Friday, May 31, 2013

I Got Sunshine......and Laughter in My Forecast Today!



In true NH fashion, I woke up to temperatures already in the 70's and it is promising to be a scorcher today with temperatures rising into the 90's. Only 3 days ago, I was freezing and had the heat cranked. Now I need to get the air conditioner in. So I am shedding my Land's End fleece pajamas and packing 'em away AGAIN! Hopefully for the last time this spring.

I took a photo this morning of the rhododendron in my front yard. The color is so vibrant--even more so than this photo shows.




More blossoms to open soon....


Sure do love the colors of spring. Now that it appears the chances of frost are really behind us, time to put in some annuals. I usually do this on Memorial Day Weekend so I am only one week behind.

Heading to the skating rink this afternoon with my daughter so I will escape the scorching temperatures for a bit. Once I am home this evening, I plan to sew. Have plenty of cosmetic cases already cut out and ready to stitch. They were originally posted here: click
to view.

Hope everyone has a splendid day! The blue sky, sun and warmth of spring makes me want to go outside and kick up my heels! My bonus today:  meeting a dear friend for lunch. She just makes me laugh!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Love Doilies

VINTAGE

My grandmother made a set of doilies that I absolutely love. They are in very good condition. I took them out to iron them today and I couldn't help but admire them. I love the feel of the linen.  She made several with the same embroidery pattern. I often see doilies in the same pattern in vintage shops that I visit. It must have been a popular pattern at the time. I have decided the next time I see them, I will scoop them up.


I especially love the edging on the one below. I think this one is my favorite!


Here is a close up of the basket of flowers embroidery.



Here is another....I can't imagine how long it must take to make one...


This one looks like pineapples...not sure if they are or not.


Here they all are on my ironing board. I love to just look a them! I am amazed at how intricate the edgings are. I can remember them being used when I was just a little girl. 


On Pinterest I have seen table runners made from sewing various vintage doilies together. While I love the look of the table runners, I really enjoy using these as individual doilies and plan to keep them in their original state. I feel that it honors the time and love that my grandmother put in to making these little treasures. And they are treasures of high sentimental value to me. Perhaps the next time I find  several like these in a vintage shop I will purchase them to make a table runner. 

I plan to visit my favorite little antique/vintage shop tomorrow. The downstairs is jam packed with a mixture of new and old. Upstairs are three rooms full of antique and vintage collectibles, kitchen items, an entire wall of shelves dedicated to lovely linens and things--tablecloths, dish towels etc. I always bring a few linens home with me. I have had my eye on a beautiful cream colored, bed coverlet in the back room. I wonder if it is still there.....

PS On a totally unrelated note, I did finish sewing the remaining 3 blocks for the quilt top I posted yesterday. They went together so quickly. Yeah! On to the next step...




Linking this post to Common Ground's Be Inspired Linky Party so
CLICK HERE for a healthy dose of inspiration! So many wonderful posts to read!


Also Linking up with:

The Dedicated House's Anything Blue Friday, CLICK HERE
to join the party!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Pledge Completion of this Quilt....




Last summer I pledged before my readership of, um, 3 (followers), that I would begin and then complete my first quilt ever. I did begin my first quilt. Click here for original post and pledge Since I wasn't exactly a household name then (......not that I ever will be) I probably could get away without making the following confession but here goes:  I DID NOT COMPLETE THE QUILT. There I said it. 

I fully intended to. I did have a couple of good excuses. Seriously I did. I had some health issues and my beautiful dog Willie, got sick and had to be put down. Blogging took a backseat to LIFE for several months. To be truthful I really missed my dog. We were such buddies and I was so sad.

 I also had a commitment which went in a direction I had not fully planned and took all my time and energy. Things have since changed on both fronts. I have fulfilled my commitment and we rescued a beautiful dog, Ellie. I have posted about her recently and back when we got her. click here  She is no angel but we are working on getting her to earn some wings. (Though night before last she jumped up to the counter and stole my fully cooked, tenderloin pork roast, so angel wings might be stretching it a tad.) But we love her anyways.

