Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finished projects...of all sorts

First of all thank you all for your glad tidings at Christmastime.
I can't believe this week will ring in the New Year! Where-o-where did '09 go?
I am happy to say I have been getting some projects finished up though.
A couple of them were just for fun holiday projects.
The first was an ornament I saw on a Martha Stewart holiday special and so I dragged my DH to the craft table and actually his turned out better than mine. I thought he was using too much glue but alas I was proven wrong. Anyway here is the finished ornament which is made with string, a balloon, glue and glitter. Messy but fun. The next was a little Christmas scene kit that my mom gave to all the "kids". It's made of craft foam and you just have to glue it together and decorate it. It was a fun little project and now sits in the kitchen window and I will think of mom whenever I look at it.

No, I haven't been goofing off the whole time.....
I have also spent time in the studio and finished up a couple of new pattern designs. One is a scrappy little quilt and will be available in January. It's a great project for helping to whittle down your stash to make room for new fabrics! Here's just a glimpse to tease you.

I have also added a couple of coupons to my webstore. One is a 10% coupon for any of the non-stick applique sheets or grip & grip work surfaces and the other coupon is for a $5.00 discount on my Push-button Prints CD. The CD has numerous design collections that you can print out onto fabric or paper right at home on your inkjet printer. You may recall I used one of the prints on one of my project jars. (the left one)
Well, I need to go get busy if I'm going to have those new patterns ready for you in January.
I hope you are all getting in some quality stitching time as well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas wishes

Gosh, sorry I haven't been blogging much lately.
I want to make sure to wish you all (y'all) a very Merry Christmas season.
Today is only 3 days from Christmas, (how did that happen?) so, I hope you all finish up your lists and get all your errands run so that you can take the time to rejoice in the meaning and enjoy time (or long phone calls) with your family and friends. Enjoy embracing your old or new holiday traditions and may your days will be filled with blessings.
I have been busy, as I'm sure you have been too.
I dusted off my rubber stamps (oh-oh the D word) and made a few handmade cards for close family.
This year we did something new and even sent some of our cards in the form of e-cards. Yikes, I'm not real sure about doing this. I guess because it's a change from what we've always done and I don't know if people like getting them that way. After all you can't hang them up or put them on a shelf but there are such beautiful cards to choose from and the animations are very cool. Another plus is I don't have to stand in the card isle at the store trying to decide on which cards to buy. It always takes me forever to decide. My DH sends me on my own for this purchase.
I guess another plus is it's eco-friendly, hmmmm
what do you think?
Then it was on to cookie baking! I love making Christmas cookies and yes, I love eating them too :)
So far I have made chocolate brownie cookies with peanut butter morsels, spritz cookies, sugar cookies, ginger snaps and today I am going to make DH's favorite, cream cheese pillows.
It's been quite chilly the last few days so having the oven on is an added bonus. Do you have favorite cookies you make every year?

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Say what?
It's pronounced to-do, as in a to-do list. This is a new computer app that is free and I am loving it.. The site is www.Teuxdeux.com
It's a TeuxDeux (to-do) list on your computer and you type in your list for each day and you can move your items to the next day or even days down the road ( good for us procrastinators). Then the fun part is you can even cross things off the list! *If you get them done of course!
It is easy to use and has a very nice clean look. No more misplaced lists - yippee!
Does this mean I will be more organized? One can only hope.
For some reason dusting always winds up at the bottom of my list LOL
Lucy and Nancy - I'm so happy you enjoyed the ginger snap cookie recipe.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sad day in Squirrel Town

About 4:00 yesterday I heard a loud bang followed by the power going out.
Well, now we know why the power went out. One of the furry little fox squirrels that frequents our property met his (or her) demise via a whole bunch of electricity. Hubby said it looked like one of the new fox squirrel babies, but not the one in the picture. Needless to say I didn't take any pics of the tragic end. Poor little thing.
On a happier note....this little guy is fine, but it was surely a sad day in Squirrel Town.
I almost threaded up my treadle machine but the power came back on around 8:00ish.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sweetness squared

