Archive for May, 2012

Every year Charlie and I like to plant some containers on our patio with annuals to add more color to the garden. I like to plant them fairly full right from the start so they don’t take all summer to look good. I also like to use plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance such as dead heading.

Center – Tropical Yellow Canna Lily
Outer ring – Lanai Blush White Verbena & Solanum Jasminoides Aurea

This is one of three large pots we planted.  The Canna Lilies in the center will eventually grow to about 30″ and have beautiful yellow gold flowers. The Solanum is primarily a foliage plant with that beautiful yellow and green leaf, but will eventually have small white flowers also.

Center – Mealycup Sage Sallyfun Blue
Outside ring – Blue Velvet Verbena & Lanai Twister Verbena (pink)

I love using verbena to trail down the sides of the pots.  They are very draught tolerant and never need dead heading.  If they get too big you can cut them back and they just keep on going.

Stained Glassworks Trailing Plum Coleus
Snowstorm Giant Snowflake Bacopa

This small pot sits on the wall of our patio so there is plenty of room for it to trail down all summer long.  We have never used this coleus before, but just loved the color and form.

Happy Hour Rose Morning Glory

These two morning glories were planted less than a week ago. Yes they came that big from the store! They are planted on either side of a chair against our garage wall. As the vines keep climbing Charlie is planning on putting a few nails in the wall and tying string from the nails to the top of the trellises so the vines can just keep climbing all over the wall.

The next two pictures show two sides of the same pot.

Center – Religious Radish Coleus
Front – Stained Glassworks Trailing Plum Coleus
Left – Snowstorm Giant Snowflake Bacopa
Right – Wilhelm Langguth Geranium

Center – Religious Radish Coleus
Left – Aztec Burgundy Verbena
Right – Gryphon Begonia

Currently the geranium in this pot doesn’t have any flowers, but they will be dark red flowers to go along with all the other reds in the pot. I like the way the variegated leaf of the geranium helps to lighten the foliage in this pot as well.

Center back – Florida Sun Coleus
Left – Happy Thoughts Pink Geranium
Center front – Aztec Burgundy Verbena
Right – Lava Rose Coleus

I think this is my favorite pot this year. Most of the foliage in this pot are variegated and eventually the verbena and coleus on the right will trail to the ground.

This is the patio where the pots are. Eventually they will fill out more and have more impact. The morning glories are next to the reddish door so you can see how they will eventually have plenty of room to keep climbing.

One of the things we think about when planning our pots is how the butterflies and hummingbirds could use them.  The verbena is a favorite of both of these as well as the Salvia. The key to keeping the pots looking great all summer is regular watering and feedings.  Every couple of weeks we will water them with Miracle Grow fertilizer and almost every day they are watered.

I hope you enjoyed this look at our container plantings for this summer.  Stop by later in the summer and I will show you some updated pictures of how everything fills in.



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When your parents reach a certain age it can become difficult to come up with gifts for them at holidays and birthdays.  Over age 70 there is little that my parents have needed that they didn’t just buy for themselves when they needed it. This requires some thoughtful creativity to come up with something they will like and be able to use.

A couple of years ago I made myself a credit card clutch that I designed myself. After numerous hints from my mother I knew that would be her Mother’s Day gift that year. She loves it and always has it with her.

Credit Card Clutch for Mom
Click on images to make them bigger

Flash forward a couple of years and I was stumped as to what to get for this year’s Mother’s Day gift. I found my inspiration at the Anita Goodesign seminar I attended a few weeks back in Cleveland.  One of the ladies that was sitting at my table wore a shirt the second day that I knew would be the basis for mom’s gift.

PMS – Purchase More Shoes

You see, my mother has a slight addiction. Not quite as bad as Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection, but my father is never surprised to see a certain shaped box come in the house after a shopping expedition. I decided I wanted to re-create this shirt for my mother, but I had some reservations.  My mother hasn’t experienced PMS in the traditional sense for quite a few years. After perusing my favorite machine embroidery site, Embroidery Library, I found the perfect design. I showed the embroidery design and the inspiration above to my husband and he convinced me to go with just the design and no words. It always pays to listen to my Chief Creative Consultant as the final result was great. I purchased a plain black t-shirt from the most upscale place around, Target (that’s pronounced Tar jay’ of course).

Clothesline Shoes T-shirt for Mom
Click on images to make them bigger

I changed some of the shoe colors from the original design so they would show up better on the black and I think it looks great! Needless to say she loved it.

