Weekly Quote

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.---C. S. Lewis

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spring 2012 Color Trends

It is time once again to start thinking about Spring/Summer creations and the Pantone color report is always a good place to start. 

I am not as inspired by these colors as I was the colors from Spring 2011.  I prefer colors that are clearer.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments section below.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More 101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

Well we are on the count down to Christmas. Here are some ideas for handmade denim Christmas gifts. And it is not too late to make any of these.

24. Christmas Stocking. A very nice pattern for a Christmas stocking that you can embellish to reflect your style.

25. Christmas Tree Ornament. Too cute! I can see a little tree covered in these beauties.

26. Gift Tag

27. Lunch Sack. Great idea, by using the pant leg you have very little sewing to do.

28. IPod Cover. Now is this cool or what and it is made by a guy! However as I was looking through the tutorial I thought the fingers of the person sewing looked like a girls...so I'd say he cheated.  Also he said take the smallest seam possible. In my experience, when working with denim, it is better to take a wide seam. Cut your pattern wider to take into account that you will be taking a wider seam.

29. Coffee Cozy. I worked these up one afternoon using one of the cardboard cozies from the coffee shop as my pattern. In four easy steps your done.
  Step 1. Open the cardboard cozy at the glued point.
  Step 2. Double your material (denim) front sides of fabric together, trace pattern onto wrong side of fabric, cut out.
   Step 3. Embellish front side with stitching, paints, beads, etc.
   Step 4. Put wrong sides together so front sides are out, stitch around edge leaving raw edges, overlap ends 1/2 inch stitch top to bottom.
Voila you have a cute, eco-friendly, coffee cozy. Make several to carry in your purse and car.

30. Draft Stopper/Snake.  Make a tube from the legs of an old pair of jeans and stuff with batting or better yet old t-shirts. And of course you will want to embellish it to coordinate with your decor.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

The First Thanksgiving 1621 by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris.www.historicalstockphotos.com
Despite the economic turmoil there is still so much to be thankful for from the generosity of Squanto and the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims survive in the new land to the genius of the Founding Fathers in forming a Constitutional Republic to our loving God who sent his Son to redeem the sins of the world to caring and supportive family and friends.

Yes, there is so much to be thankful for in 2011.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Denim Fix

Here's a little denim fix from the Etsy treasuries until I get through Village Venture.  By the way Village Venture is this Saturday!  I look forward to seeing you there.

The treasury was curated by Cecraft.  Check out the chair in line four. Isn't it stunning? Could you see a denim chair your living room? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Monday, September 26, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

Did you think I had given up on the 101 project?  I haven't.  I was just distracted by other things... you know--family, work, fun.

Today we begin with number 19 of our 101 uses for your old jeans.

19. Halloween Mask.  Isn't this gorgeous?
Makes me wish I had a masked ball to attend.

20. Corsage. A new trend for prom?  I bet you could come up with several ways to wear this sweet little flower or make a bouquet of denim flowers.
21. Slippers. 21Century Dressmakers has two tutorials for slippers. The ballet slippers are definitely calling to me. How about denim cowboy boot slippers?  Might have to work on that too.

22. Flower Pot Cover.  Paired with a potted plant what an awesome Christmas or birthday present.

23. Bind an Art Journal or Your Bestseller.

Here is my latest journal with a denim spine and page marker.  The denim is from a pair of overalls worn by my Great Uncle the dairy farmer.

Craft Stew has the ultimate collection of bookbinding techniques and tutorials, head over there when you start your bookbinding journey.  I'm warning you though; it is addictive.

How are you coming on your denim projects?  Take a minute and share what you are doing in the comments section below.

Monday, September 12, 2011


utsa school of engineering
Come spring Noah will be a Roadrunner!

He just found out he has been accepted to the University of Texas at San Antonio, College of Engineering.  His major is Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on automotive design.  

Noah has been designing motorized things since he was a little guy.  So no surprises there.  

Hmmm...San Antonio is not far from Austin.  Hmmm...think he'd mind if I came for a visit during SXSW?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

House Hunting

Visited Wild Thing this weekend to celebrate her 18th birthday!

We went out to breakfast and afterwards stopped into the Flower Sports nursery and I caught a few pictures of these guys.

They had lost their former home, a milkweed plant, and were looking for a new residence.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Village Venture 2011

I received my acceptance package from the Claremont Village Venture today!

