Saturday, May 21, 2016

Volunteering for the Preservation Sociey of Newport, Rhode Island.

I love Newport, Rhode Island. I live in Rhode Island, only about a half an hour's drive from beautiful, scenic and historic Newport. I'm not a beach person but Rhode Island is called the Ocean State for a reason. I would say that we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world right here in our little state!

 I love history, I love learning about the people who have come before me, about their lives, their family's, what made them happy, what they have lived with and through. One thing I've learned is just about every single one of us is a survivor! We have all been through bad things in her lives, no matter who we are or where we have come from and we have survived!! I was saying, I love Newport and one of the things I love the most about Newport are the world famous mansions. If you don't have a clue as to what I am talking about just google Newport, RI mansions and you will soon see! Again, it's history and as I've said I love history.

Three years ago they were looking for volunteers to help out at the mansions and so I signed up! I'm quite proud to say that I have been a garden volunteer at The Elms, which is my favorite of "The Cottages" as they were called back then, for three years. I weed, trim, and clean out the beautiful sunken garden in the back of the house. This is the garden....

They call the back of The Elm's the Green Monster because there is always something to do back there. I love being a part of it all and knowing that I am helping preserve it in some small way.
This is what the front of The Elms looks like, and by the way,  the Berwinds, who built and owned The Elms, are my most favorite family of I suppose you could call "Old Newport"

It's quite impressive, isn't it? If you think it looks amazing on the outside you should see it on the inside! All of the mansions or cottages as I said they were called,  are definitely something to see.

As I said, this will be my third year helping out at The Elms and I so love doing it, but I have always wanted to do something more for The Preservation Society. Lucky for me there was an opening at Chateau Su Mer, which is just down the street from The Elms. I will be volunteering the garden behind the cottage once again. I start on Monday and I am really looking forwards to it! This is what Chateau Sur Mur looks like from the front. I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the garden yet, unfortunately, but isn't the house beautiful?!?


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cross stitching

I love to cross stitch. I know a lot of people think that it's time consuming, and it is, but the end result is worth it. I just finished this Victorian Alphabet that I will be turning into a pillow as soon as  I find some matching fabric for it.
This is the book that I got the design from. I love this book, it's full of wonderful historical patters,
And this is what I am going to be working on next. I love anything Victorian and so this is right up my alley! I can't want to get started on this (or maybe I should say that I can't wait to finish it so that I can hang it up?!?)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Lilac and Vanilla Brocades Soap

I bought this mold from whole sale supplies and I was dying to use it. I couldn't wait to see what the soap looked like fresh out of the mold.
 I wanted to make something different than what I normally make and although purple is usually not my color, I received a free sample of matte orchid powder (it's like a lilac) with my order and I thought it was so pretty that I decided to use it. I searched through my scents wanting something to match the lilac color of the powder and so I decided to use what else?.....lilac!  Well, I actually decided on lilac and vanilla, I thought that those two scents would go so nicely together.

I sprinkled the mold with a tablespoon if iridescent glitter trying to make sure that it was as evenly distributed as I could get it, I am seriously thinking that I like glittery soap! Then I melted 18oz of clear soap, once the soap was melted I added a teaspoon of lilac powder, a teaspoon of vanilla fragrance oil and a  teaspoon of lilac fragrance oil, mixed it all up and poured it into the mold.
I waited a good half an hour for that to harden, you always want to make sure that there is a nice layer on top before you pour your next layer or the second layer of soap you are pouring will not layer, it will only sink into the first and make quite a mess ( I have been there and done that several times)  I added about a quarter slice of a neon purple color a teaspoon of vanilla oil and then another of lilac, sprayed the first layer of soap with rubbing alcohol, spraying with rubbing alcohol is VERY important, the layers will not stick if you don't do this!Then I wanted very impatiently for it to harden so that I could cut it.
This is what it looks like as a whole block uncut.

And this is what it looks like cut into bars. I really like it and it smells amazing!!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Melt and pour honey-oatmeal soap.

I love working with melt and pour soap! There is so much you can do with it. Yesterday I was in the mood to try something different and this is what I came up with...

I used this mold that I bought from whole sale soap supplies (all of the supplies came from there, I love their products)  I love the company, everything that I have bought from them as always been so nice.The mold as an awesome, although not very deep honey comb patter on top. Best of all, it's made from silicone so that soap pops right out.
I sprinkled the bottom of the mold with 14k gold glitter powder, then I melted 16oz of honey soap. Once the soap was melted I added a teaspoon full of honey and oatmeal fragrance oil along with some iridescent powder (I wanted a sparkle) then poured the melted soap mixture into the mold.
Then I waited for approximately forty minutes. You want to wait long enough until the layer sets but not so long that the next layer won't stick to the first one. I sprayed the first layer with rubbing alcohol.,,This step is VERY important. The alcohol is what helps the layers to stick together. Once I was ready for the next step I melted another 16oz of honey soap, along with 14oz of white goats milk soap then mixed them together, I wanted a nice cream color for the bottom. Then I added another teaspoon of honey and oatmeal fragrance along with some more iridescent powder.
And then I waited for it to harden...this truly is the worst part! You just want so very badly to see how it  came out! Once it was out of the mold, I used a crinkle soap cutter to cut the soap into bars, and this is what I ended up with...

I really like how it came out. It is quite sparkly on the top even though it does not show it in the picture and it smells amazing!!


Thursday, May 5, 2016

EPP or English Paper Piecing.

I discovered English Paper Piecing about ten years ago. I was looking for a craft that I could put into a box and take along with me and so I thought I would give this a try. And I've been hooked ever since. From what I have read about this fun, relaxing and very rewarding craft is that it started in England (where else would it have started with a name like that, right?) It started in the eighteenth century and quickly became and still is quite popular.

There are many ways of putting your hexi's together. This is how I do mine...
I use this template that I found ages ago to trace and cut out my papers. There are many other ways to trace and cut out your papers and you can go as little or as big as you want for your finished product. I've seen both large and very small hexagon quilts and they have all been beautiful.  And if you don't want to go to the bother of cutting the papers they even have already cut papers! I do like to cut my papers because I like to feel that I am doing the whole project myself, but I can certainly see why someone would like to save time by buying their papers already cut.

Once the papers are cut it's on to cutting the material. I always cut my material hexies at least a quarter of an inch larger than the paper hexies because you want the edge of the material big enough to sew in place.Once you have your material cut all you have to do is pin your material, wrong side up, to the paper like this.
Then all you have to do is fold one edge over and tack it into place like this, just back sewing over the corners to have them stay down.
When you are finished with that step this is what your hexie will look like.
Then all you have to do is whip stitch the two of them right sides together like this. Just make sure that you only take a tiny stitch of the material on either side at a time so that the thread does not show on the other side.

There are many ways to put your hexi's together! This is what I am doing with mine. I will post some more pics as I go along and get more of the quilt done.