Now the next conundrum for gift giving was for my father’s birthday in the middle of May.  I decided to continue with the theme of embellished t-shirts so I picked up nice Polo style shirt at the same upscale store, Target.  The next problem was trying to decide what to put on it.  There aren’t a lot of activities that my father participates in at his age, but there is one thing he does frequently all summer long – grilling meat. Again Embroidery Library came to my rescue.

Grill Master T-shirt for Dad
Click on images to make them bigger

I think he liked his gift too.

Grill Master Chuck at Work

When other people who sew find out I have a sewing machine that also does embroidery they often say that they don’t think they would ever use that function if they had it. I say you don’t know what you are missing.  These may seem like simple things to do, but they make a difference to the recipient.  I don’t think either of my parents would have been excited by receiving a plain t-shirt, but with a few added embellishments you now have a thoughtful custom gift. I love my embroidery machine!

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Today I am joining all of Blogville in honoring one of our most famous residents and his family, the Honorable Mayor of Blogville Frankie Furter Price!

I can’t remember when I first started reading Frankly Speaking, but I do know that it was one of the first pet blogs I regularly checked in on. It has been over two years that I have been reading this blog and it remains one of my favorite.

Judge Frankie

Where else can you see a picture of an adorable long-haired dachshund with a mop on his head?  I can’t look at that picture without laughing.  Frankie and his brother Ernie are always having adventures whether it is in their own backyard, at a local fair or one of the many virtual parties that happen in blogville.

Hanging 20 in Hona Roo Roo

 We also get to occasionally read about their alter-egos, I mean cousins, Francine and Ernestine.  These two are a couple of wild and crazy “girls”. Well Francine is…Ernestine is a bit young yet, but unfortunately is often influenced by her older cousin.

Ernestine & Francine

I can usually count on having a smile on my face after I have read Frankly Speaking and, like many others, I’m just a little disappointed when the blog is quiet for a day or two.

As much as we all enjoy reading these blogs that are written from a pet’s perspective, we all know there is a very clever human behind every one of them and Frankly Speaking is no exception.

Frankie’s Mom

You rarely see the humans behind the blog, but we all know they are there.  Frankie’s mom is no stranger to his blog as Frankie is always helping her around the house and garden.

I think that one of the main reasons that we all keep coming back to read Frankie’s blog is because of the warm feeling you always get from visiting.  Frankie & his mom are always letting everyone know what is going on in blogville and only has nice things to say about everyone, well except for the peeps that run Blogger when they make changes that cause problems for them.

So let me conclude by saying thank you to Frankie, Ernie, and Frankie’s Mom and Dad for sharing your life with us.  Frankly Speaking is one of the first blogs I check every day.

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Amy's Creative Side

I thought I would throw my hat into the ring at the last-minute for this springs Bloggers’ Quilt Festival hosted by  Amy’s Creative Side.  I wasn’t sure which quilt I would enter, but decided on my Lily Pond quilt since I haven’t done a blog post about it previously.

Lily Pond

This quilt is a small wall hanging that is about 28″ x 20″ and the pattern is from Ruth B. McDowell’s Piecing Workshop book. When I first received this book my husband, who I like to call my “Chief Creative Consultant”, saw the quilt in the book and said that I had to make it for our house. I agreed, but I wasn’t promising exactly when.

About a year ago I was let go from my job and needed something to fill my time. We also were having a couple of bathroom make overs done so that meant many hours spent sequestered in a couple of rooms on the first floor of our house while the work was done upstairs. I decided that this would be a good project to occupy my time while the work was done.

It may be a small quilt, but there are about 87 million pieces in it.  Okay that is a bit of an exaggeration, but there are a lot of pieces and some of them were very small.  My Chief Creative Consultant was very helpful with picking out fabrics and helping decide where to put which fabrics. Ruth McDowell uses a technique for piecing where you use freezer paper to create all the template pieces, mark them so you know where they go and how to match them up with the pieces next to them, and then iron the freezer paper pieces to the fabric and cut them out with a 1/4 inch seam allowance added.

The pattern is actually fairly easy to piece together, but you have to keep your concentration while you are working on it. I had all the pieces cut out with the freezer paper on them and pinned to my design wall. It is pieced together in sections that are marked on the pattern.  It was great fun to watch the quilt grow as the sections were pieced together.

