Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year filled with good health and happy memories in the making!  My family and I are hosting some very special friends for an evening of laughter and laid back fun.  Hopefully we'll all make it to midnight...

The OFG Team's January White Sale is about to begin!  If you're looking for beautiful primitive items to grace your home, this is your chance to grab them at a discount.  I have several items marked down, and will be adding more for this once a year event!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Memories of childhood dreams and anticipation of that big day...this is a picture of me with my brothers taken about 40 (gulp!) years ago.  Mom stitched up matching jammies, and I remember how excited we all were.  Brother Matt with his ear to ear smile and stylish crew cut, and little Jeff (the judge) as he embraced the world with those monster sized cheeks, and me with my long braids.  Hope you have a holiday season filled with great memories!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Fabric Wrapping Fun

This year I've found myself with some pretty sizable boxes to wrap up for Christmas gifts.  The thought of using nearly a whole roll of wrapping paper for one gift has my thrifty side cringing.  I haven't had to restock my wrapping paper supply in a while, and don't relish the idea of heading back to the stores this late in the game.  So I find myself happily sorting through my largest stash of fabric to put it to good use!  Just a yard or two of beautiful inexpensive fabric will yield many opportunities to be used, and then there's the gift of that fabric for any of your sewing friends too!

If you're wrapping a gift with a piece of fabric, you can certainly wrap it just like any other paper wrapped gift, but you will incur some bulk around the folded ends and corners.  For me, that added to the charm of my daughter trying to guess what in the world it could be!  I used safety pins to secure the seams and ends and lots of beautiful wide ribbon for a bow (again, from my stash).  The fun part for me was waiting a few days before putting a name tag on the boxes...keeps 'em guessing.

Now originally, I wanted to gather a huge piece of fabric to the middle of the box with a rubber band and create a center pouf, but even my largest chunk of red fabric couldn't match up with these two humongous boxes.  I don't think these are too bad though, and the great thing is that my garbage bin won't have much in there this year.  What wasn't wrapped in fabric was placed in fabric gift bags and reusable decorated boxes!

There are a lot of great websites for tips and techniques on wrapping gifts with fabric.  I found this beautiful collection of photos of packages with much more style than mine offer:  But heck,  these are for a 10 year old who really doesn't care about anything other than what's inside those bright red boxes!

Have a great day!  Ilene

Thursday, December 1, 2011 need some inspiration?

It's the beginning of the countdown to the 25 days of Christmas!  Are you ready?  Have you finished up all of those projects in your head for gift giving this season?  Whew, I'm not even close!  But I did find some new (to me anyway!) websites and blogs that have great quick sewing projects and tutorials for those extra special handmade gifts.  Come take a look at these cool sites: Has great tutorials for little bags and pouches as well as awesome advice on taking great pictures...check out her VERY cute dog in a bag!  I've admired this blog for a while, as she has great tips and tutorials.  Check out her latest...a thimble keeper!  Great idea, as those little guys get lost so fast in my sewing room!  Another favorite...check out her tutorial in July, 2011 for a very unique coin purse.  I need to try this one and use up some scraps

Now, I hope that you won't stray to far from me, as I'll soon have another tutorial for you!  I've been invited to join the Nancy Zieman Tablet Blog Tour in January!  I'll have my own rendition of these new tablet keepers for you to see and make.  However, if you can't wait and want to make your own now...check out this great tutorial from Clover:

Sew...are you inspired yet???

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Token of Thanks...for YOU!

The turkey is roasting, the gingerbread cookies are fast disappearing, and my sweet family sings in the spirit of the season...I have so much to be thankful for.

I am forever thankful to all of you, my dear customers and friends, for your support and encouragement to fulfill a creative dream! Together with 25 other members of the OFG Team on Etsy, we want to share just one more token of thanks to you…our customers! The participating shops below have joined together for a promotion from Thanksgiving day through Tuesday, November 29 with a special savings coupon of at least 10% towards your purchase. Use the coupon code “OFGthanksyou2011” as you shop here:
Use this coupon code at Happy Valley Primitives and receive 10% off of your total purchase, and I will also include special holiday tags with your shipped order!   Thank you so much for your support and continued patronage. We wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oh baby, it's cold outside!

Brrr...the thermometer reads 23 degrees on this chilly Sunday morning!  Frost has saturated the grass; the roads are a bit tricky, and so my Prius will stay warm nestled in the least for the day!  So, that must mean that it's time to pull out the winter wardrobe and grab that toasty scarf to snuggle in.  Did you know that Happy Valley Primitives also carries a line of luxuriously soft scarves with the most elegant beaded fringe out there?  I have a small sampling listed in my Etsy shop now with FREE US shipping for a limited time, so if you're in need of a new fresh look, with a little bling...come check me out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Walking through a Winter Wonderland!

