Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Blog Has Moved!!!!!!

Have you ever gotten a flash of inspiration right before falling asleep? That happened to me last night. As my brain quieted down from it's usual hyperactive meanderings, I had a new blog vision. When a woman gets the impulse to rearrange furniture, there is no holding her back! Well, it is a New Year and I have decided to throw out my old blogging furniture....and start anew. I am packing up my creative juices and moving them.....


If you read my blog, please follow me here!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sewing Again!!!

Well, I have decided to do a bit of a study in the recuperation from carpal tunnel surgery. I had the surgery last Wednesday and by Saturday I found I could do work on the sewing machine. So, of course I started to piece together a anticipation of finally getting to use my free motion quilting machine.

Interestingly, as a nurse, I had observed that most patients came back for their 10 day follow-up with their hand still rather swollen and motionless. After the first two days of keeping my hand elevated constantly, I decided to start using it for small things and work up as I could. What I found was that I could do much more than I long as I let pain be my guide. Interestingly, use has not caused an increase in swelling. So my conclusion is this.....if you want to recuperate from carpal tunnel surgery more quickly....return to sewing as soon as able. I am now 6 days post-op and able to cut with scissors, rotary cutter, and once again sew up a storm!!! I can even handle the iron with my right hand. So here is the beginning of the quilt that was nothing more than fat quarters 4 days ago.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Irony (I Can't Iron, Either)

Well, I must say that Santa was very good to me this year. I had a big surprise when I opened the door to my sewing room on Christmas Eve to find a brand new Pfaff quilter and frame. I have always dreamed of quilting! I can't wait to get started on my first project. The irony of all of this is, though, that because of all my sewing, I developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and had surgery for this on the day after New Years Day. My sewing wings have been clipped for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, my new quilting machine sits there taunting me! Isn't it ironic?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Apron Tree

The brightest spot in my kitchen this Christmas season is my little tree. Usually this tree is bare, but this season it is adorned with adorable mini Christmas aprons made by my farmgirl friends from all over the country. These little minis were lovingly made by a group of us, then sent to my dear friend Kathie in Florida, where they were re-packaged and sent back to each of us. We each received one apron made by each member of the group. Every time that I look at my little tree, I have to smile and count my many friends from so many places. How lucky I am!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flirty Little Modern Apron

I love, love, love this fabric!! It is a soft aqua and dark brown cotton print and hangs so prettily in lovely feminine folds...polka dots on one side, paisley on the other....luscious!!

Back to Work

The shopping is done. The presents are wrapped. The cookies are baked. The house is clean and the laundry is up to date. Seems like a great day to get some sewing done! I have several aprons that are ready to be sewn...having cut out a bunch all at one time about a week ago. Wooo we go. If you look at my electric meter today, I am sure it is whizzing around merrily as I press that foot peddle on my sewing machine! Thank goodness I have two treadle machines ready to go in case of a power outage.
My first couple of aprons will be reversible Christmas aprons....which I will save til next year. I suppose it is a little late for anybody to want to purchase a holiday apron, but somehow sewing holiday fabric keeps me in the spirit. Here is the first one finished.

Back to the subject of Christmas presents. I was in a quandry as to what to do for Jack's grandmother this year. She is 95 and lives in a nursing home. She has dementia and no longer ambulates very well. Jack is always telling her about our farm and his sister, Becky suggested that I make her a collage of farm pictures for her wall. Afraid that her eyesight might not be good enough to enjoy a picture across the room, I decided to use a terrific website called to make her a picture book of the farm. Here is a picture of the finished book and if I can figure out how, I will put a link to the rest of the book.

Click here to view book

One more holiday apron....actually, this would be good year round....winter and summer.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Let's Talk in the Kitchen ......

Let's move out of the workshop for a bit and sit in my kitchen. Preparing food for my family has always been one of my joys. However of late it seems to have become a more daunting task. The list of foods that I will not eat or serve to my loved ones grows each day. I am taking great pains to become a responsible, educated consumer. Don't get me wrong, this is all a labor of love. But, my eyes have been opened lately and I feel a deep sense of responsibility for providing healthy, natural, organic, whole foods types of meals for my family.

I have made a pledge to remove certain things from my diet as much as possible....which makes grocery shopping a bit of a science and can no longer be done in a hurry. Reading labels is essential. So, as much as is humanly possible I no longer buy:

1. white flour (except for making an occasional cake or homemade buttermilk biscuits...for which it is essential...and warm, buttery, homemade biscuits are soul food) When baking bread, I use whole grains.

