Balloon Rally

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I have been taking it easy lately. It feels good to spend time out doors, and catch up on things behind the scenes. My son and I took a side trip to see the Balloon Rally going on in the Monroe, WI. It’s a lovely small town in the southern part of our state. We ate hamburgers and ice cream from the food vendors, and listened to live jazz and blues music while we watched the balloons. A perfect summer’s evening in my book.

Blue balloon stripes

I have always wanted to see the Balloon Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had no idea such a thing existed here in Wisconsin. I happened to see an ad for this event that they haven’t had in almost 5 years. What are the odds?

Balloons rising

We arrived at the fair grounds just in time to see the balloons filling up and taking off into the horizon.

black balloon rising

They are of course absolutely huge!  So graceful and beautiful!

Pilots in the balloon basket

We were fortunate enough to be right below the flight path….

Bottom view of balloon basket

You would be surprised how loud they are as they release the hot air into the balloon. It seemed like we were so close we could have touched the basket!

2 balloons

Have you ever read Around the World in 80 Days? Seeing the balloons makes me want to read it again, such a great book!

Balloon glow

balloon profile

As the balloons disappeared behind us, we would turn around and there would be another one up in the air ready to take off. There were 6-8 balloons total. They all took off at once and made a short 6 mile trip into the countryside. Then they descend to the ground, pack up the balloon, and bring it back to the rally for another go. The last take off of the day is just before sunset. They call it “The Balloon Glow”.

Rainbow balloon overhead

This balloon was even more beautiful than the first! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go for a ride in a hot air balloon? Definitely on my bucket list! #yesIamcrazy

Balloons on the horizon

There were dozens of photographers at this event. I couldn’t wait to see how the pictures came out. I wasn’t disappointed.

Tuscan sunset balloon3

The last balloon to take off was named Tequila Sunrise. What a great name! Such summer fun! What are you doing for fun this summer?

 

 

 

7 Easy Beginner Sewing Projects

 

It’s nearly the end of the week and I haven’t accomplished much of anything on my to do list. I have had a million distractions here. I am also working on some bigger projects, but can’t reveal those just yet. So, I decided to put together a few posts that you may have missed. These are easy sewing projects for the beginning sewer. They also happen to be some of my favorites!

 

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This is Maggie. She is one of my all time favorite pooches, and she was my model for this DIY Dog Bed project. You can read the whole story below:

DIY Dog Bed

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This simple blouse is great for warm summer days. It is flattering for any figure type and super easy to throw together for the weekend. Here’s the link:

Sewing a Cowl Blouse

 

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Sewing a Fleece Robe

Sewing a fleece robe is another easy project. Fleece is easy to work with because you don’t have to finish the seams. This robe is warm and fluffy, every girl should have one in her closet for those cool evenings at home.

Gifts Wrapped in Glass: Day 16

Pajama pants are another easy item to make. You can make them from fleece, flannel, cotton, etc. They also make a great gift!

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I love reusing fabric from different sources, this DIY Apron is made from an old flannel shirt. I love it for those really messy DIY projects!

DIY Apron

31 Days of Pintrest DIY: Day 23 Wool and Burlap Pillow

These pillows go back to my early blogging days, I still love them.  The photos aren’t my best but oh, well. You can make pillows from just about anything, these are made from burlap and old sweaters. Here’s more pillow ideas.

 

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Why You Need to Learn to Sew

Quilted Hexagon Table Runner

You may have noticed that I love to sew. I have dozens of sewing projects in my blog repertoire, sewing is one of my favorite things to do. Here’s why:

Finished fabric stack

 

  1. Believe it or not, I can sew just about anything cheaper than I can buy it. The only exception is with specialty items like winter coats or sequined evening gowns. Most of us already own a coat and few of us actually wear evening gowns. I suspect most people today would like to learn to sew to save a few bucks here and there, alter the clothes they already own or just for their own knowledge. At any rate, learning to sew will save you MONEY.

Kids Travel Pillow

2.  I can sew faster than I can order things online and have them sent through the mail. You would be amazed at how quickly you can make things at home that cost a considerable amount of money to buy in a retail store. I often go shopping and come home with nothing except photos in my phone of things I want to make, or ideas for those I can make cheaper than I can actually buy them.

Cutting out the tree appliqué

3.  I can whip up gifts at a moments notice. This is a huge benefit of sewing. Once you have a stash of fabric and supplies built up, there is no stress in putting together a last minute gift that is unique and special because you made it just for them.

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4. I can sew my own clothes or make clothes for others. Let’s face it, it’s really hard to find things that fit, that in your price range and look really great. It takes time and a bit of patience to sew your own clothes, but it is well worth it. You will be able to make better fitting, longer lasting garments than you can buy in the store.

DIY: How to Hem Jeans

5. You can alter or repair the clothes you already own. Even if you have no time or desire to sew your own clothes, by learning to sew you can repair the ones you already have. If you pay someone else to hem slacks or skirts, shorten sleeves, repair worn spots, or replace zippers it is far cheaper to learn to do this yourself. You can even get paid by your friends to do it for them! Plus, it’s fun!

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6. You can sew fun projects for your home decor. Let’s say for example, you see a cute pillow that you love in the store. Small decorative pillows run anywhere from $13.00 on up. You can make one your self for less money that you will like better! Not to mention, it’s easy to cover an old pillow with a new cover that you can make yourself for free!

