Handmade Shibori Pillowcases Set Off Beach Decor

shibori fabric pillowShibori Pillow Cases Make Unique Beach Decor.  Decorating for a beach house can be a challenge.  Most of the decor for beach houses is pretty plain.  Of course you have the nautical themed items everywhere you look.  Buy you usually see a lot of the same colors.  But a new trend in fabric dying is changing the look of beach decor.

Shibori dying has been around for hundreds of years.  It has it’s roots in Japan.  Essentially you fold cloth, then bind it in some manner before dipping it into a dye bath.  This creates one of a kind patterns on each piece of fabric.  Americans are most likely familiar with the idea of tie dying.  This is very similar to shibori dying.

A shibori pillow is a great way to add color to a room or piece of furniture without going with a standard look.  The colors of the dye are naturally darker and lighter across the pattern of the piece giving it a very soothing look.  While there are plenty of people that make these types of pieces, you aren’t likely to find them in big department stores.  Generally you’ll have better luck if you look online at places like Etsy.com.   Here you can find any number of handmade items that can be customized to fit the color palate of your home.

The best way to get something customized for your house might be to reach out to one of the artists on this website to see if they can create something specifically for you.  Most artists on Etsy are willing to do custom orders.  And while many shibori fabric pillows are similar, none are exactly the same.  So don’t be surprised if you place an order for a pair and they arrive looking slightly different.  This is just the nature of the process.  One such artist is at TheTangledPath.com

The Biggest Quilt Show on Earth!

Every summer shortly after the 4th of July the biggest quilt show on the planet happens in a little town called Sisters, Oregon.  This will be the second trip for my husband and I.  And we’re both looking forward to it, although perhaps for different reasons.

The Quilt Show Itself

We’ve been to plenty of other quilt shows, but never of this caliber.  A the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show there will literally be quilts and quilters there from all over the world.  In fact we met some people the last time we were there who said they fly over every single year from Oxfordshire, England.  Now I’m not exactly sure where that is, but it sounds like a heck of a trip.

The format of the show is pretty straightforward.  On Friday all of the entries into the show set up their quilts all over the town.  And when I say all over, I mean ALL OVER the town.  The quilts are literally hanging from the various buildings and businesses of the town. It is quite a sight to behold.  The country store, the post office, the coffee shop, the bakery, are all draped with some of the most beautiful and creative quilts you’ve ever set your eyes on.

Everyone kinda does their own thing on Friday night.  Since I didn’t have a quilt in the competition, my husband and I just spent a lovely night out on the town.  But once the sun comes up on Saturday watch out.  You will never see so many quilt lovers in one place.

All day long on Saturday the streets of Sisters are closed to car traffic.  And it’s a good thing because there are people EVERYWHERE.  Coming from one who knows about these sorts of things, I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many blue haired women in one place at one time.

All the folks are just walking around from building to building taking in all the sights.  There are some truly amazing pieces on display too.  It’s incredible how sophisticated and unique some of the quilts are.

The judges spend all of Saturday looking at the quilts.  And then by Sunday morning they have made their decisions.  The awards ceremony is held on the little green in the center of town.  Afterwards there are some workshops for those who want to stick around.

The Town of Sisters

Sisters is an absolutely charming little town.  It’s full of family owned businesses and restaurants.  One of my favorite places to go is Melvin’s Fir Street Market.  It’s like being in an old general store.  The owner, Melvin (of course), couldn’t possibly be any nicer.  He’s gregarious and friendly, and always decked out in a Hawaiian shirt.  Odd for the middle of Central Oregon.  While it’s mostly a store, they also do prepared foods.  You just can’t beat his broccoli and bacon salad.  It is absolutely wonderful.

Another great shop is the Sisters Bakery.  Evidently they’ve been in business for quite some time.  They have what must be one of the best apple fritters in existence.  They’re delicious and just about as big as your head.

For such a small town it has a wonderful variety of food.  I’m pretty sure I gained at least a couple of pounds just over the course of a weekend.  :-)   Oh well, I’ll be helping my doctor earn his salary.  It’s just so hard to resist all these delicious temptations.

Make Plans Now

One thing to note is that there are only a few hotels in the entire town.  So if you want a room, you better book soon because things fill up early.  If you can’t find something in Sisters, there’s always Bend just 20 minutes or so away.

So if you’re looking for a fun trip during the summer and you happen to enjoy quilting, come check out the Sisters Quilt Show, it truly is the biggest Quilt show on Earth!

 

The Quest for the Best Crossfit Shoes for Women

xmas treeAmazingly enough, it’s already that time of year again. The leaves are all gone from the trees, the weather has turned colder, and the endless ads for every gadget gift have invaded the airwaves.  That can mean only one thing.  Christmas season is almost upon us.

Of course we still haven’t reached Thanksgiving, but that’s no deterrent to advertisers.  As usual, they’ve started their campaigns earlier than ever this year.

Have you started compiling a list this year?  If not, here are a few items you should take a look at.

Deck-orate the Halls

Looking for a way to spruce up your living room or family room this year?  Tired of decor that looks the same as what everyone else has in their homes?  There is a genuine backlash occurring against mass produced made-in-China goods.  They’re relatively cheap, but everybody’s got em.

If this describes you, take a look at Etsy.com.  Here you’ll find hand-made artisan decor and jewelry.  Most of the sellers on Etsy make these goods in their own homes.  So instead of supporting some massive import company, you’ll be supporting a local artist.  Here are a few examples of decorative throw pillows with cute elephants on them.

There are also plenty of examples of small websites with handmade decor for sale.  The Tangled Path is a website I found while looking for hand-made bohemian decor items.  All of the items for sale on this site are hand-made by a young woman in Bend, Oregon.

Prepare for New Years

We all know that New Years quickly follows Christmas.  And what is the most popular New Years resolution?  To lose weight of course.  For most people this means joining a gym.  Or at least revisiting the gym at which you are already a member.  :-)

If this describes you, perhaps it’s time to start a new routine.  CrossFit has become one of the most popular types of gyms in the country.  If you’re not familiar with CrossFit, it involves doing some pretty strenuous activity.

But unlike other exercise regimens, CrossFit has you focus on core body movements.  This in turn improves your strength, flexibility, and even your posture.  And it will certainly improve your waistline.  Just make sure you have the right gear for the job.

And that starts with shoes.  The best shoes for CrossFit are typically fairly flat in comparison to standard tennis shoes.  Here is a great guide to choosing the best CrossFit shoes for women.

Staying Sharp

If you like to cook, then you probably have a decent set of knives in your kitchen.  If so, nothing is more important than keeping them sharp.  There are literally hundreds of sharpeners on the market.  From electric to manual, it all just depends what you want to spend, and how quickly you want to get the job done.  Here is a cool guide for finding the best knife sharpener help you select the best one for you.

Whether you have Western or Japanese style knives, this resource will help you choose the perfect sharpener for your needs.

Christmas Cookies

You can never go wrong with food for Christmas.  Especially when it’s actually good for you.  As the Paleo diet has become more well-known, more and more prepackaged foods are becoming available for those that choose to follow it.  Gourmet Paleo is one such company.  They make Paleo cookies and treats to help satisfy your sweet tooth but without ANY processed sugars.  You can also find their products on Amazon.com

These cookies are loaded with whole food ingredients that will keep you full for a long time.  Eating more than one of these guys is tougher than it looks.  You’ll be amazed.

These are just a few of the great products that are out on the market this year.  Hope this helps you make your list!

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