Saturday, December 9, 2017

He's the Reason for the Season
It's been a while so this post is a tad bit long so grab yourself a cup of tea, and I'll wait right here for your return.

I'm so excited that I was able to finish the hand embroidery yesterday on my newest design. I'm calling it my forced handwork day because we lost power in the morning yesterday and it didn't come back on until later in the evening and even then it was off/on, off/on, off/on so much that it threw our furnace into a fault code and we lost heat until today at 11 a.m. Needless to say waking up at 4 a.m. to a 55 degree house was brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Now that I've warmed up, it has been sandwiched and is ready to be pinned for some light machine quilting. I can't wait to hang it on the wall. Creating and stitching the nativity scene gave me quiet time to reflect on the birth of Christ and His sacrifice of leaving His throne in heaven to become flesh on earth. He did this for all of us everywhere and for every generation. I want to hold onto that kind of love every day of my life. I try to imagine the angels shouting praises at His birth and telling the shepherds out in the fields. Oh how my heart soars contemplating how the shepherds must have felt seeing and hearing an angel telling them about their Savior being born and then going to see Him lying in the manger.

My inspiration to design this scene was from a Facebook picture of a Santa Claus scene that had chalkboard fabric in the corner where you could write how many days it was before Christmas. I wanted to make something similar that reflected the reason for Christmas. Initially, I included a chalkboard area at the top, but it just didn't work design wise no matter how much I fiddled with the layout so I eliminated it and went with the Joy heart ornament instead. I also added the three wise men where the tree is but again it just didn't work. The size was off and it just felt wrong. Once I added the tree and changed the animals from side facing to front facing, it was perfect.

If you like hand embroidery using simple stitches (back stitch and stem stitch), you will love making this for yourself. Once I drew the design on the fabric, I painted in the areas and then went back and did the hand embroidery. You could just as easily add in some applique if you wanted to. I have not written up specific instructions, but if you are comfortable transferring designs to fabric and want to get a start on making your own nativity, post a comment below and make sure to leave your email address so I can email you the pattern. I am offering the design for free until the end of December at which time it will available to purchase with instructions.

Now onto gifts completed so far.

First one is a pillow. The design for the embroidery is one of Jenny of Elefantz. She is a wonderful prolific hand embroidery designer. If you don't know of her and her wonderful patterns, you are in for a treat. Head over there and be ready to be wowed.
Next is one of several ornaments that I've been making this month. I joined an ornament exchange this year and made this for my recipient that lives in Canada. I mailed it on December 1 with some other goodies that I'll share later. I sure hope it arrives safely and on time to her.

I plan to add another post on how I made it with the red insert you see so stay tuned. I had a childlike moment of wonder and discover while playing with it. Of course, I had to add a bell to it too. This particular one's insert is red and silver. I made another one with gold and red and it turned out beautifully too but I forgot to take a picture of it.

Next was a homemade food item --- Cream Cheese! How fun is that. I must admit that my first attempt failed but I'm pretty sure it was because my lemons had lost too much of their acidity. For the next batch, I used white vinegar. It worked perfectly! I'm adding the recipe link here because you know you want to make some too. An added benefit is that she has a video showing you how to do it. I love listening to her accent too!
Couldn't resist showing Mr. B being all pouty because I made him take a bath. This is right after him getting blow dried and he was none too happy with me.
I also attended such a fun get-together at a friend's house. Everyone brought such wonderful food and we each brought a wrapped ornament. We had a game where each person got a wrapped package and then each person got to roll a dice. I've included a picture below so you can see what had to be done based on how the dice rolled. It was such a blast. I had more fun watching others try to hold onto the ornaments they wanted only to see another person steal it away and then have it stolen from them. Once the last ornament was unwrapped, whatever ornament was on your lap was the one you went home with you. I had such a great time.
I have to ask if you've ever had a brain lapse? You don't have to really answer me, but I recently went blank on a subject that I shouldn't have and then later wonder what the heck happened to myself. Humor me because this particular post is for myself. During the get-together, we broke out on a conversation of broken bones. I know that sounds like a topic that wouldn't necessarily be spoken about at a Christmas get-together, but our hostess's hubby had just recently broken a bone in his leg. I couldn't stop thinking about the bones in my leg and how much that had to have hurt when I said I was glad I had not broken any of my bones. Well, I'm one crazy lady because I have broken bones; albeit none of the bigger arm or leg bones, but I've broken fingers (worst one was slamming my dad's old pickup door on my own hand), toes (many of them and some multiple times and one so bad that I won't even paint you a picture of it), and I broke my tail bone falling off a bicycle when I was young. So.....yeah, I think that means I've broken some bones. Now with that said, I may have broken something else that is escaping me but I figure I'd better write this down so I have it in print for myself later just in case I need to remind myself! LOL Oh, the joy of my brain getting older. Maybe it's time for some of that ginkgo pill. What's it called?  {OH NO!}

