Saturday, February 22, 2014

Another Winter that Won't Quit!

Another Winter That Won't Quit!

When I saw both of these recycled gorgeous creations I decided to get together a couple of things I've been working on and post them all.  It's still cold, wet, dreary and depressing but these photos are very inspiring and I hope they help some of you get through the rest of this month. 

My friend Diane from Quilt/Craft group sent me this photo of her latest fashion creation.  Her description is below.  Diane is a gifted, talented artist.  I'm not sure any of us could "see" what she sees but I'd certainly like to try!

" I found a skirt in tiers at Goodwill and there were some squares that were damaged, so I took them out. Then there were the squares with yellow in them - they didn't fit in my vision, so I took them out, too. I put it all back together again in a shirt. Materials - velvet and rayon.  Pattern - Vogue. Very time consuming. Makes me tired just thinking about it.


This is a pillow Jen made.  Her work is always amazing.  She also has the visual eye.  I'm still waiting for it.  I hope it comes soon!  Her description is below...

"I made a pillow for my Mother from some of my Dad's ties and it came out good.  I took the ties apart and then  sewed them onto a muslin backing because they are silk. Then I used a nice weighty cotton for the back."

The skirt below belonged to my mom.  It's from the 70's and was long with a slit up the side.  I remember so vividly the night she wore it.  It was for one of my dad's Christmas parties.  She wore it with a black knit "shell" which is our equivalent of a tank top.  Her accessories were a beautiful chunky gold necklace and gold sandals with a pretty heel.  I didn't think my mom was stylish at the time because the only thing young people wore in the 70's to be "in" were jeans.  Now that I look back I know she was. I wish I could tell her that but that goes with all the things through the years I would have liked to tell her and loved her to see.

I'm so glad I kept some beautiful things of my mom's.  Through the years I've had many plans for this skirt.  It was going to be pillows.  But it never matched anything.  I was going to line it and make a rug but nothing in my house matched it.  Then I forgot all about it.  I don't know if this winter just got to me or I feel like I'm getting so old I might die before I do anything with it, but I decided to shorten it and make it into a skirt I could leave the house wearing.  It has an elastic waist and I had to take out the old elastic and put in a longer piece.  I think everyone was thinner in those days-at least that's what I'm told myself!

The fabric is chenille.  I haven't seen this in years but it's got so much texture.  I know you think it must be bulky and look awful but it's just the opposite.  It's lightweight and hangs beautifully.  I wore it with a black turtleneck sweater and long gold necklace and I've never gotten so many compliments.  Someone could make a fortune if they brought this fabric back.  One of my co-workers said she thinks it's something "Loft" might have.  Now I'm so happy I took a chance and just did something with it!  I still have the remnant.  I'm thinking of making a matching scarf or small pillows!  I'll see if it "talks" to me again.  If this winter doesn't end soon it probably will...


Here's a recycled project I just finished.  It's supposed to be a Civil War mini quilt.  It's really pretty.  Can you tell why it had to be recycled?  Probably not-but because I can it can't be a quilt!!

Look carefully below and see how the diamond points don't match!  It's not noticeable to someone who doesn't sew or quilt but to a quilter it's a very bad mistake.  I had never worked with a diamond border before so I didn't realize the points have to match. And I didn't know I needed to fudge all the seams to make them match.  Unfortunately I trimmed the blocks so sewing them together would be easier. By doing that I didn't have a chance to play around with what little seam allowance I had.

The best part about belonging to a quilt/craft group is if you ever get stuck and need help there is always someone there who is smarter, more experienced and knows exactly what you're going through.  I asked my guru Donna what I should do.  She is a really calm, sweet person and gives great common sense advice. She said don't waste any more time on it.  Make it into a tablecloth and move on.  So I did take her advice but I modified it to make the "loss" of this quilt a little easier to take.  I got some very thin muslin and sewed the right sides together and then turned it to the right side.  After a really good pressing, I tied the solid squares with pearlized cotton so the two layers of fabric would stay together.  Then I thought I should secure the ends more because after it's washed  maybe the ends will get funny and no longer lay flat.  I got the idea to buttonhole stitch around the edges.  I'm not sure if this is a good idea.  I'll show it to Donna next time we meet to find out!  Now I love it so much I'm not sure I want to use it as a tablecloth because it might get dirty!!  Another problem to solve!  I spend way too much time on thinking about my projects!  I'm beginning to wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing...


