Monday, December 28, 2020

Christmas Dessert!

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas! We certainly did. Having a baby around makes Christmas more special. Here's the showstopper dessert I made - Buche' de Noel (Yule Log Cake). I decorated it with peppermint malt balls, sugared rosemary, and sugar 'snow'. And it tasted every bit as good as it looks. Recipe HERE. This may become a yearly tradition.

We put all the Christmas decorations away yesterday and hung a different quilt in the dining room.

When you walk in the front door, you can see whatever quilt I have hanging. I love having a large wall for hanging a big quilt!

I would love to say that Sadie adored her bird Christmas ornament - but she wasn't too interested. She's a bit young to appreciate it, but I know as she grows up she'll love these. 

Yes, I got my hair cut SHORT a few weeks before Christmas. I'm still getting used to it, but I think I like it. So easy!!!

For Christmas, Santa brought me a bit of high blood pressure. Not the present I wanted. I had a physical just before the holidays. So I'm monitoring it at home and will see if I need a prescription after the new year. I've started walking almost every day - typically 45 minutes daily, sometimes an hour. Usually Hubby joins me, but if he's on the golf course I've started listening to podcasts while I walk. Currently I'm listening to The Orange Tree - I really like true crime stories.

I love our neighborhood for walking. It's flat and there are so many options for routes. 

I've ordered some new athletic shoes (mine are getting old), new insoles (Spenco), and an Apple watch to help me with my health journey. And once the Christmas yummies are gone (SOON!), I'll be eating healthier, too. But I've really enjoyed the Christmas yummies! Haha!

I still haven't been sewing! No real reason. But today I will! I promise!

Stay safe!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all enjoying this special season! We certainly are. I had planned to make more cookies, but we received two lovely gift boxes of yummies - we have enough sweets! 

Today I am cooking though. I have made a garlic cheese grits casserole for tomorrow's Christmas Eve brunch at Daughter 1's home. She will be making a French Toast casserole and Daughter 2 is bringing sausage balls and maple bacon. YUM!

On Christmas Day, the kids will all be at our home for lunch. We are grilling filet mignon and we'll also have twice baked potato casserole, a Christmas tossed salad, broccoli, and yeast rolls. For desert I'm making something very special. I'll share photos next week.

I'm making the potatoes today and I may start the desert. I'm also wrapping presents today. Alexa has been playing Christmas music all day. 

As you can see above, I did finish the latest bird block and I've started the next one. But I got side tracked! I decided I wanted to begin making a special ornament for Sadie each year. I searched Pinterest for ideas and googled like mad. Then I realized the solution was right under my nose. Sue Spargo's Happy Birds! I thought I might be able to make Christmas ornaments from these patterns. 

So I picked one of the early patterns, modified it a bit, and have been obsessed with this ever since! I made two of these birds in mirror image and did the same embellishments on both sides (except I only stitched the year on one side. Then I stitched them together with light stuffing and a cord. The ornament is entirely hand stitched. I hope when I am long gone that Sadie will treasure these.

And here's another photo I took outside so you can see the colors better. Each year I will use a different bird pattern.

When she is grown, she'll have a tree full of birds! By the way, Sadie is 9 months old TODAY! She's crawling and pulling up - on the MOVE! And so much fun!

I really haven't been machine sewing at all, other than making the binding for the two quilts I recently got back from the machine quilter and machine stitching it on to both of them. Now that I've finished the ornament, I will make time to hand stitch all that binding down. 

I've done more diamond painting. The more I do, the faster I get.  This project is almost halfway done. I won't finish until sometime in January, but finish it, I will!

Merry Christmas!
Stay safe!


Monday, December 14, 2020

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!


I've been baking. A LOT! Last week I made three batches of rolled cookies - sugar, chocolate, and gingerbread! The chocolate cookie recipe was the best! They didn't spread and taste so yummy. Here's the link to the recipe: Chocolate Cookies. I highly recommend it! 

Our girls came over Saturday (plus one son-in-law and sweet Sadie) and we had fun decorating cookies. I made Royal icing and we colored it in a variety of hues. (Don't forget - you can click on the pictures to see them bigger!)

We had such a fun day and this will now be a yearly event! Lots of laughter and smiles! I had a hot chocolate station set up, along with snacks. 

