November 30, 2012

Embracing William Morris...

I'm still working on this, but I'm sure getting better. I've been slowly moving out things that we no longer use, don't fit our style or decor anymore, or just plain don't make us happy. I'm tired of dusting "stuff" that just takes up space.

It's not even a matter of making room for more stuff. It's about making spaces for our eyes and our bones to rest. We're I'm finally embracing the philosophy of "less is more". You know. When you have fewer things, you're more able to appreciate (or just plain "see") the things you love the most. (Like each other!) Handsome has always been better at this than I, so when he sees me filling boxes or bags, it makes him happy.

Today is my applique' class. I'm really looking forward to spending the day making new friends and seeing dear friends again. I can think about tossing, donating or selling things tomorrow. After all, "tomorrow is another day". (To say nothing of another month already!!!) This also marks my 1300th post. I may do something special soon to celebrate.
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November 29, 2012

The Circle Is Unbroken...

I spent Wednesday preparing for a two-part applique' class that I'll be teaching at a local quilt shop on Friday. I've always enjoyed teaching, whether it be counted thread, needlepoint, embroidery, sewing, quilting or even outdoor skills (I know. Totally unrelated to the gentle arts, right?)

Being a teacher was something I always dreamed of as a child, and it seems that my path has followed my dreams for the past forty years or so. I've been blessed to be in a position to always follow my muse.

By the end of the day, I was ready to head to class. I have my outline and hand-outs ready; my finished samples are packed; and have readied my supplies. Kits are being assembled by the shop, so I don't have to concern myself with that. I've already discussed all those little "extras" related to applique' that the shop will want to have on hand, so the students will probably go on a spree after the class, too.

This will be my first teaching experience at this shop, but I've been asked to also teach two new class series there in the new year. I'll be planning my modules for classes in paper piecing (most likely using the Farmer's Wife book), as well as an embroidery class.

I wish Mom (Grace) lived closer. She loves that I'll be teaching classes in the first of the needlearts that she ever taught me. She'd be smiling all through the class if she could be here to go with me. She likes that the circle is unbroken, and she's always so proud of me. She's another blessing in my life. (Thanks, Mom!)
With all the excitement of having Marion and Doug visiting with us over the weekend, I just flat forgot to write my Memory Lane Monday post. So, I'm going to write two in December...the first on Monday, December 3rd, and my last post in my Memory Lane Monday on Monday, December 31st. I hope you'll join me - even sharing a story of your own if you'd like - as we close out the series together.
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November 28, 2012

Chirp, Chirp, Chirp...

Mary Engelbreit Friendship Card
I spent the entire day yesterday doing what I love with people I love. It was a glorious day, although I don't have anything new to show you from the studio. Perhaps today will be more fruitful.

Thank you, always, for stopping by to visit and share my days with me. I wish we could sit down like the two girls on my card (sent by a dear friend) to trade a story or two. Wouldn't that be just lovely?

I'll be back tomorrow to show you what I've been working on. I'm really looking forward to visiting with you again.
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November 27, 2012

Tuesdays With Tag - Family Time...

 Hi, Everybody!
It's been such a great Thanksgiving weekend you won't believe it.
 I just have to tell you all about what I've been doin'.

Mom said that Aunt Marion and Uncle Doug were comin' to visit,
but I just didn't believe her until I actually saw them comin' up my driveway.
 Next thing I knew, Aunt Marion was sittin' on the curb and sayin',
"Here, Tag!" in that sweet, chirpy voice that I love so darn much!
I couldn't help myself...I just bolted to give her some special corgi lovin'.
She giggled when she saw me.
Isn't she just so darn cute?
 I had to show her how I learned to FLY since the last time I saw her.
Believe me. She was impressed!!!
 Then, I just had to lie down and show her how big I got...
and tell her what I've been up to since the last time I saw her.
Aunt Marion brought Uncle Doug with her, but she left my brother,
Trip and their our black Labrador, Nicky at home. They sure are
missin' their daily Corgi Fix, but I'll take care of that while they're here.
I love that we're all family.
We all picked each other and love spendin' time with each other. 
That's what family's all about, right?

This visit is gonna be waayyy too short, but we understand.
They have to get back to their dogs, and they're missin' their 
grandkids, too. No kiddin'. I miss our grandkids every day!
 Mom and Dad are especially happy. They really enjoy sittin' around and 
catchin' up on all the latest news. Our visits are always too short, 
so I've gotta go enjoy our time together while I can. They'll be gone 
before I can wag my tail, and I'll start missin' them again right away.
So, I hope you won't mind terribly if I cut our Tuesday visit short this week.
I want to catch up on passin' out a few wet willies, snuggles, play times and 
all-round snuffling before Aunt Marion and Uncle Doug have to go.

Next time I see them, I'll get to see my brother again, and that's always awesome. 
'til then...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"

November 26, 2012

Princeton Update...