Plan on joining me at Booth 179 (Bonita Street just east of Yale Avenue) on Saturday, October 22 for a day of parade watching and shopping and eating. And did I say shopping?

If you have never been to Village Venture you NEED to put it on your calendar. No...you MUST put it on your calendar.

Village Venture features over 400 vendors selling handmade goods of every kind.  I, of course, will be selling my jewelry and purses.

Village Venture is a great place to kick off Fall and start your Christmas shopping.

See you there!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


As you may or may not know I LOVE horses.  So I had to share this story with you.  The story of Reckless the war hero.

What is your favorite horse story--fiction or nonficition it doesn't matter.
  1. Seabiscuit
  2. Black Stallion
  3. Flame
  4. Smokey the Cowhorse
  5. Secretariat
  6. Black Gold
  7. Black Beauty
  8. Horse Whisperer
  9. Other
Leave your vote in the comment section.  I can't wait read your comments.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

Jeans we all wear them and they all wear out in the most inconvenient places---knees and derriere. And they accumulate, take up space. It is time to give all that denim a new job. So (drum roll) may I present the next 6 uses for your old jeans. 

13. Pillow. Pillows add a homey touch to your space. Look at this cute one from Yellow Bug Boutique.

14. Pocket refrigerator magnet. Cute, I think I would put a couple of magnets on the back to keep it nice and secure. And of course you can decorate it any way you like...to reflect your style.

15. Key fob. And isn't the gift box unique?  Wish she had included a pattern for it.

16. Backpack. Wonderful for kids...durable, eco-friendly and a fashion statement.

17. Rice pack. This is another great beginners sewing project using the legs of those old jeans. And who couldn't use a rice pack to relive aches and pains.

18. Apron. My Byrd House is all about aprons including several cute denim aprons with tutorials! (It however, has one of my blogging pet peeves--background music. If that bugs you too quickly scroll down to the bottom and turn the music off).

I sewed these three aprons--the apron on the left is from the back of a pair of my son's jeans and the right most apron is from the front, and the apron in the middle is from a vintage pair of my great uncle the dairy farmer's overalls. The aprons are embellished with vintage fabric, hankies, and rickrack. Click on the picture to be transported to my Etsy site.

Are you inspired to upcycle your old jeans? Tell me about your jean projects by leaving a comment.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There Goes My Baby

Wild Thing left home for college today.

She's happy and a little bit sad.  I'm happy for her and a lot sad.

So...there goes my baby.  Bye, Wild Thing.  I love you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

Are you dying for the next six uses for your old jeans?  Here they are!

     7.  Quilt--Denim Quilt 2000 (Isn't the shading spectacular!)
     8.   Skirt--flared skirtstraight skirt (and remember leaving the hem raw and allowing it to fray during washing is very stylish)
     9.   Book cover--a no-sew version
     10. Rug--crocheted, braided, sewn (I am going to make this one it is just my style)
     11. Embellishment--flowers, roses,  Johnny Patches
     12. Donate to a thrift shop

I searched Etsy for you and found these awesomely wonderful examples of upcycled, recycled, repurposed jeans.

                       Wonderful Upcycled Denim

(If you are an Etsian and you know how to embed a treasury in your blog please let me know I am very frustrated that I cannot figure out how to do it!  I want pictures!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Staying Cool

Staying cool--a subject that is always on my mind this time of year.  I hate electric bills so the air conditioner does not go on until we run out of ways to escape the heat.

Here's an Etsy take on staying cool.

How-Tuesday: How to Stay Cool from Etsy on Vimeo.

How do you survive the dog days of summer?

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

I love denim, especially denim jeans.  The more worn, the more loved, the better.  And I love taking those old jeans and giving them new life.  I have been recycling, reclaiming and upcycling jeans since I was a teenager (and that has been awhile).

A couple weeks ago I made a list of 101 things to do with an old pair of jeans.  Here are the first six items on that list.  
  1. Mend or patch your jeans.  As a teen this was my favorite thing to do with my jeans.  
  2. Restyle your jeans.  Check out Pimp My Jeans!
  3. Cutoff into shorts.
  4. Placemats.
  5. Drink coasters. Check out MyRecycledBags for a coaster pattern that uses the hems!
  6. Potholders.
I will be making some of the 101 items on my list and sharing the instructions with you (also I will be offering most items I make for sale on my etsy site).  

Today's tutorial is making denim potholders.

Click on the picture to zoom in.

