Saturday, October 15, 2016

That's a Wrap!

Hello Friends and Happy Fall! It's a bright, sunny fall day here in NH and it's a bit cool! But that's OK because I recently made this comfy, cozy wrap/shawl/poncho and it's a perfect layer to the morning coolness that we experienced outside this morning.

I stitched this up in about an hour from a blanket/throw I purchased on sale at Joanne Fabrics. I believe I ended up paying a whopping $13.99 for it. I love wardrobe pieces like this: budget friendly, functional, practical and well.....fashionable too!

I asked my husband to go outside this morning and photograph me wearing my new wrap and he was only happy to do so!

I wrapped an orange and brown scarf around in sort of a cowl neck. I always wear scarves! This one was made by a friend of mine several years ago. Please forgive my ratty jeans and sneakers!

The photo shoot started out with a serious tone.....

....and at about this time my husband started joking with me.....I'll spare you the details!

Abrupt end to my photo shoot.....couldn't find my straight face after that. 

As I mentioned earlier, this is a perfect lightweight layer for a fall day and I plan to wear it all week as it's supposed be a little cool.

How did I do it? Since I have made ponchos before I knew that I could fold the blanket in half with the fringe at the bottom and cut up the middle of the top layer to make an opening. But I also wanted to cut out an actual neckline. I looked around the house for a neckline to copy and couldn't find one of my ponchos to use for a template. So I googled "making ponchos from blankets" and sure enough several popped up. I direct you to the link of one of my favorites--Click Here. I love the way she uses a plate for a template as I do the very same thing. My large pizza stone comes in very handy when I need a larger circle.....Another link that shows a similar project--Click here. She also uses a plate as a template!

Basic Supplies, I later decided to add bias binding to the front cut edges and neckline.....

I got right down on the floor for this project!

I determined the middle of the blanket (poncho front). In this case it happened to be the fold line and I cut right up the middle of the top layer until I reached the plate. Please note: only 1/2 of the plate is actually on the blanket for the template)

Then I cut around the 1/2 the plate, removed the plate and cut straight across to remove piece as pictured below.

I finished all cut edges with a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine.

Then I folded over the finished edge 1/2" and pinned all the way around.

Using a regular straight stitch (and using a variegated orange, brown thread) I stitched the folded edge all the way around. I could have stopped here but since my blanket was not wool, ( it was light acrylic) I chose to make an extra trip to the fabric store for some 7/8" wide bias binding tape to finish my edge. It made a very neat edge as well as added some structure to the lightweight fabric particularly around the neckline..  See below:


Front opening edges....If I find time to make another poncho, , I may bind all of the outside edges. This is not visible from the front, and was intended only to stabilize and hide the raw edge.

I added the chunky faux wood button and a snap to the inside front to help keep it slightly asymmetrical when closed.

I love it!

After I had finished stitching this, I got this idea in my head that if I purchased another identical blanket, I could cut a nice, wide matching scarf from the fabric. By cutting in the opposite direction than I did to make the actual poncho, (in other words, fringe side to other fringe side) I could have had a nice wide, coordinating, fringed scarf. When I went back to Joann's the blankets had sold out. Sad face! 

I recently bought some pretty fleece to make a similar wrap. The pattern is asymmetrical but shorter than this poncho and it also has a chunky button closure. I hope to get to that this week.

Time has a way of getting away from me these days. I actually made this poncho a couple of weeks ago and started writing this post a week ago. In the middle of all this, I had an overnight commitment out of town, lost a couple days, had some other things to catch up on and was able to take some time today to "wrap up this post!

I hope everyone is enjoying some beautiful fall weather! Here in NH, it has been especially sunny and the foliage is always! Fall in New England never disappoints! 

Have a nice weekend!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Save those Fabric Scraps!

Hi Friends! It's a beautiful Saturday here in NH! It's sunny, a bit coolish and I'm loving this weather! I sat outside with my dog this morning and the sun was so nice and warm. If I hadn't had so much to do, I would've sat there much longer. I hope you all are enjoying a beautiful fall day wherever you are!

Today I worked on a "thank you" card utilizing some fabric scraps and bits of lace left over from other projects. I really enjoy small projects like this and it takes me right back to school projects waaay, waaaay back in the day. I remember hoping the teacher would say those three little words that made me ever so happy!!! "Make a collage". I was all over those kinds of projects and I spent hours making them perfect in every way!