I didn't want you to think I've just been sitting around resting on my laurels. I have to work toward a November 30th finish for this quilt top if I'm going to make the deadline to get it to the long-arm in time for Christmas.
It starts with twenty blocks with twenty plates. I've assembled nine plates with the other eleven patiently awaiting Prissy's (my Babylock Espire) touch. I decided to hand applique' those first nine plates to their base blocks and then finish assembling the last eleven.
I've already completed five of the plates, so I'll be back to joining more in no time. It takes me just over one hour to applique' one plate to its block. When the blocks are all completed, I'll add the sashing and borders to complete the quilt top.  I'm hoping to make the deadline, but just in case, my fallback position is his January birthday. I'll let you know how I do.

You know how I work...December 1st, this Santa's helper goes into full production mode. I'll share my list with you then - but everything is usually scheduled for a December 16th deadline so I can get it all in the mail to arrive with plenty of time to spare.

What are you working on this week? Are you making any of your Christmas gifts this year?
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November 25, 2012

Sunday Scripture...

Courtesy of Our Daily Blossom.com

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November 24, 2012

Our Floozie Swap Is Complete...

I received the last two ornaments in our Button Floozies Ornament Swap yesterday, and they're really beautiful. 

The first one is from new friend, Renee from Washington state. Her ornament is completely hand stitched! I can see each tiny stitch executed by her own hands and you can see how much work went into it.

Her center motif is a lacy piece that I think she created on an embroidery machine. Then it was attached to her base and embellished with beautiful, vintage buttons. She even included two pairs of holiday-themed earrings!
She signed it in perfect stitches on the reverse, too, so I'll always remember who created this unique keepsake for me. Thank you, Renee. This will be a treasured ornament for years to come. I know how hard you worked on it and I will always be grateful for the work of your hands.
My second package contained surprises from my friend, Denise from Vermont. Denise and I have been friends almost since I moved to Florida and I was tickled when Laurie chose us to be swap partners!

Denise created a truly unique ornament for our tree...she hand-crocheted a garland and then spent who-knows-how-long adding vintage buttons and seashells to turn it into a truly southern tree ornament for me.  What a genius idea! (Don't miss the "Joy" pin in the picture, too. Denise knows I always sign my notes that way.)
She also crocheted a tiny stocking and added a vintage button on the front of it. I was so surprised to see what Denise had created for me, and I'm going to make a special display using the ornaments that have been sent to me over the past two years of swapping. Denise's garland will really stand out on it!

Thank you, Denise for creating such a beautiful and unique gift, tailored just for me. I think you can imagine how much I love everything, my friend.

I was so fortunate to receive the names of my four swap partners this year. Denise, Renee, DeeDee and Deb created that most unique and special ornaments to share. Perhaps I should just start planning in January for next year's swap. I think I'm going to have to consider steppin' up my game. There is so much talent in our group!

Thank you Laurie Jackson, our Button Floozies blog administrator for her hard work pulling together this swap. I'll be sending out a package next week to show my appreciation. It's really great to be a Floozie!
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November 23, 2012

Recipe For A Holiday Favorite...

This is the dessert I served yesterday following our Thanksgiving dinner. It's Cranberry Cake with a sweet sauce that's served warm over the top (or floating the cake if you like it as much as we do!). I mentioned it to my friends on Facebook while I was making dinner and they asked me to share the recipe. I shared it with them, and today I thought I'd share it with you, too!

My oldest friend is Cyd (I wrote about her here.) Her mom used to make this dessert when we were growing up, and she shared the recipe with my family. It continues to be a favorite in our home to this day. In addition to being delicious, it's easy, too!
I was fortunate to purchase Wisconsin cranberries at our Florida Publix store when I went shopping for ingredients. (A little taste of our home state for our warm-weather dinner.) You'll need about three cups of fresh cranberries, which get rinsed and drained before you add them to the recipe. One bag is usually enough.
You'll put the mix into a 13 x 9 pan and bake about 35-45 minutes in a 350° oven, and it will come out looking golden brown like this one. I usually make the sauce ahead and then just reheat it when it's time to serve dessert. I also added pecans (just on top) this time. That's personal preference, but I was glad I did. It added just another texture to the cake.

Cranberry Cake with Sauce
D. Liljegren • Brynwood Needleworks
Cake Recipe:
3 tsp. melted butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
Mix ingredients together and then fold in:
 3 cups whole cranberries.
Turn into a 13" x 9" pan.
Sprinkle pecans on top, if desired
Bake 350° for 35-45 minutes. 

Sauce Recipe:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
Blend in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Take off the heat and add:
2 tsp. vanilla
Spoon warm over serving pieces.
This sauce stores and reheats well, too. 
Enjoy!


If you try this recipe, I'd love to know what you think.  No Black Fridays around here. I'll be in the studio working on Handsome's Christmas gift.
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November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving...

Image courtesy of 4Shared.com
Blessings from our home to yours...