OMG, Stitched With Prayer, I am so happy to have made you do a happy dance! I got your e-mail and your prize is on it's way to you. Thanks for the hug, you are sweet.
In fact you were all such sweet and gracious guests.
I wish I could share a cup of tea and the ginger snaps I made with all of you.
I will at least share some sweetness by sharing the recipe with you. As a matter of fact, several of my friends have been after me to give it to them so they will be happy to see this post... and I won't get scolded anymore. LOL
These really are great ginger snaps. I found the recipe in an old Wisconsin Electric Power Company Christmas cookie recipe book that my Mom gave me. There is no year printed anywhere in the book but the photographs on one of the pages show the women in the kitchen wearing high heels!
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Don't know about you but I liberated myself from high heels a long time ago.
I used to wear them every day - yikes. Now I can only handle a few hours at best and it has to be for a darn good reason. How about you?
Anyway...here is the coveted recipe....enjoy and share the sweetness.

Ginger snaps
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
(extra granulated sugar for rolling)
Cream butter: add sugar gradually. Blend in corn syrup and egg.
Add in dry ingredients and stir together.
Chill a few hours.
Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake @ 375 degrees for about 9-11 minutes. Cookies become crisp when cooled (unless it's really humid out)
Makes about 5 to 6 dozen.

Hint ~ I use the air bake cookie sheets and they turn out really nice on them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

winter giveaway winner

Sorry I made you wait all day.....I couldn't tear myself away from the studio.
Thanks so much to everyone for all the kind comments and I know some new friends will grow from this. Thanks also for the birthday wishes and Happy Birthday wishes to Kate, Linda B and Laurie as well - celebrate!
I wish you all could have won. I don't want anybody to be cold but the lucky winner of this giveaway is...........
Stitched with prayer - congratulations!! At least I know you'll be warm and toasty.
I'll send you an email to get your address so I can get your gift sent right out.
Thanks again and I hope you all (y'all) don't make yourselves strangers. Stop by and say hi and who knows, maybe you'll win the next giveaway.
Thanks again to Quilt Hollow and Splitting Stitches and all of their friends that stopped by.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

BFF's bundle up

It's getting chilly outside and so the BFF's now have their new winter/Christmas wardrobe!
Here is the newest BFF paper doll quilt pattern. It is up on my site so you can order right away.
This pattern not only has delightful winter/holiday outfits and hairdo swap-pliqués to mix and match but it has oodles of fun festive holiday trims to decorate the quilt with. All of the appliqués, even the trims, are removable swap-pliqués so you can change them around anytime and they fit any BFF quilt.
Here's a peek at some of the swap-pliqués.

More shopping.......
I just found out about a brand new online shop called Inch worm fabrics.
They carry Kona Bay, Seattle Bay and Moda fabrics. Check them out when you just have to have fabric!
Don't forget to post to the Nov. 19th post to enter the giveaway. Monday is the last day to enter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

delicious with a capital D

I harvested the first bunch of pole beans 2 days ago from my earthbox. They were plentiful, ginormous and delicious with a capital "D". I only planted about 6 or 7 seeds and at this rate they are going to swallow the neighborhood! I love it! There may be enough to harvest again by tomorrow for the green bean casserole for Thanksgiving Dinner.
The bell peppers are running a close second I must have about 9 or 10 peppers so far. Fajitas are going to be on the menu soon. Probably turkey fajitas - LOL

Sunday, November 22, 2009

kindness from Quilt Hollow

Thank you to all of the kind visitors from Quilt Hollow and of course to Mary of Quilt Hollow for posting my Winter giveaway on her delightful blog. She has some scrumptious looking brownies on a recent post along with the recipe of course.
Also, to clarify....you can keep posting to the Nov. 19th post to enter in the giveaway. The deadline to enter is Dec 1st, which is the day I will be drawing the winner.
Now I am off to the kitchen to start the grocery list for our Thanksgiving meal and to decide on the holiday desserts and then to dust off my collection of salt and pepper shakers. I know I have some with a Thanksgiving theme somewhere......