I decided it was time to honor my pledge of completing my first quilt. So I started digging for the pieces I knew were already cut out and the rest of the fabric. I located most of the fabric but could only find one heart.


Then I discovered I was missing the green fabric strips that I knew had already been cut. I searched high and low.

I found one more block completed, then the rest of the green and finally the last two hearts....All pieces fully accounted for!



.... this is how much of the quilt top is already completed:


This is completely doable! Only 3 blocks left to go and lo and behold, I have another partial block started:


I plan to have the quilt top finished this week. Please note I carefully chose the word "plan" instead of "pledge" just in case some life gets in the way.

I am excited to honor my last summer's pledge and will post my progress.

Do you have an unfinished project or two that you want to complete?

"With every project you do, you bring out a part of yourself, and it seems to be quite a good way of  expanding a person."
Kate Beckinsale


Linking this post to:

Domesblissity: Thriving on Thursdays Linky Party CLICK HERE to crash this party! Going back myself to check out all the yummy recipes and DIY projects.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Calling all Cookie Bakers.....



Ginger Snaps--the store bought variety....longing for homemade.

HELP WANTED!!!

I am looking for the very best ginger snap cookie recipe ever! I love ginger snaps! They are so good with hot tea. I love them crispy, crunchy (not chewy) but not so hard that teeth or fillings break when you bite into one!
Since I know so many of you are wonderful bakers, I am hoping someone out there in blogland or beyond can post a recipe and let me know either by gmail or in my comments section. I will then try some of the recipes and post my favorites. Of course I will give credit where credit is due and link it back to you if you are the holder of the best ginger snap recipe ever!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Seasonal Confusion Disorder--Seeking Comfort in Unseasonable Ways

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Comfort Food--Spinach Mac and Cheese with Basil and Tomatoes

I think I may have this. Seasonal Confusion Disorder. Though causing me much misery this weekend, it is not life threatening and God willing, very likely to pass.

Is is Spring or not? Feels more like fall. I live in New Hampshire. (The live, freeze or die state)The sky has been cloudy and gray all weekend. The wind is blowing fiercely. It has rained, poured, drizzled and misted for 72 hours or more. Only last week we were enjoying temperatures in the high 70's, nearly 80 and then the week ended on a very chilling note. The temps have fallen to the high 30's and 40's at night. It has snowed in surrounding towns. I can tell you that I do not want to see one flippin' snowflake. If I do, I will deny it!

Last night I was forced to raid my winter clothing already neatly packed away 'till next fall. I pulled out a pair of Land's End fleece pajamas (fire engine red, in fact), donned a pair of heavy socks and sported a microwaveable rice pack around my neck.

....and tonight I was driven to cook for comfort so I made one killer Spinach, Macaroni and Cheese for dinner tonight. My recipe stash of comfort food is usually reserved for September. But the chill in the air has me longing for all those comfort foods of fall. Before you know it, I will be baking pumpkin bread and drinking hot mulled cider.

Please spring, come back! These symptoms of Seasonal Confusion Disorder have me needing to retreat, hibernate. Is this happening to you too?


HOW TO TELL IF YOU SUFFER FROM SEASONAL CONFUSION DISORDER 

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • Not sure if it is Spring or Fall
  • Chilled to the bone in typical spring clothing, resorting to sweaters and sweatshirts, warm socks
  • Feeling the need to add just one more blankie to your bed
  • Crawling back into your winter fleece or flannel pj's, socks or slippers needed too!
  • Urges to eat comfort food usually reserved for fall and winter months, i.e. soups, stews, other hot dishes
  • Turning on the heat--I mean cranking it to 70 degrees
  • Drinking hot beverages
  • Retreating indoors (on Memorial Day weekend no less!)
  • Soaking in a hot bath
  • Feeling the urge to place your cold feet next to something warm--like your husband's nice warm feet (this really irritates my husband)
I am afraid I suffer from all of the above. If you are too, at least you are not suffering alone. Thankfully, I have been told that sun and relative warmth will return by mid week if I live that long.

