Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happiest of Holidays...

Calico Petals will be taking a holiday break. Her big sister is busy wrapping, hosting, making, baking up a Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.
If you want to keep posted on our goings-on you can visit big sis.
She enjoys having visitors.

Jill 00

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Round Top Shabby Retreat

Did you know Rachel Ashwell offers vacation rentals in Round top Texas?
What fun it would be to visit during the flea market and stay at one of her Prairie retreats. 
I can envision gathering a group of my favorite girlfriends to head south and stay at one of her enchanting vacation rentals. What fun we would have!
Here is a link to find out more.
This would be the room I would choose to sleep in!

Jill 00

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hand~made Baby ♥

Handmade baby gifts are truly soulful and sweet not only to make but to receive.
The little dog was made from a favorite vintage 1960 pattern.
I remember years ago when we first brought our little baby home our neighbors came to visit and brought with them a stuffed dog just like the one above only he had been sewn in red ticking.
The thought and idea it had been made special by my lovely neighbor for our new baby touched me with  handmade sweetness as handmade always does.

Later I searched for the pattern online and was thrilled when I found it. I began making the stuffed dogs and selling them at the shop along with the other Bittersweet Baby line of products. Not to my surprise, they were a popular baby item at the boutique.

The baby quilt and the little stuffie are a gift for a friend that's expecting.

The quilt was simple to make. I used four different pieces of fabric, no batting, a contrasting back in the gray polka dot and a ruffled trim in the same textile.

I used my ruffle attachment to create the ruffle. Love that ruffle attachment! You can read more about the handy tool on Calico big sister blog.

Handmade baby gifts are rubbed with love. Each stitch is sewn with soulful happy blessings.


Jill 00

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


This picture of the brown eyed Susan's and Shasta's was shot when we were having a normal summer and arid and extremely hot.
I have several little rock gardens throughout our yard.
Lennis built this rocky path at the side of our home. Isn't it nice? We've since planted ivy and hosta's to line the natural walkway.
Soon summer will be replaced with autumn. I will welcome Miss Autumn with open arms!
I hope you're enjoying some relaxing end of summer days.

Jill 00

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Magical Lavender

The past few days the studio has been filled with the scent of lavender as I make sachets for Bittersweet.
My linen drawers are tucked with a variety of sachets. I'm always pondering design thoughts on how and what fabrics, shapes and styles to create.
I thought it would be fun to share some of the different lavender sachets I've made over the years.
Let me know which one is your favorite.

Jill 00

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fresh for the picking!

It's cherry picking time! 
I do believe I've found a favorite new summer treat. Hand pies. Have you ever made them? Easy and oh so yummy. I fried mine because it's been so extremely hot and I didn't want to heat the oven. 
A little light olive oil  in a skillet on medium, low heat. Turn and allow the other side to brown. 
Top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a Tablespoon or so of the homemade cherry pie filling and one more sprinkle of powdered sugar. Presentation is lovely!
Here is the recipe.

Cherry Hand Pies
Crust recipe makes 2 single-crust pie, or 50 hand pies
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into cubes

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg (for egg wash)
sanding sugar
In a food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together. 

Turn dough onto a floured work surface and bring it together by hand. Divide dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, and refrigerate at least 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: heat the 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then add cherries with any juices and the sugar and lemon juice and simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. (Cherries will exude juices.) Transfer a few spoonfuls of the cherry liquid into a small bowl, and add cornstarch, whisking to form a paste. Continue to simmer the cherry mixture until cherries are tender but not falling apart, about 8 minutes. Then stir cornstarch mixture into simmering filling and boil, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Transfer filling to a bowl and put in fridge.
Preheat oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Or, place hand pie in skillet as I did and embellish with toppings. 
While cherries are cooling, remove one piece of dough from fridge and roll out on floured work surface to  1/8-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch biscuit cutter to cut disks of dough, and transfer disks to one of the baking sheets. When the dough has been cut into disks and one baking sheet is full, gather the dough scraps into a ball, re-wrap in plastic, and return to the fridge. Spoon about 2 teaspoons (depending on size of biscuit cutter) of filling into the center of each disk. Fold each disk over itself to make a half-moon that fully encapsulates the filling, then use the edge of a fork to crimp around the edges of each pie. Transfer baking sheet to the freezer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second half of the dough. Gather the scraps from the second piece, combine with the first scraps, and roll out one last time, repeating steps above. Transfer second filled baking sheet to freezer.
Remove baking sheets from the freezer, and brush pies with egg, then sprinkle with sanding sugar. (Regular or demerara sugar will work just fine.) Use a paring knife to make three diagonal vents in the top of each pie. Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes; serve warm or at room temperature. Hand pies can be frozen in an airtight container between layers of wax paper for up to 1 month.
Happy Summer!
Jill 00

