Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Welcome to Where Bloggers Create 2014!

A CRAFTER FOR ALL SEASONS INVITES YOU TO WHERE BLOGGERS CREATE 2014 BLOG PARTY!  HOSTED BY MY FAVORITE BLOG MY DESERT COTTAGE!

Welcome to my creative space!  I never had my own space until my children no longer used our rec room in the basement.  That's when everything changed and I took it over.  It's now my very special space where I can work on all of my projects.  The best part of having my own space is that I can work on a project and leave it without anyone touching it!


I am truly a crafter for all seasons because I love to quilt, sew, make dolls, knit, restore furniture and make all kinds of crafts.  I haunt Pinterest looking for fabulous projects to make!  Unfortunately like recipe collecting, I don't have the time to make most of the things I pin.  But I feel better when I tell myself I'm saving them for retirement!  

I'm going to take you for a little tour around the room.  This is Suzy my featherweight sewing machine.  She's relatively new to me and I love sewing on her.  I find it easier to sew quilt blocks on a smaller machine.


I love this old painted tile.  All of my precious treasures surround me while I work.


And this is Bernie my Bernina sewing machine.  I bought her at an estate sale for a very very reasonable price.  She's not new but she sews beautifully and I wouldn't trade her for anything.


This is my little ironing corner.  The shelf next to it holds all kinds of pressing supplies.


This room has three very deep closets along the back wall. 



I store almost all of my craft supplies behind these doors!


This cart was in my kitchen years ago.  I like it because it's on wheels so I can move it around the room.


This is the bookcase that holds most of my patterns.


Some of the dolls I've made live on the top shelves.


My sewing boxes stacked neatly help keep the room organized.


I love to sew and my mannequin usually models something I'm working on.


I am also a doll maker and have been published many times in various national and international doll magazines.  I've framed some of the covers and newspaper articles.




The long table next to my desk is my catch-all place.  After I've made something it usually sits there for a while before it finds a home AND the little things I love find there way here.  Ralph and Justin just got back from a photo shoot so they'll hang out here with the fabric for a while until they find another place somewhere in the house.



Here's my desk area.  I have been blogging for just over a year now.  I look forward to the quiet time when I sit at my desk and just write and share everything I can think of.  I've never run out of things to blog about.  Time is the only thing that stops me from blogging a lot more.

My good quilt fabric is in the containers under the table.  It deserves to be better organized but time is my enemy!


My trusty blog notebook is right at hand!  It's full of tips AND interesting things I've come across BECAUSE I almost always have some kind of crazy thing happen while I'm trying to get my blog out AND everything takes an incredible amount of time to correct!

I love 


Betty Boop!


Coming around the corner here's some more space to display my quilts.  


My bookcase holds all of my craft, doll magazines, books, etc. etc.  I've totally run out of room but can't part with anything!


Under the stairs houses containers with craft fabric, doll supplies in the yellow and black canvas tool box, my microwave to bake dolls, small quilts, journal supplies, etc. etc.


The back of this storage area holds containers of interfacing.  The front is where I store my yarn.


Here's the view from the table where I do a lot of my work.  It faces the TV so I can watch my favorite shows!  My time to create is usually on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  It's my favorite time of the week and I look forward to that little time to craft all week long.



I love to put all of my little finds to good use.


When I want to work on my dolls I clear a space at my table and take out my doll supplies.


I can leave this head for as long as I want and pick it up again when I get the desire and the time!


Coming full circle around the room I have a little spot where my refinished furniture waits for the next step!



That's just about it!  Thanks so much for visiting!  I am looking forward to visiting all of your creative spaces too!  I would love to read your comments.  I always hope someone leaves a comment when I post!  It makes all the effort I put into my blog posts so rewarding! And most of all, I hope to make a lot of new friends at this wonderful party!

 Thank you Val for hosting the party again this year.  Your gorgeous blog inspired me to create my own blog.  And your party motivated me to create my own creative space.  What a win for me!

Love to everyone!

Cheryl Riello
A Crafter for All Seasons





































Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!