I can't leave another bleak weather forecast without a great recipe for a "snowed in" night.  This is my family's favorite pork chop dinner.  Spray a big pan with vegetable spray. Put the pork chops in the pan.  Put BBQ sauce on them.  We like Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet n' Spicy.  Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle pepper on the chops.  Open a can of pineapple slices and place one on each pork chop.  Add the juice to the bottom of the pan.  The pineapple is acidic and automatically tenderizes the meat.  This is a no fail recipe for pork and chicken.  Place in a 350 degree oven and bake until done.  The time depends on how thick the chops are.  Just before you take them out of the oven turn the broiler on.  Leave them in until they are browned and crispy,  Serve with the juice.

 When I put the pork in the oven I wrap some small yukon gold potatoes and baby sweet potatoes in foil and put them alongside the baking pan.  

My family's all time vegetable side dish is peas and corn.  This is a recipe from my mom.  I make it when we have a special dinner.  It's always on the Thanksgiving menu.  It's so easy and it's tastes so good.  Spray a large frying pan with vegetable spray. Open a can of peas and a can of corn.  I sometimes use the large cans if we want leftovers.  Rinse the peas with cold water in a hand held colander.  Then rinse the corn the same way.  That's to get all of the salt out.  Dump them in the frying pan.  I use Bummel and Brown all the time as a butter substitute.  I might use real butter for Thanksgiving dinner but it's really not necessary with this recipe.  Put a few heaping tablespoons of Bummel and Brown in the mix.  Then drizzle some olive oil over it.  Add pepper.  You will know how much you need as you see the mixture start to brown.  You can add as much or as little as you like.  It's the crispiness and crunchiness of the dish that is so delicious.  It gets caramelized the more you let it cook.

Special occasions always get a little bread along with dinner.  I sliced and froze the pumpkin and cranberry bread I made from scratch from Thanksgiving.  Once in a while I'll take them out, wrap a couple of slices in foil and put them in the oven while dinner's cooking.  Then I cut the slices in half so everyone gets a little square.


Flip couldn't hold out.  He finally had go out!  But he's not happy!  

Here's hoping for spring soon!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

                Happy Valentine's Day!

A while ago when my friend Jen emailed me this photo of Prince Flip I knew he was going to be the Star of my Valentine's Day post.  When I die I want to come back as Princess Flip!  He has beautiful seasonal and holiday quilts.  AND they aren't made from Jo-Ann's fabrics.  They are made only of the best quality quilt fabric so they can be washed and used.  Boy does he use them!  He goes from one place to the next taking cat naps all day!  What a life! 


When I asked Jen if I could post the quilt and directions, she was generous to include the pattern. 


Choose 3 fabrics in a theme or a complementary trio.  Cut according to the cutting diagram. When assembling press all seams to the outside and cut off the "ears".  For my kitty quilt, I used two blocks with a 5 1/2" wide center sashing and a 5 1/2" wide strip on both sides.  The borders are 2 1/2" wide.  Rather than use binding I sewed it and turned it inside out.  You do this by laying down the batting, then on top of the batting place the backing with right side up and then on top of that place the top right side down.
Sew around leaving an opening to turn inside out. Press and then sew then stitch around the outer edges to close.  I machine quilted in a chevron pattern. Finished size is approximately 31" x 26".  With some scraps I made a pillow sham.  The valentine reds are especially pretty if you have a black and white kitty who sleeps upon it! 

The beauty of this quilt pattern is you can make it as big as you like.  I think I'll make a table runner.  I can picture so many color variations.  Right now I'm thinking bright colors for the summer!!







Pick up sticks!  Oh, forgot, Flip's not interested.

While you're quilting maybe you'll want a sweet treat!

Once again, these aren't real.  I have more fake sweets in my house than real ones.  That's a good and bad thing!

Everyone thinks of chocolate when they think of Valentine's Day BUT I promise if you make these cookies and dip than in white chocolate you won't miss the dark chocolate.  My mom made these oatmeal cookies all the time when I was growing up.  They were my dad's favorite cookie.  I think Nestle's Tollhouse Cookies were her favorite because whenever she baked these two cookies were her staples.  One day my friend Sue mentioned oatmeal cookies were her husband Roy's favorite.  But it wasn't until she told me her secret that I was entranced!  After they cool, she dips them in white chocolate!!  OMG - to die for!  Promise!!  

