Sunday, December 30, 2012

First Snow Last Day ... Well Almost

  Upon waking up this morning and looking out the window, the world is softened by a layer of white.  All is clean and pure, there is a feeling of calmness.  The squirrel nest high up in the tree has a roof of white along with everything else and the only sound is the wind blowing.  The moon is a little lower in the morning sky while in the east the sun is rising to take it's share of daytime.  No one is seemingly awake or walking about, no automobiles have passed down the street and the world is waking up to beautiful first snow on this the last day of the year ... well almost the last day of the year!

May this coming year bring joy, happiness and peace of mind to all.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fish Feast Tonight!

Yummy ... I can hardly wait and I have so much still to do.  But the food will be great the company fantastic and hopefully we might have a visit from Robert Goulet!  Will we be gouleted this evening ... only Santa can tell?  We will just have to be patient and w a i t ...

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Greeting

There is just less than a week left before the Christmas celebrations commence!  The excitement  is growing and little ones anticipate arrival of Santa Claus while others celebrate the birth of the child Jesus.  The trees are decorated and the mangers are displayed, stockings are hung, baking cookies fill the air with delicious  scents.  Our festivities begin with the fish feast on Christmas Eve, something that I anticipate excitedly each year.  What fun we all have on that day, when the children were younger they would put on a play, open gifts from aunts and uncles and Grandma. Sometimes Santa would even pay a short little visit explaining how tired he was and that he would not be able to stay as he had to head out for his nighttime trek around the globe to visit all the other children in the world.  Now the children are adults with children of their own and the family tradition continues.  One of those adults children performed for everyone last year and we are trying to convince him to a repeat performance.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that it will happen.

Anyhow in the hopes that you all have family and friends close this holiday season and remember those who are no longer with us fondly we wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful new year.

Appliqued block from Christmas wall hanging.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mini Strips Project


Here are some of the mini strips that were cut for the project that I am working on right now - frantically finishing for Christmas!!! How many days?? Only how many did you say ? Why do I do this every year?  Because I unwittingly like the pressure and it's when projects actually do get finished.  That has to be the answer, what else could it be?  Anyhow there are about twenty five different fabrics in this project.  I started sewing and just kept going until I had about a forty foot length of  herringbone pattern.  It did not start out with a Christmas theme but evolved into it and I am happy with that.  So now what will it become???  The big reveal on Christmas day and not a day sooner.  Hope your Christmas season is progressing nicely.

And now I have to go and bake some cookies for the cookie party at my sister-in-laws tonight... mmm what kind of cookie shall I bake.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sharing Information

This chart shows the dimensions of different size quilts that manufacturer's use.  It is a handy guide but it doesn't mean you can't work outside the box!


Standard Manufacturers' Sizes for Bedding
Measurements are approximate and given for standard US Mattresses
Measured in Inches (Width x Length)
Mattress TypeDimensions**Commercial
Comforter*
(short drop)
Commercial
Bedspread*
(long drop)
Pre-Cut,
Packaged
Batting
Lap Quiltn/an/an/an/a
Crib28" x 52"36" x 54"n/a45" x 60"
Twin/Single39" x 75"65" x 88"81" x 107"72" x 90"
Twin/Single XL***39" x 80"----n/a
Double/Full54" x 75"80" x 88"96" x 107"81" x 96"
Double/Full XL54" x 80"----n/a
Queen60" x 80"86" x 93"102" x 112"90" x 108"
King76-78" x 80"104" x 93"120" x 112"120" x 120"
California King72" x 84"----n/a

*Information is from "Art of Classic Quiltmaking" by H. Hargrave/S. Craig
**Dimensions are approximate and given for standard US mattresses
***Typically found in college dorm rooms

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree!

