Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Few Favorites March 30

Snow is melting here! We've had a couple warm days, and then got more snow dumped on us, but then it warmed back up.  We still have a lot of snow, but you can see more and more ground every day.  It's also to that point where the snow we do have is dirty and gross, so I'm really hoping the rest melts soon.

This week has been a productive one.  I got to spend time with one of my friends, do some shopping with my mom, catch up on laundry, and just enjoy life.  It's amazing how much energy a little sunshine will give you.  Here's what I'm loving this week.

1. My new dish of succulents.  I bought three plants at Walmart and then picked up this dish at the second hand store for a dollar, so I transplanted them all into the bigger dish together.  My cat was continually knocking over the cactus so hopefully he's a little nicer to it now.

2. My Dover Publications order came a few days ago, and I love the Cats in Art Sticker Book.  It filled with great art pieces that feature cats.

3.  I haven't tried sewing knits yet, but I plan to soon, and when I do, I want to try the Parisian Top from GoTo Patterns.  Since I wear scrubs to work, I've kind of let my out of work wardrobe deteriorate.  I just don't have a lot of occasions to wear dresses and such.  But, this knit top is super cute.  Looks girlie, but still comfy.  I want to try it out.

4.  This is the best Broccoli and Cheese Soup I have every had.  One of my friends made it and I loved it.  It  uses gouda with a little cheddar and I think that's part of what makes it so great.  It also calls for half and half.  I made a batch a few weeks ago and ate it all in like three days!  It's so good.

Well I hope you all have a nice week.  I have to work day shifts on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, at work, so I'm not sure how much I'll be around.  So just a reminder that the Craftsy Artisan Bread Making Giveaway ends on April 1.  If you haven't entered yet, be sure to click on the link.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mug O' Comfort Swap Reveal

The Mug O' Comfort swap was great!  I was paired up with Jennifer who blogs at Busy Being Jennifer and also runs on the online shop Home Spun Happiness.  She is a talented sewer, embroiderer, and crocheter.  She lives in Texas and I would love to be as crafty as she is!  Check out her shop.  Don't you just love her hoop art.  Anyone that embroiders weeping angels is my kind of girl!

Anyhow, so I got an awesome box in the mail from her this week, and here's what she sent:

Great mug with super cute mug cozy!
I love the colors she chose for this.I had a mug cozy once before but it was one I had just bought off Etsy and it didn't seem to fit any of my mugs.  And the mug is the perfect size.  I didn't want to seem like a weirdo and say that I have a preference to my coffee cups, but I do.  I like ones that are about average height, but fat.  Ones that can warm up both hands at the same time.  Like this one.  So, it's basically perfect.

And more treasures!
And along with the mug, she also sent some Strabucks Via to make instant iced coffee and iced tea.  I love things like this for work.  And a Ghirardelli candy bar!  I always have at least one fancy candy bar stashed away for emergencies.  Sometimes a girl just needs yummy chocolate!  If I could live on chocolate and coffee, I probably would.

But wait!  There's more!
And apparently Jennifer really likes to spoil people, because there's also this adorable pouch.  I should have taken a picture of the inside too, because it's lined in this awesome, bright flower print.  I love the little coffee mug embroidered on the outside with the heart!  It's super cute.  I may use it to hold tea for work, I'm not sure yet.  I love little pouches for their functionality, but this one is super cute too!

So do you want to see what everyone else got in their packages? Just click the picture to be taken to Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  And you can also check out what's coming up next! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Finish- Pillow Slip Covers Older than my Blog

Finally finished!
These pillow slip covers have been a WIP for the quite a while.  I bought the pillows on Joann's last Easter.  (I remember because they had a great deal on shipping.)  I blogged about them on July 21 of last year and I finally finished them March 17 of this year.  So why'd they take so long?  I'm not really sure.  The log cabin pattern is pretty easy and non stressful to follow.  I did run low on browns and have to get a couple fat quarters so I'd have enough of a variety, but that was about the only road block.  Finally, last week I decided I was going to finish them no matter what.  And I did. 

