Monday, August 29, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

and I'm not talking about back to school.  I'm talking about the very season the song was intended to celebrate.  (Although I have been known to apply it to the back to school season in years gone by.) 

Today I received my first Santa Sack exchange present.  As per the instructions, the first package included the 'sack' plus 2 gifts.  The gifts will remain a mystery until the proper time.

Betsy made me the coolest bag....prominently displaying a holiday wish in Spanish....and we all know I love all things Spanish.  Love the nice long handles and the prairie points.  Such a cute detail. 

 The label was too cute to not show.  I love the Santa with his arms flung wide.  Clearly Betsy has command of her embroidery machine...unlike some people I could mention.  Ahem, me. 
Inside the bag besides the cool label are pockets and, best of all, presents.  Betsy sent along a Jan Patek book she had after I mentioned liking her patterns.  So sweet. 
Wait!  What's this?  A note on one of the presents tells me I don't have to wait all the way until Christmas.  Woot.
Thank you Betsy!  This is going to be fun. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On track.

I'm going to get all cocky and full of myself and my ability to stay on track with ONE of my block of the month projects if I don't watch it. 

This past week I finished the 2nd block (on the right) of the Little Red Barn block of the month project within days of receiving it in the mail.  Yea, me. 

In other news....

My Santa Sack exchange partner let me know that she got her bag so I can safely show that project.  Check out the button on the sidebar for more details about this exchange.
There are 2 surprises tucked inside.  Over the next few months I will continue to send little gifts to fill (and probably over flow) the bag.  I am sending a mix of purchased and made-be-me items that Betsy can open at Christmas. 

I made this cute bag that somehow reminded me of an elf's shirt. 
It's called The Shirt off My Back bag from Fresh Fabric Treats.  The smaller bag is the first one I made following the pattern.  The one for Betsy was made by enlarging the pattern by 25%.  Cute, aren't they? (And easy?  Oh, so easy.  It's the clever additions of the prairie points for the collar and the tuck with buttons that make it so clever looking.) 
Now, back to the sewing room where I just cut out the pieces for the 5th of the 6 Prairie Women's Sewing Circle projects. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011


That's the name of my most recent quilt.  I saw the pattern at The Fat Quarter Shop and knew it was perfect for the Sunkissed line of fabrics by Moda. 

I spent 3 long afternoons whipping this up so I'd have something to take to be quilted a few weeks back when my friend and I went on an outing to a quilt shop about an hour from here.  They worked their magic and had it quilted in just a matter of days.  It took me another week to go get it then another week to sew the binding on then ANOTHER week to photograph it!  I finally gave up on waiting for the perfect outdoor conditions and snapped a few pictures today.

I used fabric from the same line for the backing.

Somehow, it looks like the colors are lost when I upload the pictures.  They're pretty good on the computer....hmmmm.  Anyhow, here is a closer look.  Besides the white neutral background, the pattern calls for 3 charm packs to construct the design.  It was fun and easy to make.  

Thank you all for your kind thoughts on settling The Boy Wonder in at school.  He seems to be doing well.  The rest of the freshmen arrive today and classes start next week.  The Scholar will pack her car and head out tomorrow.  We'll be finding our 'new normal' soon. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm happy to report

that our day was easier than this.....

I guess the Scholar has desensitized me some. 

His room is pretty typical.  It looks out onto the side yard of the beautiful old house where all the campus VIP's work.  Very pretty.   He seemed content with it.  It sure was nice to be moving in early without all the crowds.
He came out to the truck for one last good bye. 
We'll miss him but it's his time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The end is here,

I'm past the hump...the long dreaded day is upon us.  The end is the end of summer, the hump I've passed over is that over half my children have left the nest for college, and the dreaded day is actually tomorrow when we move the Boy Wonder to school.  I expect to look upon this day with happiness in future years, but the first is always the hardest. 

I have been without any kids for almost 3 entire weeks.  There were the weekend stop-overs for laundry and rest, but for the most part, all my kids have been away.  You would think I'd manage hours and hours of sewing but not so much.   I do have a completed quilt I had planned to show but it is a dark and gloomy day so there won't be any photographing today.  I shopped, worked, and read a lot.  The UPS guy came to my house 4 days last week.  On Friday I told him he'd become a regular part of my daily routine.

