Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sigh.....

Today I am making a list of all my UFOs as my ongoing New Years resolution.  Only this time around I really want to finish these and not just work on them and shove them back in the UFO basket.
1. 9 patch squares - fall leaves
2. Green and Blue strip pieced top
3. Love and Kisses top
4. 30's row top
5. Pretty floral (Cath Kidston prints) top
All these are tops in progress and I have nothing to quilt or sandwich together.   I also have a couple crafty projects in the making.
1. beaded ornaments
2. felt and beaded ornaments
3. embroidered eyeglass case
4. cross-stitch Santa ornaments
5. strip jean rug
I have finished the square for the round robin I'm involved in with my quilt group.  It has been fairly easy so far with making 3 squares to go with the original owners square.  The next steps will be a little more challenging.  These will be passed around for about 5 more months and will get back to the original owner in June.  Then, they are suppose to be entered into our local quilt show in August.  We'll see if that really happens.   I am optimistic so far. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

White frosty day

We got hit with snow this afternoon which added to the covering we already had on the ground from 2 days before.  Children were out with their sleds, dogs had their little jackets on, and we headed to the Knitting and Stitching show here in Harrogate.  It was just wonderful.  I love this show more so than the Great British Quilting show.  The work presented was just amazing.  I have nothing to prove this to you as they do not allow pictures.   My DH and I had a great time and we didn't break the bank buying any unnecessary items.  I found 2 books on crocheting and a spool of invisible thread. 
When I was a teen, I learned how to crochet on my own and made several useful items like afghans, slippers, scarves and such.  My sister was in college and I wanted to make her something for her graduation, so I made a ripple crocheted afghan in her school's colors.  I believe she still has the afghan.  Now, I would like to learn more beautiful stitches for hats, scarves and even try making gloves. 
With the winter months ahead, I will have plenty of time indoors to try my skills and with the new books to help me it should be a breeze, at least I hope.

Monday, November 22, 2010

That's No Turkey

 Chickens and Rooster from a friend's farm in Michigan

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  Our turkey will be eaten on Wednesday this year.  Yep, there's just too much going on this weekend to have to tackle dinner, too.  The turkey is defrosting in the fridge and is almost ready to be cooked.  Not stuffing the turkey this year, instead we will cook the stuffing seperate.
I bought a 10.4 lb. turkey on Friday and it's been defrosting ever since.  I'm doing some things the easy way, like a frozen Mrs. Callendars pie and frozen vegetables.  The potatoes are real as are the gravy and the stuffing.  These are the most important elements of the Thanksgiving dinner.  We will also have sparkling wine and sparkling apple.  I have been making the same stuffing twice every year (Thanksgiving and Christmas) for at least 15 years.   It's been tweaked ever so slightly over the years and one Thanksgiving I made it with fresh herbs.....it just wasn't the same.  The flavor wasn't as intense as the dried herbs.   

Just in case you would like to try my recipe, here it is:
Sandy's Stuffing
1 yellow onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
10 slices of day old white and/or brown bread, dried in oven, crumbled
1 baked cornbread recipe from the corn meal container or from a mix, dried in the oven, crumbled
1 cup craisins (I used the pomegranate flavor)
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 lb. cooked pork sausage, sage flavor (if you can get it)
         I have also used the reduced fat sausage
1-2 TBSP. dried sage
1 TBSP. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2-3 cups chicken or turkey broth
Saute the onion and celery in 3 TBSP. unsalted butter until soft and translucent.  Place all the breads, craisins, nuts and seasonings in a large bowl.  Stir in the cooked onion and celery.  Stir in the sausage.  Gently pour enough broth into the bowl to make it the consistency you like it may be more or less than I've listed.  Stir and pour all the stuffing in a greased dish.  Cover with foil and place in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes.  You can also stuff the bird, but be sure to stuff loosely.  DO NOT pack the bird and use a little less broth.  Sew the opening closed with kitchen twine or use skewers to close.  Cooked in the bird, the stuffing temperature should reach 165 degrees.  The meat on the bird should reach 180 degrees F.  Serve the bird seperate from the stuffing on the table for up to 2 hours.  This recipe will serve 8-10 people. 
Enjoy!   ;o)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall all around

Here it is the middle of October and something in my UFO basket got done!  Just in case you've never heard
of the term UFO in sewing/quilting.  It means: Un Finished Object

My son's quilt needed some mending, again.  So I had to whack off a row from the top and the bottom of his quilt.  I cut off all the binding and rebound the entire thing.  Though it's about a foot shorter, it looks great and he will get a few more years out of it.  He's decided to use it as a throw on top of his bed.  I'm glad.