Enjoy your weekend no matter where you are and don't forget to let me know if you would like the nativity scene pattern in the comment section. Please don't forget to let me know your email. The majority of posters have a no-reply which means I can't see your email and will not be able to email you the pattern.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Another Oregon Souvenir finished!

Terry Knott's Mt. Hood View -- Oregon Finished!
I just had to pop in and do a quick share of Terry's finished Mt. Hood -- My View, which was Oregon's souvenir. Isn't it just perfect? For detailed, up-close and personal pictures of it and her marvelous quilting, click HERE. You really don't want to miss seeing them.

The world quilting travel adventure has been such a wonderful journey. I must get back to the itinerary soon so we can continue traveling the globe.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Help...I cannot stop making them!

My version of an old, vintage towel
Remember back a few weeks ago when I shared my chicken tea towels? If not, go here and then scroll to the bottom of the page to see and read about them! I made two immediately because they were so fun to do. The pattern and instructions were free from my local Craft Warehouse. I bought the chicken fabric and wide ric rac from them. They have the pattern available for free so you, too, can make one twenty. 😃 Click here for pattern instructions.

Since then, I haven't been able to stop thinking of tea towels and how I can modify it to give an entirely different look and feel. The picture above is my idea of what a vintage handmade towel would look like if I were able to find one in perfect condition in an antique store. The fabric is a linen (60%) / cotton (40%) blend and is wonderful. I prewashed it so I wouldn't have issues later on.

Next, I questioned myself with how I could redo the pattern in order to get the look I wanted. Initially, I was going to do some hand embroidery which would have looked nice but I decided to go a different route and got out my pintucking foot and using a double needle created all of the pintucking you see. Then I looked for a stitch in my Bernina that would exactly fit the void inside the tucks. I also used a very, very narrow ric rac that someone left on the free table of my quilt guild. All of the thread used was to mimic the unusual color of that ric rac.

I even used an old, vintage button from my button jar!
Up close and personal look at the pintucking and machine stitching.

Have I convinced you to make a tea towel yet?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Enchanting Rose Teacup Exchange REVEAL

Gift sent to me from Regina
Stephanie from The Enchanting Rose hosts a yearly teacup and/or mug exchange, and this year I just happened to see her post saying that the deadline was in a few days. It sounded like such fun that I clicked the sign up even before reading all of the rules! Stephanie matches women up from around the world, and then emails you your soon-to-be-new friend. The fun part starts after that when you get to go shopping for a teacup or coffee mug that your new friend indicated as her favorite.

Regina in Arizona was given my name, and she outdid herself and sent me the wonderful goodies you see at the top of this post. I'm attaching a link to her blog so you can get to know her as well.

I chose to have my new friend living in the USA since I am new and got a late start this year, but next year, I'm hoping to gain a new friend from another country! :)

Stephanie sent me a detailed email about my teacup partner, Kris! She included lots of tidbits that Kris shared about herself. Kris recently moved to Oregon. How fun is that! She also is a hot chocolate gal - I liked her already! My gift package didn't have far to travel to her. It was a blast finding items that I thought she would love. A link to Kris's blog is above (she actually has 2 blogs!) so be sure to check them both out.
Gift I sent to Kris
I gained three new friends by stepping out and participating in this exchange. Stephanie, our wonderful hostess in all this fun, Kris, and Regina.

Thank you ladies! I look forward to reading your blog updates and gearing up for the 2018 Teacup Exchange.

Until then I'll be thinking of you each time I enjoy a cup of tea.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Honey Would You? Why Yes, I would love to!

You may have noticed from my previous post. My husband and I love to cook together. After our bivalve class, he mentioned that he would really like his own apron. Our grandparents were smart and wore an apron anytime during cooking and sometimes cleaning to keep clothes clean and extend the life of garments. I think my generation got away from wearing aprons once clothing became inexpensive; therefore making them easier to replace.

Tracy had specific requirements for the top area and placement of how he would like it to fit. I used some newspaper print and started drafting a pattern based on his requests. I got a little carried away and added some features that I thought he would like and that would make it easy to use. It was a fun project. This would be a great project for anyone because you really can't mess up an apron.