November 21, 2012

Ornaments From A Couple of Floozies...

Over the weekend, I received ornaments from two of my Button Floozies swap partners. DeeDee from DeeDee's Craft Spot and Debbie R. created two beautiful ornaments for me.
Debbie's ornament is a cross stitched tree on aida cloth. Then, she embellished the tree with button ornaments! The needlework was mounted on matboard and a hanger added. Isn't it sweet?
Debbie certainly put a lot of work into her ornaments. Remember, she did four ornaments like this to swap!  Thank you for your generosity, Debbie. This ornament will have a place of honor on our tree!
DeeDee and I are ol' blogging pals, and have been involved in swaps and personal gift exchanges almost since I started blogging. She really knows me and what I like. She's been saving that gorgeous woven acorn just for me - and finally had the excuse to send it along in her swap package. I almost fainted when I saw it!

As if the ornament and acorn weren't enough, she included a beautiful, handcrafted bookmark, a snowflake ornament, and a little fold-up book.
...and a bag of red, green and winter-themed buttons. Dang! Why didn't I think of that??? I did include tiny bear jars filled with Sarasota-grown honey along with my ornaments, but I should have thought to add more buttons. She really went over the top!

Thanks, DeeDee. You're too generous, my friend. Between you and Debbie, I was S.P.O.I.L.E.D. again last weekend. Thank you to both of you for your creative gifts. I'm a very grateful Floozie. (hee hee)
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November 20, 2012

Tuesdays With Tag - Talkin' Turkey...

Hi, Everybody!
Today I'd like to talk with you about a very serious subject.
Let's talk "Turkey"!

I'm personally lookin' forward to everything I've been hearin' about Thanksgiving...
family, friends, good food, music (at our house) and perhaps some football, 
where everyone will get all excited and holler at the tv while I run around barkin'. 
I do have one small question, though...What the heck is THIS?

 "It's our turkey, Taggart."
"No way, Mom. This isn't a turkey. It's a hard, cold lump in plastic wrap!"
"Just wait until Thursday, Little Man. I promise you'll be drooling when you
 get a whiff of this bird in the roaster, filled to the brim with my homemade stuffing."

I know that Mom makes the best food around so I'll believe her. 
If she says this is turkey...then it's a turkey!

I'm lookin' forward to seein' everything that Mom is gonna make for our 
Thanksgivin' dinner. I love having company, too, so it's gonna be a perfect day!

We didn't go on our road trip last weekend, which is just as well. Mom got
sick on Sunday night. I'm glad Dad was here to take care of her. I'm not much
of a nurse, although I would have been happy to lick her face 'til she felt better.
She's feeling much better now, so Dr. Dad has done it again. (Thanks, Dad!)

Well, Mom helped me churn out another T w/T post for you today.
We all hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and lots of good stuff to eat.
'til next week...
"More Waggin' and Less Barkin'!"
and
Happy Thanksgiving from the Corgi

November 19, 2012

A Lost Day...

Yesterday was a lost day. I think it was the flu. At least, the flu is going to get the blame for my totally wasted day.

I missed Handsome's concert in Sarasota. I missed the beautiful weather outside. I missed creating a single thing in the studio. 

It was a lost day. Let's hope today isn't a repeat.
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November 18, 2012

Sunday Scripture...

Courtesy of  Our Daily Blossom.com
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November 17, 2012

November Mini...

Another closeup of mine
Friday was a fun day for me. I got to spend the day in the studio - less the hour I spent at the post office waiting to post overseas packages. (Just a few goodies heading to my friends in the Farmer's Wife QAL.) When I got back home, I tasked myself with starting (and finishing) my mini quilt for November. It is mid-month already, after all.
Kathy's original design
My friend, Kathy designed this month's quilt. I was tickled to see that she had chosen squirrels and acorns! I think her design is adorable and I've been thinking all week about how I wanted to personalize mine.
Fay's mini
This is the quilt, adapted by Fay. She had hers finished earlier in the month, so I got a peek last weekend at our coffee group. It's always fun to see how each quilter personalizes the designs to reflect their own personality. One of the gals loves little yellow ducks, so no matter what the theme, she always manages to find a place to sneak in a duck!

It was time for me to quit gawking and start sewing. I chose the fabrics I wanted to use, and then I pulled out two of my Michelle Palmer drawings on fabric that I've been saving for a special project.
Close-up of my November Mini Quilt
I decided to do a little hand tinting on Michelle's two little squirrel drawings so that I could place them as the focal point on my block. Then I fused them to the block and started adding leaves and acorns.
My entire center block
By the end of the day, I'd completed my block. It's all stitched, bound and ready to take to our coffee group this morning.

December's design is already in my binder, but I think I'll bask in this November glow for a little while before I tackle the next one. I'm going to wait until the traditional "day after Thanksgiving" to even start thinking about it. Christmas will be here soon enough. No need to rush.
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