Now I prefer the look of not exactly perfect....and I very much appreciate the handmade goodness of handmade items. I always have. I remember loving the beautiful dresses my mother sewed for me in grade school.....and if there were dainty lace edgings on them, I jumped for joy! Anyways....

I began this card by placing a square piece of fabric onto the cardstock a bit off center. I stitched it on with a zig zag stitch to secure it. Next I cut a piece of wide lace and stitched it to the left side of the fabric. I added the bottom lace and tucked the edge under the wide lace to overlap the left edge. I added laces to the right side and top as well.

I cut some ecru fabric strips with pinking shears and stamped "thank you" and "dear friend"  on to them. Then I stitched them on with a zig zag stitch. The last step is tying a piece of seam binding into a bow. I attached the bow with a small amount of hot glue. After adding some thread to an ivory button, I tied it in a knot and added the button with a dab of hot glue.

This was fun!....and quick.....and it's already been taken away by the mailman.

This is one that I did earlier in the week. This one was a bit less work because I did not use lace on the edges.

I love shades of red and green....reminds me of Christmas!

This card has also been sent off in the mail....I have a few more to make and I have a huge stash of fabric scraps, lace bits and ribbon pieces to choose from. If a scrap is at least as big as a postage stamp, I keep it!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall is Here!

Hello friends and Happy Fall! It has finally arrived even though it's been feeling much like summer.....but that's ok if summer lasts a bit longer as long as my fall is not cut short by cold, snowy weather. I want to enjoy every last minute of my favorite season! My plan is for fall to last until December 24th with maybe some light snow in the forecast for Christmas Eve. Then we can all enjoy a white Christmas, the snow can melt the next day and we'll be on our merry way to an early Spring! Yes, that's my plan!

I have been busy lately and it's been one thing after I write, a huge tractor trailer is pulling up in front of my house. Our new dryer is being delivered and installed right this very minute! So I bet you can guess what I've been up to this week....drying clothes NOT at home!

I'm still dieting....begrudgingly and I have lost 12 lbs. Dieting in your 50's is nothing like dieting in your 20's or 30's. It's hard! Besides the obvious difficulties associated with dieting, I have had dieting casualties too! Snacking on popcorn has been a godsend for me during this process of achieving weight loss without going completely crazy, but let me tell you, eating popcorn can be dangerous and a health risk! I got a popcorn hull embedded somewhere between two back teeth and my week started bad and went to worse pretty fast. I tried brushing and flossing, I tried tooth picking, I tried rinsing and flushing with water for over a forward to today and an emergency visit to the dentist. There was no sign of a popcorn hull but there was an infection from the little bugger so I got some antibiotics and gum numbing stuff and I was on my way. If it's not better Monday, I have to go back.....

What else happened this week? Oh yah, the one thing that was supposed to happen.....I had 8 to 10 (I lost count) injections in my neck and shoulders. I go every 3 months for BOTOX for my bad neck, headaches, very long story.

So it just hasn't been a great week folks! The one thing about a bad week is that you know it's going to end and it always does. Just when you think the universe is beating you while you're down, things start to turn around.....and they have. For starters my dryer is almost ready to use and my mouth is starting to feel better. I had visions of a very looooong weekend.....

Looking forward to my first fall weekend, making some pumpkin bread, picking some apples.....enjoy the weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Welcome September!

Welcome September! I'm so glad you have arrived! Is anyone else getting excited for fall? I sure am! I'm already dreaming of pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced lattes and all of the beautiful colors of the season!

Though I've made no bones about my dislike of freezing temperatures, it has been a very hot and humid summer, so I am looking forward to some cooler weather and even some crispy cool mornings!

With fall approaching, my mother has been wanting to find a pretty fall wreath for her front door. We used to have several shops in the area that made or stocked beautiful dried flower wreaths but they are hard to find now. We looked in Target and Kohls and everywhere locally we could think of. We also looked online but they run about $65 and up and that doesn't include shipping. Many were much larger than what my mom was looking for. So while at Joanne's the other day, we were looking at the flowers and various fall wreaths etc and decided to purchase the materials and put one together ourselves. My mom picked out some floral supplies and ribbon,

I headed out to her house the next afternoon armed with my glue gun, several glue sticks, some wire, and my wire cutters and in less than 10 minutes we had this 14" wreath together for less than $15.00. The ribbon was the most expensive item and I had a 40% coupon for that.

