Cooking, Sewing, Working, Traveling, Gardening and Pondering

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

~Winston Churchill~

Friday, October 29, 2010

Holiday Fun


What are the things you look forward to the most this time of year? Halloween is this weekend and that triggers the "Holiday Season" when all things begin to run-a-muck.

Is the good food you get to make and eat on Thanksgiving, is it Black Friday shopping, the football games with leftovers, the wrapping of packages or visiting with family?

For me I like doing a little bit of all of it. To me that makes it festive. I enjoy the cooler weather, the holiday music in the stores, the great smelling candles that come out. I love the seasonal flavored coffees. I just don't like too much of any one thing - too many long check out lines - too much holiday music - too much wrapping - I want just the right amount of each. I want to do holiday tea at the Four Season's again. It really makes the season bright.

Being that we live far way from our families it has always just be "us" for the holidays. We enjoy it but we miss all the craziness that family brings. Which is why this year we're diving in. We are trying to get to my husband's family for Christmas weekend = there are a lot of family up there and it will be some holiday madness for sure. I really love all of them - they have been so kind and warm to me. I am truly fortunate to have married into their family.

On that note tell me what you like the most?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

On going Christmas Projects

Last year I learned how to cross stitch. The year before I learned how to needlepoint. Two things I had always wanted to know how to do. My first needlepoint project I learned how to do from Dorothy (she's married to the hubs second cousin) up on Bowen Island. Behind their marina is a wonderful needlepoint shop that I bought a great kit of Canadian wild flowers. One afternoon we went out on Dorothy and Rondy's boat the Moxie and while the men chatted and got us to the other island, Dorothy helped and taught me to do the needlepoint.

It took me 9 more months to finish it. It traveled with me to Europe, Brazil and I don't remember how many other places.

I then found a local needlepoint shop that I just adore. They are so patient with me and help me to learn. They looked at my finished wild flowers and were confident it was ok to bind into a pillow. It now rests on the guest room bed at our house. The next year I did a black and tan dachshund for my hubs for Christmas in memory It too rests on the guest room bed.

So I felt like I'd "learned" needlepoint so I wanted to tackle cross stitch. I went to my local shop and said I need to learn how to do this. They sat me down and showed me the basics. How to make the back look as good as the back, how to pick floss, find the center, etc. I'm really enjoying it.

Here is my first project. Black Santa by Birds of Feather patterns. Now I'm working on Red Santa - then Green and Gold Santas. I just need to figure out what to do with the Santas after I get them all done.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christmas in July Challenge - October

I finished my October project for Amanda's Christmas in July Challenge. It was an any item made from fabric so I could make whatever I wanted as long as it was Christmas themed and fabric based.

I made a Christmas lap quilt. I love the fabric I found in a charm pack. Then I had these tree patterns left over from the wine bottle covers I made so I used them as my quilting pattern on the quilt.

It was the first time I used flannel to back a quilt (I'm new into quilting) so I had a little bit of puckering but nothing a good ironing hasn't solved.

Overall I'm very happy with it except that my binding on one corner just didn't want to miter down as well as I would have liked.

Now on to November anything in any medium but Christmas themed! I have got to come up with an idea!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sewing Mishaps

I worked on this apron for Cousin #1. See post from Saturday. It's has ric rac, crushed velvet trim, top stitched pleats.

Than I added a linen ruffle to the bottom edge and wanted to hand finish the back with some lace hem tape. So I started trimming off to 1/8" to the seam so the hem tape would lay flat.

When it happened. I nicked the skirt with the points of the scissors. I got so frustrated and I mean boiling mad at myself. Is it fixable - yes but I'll need to applique, add a linen flower, or another row of ruffles. Or something! I was almost finished except I wanted to hand stitch the back of the waist band and the hem tape.

Now it's all jumbled up on my sewing table waiting for me to come up with the right solution.

Madness I say!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dyer Sheet Quilt Update

So I took the leap today. I started to assemble the dryer sheet quilt. I didn't want it to be just scrappy. I wanted some sort of a pattern so I came up with this 25" square. I've made 2 full squares and estimate 6 more to go to have enough for a twin quilt. I'm going to add some sashing to squares.

Here is my favorite square.

and here is the second square I got finished.