Most of the fabric came right out of my stash.  I had planned on making a tree skirt that was patchwork and then changed my mind so a lot of the reds and greens got moved over to this project bag.  I also wanted the slip covers to match, but not be exact copies of each other, so I used the same fabrics but not in the same spots.

For the back, I just used the envelope method, where you cut two rectangles the width of the pillow but the length of them together is more than your pillow's length, so the excess overlaps and hides your pillow form.  Here's a picture of the fabric I chose for the backs.

Tan herringbone fabric for the back.
You can't really make out the pattern, but it's a an herringbone that I think looks nice and ties everything together well.  The covers are far from perfect.  They're slightly too big, but I think that's better than slightly too small.  Most of all, it's just nice to finally have them done and sitting on my couch.  And all in all, they turned out far better than I thought they would!  And it felt super good to put a date next to them on my WIP list.

Stop by tomorrow to see what awesome goodies I got from my Mug O'Comfort swap partner!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Little Tweaking

That says tweaking not twerking people!  So you may have noticed that my blog is wearing a new little outfit today.  I just use blogger with a background from and I've used one called "Zen and Now"pretty much from the start.  Then last Thursday I logged on and the background was gone, link broken.  I go to Shabby Blogs and the website is down, but the blog had a post from a few days before stating Shabby Blogs was for sale.  I figured someone had bought it and shut down the website for whatever reason and who knows how long.

Meanwhile, it was the first day of the "Spring Fling" Giveaway and I couldn't very well have my blog be naked.  So, I found a new background on a different website, but I had to change my Blogger template and while it was cute enough, it just didn't feel like it was me.

So, last night I went back to Shabby Blogs looking for clues and any signs it was going to be resurrected, and it was back up and running!  The for sale post on the blog was gone, and instead was a heart felt post about blogger burn out up instead!  That's totally understandable. 

I was going to go put my background back to "Zen and Now", but then I got thinking that now might be the perfect time to try something new.  So I dug around and found this background called "All That Glitters" and while I initially thought it was a little too fancy-pants for my blog, it really grew on me.  It's nice and bright and adds a little pizazz without being too distracting.

If you're a blogger looking for an easy to install background on Blogger or Wordpress, go check out Shabby Blogs.  They're super easy to use and lots to choose from.  And from today's blog post, it looks like Meg over there has a lot of new ideas cooking.  There's also pictures, buttons, headers, etc.

Like this one:

Which is a perfect excuse to share links to the TWO giveaways I currently have going on.

1.  Win the Craftsy Artisan Breadmaking Class!
2.  Enter to win my bundle of Dover Publications and Smens goodies in the Spring Fling giveaway!

And if you have any feedback on my blogs new outfit, let me know.  :)  Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday's Works in Progress

I know Wednesday is traditional WIP day, but I had today off, and it was great!  I had worked the last six days and will be working the next three.  Nine out of ten days at work is too much if you ask me.  Anyways, it hasn't left me much time or energy for sewing, or crafting.

We only had a high of about 18 degrees today, so I really didn't want to leave the house.  Instead, I stayed inside, sifting through bins of fabric and pulling together pieces for projects, and watching Torchwood and X-Files on Netflix.

Sifting through fabric is just relaxing.  I remember where I got the fabric, what other pieces I got at the same time.  Just looking at all the colors and patterns.  Hmm... do I sound like someone on Hoarders?  Seriously, it's just cathartic.  Like digging through a box of old pictures or something.  Tell me I'm not the only one who feels that way about fabric.

So here's what I plan on working on this weekend.
There's three of Michelle's Patterns zipper pouches.  These little pouches have a semi rounded bottom and are super cute.  I also cut out another Super Tote from Noodlehead.   And, there's a medium sized grocery bag from Michelle's Patterns out of bright yellow and some paisley in there too.

