April 30, 2015

Live Like You Mean It...

Art by Mary Engelbreit
After finding I had a dead, dead, dead battery in my car yesterday morning, I was extremely fortunate that Handsome hadn't left for his appointment yet. He gave me a ride up to Carol's and then went on his way.

Carol and I visited for a while (joined by her sweet husband, Jack) and then we left for lunch at Cosimo's. (She drove.) We caught up on the last few months and we discussed Handsome's and my moving plans. After a delicious meal, we headed back to Carol's home to head to her studio.

Carol already has a new Babylock Destiny, so I wanted to sit down and see what it will do. It's just as fabulous as I remembered...and I'm not quite sure I can wait until our move to get one. Carol has really settled into her new home, and the space upstairs that is her "playroom" has me looking at our perspective homes in a new light. It's really perfect for sewing, storing, sitting and stitching. 

Handsome came to pick me up, so I hugged my host and hostess and headed home. We had so much fun together, I never took out my camera. (Next time!)

Handsome picked up a new battery for my Explorer before he came to get me, so we installed it when we got back home and I'm back in business.

I'm going to be in the studio today after I head over to meet up with my friend, Rhonda at Crazy Quilters. Whatever you have planned for today, think about Mary Engelbreit's poster and "Live Like You Mean It".
  Happy May Day!
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April 29, 2015

Yummy Appetizers...

Tuesday night was a fun evening spent with good friends. Our hostess opted for an "appetizer and dessert" menu, which I thought was genius! I had just seen this recipe on FaceBook, so I decided to make them to take along.

The first picture is my first attempt...which means anyone can make these. They were a huge hit, by the way!

The original idea came from EnjoyEasyMeals.com in a video presentation that you can view HERE. I didn't want to have to run the video every time I needed to see the quantities, so I wrote out the recipe as I watched it, and I'm sharing it with you below.

Apple Roses
preheat oven to 375º

Ingredients:
2 red delicious apples
fresh lemon
apricot preserves
cinnamon
puff pastry

Core and thinly slice apples (widthwise), leaving on the skin. Place into a bowl containing water and 1/2 squeezed lemon (no seeds, please). Microwave for 3 minutes. Mix 3 T apricot preserves and 1 T water to thin preserves.

Roll out one sheet of puff pastry onto flour. Roll or stretch out the pastry. Cut into 6 strips. Place apple slices on the top half of the strip, slightly overlapping and extending just past the top edge. Spread lower half of the pastry with the apricot/water mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon on the assembly. Fold pastry up, lengthwise, but leave the top of the apple slices peeking out. Starting at one end, roll the pastry and slices up until you get to the other end. I put a little preserve mixture on the end to seal the edge.

Place into a non-stick muffin pan. Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let them cool down before serving. You wouldn't want to burn your nose!
Enjoy!

If you make these, please remember to go to the original post and leave a comment.
The other dish I took along was a recipe that was shared with me forty years ago by a girlfriend where I worked. I'm sad to say she passed about twenty years ago. This has been a summer standby all these years, and it's a real family favorite.

I shared it with Wisconsin Public Radio listeners when Larry Mieller put together a cookbook in 1988; and then shared it again with my friends and customers in my Stitches' Needleworker's Cookbook which I produced in 1990. I think it's only fair that I share it with my girl and guy friends here, too.

Mexican Confetti
Best if made with the freshest of fresh ingredients, and allowed to marinate a few hours before serving.

Chop and dice the following ingredients, and mix together in a large bowl:
1 can jumbo pitted ripe olives, drained
2 large bunches green onions
3 large green peppers
1 lb. fresh mushrooms (I use baby Portobellas)
6-7 tomatoes

Add:
1 jar of your favorite chunky salsa (desired strength: mild to spicy)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped 

Cover and refrigerate. The longer it stands, the more the flavors mix - and the better it tastes.
Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. I like the blue ones! (Just adds more color to the dish.)

* After you make it the first time, add to or amend the recipe to your own taste. You might like to add avocado, a little lime juice or even a little hot pepper. (I'm partial to the avocado and lime juice, myself)

I hope you enjoy these goodies as much as my family, friends and I do.

Today, I'm gonna meet up with my girlfriend, Carol of Serendipity blog. We're gonna play in her studio for a little while and then we're going out for lunch. We have so much to catch up on before she heads north for the summer! It's always fun to spend the day with a friend. See you tomorrow!
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April 28, 2015

Flow Blue Finish...