I have to say that this macaroni and cheese dish did help! It is your typical homemade mac and cheese dish but I added 1 package of frozen organic spinach, along with dried basil, black pepper and lots of parsley. It was delicious!

I am now however, ready to crawl into another pair of fleece pj's,  light some candles, make myself a cup of hot tea and snuggle with a cozy quilt while reading my favorite magazine, Mary Janes Farm.
It is a magazine packed with crafts and sewing ideas, back to basics common sense and yummy recipes. Perhaps I will even sew a stitch or two. All are reasonable ways to beat the unseasonable weather we have been experiencing.

Have a pleasant evening, enjoy the rest of the Memorial Day Weekend,  don't forget to thank a veteran and say a prayer for all of our military in and out of harms way. God bless America! My home sweet home!

"Weather forecast for tonight: dark."
George Carlin

"Don't knock the weather, nine-tenths of the people could not start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while."
Kim Hubbard

"If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm."
Frank Lane


Linking this post to:
Sew Darn Crafty Linky Party--Sew Many Ways  Join the Party Here!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

From Jeans to Tulip Bag in a Jiffy



Recently I posted the Tulip Bag  Click here to see post on Janice Pope's Tulip Bag that I made for my mom for Mother's Day. While I fully intended to make myself one from the same linen fabric that hers was made from, I also wanted one made from denim. I wear jeans all the time! So this became my project this evening after returning home around 7:30 pm. from accompanying my daughter to her skating lesson out of town.

I found a gently used pair of discarded jeans. I carefully cut out two pockets, one for the inside and one for the outside. 

The denim is quite sturdy so I did not need to use iron on fusible batting. I chose a blue floral print fabric from my stash of fabrics for the bag lining. I found a denim colored button at Joanne's though the color is somewhat off in this photo. I


Removing existing pockets from the jeans and using them on my bag will save some time....


there.....


Done! I love it! So nice to be able to custom make yourself a bag in a couple of hours!


Here is the inside--pocket from jeans inside too! Very roomy inside!


Another view!


I will be moving my stuff into this bag tomorrow.


Cost:  Denim Fabric (recycled jeans) $0.00, Lining Fabric (given to me in my Treasure Box) Click here to see: Trash to Treasure Post $0.00, Button $1.50, Elastic Loop .20, Thread $1.00.
Total Cost:  $2.70

Did I mention that I love this 2 Hour Tulip Bag Pattern by Janice Pope? Using the jeans saved quite a bit of time considering I did not have to cut out 4 pieces of batting or pockets. By skipping these steps it took about 1 1/2 hours to complete!

THIS POST IS LINKED TO:

Domesblissity Thriving on Thursdays Click here to view all the talent linked up to this party!
and

I Gotta Create: Wildly Original Link Party #53 click here to see more talent!

and

DearCreatives.com:  Inspiration Spotlight Linky Party--Click here to join in some party fun!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2nd update on the Coconut Cake--See link below. 

This cake was wonderfully moist and delicious! My husband, my daughter and I loved it. Karen was right that the hardest part was letting it sit in the fridge for 3 days. I confess that we tried it on Day 2. It was so good on day 2 as well! It was a bit moister on day 3.

Incidentally I discovered that triple sec is yummy on the cake. I think the next time I make this cake (and there will be a next time) I will soak it good with triple sec for a little extra fruity flavor. Garnished with mandarin oranges would make a nice presentation!

        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update on the Coconut Cake!  May 11, 2013
Karen's Yummy Coconut Cake -- Sew Many Ways!

I read Karen's directions wrong!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! The cake has to sit in the refigerator 3 days after it is all frosted. I thought when I originally read it, it was ready to eat on the third day!

Lesson learned: My memory is not what it used to be....Please be sure to read all of the directions before starting the cake and if your memory is not any better than mine, print out a copy to have in front of you while you are preparing it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Today and for 3 Days: It's All About Karen's Coconut Cake!



