Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Here a Stitch, There a Stitch

Do you have unfinished projects laying around the house? I sure do! I started this bag a couple of weeks ago....I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I thought I would curl up on the couch nice and cozy, under a warm quilt and embroider some stitching on this bag front that I had already cut out. It turned out to be the perfect project for me on that particular night.

I loved the design of this fabric and purposely cut the bag out with a center motif. I thought some stitching would accent the medallion nicely. It had been a while since I tackled embroidery on a bag....if you follow me regularly you may remember this bag from some time ago that I made for a friend:

Link to the blog post is: Handmade with Love

This was the first time that I did some embroidery work on one of my bags. Though it is hard to really appreciate in the photo, it added a nice touch to the bag, a quilted effect that I really loved. So I thought I would give it another try on this new bag.

I tried a few different colored doilies for the center in beiges and browns but the pale aqua doily looked the best. I think it really brings out the aqua in the fabric.

At first I was only going to embroider the aqua lines. Then when I was done, I wondered what it would look like if I also embroidered the gold lines. Then of course, I was curious how some dark brown stitching would look in the mix. So it became a much more time consuming project than I had originally planned but I really was happy with the end results. It's amazing how a few french knots and some outline stitching can add so much to an existing design on fabric.

So this bag has been sitting on my dining room table for about two weeks waiting to be top stitched and the inside opening (for turning right-side out) to be stitched closed. It's been such a busy couple of weeks that I did not even have time to get to it. Last night I made up my mind to complete it once and for all. It took so little time and now it is finally done. (Please forgive the color in some of these photos, it's been dark and gloomy for days on end so the lighting if way off!)

I rewarded myself with a nice hot cup of tea! Yes, my tea cup package arrived yesterday afternoon and I now have a lovely new tea cup, a new tea that I tried and loved and other goodies that will be revealed when Stephanie (The Enchanting Rose) puts up her reveal post for the latest Tea Cup and Mug Swap! Coming soon sometime in April.....so stay tuned!

Enjoy the rest of your week friends!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Scones and Forgiveness

I've been bad. There I said it....I had a King Arthur Flour Vanilla Scone Mix package sitting in my cupboard since Christmas and I made scones yesterday and gobbled up two of them. I gobbled up the first scone as soon as I had taken them out of the oven and glazed them. It was hot, and the glaze was still warm and still oozy and well, it was YUMMEEEE!

We love to visit the King Arthur Flour bakery and store in Norwich, VT.  Check out their website here. The store is a bit overwhelming to me because I want one of everything....scone mixes, muffin mixes, cake and cookie mixes, gluten free mixes, lots of spices and many kinds of extracts, cocoas and chocolate, kitchen utensils and gadgets.....and so on.....There's a wonderful bakery and deli too  I love their brie apple sandwich with a cup of homemade soup. (No I was not compensated for promoting them--I truly love this place!)

There's also a large classroom to take baking classes. My husband and I are hoping to take a class together..... now back to the scones....

When my husband got home later in the morning, he smelled them the minute he walked through the door. I mentioned (the night before) that I might make scones and he said, "did you make them?" I smiled and said, "you want one?"  Of course he wanted one and then he twisted my arm to join him so I had to eat another.

This time I enjoyed it with a hot cup of tea.....and I used a plate. There was no time for a plate when I scoffed down the first one.

It tasted every bit as good as the first. Adding the raspberries was a good idea. I had both fresh and frozen on hand but I opted to add frozen berries to the batter so they wouldn't get all smushed up.

So, how does one fix a diet faux pas such as this? Yes, I am still on a Weight Watcher's Diet....well, I skipped lunch, I power walked in the grocery store and I ate a new favorite salad for dinner.

This is kale and romaine with quinoah, beets, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and parmesan. The parmesan was supposed to be goat cheese but I forgot to get the goat cheese when I went grocery shopping earlier in the day. I was bummed because the goat cheese really is a wonderful addition to this salad....

My daughter introduced me to this tasty salad when she was home from school for a few days. She made this for my lunch a couple of times and I loved it!!!

Beets and butternut squash are favorites of mine but it never dawned on me to put them both in a salad. It's delicious and very filling. I didn't even give the remaining scones a second thought.....until breakfast today! So I had a sandwich for lunch with no bread :(

Yes, I'm having a hard time sticking to my lifestyle changes (aka diet) since we have returned to snowstorms and cold weather. I was fine right through the holidays and even through the month of January and part of February. But if this cold lasts much longer I'm going to have to dive into the Planet Aid box to retrieve my "chubby" clothes.....

Coincidentally, while power walking in the grocery store yesterday, I turned a corner quickly and nearly collided with a woman who was standing in the middle of an aisle in the magazine section. We both laughed, I said excuse me....she apologized for standing in the middle of the aisle and joked about how fast I came around that corner and I apologized and explained that I baked scones earlier and I was trying to undo the damage of eating one. She told me to just forgive myself. Eating a scone wasn't the worst thing in the world to do....then I confessed that I actually may have eaten two. She laughed, we talked about how hard we are on ourselves sometimes and by the time we were done talking, she had introduced me to her husband, given me the names of two books to read and most importantly she had convinced me to forgive myself! I took her advice! I think I am going to practice this more often.....


........these are in my cupboard.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tea Cups Are On My Mind

It must be that time again (Stephanie's Tea Cup Swap--Read all about it here!) because I have been thinking a lot about tea cups. About a week ago, while my middle daughter was visiting for a few days, we stopped by one of my favorite antique shops. We didn't have much time as she had an appointment but it only took me a couple of minutes to snatch up these two sweet little cups. They were only $2.00 each! I have many tea cups with roses on them so I knew both would look nice in my collection.