This pretty wallet (#26) - made using Michelle Palmer's "Flow Blue" fabric - is  
on its way to her . Included were the wrist and shoulder strap, as well as a key fob.
Michelle chose fabrics from her line and sent them to me for this project.
Don't you just adore her little birds holding violets? I think they're so sweet.
I decided to take part of the fabric's selvage to make a label on the back side of the wallet. Then I took photos so I could share the finished project with you! I wrapped it carefully, and sent it on its way to Michelle. It will be in her hands before the week is over.
 
We have a realtor coming with a client this afternoon for a showing. I'm working on the memory book from my Sixth Blog Anniversary drawing. I think a little handwork is the perfect way to spend time while we wait to come back into the house! (Is this the fun part?) See you tomorrow!
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April 27, 2015

Tuesdays With Tag - Puppies Are Jerks...

Hi, Everybody!
Well. I can't say I wasn't warned. Life has drastically changed around here.
After a week of sharin' my space with Bella, I've come to the conclusion that
"Puppies are jerks!"
The only way I can keep her away from my toys is to lie down on 'em!
Don't let this face fool you.
She's lyin' there all cute-like, but that's my ball!
(We aren't even gonna talk about the fact that she was also chewin' on that rug fringe!)
Like that isn't bad enough...Look!
She's busy connin' my vet, Dr. Stephanie. They think Bella's cute.
Pfffffttt! I'M the cute one around here...not that little, black dog!
She's lucky I only saw this picture after the fact. If I'd seen it 
in person, I might have had a holy conniption fit on the spot!
Are we seein' a theme here? She appears to like the shelf on the table next to Dad's
chair. I'm mean...What the heck? No one lets me get on the furniture. Well, except
sleepin' in the big bed with Mom, and sittin' on Dad's lap when no one's lookin'.
I'm tellin' ya. This tears it, though. She's impersonatin' a Corgi! She's in full sploot...and playin' with my favorite teddy bear from my GFF! Don't look Quinn. I'm upset enough for both of us. She'd better stop that right now!

I have a feelin' she's here to stay, so I've gotta get after teachin' her a few rules. I can't have her misbehavin' on my turf like this. Perhaps a little frappin' and growlin' is in order. I mean, is this any way to thank someone who helped teach you how to swim? (Yeah. Miss Smartypants is only eight weeks old and she's swimmin' in MY pool already. Try not to be to impressed, ok?) I have my work cut out for me, for sure!
 
Before I close for today, I have to wish my GFF a Happy Birthday!!! 
Quinn is three years old now. Isn't she pretty?

"Hey, Quinn? Ya want another black dog for your present?"
(just kiddin')

I'm sure she doesn't, and Mom said I should tell her that there will be a package in the mail for her by the end of this week. We want to extend her celebration a bit like we do around here. (Don't worry, Quinnie. We won't wreck your day by sendin' the puppersnapper.)

Happy Birthday, Quinn!!!

It's quiet around here right now. I'm sure that means Bella's up to somethin'. 
I'd better help...uh, I mean...I'd better stop her bein' naughty. Yeah. That's it. 
I'm the big brother, after all. But I still think Puppies Are Jerks! 
Time to close for this week. I'm sure I'll have more to tell you next week.

I'll see you again in seven! 'til then...
"Keep Your Nose To The Wind
and Sunshine On Your Tail"

April 26, 2015

Flow Blue...

I am so thrilled to be creating a special request from one of my favorite artists, Michelle Palmer. She loved the one I made for her using her bee fabric (see "Buzz" HERE), and asked me to make a wallet for her using another of her fabulous fabric lines...Flow Blue.
All the parts are prepared now and waiting for me to sew them together. This is how I'll spend part of my day today. I can already see that this will be a sweet one...just like the recipient! 
We had an open house yesterday which went very well. We also have a showing on Wednesday. What that means, of course, is that I have other things on my plate, too. (That's actually the reason I shared our plans with you last week.) 
 
I've made a commitment to purge and pack one part of our home each day. As soon as the boxes I ordered arrive, the program will begin. I'll play while I can, but rest assured, I'll continue to find play time through this whole, exciting process.
Tag will be here tomorrow. He's got a lot on his mind, and he's been looking forward to telling you all about it. I'll be back on Wednesday - and I'll show you this finished wallet before I ship it out to Michelle. I'm off to the studio...
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April 25, 2015

Sunday Scripture...

ChristianWallpapers.com
Proverbs 3:5
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April 24, 2015

The Winds Of Change...

