.  

What I will miss the most is the friendship that I have made during these past 26 years.  Quilt Market was always a time when friends who shared a love for fabric and quilting came together.  Speaking to quilt guilds gave me a great opportunity to be with people who love our fabric and always gave so much encouragement and support.  

Through our constant emails (and I hope I didn't email you too often), we were able to bond with our friends and supporters and have crazy contests and giveaways.

I will miss the great staff and supporters who really made Kona Bay Fabrics our home for the past 26 years.

I don't know what the future will bring so I don't really think this is good-bye.

For now it is MAHALO for your past support and ALOHA to everyone!!

Douglas
Da Textile Samurai
Kona Bay Fabrics

So what are your thoughts on all of this?

Hugs,
Michelle

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sir Walter Harrington

Hi ya and Hoppy Spring! I'm soooooooooo looking forward to warmer weather and I love that it is light later in the evening. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Today I would like to introduce you to Sir Walter Harrington. He is a handsome lad don't you think? He is dressed in his finest bow tie and ready for dinner.



I created him on 100% felted wool. I have been wanting to try my reverse wool applique method on the 100% wool and since this only had two layers, it worked fine. My other designs with multiple layers still work better with the blended wool.



There are a limited number of kits available in my shop, in fact, I think there are only two left. Of course, the PDF patterns are available all the time. I think he would be cute stitched in some home decor fabrics. If you make one like that, please share a photo with me!



Hop on over HERE if you would like to get the pattern and make a pillow. I know you will have just as much fun as I did.

Hugs to you and see ya next week!
Michelle

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More from the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival

Can you believe this weather? Good gracious!!! It was 75 here the other day and today it is 38!!!!! I can't even imagine being where there is all that snow. Mother Nature is having hormonal issues for sure! hee,hee,hee.

Moving on...Today, I have more amazing quilts to share with you from the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival. Like last week, the name of the maker and story behind the quilt, is listed in the photo following the quilt.

Enjoy!







































































































































I'll see you back here next week with a new design! Let's just say that a dapper bunny will make his debut. ;)

Hugs!
Michelle