                                (See below for Link to this Post--Sew Many Ways) 



Today will not be a sewing day for me! Though my plans for the day drastically changed at the last minute (making my day a bit easier) I still have a few things to do during the course of the day that will not be conducive to starting a sewing project.

First I have to get my dog to the vets. She (Ellie) needs a vaccination. Shouldn't ordinarily be a big deal but it is! My husband left very early this morning too work out-of-state and he normally comes with me for this
two-man job of getting Ellie to the vets.

Why a 2-man job? Well, Ellie does not like to sit in the back seat or even in an empty passenger seat. She prefers to sit on the driver's lap. Personally I find this a bit distracting, as she is a 65 pound flat-coat retriever. Commands of "no", "down", and "flat" do not register with her when she is going for a "bye-bye ride" in the car.


Ellie:  Look at how adorable she is!

I have decided that today I will try to lug her very large crate out to the car and transport her in that. I am hoping she has completely forgotten her last vet experience which included surgery, an overnight stay and leaving with a very large lampshade collar which she immediately got out of, chewed up and hid all evidence of behind her loveseat upon returning home.

After I get home from the vets, I am going to begin making that lovely, 3-day coconut cake that Karen from Sew Many Ways posted a week or so ago. Click here  "Yummy Sounding Coconut Cake"  to see her post and  photos of the preparation of one delicious looking cake. I saw that photo, read through the recipe and went straight out to purchase all of the ingredients. I haven't made it yet because I haven't had a schedule that would allow me to be home to complete the cake on the third day. So I planned the cake into my schedule for the week. It's a Mother's Day gift to myself. I will be home on Sunday for Mother's Day and I will be eating Coconut Cake! Thanks to Karen!

Well, gotta go pack Ellie's crate into my car. Wish me luck! I will let you know how the cake turns out! In the meantime, if you would like the recipe, Karen has a step-by-step recipe with photos on her blog. Click on the link in the paragraph above!


Linking this post to Karen's party at SEW MANY WAYS Annie's Birthday Party . Her adorable dog is celebrating her 13th birthday!  Now that's a party I cannot miss. I am obsessed with dogs! Check out all the other dogs who will be attending with their owners!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Favorite Bag Ever!

The Two-Hour Tulip Purse


Two years ago I needed an idea for a handmade birthday gift for my friend. Last year I made her a tote bag which she loved.  I wanted to make her something similar but in a completely different style.

Anyhow,  someone I know had been making up the cutest little bags/purses and I was interested in finding the pattern. I went to a quilting shop and found the pattern: The Two-Hour Tulip Bag by Janice Pope


Pattern by Janice Pope


Closer up so you can see how cute this purse is!

I found some really pretty red fabric and coordinating gold fabric and made this bag up in the two prints. It went together so easily and came out so well that I made one almost exactly the same for myself. I used that bag so much, the fabric started to wear by the button. (as you will soon see)


My much used bag made up in red. 


You can see where it has worn from use (or overuse) Also I need to resew the button on tighter or I am going to lose it for sure! This bag is ideal for me because it opens wide and you can see everything in it. I am constantly losing my keys in my other purses--but not in this bag!!! Looks like I am going to have to make a repair or two!!!! 

I decided to make my mom the same purse from a black, brown olive paisley print for Christmas. She loved it and she has been using it ever since for two years. Hers show absolutely no wear and still looks brand new. I am extremely rough on my bags and I tend to overload them as well.


Mom's first purse.....it is so cute! Looks even better in real life!!!!

To give her a more seasonally appropriate purse for the upcoming spring and summer months, I thought I would try making one in a beige linen fabric. I had a hard time finding a lining fabric in certain colors that I had somehow conjured up in my brain but had eluded me in my search. So I settled for a fat quarter,  a small pattern that combined the colors of brown, beige and mauve. (kind of looks like a necktie fabric the more I look at it!) I figure it will work fine even for the earlier fall months....

Below are the pieces I had cut out along with the straps. (I chose to make reversible straps for this particular purse because the pattern included directions to make this reversible which I did--so I tweaked the straps a bit by using both fabrics...) It is actually easier and faster to make the straps as the pattern instructs but I was afraid the solid beige would look too plain. The coordinating strap looks really nice on this bag.


