Monday, April 30, 2012

the best ten pounds I ever gained

Happy Monday, friends!  I'm so excited you're here today, because I have something big to show off- my new blog design!  Steve and I have been working so hard over the past few weeks on a fresher, cleaner look for the blog and we finally finished up last night!  You may still see a few small changes here and there over the coming weeks, but I think we got the big stuff done. 

In addition to blog work, we also went strawberry picking.  This is the second year that we've gone picking here in Charlotte at Hall Family Farm.  It was cloudy and gray on Saturday, which happened to be perfect picking weather. 

Remembering how quickly we went through our berries last year, we resolved to pick even more this time.  After about an hour of picking (with plenty of breaks for photo taking), we weighed in with ten pounds of berries. 

(At one point, when I had almost filled my bucket and Steve had maybe picked ten berries because he was so busy taking pictures, I called out, "Remember- whoever picks the most berries gets to eat the most berries!".  Turns out, he was filming me at the time, so we will forever have the memory of how poor I am at sharing...)

There was banjo music playing through a bunch of outdoor speakers that really made the morning perfect.  Berry picking?  Awesome.  Berry picking to banjo music?  Amazing. 

So far, we've been eating the berries by the handful, on our cereal, and covered in chocolate (I know- romantic!).  I have plans for freezing a bunch for summertime smoothies, and I've also got my eye on this strawberry cream pie that I'd like to make. 

In other fruit news, here is the pineapple top that I mentioned last week.  Check out all those roots!  It's almost outgrown the jar, so we're debating on where to plant it next. 

All the new market totes and day bags have been listed in the shop and one of the totes has already sold- be sure to check them out before they're gone!

Friday, April 27, 2012


Good news: we ate dinner at the dining room table last night.  There wasn't a rotary cutter or tape measure in sight.  I was pretty proud. 

The lack of sewing supplies in the dining room means that I finished all of the bags I was working on this week.  Remember when I said there were ten? 

Um, there were actually fourteen.  I may have a slight problem.  Sometimes I just can't stop. 

Yesterday I had a fun time, dragging the furniture out onto the front porch and crouching down in the bushes to take pictures.  If I were my neighbors, I'd probably call the police.  Good thing none of them were home. 

Above, you can see the new day bags that will be posted in the shop shortly.  I made a few variations to the previous day bag style that I'm pretty excited about.  My favorite part is that they now have a magnetic snap closure.  I had no idea how much I would like magnetic snaps!  I'm also super excited about the new fabrics- I've been drooling over that yellow and gray chevron all week. 

The other new bags that will be appearing in the shop are these market totes.  I found this fabric from a new Spanish designer and knew I had to make something with it.  So the totes were specifically designed around the fabric, which is not my usual method, but I think it worked well in this case.  The market totes are very light and simple, with super cool handles in two different lengths!  They are also very affordable- I think they'd make great gifts. 

I couldn't bear to throw away the scrap pieces from my new fabric, so I decided to make fabric ribbons with them!  I cut long strips, about 1 1/2" wide, and finished the edges with my serger. 

I'm going to include a length of fabric ribbon as free gift with every order for a while.  I love it when I get bonus gifts with an order and want everyone who gets a Plumfield Shop package in the mail (or delivered by hand) to feel super appreciated. 

I'm so excited about the upcoming weekend!  We've got lots of great food in the fridge, and some new lounge chairs to hang out in.  I think we've finished all the heavy duty yard work, so now we get to sit around and enjoy it!

Today is the final day for voting in the Handmade Olympics... if you haven't yet, would you pop over and vote for my summer tote

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Heaven is Here: book review

I have been reading Stephanie Nielson's blog for a couple of years now and I've been super excited for her book to come out this spring.  I checked it out from the library last week and finished it in just a few days. 

I feel like most people have probably heard of Stephanie by now, but in case you haven't, here's the deal- Stephanie and her husband were in a plane crash together and survived, but were terribly burned.  They had four children at the time (five now!) and, thankfully, a large extended family to support them.  I always been impressed with Stephanie's attitude on her blog, but reading her entire story from start to finish gave me a whole new level of respect for her. 

There were several chapters of the book that I cried straight through.  But it was the good kind of crying, because you already know there is a happy ending to the story.  Stephanie is living and thriving today, writing books and having babies and enjoying her family.  Her story is captivating and her writing is honest and straightforward.

My favorite thing about Heaven is Here is the message of hope that runs throughout.  There are so many parts of Stephanie's story that I have no experience with and can hardly relate to at all, yet I could easily translate the main lesson to my own life- I can do hard things.  We all can. 

Now that I've read through my latest stack of library books, Steve and I are looking for something classic to read together and discuss.  Any suggestions? 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Love the Place You Live: Mount Pleasant

Saturday morning, we woke up to sunshine instead of the expected rain, and decided to take a field trip.  I had read about Cline’s Antiques in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, in the latest issue of Country Living and was itching to go.  It’s about an hour from our house, so we packed bottles of water and put on our tennis shoes and set out early. 