  Today we will put the CHRISTMAS tree up!  It is early for us as we usually don't put it up until much closer to Christmas - but time is the problem.  So up it will go today.  It's exciting and will get us in the mood of the season and maybe, just maybe I will be more prepared for the big day when it does arrive.  It seems that we are never quite ready for Christmas each and every year although we know it is coming.  It comes on the same day of the year every year, it doesn't change.  I love a real tree and we have an artificial tree (as one year ours dried completely and we had to toss it out).  So not quite sure what we will opt for today - maybe we will toss a coin!
  There are some great little ornaments on the web and I may try to create one or two of them.  I also have ornaments that I have made over the years - right now there are not any pics of them but I will try to take pics and post them at some point today on this particular post. 
 
  Thanks for looking at my post and have an enjoyable Christmas season.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to All

  This is the view from my kitchen window as I prepare for the grand feast of Thanksgiving.  All the family will be over tomorrow.  Yes I realize that tomorrow is Friday, but I thought that it would be easier on everyone if we spread the festivities out just one more day.  Holidays should be just that a holiday, a day to relax and not have to run here and there, rush, rush, rush.  With everybody going to multiple places and eating at those places tomorrow can be a repeat at our place!  More potatoes, green beans, squash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread, and of course the star of the show TURKEY!
  Of course the real star of the show is the company that you keep during the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hoping everyone has stars in their show and that loved ones gather together in your hearts and thought.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November

As the air becomes cooler, 
the leaves have almost all fallen
from the trees and
The warm colors of fall 
linger 
in our minds.
The days are shorter and
our thoughts turn to 
cozy homes, 
warm meals 
spent with family.  
Grateful 
for the time 
to gather 
with the ones 
we love..

Saturday, October 6, 2012

All For Show Saturday

Nashville, TN The A T & T Building with a mural in the foreground depicting the same building

Broadway,  Nashville, TN

One of the original doors inside the Frist Museum
  Here are some more pictures from our trip to Nashville.  You can see what great weather we had.  The mural on the wall shows a street/ skyline scene - if you click on it you can get a better view.  Not sure who the artist is.  The door  from the Frist Museum is just one of about half a dozen that I could see.  My pictures did not come out as well as I had hoped, but you get the idea.  It is like stepping back in time.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October -- so soon!

   I can't believe that this year is nearing completion - where did the time go?  Just a quick update here.  Sewing has been slow going - but still have managed to get some done.  A little dress for a 6 month old and another UFO nearing the DAL point.  (Done at Last - lol)  Hooray.  
   We went to Tennessee at the end of August, what a beautiful place and a great drive through the mountains.  People are really friendly there.  I can't wait to go there again.  We had great weather and next to no traffic all the way there from New England and that alone helped to make the trip even more enjoyable. We drove through beautiful green mountains as far as the eye could see.  The Shenandoah Valley is stunning.  All along the way are historic battlefields and sites.  There are numerous caverns which had lines and lines of people anxious to enter and see the wonders of nature underground. 
  Once we entered into Nashville itself I quickly spotted a large banner hanging from an old quite beautiful building.  What a great surprise and quite unexpected - it was an advertisement for the exhibit being held inside.  My excitement grew and my husband told me to stay calm and stop bouncing up and down in my seat ( I couldn't help myself).  I never thought that I would have the opportunity to see this group of quilts.  Anyway we continued on down the road though, after all we had to park the car, which we did and then roamed around town.  
  There was live music everywhere all up and down the street.  There are shops to buy boots, country music, food and drink.  City buses come around quite often that you can hope on and take a tour of the city - the fare is $0.00 and the drivers are friendly and helpful. 
  We had a day before meeting our son and his girl there (surprise!) so we headed back to the Frist Museum!  Inside we were both delighted to see the exhibit of Gee's Bend Quilts and Bill Traylor illustrations.  Now you know why I was so excited.  This set of quilts are truly pieces of beauty.  The women who cut and stitched the fabrics of their daily lives into something useful yet primitively beautiful never thought that these quilts would ever be in a museum for the world to admire, they were just being practical, something we in this age sometimes forget.  I was very grateful to have actually stood in front of all of them.  Then we came upon the Bill Traylor exhibit, a man who would just sit and draw what he saw on old discarded advertisement stock that he found here and there.  This man was unable to write and had to be taught to write his name but had the ability to draw the animals and people that passed in and out of his life.  His story is quite interesting.  We purchased the book in the gift shop which tells about his life and features many of his pieces. The book uses his name as the title.
  The Frist museum is a beautiful building itself.  It is an art deco designed building which features original decor of metallic panels and polished marble floors.  The building itself is a work of art and a reminder of times gone by.  In the front of the building is quite a large sculpture of  pink roses made by Will Ryman, hard to miss.
Will Ryman sculpture at the front of the Frist Museum

