Saturday, March 31, 2012

fighting the odds . . .

I've not been very prolific this past week.  Not on my blog or my sewing machine.  Neither are working the way they are supposed to work and it's very *frustrating*.  I've not been able to finish up my March UFO or start any NewFOs ... ugh!!  And I'm about ready to shoot my lap top and put it out of my misery.  Yes.  That's exactly what I meant to say.  LOL!!  And I have backed everything up, so I don't feel the need to watch my tongue.  :)  I'm not sure if it's all my laptop's fault ... our internet is driving me nuts, too.  But mostly my computer. Ergh. 

I have been busy.  I've spent a good portion of this past week working on women's ministry stuff, which has me in my element!  The church we're with right now is so new that they've never had a women's ministry ... and they are ripe and ready for one.  It's so exciting!  After a lot of prayer and thought and study, here's what I've come up with as our name . . . 
James helped me with the graphic.  Didn't he do a great job?!  I swear, he's a whiz.  It took him less than ten minutes.  He's really got quite a natural gifting for it!

I'm real excited to see where our women's ministry is going to GLOW . . . !!  I'm planning through August right now and hope to have a team together soon to begin planning for a full year, kicking off in September.  We're going to keep the summer light -- with a monthly fun meeting nights, some community mission projects, etc., and perhaps even a simple GLOW-Getaway . . . and then go hardcore come the fall!

We've got two groups up here fishing at the ponds today.  Rather, we had one this morning and then one came in this afternoon, just as the first one was leaving.  Great timing for them both.  The fish are biting today, too.  The first group caught some very fat and sassy shell crackers!
I even got a hand in -- literally -- by holding onto one so the young man who'd caught it good get his hook out.  He didn't want to touch the fish, bless his heart!  
I miss fishing ... I used to be able to go with Todd, but I've not been since the accident.  Perhaps sometime soon.  There's something very soothing about fishing and all the activities that go with it!

Speaking of the accident, I had a CT scan done of my ankle this past week and I go in Monday for another post-op visit.  I'm feeling rather resigned about the whole thing.  We got heel inserts for my shoes which have definitely helped alleviate the pain from walking on the screw heads.  But there's still a lot of residual pain and swelling and I feel very limited in not just what I can do, but how much I can (or rather, can't) do.  Like keeping up with a two-year-old.  Gracious!  I try not to dwell on it too much because it mires me down pretty quickly, and feeling that way does NOT suit me at all!  Which is also why I've not talked about it a whole lot.  It didn't hurt as much when I was in a cast and not walking on it.  LOL!!!  :)  We'll see what the doc has to say about it on Monday.

And seeing as how it's Foto Finish Saturday and the theme for this week is "Flowers" *and* I just happened to grab a couple shots while I was out and about the camp this morning, here's my offering:
I've never seen this wild flower before so I can't tell you what it is.  They were not in bloom a couple of days ago, because I saw the plant and thought how much it looked like a dandelion.  But it's obviously not -- it's purple!!  Check out other Foto Finish offering over at Cat Patches!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

a wordless wednesday . . .

Ellie's week ten shot, as captured by her daddy - don't you love this fabric?! 
Sawyer, chilling, as captured by his daddy.
If you look closely, you can see the split pumpkin seed still hanging on at the top of the plant!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

a little embarrassed . . .

Yup, that's me . . . I'm a little embarrassed to share that ... well ... I won something else.  LOL!  
Not only did I win, but it was from my darling friend Kris at Lavender Quilts, my Secret Santa who had just sent me the sweet mug rug and teas!
She had a *sweet* set of autumnal fat quarters -- how could I pass up entering for those?  I mean I *am* the original pumpkin girl!
Isn't this a darling FQ?  My mind is already whirling with ideas for something fall and fun with these pretties!  Kris, thank you so, SO much!!!
And speaking of pumpkins, Todd informed me this morning that we have pumpkin vine starting to grow next to the porch . . . where I allowed our turkey pumpkin to rot fade to its natural conclusion.  So perhaps this fall I'll have some home-grown pumpkins to decorate!

I also got my Honeybee Fabrics Spring Flowers block of the quarter in yesterday's mail.  I love flipping through this magazine (New Zealand Quilter) when it comes.  When the blocks are all finished up, I'll be sad to not get this magazine any more!
This month the fabrics are very rich in color!
 And I love these sweet little pansies we'll be making -- don't they have sweet faces?!?

Today will be a busy-about-things day . . . some time with Sawyer, then off to do some book-keeping and some grocery shopping.  And tomorrow is an Ellie day!  Make today great and/or make something great today!


Monday, March 26, 2012

dw busyness and a smile . . .

This week I need to catch up a little.  I've got my UFO for this month ... completing a (one) feathered star block from a 2008 BOM to finish up.
I'd only 'feather set' one block, so there's five to go.  This was the second block I completed (all the interior blocks are done).  

I'm also caught up with my guild's anniversary BOM and just sent out the newsletter out for printing, so I've got the pattern and colors for that block . . . 
I just need to pick the fabrics ... and that will be fun because they are PURPLES!  *yay!*  I'll do that and whip that block up this week, too.  Do head over to Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times to see what else is hitting designs walls this happy Monday morning!

