Thursday, April 29, 2010

various distractions and a swap share too

Guess what I got in the mail this week? Some beautiful embroidery from fellow swapper, Jennie. Once again I am amazed by these stitches that keep showing up at my doorstep. Check out that sweet rose trellis! Oh I wish you could see it in real life, my photo doesn't do it justice.My week long absence from So September has been filled with various other distractions.
One of them being this little bugger. I am so determined to get our yard in shape this year. We usually have the scrubbiest yard on the block and I am just plain tired of it. So, there have been a few afternoons when I have put away the floss and picked up my trusty weed puller. Obviously the fact that I could take this photo tells you that I still have some work to do. Don't feel too sorry for me though - I happen to love yard work believe it or not.

I'm also plugging away at a new pattern set. Here is a sneeky peek. Not very revealing is it - I'm so mean! This particular set feels like a bit of a departure for me so I am hesitating somewhat with it. I am drawing sketches for another pattern set as well. I would love to have both of them done before school is out for Summer break but who knows if that will really happen. This one is quite girly and the other one is quite Scandinavian - both are super fun.
While Vince has been doing all the dirty work on the boys' new bedroom I have been planning quilts. New bedrooms require new quilts, don't they? I am not much of a quilter but have been very inspired by my fellow swappers who are all quilters. I have started picking out some fabrics here and there. It will shock you to know I am using blues and greens. That's a joke of course - it seems everything I do/buy/like is in blues and greens! I thought I would use the same pattern for both quilts and some of the same fabrics but then go more blue with one and more green with the other. I am intimidated by this project but it's something I really want to do. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

that kind of day

After over one year of blogging I am sharing my first recipe! This one was given to me by a friend who baffled me one day when she explained how her family loved her homemade gingersnaps. gingersnaps? really? I, of course, pictured the sad bag of hard bitter gingersnaps on the grocery store shelf low enough for the little old ladies to reach because surely they were the only ones who would buy them, right? They were like the ugly friend of the Chips Ahoy! homecoming queen and I still wouldn't buy those things.

But I would make these.

My friend was kind enough to pass on her recipe and wouldn't you know it - these are so yummy! They are soft in the middle with a little crispness on the edges. They aren't too sweet and have zip that is downright addictive.

So, if you have written off gingersnaps give these a try, you might be surprised - I was!


3/4 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together. Roll into balls then roll them in granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet and bake 12 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, April 19, 2010

a little project to share

I love it when I can take something practical and add some embroidery to it - or embroider something and turn it into something practical. Whichever way you look at it, it always makes me happy when I can pull it off. I had this idea recently to make a hanging wall mirror framed in an embroidery hoop. It would be perfectly fine if it were made with a pretty cotton print but you know me, I had to add some embroidery just for fun. This one says, "Well now, don't you look cute today!" Who wouldn't want to see that when they looked in the mirror?
Here's how to make one of your very own:
You will need: three fabric squares (all the same fabric or three different fabrics - it's up to you.) I used squares that were 11 inches by 11 inches. You will need a piece for the front (I used light blue linen), a piece for the facing (I used the dark floral shown here) and a piece for the backside
(I used regular muslin)
an 8 inch embroidery hoop
embroidery floss/needle
6 inch round mirror
interfacing if you like (I like! - I used it on the back of my linen and on the muslin for the back)
If you plan to add any embroidered accents do your stitching before you cut your fabric. Be sure to take into account where the hoop and the mirror will be placed.
Cut the center holes in your front fabric and facing fabric according to the cut guide (the 4 inch center circle)
Here is the guide that shows all the circle measurements you will need to know:

Pin the facing and the front fabric together - right sides together.

Sew the fabrics together 1/2 inch from the circle opening. Because I used interfacing on the back side I simply followed the edge of it as I stitched.

Cut notches just up to the seam line taking care not to cut into the seam. This will help your fabric lie flatter.

Turn the facing fabric under through the circle opening so that the wrong sides are now together.
Give your fabrics a quick press.

Layer your fabrics with the backing fabric on the bottom and pin them together. You will be stitching a line 1/2 inch from the mirror opening. I used a water erasable marker to mark my stitch line.

Start stitching along your stitch line. Only stitch half of the circle because you still need to insert your mirror.

After half of the circle is stitched insert your mirror and carefully finish stitching around the circle securing the mirror in place.

Finish your mirror by securing your fabrics in your 8 inch hoop. You could trim the excess fabric on the back or use a running stitch along the edge and cinch it tightly to keep it gathered in the back.
I used a matching grosgrain ribbon as a hanger.