Hanging banner inviting quilter's to come in and see Gee's Bend exhibit at the Frist Museum
  So if you ever have the chance to go to Tennessee stop into Nashville take a look around, enjoy the sites and sounds.   More later!   

Friday, August 17, 2012

Free Rice website

  This is a pretty good website.  There are different subjects that you are able to choose from with just a click.  Languages, culture, math, even questions that might prepare you for taking the SATs!  Check it out: http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/9427  Watch the bowl fill up with each correct answer.  For every correct answer that you click rice is donated to needy people around the world.  Have fun while doing something good.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wickford Art Festival

The Wickford Art Festival is happening this weekend.  This is the 50th anniversary of this event.  It is held in the quaint little town of Wickford in Rhode Island.  Many artists show their work and many admirers attend.  Yesterday was a very hot and humid day for the show at least until a few sprinkles happened to fall, which cooled the atmosphere at least temporarily.  There were all sorts of paintings and etchings, some musicians playing and selling their CD's, and a few three dimensional artists.
Robert De Vito
One artist that I particularly liked creates abstract skylines that are somewhat 3-D in clay.  There are large and small pieces that are very colorful.  He has copyrighted his art and did allow me to take a photo of him in front of his work.  You can reach him at   skyline devito@gmail.com Here is the photo I took.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

Proud to be an American.

Where will the road lead you?
Good morning America, how are you?  Today is a great day to get out and see America.  We live in a great country.  There is lots to see and we are free to roam about.  In any direction that you go there is something to see, a place to visit, a scene to enjoy.  It doesn't have to be the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park, it can be right in your backyard with family and friends or a day trip to some nearby happening.  The history of our country is all around us and we make history everyday, whether it be our own personal history or a small part of the bigger picture - we are part of the American fabric.  See where the road leads you.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What are you doing today?

   Well if you really want to know - I woke this morning at 5am, took a look at my blog and some of those that I follow (lots to look at and some really great items), then I did a wee bit of sewing (am in process of making many quilts), and before it becomes too hot today I decided that I would make some more Whoopie Pies (they were a big hit last week, see the recipe on the previous post), and while the oven is still hot also made a rhubarb upside down cake (can't wait to taste it, it's sitting on the counter cooling off which might take all day seeing as it's so hot already).  Now I am going to do a little bit of cleaning - the kitchen is done now on to the living room!  I'll probably also sit at the sewing machine off and on (when I get bored with cleaning).  Already I am beyond perspsiring and am sweating.  I hope that my long run on sentence didn't confuse anyone, yikes 
Have a chocolate covered sunflower seed.
   I dream of finishing all the projects that are filed in my head, but there is only one of me and I have to be patient with myself knowing that I will only finish one thing at a time. Gosh. If I were more organized it just might help and maybe one day the dream of being organized will come true.  Where is that darn Organize Fairy.  She must be at your house getting you all squared away.  Let her know that I am waiting for her and tell her to get a move on.  Happy Sunday everyone. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Whoopie for Whoopie Pies!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.  Whoopie!
These Red Velvet Whoopie Pies are delicious!  They were very quick and easy to make from scratch.  The creamy middle is light and tasty, not too sweet.  These would be great for a kids party or if guests were to call to say they were popping by.  Once out of the oven the pies cool quite fast and can be put together in a snap.
Mmm Whoopie Pies!  No need to be a Grand Baker to make these.  All you need are the following ingredients...
  •  2 cups cake flour
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup of Smart Balance butter substitute with flax 
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2/3 cup of sugar MINUS 3 tablespoons.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk soured or buttermilk
  •  
  • 1/2 cup Cool Whip
  • 1/3 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the Smart Balance and the sugar along with the molasses until light and creamy.  Beat in the egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  