Difficulty Level: Easy, beginner, great learn to sew project.
Materials: Denim jeans, old cotton clothes or calico, matching or contrasting thread
Tools: Scissors (sharp), ruler, sewing machine
Optional tools: Cutting mat, rolling cutter

Step 1.
Using the legs of a pair of jeans, cut two 8-3/4 inch squares and two 8 inch squares.  If you have a cutting mat and rolling cutter use them there is no faster way to cut straight lines.  If not, just measure and draw the square on your material with a Sharpie and cut out with scissors.
Step 2.
Cut two 8-3/4 inch squares of cotton calico.  I used material from my extensive collection of quilting fabric.  However, in keeping it green you could just as well use old cotton clothes.  Make sure you don't use fabric with polyester in it.  To test for polyester burn an edge of your fabric.  If it forms little hard balls around the edge it has polyester in it.
Step 3.
Stack the larger pieces of material (like a sandwich) with the denim in the middle and the calico on top.  The right side of the material showing on both the front and the back.  At this point  you can sew across the diagonal to stabilize the sandwich, if you want.
Step 4.
Position the smaller denim squares on the front and back of the sandwich so they are framed by the larger squares.
Step 5.
Sew the stack together by stitching across both diagonals.
Step 6.
Sew a seam around the edge 1/2 inch inside the edge of the smaller square.  Sew a second seam 1/2 inch inside the first seam. Your seam should be even on both sides of the potholder.
Step 7.
Throw your potholder(s) into the washing machine with a load of towels, dry (I use a dryer but I think hanging them on a clothesline would work), trim any long straggly threads and voila! you have denim potholders with frayed edges.
Embellish the top denim squares with patches, embroidery, rickrack, etc. prior to Step 4.
Use contrasting thread.

I searched the internet and found other patterns for denim potholders that called for aluminum coated batting in the center for heat resistance.  I have not found that to be necessary.

This tutorial could also be used to make placemats and coasters, just adjust the size of the "squares".  And in the case of the placemats make rectangles instead of squares.

Feel free to share my tutorial (it's not rocket science), and spread the green crafting word.

Let me know if you try making a denim potholder (or placemat or coaster) using this tutorial.  Was the tutorial easy to follow?  Any suggestions for making it better?  I didn't take pictures because this is an easy pattern?  Do you think I needed pictures anyway?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Trip Home

Our route home was through the southern Colorado Rocky Mountains, Four Corners, across the Navajo Reservation of northern Arizona and back to I-40.  Along the way we stopped at Mesa Verde National Park, Four Corners National Monument and the Grande Canyon National Park.  Definitely a whirlwind as we were home in two days.

And now the last pictures from our trip.
Wild Thing at Spruce Tree House,
Mesa Verde National Park

Wild Thing exiting a ceremonial room at Spruce Tree House,
 Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

Wild Thing in four states (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona
and Utah) at one time, Four Corners National Monument

Me and Wild Thing over looking the Grande Canyon from
the South Rim, Grande Canyon National Park

Wild Thing and I agreed that we need to return to Mesa Verde National Park and Grande Canyon National Park for a minimum of one week at each park.

Are you taking a vacation this summer?  Where?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Let's Finish This Vacation

We arrived in Canon (pronounced Canyon, the spelling is spanish) City later that evening and spent the next five days eating, visiting with family and friends, sightseeing, and eating and visiting with family and friends.

A few pictures of our days.
Painted wall at cafe on Main Street in Canon.

Wild Thing and new friend on top of Skyline Drive.

Antiques shopping in Florence, Colorado.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taos II

So after touring the pueblo under the direction of a cute, knowledgeable young man (aren't all youngsters cute?), we did some shopping and eating.  It is absolutely essential that Fry Bread with honey be eaten at every opportunity which Wild Thing, a pueblo dog named Rollie and I did.  Yum!

We visited the studio of artist David Gary Sauzo.  He paints vividly colored scenes of the pueblo and Taos area.  Luckily, Mr. Sauzo was at the studio and we got to talk with him about his art--inspiration and techniques, how he promotes his work and his children.  "Pueblo Stars" is now a part of my art collection!

Acrylic on handmade paper.
It was time to leave Taos and continue on to our destination, Canon City, Colorado.

Looking for Highway 64 we found this local cemetery (believe me I am not obsessed with cemeteries).  Doesn't it looking like a picture from the Old West? There was even a gentleman tending the graves.  After a little wandering and backtracking we found Highway 64 and were on our way to Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, and Cimarron, and the treat of beautiful mountain scenery.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Taos, New Mexico

After leaving Gallup our next stop was Taos, New Mexico.