I think they are ok for a scrape quilt. There is a pattern right? You can see it, it's just not me right?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Raining Again

Sounds like I don't like it but I do. I miss rain living here in Southern California. It's rained all week and it's been wonderful except for the traffic.

I woke up kind of early and the dogs and hubs are still sleeping so I've been in my sewing room scheming about what to start on next.

Being that we hope to go back to Seattle sometime during the holidays, I want to finally sew up the aprons for my husband's cousins. So I got the fabric out that I bought for them and pressed it. One cousin wants a full apron - the greens and orange fabric and the other cousin wants a half apron the salmon and linen fabrics.

I also was struggling with my Christmas quilt. The flannel backing just didn't really tie it all together like I hoped. I pressed it and the binding down and it looks much better.

Now I have this "fall" fabric 1/2 yard stack that I bought thinking I'd make a table runner. Well, I pressed that too thinking the rain is in my favor.

Then there was that stack of beautiful fat quarters that I bought thinking it would work for FAS 12 swap that I didn't use. I pressed them too and they may get worked up with that red jelly roll I bought for the Cherry quilt because I think it will be pieced up with the polka dot fabric.

Rain - yeah - you can stay for a while.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What does your Pin Cushion Say About You?

I troll through a lot crafting and sewing blogs. Every so often you see the persons pin cushion. It made me look at my pin cushion. I see this as being one of those personality assessments. Like the shape of your lipstick tells type of person you are.

My mom always had the classic tomato and strawberry pin cushion.

Then there is mine. I bought it off Etsy when we first moved into the house and I dusted off my mom's old Singer Touch n Sew sewing machine. I liked mine so much I ordered two more pin cushions for Christmas gifts for my husband's BFF's wife and my BFF.

When I came up with this blog subject, I found all kinds of pin cushions. I like this one a lot. The Eyeball! Isn't that great? Maybe that I like it because it's almost Halloween.

I also found this pattern that I think may just need to focused on as a back up pin cushion. I am suddenly in love with chickens.

Here is Karen's Owl - he pops up in a some of the pictures on her blog. She made him isn't he adorable?

I flipped through Regena's blog convinced she didn't use a pin cushion and then I found this. A box of pins...Apparently, when she needs to she uses pins in bulk. She'll be sending over a picture of a pin cushion so I can see it soon :).

Here is Regena's Pin Cushion ;)RegenaPinCushion

On Val's website she showed this adorable Buster Brown pin cushion she received in a swap from Fran. Isn't that the cutest thing you ever saw?

FAS 12

Originally uploaded by amysgreatadventure
This week at work has been mentally challenging. Decisions made by upper management weren't and still don't make since. Deadlines for customer requests, politics, technological challenges have been jus a part of the chaos.

So when I got home yesterday it was after an especially roller coastery day at work, and I found the FAS apron swap box on my door step. I instantly cheered up.

When I opened it I was so happy to see this perfect apron covered in dachshunds. It was just perfect! The polka dots are adorable. The tuckins included a great copper star hanger, a thanksgiving cookbook, and canvas magnetic picture hanger - all very cool.

After oooooing and ahhhhing, I had to head to this month's Junior League general meeting. There was a guest speaker from Susan B. Komen for breast cancer awareness. I actually, made it through without tearing up. It's a hard subject for me to "re-live" as my mom passed away over 10 years ago from breast cancer. As much as I love this time of year, it's a hard month with all the pink everywhere.

I miss my mommy so much. I know I'm a grown up with my own family, but not being able to call her and feel her hands is the worst.

Ironically, my sister was hosting an event called Bras for the Cause last night in Texas with all her real estate people. They had some of the Dallas Cowboys there and pink fire trucks. It's a great event and I'm so happy my sister is doing so much to fund research. I am very luck she is my big sister.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who do you sew for?

Originally uploaded by amysgreatadventure
So much of the time my projects are for specific people - a swap partner, my sister in law, niece, dogs, you name it. Rarely have I made myself something except maybe some pot holders, or the cover for the mixer and recently an apron.