Web Image
Change is inevitable, and along with it comes excitement and curiosity.
What is around the corner for us?
Handsome and I have decided that we want to plan ahead for those changes that are inevitable. With some of the wonderful changes we've chosen over the past few years - my creative endeavors and his favorite venues for making music - moving makes perfect sense.

His musical endeavors are almost entirely centered in Sarasota now, and in just the past twelve months, he has driven nearly 6,000 miles between there and home. Those miles spent driving are dangerous, tedious and time that could be spent doing something more enjoyable.

We've also discussed options to be closer to our sons and their families. We're factoring in where we might like to be to facilitate that, too.
So, the first phase of our plans involve selling our home here in North Port, along with the three acres on which it sits. 
 
While we're packing, tossing, donating and generally clearing out, we'll be exploring our north/south choices and planning for the next stage of our journey together. Whatever we do and wherever we go, we're happy and exhilarated knowing we have each other to share the trip.
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April 23, 2015

My Newest Tool...

I recently saw this in an ad in one of my quilting magazines.
I knew right away that it would be a useful tool to add to my kit.
It's called a Press Perfect Point 2 Point Turner, designed by Joan Hawley.
I've been using this Clover tool for quite a while to mark stitching lines. It puts a fine crease into fabric that I can follow with my machine, and I don't have to go back and remove an ink or pencil line. 
 
I use a separate tool - a bone folder - with a point to turn and push out fabric to form points after sewing. It seems I'm always looking for one or the other while I'm working.
The tool I've been using is at the top. My new tool is the longer one in the bottom of this photo. It's about 7" long and has a point turner on one end and the creaser on the other. I'll be using it today, and I know it's going to work just great. 2-in-1!!! Could it be more convenient?

I admit it. I'm an unapologetic gadget freak. I think for Christmas this year, I'm going to ask Handsome for a tool chest for the studio. I might need a larger studio, too. Seriously.
 
Did you feel it? That faintest of breezes? That would be the Winds of Change. Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it.
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April 22, 2015

#25 "Corgi On"...

I completed "Corgi On" yesterday.
The Corgi is machine embroidered onto the flap.
I chose a heart-shaped paw fabric for the main body exterior of the wallet, as well as for the zippered pocket, divider and security tab. I also used it on the straps and key fob.
Of course, when everything was assembled, I added a "handmade" tag to the zipper pull. I think they're such a nice, finishing touch.
I planned this one to be mine, so I added my Florida Corgi Picnic pin to the exterior above the latch. I removed the pin back and then used a secure adhesive to permanently attach it. I don't want it falling off, and the pin back would have been in the way on the inside of the wallet.
I used two of these three fabrics in my wallet, and now I've got this design uploaded into The Boutique. Clients will have the option of which fabrics they prefer for the exterior and interior. I also added a solid black option for the exterior. 
 
I also have different embroidery designs, dog breeds, and could even do cats or other animals. I can also change up the flap fabric for different breeds so that the embroidery is showcased. Clients may choose from any of the colors in the paw print fabric for their flap choice. All you have to do is ask - and I can work on your specific request.

If you're interested in your own custom-embroidered wallet, you can click THIS LINK to go to the wallets in The Boutique. (www.BrynwoodNeedleworks.com)
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April 21, 2015

Bella's Big Day...

There was a hurdle to overcome yesterday. Taggart. Little Man of the House. The canine in charge. She needed to win him over. Once that happened, she'd be in like Flynn.
She had no problem looking like Her Royal Highness as she watched Taggart from a distance. Better safe than sorry.
She just stayed on the rug for the longest time. She was in no hurry, and she became fond of this particular rug!
Then, without warning, it was Game On! She and Taggart ran through the house while I reminded him to be gentle with the puppy.

Most times, little dogs can get away from bigger dogs by going under things. Unfortunately for Bella, most places she could go, so could Tag. Except one place. She could scoot under the sofa and Tag couldn't follow.
All she had to do was lick Tag's face and he was ready to go another round. They played for quite a while.
They played until both their tongues were hanging out. They shared a bowl of water - at the same time! (That's actually great, because it shows Tag is accepting her.) Bella was also pool-proofed today, but we're saving that video for later.
I didn't get photographic proof of just how much Bella likes this table. Each time I got down to take her picture, her head popped up.

She positions herself in just the right place and rests her head on the table. She's knocked the magazines off multiple times, but Handsome just puts them back in place (to set her up for next time).
By the end of the day, we had two tired dogs - who decided to accept each other - and were exhausted from assessing each other and all that play. All in all, it was a very great day. We're looking forward to what today will bring. We're off to a great start.
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