The guys and Sadie picked up lunch and after eating we moved on to Diamond Painting. Have you done this? I was familiar with it, but had never tried it. Daughter 1 brought us each a kit. There is a little tool included. The 'canvas' is printed with symbols and is sticky; it's covered with a clear plastic sheet that is peeled back as you go.  You dip the tool into a small wax sheet, pick up a 'diamond' and press it into the correct square on the 'canvas'. It's a lot like counted cross stitch. The numbers assigned to the 'diamond' colors are the same as in embroidery floss; i.e., black is 310 in both. 

Here's a small section.

Yes, this will take some time, but is very relaxing. I usually put together a puzzle at Christmas, but this will replace the puzzle this year. I have it on the dinette table so I can work on it a few times per day. 

I've done a bit of sewing - only handwork though. Almost finished with my latest happy bird. And I'm picking up two more quilts today from my long armer friend. So I should have two more finishes by the end of the year.

Stay safe!!!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Two More Quilts Finished!


Appalachian Autumn! All I had left was to hand stitch the binding and that happened Saturday and Sunday. Of course, now the Fall decorating season is over and we moved into this quilt was folded and put away for now. We'll enjoy it next Fall though!

I am MOST excited about this finish - my Christmas Row Quilt. All it needed was a bit of big stitch quilting and I finished that Sunday. Some of my friends made many of these rows so this quilt is really special. I still need to pin the bows on the wreaths (second row from top). I was determined to finish this before Christmas and I did.

I'm knocking out my UFO's. I still have two quilts with my long armer friend, so I should have two more finishes before long. 

What I'm reading:
I've been better about reading this year. For a long time after my mastectomy and associated surgeries, my brain was in a fog and I had trouble reading. I have read various modern novels recently and enjoyed them to a limited degree. For over a year now I've been thinking about those classics I read when I was a young teen. Those great books of old!

I remember my mom taking me to the library, particularly in the summer. I would see the placards with 
lists of recommended books for teens. Little Women, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights. The Iliad and The Odyssey. Yes, I was that teen. I would read the listed books FOR FUN! Can you believe I read The Iliad and The Odyssey for fun???? Yes, I was a nerd. But a well read one!

I decided it was time to go back in time. So for the next year, I plan to read some of these old classics. I have started with Jane Eyre. And I'm loving it!

Better go - Sadie will be here soon!
Stay safe!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Bullseye Quilt Finished


I finished this binding on my Bullseye quilt. This top has been finished for a LONG time. I'm so glad I finally got it quilted and finished. This is a fun little lap quilt.

And, we hung my Santa Claus quilt! Before our house was even built, I had studied the plans and picked out this wall in the dining room to mount a curtain rod to hang seasonal quilts. We've been here more than 8 months...and we finally hung the rod. The quilt went up this morning. I'm happy. And now our Christmas decorating is complete.

I haven't sewn much this past week - not sure why. I guess I've been busy with other things.

I did sign up for the Virtual Quilt Festival. I have really enjoyed it - and today is the final day. I've been able to view all the quilts, shop the virtual vendor mall, and even take classes. All my classes are on free motion quilting. 

The nice thing about the classes is that they are recorded and I can watch them anytime until December 12. I have 3 classes today - but I don't think I'll watch any of them live. It's football Saturday! 

I've already learned some new tips. And I discovered some new notions that I have already ordered. It has been the next best thing to going to Houston.

I'll share my new finds in another post soon.

Stay safe!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Four Quilts in Progress

Last week I posted that I had decided on four quilts to work on for the time being.

1. Stars Upon Stars
This quilt will take forever! But I know I'll love it! Here's the block I'm currently working on. This is only the second block. Yes, lots to go on this! I'm considering this to be a hand work project. I do make those little pieced diamonds by machine, but I've found it easier to do the rest by hand - it fits together better and it turns out to be the correct size.

2. Happy Birds!
This one has been hiding for a long time. Above are the birds I've previously completed. (I think one may be missing - hope I find it!)

I found this little 'kit' I'd made for the next bird.

Over the weekend I got this far on it. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy wool applique.

3. Cheddar Bowties
I'll keep this one going - it's mindless and if I continue to make 4 blocks per day, it will be finished before too long.

4. Green/Gray Lozenges
I really love the colors in this quilt. It's another mindless quilt once I have a pile of pieces cut...which I do.

These four quilts will keep me busy in December and we'll see how far along I get.

I picked up Appalachian Autumn and my bullseye quilt from the quilter Saturday. Over the weekend I made the binding for both and machine stitched it in place. So that's more handwork - stitching down the binding on both - a happy job.

