Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Same... Only Different

I've been busy stitching but in a different form. I decided to take a break from quilting for a week so I could really concentrate on learning to crochet. I really wanted a portable craft for those times when I don't have a binding ready to sew on. After making the obligatory beginner scarf, it was time to move on to something cute and useful. What could fit that bill better than those darling little baby hats with the huge flowers that can be seen on every photography site on the Internet? Here is the fruit of my labor and I have to say, I think I am addicted.
 These can be made in just a few hours (even if you are a beginner) and are a perfect baby gift for those times when you don't have time to make a quilt or you don't know the new parents that well but still want to give them a home stitched gift.
  For an awesome FREE pattern I went to the Aesthetic Nest blog and found just what I was looking for... and a lot more! Here is the link for the tutorial and it is also available in PDF form there.
 And for the baby boys, I went to Anneliese's Etsy shop and purchased the baby earflap hat. Wouldn't want them to feel left out! That will be my next crochet project.
 That particular pattern comes with directions to make this adorable Ruffled Rose so I added it to a hat I already had made. It doesn't seem to matter that the flower is, in fact, larger than a newborn baby's head! It just makes it all that much cuter! lol
   Anneliese explained that crochet is more forgiving than knitting, which a big plus for me. It also is cool that it cannot be reproduced by a machine like knitting can.
  If you haven't learned to crochet yet, I encourage you to try it. It's a great, portable craft that yields beautiful results. I told my husband, "I cannot believe I am making something so cute out of a piece of string!"  Blessing to you~               

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bonus Quilt

I was lamenting to my son last night about never having any original ideas. I almost always have to see some one else's idea before it becomes even a microscopic blip on my brain's creativity radar screen. Then I think, "Now why didn't I think of that!". It's as if my brain is finite, with set boundaries that cannot be expanded. It cannot be forced to go places that don't exist. I do not like fiction books and I didn't teach my kids fairy tales or nursery rhymes. Sad, huh? Kind of makes it awkward during those baby shower nursery rhyme games. Haha! This is why I present to you, with great pride, exhibit A.
 There was no pattern. After what you've just read this is shocking, I know. I had some left over floral fabric from the back of this quilt and wanted to showcase it somehow because I think it is so pretty. I got right brain stretch marks from trying to figure out ways to use what I had and turn it into something of a usable size. I had to piece one of the large flowers to get the number of blocks I needed. In some circles this is seen as tacky. In the senior center quilt group where I volunteer, it is a badge of honor. To depression era folks (the first one, not the one we are in now), it means you were frugal and used what you had in your hand. It is something to be praised and admired.
 I won't tell them I had to go out and buy the border fabric to pull my "bonus quilt " all together. Shhh!

Blessings to you~   


Saturday, August 13, 2011

I May or May Not Be Indecisive

  Ask my family to describe me in one word and they will likely say "indecisive". I don't like being that way but it just sort of ... happens. Take me to a new restaurant with an unfamiliar menu and I'm a mess. I have learned to hide it most of the time to avoid appearing like a crazy goon but, when quilting, it oftentimes overtakes me.

  There are SO many decisions to make before even sewing a stitch! Will the recipient value it? What is their decor style and colors? What pattern should I use? Which fabrics? Paper piece? Or not? What size? And then later... Which batting? Professional quilter or... me? Freehand custom or computerized all-over design? And what color thread? Bias binding? Label? Whew! I'm exhausted just typing this!

  I think I am the reason they started selling quilt kits. Most of the decisions have already been made for you! Trouble is, I always look at the price and say, "One hundred, sixty-nine dollars! I could make it for less than that!". So I am back to where I started from.

  I just finished "That Dorky Homemade Look" by Lisa Boyer. Love her sense of humor and can't wait to read her other book, "Stash Envy". My favorite chapter addresses just this problem. She says the solution is to 1.Make the best decision you can  2.execute it, and 3. learn to love your results. It is really freeing to let go of the stress and not over think it. That way I am not so overwhelmed before I even start that I don't do anything. (Which has happened to me on many occasions)
  Join me as I strive to love my decisions, even if they include some mistakes. Now, what to make for dinner? Sooo many choices!
Blessings to you~


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Raspberry Bread and Cream Cheese Spread

Yesterday I was invited to help a sweet, older woman pick raspberries from a large patch with branches hanging heavy with beautiful, ripe deliciousness. The sky was overcast so even at mid-day, we could comfortably  pick to our hearts content.

My mind kept wandering to a quick bread recipe I hadn't seen for years in my highly organized tangled, chaotic mess of recipes. The moment I got home I began to franticly shuffle through stacks of random pieces of paper with hand scrawled recipes, newspaper clippings and reams of computer generated print outs. It is truly a miracle that I found it and even more so, that I had ALL the ingredients to make it!  

                           RASPBERRY BREAD AND CREAM CHEESE SPREAD         
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 (3oz.) pkg. red Jello
Stir together and make well in center. Set aside.

3 eggs
2 c. fresh raspberries
1 medium banana
3/4 c. oil
Puree together in blender. Stir into dry ingredients until combined. Pour batter into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 375' for 45-50 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes and then turn out onto rack and cool. Meanwhile, make spread.

8 oz. cream cheese
2 T. powdered sugar
3 T. berry juice
Combine until smooth and spread on a thick slice of bread!

As with most quick breads, it is better the next day, if it lasts that long! Look how pretty the batter is.
I took a slice to my neighbor but had to stop by the flowers and take another picture. Couldn't
 resist! Blessings to you~

Monday, August 1, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll (yup, that's what I said) Wreath

 The "Lawyer" at Sisteroo did it again. This time she has come up with a beautiful craft made out of something we all have a steady supply of. Toilet paper rolls! You would never know of its humble beginnings, would you?
She glammed it up with paint and jewels so it really looks pretty and delicate. You can find the tutorial here if you'd like to make your own. Or you could just read it for the the laughs because she makes even a toilet paper roll craft sound like fun!
Tomorrow, a recipe to use up some of these-
Blessings to you~