Cooking, Sewing, Working, Traveling, Gardening and Pondering

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

~Winston Churchill~

Saturday, December 31, 2011


At our house we did a major purge over this last week.  Lots of stuff taken to Goodwill.  I'd been meaning to go through my scrap bins for a while...So last night I started sorting by color and tossing what was just a crumb.
It looked something like this...

Then I wanted to look for a scrap-friendly quilt project.  I flipped through this book.

I found this quilt..

So most of my scrap pile ended up looking like this..

I also realized I have a gingham problem...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Years and No Excuses - Pass it on.

No excuses, folks. Don't drink and drive- and don't ride with anybody who does.Tipsy Tow offered by AAA: You don't have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year's Eve/Day they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number... 1-800-222-4357. Please re-post this if you don't mind to help save lives.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Reason for the Season

Luke 2

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Curse of the Chicken and Dumplings

The first time I went to make chicken and dumplings (CND) I made it how my grandma made it, with little round balls of dough for dumplings.  However, this was not how the hub's grandma made it.  This lead to quite the heated discussion (aka argument) on how this needs to be done.  Then the next time I made them like I thought his grandma made them...but "too" thick"..this lead to another heated discussion.  Then the next time the broth was too thin and this lead to a heated get my drift.  The dang things were cursed!  We banned them from our house in an effort to avoid arguments for quite some time.

Then this week I got up the gumption to try again. Low and Behold! we got through the making of them just fine! Even got through dinner just fine.   Only comment he made was that maybe the dumplings could cook a little longer next time..I was ok with that as I may have rushed things because it was 9 o'clock by the time I spooned the first bowl and I was hungry and tired.

Have you ever had a situation like this before because, to me it was the oddest example of pure stubbornness on both our sides that created this mess!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bread for the Masses

Matthew 14 18:21

“Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

I've always loved this passage.  I love to feed people and see them enjoy a good meal.  I have always been the one that brought in goodies to the office.  I remember taking gumbo into the machine shop in Boise to a bunch of guys that didn't know what gumbo was. I would bring in hot cider in my crock pot for the guys that worked outside to enjoy.  Now days, I tend to schlep whatever I've baked that weekend into the office.  Lately, I've been wanting to learn how to make bread.  I think it was even one of my New Year's resolutions for 2011.  I've found two great recipes that I'm really enjoying making. 

For the Baguettes - I used this recipe from The Sisters Cafe: 
(I hope its ok I put this here  - it is her recipe)

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbs. (2 packages) dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
In a small bowl mix the warm water with the yeast and sugar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes – foam should form on the top.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and salt. Gradually add the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough becomes a smooth ball and knead for 5 minutes. (I use my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook)
Cut in half and then shape into 2 baguettes. To make them smooth and pretty, roll each half of dough into rectangle and roll up lengthwise. Pinch the edges to seal and place on lightly greased cookie sheet (or silpat) with seam down. Cover and let it rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With a very sharp knife (I like to use a serrated blade) gently make a slash down the length of each baguette. This will give it that authentic look. Pour water in a cookie sheet and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Half way through, brush the bread with melted butter.
This are the ones I made last night - went pretty fast.  I just went too heavy on the butter :O

For the crusty bread I used this recipe from Simply So Good
 (I hope its ok I put this here  - it is her recipe)
Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. 

Crusty bread

So go out and make bread and feed the masses.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Yes, I signed up for this.  Yes, I actually did some stitching.  I just didn't feel like I stitched enough.  My hairdresser asked if I could come in after work Friday instead of Saturday afternoon so I didn't get home until 8ish.  I took a bit of time to setting down and finally sat down to "sew" on the dresden quilt.  It's been my TV watching stitching lately.  I am 90% done with the hand quilting - I only have like 3 more panels to go and I can bind it.  But I was so pooped from the week I was only able to quilt one stinking panel for the Friday Night Sew In.  So I didn't blog it yesterday because Heidi gives away such great prizes, I would have felt too guilty if I had been fortunate to win something from her giveaway.  But next month, lookout! I'll be all over the FNSI.