I would love to try this with some different embellishing techniques - maybe add a topstitch around the mirror opening, use some felt flowers or buttons, or even a patchwork design for the front. As usual, I have more ideas than I have time to try. If you try this project I would love to see how you made it special and unique!
As with every tutorial I have posted: please let me know if any part of this is unclear or if you have any questions. Enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

thrift score - finally

It's all our fault, folks. We shared all our awesome thrift store finds with the world in blogland and now everyone is a scavenger and they are taking all the good stuff! It seems like it used to be a lot easier to spy that little treasure tucked on the overcrowded shelf but now that shelf isn't so crowded anymore and what's left on it is plastic tweety bird mugs and multiple copies of "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" (there's at least one at every thrift store!) Maybe now that garage sale season is gearing up I will have better luck. Happily I did score this little number last week. I admit to, I mean spending a lot of time looking through vintage illustration on flickr. I can't get enough of it.
So I knew I had to have this when I saw that tired stained cover under a pile of babysitter club paperbacks.
The copyright is 1939 and believe me, it has some outdated information. But the illustrations are delightful. I mean, check these out:

You would fall in love too, wouldn't you?

I wish I had some craft goodies to share but I'm in a bit of a dry spell right now. Sleep has been hard to come by in the house lately. Everyone seems to think that if the sun is up it must be playtime. Needless to say that philosophy does not allow for much time for anything else. They will just collapse from sheer exhaustion at some point, right? If they don't, I will!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, April 12, 2010

swap share 5

First of all please forgive these photos. Red circles on white fabric just did not sit well with my camera and I suppose I just lacked the patience to futz with the manual settings. These are photos of my last embroidered piece for the Hoop Up! swap. I must admit I am kind of sad that it's all done. I was hesitant before I signed on just because I didn't think I had the time but I am so very glad I did it anyway. I got to "meet" the lovely and very talented ladies in my swap group and that alone made it worthwhile. Plus, I was forced to try some themes, sizes and stitches that I don't usually use. That turned out to be so good for me creatively. Sometimes I think that if I am not forced out of my creative comfort zone I might not ever venture out!
And let's not forget the added bonus of getting awesome mail like this in your mailbox:

This came to me from fellow swapper, Jessica and I absolutely love it!

Couldn't you just look at those chain stitches all day? So pretty!
Now, what should I do with all these gorgeous embroideries that are landing in my mailbox? Suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

bits and pieces

The flowerpot wraps are back. I stitched these up weeks ago and just never got around to taking photos and listing them until this week. Can you tell I read (and loved) I Love Patchwork? The mix of prints and linen were inspired by that book. There are so many beautiful projects in that book - check it out if you can!
Remember way back in January when I mentioned applying to a new school for Peter next year? Well, we found out in March that he did not get a spot and then found out last week that he DID. It's a two-part selection process and the second part is a lottery. The odds did not seem to be in our favor in March after round one so I didn't think much of it. So, it was a complete shock when we got the letter last week telling us that he made it in in round two. We all feel the same way we did when we got the first letter - happy and sad at the same time. Excited about the new school which has so many wonderful things to offer and sad about leaving a school we have grown so attached to. (yeah yeah yeah, "to which we have grown so attached" is proper, I know) If our problem is that we have to pick between two schools that we really like then that is a pretty awesome problem to have, I think. Some people don't even have one option that they like. We have two. I'd say that makes us pretty lucky.
Well, it's become quite clear as I write this that Adam is not going to take a nap today so I am off to tend to him. Oh, that reminds me - does anyone care to share any potty training tips?? We start (in earnest) next month!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

time machine

It's been all about the calendars here at my house lately. It wouldn't seem like too big a job to have some numbers printed onto fabric, right? That's what I thought last year and this year and have proven wrong each time. There's the deciding on a font and a size and the amount of grey in your grey scale. Then there's the checking and re-checking and re-checking of dates (I'm super paranoid about this!). Oh, and the re-checking of dates again. Then there's the having them printed and deciding you want to make more changes and so on. It certainly doesn't need to be as complicated as I make it but I can't help myself. So here is my finished example for the large size panel. How much do you love the doily flowers? I know doilies are kind of trendy right now and I try not to just blindly follow these things along but this is a trend that I really like. I found this little bunch at this etsy shop and I may just be back for more.
The look I was going for here was CHEERFUL! Positive! fun! (the ribbon text reads, "every single day new possibilities bloom" - it hardly gets more positive than that, right?) I think it turned out kind of cute but Vince particularly dislikes it. I am telling myself that he just doesn't like it because he's a boy. I mean, that's it, right? Oh who cares! okay, i do just a little.

And I finished up the smaller panel too. The text printed on the twill tape reads, "Beyond the high mountains and the dark forests, Beyond the rivers and the blue seas" and it's the first line from the book.
Have you had a chance to try printing on twill tape? Here are some simple instructions if you want to give it a go. I was a little nervous about it as I hadn't tried it with the printer I have now but it worked like a dream I'm happy to say. Oh and how 'bout that grommet at the top? I just picked up a grommet/eyelet setter (1/2 price at JoAnn's - yay!) and I think that is going to be a lot of fun.
So, I still have a little tweaking to do here and there but then they should be ready to hit the SeptemberHouse shelves. hooray!