Thursday, November 19, 2009

new winter giveaway

It's my birthday and to celebrate that plus the new release of my BFF Winter Holly Days paper doll quilt pattern I'm posting a new giveaway for you!
This one will prepare you for the chilly months ahead. There's a colorful pair of festive socks to keep your tootsies warm, a happy snowman mug to fill with flavored coffees, (peppermint, chocolate caramel, chocolate cinnamon almond) and a felt basket with some FQ's of flannel to add to a winter stitching project.
As with most giveaways post a comment to this post Nov. 19th. and you'll be entered but...... if you link my site www.thistledownquilts.com to yours (and tell me where to find it) you'll be entered twice.
I'll be announcing the lucky winner December 1st. Good luck and keep warm.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hera today - gone tomorrow

First, you need a tool called a Hera marker. Google it and you'll come up with a gazillion results but more than likely your local quilt shop has it.

Just in case you haven't seen this simple technique I wanted to share it with you. This works best on a quilt that is already sandwiched. What's nice about this is that the creases fade away eventually (depending on fabric and humidity) unlike pencil marks.

On the quilt I want to mark, I want straight quilting lines that don't follow a seam line. In fact the quilting will cross the seams. (see pic 1)

Use a long acrylic ruler and place the edge where you want your line of quilting. (pic 2)

Run the Hera marker across your fabric sandwich using the edge of the ruler as your guide. The marker will leave a crease in your fabric.
(pic 3)

You can then quilt along the creased line. If the creased line fades before you finish (hand quilting) then just re crease with the Hera marker. I am machine quilting this quilt and so the lines lasted throughout the quilting process. I have used this easy method for a long time with great results. Give it a try and pardon the bad pun :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

community service quilting

Oh-oh -
I was actually trying to add some strips end to end when I wound up with this LOL -
that's what scissors and seam rippers are for. This is for the accent piping for this quilt in progress. It's a community service quilt.

I wish I could say that I make a donation quilt more frequently than I do, but then I would be lying.
I do try to make and donate quilts or other creations or donate my time to some form of community service. This quilt is going to a local youth ranch with about 25 other quilts made by fellow guild members. It is a bitter sweet project. The fabric that we are using in these quilts was donated by the husband of one of our sister quilters Joan Frantz, that succumbed to Ovarian cancer about 1-1/2 years ago. She was a remarkable woman. She was an Optometrist, and she wowed our guild constantly with her amazing quilts and talent. She won numerous local and national awards for her quilts even though she was a quilter for only about 5 years.

Well, I need to get busy because I have to have this quilted and bound by the 19th....
no problem, it's the least I can do. Thank you Joan.

Monday, November 2, 2009

OH - so cute Doohdles

Check out these adorable rubber stamp sets by Jenny Doh of Stampington & Co.
I just thought they were so sweet and fresh I wanted to share them with you. They would be great to use on wedding shower or birthday invitations.
I love the postcard made with the stamps...check out the stitching accent too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

studio design

I have wall envy! This past weekend me and my friend Karen spent a fun day installing new design walls and inspiration boards in my friend Cathi's studio! She has taken over her living AND dining room for her studio and has wonderful wall space that I am absolutely green about. Don't get me wrong, I love my new studio space but OMG look at this great design wall.

The panels are each 8' wide and 6' tall. Of course, she also has some stunning projects to go on her new design wall. Above that she has a small ledge that now showcases two very cool art doll's that a quilt artist friend Cindi Goodwin made. It shows them off very nicely.

Then next to that, we hung two 2' x4' inspiration boards that we covered in a
great neutral fabric. Actually it's from the Deja Brew collection by Studioe fabrics. However, since we've left Cathi has been filling it up with inspiration so the fabric may not be visible now!
The picture is crooked not the boards.

We still have one more project to finish in her studio that is also going to be really great but we ran out of time this session. We had to go out for lunch to keep up our strength. :) We did find a new place for her ruler collection at the end of a bookcase. Much more accessible than where they were. There's just a peek at her neatly folded fabric inventory....more envy!

We also had a lot of help from Cathi's Rhodesian ridgeback, Clancey. He's very good at washing ears and nosing through purses for treats! That's Karen teasing him with ice in a cup.

