Saturday, July 31, 2010

lovely tea diversions . . .

Well, looking ahead, the coming week is full of possibility! Wednesday I have an appointment with the orthopedist, and I am hoping she allows me to begin bearing weight on my right foot again, which will open up so many opportunities. Moving back into our RV at the camp and driving, not the least of these! After that appointment, I have an appointment with my family doc, who's treating the blasted spider bite. While the inflammation is nearly completely gone, the (now) quarter-sized bruise and the dark blistery looking thing are still present. Don't know what this bodes, unless it's more waiting, which wouldn't surprise me.

I've already made good headway (i.e., I'm almost finished) with the eighth of the redwork blocks. I'd like to have all ten finished by Tuesday eve! Then I'll start processing out the other blocks. The pattern calls for a simple nine patch in reds and whites, but I'm thinking I'd like to add a denim look to this quilt! But more on that later, when I've finished the redwork.

For today, I've been playing around in my photo directory, and pulled up some fun tea tables I've done in days past. When we moved from house to RV, most of my 'dainties' (though not all) were left behind for my daughter and daughter-in-law. But I do love a good tea party, and thought I'd share some of my favorite memories in the form of photos, today . . .

This was the first table that I ever hosted, for the Flint River Mother-Daughter Tea. That was in 2006. I used my everyday china because I was so in love with the colors! It's still a favorite -- I love the yellows, greens, and blues. They make me smile!

This was my table the next year, for the same tea. I was a little more elegant and went with my Lenox Kelly china (which I did take with me on the RV). This was such a fun table, and I loved making the violet sachet favors!

This was a little tea party I did for my daughter and her friend/roommate, when they made a weekend trip home from college. It wasn't ultra-fancy, but it was fun and the food was tasty! My kitchen was decorated in apples and since that was the setting, I used my apple tea set and the apple snack plates and cups.

This was an impromptu afternoon tea setting for Joc and I, late one weekend when she was home from college. I love having tea with my girl!

This was a tea table I did at First Baptist Gurley, when my Sunday school class hosted a tea party for all the senior adult ladies of the church. As with the previous church tea parties I'd done, each table was hosted and decorated by a different lady. The different tables were all so beautiful, and it was such a fun afternoon! The tea service I used here was one Jocelyn brought back for me from her second mission trip to China. It's beautiful!

And this table was the last table I did at Flint River, in 2009. Jocelyn and I co-hosted at this mother-daughter tea! We invited two of our dear friends and their daughters, and Joc's mother-in-law (to be, at the time) and her daughter. We had a lovely afternoon. If I'm remembering correctly, I gave the tea etiquette portion of the program!

I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the last tea I had here at the house. After Joc's wedding, I did a tea party for her two flower girls and their mommies. It was my sister and my niece, Lucy, and my friend Jenda, and her daughter Emma Grace. We had such a fun afternoon! But I forgot to get pictures! What was I thinking??

I have such fond tea time memories . . . I think it may be time to brew a pot!



Friday, July 30, 2010

we . . . love . . . cheese . . . cake!

Todd and I both enjoy desserts -- just a little something sweet to cap off a nice dinner! Trouble is, Todd is very, very conscious of his sugar intake. It's really tough to make a tempting dessert without sugar, so I've been looking for new recipes to tempt his palette! This is one I found a couple of months ago which he's really enjoyed . . .

Easy Cheese Cake - No Sugar Added!

Take a softened, 8-ounce block of light cream cheese (neufchâtel)
and add 1/4 cup of granular Splenda and a generous
2 teaspoons or so of vanilla. (Or, for a bit different taste,
trade out the vanilla for almond extract! Amaretto cheesecake!)

Beat well.

Add 1/2 cup of skim milk and beat until smooth.
Scrape sides of bowl and beat again.

Add 1 cup of skim milk (yes, more milk) and beat until well mixed.