I dropped two more quilt tops and backing off with her. I've had finished quilt tops hanging in a closet for years. I realize that since my surgery machine quilting all of these will be impossible. I will still quilt some of my own quilts, but I'm ready to cull down my unfinished tops and get them done! 

Stay safe!


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Back On-line!


I got a new computer! I've known for months that I needed one, but I was trying to put it off. It was finally time! I'm still working on putting all my stuff on it, but I'm making progress. And Hubby has inherited my old one. He cleared off all my TONS of stuff, gotten a new charge cord, and he is thrilled, too. 

We have our tree up! Yes, we decorated early along with the rest of the world. We had to buy a new tree - we only had a small tabletop one at the cottage. I love this 9 foot skinny tree! 

I said recently I wanted to finish some works in progress - so I pulled this one out. I have a pile of pieces cut and plan to make a few blocks each day. Yay! This morning I also pulled to two of my several quilt tops from a closet and found yardage in my stash for their backing. I'll take them to be long arm quilted when I pick up the two she has now.  I'm clearing out the UFO's!!!! I'm currently working on four quilts - will summarize them in an upcoming post.

Remember these little Christmas tree blocks? They became a Christmas table runner.

This is minimally quilted - just enough to get the binding on. I plan to add big stitch quilting at some point.

And what else is new? Cooper had surgery. He had a growth on his leg and we had it removed, fearing it would be the beginning of the end of his life. But it ended up being benign. Yay!

Enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow. There will only be four of us for a simple meal. But we will give thanks for all the 'YAYS' in our life. There are many!

Stay safe!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Busy Week!

I finished the Appalachian Autumn quilt top! Okay, it's not my best work, but I do love it anyway! It's now in the hands of a long arm quilter.

Last week I celebrated my 2 year anniversary of my mastectomy - a day that has become more important than my birthday. I treated myself to this breast cancer t-shirt - I love it because it doesn't SCREAM breast cancer. Perfect for me!

My fabric labeling has continued. I can see the color of each drawer at a glance. I still have to make 3 more laminated labels.

I have to say a word about Alex Trebek. RIP..... Here's a photo of me and our girls with him at the Pillbury Bake-Off many years ago. He was so kind to us. He even autographed the little Doughboy I'm holding in the picture. Alex hosted the TV show about the Bake-Off that year. It was such a pleasure to meet him.

I've changed my mind about Bonnie Hunter's mystery - I think I'll save the instructions as they are released, but for now I think I'll pass. I have so many UFO's and I think I'll continue to tackle them instead. It has felt so good to get some of these finished this year. I have a Christmas table runner that I want to quilt (picture soon!). I haven't sewn the last few days because I've been working on my labels on my fabric. Also I've been having computer woes. I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and buy a new one soon. Ugh! 

That's all from here! Stay safe!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Moving Along with Appalachian Autumn

I finished the leaf blocks this week! Today I added the first border and one side of the outer border. This quilt top is almost in the rear view mirror. I've thoroughly enjoyed this Bonnie Hunter pattern. It's not as fiddly as some of her patterns. And what could be better than to make an Autumn quilt during AUTUMN! The colorful leaves were falling from the trees on the golf course behind us as I've been sewing.

But what about Bonnie's mystery? Grassy Creek? Hmmm.... 

I pulled fabrics from my stash. So I guess that means I'm going for it? You know me - I don't love red, so my stash is sorely lacking in this hue. So I did what I had to do....I went online to Whittle's Fabrics. They always have a tab at the top for the latest Bonnie Hunter mystery. Yes, I ordered a couple of fat quarter packs of assorted reds. Their prices are the BEST!

This is another project I've been working on. I've been making large labels for my stash drawers. I'm using paint samples to indicate the fabric color and printing labels for other drawer items. I have laminated them. Now they need trimming and installing (with cable ties). 

Cheddar Bowties are still ongoing - each day I still make four of these. I think that I'll cut more scraps for these over the weekend - I'm getting low. 

Stay safe!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Back to My Daily Quilting Progress...

I've now made enough Appalachian Autumn blocks that I wanted to start sashing them. Because the background colors I chose are very close in value, Bonnie Hunter's sashing design would have been lost. So I decided to do my own thing with the sashing. I have had this fine wale corduroy in my stash for years and it fit the bill.