Can't wait to get back to finish what we started and then it's on to Karen's studio!
Do you have wall envy?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jack and the beanstalk

It's planting season again in Florida and things are starting out pretty good.
This season I am growing green beans, Roma and beefsteak tomatoes, blue Hubbard squash, jalapeno peppers, broccoli, spinach, scallions, cilantro and basil. That's if they all survive!
So far the beans are doing great and reaching for the sky. As fast as they are growing, there just might be something to the story of Jack & the beanstalk! I did find 2 little caterpillars on them, (note the holes in the leaves) but I took them off and moved them far away. So far I haven't seen any more.
My bell peppers made it through the hot summer so I just trimmed them back and they have blossoms like crazy - it may be a bumper crop of peppers this
season. The Hubbard squash is off to a great start as is the basil and cilantro.

The beefsteak and Roma tomato seedlings are getting bigger, but I had to reseed the spinach, scallions and broccoli. Something got to them. Oh well, I have more seeds.

I can't wait for harvest time to start but it'll be a while. The first picture is a blossom on our shrimp plant. I just love these. They are so cool looking and they just keep blooming all the time. Plus the butterflies seem to like them. We've tried to plant our yard with a lot of butterfly friendly plants and it worked. We have so many different butterflies around and in large numbers too. They can be pleasantly distracting outside my office and studio windows.
I had a fun weekend helping a friend put up new design walls and inspiration boards.
Watch for the post in a day or two. It turned out really cool.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I have finished another project out of the overflowing project jar!
You remember the jars don't you? (May 2009)
Well, I was finally inspired to make my inspiration board. I guess I had been putting it off because I really don't have a wall for it right now. But I really wanted to get one put up. So I went and bought one of those over the door hooks, and hung it on the door that goes from my office to the studio.
I was just going to cover it with a neutral fabric but when I came across this piece of damask I decided some simple thread painting would be fun and add some interest to it.

All I did was roughly stitch around the leaf shapes that were on the damask. I wasn't real fussy about it. I used a variegated thread, Sulky Blendables in fact. I really like the way it turned out and because I used a light color thread it is a subtle effect.

I did decide however that I wanted a bit more color on my board. So, I paired it up with this great green and blue batik print and then I added an orange print pocket to hold things that I couldn't pin on the board. BTW, my board is just heavy corrugated cardboard that I covered in cotton batting first.
I wrapped the batting to the back and hot glued it and then did the same with the fabric. I also hot glued on a length of Grosgrain ribbon to hang it form the door hook.
I found some really cute little glass push pins from an Etsy shop (kimiko611.etsy.com)to add some fun.
All in all I am happy with my new board...now I just have to dig out all my inspirations to pin on. I have a feeling I didn't make it big enough :)

What size is your inspiration board, and do you have more than one?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the queen of pillowcases

Arghhh, ahoy matey's
I finally have the pics of some of the adorable pillowcases my friend Karen has been making.
It started out as a project for the children at the Shriner's Burn Hospital in Tampa. Our local quilt shop (Quilt Lover's Hangout) supplied instructions and also has kits to make fun colorful pillowcases for the children in the hospital. Well, Karen is hooked, and besides making them for the hospital she is making them for gifts now too. They are kind of addicting-ly easy and fun to
make. Plus, there are so many adorable fabrics to make them from. I have a stack started myself, but here are some of Karen's. I think she has made more since the pic. These are sure to bring a smile to someones face.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

mmm...macs, meatpies & mini-cakes

It's been a busy yet productive week and I have been meaning to post this from last weekend.
We celebrated our 35th anniversary (yes I was married at age 4) and we also celebrated my father-in-laws birthday. We always offer them the choice of going out or to cook something at home.
My father-in-law opted for home cooked, which meant a day in the kitchen. But I made the most of it and decided to get creative with it. You know if you have lemons...blah, blah, blah.

Anyway ~ I saw a recipe for spicy meat pies on the food channel one day and decided to try them. They looked like fun and sounded tasty. Everyone loved them.
I then needed a simple side dish and so whipped up the macs& cheese recipe from my friend Marti. Oh-oh, come to think of it, I believe I promised you this recipe a while back, so look at the end of this post for the recipe - no really.
Then I decided to make a cake, then thought maybe cupcakes would be fun, then decided mini-cakes would be even more fun!
I baked the cake (devils food) in a larger then normal pan and adjusted the baking time so it wouldn't burn. After the cake cooled I cut it into about 3" squares. Then I made little individual layer cakes. I put cream cheese frosting in the inside, frosted the outside with chocolate, and then frosted the tops with cream cheese frosting and sprinkled them with grated dark chocolate.
I don't think I will win any awards for my frosting skills.