Songs of the season have been dancing through my head!  Walk through your winter wonderland with the incredibly talented primitive artists of PAFA!  The celebration is through December 9th!  Type PAFAWW on to see all of the wonderful offerings!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tagging away!

It's hard to believe that in only two weeks, the Christmas season will be in full swing.  Wow!  Where did the time go?  Just after Thanksgiving marks the opening of one of the biggest holiday draws here in the northwest corner of Washington...The Lights of Christmas (!  This spectacular event draws over 50,000 people and boasts over a million twinkling lights on display, along with festivities, theatre, food, and of course, several gift shops!  Once again, I will have a table full of creations for sale there.  So, while nearly all of my projects are ready, I have taken it upon myself to create new pricing tags this year.  I just love to showcase a beautiful piece of art in my price tags; however, I also want to personalize them.  And, since I'm, ahem...thrifty, I've researched on the net to find printable tags at little or no cost.  There is a large assortment out there!  A couple of my favorite sites are:;; and  Check out these awesome sites for free to low cost printable tags, ornaments, and so much more!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome to the first ORP Christmas Craft Fair Shop Hop!

It's here!  It's here!  The ORP Christmas Craft Show Shop Hop has begun!  All of those one of a kind handmade holiday items are now showcased in the participating shops.  Will you find that treasure that you've been hunting for?  Happy Valley Primitives is very honored to be a part of this celebration, and I have several wonderfully cute primitive decor items for your consideration to the right of this blog post.  Find Santa, his reindeer, THE "elf" penquin, Bling, Raggedy Annie, Mice and Snowmen galore to celebrate the season!  I even have a few newly released epatterns if you'd like to make your own creations!  Best of all, all of my items include US shipping AND they are priced at special "Shop Hop" savings!

Most of all, I hope that you enjoy discovering these truely talented artisans as you travel through their blogs.  I'm amazed at all of the beautiful creations!  Have fun shop hopping!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Great Giveaway from OFG!

The Old Farmhouse Gathering Team on Etsy has put together another great giveaway that you can win!  Check out this treasury full of items to trim up your tree in style, and be sure to leave a comment to enter!  Good luck!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Etsy Scavenger Hunt

Ready for some fun?  A team of Etsy sellers have put together an awesome scavenger hunt within their individual shops.  Check out this blog for more information:  Happy Valley Primitives is participating too, and the hunt starts November 1, so get ready to scour through lots of very nice shops to find the all important scavenger hunt photo, and while you're looking, maybe you'll find something wonderful for someone on your gift list! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Fun for that Necessary Room

The rain is here, so it must be time to decorate for fall!  Well, summer was short-lived here in the Northwest, and now we're on to favorite time of year!  Here's a quick little decorating idea for that special place we all have...the necessary room! 

How many times have you been the lucky one to find that the roll of T.P. is empty?  Well, try this out, and only you will know where it's hidden!

You will need:  one roll of T.P. (toilet paper), a fat quarter of orange fabric, a fat 1/8th of green fabric, a 10x10 scrap of gold tulle.  Lay out the fat quarter, wrong side up, and place the T.P. in the center. Start on one side and begin tucking the raw edges of the fabric into the center of the T.P. roll until the entire piece of orange fabric surrounds the T.P.  Tuck the center part only of the gold tulle into the center of the T.P.  Fold and roll up the green fabric to about 4" tall tight roll.  Push the cut edge of the fat 1/8th into the center of the T.P., making sure to not push through all of the tulle.  There, now you have a cute pumpkin for your bathroom decor that, in a pinch, is ready for those 'necessary' moments!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jump into Winter with this new Celebration!

SPLAT!  Ready for a snowball fight?  Today begins a new OFG Team Celebration for all things Winter!  It's not too soon to think about something new for your home decor as the weather begins to cool down.  Type WWHOFG in your search on and find over 100 brand new items!  Since snowmen are one of my favorite decorating items, I've been busy drooling over so many unique finds here...hope you'll check out!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


There's a scene in "Finding Nemo" that keeps running through my head these days.  It's the part where Nemo is encouraging the Tuna, who are about to be captured and reeled up in a gigantic net by a fishing boat to keep swimming down, in an effort to break the mast holding the net and setting them all free.  "Keep swimming...keep swimming..." they all chant together.