I'm hoping to reopen my Etsy shop soon.  I've already started listing new items and just holding the listings until I'm officially ready to go.  So within the next month or two, I hope to have that ready to go.

All in all, it's been a great day off and I'm kind of bummed I have to go back to work tomorrow.  But, I just need to hang on to get to the weekend.  What are you looking forward to tackling this weekend?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Fling Giveaway! {Open in US and Canada}

 photo SpringFlingHop2_zps28460617.png
Welcome to the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop
hosted by Lauren Paints | a beautiful life

Spring is here!

I've teamed up with a FANTASTIC group of bloggers to

celebrate the spring equinox with a giveaway hop!
After you enter my giveaway you should enter to win
$100 Kohl's Gift Card over on Lauren Paints!

Here's what I'm giving away:

It's a prize pack from affiliate Dover Publications.  I thought this giveaway would be a great way to show you some of the awesome things they have available.  You'll receive:
Total value of my giveaway is over $30!

Interested in winning?  Contest is open in US and Canada, just follow the Rafflecopter giveaway below.  And once your done with that, scroll down for more giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Check out all of the giveaways listed below:

Disclaimer: This contest will run through 4/4/2014 at 11:59 pm EST.  Please note, Lauren Paints | a beautiful life AND Chair in the Shade are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes, please contact if you have any questions or if you are interested in participating or sponsoring a future event. 

And don't forget to enter to win my Craftsy Artisan Bread Making Class giveaway by clicking this link!  Open worldwide!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Follow me on Instagram

Guess what guys!  I've finally joined the 21st century!  I've been using a Samsung Convoy flip phone for probably the last five years.  It's a good little phone.  I can make calls.  I can text.  What more does a girl need?  My husband is just the opposite.  He got a smart phone pretty much as soon as they came out.  He kept offering to upgrade my phone, but I'm a cheap-o who didn't want to pay for a big data plan and my phone worked just fine thank you very much.

That's not to say I never thought about getting one.  I spend a lot of time online.  My laptop is on pretty much all the time when I'm at home.  Then we decided to change up our cell phone plans and switch companies.  After looking around, we found I could get all the texting and minutes I need (read- not very many, since I'm not a big phone user) and a miniscule data plan using Husband's old smart phone for less than we were paying for the flip phone. 

And guess what, I kind of love it.  When I get up in the morning, I no longer fire up the laptop while I make my coffee.  I can check my email, Facebook messages, play some Scrabble, and read Bloglovin posts on my cell using the house WiFi.  I actually spend less time online now, because it's hard to get sucked into the internet black hole on my slow, baby cell phone screen versus the laptop.

One thing I have enjoyed is finally being able to join Instagram. If you want to see what projects I'm working at, or would like to see more pictures of my monster kitten, Honey Badger, known for occasionally photo bombing my blog pictures, feel free to follow me.  Above, you can see my latest finish in progress- log cabin pillow covers that have been on my WIP list for almost a year.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Artisan Bread Making and a Craftsy Giveaway!

It  was about nine months ago that I started this blog, and a few months after that I signed up to be an affiliate for Craftsy.  They let me enroll in a class for free and I signed up for Artisan Bread Making because it was a skill I wasn't very proficient at but wanted to improve.  I learned so much!  Not just recipes but also the mechanics behind bread making.

And, now here's a little recap on the final two lessons.  First up- marble rye.  This lesson was fun because you make two different rye doughs (one is a dark rye because you add molasses to it.  The instructor, Peter Reinhardt, shows various ways to roll out you dough- a bulls eye, braids, spirals, etc.  I chose to just combine my pieces into a loaf.  I didn't remember to take any pictures of my dough prior to baking, but here's some cross sections of the finished product.

Cross section of Marble Rye.
They turned out well, but I'm not a big rye fan.  Once in a blue moon I like a nice Reuben, but usually I prefer a ciabatta or just plain white.

The last lesson was on making Babka which is a Eastern European coffee cake type dough.  The recipe used in the class is for a yeasty dough you make the night before, then you roll it out, spread your filling on it and then roll like a jelly roll, cut it in half long ways, twist the two halves together, bake, then drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze.  Here's a little collage to help you out with the process.