Add 1 4-serving box of Jell-O brand instant pudding
(sugar free, fat free), cheesecake flavor, and mix until
well blended. Mixture will quickly begin to thicken.

Pour about a third of the mix into
pre-prepared graham cracker pie shell.

Add 3/4 cup of your favorite sugar-free jam --
I used Smucker's Cherry Preserves.

Top with remaining 2/3 of the pudding/cream cheese mix.
Smooth top.

Cover and chill for at least four hours.
Serve with sugar-free whipped topping!


ps. They released me from the hospital yesterday. Four days and three nights!!! I was so super-shocked at the whole week. I came home yesterday and crawled into bed and slept all afternoon -- I was so exhausted from my stay. LOL! I went to work today, just like the last four days never happened. Crazy. All over a stinkin' spider bite!

For tomorrow? REDWORK!!!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

how did this happen . . . ??

It was really not my intention to spend more than 24 hours in the hospital, but such was not my fate. I had a rough night, complicated by a reaction to one of the antibiotics they gave me early this morning, and so spent most of the day nauseated and, well, ugh. :)

The doc made his rounds just after noon, and much to my surprise, did not release me! I mean, really -- I was a little shocked! But he wants the inflammation to be reduced by at least fifty percent, so here I am. He did switch up my antibiotics, which made me happy, happy, happy!

I haven't done anything quilt-y, though this would have been the perfect time for it, but I was caught totally off guard! Ah well, today would NOT have been the day for it, and I'm praying that tomorrow I'm fifty percent better. LOL!

I do have another precious photo of my cuddle-bug grandson . . .
That happy smile is good medicine for me!

To healthier days!


Monday, July 26, 2010

tidbits . . .

Today's blogcast comes to you from Crestwood Hospital. Come as a surprise to you? It did me too! I went into the doctor's office this morning to let him have another look at my spider bite. While he was, on the one hand, pleased that the center of the bite had not grown or ruptured, the exterior inflammation had grown more than ten times the size it was Friday (which was about 2.5" diameter). He decided to send me to the hospital so I could get some IV antibiotics. So, at the hospital I am! What a curious summer this has been for me!!!

On a happy note, hanging around all weekend with my leg propped gave me plenty of time to work on my Sawyer redblocks!!
Sawyer and His Pal.

Sawyer Reads "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"!

I also got to spend a little time with the little guy yesterday afternoon, while his mommy & daddy headed up the road for a swim party! I do adore my darling Sawyer!

My daughter has recently gotten interested in making her own cards. She does a wonderful job, too! Here is the one she made for Todd and I for our anniversary, last month . . .

She's got beautiful handwriting. It's a very elegant card.
She's got an eye for embellishments, too!

This was on the inside . . .

We're so blessed to have such wonderful children!!

But then she told us to turn the card over;
that there was more on the back.
On the back?

Did you catch it? Let me give you a close up . . .

ANOTHER grandbaby!!! She's due sometime in mid-February. Now both *my* babies will have babies!!!

I am LOVING this season of my life!!!

*grandma sigh*


Sunday, July 25, 2010

hop on over . . .

Got any plans for this evening? May I suggest you head on over, lickety-split, to the Little Pieces of My Life blog?? She's celebrating her 150th post, and she's doing so by giving away completed redwork blocks of Bunny Hill Design's SnowBound! Oh my, you all KNOW this is right up my alley!

But you really do need to hop on over there . . . she's shutting this one down soon!!!

Good luck -- to us all!!

ps -- I *did* make the homemade peach ice cream tonight. YUM!


it's in the cards, part 2 . . .

Saturday's goals:

Complete Sawyer and His Pal redwork block. Check.
Read newest issue of Tea Time. Check.
Read Invitation to Tea. Check (decidedly *not* my cup of tea).
Make homemade peach ice cream. ______

What? Where's the check there? That was the BIG definite!