Combine the dry ingredients with the egg mixture alternating with the sour milk.  Mix only until all ingredients are moist.

Drop 1 tablespoon of batter onto parchment lined cookie sheet one inch apart and bake for 5-8 minutes at 375 degrees F.   Cool on pan for about 2 minutes, then place on cake rack to cool completely.  

Mix together the last four ingredients above - this is the filling.

Once the whoopie pies have cooled place a dollop of cream filling on flat side of pie and top with another pie flat side toward the cream filling

You can dust the tops with confectioner's sugar or cocoa powder.  

Have with a glass of milk and enjoy!

*NOTE: If you do not have sour milk or buttermilk you can stir in either a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar.  Let it stand or pop it in the microwave for just a few seconds to bring it to room temperature.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL!

The original recipe is from the winter 2009 edition of Diabetic Living Magazine. Thank you Diabetic Living. It's a great magazine and you don't have to be diabetic to try any of the recipes as they are pretty healthy.  I modified this recipe a little to my liking adding a little more of this and that.  Also I changed the filling a smidgen.   


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On the Drive Home

Wag more,
bark less

I read this on the rear bumper of the car that was in front of me at a red light. I though it was good advise, I think I will try it out!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just a quick hello ...

  A little something to brighten your day.  I think if you click on this picture you can see all the detail that is secretly waiting for a lucky viewer to enjoy. Isn't that color just so saturated and vibrant?
  I have been trying to catch up on my quilting and sewing this last month before the weather gets too hot as well as getting the garden taken care of.  It's a balancing act for sure, but so much fun.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Peek At My Next Project


These homespun fabrics are part of a foundation pieced quilt that I am working on and have been for some time.  You see in going through my fabric closet I came across this blue box that was a bit heavy as it was stuffed full of these great fabrics.  I knew I had it .... somewhere!  The quilt within  has been waiting to for completion for ... um ... well let's just say for a couple of years.  Okay maybe more than a couple, maybe more like ... oh never mind I can't remember how many years and don't want to think about it!  Anyhow it is seeing some daylight at long last.  A commitment has been made to finish this quilt and I already have plans for the leftovers, how's that?

My husband purchased this group of fat quarters from Keepsake Quilts in New Hampshire as a gift for me one Christmas a number of years ago,  The picture above is only a small portion of the group as part of the group is on the sewing table or in the machine being sewn.  More pictures to be posted in the coming days.  I find it interesting when the "parts" are posted and you can view the progress.  Quilters are not always as patient as one might think (which is probably why they have so many UFO's floating around!) and will move from project to project.  Or is that just all creative people?

Anyhow please come back and have a look at the blocks as they are finished and posted.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Urembo Basket Project

 UREMBO Baskets made by women in Kenya who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS virus.  The women sew these baskets on treadle sewing machines with African fabrics.  The  beads on the baskets are also made by another co-op nearby.  I "purchased" these baskets for a donation. The project teaches women a trade that they can  use to help support themselves and their families.  They learn business skills, become independent and attain a sense of self worth.  One hundred percent of the monies donated to the UREMBO BASKET PROJECT goes to the project.  The web site is www.Friends4Kenya.com if you are interested in making a donation. 

 I came across these at a Machine Quilter's Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. These baskets are sturdy and come in many colors and designs.  Please consider donating to this worthwhile project. 

Click on the pictures for a larger view.