I'm liking it! Just a few more leaf blocks to go and I'll be ready for the pieced borders!

Yesterday I made the last four-block unit of cheddar bowties for another large block unit. Now I have two of these. I'm loving this!

Yesterday we decided to open doors and windows and burn off the fumes from our fireplace. We wanted to do this on a day that Sadie wasn't here. Cooper really appreciated the fire. Okay, now we're ready for cooler weather.

Stay safe!

Friday, October 30, 2020

A Slower Week


I machine embroidered another little onesie for Sadie. I need to order more in a bigger size - she is growing so fast that these are already tight! 

I pulled out this pillow kit I purchased in Houston last year - I cut the pieces and have it ready for hand stitching. I cut out the letters that go in the mouth when I get to that point.

Food. During a pandemic...

I finally hit a wall in cooking. I enjoy cooking normally, but enough is enough. So my new routine is to cook something on Sunday every week. I try to make a meal that will feed us twice or more. This past week it was Ravioli Lasagna - recipe here. This Sunday I'll make Cheesy Ground Beef Empanadas - recipe here.

We order take out pizza every week - we get two meals from that. 

Wednesday night is burger night at the clubhouse in our neighborhood - see picture above. These are GIGANTIC! We each get one (along with their delicious sweet potato fries) and eat half one night, saving the other half for another meal. The clubhouse has a very safe food pick up protocol. 

I know - not the healthiest of routines, but it gets us fed with minimal cooking. Last week we skipped the burgers and ordered a taco kit from a restaurant. Sometimes we skip the pizza and we grill out something. 

About Zeta:

Zeta hit our region harder than expected - it was the wind that was so damaging. We were lucky and have no damage at either home. The power was out at the lake for more than 24 hours. Hubby went yesterday and cleaned up the yard and emptied the refrigerator. There were so many tree and power lines across roads that he struggled to get there. So many people have trees on their houses and/or cars. Let's hope that was the last hurricane for the time being!

Today I think I'll set my machine back up for stitching and pull out the cheddar bow ties and Appalachian Autumn blocks. 

Stay safe! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Embroidery and Applique!


Before I get back to my regular routine of cheddar bowties, Fall leaves, and stars...I decided to pull out the embroidery module for my Bernina and work on some onesies for Sadie. I bought a five pack of long sleeve onesies. I did this pumpkin one yesterday. Sadie loved watching the machine do its thing.

Today I'll do another.

And I've done a bit of Fall baking. Pumpkin Bread - yum! And this delightful snack. 

Caramel Puff Corn is so easy to make - you start with cheese puff corn. I love this stuff - no 'old maids' or kernels. Great for snacking during a football game. It's very addictive, so make lots! You'll find the recipe HERE! NOTE: the recipe calls for one bag of puff corn - I used two bags, each just over 4 oz. Here's the kind I used:

Your family will LOVE it! I made two batches of this last week - from 4 bags of puff corn - it went fast! Yes, I shared with our daughters....

We're expecting rain and wind from Zeta today and tomorrow. This will be the third hurricane that has affected us. Of course Sally took part of our fence out - it's now repaired. Let's hope this one isn't too bad.

Stay safe!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Sew Be It: A Curved Hexie Quilt


Ta-Dah! Ta-Done! I may go back and add a bit more quilting to the center section, but we'll see. 30 hours of quilting in this so far!

I used more of Tula Pink's Homemade fabric for the rest of the quilt.

This fluorescent green background - whoa, it's bright! But it was nice to have those grid lines to help with quilting a diagonal crosshatch.

This has been a busy two week push to finish this quilt. Daughter 1 came over yesterday afternoon to take more professional photos for me - she's a master with the camera. (Please note that photos shown here are my own, done with my cell phone). Her photos are really amazing, but my computer is on the old side and those photos don't like to load on it. 

Do you want to know why I was in such a rush to finish? Well...

As we were nearing the end of the Curved Hexie Stitch Along, I realized that Free Spirit is running a competition for quilts made with the Homemade fabric line by Tula Pink. I knew the deadline would be tight - so I had to HURRY! And hurry, I did. 

My daughter also helped me fill out the entry form and attach her photos - my computer just couldn't handle it. And so.... or should I say, and SEW, it is officially entered. I'll keep you posted on that. And yes, I've named it: Sew Be It: A Curved Hexie Quilt. The quilt measures 60" x 63".

Sew Be It!

Stay safe!