Todd wasn't feeling well yesterday; he still isn't this morning. And since I'm struggling with this spider-bite spot, the ice cream just didn't happen. Perhaps today? Oh, and as for the book I tried online? I don't know if it was the plot, or the fact that it was not a book in my hands that made it not for me. I may have to see if I can find this one at the library and give it another shot.

Today I thought I'd finish up showing some of my favorites from the challenge show our guild had last week. I noticed that I didn't get photos of all the cards; guess when you're moving around a room with a hundred other women, and you're on one leg and a rolling walker, you take what you can get! Anyway, here is some more of our guild's awesome work . . .

I liked this one, of course I'm a sucker for
Christmas and Christmas trees:

But what I liked was that the quilter didn't copycat
the card; she made her quilt based on her interpretation of
the card, which was what the challenge was all about.

Besides, I thought this would be a darling table topper
in the holiday season!

I must have not been able to get in to get a good shot
of the card that inspired this quilt. It was
dimensional -- as is the quilt. I don't know if you
can tell that from the photo.

This one won first place in its class!

Again, my photo doesn't do justice to the colors
of this one. It rather reminded me of Camp MACOBA,
and so it was definitely a favorite!

Dragonflies . . . and pretty colors. I wish the dragonflies
had been better set out from the background.

This piece won third place in its class.

This was a cute one based on on a Mary Englebreit
card and the corresponding envelope
(I managed not to capture a photo of either) . . .

It was happy and made me smile ... perfect for a
wall in a sewing room!

Loved this quilt based on a Mother's Day card
the quilter had received from one of her daughters.

Look at all the hexie-flowers in that center!!

Another cute one . . .

Really, the colors were far more vivid. I think my flash
may have washed it out a little. The quilter noted
that she collects wine corks, and wanted to do a quilt
that incorporated them. The 'cork tassels' that embellish
her quilt are darling!

This one was based on a Christmas card. I love that
every SINGLE piece of fruit was appliqued on the quilt.
It was so very pretty!

And that wraps up the challenge! There were lots of entries, I just couldn't get pictures of them all. Now that the guild challenge is behind us, attentions of the guild will quickly turn to next year's quilt show. I have to decide if I'm going to enter a quilt or not. It's so much...pressure! LOL! But I really enjoyed it last year, so I imagine I'll go ahead and do it again.

Good gracious . . . I need to get busy!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

homemade ice cream . . .

Today. I will keep my leg elevated (both for the healing break *and* the spider bite). I will work on my next redwork block, Sawyer and His Pal, I will read from the latest issue of Tea Time, which came in yesterday's mail *yay!*, and I will start reading a book online, Invitation to Tea, which I found thanks to Angela McRae.

And maybe make some homemade peach ice cream. Well, probably.

More than likely.

Many years ago, probably close to seventeen, I bought a little 1-pint Donvier ice cream maker. It was fast (sometimes instant gratification is a good thing), incredibly easy, the kids could help, and it was just big enough for the three of us.

As the years passed and the kids grew older (and ate more ice cream in a serving), the Donvier got set aside and forgotten. Until recently. Since the kids are grown and gone and we're just the two of us now, we don't need a big ol' ice cream maker (and really, we don't need a whole lot of ice cream in the house to tempt us). And since space is at a premium in the RV (and the RV's freezer), it's easier to make the ice cream we occasionally want to eat.

It became apparent that it was time for the Donvier to re-appear.

I pulled it out this week to try and make a
sugar-free, low-fat vanilla ice cream.

I whipped up my five ingredients . . .

Poured the mix into the chillfast container . . .

Snapped the lid on and inserted the crank handle . . .

And I churned . . . and churned . . .

And churned a little more . . .

And in less than 20 minutes, I had a pint of ice cream!

Topped with cherry sauce and a little whipped cream . . .

Very tasty.

Okay, I will *definitely* be making some
homemade peach ice cream today!

Happy Saturday!


Friday, July 23, 2010

weekend time!!

