Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Able to Leap Tall Buildings

Some days I feel like I'm "Super Woman!"

You know, faster than a speeding bullet,
more powerful than a locomotive and,
of course, able to leap tall buildings
in a single bound.

So in honor of Leap Day 2012,
which won't happen again for another 4 years,
leap to do something special,
something daring,
take a chance, or
leap at a new opportunity.

And others might be heard to say,
"Look! Up in the sky.
Is it a bird?
Is it a plane?
No, It's superwoman!"
"Leaping Lizards, what the heck does
she think she's doing?"

Until Next Time-

Monday, February 27, 2012

Piecing and Downton Abbey

Like many of you I have been captivated by the 
world of Downton Abbey.

The twin stories that take place in the early 20th century with
British aristocracy, Lord Grantham and family, and the
life of the servants working below in this grand estate.
The tension between the classes is evident, yet the writers, 
have shown parallel lives with this symbiotic relationship.

I was thinking about this when I finally had an opportunity
this past weekend to work in my sewing room.
I'm behind in my "Take Two", red and white blocks and
decided to get a few done.

My weird connection of piecing quilt squares and DA,
 which you have probably been trying to figure out,
 is how both sides of the block,
ie, the upstairs and the downstairs of the people on the estate
are important to each other.

The Lords and Ladies need the servants and the servants needed the
work and benefits of the estate.
Just like the
 wrong side of the block shouldn't be neglected
or the front side will be greatly effected.
(Kind of a stretch?)
Oh, well.  

People who machine quilt for hire, could probably tell
stories of quilts they've received that are a nightmare to work on because
 the back side of the piecing had been neglected.

I had a customer at the store once that had her entire queen size quilt 
wrinkled and crinkled into a grocery bag and
was looking for a backing.

As we tried to measure, I suggested that she might 
want to do some pressing and she literally saw no need.

The front side
the Crawleys

the back side
the servants and staff

The seams are properly pressed, 
the bulk is evenly distributed,
and all threads properly removed that might shadow through.

Doesn't that sound like what 
 O'Brien would do to assure that 
Lady Grantham was ready be seen or

 Lord Grantham's valet, Mr. Bates?

Love the story.
Until Next Time-

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I have been feeling like the Pokey Little Puppy.
Just always a little behind the rest of the puppies.

I have been slowly working on my #7 project from
the Great Project Progress Plan.

 My project has been this wonderful wool table runner.

Of course, who follows the directions of a pattern?
I decided to create the base first, machine quilt it and
then add the applique pieces, instead of the reverse.

I didn't want to have to start and stop and jump over the
applique when quilting the runner.
 I machine quilted it using Aurifil's
 Lana wool thread.
I love sewing with it.  

I just used a jean size needle, to prevent fraying,
regular weight thread in the bobbin, 
a long stitch length, and my walking foot.
And in no time at all the top was quilted 
with the hand stitched look of a big stitch
done in wool thread.

Next I added the binding, might as well,
 and fused on the wool pieces.  I used the 
soft to fuse, which I love.
 It is so light you don't feel any stiffness at all
 Having the binding in place helped with the placement of everthing.

I try to save time wherever I can.  I bought a new 
packege of embroidery needles size 22 and filled
all 6 with perel cotton thread.

 I hate to have to stop and rethread a needle.
I cut the thread about 18" long.  I know, that may seem short,
but it does keep me from frazzling
 when the thread starts to fray and breaks.

So I've started blanket stitching,

cross hatching the stems, and stitching on the berries.

All that in between

Until Next Time-

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bread from Heaven? No, the Running Man

On a Saturday there are so many things
that can vie for your attention and time.
Over the years, Running Man, has pursued
many interests.
One of them has been trying to make the perfect
loaf of bread.
He's come close a time or two.
But never quite like what he wanted.

His bread making endeavors have resurfaced
and he has been challenged once again to see what 
he can do.

With a new wonderful book,
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson
we entered the kitchen to bake.

Adding a few new techniques and using the
Basic Country Bread Recipe,
we made a pretty good looking loaf of bread.
In fact, it was the perfect loaf of bread!

 Basic Country Loaf

It's important to have diversity in your life,
and try new things, especially if it's bread.
This might have to be something
we try more often.

It makes the perfect lunch.
Now if I was just sitting at a piazza. 

Until Next Time-

Monday, February 20, 2012

Caring About Each Other

My friends are all 
part of the sandwich generation.
We are the ones in the middle caring for
aging parents and children and grandchildren.
Sometimes those situations can be
extremely stressful and seemingly never ending.
Our dear friend, Liz, has been squeezed for
quite awhile.
It was time for friends to 
give her a "Quiltie Buddy" surprise.

Doing what we do best, we made her a quilt.
Just for her.
Just to tell her we care.

Everyone pitched in and contributed fabric and time.
Using Terrie Atchinson's pattern, Texas Two Step,
we stepped up and sewed,
stitching our thoughts and prayers into the quilt.

This is a wonderful pattern for a group to
do together.  We had so much fun
having a sew day.  We hoped we sent those good
times forward to Liz.

My machine quilter, Kathy H., added her touch too with
big whimsical feathers to make it cheerful.

Our super embroider, Becky, made a label
that says it all.

Forever Friends"

Just for you,

Until Next Time-

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Best Friend's Birthday

I have been blessed in my life
with many wonderful and endearing friends.
Friends who are understanding and compassionate,
who are a positive influence in my life,
and who I simply enjoy being around.

Tomorrow is my very best BF's birthday.
I am so lucky to call my
Running Man, my very best friend and husband.

From his Italian roots

to his newest passions,

to striving for excellence in himself
and encouraging those around him to do the same,

these are only a small part of what makes him who he is.
What a blessing for me.

Happy Birthday!
Hey, we get to be the same age for 4 months!

Until Next Time-

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kyle's Kupcakes

 One of my favorite ice creams as a kid was
 Neapolitan.  It's made up of chocolate,
strawberry and vanilla side by side in a block shape.
All of my favorites together.

Its origin was said to be Italian
from the area of Naples in the late 1800's
where the ice cream dessert would have been spumoni
with the tri-flavors being, cherry, chocolate and pistachio.

This sparked Elizabeth and me to be looking for the
perfect Valentine cupcake to make for her co-workers.
We found the ideal combination with a Neapolitan inspired cupcake, 
chocolate, strawberry and vanilla all together.

We liked the recipe from the blog, Six Sisters' Stuff.
 I did feel a bit guilty not making everything from scratch,
but time was more of a motivator.

The cupcake has a great brownie base and
a light strawberry cake baked on top.
Add a vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinkles and
it's Neapolitan flavors all in a cupcake cup!

The right colors and the right flavors
for Valentine's Day.
 It was a hit!

Until Next Time-

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Not War

One of the items I first began collecting
on E bay were old valentines.
There are all kinds to collect depending on the time period.
I collected some sweet Whitney valentines
 from the turn of the century .

And then some funny ones from the 50's
which were the kind I shared with my friends at school.

But then I began to notice some interesting themes
on valentines shared during WWII.
There was a prevalent theme of soldiers, the military, patriotic and
even everyday situations like rationing.

Here are a few of the many I've collected.

Even the women soldiers were represented as "WAACCY"

All branches of the service are represented.
Here comes the Marines.

I love the valentines with moving parts.  
On this one the heart opens into a lace paper valentine.

These next two are very big. 
The soldiers in the back have a tab that can make them move.

This one has the soldier's sweetheart popping out
of the bushes.

These valentine's were just part of the history 
of the 1940's.
It's interesting to look back and see how things have changed

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Until Next Time-