This is Killer Hamilton wearing her itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini.  She wants you to know not everyone can wear a bikini the way she does!



July is my birthday.   This year my motto is I'm not thrilled to be a year older but I sure am happy to have the day off!

This is one of my favorite quotes.  As I get older, I find myself adjusting my sails a lot more than I used to.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing but I'm doing it...




It's fitting to share some of my vintage treasures with you because as I get older they do too! You would never believe how old some of these precious gems are!  This little musical dolly stands on my piano waiting to belt out a song for anyone who wants to listen...she brought her pillow in case she doesn't get any bites.


I found this little dish somewhere - can't remember - but thankfully I always remember to put it out for everyone's birthday!


This is my friend Little Miss Worrywort.  She's been fretting over everything for the past 20 years! 


I try to let her do some of my worrying while I relax...



This little vintage baby has slept just about everywhere in our house...


except the sun room because she isn't dressed for the beach.


I found these neat coasters in Rockport, MA over the Memorial Day weekend.  I love the little shops there. 


Remember this crab that couldn't be a little quilted table topper because the white part of the background is too stiff?  And I said I'd have to make a pillow out of it to save it?  Well, here it is complete with tassels.  It turned out fine.  Only thing is I have to start limiting my mistakes because I've run out of furniture to put the pillows on!!


One more sunny thought.  I bought this sun years ago at the dry goods store in Provincetown.  Like many things I've collected through the years I never found the right home for it.  It doesn't really belong inside and it doesn't belong outside so this past weekend I put it out right in front of the coffee table in the sun room.  I keep looking at it waiting for it to tell me where it should go.  I'll keep you posted.



Ever hear the saying never trust a skinny chef?  


 These two have been debating that for many many years.


The verdict is still out because the other chef in the house won't take sides!



Zayika, our other family member sent me a Facebook message saying these cinnamon rolls are to die for and worth the little more effort it takes to make them.  Her dad loves them. I don't usually post a recipe I haven't tried but I trust Zayika.  She's the only skinny one in the family who still after 21 years only eats certain things.  Food in general doesn't get her excited so if she says these are amazing then I'm making them!  I'll keep you posted as soon as weight permits!  Thanks Z for my next 5 lbs.!


HOMEMADE CINNABON CINNAMON ROLLS

Yield: 15 rolls
 

Ingredients:

For the dough:
3/4 cup warm water
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
4 and 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 and 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the cream cheese frosting:
2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch of vanilla powder ( or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted


Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir together, then let the yeast rise for about 5-10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and oil until well-combined. After 10 minutes, the yeast should look frothy and bubbly. At this point, pour in the buttermilk mixture, remaining sugar, and salt, and stir together for 10-15 seconds.

Pour in 2 cups of the measured flour, and stir on low speed until incorporated. Continue to pour in flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl and bowl starts to look clean. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky, but not sticky enough to stick to your fingers when touched. 

Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch until combined. 

Butter an 11x15 inch glass baking dish, then line with parchment paper, and butter again.

Once dough has risen, liberally flour a large, clean work surface. Punch down the dough to remove air bubbles, then transfer it to the work surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, roughly 20x30 inches wide. Spread softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip on the edge of the dough farthest from you untouched. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter, then use a rolling pin to gently roll over the mixture and slightly press it into the butter. 

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, gently roll up the dough into a tight log, sealing it with the strip of dough you left untouched. Cut off any uneven ends. Score dough every two inches, then use those marks to evenly slice your dough into rolls. 

Place rolls into parchment paper lined baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm place to rise 1-2 hours, or until rolls have doubled in size and are almost touching each other. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Do not overbake!

While rolls are baking, prepare your frosting. In a bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat until combined. Pour in powdered sugar and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Then, increase speed to high and beat for an additional 5 minutes, or until frosting turns white. 

Once you remove the rolls from the oven, spread half of the frosting on top of them. This layer will melt into the rolls. Once they've cooled down, spread on the remaining frosting. Serve warm or reheat before serving. 