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ruffled Chalkboard

If you read Bittersweet then you'll already know about these ruffled chalkboards. I started by making one with a burlap ruffle and then began making some from calico's and eyelet trims. I used a staple gun to attach the calico onto the wrong side of the ruffle and then folded it down and pressed it. Then I hot glued the trim on top. You could add dried flowers, lavender, (like the one at Bittersweet) or buttons, just about anything really. Embellish until your hearts content.
Not much time to post lately. Fall manufacturing has kicked in!


Jill 00

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Studio Shots

The studio is once again in order. Stuff stored away but marked so I'll know what's inside and favorite ribbons in easy access ribbon boxes. Yippee! My new favorite summer word in case you hadn't visited Bittersweet blog.
A complete storage closet re-do and ditto on the above. I also went through some of the supplies and weeded out the one's that weren't my favorites. A necessary task when you have so many things and a small space.
I took a tip from a reader and stuck posted notes on the button boxes so that I'll know what's inside. I wish that I could remember who the tipster was, sorry about that. Thank you for the great tip! It seems to be working out well.
Now the studio is filling up with sea foam hydrangeas. They're all dry now! We have them on every floor!

Happy Summer!

Jill 00

Friday, June 22, 2012

Calico Studio

This is a corner of my studio. The cabinet houses things I've made, button boxes filled with ribbons and buttons, vintage trims, embroidery yarn, paint brushes and well you can see kind of. A mix of this and that.
I'm getting ready to organize the space and make a few adjustments to my storage containers.
This is an image of a closet that I transformed into a storage space. It's beginning to get cluttered and filled with too many things.
Organizing the nook and placing items I don't use everyday away will not only be summer refreshing, but hopefully make my work much easier. Shipping supplies are atop the list to get organized and make a bit more handier to grab.
When I think of shipping three things come to mind instantly. Tissue paper, shipping boxes and tape! All three need to be available for easy access!
Then I ponder order packing gifty thoughts. You know the little extras I throw in when I ship your packages to you. Love doing that by the way!
Need a storage spot for that too!

How do you stay organized? I'd really like to know! We all have different methods and maybe it would be nice to share some of your favorites.

Jill 00

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rose Jar

With summer kicking in and flowers in full bloom most everywhere I thought it a perfect time to share some unique summer idees inspired by my great aunt.  
My great aunt was an amazing talented woman. Somewhat of a vintage Martha Stewart only smarter and more resourceful. Sorry Martha.
This post will be a tribute to my lovely great aunt and the story behind Enid.
I think you'll enjoy.

This is a picture of aunt Enid. The picture was taken during a baking contest. My aunt often participated in the bake offs and usually won. Again, a vintage take on the modern cooking contest television shows of today. I can still remember happily enjoying her coconut cake with mounds of rich fluffy frosting!
I also remember her beautiful stately home with the huge front porch. Inside the home was filled with handmade quilts and antique gatherings of paper weights, butterfly collections and pill boxes were among the many items my aunt admired.

As a child I was in awe of her many treasures. I remember staring into a large display cabinet filled with pill boxes. I would sit and stare into the cabinet admiring the clever designed vessels for long lengths of time. Only to come back to that same spot and take in more visions of the sugarplums as though I was storing the images in my mind for future reference.

My aunt never married or had children but her life was filled with joyful moments and happy days throughout her life. I remember her being a stern woman and she carried an aura of being a strict disciplinary.
I knew never to act up around my aunt and I don't recall that I did. I respected her in that way. A bit of a challenge I'm sure as I was an ornery child. Even though I felt her to to be a no nonsense gal, I also felt she had a large amount of love for me.

My aunt held many accomplishments. She was a pioneer that lead the way for future women to hold respectable titles in a variety of work fields. She attended law school and became the first woman officer of a well know Kansas City bank.