 The highlight of the Taos stop was touring the Taos Pueblo.

Join me on a short pictorial tour.

The tour begins at the St. Jerome Church.

Stained glass window from the
exterior of the church,
no pictures are allowed of the
church's interior.
The original church (built in the 1600s).  All that remains
is the bell tower.  The church now sits in the middle of the
Adobe ovens are still used to bake bread
especially for feasts.
The creek that divides the pueblo into east and west.
The creek is, of course, very important to the pueblo as the source of
life for the people, their crops and livestock.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gallup II

After breakfast we walked along I-40 Frontage Road window shopping.

We chose a large gallery store to go into...wow...such awesome jewelry, rugs and pottery.  I could have spent my life's savings here.

However being a somewhat frugal woman of Scottish heritage I bought one pot, an etched horse hair pot signed Heather Sam, Navajo.  I picked it for the blue and green colors and the fine etching.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day 2011

Wild Thing at the City of Ontario
California 4th of July Parade 2011
How are you celebrating our declaration of independence from taxation without representation?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gallup, New Mexico

Our first stop during the trip was Gallup, New Mexico.  We started with breakfast.  Wild Thing picked a cute straight-out-of-the-1950s diner.  One of our goals for the trip was to eat as much local cuisine as possible.

One might think that mexican food was the same throughout the southwest US but it is not.  California mexican food is very different from that of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

Wild Thing with blue mush
So back to our breakfast.  On the menu was "blue mush".  We questioned the waitress "What is blue mush?".  Turns out it is a hot cereal made of blue corn.  We could not pass up the opportunity to give it a try.

And...after adding lots of sugar...we gave it a thumbs up.

Sterling silver and Kingman
turquoise by Al Lasiloo

During our breakfast we met Zuni carver and jeweler, Al Lasiloo.  Mr. Lasiloo showed us this beautiful sterling silver and turquoise cross which, of course, I had to buy.  Mr. Lasiloo's Zuni fetish carvings can be seen here.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Back Home

Wild Thing and I pulled into home late last night.  We were definitely ready to be out of the car and sleeping in our own beds.  I found I did not have my settings correct in Blogger so I was not able to post on the go. Over the next week I will share some of our experiences, and show you the art we bought and some of the people we met along the way.

Veteran's Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vacationing with Wild Thing

Wild Thing and I have been on a road trip from California to Colorado the last 9 days.  Our destination was a family reunion in my hometown of Canon City, Colorado. 

We spent three days traveling through Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado.  We both agree that New Mexico is enchanted. 

This first picture is of the Taos Pueblo...

and here is Wild Thing in the doorway of the Catholoc Church at the Taos Pueblo.  The Taos Pueblo is a much recommended stop. 

We also spent time in Gallup which we thought was a great place.

Tomorrow we head back to California; we will be traveling through the Colorado Rockies and into Arizona.  Along the way we plan to stop at Mesa Verde National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Little Mother Daughter Time

Wild Thing and I went riding, something we have not done in over a year.  Here's Wild Thing on her favorite horse, Kidd.  Kidd is a spirited cowpony who belongs to our friend Mary.

I rode my little girl, Breezy and ponied Max.  Max and I are finally making head way and I am looking forward to trail riding on him soon.

On the metal front I am learning to fold form!  I can't wait to show you what I am working on.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Graduation 2011

"My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you,
 and wants the same things too..."---Rascal Flatts

Wild Thing graduated from high school last night!  Congratulations!

She is off to junior college and then to nursing school.

Watch out world.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Relay For Life 2011

The 9th Annual Upland Relay For Life is fast approaching.  Saturday June 11 is the big day!

Relay For Life is the premier fundraising event of the American Cancer Society.  American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.

Click here to make a donation.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fall 2011 Color Trends

Total excitement...the Pantone fall 2011 color report is out.  The colors are being called sensible and spirited.

Yes I can see it.

Sensible because they work well with the colors from last fall and even this spring.

Spirited because the colors are clear, happy and invigorating.

Once again turquoise is present as Deep Teal (my favorite), a lovely chocolate with Coffee Liqueur, and as a continuation from spring Honeysuckle.

I approve.  Now how can I use the colors in my fall collection...hmmmmm?

Do you take into account the color report when designing a new piece of jewelry?

You can get a pdf of the fall report at Pantone.

Friday, May 27, 2011