I feel the need to chant to the sun as we venture towards fall to "keep shining...keep shining!" since our 'better late than never' garden is making so much effort to produce in the short time we have left.  We have plenty of zucchini, cabbage, onions and potatoes, but the tomatoes are just as grass.  And I so desperately want to get some canned and oven dried this season! 

If you have never oven dried tomatoes, it is very easy.  To prepare the tomatoes, wash and dry.  Use tomatoes that are relatively the same size.  For smaller sizes, cut in half (like small romas or even cherry); larger sizes can be quartered, but will take longer.  Place, cut side up, on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle tops with italian seasoning and a bit of kosher sea salt.  Place in oven at 200-250 degrees for several hours, checking about every hour for doneness.  Tomatoes are dried when gently pressed and no juices appear (they should still be pliable).  Place in airtight container and refrigerate (or freeze).  These are amazingly awesome on pizzas, italian dishes, salads, or just snacking (my daughter loves them after school).  They have a very concentrated, intense flavor when dried.  Hope you'll give it a try...and hopefully, that will be what I am doing soon too!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Strolling through the pumpkin patch with PAFA!

I'm so excited to participate in my first celebration as a team member of PAFA!  These talented artisans have put together a colossal sized promotion of autumn inspired items!  Check out this link for all of great finds:  Here at Happy Valley, I have several new table mats, an incredible needle felted wall hanging, lots of great prim dolls and more! 

But wait, that's not all!!!  Enter for your chance to win some wonderful creations by several members of this team!  Check out the PAFA blog at: to enter!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Win this Treasury full of Handcrafted Items!

Win this treasury!!! Stop by and leave a comment for your chance to win this great Thanksgiving treasury by some of my friends at the Old Farmhouse Gathering team!  One winner will be chosen amongst all who leave a comment, so be sure to enter!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

24 years and counting!

Today marks a wonderful memory...24 years of marriage with my husband, Matt!  Of course, it seems like many more, since we dated for over 4 years first.  But I feel like it is so incredible in this day to be able to commit to one another for so long, through good times and bad, and still share such an amazing love for one another.  It's sad, but I sometimes feel like some couples could benefit more by what Matt and I share, the ability to communicate and support one another so well.

And so, I am remembering that special day with this bouquet of flowers table mat that I created.  The center area is hand needle felted and includes a variety of color tones for the flowers, with pink as the base.  The leaves feature four different green shades which details the shading, veins and subtle effects of leaves, just like in nature.  The inside of the scallops each have a pearl flower button with a teeny pastel pink button on top.  The whole piece was blanket stitched to a wool backing with a pink crochet thread.  It's a beautiful piece that only took a couple of hours to design and make.  Making these types of table mats is really fun and easy to accomplish.  Just keep in mind the delicate beauty of a flower in bloom and watch it grow from there!

Hope you have a very enjoyable day!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whaahoo! The worse day fishing is better than any day washing dishes.

We're back from a fun week of vacationing in Oregon!  After several days visiting with family, we ventured over to Diamond Lake, a favorite fishing spot from my hubby's childhood.  Snow still packed in the banks, we were just sure that the mosquitos wouldn't be out this early in the year, but, alas, there were there to greet us in massive form.  Now I know what a swarm of these little buggers is, as they lurk above in formation with the wind casting their carnivorous shadows, and timing the dive to exposed skin just right.  Itch, itch...

Thank goodness for Nic, who blessed us with her plump 17" trout for dinner one night, and as I'm told, a hearty "whaahoo" shout out once she knew this beauty was on her line.  Cuz, if we were to rely on Matt to catch dinner, well, that tiny minnow would've surely left us with noisy tummies.  Overall, they caught several and I happily snapped up pictures from shore, that is, while spraying repellant.  I multi task well when necessary.
And, yep, our new "boat", an inflatable giant at 10.5' long really did well.  We took some razzing, cause those die hard fishing dudes just couldn't take that little boat seriously, but it's kinda funny how we had the stringer of fish to prove that size just doesn't matter!

I didn't get too much stitchin' accomplished, as it appears that dish duty only fell to those who stay landlocked.  It was so worth it though, to see many beautiful memories created between a father and his daughter and a new vessel, christened the S.S. Tolly.  May she have many more watery adventures ahead!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A new chapter at Happy Valley...My designs published!

