Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's beginning to look....

.....a lot like Christmas, and I should hope so, seeing as tomorrow is Christmas eve!
Wow! Where did the year go???? Has anybody seen it????

Actually we had the tree and lights up pretty early but of course it's everything else that I put off to the last minute that catches up with me. I did get several batches of cookies made and I still have some sugar cookie dough to be rolled out and baked, and frosted, and eaten!
I was able to use ground shipping this year so that's an improvement over years past when I was scrambling to get things ready for fed ex... perhaps there's still hope for the queen of procrastination!
Oh but wait...I didn't mail any Christmas cards this year for the first time ever! Drat!

I did make some gifts, but wish I would have started earlier and made more ......double drat!
We're having Christmas brunch here at our house for just a small group and so I do need to get the house tidied up and I so wish I didn't have to work tomorrow ..... oh well, it'll all get done and if it doesn't look absolutely perfect so be it....I am going to enjoy the miracle that is Christmas, and the blessings of family near and far ( pouty face) and if I see a dust bunny or cobweb bouncing off a sunbeam I will smile and be thankful for the sunbeam. I hope that you and yours have a very Merry Christmas.......

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

cozy..... and quilting

Look what we found just outside our front door yesterday morning.... we have had very cold weather, by south Florida standards anyway, in the 30's overnight brrrrrrr and double brrrrrr.  I don't know who made this cozy little spot during the night but I took a peek late last night to see if they had returned to it again and it was empty. It only measures about 4 or 5 inches across so I'm puzzled as to what was snuggled down there. Maybe I should leave a little quilt outside :)

We've been hauling out the quilts this week to cozy under and there's also nothing like a pair of warm and cozy socks when it's chilly along with a mug of hot coffee or hot chocolate. Tonight I'm going to make cozy food....a yummy old fashioned tuna casserole, mmmmmm.

I also just finished making a cozy new bathrobe to replace my old favorite that has been used up.
I wore it last night for the first time and it is oh so cozy and I will most likely wear this one until it is all used up too.
my old favorite...bye bye
Although I used to make quite a few garments, my stitching time has been devoted to quilts for many years now. I still prefer making quilts but this robe project wasn't so bad.

my new favorite!
When was the last time you made a garment for yourself? No, really.
I hope that you are enjoying all of your cozy favorites this time of year......which brings me back to quilting and a return to my stitch-a-long. 
The final design element for the stitch-a-long quilt is the option of scattering some appliques across the quilt.

I made a daisy-ish  applique using fusible web on the back of them. I made 11 appliques and scattered them randomly across the quilt.
scatter appliques randomly

I have posted the applique design for you on my website as a free download. It's a very simple design and you could draw one of your own designs too.  Use as many appliques on the quilt as you like. You can use one of the fabrics from your original choices or make them with several fabrics or a totally different fabric. Have fun with it. I will then machine blanket stitch around the appliques .......and yes this time I will do it before I sandwich the quilt!!!!!!  (see post on  8/24/2010 )
With Christmas just around the corner and with the hours I have been working I don't know how much I will get done, but I would love to see how your quilts are coming along.
Leave me your email and I will contact you to get photos of your projects or leave a link if you have a blog. I'm so sorry that it has been so long since the last stitch-a-long update. I hope you didn't give up on me :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

had enough turkey?

So...... just how many turkey leftover recipes have you been cooking up?

 I hope that everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends. We had half of my DH's step family and his older step brother had the other half. No....there's no bickering, just making the size of the gatherings a little easier for the hosting families. The family has grown with nieces and nephews marrying and adding wee ones and moving closer. It was a great day, the weather was nice and it was good to get together to count our blessings and share our thanks around the table. The down side was I so missed sharing the day with my family up north.  sob, sob , sniffle, sniffle :(
I am so grateful to Alexander Graham Bell so that at least I can hear their voices over the miles. Texting is great and convenient, but there's still nothing like hearing the voice of your loved ones.
Of course it goes without saying that we ate our fill of the Thanksgiving feast and yet as always there was leftover turkey. Last night we had turkey enchiladas and we'll most likely have turkey sandwiches again for lunch today.  We're also working our way through the leftover apple pie.