Here are some other pictures of the sides and back.
No ties! This setup keeps the apron just where you want it. For this application, you need to pin fit it to your person or add a button and buttonholes so that it is adjustable if you are making it as a surprise gift.
Side clip with adjustable strap. Although, once you set it, you really never have to adjust it again. To remove, simply unclip and slip off. He can do it in one easy step.
Other side has the strap sewn in. The dark material on the edge you see is a vinyl material I added that looks just like leather. It covers up each side of the strap, gives a nice masculine look, and made the areas sturdy.

Try making yourself a custom apron based on what you like. Wouldn't this be a nice tradition to start up again with family members!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Our adventure in bivalves

Aprons on...check! Prep station readied...check! Smiles all around...check!
Our view of the Columbia River
We had a bivalve adventure and learned how to cook them at Salty's on the Columbia River. It was a spur of the moment decision after getting an email about the upcoming class a few days before the event.

Bivalvia - Wikipedia
Bivalves as a group have no head and they lack some usual molluscan organs like the radula and the odontophore. They include the clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops, and numerous other families that live in saltwater, as well as a number of families that live in freshwater. The majority are filter feeders

Now in all fairness, I freely admit to loving clams, oysters, and mussels...oh my! My sweet steak-loving husband came with me even though his idea of delicious eating is more meat...add potatoes! I, too, am a steak and meat lover and am pretty comfortable cooking lots of different cuts of meat. What I am not comfortable cooking is seafood other than fish. It was such fun cooking together with ingredients that are way outside of our comfort zone. 

Our stations were setup perfectly and each person was given a glass of champagne upon arrival complete with a luscious cheese and fruit tray. I think that was a ploy to get us to relax and it worked perfectly.

Each person has his/her own cooking and prep station. Isn't that the prettiest picture of our ingredients!
Our three-course meal included: Oysters on the half shell. Sorry no pictures of them halved. I ate as I opened them. We were taught how to safely and properly open up those yummy suckers! It was nice to make our own fresh cocktail sauce. I made out like a bandit because Tracy fed me nearly all of his oysters too! SCORE!!!
Second on the list is Harissa Mussels with Smoked Tomato and Chorizo. Thankfully, the chefs had already cleaned the mussels so we could get down to chopping and cooking right away.
We needed bigger bowls and a larger tummy. The portions were huge!

Last on the list was clams risotto. By then I was so full that I could barely move, but they were so tasty, I couldn't stop eating mine and even helped myself to a few of Tracy's clams. Hey, we shouldn't waste, right?

We were surprised by the kitchen with tiny cooked desserts. Sorry no picture. Even as full as we were, we both swallowed them whole! 

It was a perfect evening spent with the most important person in my life. Thank you honey for such a wonderful date! How about we do our own private weekend class complete with New York steaks, baked potato, and a caesar salad.....and maybe a lemon cheesecake for dessert. YUM.....

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My most challenging project...

Newly finished couch slipcover
 Making a fitted slipcover for my wonderful couch that is still in awesome shape was extremely challenging for me, but as of last night, I am officially finished with everything except the narrow hem for the back which will need to wait until my hands recover. I'm very proud to have it finished. The pillows you see is what the couch looks like underneath her covering. We were sick to death of the pattern and color, but having the pillows as an accent isn't bad. I'll live with it for a bit before deciding whether to recover them as well. If I were to do it again and not to distant in the future, I'm sure it would be much easier having had the first one to get the hiccups ironed out. My Bernina was a trouper and didn't balk at me until the end when the layers of material got very excessive. It was slow going one stitch at a time, but I made it. I understand why upholstery professionals own commercial walking foot machines.
I'm pretty proud of how the sides came out. In order to get the cover to be fitted, I added a length of velcro on the seam line underneath the arm and my sweet husband was kind enough to add the sticky side of the velcro to the couch using a staple gun. It worked perfectly! Prior to doing that, the fabric from the bottom part of the outside arm wanted to hang out from the body of the couch a bit. It wasn't bad looking at all. I just like a more tailored appearance.

My other project was a fun one -- Kitchen Towels! I've made two so far and have plans for several others.
And so you, too, can join in on the fun, I am attaching the link to my local craft store that is giving away the instructions and pattern for free! Click HERE! I'd love to see your versions of the kitchen towel if you make one/many!

Waiting for a customer order to arrive but for now I think I will add a few more rows to my rug in progress.