Classic Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Raisin oatmeal cookies are one of the most popular cookies in America. This all-time favorite is easy to make and is a fun activity to do with kids.
Preparation time: About 10 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes


  • 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
  • Directions:
    HEAT oven to 350 F. 
     butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. 
     flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. 
    ADD to butter mixture and mix well. 
     in oats, raisins and nuts, if using. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. 
    BAKE 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets.
    COOL on wire racks.
    Makes 3 dozen cookies.
    For the Dipping:
    White Chocolate Chips
    Spray a small non-stick pan with vegetable spray.  Put in enough white chocolate chips to dip all the cookies.  On low heat, melt the chips slowly, stirring frequently.  When the chips are melted, take the pan off the heat and put it on a trivet. Start dipping.  Let cool.  
    NOTE:  Last year I bought a melting pot at Jo-Ann's with a 50% coupon.  I use that now.  It's also great to dip strawberries in too!  It has many uses!

     Let's hope Chuckles was wrong and Spring comes real soon!  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Frigid February!

Frigid February!

If we get snowbound again I have some great ideas to keep us from making cookies AND EATING THEM!

The only candles I light now are Yankee Candles because when I'm done using them all I close the lid and they're out.  We have ruined a few table clothes by over-zealously blowing out the candles. The wax always managed to fly everywhere.  Then I found fake votives and now I love to decorate with them.  Turn them on and off and you will have the votive holders forever.

I found these two small dessert glasses and decided to put votives in them.  They create a soft romantic atmosphere on that side of the buffet.

Years ago I bought some candles from Walmart mainly because I loved the lids.  They're about half used.   I didn't want to light them anymore because I didn't want to throw them out when they were finished so I decided to decorate them and not use them anymore.  I had some great Christmas fabric I wanted to display so I cut out the pieces I wanted to use and and glued them to the candles.  I've been putting these candles out for the past ten years and the fabric stays glued.  I use Goop for a lot of projects but I'm not sure if that makes a difference.  I also keep my candles in the unfinished part of the basement where it's cool all year long.

This is one of my favorite jars.  I was disappointed this year when I took it out and saw it was cracked.  I didn't want to throw it out so I decided to "dress" it up for winter to hide the crack.  First I painted the jar with Frosted Etching (see below) and then dabbed Snow-Tex here and there especially in the cracks.  Then I glued snowflakes and a few 3D stickers around the top.

This is the Frosted Etching.  I love it. You use it just like paint.  It dries very fast.  The trick is to make swirls when you paint it on the glass.  When you apply it that way you won't see lines or goopey mistakes. The brush cleans up with soap and water.  

Here's more etched mason jars.  I cut out the fabric pieces I wanted and glued them on the glass.  The beauty of projects like this is if you make a mistake or some of the glue seeps out it doesn't matter because the etching hides everything.  I also glue fabric to the lids.


These are Gingerbread stickers.  They work fine too.  I stuck them on while the etching was still wet so they got a good seal.

I really liked this bottle and didn't want to throw it out so I decided to decorate it.  I used the same technique as above while writing "COLD" in Snow-Tex.  Then I added blue craft paint to the top and where the seam is to make it look extra icy.  Most craft paints work on glass but if I have a specific project in mind I always look in the back of the paint bottle to make sure I'm using the right product.

I got this snowflake jar at the end of the season for one dollar.  When I saw it I knew a blue pearl effect paint would be perfect for the design.  The snowflake needed a few coats to really stand out.  All of these paints dry so quickly I was able to paint one layer right after the other.


Same with this snowman jar.  I just filled in the snowman design with Snow-Tex and painted the rest.

This little guy was 50 cents.  I couldn't pass him up.  While the paint was wet I sprinkled glitter on his hat and scarf.  Then I added Snow-Tex to his face and buttons.


  Everyone asks how my family room renovation is coming.  I will continue to post updates WHEN they happen.  Not a lot has happened since October.  I hope the next four months show some progress otherwise I fear this is another ten year renovation.  And I don't want to be living in an old age home before it's finished!

Watch for my next Valentine post.  It's going to be sooo awesome!

Thanks for visiting!!