I promised on facebook the other day that I would post a soup recipe and it's NOT turkey soup.
So here is my recipe for meatball's easy and it is a favorite of ours on chilly days.

Meatball soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic - minced
2 T olive oil
4 cups water
 2 cans condensed beef broth
1/2 can of 6 oz. tomato paste (3 oz.)
1 cup coin sliced carrots
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup snipped parsley or cilantro
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup long grain rice uncooked
1 can black beans drained

In large pot, cook onion in oil until tender but not brown. Add the garlic and cook about a minute. Stir in water, broth and tomato paste. Bring to boil and add potatoes and carrots. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine egg, cilantro or parsley, salt, oregano, pepper, ground beef and uncooked rice. Form into small 1 inch meatballs and add a few at a time to the simmering soup. Bring soup to boil again. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add 1 can black beans and simmer another 10 minutes.
yummy ~ yummy
If you have any leftover freeze it for another day that begs for warm and hearty soup.

By the way, sorry I have not been posting as frequently. Now that I am working in the outside world I have been working on juggling up my free time between, designing, blogging, stitching and all the other aspects of my pattern business and life. Bear with me, I am also working on the next post for the tortoise paced stitch -a-long. At least you've been able to keep up LOL

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

something's missing....

OMG - I am so sorry. The blog post for assembling the quilt blocks did not post as scheduled and I guess that could make this stitch-a-long a bit challenging, don't you think? Thank you so much Penny for calling it to my attention. Now I have to go wash the egg of my face.

Here is the missing post for assembling the blocks and sashing:

Now we get to put the rows and sashing together and it's going to start looking like a quilt.

Make the block rows as follows...
There are 2 row settings,

Row 1 setting (make 2 of row 1)
Row 1 uses 2 of the single 4-patch blocks, one of the double 4-patch blocks and two of the 8-1/2" strip pieced blocks.
Set them together as shown below and pay attention to the placement of the dark (red) squares.

Row 2 setting (make 2 of row 2)
Row 2 uses two of the double 4-patch blocks, one of the single 4-patch blocks and 2 of the strip-pieced blocks. Again, pay attention to the color placement.

Stitch the rows together beginning with row 1 . Add a sashing strip, but note the placement of the 4-patch placement in the sashing. (circled in photo)

 Add a row 2. Continue adding rows and sashing alternately and note the position of the squares in each sashing row (circled in photo).

TA-DA! ....the quilt top is assembled and next we will move on to adding the borders.

Monday, November 8, 2010

now back to our quilt....

Okay, enough goofing off - here's the next steps for the Stitch -a-long  with Linda. So far we have made all the blocks, the sashing and the most of the borders. Now we can start putting put it all together. Kathleen is keeping right up...... check out her progress at welcome to my world

Border 1
The first border that gets added are the 4-1/2" x 34" print border strips.
Add one to each end of the quilt. They will be wider than the quilt top so after stitching they will get trimmed.
stitch un-pieced print borders to the ends of the quilt.

Trim off excess border fabric, even with the edge of the quilt.

Piano key borders.......
you may have been wondering what we were going to do with the rest of the strip pieced sets.
It's for the next border on the quilt.
Cut the remaining strip pieced units into sixteen 4-1/2" segments.

cut sixteen 4-1/2" segments

Make two piano key borders by stitching together 8 segments for each.
Press seams in one direction.

Make 2 piano key borders
Stitch the piano key borders to the border you just added on each end of the quilt. 
Press seams to the print.

 Side borders....
On to the last border!
Remember the border strips that you put together in the  October 28th posting .......
Stitch one to each side of the quilt, matching the seams of the border with the sashing seams at the middle of the quilt.

Match seams of border piecing with sashing seams at center of quilt

The ends of the borders will be longer than the quilt so you will trim them even, as shown below......

okay ~ there's the borders but wait we're not done yet.........