Months ago I decided to nix the house block for my row quilt.  So, I found this teacup in a friend's
book and gave it a go.  What do you think of this one? 
This is a black and white poppy quilt I almost have finished.  It's less than 30" square, so it won't be too hard to machine quilt.  This picture looks kinda funky because of the available light in the room.


My UFO basket still has fall leaf blocks waiting to
be put together from .....uhh.......9 years ago?....
yes, I will say 9 years ago.  Ugghh.
I guess for me, it's a slow boring process.  But, I am
confident that one day everything will be done. 
Hope you're meeting deadlines, sewing like mad, and quite possibly adding and subtracting from your UFO pile like me.  ;o)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Boars Spotted Here

 Scarecrow Boars from the 2010 fall season in the village of Ripley
Witch Boar-a-lot
Mrs. Boar-ing laundress
Mr.Fox-n-Boar watching over boars pen
Von Boar-man
Alice 'n ' Boar in Wonderland
This one is a little morbid and it was on display in the Church....sick
Franken-boar in the cemetary
Fun day out for all the family. I had to buy a homemade knitted boar.  It called my name and of course,
anything made by human hands I couldn't pass up.  Isn't she cute? 

 I need to name her, any suggestions?
Have a Boar-filled day.  ;o)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Grand Finale

There's something about fall that excites me.  Summer's winding down and the air is getting
thinner and chilly.  Mornings are filled with a foggy mist that doesn't quite clear until after mid-day.
The colors of fall are spectacular.  Landscapes of pure majesty unlike the subtleness of summer
flower beds in full bloom.  It's the grand finale in our carpet of this fleeting season.  I just love this time of year.

 

I took these pictures on a hike recently and couldn't pass up on the opportunity to capture the complex
colors and textures of real life.  I could never recreate this on a blank piece of paper from memory.  That's why even if I don't get to creating something with it now, I can look back at these later and be inspired all
over again.  Photography helps me in so many ways from the use of colors, textures, composure, forms and sometimes even the medium in which I work with it.  There's so much to see out there and I don't want to miss any part of the wonderful Mother Earth Show. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Between the Moon and Mars

Last night my son told me to be on the lookout for Mars in the night sky.  It will be big and brighter than all the other stars but not quite as large as the moon.  So, DH and I headed outside in our PJ's and jackets (it was only 54 degrees Farenheit) and stared into the sky.  After scaring away the bats that fly around our house and hearing the two resident owls in the distance, all was quiet.  It was just gorgeous watching the twinkling stars with the occassional "falling star" which was actually a meteror shower.  We spotted Mars without the use of a telescope.  We recalled seeing the Hale-Bob comet years back with our telescope and what a fine night that was.  It's hard to see the night sky anymore.  There's just too many lights from cities and towns nearby, but I remember when..............

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pillowcases

    

















 I have been working on some pillowcases for the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.



These have been tallied and mailed to the charity of my choice.   Make some and donate, don't forget to go to the website and enter the amount of pillowcases you've donated.  The target is 1 Million by the end of the year. 










American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge - I Donated! Click here to learn more.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Time for a Picnic?

On opening my picnic basket, I realised the silverware was in need of a roll to keep it from being strewn all over and scratching up everything it came in contact with.  So, I had some remnants in my stash to choose from.  I love this pink dotty fabric by Cath Kidston.  It's a heavy canvas which works really well for this project.  Simple shape and simple to sew and I was done with it in under 30 minutes.  We've used it once and are planning another picnic as soon as we get some better weather.  It was only 48 degrees this morning.  What do you think? 