I've got a lot of e-mail and blog reading to catch up on, as well as ministry work, so I'll be busy, busy, busy!  But before I head out, I just had to share this sweet little shot that Jocelyn captured Saturday afternoon:
Evidently Miss Ellie is not the only one charmed by the sweet little face in the mirror!!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

week #13 stash explosion . . .

Week 13 stash report is yet another a good one, depending on your perspective.  I added to it a good little bit, but I didn't purchase a single inch of fabric, so I'm NOT complaining!  In fact, I'm cheering! If you're interested in how I got my gain this week, I tell all HERE in yesterday's post.

Used/donated this week: 0.0 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 9.75 yards
Purchased/added this week: 20.0 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 51.75 yards
Net used/donated for 2012: -42.0 yards
I'm linking up to Patchwork Times for the weekly stash report. Be sure to check it out!

Joc wants to blog all the fun pics from her Sip & See yesterday, but I thought I'd share this fun capture of her gorgeous table.  
It was all wonderful -- the food, the company and especially Miss Ellie at her first tea party!  
Isn't she gorgeous in her pretty tea party dress?  She was a most excellent co-hostess, charming all her guests.
Speaking of charming, Sawyer also put in an appearance late in the day.  He found the food offerings to be quite to his satisfaction, especially the cream cheese mints (until mommy and daddy put an end to that).  He kept sidling up to the plate, pointing to them and saying, "I need one of theeeeeese!"  
I'm having cream cheese mints for dinner.  But don't tell my hubby!
Or Sawyer!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

brown paper packages . . .

Well, well, well . . . look what the UPS man brought me yesterday . . . 
Yup.  That thar box has "Moda" packing tape on it.  Yup, yup, yup.  What could it be, you ask?
Let me share.  You see about a month ago I was reading Meg Cox's News From Quilt Journalist Tells All newsletter and she was discussing chain fabric stores versus the local quilt shop and asked readers to submit, in a hundred words or less, a paragraph completing "My quilt shop is the best because . . . "

Well it just so happens I'm lucky enough to have several great LQS in my area, and further blessed to have struck up a lovely friendship with Cindy, the owner of Hooked On Quilting (and Sew Much More) in Fayetteville, Tennessee.  Cindy touched my life in a very thoughtful way not long after my accident, and I've never forgotten that kindness and generosity ... I blogged about it HERE.  Anyway, I knew immediately that I wanted to submit that story.  The only question was, could I keep it to under 100 words?!?  I took me a lot of editing, but this is what I finally submitted.  My quilt shop is the best because:
. . . of the incredibly personalized service that the owner, Cindy, gives.  Hooked on Quilting is situated in Fayetteville, TN and Cindy’s an active member in our Huntsville, Alabama guild.  She takes orders and delivers fabric yardage, notions ... whatever you need ... to customers at guild meetings, saving them the travel mileage.  Best of all she's incredibly thoughtful.  When I had an accident and smashed up my right foot (I couldn't walk, much less work my Janome), she gifted me everything I needed to try my hand at redwork – keeping my hands busy and spirits lifted.  Definitely above and beyond service!
I sent it off to Meg, got a polite response, and didn't think anything more about it.  Until a couple weeks later when I received another e-mail from Meg with "You won the Moda Fabric prize from Meg Cox!!!" in the subject line!  Wow -- out of all her terrific entries, she picked ME!  And do you know what that Moda Fabric prize was?!?!?  LET ME SHOW YOU!!

Here it is ... in all its 'leaning tower of Moda' goodness!!

It was packed full of stuff . . . three great books:
I've especially wanted the The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book!  Whoohoo!

A double set of Elan scissors.

A fat quarter and fat eighth bundle (and not skimpy bundles, either -- BIG bundles)!

Two charm packs and a cake layer.

This darling little tin with Moda candy bar goodness inside.

This fun Moda canvas pouch . . . 
With more stuff in it, like a rotary blade, a thimble, and a seam ripper.  Plus two MORE pouches!
One with a cloth yard measure.

One with these darling embroidered note cards!

All wrapped up in this darling tin case, which I imagine will someday soon make a terrific case for carrying dinosaurs, legos, blocks, or whatever else little man wants to fill it with.

Ummm . . . tomorrow's stash report day.  Can anyone tell me how much yardage is in a charm pack and a layer cake??  I think I can figure out the bundles.  LOL!

Thank *you* my friends at Moda, Meg Cox, and Cindy at HOQ, too!!


Friday, March 23, 2012

baby days . . .