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


.... if you actually used the word groovy, along with 'far out''dig it'  and truckin'  extensively at one time, you're gonna love these snaps! Enjoy a stroll down memory lane :)

Far out!

 by the way.... those are vintage suede boots, suede belt, tie dye t-shirt, headband, tank top and some of the jewelry - the hair is new LOL. I'm waiting for the snaps from my friends camera. I didn't have one with us at the downtown festivities. Shame on me, but I know she got some good ones. I'll share soon.

I'll also be posting more of the Stitch-a-long in the next day or two. If you want to see it from the start go to the September 20th posting. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

BOO.....pumpkin painting and finger food

Happy out for zombies this weekend, you never know where they might be wandering about. I spied this one waking up in our yard.

How many of you carved or painted pumpkins already? Share your links if you have them.
Did you bake the seeds?? They are so good right out of the oven all salty and crunchy.
How are you doing with the candy around the house?
Did you eat most of it already???
Come on be honest, are you going to have to go to the store for another candy run? 
Hubby brought home a big bag of mini peanut butter cups - very dangerous indeed! I snagged a bag of  Milky Way Midnights, mmmmm

Though it's still feeling quite summer-ish here, I whipped up a batch of pumpkin spice mini muffins and also made some ghoulish finger food snacks the other night for our dinner guests.

Some dear friends of ours were at a pumpkin patch and picked out a very nice pumpkin for us last week.
We usually paint our pumpkins because it's still warm here in S.Florida (oh sorry did I mention the nice weather already?) and when we carve them they rot too quickly. So I chose to paint again this year and decided to add a bit of zentangling too. I was torn between a happy pumpkin or scary pumpkin and being a pollyanna at heart guess which won out???

 I had plenty of room left on the other side of the pumpkin so I added the zentangled BOO.

 Then I saw this adorable idea for another Halloween appetizer..... you just take little smoky sausage links, wrap them with a small strip of refrigerator crescent dough, leaving a space for the eyes. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let stand a couple minutes. Then add two dots of yellow mustard for the eyes. Aren't they cute?
They were yummo little mummy dogs!

What are you doing this weekend? Are you going to watch scary movies, go to a party, have a party or just eat candy? What ever you choose to do have a wonderfully spooky Halloween.......
BOO! did I scare ya?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

still stitching along .....and a bodacious bloom

Before we get to the next steps in the Stitch-a-long I had to share this awesome blossom that was on our dragon fruit cactus. The bloom at first appeared very similar to the blooms on our night blooming ceresus but on second look we saw this wacky anemone looking part. (lower front) It is actually the pistil of the flower and I think it is just so cool looking. Too bad the blossom only lasts one night.
We're waiting for the fruit to ripen now.

We also came across this striking grasshopper and he nicely posed for the camera, but the poor little guy only has one big back leg. It seemed to be getting around okay despite the missing leg.

So okay, if you are here for the Stitch-a-long with Linda I'm sure you are ready for more stitching directions.  As I told you at the start, it's very simple and stress free stitching so here's the next step for you to work on.

Round up the 1-1/2" strips that you cut earlier, and using one of each color, stitch them into strip sets.
I mixed up the order on my strip sets but you can make yours all the same if you wish to. 

make six strip sets

I mixed up the order of my strips as I made the sets.

 Press all the seams to one side.

After the sets are stiched and pressed, cut the strip sets into segments. You'll cut eighteen  4-1/2" segments and seventeen 8-1/2" segments.

cut strip sets into segments

Using the 8-1/2" segments we are going to make the sashing units.
Stitch one 8-1/2" strip segment to a plain (dark) 4-1/2" square then add another 8-1/2" strip segment.
Add one 4-1/2" 4-patch unit and then one more 8-1/2" strip segment. Make 3 of these sashing units.

make 3 sashing units

Next..... find the 4 shorter border strips ( 30") . Take 1 of the strips and stitch a 4-1/2" strip segment to one end and then add the second border strip to the end of the strip pieced segment ~ see photo.
Repeat to make the second border.

note direction of the strip pieced segment

Okey dokey, that's all for today's stitch-a-long. No one is feeling stressed are they???
Now I need to go and decide on how to paint my pumpkin - it's almost Halloween after all. 
see you soon.......