I can even leap over my sewing machine in a single bound. Well, not really.

But, you know what I mean? Sewing and making my own stuff is part of my Homemade Super Thrifty existence, without it life would be very dull indeed. And expensive!

I am hoping that you love to sew too. But, perhaps you never had an opportunity to learn?

Here’s your chance! I am starting a new sewing series call SEW FIRE. I chose this name because I am passionate about sewing and can teach you to sew IN A FLASH. When I went to Googled this title, I discovered an article about a tragic fire in New York’s garment district  in 1911. Hundreds of young women lost their lives trying to escape from a building where they were seamstresses. This really touched me, and I decided that SEW FIRE was also a way to recognize the garment workers who sew for pennies in deplorable conditions even today. I have been inside similar buildings in the garment district of NYC, and let me tell you, they aren’t pretty. I fact, many of them are downright scary. I can’t imagine being trapped in one by a fire. If you would like to read more about this tragic fire, click here.

This Sew Fire series is for those of you who have never sewn a stitch in your life, don’t know how to turn on a sewing machine, or even thread it. This series is sewing from the VERY, VERY BEGINNING.

You are going to love it! I am doing weekly videos on Facebook Live and posting additional tutorials here on the blog and my You Tube Channel.

Here’s the introduction teaser video:

Join me on FB live Monday and Wednesday mornings, 10:00am CST for the Sew Fire series!

I am really excited about this, and I have much more in store for you here on the blog including some free printables that I am working on!

You won’t want to miss out! Sign up for my weekly newsletter in the side bar for all the updates!

Succulent Cross

Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries.  Here is an easy DIY project to add some green to your decor – a succulent cross! 

DIY Succulent Cross|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

 

It’s finally warm enough to spend some time out on the porch. My first priority of course, are plants and accessories. Never mind that there is no where to sit, or that my pile of rummage sale junk still sits in the corner of the porch. A pretty front door is so welcoming, and something green by the door just makes it so much more inviting.Succulent Cross on door

Succulent Cross materials

Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries. I used to work in a green house and we planted dozens of topiaries early in the season. Topiaries were always hot items and they really aren’t difficult to plant. Succulents work well in them because they have shallow roots and don’t need a ton of water. I found this cross topiary online last year and thought it would be perfect for my Easter decor. This would also be a nice project for a grave site planting, as the succulents don’t need a lot of maintenance.

The first step is to soak your topiary in a bucket of water for 10-15 minutes until saturated. Then it’s ready to plant. I only used 6 plants for this project, but I broke them down into smaller pieces as I planted them so they wouldn’t be too big for the narrow parts of the cross.

Succulent Cross close up

I used a screw driver to poke holes into the moss, then inserted the plants. The plants filled up the cross quite well and will grow into place even more over the garden season.

I used a Command Strip to hang it on the glass door.

whole door with cross

I will have to take the cross down and soak it in a tray of water when it is dry since I don’t want to mess up the wooden finish on the door by watering it directly.

cross on the door

I found the blue hydrangea plant recently at Costco. My cross dripped a bit after it hung for a while, you can see a bit of moisture on the lower part of the door. I will have to remember to let it drain for a bit before hanging it up after watering. I have planted the Bunny Topiary in past years, you can read that tutorial here.

Now that my door is ready, perhaps I need to go out and look for an Easter Bonnet?

Enjoy your Holy Week!

 

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A Trip to the Orchard

Door creek logo

It’s hard to believe that fall is here AGAIN. Wasn’t it just fall last year? My sense of time gets more warped the older I get.

Door creek truck

It seems like we were just here picking apples last year. This year is even better for we had an excellent growing season. I love the apple logo at our favorite orchard. It’s so quaint.

It’s even more adorable on this old truck.

suprised james suprised james2

Our youngest son was rather reluctant to come apple picking. He quickly changed his mind when he realized how beautiful the apples were. He now tells me he wants to work here some day.

golden apples

We came home with bags of Empire, Golden Delicious and Jona Free apples.

We sampled each one on the drive home.

They were all excellent.

grapes

The orchard also has several different types of grapes that you can pick. The vines were loaded and we brought home a bag full of Concord grapes to make jam.

More on that soon!

mason bee house

I always enjoy seeing how professionals find ways to use sustainable gardening methods. This Mason Bee house was one of several along the orchard groves. The bees make there homes in here and pollinate the apples in the process. I love it!

black sheep

This farm raises black Welsh sheep. They sell their wool for yarn and you can buy fresh mutton, although I can’t imagine eating such a darling creature! They use the sheep to clean the orchards after the picking season is over. The animals eat the fallen apples and even find the weeds. Such smart farming!

Isn’t this ewe adorable? She quickly decided that I was not worth her time. She ran off to find someone who would feed her handfuls of grass.

black sheep grazing

I could get used to a view like this. I am quite sure that I must have been a shepherdess in another life.

Yup, sheep are my thing.

silo doors

Even the barns are so interesting. I love this round Silo with the rusty doors.

red barn

The red barns are so lovely. This one has a beautiful stone foundation.

Although we were just here, we have eaten almost all of the apples we picked. I guess we will just have to make another trip!