Friday Night Sew In

Last night I played around with something I've had awhile.  Miss Nadine over Apron Valley Road sent it to me in the Aunt Pitty Pat Sewing Accessories Swap.  It's called the Lil' Twister.  I participated in another Swap, The Charming Christmas Fabric Swap and received all these wonder charms (5x5) Christmas fabrics.  Angela over at Summerfiled Quilts put on a great swap!.  So I went to work putting the pieces together last night and taking the Lil' Twister to them.  They are gonna be so dang adorable if I do say so myself.  Just two more panels to go and I'll have 3 very fun little table mats.

Friday, December 16, 2011

'Tis the Season!

Happy Friday everyone! A little update here. Some of you may know I have Bruxism (teeth grinder). I've had it for as long as I can remember. The last 4 years I've been seeing an Oralfacial Pain Management specialist. I've googled this guy I don't know how many times making sure he's not a "quake". He is everywhere in published books, papers, medical journals - both in the US and abroad. I've had some good things from my treatment. He was able to finally make the piercing ear pain go away, I've been able to get through regular dentists appoints to fix some bad teeth I'd neglected because my jaw was miserable. He'd told me when I first went to see him(long story but all dentist and other docs before him wanted to do surgery immediately) that he wanted to avoid surgery at all costs.

So here I am 4 years later without surgery and I've had some successes. Now about a month ago or two ago, he replaced my night guard with one for the upper teeth to try to pull my bottom jaw forward to stop some of "popping" of the disk in my jaw. Since then I've had nothing but pain and inflammation. He's done steroid shots into the jaw and I've taken two rounds of prednisone to get it under control. I saw him yesterday because now the jaw "grinds" in it's joint. I don't think it would be so bad except I can HEAR it. The sounds just reverberates through my head.

So he wants to get new xrays (last ones done in 2008) and see how much the jaw is deteriorated. He said that now that the steroids have reduced the inflammation there is nothing "cushioning" the joint and that is why it's grinding - I almost want the inflammation back..Ha! Anyway, he provided me with some pain meds, muscle relaxers, etc yesterday to keep me comfortable until the insurance approves the CT of the joint. This doctor has seen on his off days before and even offered to see him today and Monday if need be - the university is closed even. I have his cell and email numbers and have always been encouraged to call if it gets out of hand. I really appreciate that. So I today it feels much better - but that could be because of the muscle relaxers...or it could because the muscle relaxers let me sleep last night. Either way it's better today.

The moral of this story is simply about wanting Soft Food recipes. Soups, mashes, blender - you name if you have something you enjoy - please either post or email me the recipe.

Ok enough about me. I got a happy package in the mail yesterday from my swap partner for Aunt Pitty Pats Christmas Stocking Swap - Donna! It's just awesome. Here are pictures of the wonderful things she sent me. Today is my deadline to mail and I"ll send to her at lunch today - it's all packed up and ready.

Love this sewing ornament!! So cute.
She packed that stocking full! Love it

Thank you so much Donna and I hope you enjoy your package as much as I enjoyed yours.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From mistakes come challenges

When making the dresden plate quilt, I decided I needed to add additional plates. So I ordered more charm packs, and went to work. However, I couldn't find the paper template I'd used before on the previous dresdens. I ended up buying the plastic template. Measured it as best my pea brain could again the already made plates and went to work sewing them up. Well, we all know this doesn't end well. They were not the same angle/radius so they did not match the older ones. Here I was left with 2 odd ball dresden plates. What to do what to do. So I wiped up these little candlemat/mug rugs - depending on the application you see - multi-taskers. Then this week's surprise in the mail was this awesome mug rug from Regena over at The Distracted Domestic Diva! Thank you - you are such a wonderful lady and I'm so glad you're my close friend. One evening I tried my hand at these microwave homemade caramels. super easy - took longer to wrap them all than to make them. I sea salted some and pecanned the others. (is pecan-ned a word?) Recipe here Here's a sneak peak at something for an upcoming swap...I'd say which one, but that might give it away to my partner. Just a little over a week - are you ready for Christmas?