You may have noticed that pretty little rose tray underneath the cups. One of my friends surprised me with it for Christmas. It's so pretty!

You might be wondering why all of these cups are sitting on my dining room table. Well, I took them out of my hutch to wash, But mostly, I took them all out just to look at them!

The cup in the front (right) has no markings on it so it's a no name tea cup yet it is one of my favorites.

Here's a better photo of it. Isn't it pretty?

Some of these cups are from prior tea cup swaps. 

.......which brings me to Stephanie's Tea Cup and Mug Swap! It's her 10th one!!! I am all signed up and really looking forward to receiving the name and address of the next lovely lady that I will be sending a tea cup package to. Let the swap begin.....and many thanks to my friend Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose. She is so kind and generous to arrange all of this for us. I am very grateful! Thank you Stephanie!

The Enchanting Rose

Monday, March 6, 2017

Some Bloggin' Love

I received the loveliest card from one of my blogging friends, Connie, who blogs over at Connie's Crafty Creations.  I admire her beautiful handcrafted cards that she shares on her blog and I wish that I had more time to develop my own skills in card making. Connie makes it all look so easy and I do love playing with paper just as much as I love playing with fabric! So perhaps someday!!!! Anyways, is't this the prettiest card? It looks just like a quilt square, carefully pieced using paper instead of cloth.

Here is a close up of some of the detail! Note the pieced paper quilt, the sweet ribbon bows, the lacy horizontal strip and the little tag that says be happy.....the colors  are so tranquil...I love the color combination.

I love the little button with the tied thread! I love all the fine, little details! Love, love, love....

When you stand it up, there's even more detail on the very bottom of the card and some sweet little flowers! To think that she created this little gem just for me-- well, let's just say it does my heart good! There is nothing more special than receiving a handcrafted gift from a friend. I am so touched and grateful! Thank you Connie for your friendship and your constant flow of encouraging words! If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, BLOGGING FRIENDS ARE THE BEST!

If you haven't visited Connie's blog you must stop by and check out some of her beautiful cards. The link to her blog is at the beginning of this post!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Petal Pouch Tutorial

Happy Friday everyone! This week sure flew by. But boy, don't they all! I promised a tutorial for these sweet little pouches that I posted a couple of weeks ago so here it is! Prior pouch post found here. This is so easy and a wonderful project for a beginner or for kids to try with adult supervision.

First, choose two coordinating or contrasting fabrics.....whichever you prefer. Two fat quarters works nicely or grab some fabric from your stash.

From your fabric you will need two squares cut the same size. I use 12", 15" or 18" squares depending on the size I need. Since I wanted to make the largest size, I cut two 18" squares from each of my fabric choices. You will also need coordinating ribbon (I used 3/8" wide grosgrain) and thread.

After determining the size and cutting out the squares, place the two squares right sides together.

Pin pieces together and stitch around the entire square using 1/4" seam allowance.....

Be sure to leave an opening to turn right side out....I left about two inches.

Trim edges and corners and turn right side out.

Iron and then top stitch. This step can be left out but I prefer the finished look of top stitching. If you do choose to skip the top stitching, you will need to hand sew the 2" opening closed.

This step requires a little measuring for the first few bags that you make, but after that you will be able to "eyeball" it. First determine which fabric you want to be the main fabric for your pouch. The other fabric will be the petals. The main fabric should be facing you. In this case, the small lavender print will be the body of my bag.

Next, measure the side of your square and divide by 3.  I believe I turned my corners up 5 3/4" from each side. (which leaves 5 3/4" between each corner.) Pin the corners in place.

Each corner will be stitched as shown, creating a casing for the ribbon drawstring. Since I used 3/8" wide ribbon, I stitched my casings at 4/8". Two pieces of ribbon will be passing through this casing.

Make the same casing using the same measurement, along the remaining three sides.

Cut 2 pieces of ribbon about 32" in length if you are using the large 18" square. (Cut 31" ribbons for 15" square, 30" ribbons for 12" square.) Take first ribbon, attach to large safety pin and fish it through the casings on all corners.

Make sure to keep ribbon facing one way--you do not want it to be twisted inside the casing.

When you fish ribbon through the next corners, again, check to make sure ribbon is not twisting.

Once you have the first ribbon through all four corners, remove pin and give a tug on both ends to give you some slack and either tie a knot or secure them so you don't lose the ribbon ends while fishing the second ribbon through.

Now take your second ribbon and safety pin and begin fishing it through the corner directly opposite where you began fishing through the first ribbon. 

Once you have the second ribbon successfully fished through the casing, pull on the second ribbon and adjust so ribbons are even. NOTE: ribbons should be opposite each other as shown in photo above. Tie knots to secure. Beads may also be added before tying the knots of you prefer.

Now turn the entire pouch right side out so that your petals are revealed.

Now, isn't that the cutest thing?

Pull the ribbons evenly from both sides to close the pouch. At this point I always iron the ribbons as they sometimes get wrinkled from all the tugging. I also add some tissue to help them keep shape. They look much nicer in a gift box this way.

This trio is the large bag (made with 18" squares) pictured in the tutorial and two of the smallest bags
(made with 12" squares.) You can use opposite prints when making a set.

Wasn't that easy? Takes less than a half hour to make the first one. After that, the next one might just take even less time. Whip them up to use as a gift, a party favor, gift bag, etc. Such a fun and easy project! Any questions, please feel free to ask!

Happy weekend everyone!

UPDATE! 3/6/2017
One of my blogging friends, VEE, (who blogs at A Haven for Vee) has already had sweet success stitching up a petal pouch of her own to store her cosmetics. You can meet Vee HERE and read all about it! Additionally, on her post is a delicious looking cookie recipe and some bowl cozies that she stitched up. They've been on my TO DO list for a while!

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