2. white rice and pasta - I have replaced them with whole wheat or quinoa pasta and brown, red, or wild rice, quinoa, bulgar, etc....and organic whenever possible.

3. anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup.....ugh, nasty stuff, not fit for human consumption. Who ever came up with the idea that we should consume things that were created in a lab, anyways? Read your is in just about everything...even most breads. I will try to not get on a soapbox about this chemical, but from what I read it is at least partially responsible for the increase in Diabetes, heart disease and cancer in this country.

4. anything with trans fatty I avoid all processed baked goods, cookies,etc. I don't bake with crisco. No tub of Cool Whip darkens my doorway (also created in a lab!!) I read labels on snack foods and keep them to a minimum. Although, I am not naive enough to think that lables do not lie.

5. I avoid the words "poppin fresh" like the plague!

What I do try to buy is this.....

1. Organic, whenever possible....especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Fruits whose skins we consume - like apples, pears, berries, etc. - have higher concentrations of pesticides in the skins. So buying organic (though it is a bit more pricey) is prudent. In the summertime, we grow strawberries and blueberries; which I use for jams and also free quite a bit for use during the winter.

2. Whole grains

3. Butter, never margarine. I would always rather eat a natural food like butter than a lab-created chemical like margarine. I cook with Olive oil and even bake with it. When I buy is real cheese...not fake "processed cheese food". I'll take the saturated fats in an occasional nip of least accompanying them is some nutritional value!

4. Skim milk - organic.

5. Almonds - for snacking and to throw in salads and stir-fry.

6. Juices - pure fruit juices, without any high fructose corn syrup.

7. Crazy Richard's peanut salt, sugar or oils added. Nothing but peanuts! I suppose the only thing better would be to find an organic one.

8. Locally raised beef and pork (this year we split a steer and a pig with two other families. Chicken, of course, and local, free-range is best.

9. Staples in our diet are our own Bee Haven Acres jumbo eggs, honey, apples, vegetable (which I froze and canned), strawberries, and blueberries.

10. Milled flax seed ...good to toss on oatmeal or whatever.....

11. there is a whole other subject. I carry a chart of good versus bad fish. After all, mercury is not desirable and I want to make an effort to eat only fish that are sustainable. We have over fished our waters and destroyed ecosystems in the process. For safe and responsible seafood consumption, check this out!

I am always amused by the stark contrast between my grocery cart and those of most of the shoppers around me....mine is always so empty by comparison. Convenience foods never make it from the shelf into my cart. I have even stopped shopping in the cereal aisle. I rarely buy anything frozen except for an occasional vegetable that I cannot find fresh and.....of course we can not be expected to live without just a little ice cream!!

I make small trips to the grocery store, probably every other day or so rather than the large weekly or every other week trips. Most of what I buy is fresh, so it has a rather short shelf life. But, I like it that reminds me of the European style of shopping and cooking.

It seems that in this country we have sold our souls for convenience sake. It is to the point where we have lost the desire for quality in our lives....and especially on our plates. Perhaps we chose to spend our money elsewhere, I'm not sure. But for me, eating is is a way of taking the energy of the sun and Mother Earth and assimilating it into our bodies to nourish and sustain us. It is perhaps the single most important thing that we do each day! Why should we not do this one thing with a sense of conscience.

If anything that I have said here has grabbed your interest, please do yourself an enormous favor and read this book: The Omnivore's Dilemma

I cannot tell you how much it will change your life and possibly your health!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Housekeeping Apron

This apron is a Christmas gift for a friend who cleans houses. It is made from a durable heavy cotton and is lined for extra strength. It has deep and shallow pockets....a couple of pockets that are narrow and will fit the handle of a duster. One tiny pocket near the right hip is just right for her IPOD nano. Pink ball fringe, ruffle and buttons were added just for fluff....quite glamorous I think. Hope she likes it!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ollivia....All Dressed Up

I spent today working on two special order aprons. The first was made from an Olivia the Pig Christmas print. I embellished the pockets to better accessorize her. On one, I used a felted red sweater to cut out mittens and ear muffs and winter scarf. I also added the red buttons to her ensemble. On the other side, Olivia is dressed in a tulle skirt and red glass beads to match her glasses and purse. Girls must accessorize!!!!
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This next apron is another revesible made from aqua and green companion fabrics. The pockets are embellished with yo yo's.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007