Interesting (?!?) events always seem to find me. Sometime Wednesday, at work, I was bitten by some thing. My first thought was that it was a mosquito or flea (we keep a cat in the office). It itched a little, but it looked of little or no consequence. Yesterday morning, there was a dark, purplish line in the center (about the size of a lead tip for a mechanical pencil), surrounded by redness, but it didn't really bother me at all. It got a little bigger as the day wore on, but not alarmingly big. This morning there was definitely a blister-looking thing at the center, and it was raised and hot. The red area was about 3" in diameter. The doctor said it's probably a spider bite -- either a brown recluse of a hobo spider. Nice! Hardcore oral and topical antibiotics for 10 days, and I go back Monday for him to look at it again. I have to laugh and shake my head!

Yesterday was a productive, albeit quiet, day. I worked on redwork block number five . . .

This one is, "Sawyer's First Day of School"! Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying the stitching aspect of redwork?!? :)

Then I found time to peruse through the current issue of Quilter's Home magazine. I don't typically buy magazines ('cept for my beloved Tea Time), because of the RV space, but this one had several articles that I felt were "must reads," so I wanted to pick it up.

First of all there was this article on Julie Herman of jaybird quilts. Julie writes one of my favorite blogs (not just of quilting blogs, but of *all* the blogs I read). When she posted on her blog that this article was out, I knew I'd want to read it. It was a good one!

Plus, Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs also was interviewed for an article in the magazine! I've enjoyed the Bunny Hill free block of the month patterns for the past two years. I knew I'd want to read this article, too!

And then I had a chance to flip through this book I finally picked up on crazy quilting . . .

Click on the photo for a direct link to this book on Amazon (where it was priced a LOT better than it was at Books A Million), and you can even thumb through the virtual pages!

In between all that, I also got my hair cut & styled yesterday. I haven't had anyone cut my hair since October, 2008. Not because it didn't need it, but because I hate having my hair styled. I've lived in Alabama for over 14 years and haven't yet found someone who can work magic with my hair! Anyway, yesterday I bit the bullet and went to the same stylist that my daughter used. My daughter was very pleased with how the stylist handled her hair, and since Joc has similar hair to me (lots of fine, board-straight hair that cannot hold a curl), I thought I'd be okay. She did a good job, but I'm not sure it's me. It looked pretty enough, but it sure took a lot of work! LOL! Perhaps when I wash, dry and style it on my own, I'll be okay. It does still go back in a clip and a ponytail, so for now I'm good.

This will be a quiet weekend while I keep my leg propped and antibiotics popped! And work on redwork!



Thursday, July 22, 2010

dakota cabin quilts on 'the lost arts' . . .

Good things can definitely come from the FabShop Hops. For one, you might, JUST MAYBE, be selected as one of the MAJOR prize winners. I've never been, but people have, so shop-hopping paid off for them. It's paid off for me in several ways . . . twice I've won coupons to online stores (which I've promptly used) and I often stumble across quilt shops that I might not have otherwise found.

Such is the case with Dakota Cabin Quilts.

I came across this site looking for that elusive, fast hopping bunny, and found a quilting shop's site that I truly enjoy. It's well laid out and is neat and organized. I even signed up for the newsletter, which I love to read. In fact, by permission, I'd like to share some very poignant words from the July 18th newsletter:
Good morning.

I recently overheard a casual observer refer to quilt-making as a "lost art". The man and his wife were standing in front of a beautifully pieced quilt on display. They were talking about the quilts made by their mothers and grandmothers, then sadly lamented, "it's such a shame that quilting is becoming a lost art".

I couldn't help myself. I introduced myself, and politely explained, "Quilting is the number one indoor hobby for women in the USA, ahead of scrap booking. Fortunately, the art of quilt-making is alive and well."

"The total number of quilters in the USA now exceeds 21 million, and 14% of USA households are home to at least one active quilter," I said, quoting the most recent Quilting in America survey. As we visited a bit, I urged the couple to visit their local quilt shop, or attend a quilt show.