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Almost Fall

I always hate listening to people hurry the seasons away by saying things like "Fall's almost here", or "It's time to Christmas shop".   Oh for heaven's sake!  Can't we just enjoy each and every day as it comes?  I ignore these statements from people because maybe they just don't have anything else to say or they are anxious for the winter season to come again.  I am LOVING this summer.  We have done so many things since the start of the summer season.  Some of the highlights..... 2 open air Shakespeare plays, "As you like it" and "A Mid-Summer's Night Dream".   Both of these were excellent along with the picnics we packed for the events. 
We also spent a week in Scotland near Perth, Scone Palace, Balmoral Castle and stayed on Loch Tummel.  Beautiful area.  We drove up to Whitby and stayed for 2 days.  Love this seaside town.   All the gardens I've been to have been awesome!  I'm even impressed with my own garden this year.  It seems to be doing better than last year.  We're slowing down a bit for August, but we are planning some back yard barbeques, flea markets, more gardens, and going to Proms and seeing their fireworks this September.  I just hope it doesn't rain this year.  DH and I usually like to grab something for a "car picnic" and escape work for a while and just drive somewhere.  The weather could be good or bad, it doesn't matter with the car picnic.   


Whitby Bay
Whitby Abbey
I'm not sure what I've done wrong but my pictures don't want to center over the background.  I don't use blogger enough to know how to edit, I guess.  Sorry.  Anyway, my DH has had some laptop trouble so I haven't been able to download all the pictures I've taken.   These were from our Whitby trip.  I'll get some uploaded and try to post them soon.   Enjoy these nice llloooooonnnggg summer days.  I'm off to enjoy an icy A&W rootbeer, my favorite when it's HOT and sometimes I have to make it a float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Yummy.   :o)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Getting Out and About

 Last Saturday was one of the first bright warm beautiful days of spring here, so we all decided to load up the car with cameras and a picnic lunch and head north.


Bowes Museum, County Durham, England

As you enter this beautiful building, you start thinking about the fortune this couple that founded and donated all the items had.  They traveled Europe and beyond collecting everything from porcelain and furniture to fine art paintings and fine metal works like this silver swan. 

This wonderful piece of art and automaton was built by a French watchmaker in the 18th century and is the main attraction at Bowes museum.  At precisely 2:00 pm everyday this gem is wound only once and put into motion.  The swans head turns from side to side as the glass "water" and fish gently moves below him and plays a tune.  In the final motion he swoops his head downward picking up a fish from the water.  The entire show lasts only about a minute, but it is truly captivating.  It is made of pure silver and is approximately 4'X2' in length and width.  You can get close to it as it is encased in glass and stands on a pedestal. 
There is a lot to do in the same area as the museum.  Within a few miles there are 3 ruined castles and an Abbey.  A few more miles and you come to Raby castle, one of the finest in the country. By the time we were done in the museum and roaming around one of the ruined castles, we ran out of time and headed back home.   

I am sewing when I get a little free time.  The projects I am working on are for charities.  I still have pillowcases in the works and I've started on making bags to donate.  Both these links to the sites have patterns and instructions.  Sometime I'll get some pictures of what I've finished posted.  For now though, have a great weekend and try to get out and about.  ;o)



Monday, February 15, 2010

Catching Up

Time to catch up on my blog.  I've been sewing when I get an hour to spare, but I find it more difficult to sit down and write a post.  The challenge I started a month ago has started very slow for me.   Sometimes I start on a fabric and have to let it dry or think about what I want to do on it next, so it may take me days to get back to it.  So far, though, I've been able to work on 2 or 3 at a time. 
For this one, I took a scrap piece of flowery fabric, used bleach to lighten some of the areas as it was a bright print.   Next, I used fabric paints and a styrofoam net from the blood oranges I bought to stencil paint the purple on.  I also used oil pastels and rubbing plates to make the flowers more pronounced.  Lastly, I used gutta "lead" to paint on the outlines of the flowers. 
I did this one for my son.  I like the final result, but while it was in the process, I had thought of trashing it a few times.  The first thing I did was paint the background of plain muslin with blue and purple cran'dache water soluable oil pastels.  Next, I used rubbing plates and a gold shiva paint stick.  I used a fleur de'lis stamp, a transfer, netting, grosgrain ribbon and found objects to add. 
This last one is a lot like one I did before except I didn't do the love letter in the background and I added a strip at the top.   Speaking of the very first 3 I did, I am getting slightly concerned that I haven't received them in the mail yet.  Since our mail is usually slow, especially around Federal holidays, I'm only slightly concerned.  
On the backs of these tiny creations I've written briefly the techniques used along with my name, date and that it's a post card challenge.  I will start numbering them so I can keep track. 