For the quilting I used a variety of thread colors and design depending on which area I was quilting.  I actually quilted the water area twice as I over did the density of the stitching the first time.  I had to painstakingly pull out all of the stitches in this area and redid it and I’m glad I did. I had some fun with the quilting too and added a couple of frogs on the lily pads.

You can click on the images to see the details.

I like to finish off my quilts with a machine embroidered label.


My husband loves the way the quilt turned out and it is prominently displayed in the busiest room in the house, our family room.  On top of that I also entered this quilt in the Perinton Quilt Guild show a couple of weeks ago and by popular vote it won first place in the small wall hanging category!

I hope you like my entry for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. You can hop over to Amy’s Creative Side to see all the other quilts entered in the show.

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Our Sweet Baby!

About a week ago my husband, Charlie, was working out in our yard and happened to glance out to the meadow where our bluebird house is.

Nest box in our meadow

Some movement caught his eye so he took a closer look.

Can you see what he found out there? Here let me help you.

Can you see it now?

You can click on the image to make it bigger or I can help you out a bit.

Yes! That’s correct a fawn! Out in the middle of the meadow all by itself.  Its mother had left it there while she went off to feed which is normal behavior.

I stood in our fenced in yard taking pictures of the fawn for about an hour and not once did it get up. It just sniffed the air, looked around and scratched some itches.  I was hoping to see mom come, but it was getting late for lunch.

I always love to see the new fawns born on our property every year. A few years ago we were lucky enough to have twins raised on our property. You can read and see videos of their adventures here and here.

A couple of days after we saw the fawn in the meadow, Charlie looked down from our bedroom window and saw this.

Our sweet baby was now laying among the evergreen shrubs in the front of the house.

Here is a far shot of the front of the house.  Our bedroom is on the right on the second floor and the fawn was directly below.

Here is a closer shot of where the fawn was. When we found it there it was early evening and as the sun went down the fawn was still there, but by morning the fawn was gone.

Now we are on full alert keeping our eyes peeled for new fawn sightings.  Where will the mom deer hide her baby next? I can’t wait to find out.

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Sarge is hosting The Nickname Game where we are supposed to list the nicknames our parents call us.  Here is a list of the names my mom and dad call me besides my real name, Nina.

  • Nina Peanut
  • Peanut
  • Knucklehead
  • Pesty Girl
  • Huffy Puffy Girl
  • Silly Girl
  • Dopey Dog
  • Little Black Dog
  • Little Neen

I am not too sure I like some of those names as they don’t seem too flattering to me, but a few of them are definitely terms of endearment.  Now you all are supposed to let me know which name you like the best by leaving me a comment and my mom and dad have to call me by that name only for the next week.

Happy voting!

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A couple of weeks ago I set out from my home to Cleveland, Ohio to attend a two day Anita Goodesign seminar, but the main reason I was heading out there was to meet Agnes, Geoff, and the Dachsies With Moxie. You all know how fun it is to strike up a friendship among fellow bloggers, but seldom do we actually get to meet in the flesh and fur. Agnes and I bonded over the making of the Fearless Five Quilt so I jumped at the chance to meet her when she invited me to stay at her home while attending the seminar.

I have to say that the Dachsies with Moxie did not disappoint and I soon fell in love with one of the gang.

My new BFF Tasha

Sweet Tasha quickly wiggled her way into my heart. She is a real snuggler and loves to give kisses. Since Agnes and I were gone all day Thursday and Friday I didn’t get as much time to spend with all of the gang as I would have liked, but they are all so adorable.

I can see why Max (da odder weenie) has fallen head over heals for beautiful Miss Anna Rose. I love her long locks and beautiful dappled coloring.

Anna Rose

It took Anna Rose a bit longer to warm up to me, but according to Agnes I am the first overnight guest they have had since she joined the flock so having someone other than her mom or dad prowling around the house was a bit startling for her at first.

Mr. Chip is the guardian of the home, besides Mr. Geoff of course.  He was always the first to let us know if someone was walking down the street and to be sure we checked it out.

Chip and Anna Rose share a secret

The sweet old man of the bunch is the Thai Master. Because of his infirmities he doesn’t move around with ease, but if he gets it into his head that he wants to get somewhere there is no stopping him.