The linen was a little difficult to work with as it ravels so easily. I opted to stitch around the piece to prevent further raveling. I had zero experience sewing on linen prior to beginning this purse. Now I know what to expect the next time I pick a linen project! I have a few yards of this fabric left so there will be other linen projects for sure! 

Here is the finished bag....it is really cute!



I just noticed in this photo that I had a few wonky stitches in the top-stitching (top right)--that means I will be ripping out the top-stitching and doing it again....the top-stitching is important and gives the end product a very neat and finished touch. 


Button sewn in the inside directly behind the front button so it can be reversible! Two bags in one! ...and lots of room inside too!


Close up 


and of course a coordinated tag.....

I emailed Janice Pope earlier in the week to ask permission to feature her pattern on my blog as I wanted to post photos of my latest bag made from her pattern. She very kindly said "Yes". Here is a direct link to one of her sites: Anything But Boring. Click Here. There is a link on that site to her blog as well and I just realized there is a catalog there too! I found a photo of the tulip bag made up in a pseudo-leather and I love it. 

Now I need to find fabric to make myself a new Tulip purse......I will try hard not to conjure up a particular fabric/color/look in my mind ahead of time because when I do, it often starts a very long, frustrating search which never yields quite what I am looking for. Some things only exist in my mind! I will walk into the fabric store with a completely open mind and pick something that suits my fancy right there on the spot!

If you are in the market for a pattern that works up quickly and comes with easy-to-read and easy-to-follow instructions, this is the pattern for you. By the way, this pattern includes 4 sizes and several options such as a magnetic closure, a flap etc. I used the standard size but I have seen the petite size made up and it is the cutest thing--still pretty roomy. There are two larger sizes that I have yet to make. Another day....

Buyer beware though: if you make this purse for a gift, you WILL be asked to make another one!

"Another day, another bag....."

Linking up to:
Wow us Wednesday Party at Family Home and Life  Please click here! 






Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pieces Of My Heart


Today I was featured on Domesblissity--Thriving on Thursday party. Thank you so much Anne! There were some wonderful blogs participating and Anne featured a few projects (my cosmetic bag bundles were one of the featured projects) as well as a few recipes that look pretty yummy! I plan to try them. I am a sucker for trying a new recipe!! Please visit Anne at Domesblissity via THIS LINK and check out some of the other posts that particpated in Thriving on Thursday as well as Anne's blog. Lots of good stuff there!

I am also linking this post to The Charm of Home  via THIS LINK to participate in her Home Sweet Home Party. There are some  links to some wonderful posts here as well. Her blog is wonderful. A must see is her violet (edible) cookies....scroll through her blog and check them out!

Latest blog find and I am linking this post there as well:  Boogieboard Cottage's  Masterpiece Monday. CLICK HERE to visit, check out some talent and leave a comment or two. So much to see!

OK, moving on to my evening agenda:

I was antsy after dinner tonight. I needed to do something so I played with odds and ends-- pieces muslin, lace, pearls on-a-string, etc.


These are the pieces of my heart.....various laces, a spool of old silk taffeta ribbon...I love the color!


My heart completed....



Tuck it here ....


or there.....


Close up of little crocheted flower my grandmother did many years ago...I added some muslin circles sewn together (with raw edges) and added some pearls....


Be still my heart.....

This reminds me of the beautiful wedding and ring-bearer pillows my mom used to make, though mine is a smaller version. I have one that she made for me 30 plus years ago....I think I will post that on my next anniversary in October.
Speaking of my mom, today is her birthday! Happy Birthday Mom! She is the person directly responsible for my obsession (maybe passion is a better word) with sewing and  "creating".

I just needed a little project tonight. Sewing up this heart (about 8" tall) took my mind off some other "stuff" and gave me a much needed break from reality. Sewing does that for me--stills my mind!

and of course, a quote for the project of the day:

"Difference between mind and heart; your mind tells you the smart thing to do, while your heart tells you what you're gonna do anyway."
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