The holidays are quickly approaching and there are tons of things I should be doing in preparation..... BUT, it's snowing outside and that seems like a good reason to hunker down and get to some sewing instead! I have had this purse cut out for about a week...just waiting to finish the applique before starting construction. I got a very early start this morning, so I set about stitching and felting and finally finished the appliques. Another hour's work and the purse was complete.....
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A couple of weeks ago I posted about the trouble I was having felting a piece of wool in the washer. Finally, I shrunk this piece to a workable size and it just sort of fell into a clutch purse. Here is the finished piece.....
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Back to Felting Purses

Well, I had to get out of bed this morning at 5:30 because the idea for this purse came to me then. I have enlisted the help of my mother (master-knitter that she is!) to knit me some large squares. I then wash and shrink them and then cut and sew them into purses. She knit me a wonderful dark grey sheet. After washing and stitching this felted wool, I also needle felted some white design on it. It reminds me of winter....sort of reminds me of a snow storm. I will still need to line the purse with fabric, but I am so happy how it has turned out at this point....
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As I type this, I have yet another piece of wool in the washer...hopefully shrinking into a delicious wooly fabric. Stay tuned for the next idea that grabs me!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sharing Our Blessings

This morning I had an idea. There are a couple of gals across the country that I had met over the past year. I made a few items that I wanted to send to these gals for the holidays. I love the ideas of random acts of kindness and paying it forward, so I came up with a twist on those ideas. With each gift that I sent out, I attached a letter explaining my idea. My hope is that each one of my gifts will multiply and find their ways around the country touching many lives. It is always so nice to know that someone is thinking of of life's blessings. And so, today the Angel of Blessings took flight.......

If you receive a package with this letter enclosed, please follow the instructions on the letter:

Pass the Blessings
Dear Friend:
You were in my thoughts today and so I am sending this (gift) blessing your way. If you feel the urge to reciprocate, I ask this of you: Please send a Blessing to someone else. In doing so, my gift to you will multiply and the Blessings will be even greater. It need not be extravagant in any way….just a small reminder to that person that they are truly blessed by the friendship of another.

Please enclose this note with your Blessing and send these sentiments along. It is my hope that this Angel of Blessings travels far and wide. Please sign your name to this letter before passing it on to another special person.

Busy with Gifts

Well, it seems that most of my time these days is taken up with Christmas preparation. I have made quite a few of my gifts and therefore I am unable to post many pictures of what I have been up to. So sorry....but after Christmas, I will show you what I had made. I am contemplating hatmaking in the new year as well as children's clothing. In preparation for eventual Grandmotherhood, I thought I would start with infant and toddler dress and hat ensembles....Cannot wait to get started.

Yesterday I finished a few special orders....these I can share with you!!
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Back to the Familiar....

Well, I finished this one today! I love the fabric. It was a special order for a friend to give as a gift to a horse gal. It is reversible with the opposite side being of the same fabric as the pockets on this side. The opposite side has horse pockets.....I think she'll like this one!
Here is a better close up of the fabric.....

I made a truly fun ensemble(a totally new creation) this week that I wish I could post, but it is a gift and posting would ruin the surprise!! Will post after Christmas!

New Apron.....An Exercise in Frustration (Free to a Good Home)

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Ok, so JoAnn's Fabric had their Simplicity patterns on sale for $1.99 and I found this pattern. Thinking it would make a cute apron for me, I bought it and some fabric and yesterday I made it. Sadly, I made a medium and it ended up tent sized!!! So, without disassembling it, I set out to make it look a bit more fitted. I fiddled around with elastic but was not satisfied. So, next I decided to attach a permantent sash right beneath the bust. This is what I ended up with....
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The final full length view is:
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If you happen to like this apron, e-mail me and it is yours. I would say that it would fit a pretty large range of women from size 8 thru probably size 14. It is yours for the asking!!!!

Addendum....Thanks to my friend Autumn in Louisiana....this little apron has a new home!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Home-Ec Apron

I could hardly wait to make this fabric into an the retro 50's prints!! Reminds me of home-ec class. Found the huge blue rick-rack on ebay...never saw it in the store.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Black and White Reversible Apron

For some reason, I have had this apron cut out for ages....finally, today I got around to assembling it. Basic black and can never go wrong with that! I suppose it just kept getting pre-empted by even yummier fabrics. Just wait til you see what is on the cutting table next!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Another Re-purposed Apron.....