I have bought fabric to make the following:

one for BFF
one for husband cousin #1
one for husband cousin #2
one for next door neighbor

Other Projects
one Crazy Dryer Sheet Quilt for the hubs
pot holders and kitchen towels for a friend and step mother
polar fleece cover for pad of the dog house
a tunic for myself for vacation in February
a tree skirt for Christmas for our new house
table runner for Thanksgiving for our tradition

This is what I currently have on my list. This list loves to change.

So who do you sew for and what UFO's do you have?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Favorite Fall Recipe!

Pumpkin Fudge

I make this every fall and I just love it. I have subscribed to Southern Living Magazine for 10+ years and I got this one a long time ago and had been my go to sweet treat for Thanksgiving. I hope you like it too.


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow crème
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Stir together first 6 ingredients in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft-ball stage) or for about 12 minutes.

Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool; cut fudge into squares.

Notes: Line pan with aluminum foil before you begin to cook the fudge. Once the candy thermometer reaches 234° and the remaining ingredients are added, quickly spoon the fudge into the pan.

Mary McClure, Barboursville, West Virginia, Southern Living, OCTOBER 2005

Sweat Shop

Originally uploaded by amysgreatadventure
So I am trying to use up this quilt panel I bought a while back. I want to make a quilt with cutting the blocks out and then into some other sequence. I've been playing around with a Bella Red jelly roll and some yardage of red with white polka dots. I still haven't figured out my layout.

However, here in Amy's sweat shop I have some helpers. As you can see they think the polk dots are the way to go. Anything I'm working on becomes they're play ground/nap area/I'm just going to star at mom spot.

I love them little weiners but am never surprised when I find a hedge hog squeeky toy in my scrap bundle where they buried it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rainy Days

This weekend has been a dreary one. Gray skies and light drizzle. Last night I slept with the window open. It was so nice to hear the rain in the middle of the night. I know this must sound silly to some people, but it just hardly ever rains here in Southern California. I miss the rain. I moved here from the Seattle area and I really like the climate up there. Here it's always perfect blue skies and 70 degrees and nice coastal breeze. It never changes except for the few days of the year where it rains.

We have two fireplaces in our house - not sure why - and we've never used them. However, I may use the one in the living room tonight. Would be great to look forward to at the end of the day.

My only issue with rain here is the traffic. It will be a long slow drive to the office today. Fortunately, I have 2 conference call early this morning that I will do from home and then drive in.

My garden is loving this moisture. The picture is my husband riding in the rain in Vancouver Canada. I took the picture from the warmth of my dad's car.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Process of Creativity

I was thinking about how I go through a process when I want to make something. Especially, if I don't have a pattern or a guide. On sewing blogs I sometimes see where the design has been drawn out. I will occasionally scribble out a sketch of what I want to make.

My process is one that works or mulls inside my head for days - sometimes weeks. This week I was chatting with Karen and Regena about an apron idea I've been thinking about. One where the bib buttons on and off so it can be a full and/or half apron. I'm sure this has been done before, but I don't have a pattern and I'm pretty sure of my design right now.

In my mind this apron skirt is mostly white (not a good apron color). It has splashes of bright color stitched here and there. The bib is mostly red with some white dots or flowers. The attachment of bib to apron is by a row of big red buttons - probably 4 shiny buttons, 1 inchers. The ties and waist band are some sort of fabric with all the colors - white, red, yellow, green, blue and the ties are wide and long for double wrapping for a bow in the front. I see some bright felted flowers somewhere too.

None of this is written down on a sketch pad or scrape of paper you see because it's all in my head still.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Crafting for Kids

Most people that "know" me understand I made a decision. I made it a long time a go. Not because I have any issue with them but because my life has never been very friendly towards them. I don't have kids or nor to I plan for them. My husband pretty much feels the same way. His theory is they don't make car seats for motorcycles.

Kids are fun, they have great personalities. I have no aversion to them, I'm not a kid hater. Even though I don't particularly like having the screaming baby around me for long flights - doesn't mean I don't have compassion for it's mother who is worn out and remorseful for the situation. I realize she needs some rest more than I could ever imagine.

So my point being that when I joined the Junior League I had no idea how involved I'd be directly with kids. With my decision (see above), I eventually ended up with friends and other couples that had made a similar decision. So I am rarely around kids - I mean rarely. So I am filling ill equiped for some of the JL activities.