'Something Blue' Half Square Triangle Quilt

Out of the UFO pile and into the finished pile!  This small piece, measuring 26.5" by 22", went fairly quickly even though it was a little tedious cutting all the triangles.  I wanted to make a two color quilt and came across this pretty blue fabric with kind of a paisley pattern paired up with a soft blue and white stripe.  I've named it "Something Blue" for lack of any imagination on my part.  If you have a better suggestion I'm open to your comments.

Piece is now part of a private collection.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Aftican Batik

African village and it's inhabitants  batik
A couple of years ago we took a ride to the Deerfield Craft Show.  When this show is going it is quite large and there are many craftsman there trying to sell their wares.  I found this piece along with many others at this vendors table.  He said that his mother makes these along with others in her village.  I have since forgotten his name and where exactly he comes from with his batiks, maybe Kenya, not sure.  I know that I have his card somewhere and I will come across it one day.  When that day comes I will credit him and his mom with this lovely piece.  (Here is a fine example of posting right away, those things that you know you are going to remember can sometimes fool you and you forget.)  If I find out that any of the information regarding this piece is incorrect I will correct it.

This piece depicts villagers and the homes they live in.  It's not a large piece, around 10 inches long and 4 or 5 inches wide.  The colors are vibrant and the lines are clean.  Very skillfully done.  Hope you like it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Coming Out Day for The Misses!

The Misses all folded into nice neat stacks of fat quarters.

Introducing Miss Enya, Miss Mina, Miss Nula, and Miss Dotty.  (from left to right)

Introducing Miss Ida L'Azur , Miss Katy, Miss Pat, and Miss Sarah.  (from left to right)

All The Misses dancing around!
    This coming out Day the The Misses!  They have arrived an hour or so late - they were picking our the right color to wear.  These are fat quarters of 100% cotton.  Kona cotton is what the design is printed on so you know it's one of the best cottons around. 
   This is a design that I did really quickly one day in my sketchbook.  It's been in my mind to do something else with it other than keeping it closed up in a book.  So here it is.  Hope you like my creation.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Out of UFO Land



Purple Pansy Quilt

Purple Pansy Quilt center, bias binding and backing detail.
A pile of binding after it was measured and cut.

Mitered corners make a neat finish.
   This small lap quilt or wall hanging has been deemed completed and can no longer stay in UFO Land.  It must find another home!  With a center of half square triangles and purple borders it was machine quilted using a variegated purple thread from Coats and Clark 100% mercerized cotton, Size 50.  The fabrics used are all 100% cotton commercially printed from a variety of manufacturers and designers.  You may recognize some of them.  I especially like the outside border and the striped bias edging.  I think I will call it Purple Pansy Quilt. 
    In an earlier post I was playing with a variety of layouts, auditioning them for this quilt and this is where the triangles landed!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Still in UFO Land

Proof that I have had the pedal to the metal!  Here I am stitching away to finish another UFO!
  What you thought I fell off the planet?  No no no, just been working on some of those UFO's  - five lap quilts done so far this year.  Four more are ready to be quilted and (shh, don't tell anyone) another blue and white striped triangle quilt has been started.  I know, I know I am supposed to be finishing not starting new quilts.  But I am using up my stash which is the flip side to my UFO endeavors.  Of  course I am not quilting these by hand but rather on my machine so of course I can finish more of them that way in a shorter time.   I do favor hand quilting, just so you know..  Thought that I would make a landing, just to touch base.  LOL

  Also I have been working with a designer to create some quilting pendants that I will be showing soon and hopefully be able to sell.  They are coming out quite nicely.  My designer is showing his great talents and I am impressed with what he has completed so far  He has taken my ideas and made them bloom.

  Also I have sent some of my fabric designs  off to be printed and the first sets have arrived!  I will take photos of  them sometime this week and post them one week from today (if I can wait that long!).  I am very pleased with the results.  All are printed on Kona 100% cotton. 