The other sewing projects I've been working on are pillowcases for the 1 million pillowcase challenge.   There's a lot at this site along with pillowcase patterns.   This should keep me busy until the weather gets better and I start itching to get out and do some hiking.  Until next time.....keep quilting.

I won, I won, I won!!!

NOTE:  I apologize for posting this one at such a late date.  It was written on January 27, 2010. 

"Why it's a major award! That's what it is....."

There is something so wonderful about winning!  It's exhilirating, exciting, exhausting, and embarrassing all at the same time.  Yes, last night my DH and I won a bowling doubles tournament.  The prize was a Scottish theme hamper with all these goodies.  DH and I had recorded the football playoffs previously, so we sat at home last evening watching the games and sipping our Scotch.  It was almost as much fun as the bowling tournament.  I was sad to see the Jets AND the Vikings lose.  Oh well, it was fun anyway. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not your Grandmother's Button Box


I never showed the progress on my button box.  I had a real hard time finding the right colors and type of button.  So one day I decided to seperate my buttons and put them in plastic bags.  It is so much neater and easier to find what I need. 

When it came to the red and white buttons, I just couldn't resist on making this jar.  All it took was a scrap of fabric, a little batting, ric-rac, buttons, a string of craft pearls, and craft glue. 


The next thing I want to share with you is my first postcard in my challenge.  It took me about 6 hours to complete it, only because I was interrupted 3 times by the phone.  I finally hid the d@#n phone in the couch!
Maybe I'll conveniently forget where I hid it, mahhahhahaaaa! 



I used a scrap piece of black velvet, did some random smocking all around and bleached out some areas.  Then I added some seed stitches with rayon threads.  I really like the result even though the size of this one is a bit off.  That's OK, I'm the only one that will see it or care anyway.   To me, this looks like oooey gooey chocolate smothered over ice cream and fudge cake with sprinkles.  Gotta have sprinkles.  
The snowflakes are still rambling around in my mind, maybe I will still do something with that later.  I am always changing my mind about something and to me, this is why......excellent results!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Postcards

I have always loved postcards.  Whenever we go anywhere, I head straight for the postcard racks.  We take hundreds of pictures per subject, thanks to digital technology and DH using the button that snaps 3 frames at a time, but I somehow feel compelled to purchase handfuls of postcards.  Sending some off to friends or family, but mostly to keep as a reminder of where we've been. 
Last month I read about the FiberArts Valentine Postcard Challenge in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue.  You make a postcard to be mailed through the postal system, pre-stamp and pre-address it, mail it to Interweave Press where they will judge them and photograph some of them for their magazine.  After all that, they will deliver them to the Loveland, CO post office where they will add a special cancellation and poem to your postcard and send it back to you.  Apparently, FiberArts has been doing this for the last 3 years.  
Here are my entries:

This blue one is my favorite, of course, blue is my favorite color anyway.


This one is a variation on a technique from the Quilting Arts TV series 400.   The DVD was a gift to myself.
When DH was in the USAF, I used to write love letters to him and draw the mouse at the end of my letter holding a bunch of flowers because DH always gave me flowers (he still does on occassion). 


This one is my least favorite only because it is so shiny.  Pictures don't do it justice anyway, but I did try some different techniques on this one with some surprisingly good results.  The shiny stuff is Textiva fusible film that's been heated on stamps, then sewen to the background.  The gold around the heart is not paint, but gold chocolate wrapper.  I was amazed at how easy gold foil was to sew through and not rip to pieces.  The red background "fabric" is a used colorfast sheet from a wash load of red towels over the holidays. 

These little works of art were so much fun that I am continuing the challenge, only it is a personal challenge to do at least one a week for the entire year.  Trying new techniques and ideas as I go.  Years ago I started a series of postcards with the theme of places we've been, but that grew old for me and I only finished 5.  So, this being a bit different and no theme attached gives me some freedom to create as I go which is what I love to do.  No rules, no restrictions, no instructions or patterns.  
Today, I will be working on this weeks postcard.  Since we've had sooo much snow, I am thinking about snowflakes....... Happy creating!  ;o)