Sweet Thai

The second night I was staying with the Bullock clan there was an “incident” that occurred while we adults were dining out. When we got home I discovered there had been a break in and some snacks I had packed for my drive had been removed from my tote bag and were now on the floor.  I guess I didn’t realize that mini-dachsies could jump as high to get up on the bed where the tote bag was stored.  Needles to say the treats were stored in a secure container after that. Later that evening as I was chatting with my husband and lying on the guest bed I discovered that someone had left me a “gift” on the bed. According to Agnes and Geoff only two of the four dogs can do stairs, Tasha and Chip.

I am innocent!

The bedding was swiftly removed, thrown into the wash and was clean before bed time. It certainly wasn’t the first time a dog peed on my bed. I find it difficult to believe that my sweet BFF Tasha would do such a thing, but before we left for dinner Tasha and I were having a very nice belly rubbing session.  Maybe she was upset that I stopped and then left for a couple of hours.

One of the amazing sights at the Bullock home is Mr. Geoff’s trains.  Here is just one picture of the huge train set up he has. You should click on it to make it bigger for the full effect.

Geoff’s trains

This shows only a quarter of the entire set up. There are lots of cool sound effects, lights and even two different types of draw bridges.

After two days of seminars it was time to pack up and head home.

Tasha all packed up and ready to go

I tried to get out of the house with Tasha packed in my tote bag, but Agnes and Geoff gave all my bags a pat down and found her before I could get her to the car 😀 .

Me, Tasha and Agnes

After one last snuggle with my BFF it was time to say farewell to the Bullock gang.

The Bullock family
Chip, Agnes, Tasha, Chip, Geoff, Anna Rose

I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we see each other.  Thanks to all the Bullocks for the hospitality (well except for that one incident) and friendship. I had a great time.




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A few weeks ago, Zachary, one of the co-workers at I Have a Notion asked for some help with his homework. He requested that we print out a Flat Stanley and take him on an adventure and then let him know about it.  I decided that since Zachary’s mom likes machine embroidery I would take Stanley to the Anita Goodesign seminar I went to in Cleveland, Ohio. I hope I’m not too late in posting this Zach.

Almost 2 weeks ago I travelled to Ohio (I live near Rochester, NY) to meet Agnes and the gang of the Dachsies With Moxie (more about that in another post). Besides getting to meet Agnes and her gang, I was also there to attend a two-day seminar presented by Anita Goodesign, a company that creates machine embroidery designs. I thought it would be fun to let Flat Stanley learn how to do machine embroidery and decided I would take him to the second day of the seminar.

The first thing Stanley wanted to do was learn all about the sewing machine we were using. We had a Baby Lock Ellisimo Gold and Stanley was fascinated by all the decorative stitches it could do.

The embroidery we were going to do was this cute “Shrinky” lamb.  It is called a shrinky because you use a special type of stabilizer that you stitch on in a certain pattern and then when you put an iron on it the stabilizer will shrink up and make the fabric all bumpy.

The white fabric is in the proper position in the embroidery hoop.  Now all Stanley had to do was press the start button and hop off the hoop.

After the fabric for the lamb was stitched and shrunk Stanley helped to secure it to the background fabric. After some more stitching someone had to cut around the shape of the sheep before the next step.

Oh No!!!! Stanley how did you get under there?  You better get out of there fast before we are ready for the next step!

Stanley was rescued by the lovely Holly, our presenter from Anita Goodesign. I think Holly was smitten with Stanley and very impressed with the work he was doing so far.

After meeting Holly, Stanley would not stop talking about her and a few of the ladies at our table had enough. Once he calmed down we removed the tape and Stanley behaved himself after that.

During the seminar all the machines we were using were for sale. To show that the machine was sold a balloon was tied to it and the machine we were using was sold on the second day.

Stanley thought it would be fun to go for a balloon ride.  He started lifting off the ground so we had to rescue him quick.

After all that excitement Stanley was starving and decided to have a snack.

Those peanut butter M & M’s that Agnes brought with her really hit the spot.

Stanley had fun meeting everyone at the seminar and insisted on getting his picture taken with everyone that was at our table.

That is me with Stanley in the lower right of the picture and Agnes in the upper left.  Some of the other ladies at our table came as small groups and two of them came by themselves, but by the end of the two days we were all new friends. Agnes discovered during the two days that she had a connection with a few of the ladies at our table and I am sure she will be keeping in touch with them.

All in all it was a very fun, exhausting, and exhilarating two days. A special thanks to Agnes for inviting me to join her at this fun event.  Also thanks to Pins & Needles for hosting this event and thanks to Stanley and all the ladies at our table for such a fun time!



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