The drive was lovely and the company was my favorite. When we got to Cline’s, we were surprised by how many people were there. I think we were also surprised by the amount of… stuff, we’ll call it. Stuff everywhere.

Their website said, “this isn’t a fancy place” and they weren’t kidding.  Items were strewn about on the ground, in old barns, and tucked away inside 18 wheeler trailers.  To get into the trailers, there were several adventurous options- either a ladder or rickety stairs or maybe just a stack of trash to walk up. 
I was specifically hunting for chairs and, while there were plenty of chairs, we didn’t take any home.  There was lots of beautiful old furniture that just needs a little love to make it right and we were especially enamored with the cast iron animals.  We brought home a ram as a souvenir. 
I think that we’ll go back to Cline’s again, more prepared next time.  We saw people with gloves and boots who were really getting serious about finding the good stuff.  It’s like a treasure hunt there. 

After Cline’s, we drove into downtown Mount Pleasant to explore and eat. We lunched at Buddy’s Place, which was Mount Pleasant’s version of Jumbo’s. Loved it. Then we walked around and admired the lovely architecture and small town ambiance.Total steps taken: 9566.  And that was all before 3pm.
We walked by the Farmer's Market, which was three people sitting on a tailgate selling buckets of strawberries.   I felt so bad for them (and I love strawberries) that I resolved to buy some when we walked back, but they had packed up and left by then.
Steve and I kept finding similarities between Mount Pleasant and other small towns that we've visited and loved- Bridgton and Weaverville, to name a couple.

Exploring Mount Pleasant was such a fun way to spend a Saturday!  On the drive back, we talked about how far from home we felt, when we'd only driven 40 miles.

Did your weekend include any fun exploring?  Today I am sticking close to home again and taking care of the usual- laundry and sewing.  There are currently ten bags in various states of completion draped on all of our dining room chairs.  I'm hoping to make some progress on those so that we don't have to eat in the kitchen all week!

ps- Would you be a pal and vote for me in the Handmade Olympics today?  My summer tote is a finalist in Event 1 and I'd just love to win!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

i love free plants

We have lots of plants in our yard that I am quite fond of.  But, if I'm honest, I have a special love for the ones that were free. 

If you were around here last spring, you may remember that I rooted a bunch of plant cuttings.  I had previous experience with rooting geraniums, so I did lots of those, but I also tried some new plants- hydrangeas, Russian sage, and mums. 

They all worked!  I couldn't believe my luck at the end of the summer when I had pots and pots of new plants on the porch! 

But then came the real test- could they survive the winter outside?  I planted them all securely in the herb garden where they could huddle next to the huge oregano for warmth and hoped for the best. 

I am happy to report that when things started popping up out of the ground this spring, all the newly rooted plants popped up too!  I needed the space in the herb garden for- you guessed it- herbs, so I had to find new homes for everyone. 

Steve was kind (and strong) enough to dig a new bed for me along the side of our house.  It is about 12 feet long and ranges from one foot to three feet deep.  We did not buy a single plant for the new bed- we just filled it up with a few that needed to be moved from other spots in the yard and a bunch of the rooted cuttings. 

And now I'm hooked.  This spring, I am going to try to root a little of everything.  We don't even need more plants, it's just so much fun to make a whole new plant out of one small clipping!

Lest you think that the plant rooting around here stops at ornamentals, I will also tell you that we have a pineapple top growing roots in a jar of water on the kitchen windowsill.  It looks just as weird as it sounds- I'll share some pictures next week.

ps- Would you be a pal and vote for me in the Handmade Olympics today? My summer tote is a finalist in Event 1 and I'd just love to win!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

let the games begin!

I am already looking forward to the summer Olympics this year.  I love the Olympics and the sense of camaraderie they bring with them- it's so fun to think that people all over the world are interested in the same thing at the same time!  I'm also pretty stoked about the location, because I am a little fascinated with London. 

I have vivid memories of watching the Olympics with my family, growing up.  I was enthralled with the gymnasts and would always calculate how old I would be during the next Olympics and think about if I'd still be young enough to compete in gymnastics.  Never mind that my gymnastics "career" had ended at age five (at the suggestion of my instructors).  I always assumed that four years was plenty of time to develop my latent talent. 

Now that I am 31 and still can't do a cartwheel, I'm realistic enough to know that I will be watching each and every summer Olympics from the comfort of my own home.  And I'm okay with that.  But you can imagine my excitement when I found out this week that I made it to the final round of the 2012 Handmade Olympics

My new summer tote is one of eight finalists in Event 1: handmade goods with an innovative design.  The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges, but the winners are chosen by voting- so I need your help!  Click on over and cast your vote for my tote (what a catchy, rhyming slogan!), if you will.  You can only vote once per computer or device, so if you have more than one, feel free to leave some extra love. 