The kids are now intimidating to me. Will I be able to speak "kid speak"?, can I relate, will I be able to engage them? Considering I am an offspring of a lady that was the Pied Piper of Kids, you'd think I have a clue. My mom would have a flock of kids around her in a matter of minutes.

Tomorrow I have my "new member" project for the JL. It's a kids Fall Food Fair at the local homeless shelter. We've got exercise/play stations, healthy snack foods, and then crafts. I obviously took crafts thinking it would easy. Now I'm a stressed out mess of this.

I've made up some great food pyramid handouts, fruit/veggie Bingo cards and two sets of fruit/veggie concentration games. Is this corny? I mean they are "hand made". They are bright and colorful but handmade. Will the kids think I cheaped out on them? I'm not much of a scraper so they look handmade.

I guess I just need to channel my inner kid and just go with it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sewing Rituals

I read this over at Ravelly. It's about your sewing rituals. It was one of her older posts about sewing rituals. I thought I'd write about mine.

1.) I always use my angle arm magnifying lamp over my sewing area. Mostly for the extra light and the lense for seam ripping.

2.) I sew barefoot or in socks.

3.) I behave as if I'm working in a sweat shop. Head down, focused and as fast as possible.

4.) I sometimes listen to music but mostly it's just the hum of my machine.

5.) I can't seam to learn that the ironing board is not a good cutting table.

6.) I make a disaster of my craft room and refuse to straighten it up until the project is complete.

7.) I keep my little fiskar fine point scissors at the machine for trimming threads.

8.) I keep all my scissors at my sewing table within easy reach.

9.) I keep my bobbin holder next to my machine in case I need to speed load.

10.) My seam ripper holder is "stuck" to my sewing table with double sided tape so it can't be moved, lost, or otherwise AWOL.

When I take a stretch break I'm usually all bound up in the sewing hunch.

But it's soo much fun.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cass' Coleslaw

I stole this recipe. It's not mine, but I sure use it a lot around here.

It's my BFF's recipe and I made her write it down for me - Because it is sooo GOOD.

1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1T good mustard - horseradish, yellow whatever you have thats good
1/4 c Tarragon Vinegar
1t celery seed
1T sugar
salt and pepper to taste.

sometimes I add in a little raw horseradish for some kick).

Mix it all together and mix into your cabbage or broccoli slaw.

I love it's sweet twanginess.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quilting and other life challenges

So last week I was in Miami for two back to back events for work. One was an internal business review and one was a VIP customer event. I was responsible for both. The customer event was my last event for the company I work for as a full time marketing coordinator has been hired. She's great and I'm very happy she's here. In some respects I'm sad but in others I am so very happy.

When I finally got home Friday night it was 1 am Saturday and I popped a muscle relaxer and crawled into bed with my wittle family. I'm not sure if they got up and came back to join me but I slept for 11 hours and woke up with the dogs. The hubs has left me sleeping. This is rare and I fully enjoyed and needed it.

Spent the weekend catching up on stuff and on Sunday night we finally celebrated our anniversary which was while I was in San Francisco. We had dinner at Mortons and the Grand Marnier Souffle was to die for good. Then we went to see Ira Glass at the Grove. It was one man show highlighting the NPR program This American Life. It was really good and nice change of pace.

Now on Monday - I spent alllll day in my sewing room catching up on things. I made the apron for my partner in the FAS Autumn Apron Swap, some matching pot holders and then I attempted the impossible. The mini quilt from the Homestead Hearth's Prairie Women's Sewing Circle. I actually did it and it looks pretty good for a beginner quilter. I'm almost excited for the next installment.

I also finished up the christmas quilt top - just need to make the sandwich, quilt and bind.

Now I'm struggling to head into the office ;)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shawnee's Autumn Apron Swap

Originally uploaded by amysgreatadventure
So I ordered these fabrics because I loved them. I had ordered them last weekend and they arrived sometime this week while I was in Miami. Boy was I happy to open up the package when I got home to find I loved them even more. But, I'm not so sure they are "autumn-y" enough for the apron swap.

May need to ponder on this or a day or so before i start cutting out the apron pieces.

Otherwise they'd make an adorable small lap quilt :).

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