I'm so excited to announce that I have been asked to design needle felting projects for Clover Needlecraft, Inc.!!!  The past few days have been very busy, as I have just completed several designs for Clover's project sheets.  It's an awesome opportunity to publish some of my work with a wonderful company.  Ahhh, yes, and on top of all that, I was provided with an ample supply of Clover's outstanding felting tools and roving to work with.  I'm like a kid in a candy store!  To think, before working with Clover, I did all of my needle felting projects with a single non replacable barbed needle!  Clover's tools utilize several needles, or you can use just one if you like...the point is, there are options.  This was also my first experience working with Clover's felting brush pad, which, again was SO much better than my foam cushion (the needles don't get stuck in the felting pad!). 

So if you haven't tried needle felting, I encourage you to give it a go.  The few tools needed to get started aren't very expensive; it's a very portable craft, and the design ideas are really limitless.  See a flower and you can re-create it's beauty.  That's what I did in this pink hydrangea.

Stay tuned here, and I'll announce when my projects, complete with how-to instructions, are available at your local craft stores and to download online.  And, let me know what magical creation you make...I'd love to see it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flag Day Challenge Fun

It's time for a challenge, and my friends at the Old Farmhouse Gathering have put together a wonderfully fun little competition for Flag Day!  Many artisans have put together a patriotic display for you to vote on!  Go to:, type in FDOFG and see all of these creations.  Click on the button to the right of this post to be taken to the OFG blog, where you can cast a vote for your favorite.  Be sure to follow the directions and enter your email address, as you could win a prize just for voting!

Of course, Happy Valley Primitives was up for this's a peek at my entry, a large wool table runner depicting a proud flag as the foundation for our beautiful country:

Voting starts June 4th, so be sure to cast one for your favorite!  Happy Flag Day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can this seamstress be saved?

I confess...I'm not a garment maker.  I can easily whip out a doll and even crank out her clothes with no problem, but when it comes to fitting a real live person, I am sewing challenged.  Yesterday, I seemed to forget all that, and found a beautiful piece of fabric to make myself a sleeves, and yes, with a pattern marked with the word EASY in large caps.  A nice fitted dart in the front, and flare out around my, ahem, mid it didn't seem like rocket science.  It's only 2 pieces plus the facing fabric; however, it still posed a great challenge to match the facing to the tunic pieces without them both not meeting up.  How is it that you can cut up two identical pieces, not on the bias, and one ends up an inch longer???  And now it has a gap in the back neck area, cuz I made it a size larger so that it would fit my mid section.  Not sure how to work with that other than to grow my hair real long.

Hubby, in his ever reassuring splendor, commented that "at least you didn't try doing sleeves again."  Ahhh, bless him.  He just had to bring up that knitted sweater I made him many years ago.  Hmm, maybe his right arm has grown longer since then, what with all the reaching he has to do while falling out of chairs laughing at my garment construction...

So, when will I learn?  I suppose never.  I really want to create beautiful things to wear, so I'll probably keep trying.  But the real truth is that the garment sewing trophy goes to my mom.  She has a knack for fitting a piece perfectly to the individual.  I should know, as my bridesmaids were just stunning!  Wonder if she'd give this old gal another lesson?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Today's story is for the birds

So here we are, finally enjoying the beautiful flowers of spring, along with warmer temps and a whole lot of better attitudes from the people who are so dreary during the winter season.  A new beginning for many little critters out there, gathering twigs and building nests, singing all the while.  It's no different here at Happy Valley, where, as I sit, I can hear the songs of the chickadees at my bird feeder, so delicate and happy. 

However, some are not content with just song and play...they are attempting to become just a bit too 'friendly'.  A very territorial robin is attempting to conquer my west facing windows.  The reflection is too powerful to resist plowing into, over and over and over again.  This is an annual thing, and we've tried masking the window, hanging predator looking critters and the like to no avail.  I just hope he gets his nest made soon and moves on his way.  Last spring, I had a little guy pounding that window until early summer, as his first nest was destroyed by a wind storm.  They are very persistent.

And this morning I am also greeted by the rat-tat-tat of a northern flicker woodpecker on the roof.  Yikes!  It sounds like a mini jackhammer creating a remodeling option up there.  Oh, please!  We have no more room at this inn...move on!  Ahhh...some peace at last.  A quiet moment now.  Time to sew!  May you have a wonderfully pleasant and creative day in your 'nest'. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

My annual weekend creative blitz!

Happy Monday to you!  Today, I awoke feeling refreshed and recharged, after a 3 day weekend retreat as my family left for Oregon.  It's an annual trip that my hubby and daughter make together, allowing them some wonderful time to bond, and me some well loved quiet time to create! 