  So watch next Sunday - one week from today- for the "coming out" of The Misses fabric line.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Ugly Duckling Quilt

The Ugly Duckling Quilt showing some of the squares and the binding (striped fabric) as well as the plaid backing flannel fabric.  With the extra binding fabric I made a pillow case for her .

This is the striped flannel fabric I used for the binding and the pillow case.  The roll is the binding after it has been cut.
 A few years ago my DD wanted to make a quilt and thought that it would be funny to make a quilt with some ugly flannel fabric.  So the quest began to find what she thought would be "ugly" flannel fabrics.  She succeeded to an extent, the fabrics that she found did not all go together.  But as every quilter knows you can always make lemonade out of lemons!  Shown here is the result of the fabric collection that she put together.  She cut out all of the squares and I made a pleasing arrangement out of them.  Unfortunately I did not take a photo of the whole quilt so that you could see it (maybe she will read this and send me a pic).  I found a striped fabric that pulls it all together and a plaid backing.  I venture to say that this quilt will become a favorite as it is warm, cozy and soft.  It also doesn't need batting, so it isn't a quilt in the truest sense of the word.  I think that batting might have made it too heavy. 
  She is now on a mission to find some more "ugly" flannel fabrics to have me make her brother one!  Let's see if we can make some more lemonade!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Indigo Days

Indigo favorite of mine, this was carefully measured, marked, pressed and stitched.  Then repeatedly immersed into the indigo dye bath.  Time consuming but worth the extra effort.   It is actually a nice blue with white.  This photo has a grey cast to it.   

Clamped and folded, immersed into the indigo dye bath.  Allowed to dry and then immersed in a second dye of yellow.  This is the result, the photo is true to color.

Indigo fold and clamped.  Love the contrast of white and blue here.

This is called Indigo Pond as it reminds me of floating leaves on a pond.  Easy!

Indigo Stitched.  This also shows me that I need to have a design board to mount my pieces on so that they can be photographed straight on.  Too much is lost even on a small angle.

Another favorite of mine.  This one is called Indigo Stripes.  It has not been ironed flat as the texture is wonderful here.

Here is a close up of the texture.  Not quite sure that I have captured it, maybe some back-lighting would help.
  I just love indigo.  It's so much fun to do as it comes out a beautiful emerald green sometimes kind of a yellow green and just get bluer as it oxidizes.  Repeated dips into the dye bath are required to get a deep blue so it can be very time consuming but it is well worth every minute put into it.  Hope you enjoy these pics of my indigo efforts.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Guilt Free Garbanzo Bean Salad with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

   So now that the new year is under way and we have all eaten our way through a myriad of home made cookies and pies and all sorts of delicious treats I thought it would be nice to have a little something that isn't going to break the bank or for that matter the scale.  Some of you who may be feeling a wee bit guilty about having over indulged during the holidays can now throw that guilt out the window and treat yourself to this delicious salad.  The only fat in this salad is in the olive oil that is drizzled over it.  Olive oil is tasty and good for you to boot.  So go ahead  make some of this for yourself and your family.  It is great tasting and fast and easy to make.  All ingredients can be doubled for a larger crowd.  This serves 4.

 
Garbanzo Bean Salad with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

        Ingredients:
             1 19 oz can garbanzo beans
             1 vine ripened tomato,  diced 
             3 T basil gently cut
              2 T chopped parsley
              1 small can sliced black olives
              1 clove garlic, mashed
              1/2 diced red onion
              salt
              pepper
              lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
              olive oil about 1/4 cup, extra virgin

Combine garbanzo beans, ripe tomato diced, basil gently cut, parsley, sliced black olives, 1 clove garlic mashed and diced red onion in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and let rest 1 hour.  After an hour combine  thoroughly  fresh ground pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir gently to coat. Let rest 10 minutes.  Serve with a slice of crusty Italian bread.  Beat you have more than one serving MMMMmm.

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