Adapted from Lauren's Latest


Speaking of recipes.  Right after I posted my lemon trifle recipe I came across this Moda Bakeshop Trifle Dish!!  I was so excited!  I am adding this to my endless sky high list of quilt projects.



Trifle Dish Announcement

here's the link-cut and paste in your browser:

http://www.modabakeshop.com/2014/06/trifle-dish-announcement.html


This is a smaller project that I really want to make.  I love houses and for all my talking I have yet to make one!!

Freda's Hive Dollhouse Potholder Tutorial



Here's the link-cut and paste in your browser:

http://fredashive.blogspot.com/2014/02/potholder-tutorial-rewind.html


I love to read but don't have a lot of time so I decided many years ago to take my books to the
gym instead of my IPOD.  If a book is really good I can almost forget how much I hate running on the treadmill!  Here's a list of books I've read in the past few months that passed my difficult test with flying colors.  They make great summer reads.


The Daring Ladies of Lowell - Kate Alcott
The Dressmaker - Kate Alcott

Under the Wide & Starry sky - Nancy Horan

The Beach Club - Elin Hilderbrand

Lost Lake - Sarah Addison Allen

And When She was Good - Laura Lipman
Isabel's Bed - Laura Lipman

Shirley Jones-A Memoir - Shirley Jones

The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison

Ladies Night - Mary Kay Andrews

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker - Jennifer Chaverini

The Painted Home - Dena (love this book-decorating & crafts)


Looks like I've run out of room again.  I've talked so much I put Killer to sleep.  We'll have to invite her back to model more of her stunning wardrobe.  She loves to get dressed up and greets people at the door with her beautiful wardrobe.




I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend and once again, as always, thanks for visiting!  See you soon!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer 2014!

Summer 2014

Where am I?  At the lake, on an island?  Far away or close by?


 Still unsure?


Right here in New York City!  That was Central Park on a Sunday morning!!!  Quite different from the madness of Times Square.  Now you can appreciate those commercials on TV that say there's something for everyone in the state of New York.

 

After a show and before dinner there's a wonderful magical place to have a drink.  It's The Blue Bar in the Algonquin Hotel in Midtown on west 44th street.  It opened in 1902 and it's beautiful inside with old world charm.  I love New York.  Given the chance I would live right in Manhattan in a heartbeat...


Meanwhile, back to reality!  Here are my summer wreaths.  I had a basic wreath I bought at JoAnn's a few years ago and never used.  So decided to embellish it with a few magnolia blossoms and some more big green leaves.  I made a bow with a long strip of burlap and wedgewood blue polka dots.  Then from the center of the wreath I dangled a little trio of starfish.  When I'm decorating a wreath I always hope it survives the weather.  So far it's made it through some driving rain and wind so I'm hopeful it lasts the season.



I bought this star in Cape Cod quite a few years ago.  I never put it up because I couldn't decide where it should go.  I finally just stuck it on the back door and shut the blinds! 


 I gave my shell wreath an update a few weeks ago.  The basic shell wreath was assembled about 10 years ago.  I wove some navy blue and white ribbon through the spaces between the shells.  Of course this would have been a lot easier if I had done this first but back then I didn't watch HGTV or think as creatively as I do now.  I made the bow out of burlap because that's been one of my favorite materials for a while now.  All of the shells come from Martha's Vineyard.  There's a great little beach there that not a lot of people know about.  The shells on the sand are great but what makes this beach really special is it's a place where sea gulls fish in the water for shells and then smash them on the rocks to eat the meat inside.  We always hit that beach because of the variety of shells right at your feet. 


I'm still decorating with shells all over the house.  This band of shells on the stem of this wine "votive" glass is a necklace I got in Hawaii many years ago.  I found it in my closet the other day.  I would never wear it so I might as well decorate with it!


This little quilt hangs on the wall in my laundry room.  It's about 20 years old and has never collected dust despite the dryer sitting under it.  When I look at it I think of Hawaii  then I look down and see the washer and dryer...
  