It is now proudly hanging on her front door and my mom is very happy with her little DIY (or in our case, DIO--do it ourselves) fall wreath.

I think I will run back to Joanne's and get some supplies for my own wreath. I love the colors and the ivory, wired burlap ribbon makes such an easy bow. I think it says "WELCOME", don't you?

Welcome September! Come on in!

Linking up with:

Hostess this week: Laura from Décor to Adore  Click here!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Return to the Pumpkin Patch

I love the first signs of fall. . . . . . that first day after many hot humid days where the air feels dry and even a bit chilly. It happened this past weekend. We were away moving my daughter out of her summer dorm and into her dorm for the school year. (Her senior year!) It was hot in RI where she goes to school but when we arrived home early in the evening, it was chilly. I had to find warmer pj's and put on slippers. Well, anyways, I love days and nights like that! Yup, slept like a baby with blankets and all!

This kind of weather makes me want to run around and open every window in the house. It reminds me of pumpkins, turning leaves and baking anything with apples, pumpkin and cinnamon. And I love it! So it is not surprising that I was called to my pumpkin patch to stitch up some orange pumpkins and some smaller gourds in browns and olive green.

Wouldn't these look sweet and festive placed on dinner plates for fall festivities, Halloween, Thanksgiving? The handmade and hand stitched tags are blank so that guests' names can be added. Everyone will know their places at the table and each guest gets to take home a sweet little gourd. They also look cute placed on a windowsill, a small table or in any fall vignette.

I cut several of these pumpkins out of an orange/rust and brown leaf print fabric and stitched up a few already. I used some crocheted doilies on the pumpkins and the small gourds to add some vintage charm and of course some natural elements:  raffia and Spanish moss. I spend the year collecting wine corks to use as stems. Buttons with orange embroidery thread stitches further embellish the raffia bow and the hand stitched tag.

Tomorrow I will stitch up the rest of the remaining orange pumpkins and then head to the fabric stores to see what other fabrics are available for pumpkin and gourd making.

I hope to get an entire set of small gourds to use on my Thanksgiving table this year. I am reminded that last Thanksgiving we spent the holiday having dinner in a nursing home where my mom was rehabbing. They did a wonderful job putting on a full spread which included wine, cheese and appetizers before the meal. Much to be thankful for this year.....

.....and a few more photos of the pumpkin patch!

There....but before I close I have one last fall project that I made to add some fall color to my kitchen.

It's a magnet that I made by recycling a CD. So as you can see, it is a pretty large kitchen magnet and holds up a lot of stuff!

.....and here it is on my fridge! For photo op purposes, it is not holding anything up but I assure you, I have put it to good use! (that reflection to the left of the magnet is a cluster of maple trees as seen outside my kitchen window, in case you were wondering!)

I love fall......just about everything about it....except for what comes next but I'm not even going there right now! I'm just going to savor the sights, sounds and flavors of my favorite season!

Anyone else seeing signs that fall is right around the corner? Do you love fall as much as I do or are you hanging onto summer for dear life?

the year's last loveliest smile."
William Cullen Bryant

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Oodles of Zoodles!

A couple of weeks ago I finally decided to follow my youngest daughter's advice. She told me I should get a "VEGGETTI" and make some zucchini and summer squash noodles. Coincidentally at our Weight Watcher's meeting that same week, everyone was talking about how much they loved zucchini noodles.
I ran to Bed, Bath and Beyond and purchased my Veggetti (rhymes with spaghetti, same G sound) It cost $9.99 and it was the best investment I have made in a very long time. It is my new diet BFF and I may have already consumed a bushel basket of zucchini and summer squash all by myself. No matter how I prepare it, I love it! I had a plate for dinner tonight!

This is prepared with just sautéed garlic in olive oil, chopped tomatoe,s kale and spinach. I added pesto and it was delicious! I have prepared this for three evening meals in the past couple of weeks. My husband also loves it so I consider that an added bonus!

Another night I only used olive oil, garlic, parsley.

Added some grated parmesan cheese and it was delicious!