This half apron is made from the remaining fabric from a Battenburg Lace curtain panel. I think it will make a nice holiday entertaining apron.
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And here is the final product from that felt applique project I started earlier....

And One for Thanksgiving...

Another reversible one....earthtones...great for cooking Thanksgiving dinner and then flip it over for a clean side to use to serve dinner!

Cowgirl Apron

This apron is called "Every Cowgirl Deserves an Apron". I love that cowgirl pin-up fabric by Alexander Henry. (I bought it in every available color.)

Here is the reverse side of that

apron...(not sure if it is a pony
or a cowhide print

"Makin' Jelly" Apron

This apron was made as a special order for a friend to give as a gift for someone who makes lots of jams and jellies. The print has recipes and fruit all over. The reverse is just a soft floral for contrast.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Aprons and More Aprons....

I put myself to work today to finish up a couple of special orders. This apron has homemade bias tape trim for a more tailored look. It went to a friend of mine who owns a little restaurant...for her mother. Thanks Marie and Sophia!!

I love the fabric that this apron is made very cheerful. It is a special order for another friend. I hope she likes it!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Learning to do Needle Felting

Felting, simply put, is a process that joins wool fibers together and makes them feel like felt. If you knit an object from wool yarn and then wash and dry that item, it shrinks and the fibers felt so that the knited piece can then be cut with a scissors. After felting, the knitted piece will not unravel when cut and handled. The small purses that I made earlier in this blog were constructed from felted wool that I had obtained thru washing 100% wool sweaters. These two sweaters have been washed also and they are about 1/3 the size that they originally were.Their stitches are so tight,they are almost impossible to distinguish and the feel of the sweater is that of very thick felt. I can now cut them apart and use them to construct somthing different.
This piece of wool, however, did not felt when washed and dried. I am not sure why this is, but it does not have the same thick texture and will be hard to use for a purse. The stitches remain visible, so I fear that cutting it apart would lead to unravelling.

I am also trying the technique of needle felting for embellishing my bags. With needle felting, you use a special barbed needle to repeatedly stab unspun wool into a piece of felt on which you wish to create a picture or shape. You can see on this piece of white felt I am creating a flower out of wool. I had hoped to use this flower on a purse made from the above wool, but now I don't think that that piece of wool is thick enough to hold a shape. Perhaps I will try washing it yet another time.

This piece is from a chartreuse cardigan that I felted and then needle felted two oak leaves for embellishment.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hostess Apron

Last week, while investigating a local antique market, I came upon a pair of never-used Battenburg Lace curtains. Today I took one of the curtains, turned it on the bias and used one bottom corner for the hem of this hostess apron. The top of the apron I trimmed with the lace from the opposite corner. The neck straps were tie-backs and the pocket is trimmed with more of the lace from the hem. I still have enough fabric left from the curtain to make another half apron. AND....I have one more curtain left untouched. I love this is so feminine and perfect for entertaining.....possibly for Christmas dinner. The color is not the most practical for working in the kitchen....but great to use after the cooking is done.
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The Start of a Quilt little pinwheels of color and texture that help to use up even the tiniest of fabric scraps. Hours of handstitching later and you have an heirloom quilt for pennies. I started these yoyo's this past summer and showed them to my Mom (who immediately wrestled me for the yoyo maker) and she asked to finish using up my fabric scraps for me. I must add that she works at lightening speed! So, with most of the yoyo's finished, I have begun the task of quilt construction. This is the beginning of what will eventually be a gift for one of the kids.
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Yesterday's rust cardigan became today's felted bag! It is lined, has a snap closure and a felted wool flower to embellish. Too Cute!!
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If It's Wool, It's Felted!!!

If it is 100% wool, most likely it is scratchy....and in that case it is going to be re-purposed! I am all for recycling and wool recycling is my project for the winter. A wonderful batch of Pendleton plaid in rusts and browns will become fall leaves and pumpkins. A chartreuse cardigan was reborn this afternoon as a purse...
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And so the sleeves became a pair of matching mittens...
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I am contemplating a warm pair of mittens from a lovely lambswool pullover (it started out a Misses medium and would now fit only a 2 year old....the result of hot water and hot dryer).