In her early years she had a small apartment in the heart of the city. My aunt Glenna told me in a recent letter that my aunt Enid took in a border during the time she lived in the apartment, usually a man. A hot meal was prepared each and every night and both the border and my aunt would share the dinner table. I wish I could have witnessed the conversation as I'm sure it would have been interesting.
My aunt Glenna also told me that my great aunt saved every penny she took in from the various borders over the years. She ended up a wealthy woman by saving the extra money over the years.
Aunt Enid has been an inspiration in many of my work over the years.
I designed an apron, created the aromatic rose jar and have planted some of her favorite flowers in my gardens.
I'd like to share and pass on a couple of the unique creations and idees to you.
Gathering and making the rose jar is so much fun. You may substitute with a variety of herbs and flowers from your garden.

I created a seed packet inspired by my great aunts love for flowers and plants.
You may print them on regular paper, fold and glue. Place some of your favorite seeds inside.
You can click on the link below to print the seed packet template.


Jill 00

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Bread Baking

I'm not sure why but I like baking bread more during the summer months than winter. Maybe the thought of spreading  homemade strawberry jam on a warm slice of spongy bread appeals to me just because.
A fresh fruit smoothie and a slice of that bread and my stomach does a little dance!
I spotted this recipe over @ where else, Pinterest!

You can also get an update about the prairie quilt at my soapmaker's blog.  What fun that machine quilting is! You really must give it a shot.

Busy day with product shots and pondering thoughts about minty garden soap wrappings.

Enjoy a crafty summer!

Jill 00

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prairie Quilt

If you frequent Bittersweet blog then you'll know I recently painted the bedroom. After I completed painting the walls and some of the furniture in the color wind fresh white, (kind of a ecru), I pondered thoughts of a new bedspread or coverlet for my old iron bed.  
I looked around but didn't find anything that moved me.
So I began cutting and sewing 8 x 9 calico remnants of some of my favorite cotton and prints.
I'm not sure you would ever officially refer the prairie squared coverlet to a quilt and I'm sure a seasoned quilter might possibly take offense to my unmatched pieces of calico.
Having said that, I also am fond of the humble beginnings of the prairie coverlet.

If you've never "quilted" before I would encourage you to give it a try. It doesn't have to be perfect symmetrical lines that match. You don't even have to call it a quilt!
I'm going to finish this coverlet off with a coordinating binding and probably back it with muslin since I have an extra bolt on hand.
I'm going to line it with wool batting and tie it with silk embroidery thread.
I'm going to make some pillow cases from some of the fabric used to make the pieced cover.

It's draped across my great grandmothers furniture and every time I look at it I'm anxious to add just one more row!

I can't wait to finish it and wash it and place it on the bed!
I'll share a picture of it then!

Jill 00

Sunday, May 6, 2012

tiny seeds

photo courtesy of pinterest
I'm not sure what year it was or how old I was when the seed planting fever hit me. The idee of  planting flowers and veggies from seeds developed slowly and then germinated and sprouted into a huge passion.
Now I have a collection of precious seeds that each year transform into beautiful blooms and herbs.

I'm  grateful to our forefathers and particularly Lewis and Clark for their distant travels throughout the dense forests and countryside gathering and safe keeping tender new seedlings and plants. The seeds were then presented to Thomas Jefferson. I can only imagine their excitement  upon discovering the new plant life.
All of that is quite interesting by the way if you're interested in reading more.

   I met with a singular plant today in blume," wrote Meriwether Lewis on June 1, 1806, "of which I preserved a specemine. It grows on the steep sides of the fertile hills near this place." He described the root, stem, branches and leaves, and finally the parts of the delicate flower:

Mr. Jefferson I would imagine anxiously awaited the arrival of the newly discovered species the two pioneers presented to him upon their return from the long treacherous journeys. His excitement was beyond any anticipation I've ever encountered.
Well, possibly my feelings come close as I carefully pick and choose new plants from the many seed catalogs I study and research over and over and then await their postal arrival.

 There's nothing more soul satisfying then the feelings I get from planting, nurturing and cultivating plants from seeds. From beginning to end, it's a most rewarding life experience. Monitoring the tiny seed progress from the moment they push their tender bodies through the dirt until they embellish themselves with colorful blooms and bounty.