Sunday, October 17, 2010

itching to stitch?

I told you this wasn't going to be a hurry up stitch-a-long project.  Like you, I have a lot of things vying for my attention with many glamorous things..... such as work, laundry, cleaning, gardening, cooking, sleeping, you get the idea. Speaking of gardening I have been planting my earthboxes with the Fall crop  and now have brussel sprouts popping up and my beans are really going to town. Naturally, I took my trusty %@%*# UFO out to make a comfy spot to work. OH-OH I may have spilled some dirt.... no bother, it goes well with the car grease and paint.Yes, the quilt destruction continues.....

Now back to our Stitch-a-long project.......
I hope by now you've had time to choose your fabrics and cut it out following the directions in the last blog post.

We are going to make 2 very simple blocks. All seams are a scant 1/4".
Block 1
use 12 of the dark 4-1/2" squares and 12 of the print 4-1/2" squares to make six 4-patch blocks.
When matching up the 2 units press seams to the darker fabric. This also allows the seam allowances to "nest" together for an accurate match.

That was too easy wasn't it? I told you it was going to be stress free.

Okay let's get on with the next block....
Block 2
This is another easy one. This is a double 4-patch.
use the 2 light and 2 dark 2-1/2" strips.
Stitch a light and dark strip together lengthwise.
Repeat.  You now have 2 strip pieced units. Press the seam allowance to the darker fabric.
Cut the strip units into 24  2-1/2" segments.....

Arrange the segments into 4-patch sets and stitch. Make twelve 4-patch units

I like to chain piece when making multiple 4-patches......

Combine these small 4-patch units with 12 of the print 4-1/2" squares to make 6 large 4-patch blocks.
Note the correct placement of the darker squares.......the block on the left is the correct setting.

Okay, that's it for now. I don't want to stress anyone out LOL
I'll post more stitching in a day or so.

In the meantime, if you have the time check out these fun links....
The 2010 contest winners for extreme pumpkin carving
My friend Sue's Zentangle creations
Fun, inspiring, and fresh quilting by Laura Wasilowski love her stuff!
Very cool Halloween decor at Poppytalk
and last but not least, my friend Kathleen's blog.

Keep smiling, it keeps everyone guessing........

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rotary cutting - the Stitch-a-Long with Linda

Do you have your rulers, mats and cutters at the ready??
I hope you've had a chance to gather your fabrics for the Stitch-a-Long with Linda but if your still waiting for a shopping order to arrive, fear not. This is going to be an easy and relaxed Stitch-a-Long. I am posting the cutting instructions for those that might be all set to go already, and if that's you,
I don't want to keep you waiting. Did you pop over to the Quilters Showcase blog to enter the giveaway? If you just got here to my post today you may want to scroll down and read a few of the previous posts too.

* for starters we are going to assume a usable fabric width of 42" a.k.a. *wof

Here we go.....From your focus print fabric: 

cut 6 strips 4-1/2" x wof *width of fabric

Trim 2 border strips to 34" long

Trim the other 4 border strips to 30"long
Yes, I know that's 6 border strips, you'll see as we go.....set these aside for now.

Cut 3 more strips 4-1/2" x *wof from the focus print
 and cut strips into 24  (4-1/2") squares

From the dark fabric cut 2 strips 4-1/2" x *wof. Cut strips into 15 (4-1/2") squares

Also from the dark fabric cut 2 strips 2-1/2" x *wof.

From the light fabric, cut 2 strips  2-1/2" x *wof

From the remaining 4 fabrics, cut 6 strips from each of the fabrics.  Cut strips 1-/12" x *wof.

That will be 24  1-1/2" strips all together

 Okay - that's all the cutting for now. That was easy wasn't it.
Soon we'll start stitching and that's easy peasy too!