Yesterday we attended the final grad party of the season.  This one was at a friend's family cottage on one of the beautiful Finger Lakes.  It was a lovely day for it.  As the day wore on I captured these pictures of the grad's little sister using Kan Jam in a way that seemed perfectly appropriate if you're a place to hide.  That's the Boy Wonder in Red.  (I've written about Kan Jam before.) 

 She couldn't stand that they wouldn't notice her. 
 'kay, then, I'll go hide in front of you. 
Some of the boys, ehem... dads, couldn't stand looking at that sailboat another minute so, despite the utter lack of wind, they got it out onto the lake where they sailed sat for an hour.  There was some discussion of taking the canoe out to get them but we left them to wait for each and every breath of air. 
A wonderful way to end the summer.  Now I need to go find a sweatshirt.  It's cold out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reply to a no reply comment

Terri.... your comments are a 'no reply' comment so I can't just pop an email back to you. 

A French seam is where you sew the seam with WRONG sides together first, turn the piece inside out and sew the same seam with RIGHT sides together taking a larger seam allowance.  That hides any raw edges giving a seam a cleaner finish anywhere it might show.... in this the ends of the pillow.  Works nice on pillow cases, too. 

Happy finishing! 

Another finish-finish.

With nothing but a vision in my head,  I found a matching piece of fabric and got busy making a little pillow roll finish out of Heart in Hand's Most Wonderful Time of Year.
I backed the piece with fusible fleece and attached the buttons.  Then, with cuts of fabric, I framed the piece.  For the ends, I made the pieces twice as long so I could fold them back.  This way the ends wwould look nice.
 I sewed the long seam using a French seam so there wouldn't be an exposed seam showing at the ends. 
Turn, tie one end, stuff, and tie the second end. 
Cute, no?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Table runners are hard to

photograph.  They're long and skinny so don't fit into a picture very well. 

I made this one to put on the credenza in my dining room.

The cabinet is a light color but neither the walls nor the credenza are nearly as washed out as they look in the photo.  The lack of natural light just makes it impossible to get it right. 

I love the over all effect with the wine rack made from a wine barrel and the cork cage, rummage sale lamp and hand painted wine glasses.  Oh, not to forget the Finger Lakes wine country picture. 
Glass of wine anyone?  That cork cage has lots of empty room....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Well, I'm sure glad

you all agree with me about our stitching not being for sitting upon. As my son would say... that's just crazy talk.

Here is the real news of the latest framing is back home safe & sound.

A Bee C Sampler by Country Cottage Needlework.  

 I like the distressed green. 
 Farm Fresh by Little House Needlework.
A close up to show the subtle vine on the frame. 
Dandy Dreams by Silver Creek Sampler.
I chose the smaller of the two green/gold options because I thought this would probably end up being propped on a bookshelf.  The smaller frame looked more fitting for displaying that way. 

Laundry beckons.  Hope to have another finished project or two in the next few days. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

You all shame me

with the number of posts you've managed lately.  I'm short on blog material yet when I log in to my reader, I'm amazed at how productive everyone else is. 

Soon.  I know I've used that word quite a bit.  But, when it rains it pours.  First, the quilt I took to be quilted 2 weeks ago was done in 3 days.  Amazing.  I went to get it yesterday.  My friend Robin and I turned yesterday into a shop hop day.  200+ miles and 4 shops later I feel like someone needs to lock me in the basement (where my sewing room is) and only let me out to go buy more thread.  I have plenty to work on this fall and winter.  BUT, THEN it gets better.  When I got home yesterday I had a message that the framing I dropped off on Monday was finished!  Wow.  Must be nobody else is finishing anything right now so I get to reap the benefits by having my things done with virtually no waiting.  Go figure.  I will ask my husband if he can swing by the frame shop in the next couple days and once I stitch the binding on the quilt I'll show you.

In the mean time... I couldn't resist poking fun at this magazine picture. It's from the September issue of Country Sampler.  Don't get me wrong.... I love this magazine...never miss an issue but, clearly, whoever created this decorating 'tip' doesn't cross stitch. 