While you're over there, be sure to check out some of the awesome nominations in the other six events.  I especially love this sweet wool coat by tiny happy and am so impressed that she made up the pattern herself!

Another favorite are these wooden stacking bowls by Bright Life Toys.  She has such fun and colorful wooden toys in her Etsy shop.  I am just crazy about wooden toys!

So, don't forget- vote for the tote!  Tell your friends and coworkers!  Help make my Olympic dreams come true! 

p.s.- voting is open through April 27th

Monday, April 16, 2012

use what you have

My sister called me last week, in need of a semi-last minute baby shower gift.  After telling her that I'd have to order fabric and wait for it to arrive, she asked if I couldn't just make it out of something I already had. 

Me: I need like two full yards to make a diaper bag.  I don't think I just have two full yards of fabric laying around in my scrap piles.

Cam: Are you sure?

Me: Let me go upstairs and check.  (Secretly thinking: of course I'm sure!)

Upon further investigation, it appears that I did have two full yards of fabric in my scrap piles.  And they just so happened to be perfect for a diaper bag, which was an added bonus.  It may have been awkward for her at the shower if I made the bag out of a dainty black and red skull print. 

I have a real love for this bird fabric, which is probably why I had so much of it stashed away.  I think I was planning to make more of these baby blankets, which sold out last fall, and never got around to it. 

This stuffed ball is still in the shop, but probably not for long.  Spring is a big time for baby gifts. 

I had a lot of fun planning the design of this diaper bag, but not so much fun sewing it.  I used a super heavy interfacing so the bag would be really sturdy and have a quilted feel to it, but that made the sewing part a lot like wrestling.  I forget to be thankful sometimes for the ease of sewing thin fabrics.

But, I finally won the wrestling match and even took it outside for a few pictures before shipping it off to my sister, only four days after she first mentioned it.  Gosh, she's lucky to have me. 

Over the weekend, Steve and I (but mostly Steve) finished up a project that we've been working on for weeks- my new shop banner!  Click on over to my Etsy shop today so you can admire it, okay? 

Friday, April 13, 2012

weekend food inspiration

I took a small hiatus from cooking after all our visitors left, but, on Wednesday, I decided I was ready to jump back in.  Sometimes all it takes to get me motivated to cook is a new recipe or two and I had dog-eared the heck out of the April issue of Southern Living, so there were plenty of new recipes to choose from. 

Chicken Fried Rice was a huge hit.  I love how colorful it is.  And I'm always partial to a good one-dish dinner.  The leftovers have been great for lunch, which is an added bonus. 

I'll just tell you that these Fried Egg Sandwiches were loosely inspired by the recipe.  Meaning I substituted Italian bread for challah, bacon for pancetta, and fresh tomatoes for sun-dried.  Also, I didn't have any parsley and I made the hollandaise sauce from scratch, not from a mix. 

You know those people who feel like speed limit signs and traffic signals are merely suggestions?  That's how I feel about recipes. 

Anyway, the sandwiches were amazing.  We ate them for dinner, but I think they'd make a fun brunch as well. 

Today I made these Strawberry-Lemonade Muffins to enjoy over the weekend.  I love going into the weekend with a fridge full of food, already prepared.  I'm also making homemade pizza with sausage and roasted vegetables tonight.  Friday night pizza is a tradition around here- I just think pizza makes it feel like the weekend. 

Speaking of the weekend- I can't wait!  I've been working on a custom diaper bag today and it's felt a lot more like fighting than sewing.  Some projects are just like that.  I'm looking forward to finishing it up and then spending the weekend in the sunshine, with Steve, eating leftovers. 

See you Monday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Today I'm linking up with Gussy Sews for her Inspiration Workshop.  This month's prompt is: style. 

I thought about skipping this month because, well... most of the time, I'm not even sure that I have a style.  Comfortable?  Machine washable?  Are those styles? 

I surveyed my closet and decided that stripes are definitely a part of my style. 

I surveyed myself and decided that this is a pretty typical outfit for me, these days, so maybe this is my style.  The jeans are my most favorite ever- they fit so well and the waist is in just the right place and they look great with almost every type of shoe and they are the right length.  The button up shirt is the product of a recent weekend shopping trip with Steve (see first picture).  I got three of these shirts and am wondering why I didn't get seven so I could have one for every day.  So instead, I've just been wearing each one for two days before throwing it in the laundry.  Gross, or just very practical- you decide. 

Do you see my pedometer?

Also, as we approach the summer, you can be sure that anything that looks like it should be worn on a boat is most definitely my style.  Now if only I had a boat....

It's hard to imagine summer today though.  I went out to uncover our poor, cold plants this morning in my puffy red down jacket.  You know, the one I wear in the snow.  I'm planning to keep warm today with some sewing projects and a spot of tea.  Hope it's cozy at your house!


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