Yesterday was such fun!  I got to hold and hug and love on my girl, Ellie, while Joc slaved away in the kitchen preparing for Saturday!  Don't you just love the sweet little rolls under her chin?!
I discovered that Ellie really, REALLY likes chatting with herself.  Jocelyn had gotten her a mirror that's about 8.5 X 11, and I laid Ellie on the couch and held the mirror over her . . . she talked and cooed and smiled and gurgled at the sweet baby girl in the mirror for hours!  It was great entertainment both for her and for Joc and I!  (Actually it was rather distracting for Joc -- I mean c'mon -- how in the world can you stay focused in the kitchen when you can hear your precious daughter cooing away in the next room?!?)  If I could have held the mirror *and* a camera I'd have gotten some video or pictures of it, it was such fun!  It was also fun to move the mirror -- her eyes and head had no problem tracking the pretty little baby in the reflection!

Joc did put me to work on stitching up a sweet little runner for her tea table.  She'd picked up this sweet, vintage-looking fabric and some lovely lace for the ends and I made short work of putting it together for her (while Ellie was napping, of course).
I didn't have the wherewithal to snap a picture of the finished product, but Joc gave me the leftovers (just what my stash needs, right?!) so I can at least share from that.  The runner will go lengthwise down the table over a beautiful old tablecloth handed down to her from Jason's family.  The table will be gorgeous on Saturday -- I *will* make sure I snap shots of it!

Today -- well really this entire weekend -- is busy.  And next week is the week of doctors.  Sounds fun, right?!?  Oh, and it's FRIDAY!  Happy Friday!!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

christmas in . . . march?!

This week has been a very FUN week to make the trip to the post office and check our post office box!  First, I received a little happy from Barbara, over at Cat Patches.  I'd won her Fun Facts Freebie Friday contest and the prize was a sweet fat quarter ... in my *favorite* color!!
Barbara has the FFFF giveaway every Friday and it's easy to enter.  The button is on my right sidebar.  You should definitely check it out tomorrow!!

And then yesterday, I received a complete surprise!  It truly was Christmas in March because it was from my Secret Santa, Kris, from Lavender Quilts!! There was a package inside the package ... double the wrapping, double the fun, right?!  Isn't that paper pretty?  And such a sweet note!
Oh my, I was completely blown out of the water -- isn't this darling teapot mug rug *DARLING*?!?!?!?  And the colors are just perfect for me!  She even blogged about quilting it HERE, and I never put it together!
Check out the handiwork on that teapot -- and her quilting is perfect!  And as if that wasn't enough, she included some loose leaf teas for me, too!  Another batch of the lovely Earl Grey, plus a Darjeeling *and* a little novelty tea!
Get a closeup of this ... isn't that FUN????  Hot Lips tea?!?  That's so totally me!  And yes, those are tiny little candy "hot lips" in there with the tea!
Yup -- I'm settled in for my morning tea!!  Kris, you are such a darling -- thank you SO much!

Today I'm heading to spend some time with my Ellie-belly-baby.  Good times.  I'm taking the cream cheese mints.  I hope they last until Saturday.  LOL!  Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

sip & see preparations . . .

The Sip & See tea is on Saturday so this week Joc and I will both be busy making food preparations!  Last week we went through the sweets and savories for the buffet line and I chose to make, among other things, two sweets that I love to make for teas.  Meringue Daisies and Cream Cheese Mints.  Yummy!

Tonight I went ahead and made the cream cheese mints.  Two hundred and thirteen of them, when it was all said and done (and I couldn't pop an additional mint in my mouth).  They are so good and easy to make, and such a lovely addition to a tea party or shower, I thought I'd share the process here.  
The basic recipe (as I've amended it over the years) is as follows:

Pink Cream Cheese Mints
Yields:  Approximately 220

8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
10 drops of peppermint oil (not extract)
2-3 drops of red food coloring gel 
      (use more or less depending on the depth of color you want)
2 pounds  + 2 cups of confectioner's sugar (plus more if necessary)
sanding sugar -- I prefer red, pink or opalescent (optional)

Mix cream cheese, butter, oil and food coloring until well blended and food coloring is thoroughly distributed.  Add powdered sugar.  It might be easier to add it 3-4 cups at a time.  It's easiest to work with your hands.  You'll know it's well mixed and you've added enough confectioner's sugar when it stops sticking to your hands!  The mixture should be relatively dry and non-sticky when it's ready to shape.  If needed, add more confectioner's sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
Once the mix is ready, you can shape your candies in several ways.  I use rubber candy molds, because I like the pretty shapes.  I roll a ball of about 1/2", dip it into the sanding sugar, and press it into the mold.  Then you press it back out of the mold and lay it on wax or parchment paper.  
The other method you can use is to roll a ball of 1/2", dip it into the sanding sugar (if you choose), and then lay it on a flat surface (covered in wax or parchment paper) and use the tines of a fork to flatten it out.  This method turns out very pretty little disks.

Allow the candies to sit out for 2-4 hours so they set and dry.  Then store in air tight containers in the refrigerator or freezer.
I tend to make these when I need LARGE amounts, but I'm fairly certain you could easily halve ... or even quarter ... the recipe if you wanted/needed to!  Of course, you want to make sure you've made enough that you can sample your wares as you work through the process!!  You can also use other colors, or even divvy up your mixture and do multiple colors in one batch.  I've not played around with other flavors, although I do sometimes (if I've got it handy) add a couple of drops of butter flavoring for good measure.