 Can't see that, right?  Take a closer look. 
 The tip in the tip box suggests that with a few stitches in each corner, tack embroidery samplers to plain chair pads for a homespun graphic appeal.  WHAT?  You're going to let people sit on these?  I am speechless.  Where do I begin with how very, very wrong this is?  Useful if you don't ever want anyone sitting at your dining table, perhaps.  Any thoughts? 

As for the is what didn't make it into this latest batch.  Darn.  I wanted this done by the end of July.  Now I feel like I'll be lucky if it's done by Christmas.  Such a slow stitch for me.  Please excuse the wrinkles.  I pressed it but didn't go all crazy with the spritz and steam. 
 And finally, because the Internet is a wealth of information and the casual blogger is no exception, I'll include this little story. Our kitty got a manicure.  They're hard to see, I know, but they're Soft Paws on her hind claws.  Thank heavens someone blogged about them a few years ago.  I seriously didn't know what we were going to do about her scratching.  Without going into all the gory details, she wouldn't stop scratching a couple sore spots.  I was having anxiety attacks of my own thinking about hauling her back to the vet for the 3rd time in as many weeks when I suddenly remembered someone posting about these.  Well, let me tell you, they have saved all of us.  Our local pet store had them and she actually let us put them on.  Phew.  I wanted one of the cute colors but the store only had clear.  A color would be easier to see so I'd know if one fell off, but so far, they're working like a charm.  In another week she should be healed and, if they stay on that long, I won't have to reapply them when they do finally fall off. 

Now, back to the housework. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

This & That

Previously I mentioned my participation in a quilt-related exchange thru Carol's blog.   Carol has added a button that I will be adding to my sidebar that allows you to quickly link her blog post about the swap.  Maybe, as time goes by, she'll have some more links.... like links to other participants.  That would be fun, since I haven't happened upon any one's blog who is participating.  My own partner, Betsy, is someone I've followed for a couple years.     

I've made my bag, which is supposed to be part of our first mailing.  I want it to be a surprise, so no pictures.  I will offer a teaser, though... it's WAY cute.  I took it to my craft group yesterday and showed it off.  Everyone loved it and wanted the pattern for themselves. 

Moving on,

I thought I'd show everyone the notion I just purchased. 

I certainly don't need all 14 feet of this, but the centering feature is just the ticket.  It's sold as a ruler for use with a long arm quilting machine, hence the 14 feet.  I plan to use it to properly center my little cross stitch finishing projects.  You know, the ones I haven't stitched yet, but will soon, very soon. 

Our 'summer o' graduation parties' continues with a party for a college grad tomorrow.  It will be held at their cottage on one of the Finger Lakes.  Should be lovely... as long as mother nature sees fit to keep the rain at bay.  It will be a short stop on the party trail if it's raining.  I will do my best to remember my camera in case the view is blog photo worthy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cool 'new to me' cookbook

Recently Carol posted about a cookbook she found that was all about small batch baking.  The cookbook looked perfect for my diminishing size household so I hurried to purchase it using my 'soon to be worthless' Border's Plus reward card.  (Is anyone else as ticked as me about that whole thing?)  Such a disappointment to see the one and only bookstore within shopping distance closing.

Not to be a copycat but I wanted to show you how cool Small-Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos is. 

The book recommends a variety of small pans and dishes to help bake 1,2& 3 serving desserts.  For cakes she recommends using cans....empty 14.5 oz cans.  Since I didn't want to wait until I had 2 empty cans that were the same size I made a stop at Walmart where I found an inexpensive set of 4 little spring form pans that looked just about right for cakes. 

Yesterday I baked the Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake.  It was quick and easy to mix up without getting out my big stand mixer.  The little pans made 2 perfect sized little cakes and I wasn't left with any odd sized left over ingredients...if you don't count the egg white.  I do need to find an 1/8 teaspoon for more accurate measuring, though.    
I had some left over chocolate frosting from making half moon cookies last week for a bake sale, so I didn't try one of the frosting recipes.  Here is my very cute little cake.  We thought it was very tasty and would nicely serve the 3 of us. 
The book is chock full of very tasty recipes.... pies, cakes, bars, brownies... all in a quantity to serve just a person or two.  I will certainly be trying more recipes from this book.