  
My birthday is the 4th of July.  I am a Cancer, the crab.  I just finished this quilt top.  I used Heat n Bond to adhere the white fabric to the blue background and of course it came out so stiff it can't be a table topper.  So when all else fails there's always a pillow.  Can you guess how many pillows I've made?  The binding is already cut so it will be the rope piping.  I'm not giving up.  I'll put tassels on it and it'll be fine.  I have tassels on everything!  Maybe it'll be done by the next time we visit. 


I'm just about at my one year anniversary of blogging.  Last year I shared how I freeze my herbs.  This year I'm showing you how I grow them.  I think I should have blogged the growing before the freezing but I was more of a novice then...

Basil, chives, scallions, sage, mint, lemon grass, and rosemary...


Beefsteak and cherry tomatoes.  Dill, oregano and coriander.  Jalapeno peppers are in another pot nearby.

 

Lavender,  parsley and cilantro.


Monday afternoon I took snippets of all the herbs.  After they were washed I put them whole in a plastic bag with fruity red wine, left over cabernet, black pepper and olive oil.  Then I added a family pack of chicken and left it in the fridge until I was ready to grill.  The red wine tenderized the chicken so much you could shred it with a fork.    


Then I grilled veggie shish kabobs.  It was a really delicious, healthy dinner with no mess in the kitchen and lots of leftovers.

 

A few weeks ago I posted this lemon trifle on Facebook and got lots of likes.  I promised the recipe and here it is.  This was my first attempt at making a trifle.  It was so delicious and so easy I'm going to make them all the time!

Last month I was in a rush and needed a good Sunday dessert.  There was some homemade lemon cake in the freezer.  I didn't want to serve just a piece of cake so I decided to make pudding to go with it and then I thought of putting it in parfait glasses.  Finally it dawned on me that I have a few trifle bowls lying around and a few contain shells.  I looked around and found an empty one and decided to give it a try.  I Googled until I found a basic trifle recipe and just let my imagination run with it...

This is the basic idea...


How to Make a Trifle - Basic Trifle Recipe with Adaptations
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • cake, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups pudding
  • 1 - 1½ cups sauce or jam
  • 3 - 6 cups fruit, nuts, chocolate chips
  • 2 cups whipped cream
Directions
  1. Cut cake into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Spread ⅓ third of the cake pieces across the bottom of the trifle bowl.
  3. Spoon half of the pudding over the cake pieces.
  4. Sprinkle 1 - 2 cups of optional ingredients over the pudding.
  5. Drizzle ½ cup sauce/jam over the optional ingredients.
  6. Repeat steps 2 - 5.
  7. Spread the remaining cake pieces over the sauce/jam layer.
  8. Sprinkle 1 - 2 cups optional ingredients over the cake layer.
  9. Top with the whipped cream.
  10. Drizzle remaining sauce/jam over the whipped cream.
  11. Keep chilled until it can be served. Serve it as soon as possible.



I didn't have all of those ingredients in the house and I wanted to use up a lot of half full packages in the freezer so this is how I put together the layers of my lemon trifle:

Bottom layer = cubed lemon cake
Next layer = lemon pudding
Next layer = white chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers
Next layer = Cool Whip (doesn't have to be thawed - just spread with knife)
Repeat all the layers until you've reached the top.
Top layer = Cool Whip, sprinkled graham crackers and a maraschino cherry in the center for garnish.


I hate to keep saying to die for BUT it really was!  I made it in the afternoon and was afraid to leave it in the fridge for too long because I thought the Cool Whip would melt.  And then I thought about freezing it even for a little while but decided against it.  It's such a good feeling when things turn out right because for me it isn't that often!  When we ate it later in the evening the Cool Whip held up fine.  All the tastes had time to meld together and it was the perfect summer dessert.  I will definitely make it again in many different variations.



Last but never least!

Here's where we are on the fireplace.  This project is running on schedule.  The starting date was this past October.  I will start to fret when this October rolls around and it still looks like this.  I'll keep you posted.  Hopefully there's a transformation in the near future.


I hope to blog soon but life keep getting in the way.  I have lots more to share.  I hope I get just a little more time to get it all down in a post.  For now, thank you for visiting and I hope you stay cool! 

 Happy Summer!