You cannot go wrong with these noodles. I have used shrimp and marinara sauce. Love mushrooms? Throw some in! I literally throw in what I have on hand and it makes a delicious meal every time. A friend of mine cooked up some ground turkey and spices with hers and she said her family loved it. I can't wait to try that as well.

The best part is that it is very filling and as satisfying as eating a large plate of pasta! Now that is some good news if you are watching your waistline!

While we were away for a couple of days, I saw a cold, beet noodle and feta cheese salad on a menu at a restaurant we were at. I would love to try it but I am not sure that I can use my veggetti! I will be looking around for other vegetable noodle makers so I can vary the vegetables that I use though I highly doubt that I will get sick of these zoodles any time soon. I can't believe I waited this long to try it. I guess I figured "how great can they really be?" Well the answer is, they are really, really great! And I love coming up with new ways to prepare them! My husband is a fan do I know? He came through the door the other day with a giant zucchini and summer squash! He was quite proud of himself! LOL!

If you have already tried veggie noodles I would love to hear how you have prepared them. If you haven't tried it, you really should! You won't be disappointed!

Have a great week friends!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Turkey Teriyaki Burgers

Hello folks! Tonight we made turkey teriyaki burgers for supper. They are so easy and so delicious that I thought I would share this very easy recipe with you while we still have some grilling days left this summer.

First make your patties from ground turkey. Marinate for a half hour or longer if you have time in your favorite teriyaki marinade. I only marinated for the 1/2 hour and I found it plenty flavorful. While marinating, slice onion, green peppers, garlic and baby portobello mushrooms and saute them in some olive oil. I like my veggies still a bit crispy so I did not overcook.

 Once done, add a little marinade to the vegetables and keep on low heat while burgers are grilling.

When burgers are done, add a slice of swiss cheese and melt. Remove from grill, put on a bun and top with the veggies.

Enjoy! So delicious! I used a light bread instead of a hamburg bun. I am presently following the Weight Watcher's diet plan and I cheat enough as it is so I saved 40 calories by using the reduced calorie bread.

I joined Weight Watcher's because I never lost the winter weight I gained two winters ago....yes two winters ago! We had the winter from h-e-l-l and it pretty much lasted half a year so I kept on cooking comfort foods and followed all my blogging friends' delicious recipes. I know, you didn't force me to try your recipes but if you flaunt an easy peasy, ooey gooey caramel recipe in front of me, you just  know that I'm going to try it.

Let me tell you Weight Watcher's is not as easy to follow or lose weight with as it was 20 years ago. It has been a struggle for me but I am happy to report that I have lost 7 lbs. I've been on the diet for 7 weeks. Twenty years ago I lost 7 lbs the very first week!  So while I am not losing the weight nearly as fast, it is finally coming off very slowly and hey.....I'm not gaining!

In other news......I have been working on some new angels for my Etsy shop. I thought I would try a little color for a change. I wasn't sure I was going to like them but I did and now that is all I can think about.......angels in every color....

I made a lavender angel first. I had a fat quarter that really wasn't enough to make anything else with so I decided to use that fabric first. It came out really, really cute! So I made two more and used up most of that fat quarter! I fell in love with my little lavender angels.

Next came the kiwi lime angels. They turned out pretty cute too. I made five of them! Then I stitched up a little gift tag and embellished it with lace, fabric, ribbon etc. The tag adds a "boutiquey" touch for a sweet presentation as a gift.

I took a break from the colored angels today and stitched/crafted a larger version of my angel ornament in ivory. I found a package of two doll pins with a larger head at a craft store but haven't seen any since. They were pretty pricey considering there were only two in a package so I will have to research a source to find them because I really do like the larger size.

I used some cotton lace that I found in an antique shop. It was flat lace but I gathered it on the sewing machine and it worked very well.

I added tulle under her bow and a couple of pearl beads.

Her wings are two layer of tulle with a top layer of lace.

I photographed her before I added a little cream bow to the right corner of her dress, just above her lace ruffle.

Overall, she is a bit wider and taller and of course has a larger head. She is very sweet!

Well, that's all for tonight friends! Hope everyone's week started off on a positive note! Mine sure did, it was a gorgeous day here in NH, sunny, warm and no humidity--just my kind of day. Hoping tomorrow is the same......