Recently during Bittersweets May day celebration we handed out little seed packets filled with butterfly and humming bird loving seeds. Sharing seeds with friends and family always puts smiles on faces.

While on a recent visit to my bank to deliver a jar of Peppermint foot creme to a bank representative she asked me about the seeds we had given her in her May day gift. What do I do with them? she asked. I told her to toss the seeds into a flower pot filled with rich potting soil and then give them a good watering. Sit the pot in a sunny location outside and continue watering lightly every day. After about 7 - 10 days you should see some tiny sprouts appear. Keep watering them as they are tender and new and require loving care.
The sprouts will quickly transform into a beautiful array of blooms. If you're blessed, a pretty butterfly or hummingbird will gracefully fly by and land upon your creation. 

 photo courtesy of pinterest

I must warn you... Seed cultivating is highly addictive and catches on quickly. Just remember each and every plant starts from one tiny seed. Isn't that amazing?

Jill oo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celebrating May Day

May Day is treated special at both Bittersweet Soap and Calico Petals. We have a party at the studio and introduce new spring artisan creations and we indulge in yummy pastry confections.
This May Day I'm making fresh old-fashioned lemonade. It takes a number of lemons to make a pitcher of the sweet treat. (40 lemons) I'm going to put a splash pink food coloring so it will be pink!
I've never made the s'more bars before, but I believe they will be a sweet yummy addition to the shortbread cookies and strawberry cake.
Fresh peonies and roses will fill the studio and I made hostess favors for the first thirty guests that arrive.
I wish you were able to attend!

Their are two requirements required when attending. I'll fill you in. A smile and casual attire are required to attend this event!


Jill 00

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Old fashioned fleur love...

The old fashioned spirea and snow ball bush are blooming. I don't recall them ever being so lush!
I bet you're picking and snipping lovely flowers from your garden. Isn't spring a cherished gift?

Jill 00

Saturday, March 31, 2012

summer frocks...

I've been using this same pattern for several years. It's easy and fast to sew. I like to use old-fashioned style fabrics and tie with cotton twill. This is the pattern I use. You're suppose to use a knit like fabric but I prefer cotton or linen.
I'm also thinking about making more of these.
Then of course more ruffles because I'm loving my ruffle attachment!

How about you... Do you enjoy sewing? I know you do!


Jill 00

Friday, March 16, 2012

Burlap Market Bag

For those of you that frequent bittersweet blog then this burlap bag looks familiar to you. The bag is constructed mostly of burlap and accented with what else, calico side pockets on each side. It sits flat on the bottom and holds a number of fresh veggies or market goods.

I used a basic pattern to construct the bag and then added my own design idees here and there. The market bags were offered at the bittersweet studio for a short time until I sold out!
This blog offers a wonderful tutorial on making your own market bag. You can adjust this pattern and add a side pocket if you want. Personally, I believe the side pockets are a necessity. I stick my car keys and money in the pockets. Then when I purchase a bouquet of fresh flowers I stick them in a pocket. So market bag cute!
The market bag would make a treasured gift for a friend. Make sure you make one for yourself!


Jill 00

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A calico Porch

photo courtesy of Pinterest

We're in the process of finishing a new addition to our existing porch.
The old porch sits right off our kitchen and the new one is extended outwards towards a row of red buds and cedar trees.
You really do feel as though you're in a tree house when you're sitting there. The tops of the trees are level with the decking of the porch.
I nabbed that picture to show Lennis. I'm considering hanging a porch swing right outside the kitchen door.
I've also been pondering outdoor furniture. I have a few white wicker chairs that I'd really like as part of our seating. Maybe add a vintage iron bench and a small table and I believe we'll be ready for outdoor entertaining.
The new porch overlooks our backyard. We have a huge backyard with lots of grassy areas.
My salvaged plant bench that I picked up along side the road. It was being thrown out. Can you believe it?
This is from last spring. I'm anxiously awaiting this one so that I can get started planting.
I can hardly wait to begin planting herbs and everlasting flowers. Statice, straw flowers, lavender and baby's breath. Top of the seed list.
How about you? I know you're as anxious as I am for spring to arrive.
It will be here before we know!

Jill 00


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