No, this is not a low cal meal but tomorrows will be.

So here is the super easy yummy macs & cheese recipe.

CAUTION; could become habit forming - use with care
Marti's Macs & Cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
1 large jar of Cheese Whiz - yes I said Cheese Whiz (I think the jar is 12 oz. )
6 oz. milk
2 cups of elbow or small shell macaroni (measured uncooked)
1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs - I used both because I ran out of bread crumbs
2 T. melted butter
Cook the pasta til al denté. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Spray a 2 qt. casserole (I used a 1-1/2 qt.and it bubbled over) with cooking spray.
Mix the Cheese Whiz, soup and milk together in the casserole. Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Bake in a 350 degree oven til bubbly and golden. About 40 minutes or so. Mix the bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top about 10 minutes before it's done. (so after about 30 minutes)
That's it...told you it was easy and it's a crowd pleaser too.
Now off to nibble on some celery...... crunch, crunch, crunch

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A fabric beads how-to demo

Hi, just wanted to let you know I just posted a new how-to demo on my website. The demo is for making fabric beads. They are super easy and lots of fun to make. One of the advantages is you can choose from your fabric stash to get just the right color for your project. Use them to string into a necklace or dangling earrings or use as an embellishment for an "arty" quilt. Check it out and give it a try when you have nothing better to do :)
I made these fabric beads to add to the fringe of a knitted scarf I just put in my Etsy store.
Have fun.

Monday, September 28, 2009

new kits

Just wanted to let you know about the new kits I just posted on my website.
The kits are for the Penny Pouch pattern which is a nice heart embellished little pouch made with woolfelt and blanket stitches. It also has a pattern for a matching scissor sheath. The pouch is great for carrying around small stitchery projects or to use for jewelry, makeup, or whatever.
A 6" x 9" vinyl project bag will slip neatly inside. The kits are available in several color ways and contain the pattern, all the woolfelt and plenty of pearl cotton to complete the project. This makes a great gift for stitching friends, give them the kit and let them make it!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

hairnets and hunger

The other day a small mob of quilters and I were invited to participate in a very worthy charitable endeavor.
The organization is called Kids Against Hunger and they package and distribute nutritious meal packages to those in need. Which unfortunately is many.
The church our friend Barbara belongs to was looking for about 100 volunteers to assist in packaging these meals. As quilters ever on the lookout for a new adventure and an opportunity to help, we naturally said yes.
We showed up en mass and formed a lovely hair-netted, giggling, but productive assembly line. (sorry no pictures - or none that I know of) With very few mishaps (oops, there go some beans) the hours flew by very quickly. The tally at the end of the event was 5,000 packages! Of course we worked up quite an appetite and so went out to lunch afterward feeling very thankful for our full bellies.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the art of bras and snacking

I finally put the finishing touches on my "Artful Bra" for the fundraiser and shipped it off to my friends gallery. I'm calling this one "Petal Push-up". It was so much fun to make I am going to suggest it as an idea for our quilt show next year. We always auction off mini quilts for Breast Cancer research and I think this would be a great addition to that. Anyway, I hope it brings in some money for the fundraiser. Needless to say it caused several fits of giggles during retreat, especially when it was modeled (no pictures available) ROTFLOL.

Of course the chocolate and sugar intake at retreat was pretty high as evidenced by the snack table. Actually, I think I saw the table legs start to buckle. It was a group effort after all and we did have a nice variety.
It looks worse than it really was, there were leftovers, (well, a few) and we did frequent the salad bar at mealtime!

Hmmm, maybe that's why we got so much done at retreat.
Cathi made this fabulous series of small pieces with her growing collection of Cherrywood hand dyed solids. So cool, can't wait to see them finished.

I also took along my collection of black & white fabrics and had fun with them. I'll show you when they're done. (don't hold your breath)

Karen made a fun assortment of pillowcases, more on that when she sends me the pics.
hint - hint.
Peggy was stitching so fast I couldn't keep up with her projects, but this is the first one out of the machine. Stay tuned.....