This weekend my main project was to re-do the room divider "curtains" that I made several years ago...back when southwest country style was, that was a while back!  This oak divider was made by my hubby, and it was designed originally to mimick the curves of our dresser mirror.  I have rarely kept it in our master bedroom, as it works better in the front room (or in this case, the entry) to divide up the open areas of the home.  The fabric was a wonderful thrift store find of home dec weight toile (4 yards/$4!). 

The little desk/chair combo was a discard from my hubby's great aunt, and we've kept it for over 10 years, intending to restore it.  I wish I would have taken a before shot, as it was a dark walnut stain, and completely falling apart.  The chair was entirely detached and the curved part of the desk was warping outward.  We believe that this piece is from the 40's or 50's and was perhaps a telephone stand?  It also resembles a old fashioned child's desk, as the seat isn't very large (I can fit in it, but wouldn't want to sit there often).  Hubby completely stripped this piece and restored it to a beautiful light cherry stain color.  Next up was the chair pad, which I made this weekend.  I first spray glued a thick foam pad, and then covered with a sturdy cotton fabric which was stapled on.  Next I made this hand needle felted floral design on black wool and made it into a slipcover for the pad, complete with zipper.  That way if I want to change it out, I can. 

Needless to say, hubby was both surprised and happy to see me finally complete these projects.  I have to say that I'm pretty happy with them too...and feeling pretty lucky that I have such a talented woodworker just a kiss away.  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bring on Spring...OFG Celebration Style!

It's nearly time for a spectacular OFG Spring and Easter Celebration! I've been busy putting together several new creations to debut on Friday, March 11 for this wonderful attraction. Here's a sneak peak at what you will find at Happy Valley Primitives. To see all of the great celebration items, go to, and type SECOFG in the search button. Celebration dates are March 11-25!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One last winter blast?

This winter's weather has been generally pretty mild here in NW Washington; however, last week provided an extra winter break for the kids from school and dumped an unusual amount of snow north of Seattle. The major interstate had to close for several hours one night as too many folks were abandoning cars in the quick flurry that dumped 24 inches just north of where we live in just a few hours. We didn't get quite that much, but we did enjoy some sledding down the driveway hill, and even though Nic is getting bigger, she still managed to hitch a ride on Dad's back for a trip that lasted a good 500 feet down to our barn. Sometimes it's a load of fun having such a great hill on the property!

Monday, January 31, 2011

My Electric Baby's Back!

The first month of 2011 has proven to wear out it's welcome fast here at Happy Valley. Ah, yes, where to begin. Right after my last post, my husband had the misfortune to hit a deer on his way to our Toyota Prius. Well, it limped to work, crushed hood, fender and bumper. The headlight, while still functioning, had broken connections to secure it, which meant the hood was the only thing keeping it from falling out. The side fender jammed into the door area, making passengers travel only in the back seat. But still he drove it. All the way to the gas station, for a usual fill and journey home later that day. Next day, he ventured to work in our Kia Sorrento, and again to the gas station for a fill. Same station as the day prior. Well, then the fun began, as the Kia hardly left the station before it died, and ended up being towed. Yep, bad gas. Turned out to be 87% Ethanol! I then ventured out with the Prius to the end of the driveway, only to now have it completely sputter...yep, bad gas here too. It took a bit longer with the Prius, I guess because it runs on battery power some before trying to choke down that "gas." Now that one was towed away too. So then, minus 2 cars, we bring out the monster tow rig hiding out in the barn for hubby to drive...thank goodness we had it! I have to say, though, that we were a bit hesitant about going anywhere or putting gas in that one! The gas station responsible was quick to write us a check for all of that...which promptly bounced!!! Okay, ahem, well now that has been remedied, and the repair work is now done for the uninsured deer that strolled in front of my quiet little car. Seems like a fitting country song saga, huh? Goodbye January, on to a new month! Now, back to creating!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Heap of Hats

Hope you had a very nice New Year celebration! Here it is, well into the first week of 2011, and I'm struggling to get back into the swing of things, school schedules, sports activities, and my daughter's 10th birthday, which is only a few weeks away. Wish I could have planned her arrival for a bit later into the year, and not so soon after Christmas, but it is what it is!
My creative clock is a bit stalled these days, so I'm working on the familiar stuff. I just closed out a local month long show, and did extremely well selling hats and scarves this year. So, I've been spending this week making hats for next season's shows. I always seem to be short on the number of hats I have made up, and even though I tripled the amount I made, they sold so well that I really need to have more available. Plus it feels good to have these done and ready, so that I can focus on more creative outlets later on. I've been making these hats for so long that I can pretty much construct them while sleeping, which kinda feels like what I've been doing a lot of lately!