Monday, December 12, 2011

something to ponder

I read this quote today and it made me think...maybe it will get you to think too.. “One of the consequences of such notions as "entitlements" is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” by Thomas Sowell.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Hello everyone! sorry for my bloggy absence. I've opened up blogger many times to post and just got busy. I must make a not to myself that next year during this time to prepare several timed posts to happen so I don't loose everyone. Here are some of the things I've been working on. I'm hand quilting the dresden quilt. Some table runners... Some aprons for a friend of mine... Pinwheels from the Charming Christmas Swap to be made into some mug rugs at some point... a stitched reindeer to be made into something... Not sure you remember Rudy the reindeer - but I unpacked him when I was decorating for Christmas and put in by the fireplace...then this is what I found...two very guilty dachshunds...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Collateral damage

From trying to stitch after a long week at work and up too late.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Something Something

It's been a bit stressful at work this week (staff reductions). So I haven't been very outwardly energetic. But I do have a few updates. I was able to spend some time in the garden Saturday morning and found the pepper plants has burst forth another gallon of jalapenos. So instead of jalapeno relish that I'd already canned, I made jelly. I hope everyone likes a little spice in their Christmas this year!
On Sunday, the hubs and I and his friend Austin went out shooting sporting clays at the gun club. Here's our stroller for the guns..yes for the guns..hahaha what will they think of next?
The hubs has been out of town this week so I was able to watch a movie I'd been wanting to see - "Water for Elephants" - well let's just say the book was better. I stitch when I watch TV - here's a little ornie I'm making.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I bet you thought I'd be posting about the

Old Truck Quilt by now...well it's taunting me...hanging up on the wall in my sewing room...just staring at me. Don't worry it's day is coming and soon I might add. But in other news, I am about to change my skin care products out. That's not crafty or especially exciting but for me it is a bit stressful. You see I am this uber sensitive skin an any little thing makes it react like a teenager full of raging hormones. I have used all kinds of things over the years and of late had a pretty decent set of products. But then I started noticing these deeeeeeep crows feet at my eyes and this crepe - iness under my eyes. So this lead to some research and a decision. I'm going try out DHC products - the cleansing oil, the olive oil soap and their Q10 cremes. The reviews on this line have been fairly high across many different boards. It is suppose to be delivered today, so I'll let you know how it's going next week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My modified Stack Coins Quilt

Just needs one small bit of work and it is DONE. This thing has taken me months and months and quite frankly I'm a bit of sick of looking at it. I may need to pack it away for a while before i put it out. So a refresh of what it is - I used 2 boxes of Moda Dark Candy Bars, two brown sashing fabrics, a green polka dot backing and redish brown/green fabric for the binding. I hand quilted with Perl Cotton no 8 in a variety of colors. I don't know how the Amish and the hand quilters do it. Looking at the same quilt for so long but it's no wonder their quilts cost what they do - I now think they undercharge. Now I feel like I can move onto the Old Truck Quilt and a few other projects without the Lil Rascals and Stacked Coins wearing on my UFO stack.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew In!

I gotta say this last week was a long one. Lots going on at work, Junior League, and home. So last night when I got the apple pie out of the oven, I was finally able to sit down and pick up my sewing for the Friday Night Sew In. I finished hand sewing the binding on to the Lil Rascals quilt I am making for one little Spider Man back in Texas for his Christmas this year. This is one gift done and ready for wrapping. Here is the top of the quilt: Here is the what the binding looks like with the brown minky fabric as the back. Also, the tracking says this was delivered to my partner so this is what I sent for Aunt PItty Pat's Halloween Tote Bag & Mug Rug Swap. I hope that my partner likes it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

Yeah! see the link there on the left side bar? click and join! I plan on doing the quilt bindings featured in the post below! See you then!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On going projects

Being home this weekend was nice. I was able to work on some UFO's. I finished the hand quilting on the modified stacked coin quilt and got it all prepped and ready to bind. Here is a picture of it with the backing and the fabric I found for the binding. Then I worked on the Lil' Rascals Quilt I'm making as a Christmas gift. It was my first quilt to back with minky fabric and boy was it easy! Now I need to bind it and pack it away for wrapping. I also finished up my two swaps - Aunt Pitty Pat's Halloween Tote & Mug Rug swap and the Charming Christmas Swap. These are mailed and on their way to their recipients. Happy sewing everyone!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Tote & Mug Rug Swap