The lesson print out gives instructions for a chocolate filling and a walnut filling. I tried the chocolate filling first, but made it after I had gotten home from working a day shift and I kind of fell asleep while it was in the oven and awoke to it looking like this:
Burnt Babka :(
But all it all, it was okay.   I mean I wasn't happy to waste all the ingredients in the first one, but it helped me to make my second one better.  I made the second with a kind of candied walnut filling and then drizzled it with the glaze.  It was so good!  I think it'd be an excellent holiday treat for Easter morning (or Christmas morning).  And it really doesn't take to long to go from rolling it out to popping it in the oven.

The Giveaway!
And finally.... since I have completed all lessons and feel much more proficient in bread making, I want to give one lucky reader the same opportunity!  Craftsy is giving away a free enrollment into the Artisan Bread Making Class!  Want to win?  Of course you do!  It's open world wide.  To enter, just click this link!  If you're already a Craftsy member, it will tell you you're entered, if you're not you will have to create an account, but it's totally free.  No credit card numbers or address required.  Giveaway is open until April 1.

Craftsy will notify winner via email.

Note- All links in this post are affiliate links.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Few Favorites March 16

Last weeks favorites all revolved around Doctor Who. (I did end up ordering the tee shirt!). This weeks are a little more random.  But random is good.

1.  I'm getting super excited about going to Michigan's Upper Peninsula this summer! This is a picture of Bond Falls.  I've seen it in person and can't wait to go again.  It's a short hike off the highway and down hill most of the way.  I found the picture on Pinterest, but it originated on Matt Anderson's Flickr page.  We want to see as many lighthouses and waterfalls as we can on our trip.

2. If you're looking to build a fabric stash, check out this Fat Quarter Bundle from Fresh Stash.  It's less than $16 for 8 fat quarters.  That's a pretty fair price for a variety of fabrics.  Unfortunately, I have so much fabric laying around, I couldn't even find a way to convince myself I needed this.

3 I'm loving all the lace in clothes and accessories I've been seeing lately. has two styles of lace shirts (affiliate link) on sale today.  There's a long sleeve and a sleeveless.  I like the sleevesless in white, but the picture of the black shirt gives you a better view.  I just wish I had a reason to wear something besides scrubs more often.

4. I started reading The Fire Starter Sessions (affiliate link) this week.  I'm really liking it so far.  I bought it almost a year ago on Amazon and then it just sat and sat and sat on my shelf until I felt "ready" to read it.  I was super excited to order it, super excited to read it, but for some reason I have a terrible time starting to read a book when I'm really excited about it.  Anyhow, I  guess it would be considered a self help book, but it's not about making a lot of money or being successful in business.  It's more about finding what you're passionate about and what you define success as as how those things connect.  So far, I'm really liking it.

I was hoping to have my final bread lesson on the blog this week, but unfortunately I fell asleep while it was baking and let's just say it came out a little more "done" than I'd have liked.  So, this will be the week.  Plus, I have two fun giveaways planned for this week so be sure to swing by.  Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Finishes... More Pouches

So I've been using up more scraps.  I finished these five pouches.  They've all been cut out for months or longer (I'm thinking most were in my to do pile before I started this blog) and have just been waiting for linings to be cut out, or zippers to be chosen, or just plain waiting to be sewn.

  • The red and white roses are from a piece I had bought at my local fabric shop a few years ago.  
  • The blue corduroy is from a pair of pants I turned into a skirt.  The crocheted flower on it is from a great little Etsy shop called Lazo that specializes in crocheted flowers of different sizes, colors, and styles.  I've ordered from her several times and always been extremely happy with quality and speed of shipping.
  • The silky tan with blue and teal flowers is a vintage piece I picked up a church rummage sale in a bundle.
  • The blue one with rabbits and flowers is from a fat quarter bundle I got at JoAnn's.  This little picture really doesn't do it justice.  I wish I could have found it on a bolt, I would have bought more of it.
  • And the last one, that is orange, purple, and green is made out of a pashmina I had that got a big snag in the middle.  I cut around the snag to make this pouch.
So, some upcycling this time, and just more little projects being finished.  Sadly, there's still more half finished projects sitting around in my sewing room.  I have the whole weekend off, so I'm hoping for more sewing time.