I know quilting isn't a lost art. Far from it. But why not? Why did quilt-making stand the test of time, when other textile arts such as tatting, spinning, weaving, smocking, and some types of needlework are not as commonly practiced as they once were?

I have my theories. I'd like to talk to an expert, and I really should go to Lincoln, Nebraska, to visit the International Quilt Study & Museum.

But, in my mind, a variety of factors contribute:

1.) Tools. I know, I know, I'm a "gadget girl". But, the invention of the rotary cutter, accurate acrylic rulers, and self-healing mats transformed quilt-making forever. That, along with wonderful sewing machines & long-arm quilting machines, made a world of difference.

2.) Useful beauty. Set art quilts, wall quilts, and decorative quilts aside for a moment. Bed quilts are really useful. In fact, I don't know what our family would do without them. Car quilts, picnic blankets, sleeping/sun mats, or a warm wrap on a chilly day. Wedding, graduation, baby, or Christmas presents. Lap quilts, throws or bed quilts. Warm seasons, wet seasons, cold seasons... Quilts come in really handy. Dedicated quilters make a lot of quilts, and immerse themselves and those around them in their creations.

3.) The quilting community. From the leaders in our industry (pattern/fabric designers, educators, historians, award-winning artists, and more), to the quilt guilds, and the families and friends who stitch together, quilting is about the people. We're a pretty cohesive group. It's hard to sum up in a few words: creative, artistic, passionate, hard-working, dedicated, generous, and at times just a little crazy. Of course it never hurts to have a great sense of humor about life & it's challenges.

Case in point. A quote from an "Itty Bitty Witty Knitty" card: "A queen-sized quilt is 83” x 92”- 3,435 of these little jobbers… What do you suppose are the odds of finishing the top before Jesus comes back?"

We all know there's something a little bit strange about starting with a lovely stack of fat quarters, carefully cutting them up into little pieces, arranging and rearranging them, and stitching them back together again. And yet, we do it. For the simple pleasure of making something unique and beautiful with our own two hands.

Quilting is not a lost art.

The reason?

It's you.
Wasn't that wonderful? Dwell on that for a while -- we're forging a history for quilting that will be quite unlike any other of the textile arts she mentioned. How cool is it to be a part of that movement?

Very cool indeed!


ps -- now go visit Laura at Dakota Cabin Quilts and sign up for her newsletter! :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

it's in the cards, part 1 . . .

I wanted to share, while they're still fresh in my
memory/thoughts, some of the challenge quilts
that were on display at our last guild meeting.
Our guild alternates a challenge show with
a quilt show; this year was the challenge.
I shared with you the quilt/card my darling friend,
Tina, entered on Friday. Here's a few more
of my favorites, along with the cards that inspired them.

This card is a picture of the quilter's home.
She'd commissioned an artist to draw her home for
note cards for her husband

Based on the card, she created this quilt . . .

It won best-of-show! Check out the clouds -- love it!

I adore fall, so it's no surprise this entry caught my eye . . .

In fact, I think this may have been my personal favorite.

I voted for this one as "best representation of challenge"
and that's indeed what it won!
(Along with a place in its category!)

I thought this one was a cute card . . .

My picture of the quilt hardly does it justice.
I loved her attention to details -- and that she
doubled the cupids and had them blowing kisses
to each other. So sweet!

This was a beautiful little quilt. The quilter told
me she'd found the vintage card at an antique shop!

She won first place with her entry!

Last -- for today -- is this darling little bluebird card and quilt . . .

Blue birds have always been a favorite of mine.
This quilter did a wonderful job replicating the card onto fabric!

Enough for today . . . I've got another handful to share later.
Again let me say, we have such incredibly talented and
creative quilters in our guild!
I'm hoping it will rub off on me . . . LOL!

Happy 'over the hump' day!