I signed up for Aunt Pitty Pat's Halloween tote & mug rug swap this year. I sure had fun making up the tote and mug rug for my partner. I even made up some additional goodies too. Plus all the necessary swap tuck in's and fun stuff. I'll mail it either tomorrow or Monday depending on if I can find a box around here or have to wait until I see what I have at the office. I did receive mine today from my partner! It is just adorable She really did all kinds of extra goodness in there. Here's a picture minus the candy (the hubs snagged it quick). Thank you Jackie it's really great!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I tried a new recipe last night

My hubs likes to take home made goodies in his lunch. While trolling through Pinterest I found this great cooking blog Lick the Bowl So I made these great pecan pie cupcakes last night. My review - 5 minutes of prep I baked for 30 minutes as I only have a jumbo muffin tin and they just took longer than the mini muffin tin instructions. Outcome DELICIOUS!!! run hurry put some in the oven - you won't regret it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sad Event

A little over a week ago, I got a horrific phone call from my very best friend in the world. Her husband had been in a motorcycle accident and did not survive. As we live so far apart, it took me a few days to get there to be with her and their daughter through this tragedy. It has given me a lot of clarity in how to live my life. I want to live it more fully as if tomorrow may never arrive. Since I lost my mom to breast cancer, I've been better about telling those people close to me how much I love them. From the passing of Steve, I'm taking a "live life to the fullest" approach. He was a good husband and father and will be missed by so many. I am here for my friend and her daughter and want to keep them focused on the positive and to endure lives challenges with courage and optimism.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This has got to be the easiest ...

homemade bread recipe ever. This is where I found it...Pinterest Where they found it at Simply So Good And here is how mine turned out. Can't wait to give a nosh!. Crusty bread

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sorry I've been off sewing and working

Here are some things I've been working on. A tea towel for my bathroom Table runner number 1 - made from a tutorial on Sew4Home But I can't finish it because I messed up the backing fabric and I have a pact with Karen to not buy any fabric for the ENTIRE month of September. So far so good. Here is Table Runner 2. This is the top without the batting/backing/binding. And here it is after i attempted to free motion quilt it. Now this is the Lil' Rascals Quilt top. I am making this as a Christmas gift but can't finish it due to the no new fabric in September rule. I need the backing and the batting. So what have you been working on?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art Quilt Part 4

I may need to rethink some of my fabrics or add in some additional "tones" to get more definition in my truck. But tonight I was able to outline the truck on the dew sew and do two sheets of the pattern pieces in two of the different fabrics.

I'm only going to pin the pieces on the dew sew until I get all the pieces cut out and see how I like it. I already want to change out one fabric for something else.

Considering I really have no idea what I'm doing - just following some instructions out of a book, I think it's kinda looking like a truck...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Art Quilt Part 3 and the Panda Swap

So for the last week or so I've been traveling. First I went to Seattle to see a dear friend get married! I had the best time and just love her and her family and her new family. It really was a beautiful wedding! Then I came home for 12 hours and left for San Jose for business. Needless to say, I haven't gotten much sewing done. I did however get the final items needed to move forward with my art quilt.

The Ruby Beholder - this is a value finder and window template.

It is to help sort fabrics by value. It helps you see the fabrics in shadings from light to dark.

I found the Do Sew on Clotide (along with some charm packs, I didn't need for the Art Quilt).

This is the traceable foundation for me to mount my pattern pieces to in the image construction of the art quilt.

And finally, I remembered to pick up some freezer paper from the grocery store for the applique pieces.

So now I should be ready to start cutting out the pattern pieces and the initial assembly.

Also, while I was gone, my Panda Swap box arrived and Kerry out did herself! It was such an amazing swap box! wow!

Wonderful stuff in there! - fat quarters, rick rack, buttons, an awesome pin cushion, measuring cups and spoons, a pattern for a fun animal (panda) blanket and some incredible panda ribbons! But wait for it - she also made me this super panda table runner! check this out! it's cheerful and fun.

Thank you so much Kerry! I just love it.

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