Any projects you're going to tackle this weekend?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Few Favorites March 9- Doctor Who Edition

Another week has come and gone.   It's been warming up a little.  Some of the snow is melting finally.  You can really tell the difference when you drive, because there's no longer a snow pack you have to drive on.  But  it will still be months before I can get in my flower beds. 

So, what's a  girl to do?  Well, I scrubbed out my entire refrigerator and got rid of all those things that had expired, or starting growing fuzz, or I bought for one recipe and never used again (hello jar of peperoncini).  I have other projects I want to do, but am currently lacking in the motivation  department- like freshening up the paint in my laundry room, and sewing projects in progress.

But, today, on Zulily I noticed that they have a whole collection of Doctor Who tees for sale and that kind of influenced the whole post for today.  I think it's no secret that I'm a Doctor Who fan, so  I thought it'd be fun to do a little round up on some of my favorite Doctor Who Related things today.

1. "Dress Everyday Like You'd Run Away with the Doctor in those clothes."  Surprisingly good fashion advice.  I think of this on the days when I don't even get out of sweat pants until mid afternoon.  But seriously, if you were running away with the Doctor what would you want to be wearing?

2.  This is the tee I loved most from Zulily's collection.  It's from the VanGogh episode which is one of my favorites.  I also have a post with this print on it hanging in my office.

3.  Cross my love of Doctor Who with my love of The X-Files?  How could I not love this.  It's an awesome riff on the UFO poster that Moulder had hanging in his office.  This one is from Big Bad Robot's Etsy Shop.

4. Another great mash up: Dr Who and Gordon Ramsey.    Two great things in a meme!  Yes please. It's old, but still funny.

Anyway, for all my non Doctor loving readers, sorry, but it had  to be done.   I don't believe there has been any mention of the Doctor on here for months so it was time.  :)

Hope you all enjoy your Sundays and I'll be back this week with some more bread, some sewing, and some herb growing ideas.

Please note, Zulily links are affiliate links.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

New Affiliate! Dover Publications

I'm exciting to announce a new affiliate here on "Chair in the Shade".  It's a great company that had a big influence on me growing up.  It's Dover Publications.  So what's so great about a book company?

When I was growing up I wanted to be a librarian.  I LOVED (and still love) books.  I read all the time and I especially loved mysteries and classic British lit.  I could get pretty much I wanted from the public library, but there's just something about having a book of your own, and not having a set time to have to have the book read by.  

I originally was drawn to Dover because of their Thrift Editions.  These are mostly classics, soft covers, and all $5 or less.  They have Sherlock Holmes stories, books by the Bronte sisters, Shakespeare's plays, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen, and so much more.  It's a great way to build a library when you're a high school kid when you're a growing bibliophile with limited income from your part time job.

They have lots of books on a variety of other books, fiction and non fiction on a variety of topics.  They  have drawing and coloring books, paper dolls, origami paper, clip art, cooking books, books on card games, different sciences and math, history.  They cover a wide variety of topics.  

They also have tons of awesome stickers.  I went through a phase where I absolutely loved Impressionist art- Renoir, Monet, Mary Cassatt, I loved them all.  Dover sells sticker books with reproductions of artwork by famous artists for $2.00.  They also have vintage reproductions of fruit labels, luggage tags, Victorian animals, flowers, and Christmas stickers.

Dover Books

They now offer e-books as well if that's your thing. And they have free shipping if you spend over $50.  If you like books, art, crafts, or history, I can't recommend Dover enough.  Check them out for reasonable prices and great books.