Monday, December 19, 2011

Have you Seen this Stuff?

I visited a friend this week and she had some of this stuff called Deco Poly Mesh with Foil. It comes on a roll and it is very light and airy. It is kind of stiff and is great for decorating. My friend had used some with greenery to make a fabulous table runner for her dining table. She also used some with ornaments to decorate a table in her entry. I went to Stein's Garden Center and they had several different colors and widths. They had this mesh on a number of displays including as a ribbon on a ginormous wrapped package. They wrapped the mesh with lights to make swags. They used two different colors shaped to make a giant candy cane.

I bought lime green in a 10" width and used it on the mantle as a backdrop for all the stuff I have there.
Don't laugh at my meager decorating skills, but take in how fabulous this stuff looks and how it makes instant wow factor wherever you put it.

The Geese May be Flying South...

But mine seem to have taken up residence on my cutting board. I have to make a skajillion of these for the quilt I am working on. I have been so busy with Christmas stuff that my flying geese are just sitting on the runway waiting to take off.

Be sure to check Judy's blog to see what is on everybody's design wall.

Hope you are getting lots of sewing time in. I am just enjoying the holidays.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Little Houses

I am starting a subdivision in my sewing room. I saw this pattern last week and got busy this afternoon making these little cuties. I found a linen blend at Joann's and had a lot of fun finding colorful scraps in my piles to play with.

I hope to get a few more made in Christmas colors for our tree. These are destined for gifts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Cookie Time

Time to start making cookies for the holidays. I'm sharing my most favorite and easiest cookie recipe ever. They are also the first to disappear at the church cookie walk.

Here we go:

First start with these great ingredients.

Weigh out 10 oz. of almond bark and heat over low heat until melted and smooth. No lumps, please. Take it off the heat. Add 1/4 tsp. of mint extract and a couple of drops of green food coloring.

Once it's all stirred together, take one Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer and dip half of it in the melted bark.

Place it on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat until you have used up the whole box of cookies. There will always be one or two broken cookies. Dip those,too. Those are you treat for a job well done.

Melt 3/4 c. of your favorite choc. chips. I use milk chocolate. The recipe calls for mint choc. chip. Dark choc would be good too.

Put the melted chips in a ziploc bag. Cut off a teeny tiny piece of the corner of the bag. Squeeze the chocolate and move it back and forth across the cookies about 3 or 4 or 5 times. Whatever looks good to you.

Start about 1/2 inch away from the edge of the cookie and just keep the chocolate coming as you go the whole length of the pan and back. That keeps from getting big blobs of chocolate on the cookies. Not attractive.

Let them dry until the coating is hard. These are so yummy.
I also made Raspberry Ribbons which are also very yummy.

Hope you try some and like them. The hardest part of this recipe is finding a box of choc. wafers that are not broken and making sure the grocery checker and bagger don't maul them. I usually hold on to them the whole time and don't let the bagger touch them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Designing Monday

I spent some of my Thanksgiving weekend working on the last Jo Morton quilt top in the pattern package for this year's club. It is a cute little quilt and I really want to make a scalloped edge on the border. I am not sure if I have enough fabric to do that, so I am rethinking right now.
Just look at all those HST's!

We enjoyed having our son home for a week and are even more excited that he will be back again in just a couple of weeks after finals AND he will be home for a whole month. I hope I am still that excited at the end of that month. I sometimes forget what it is like to be so young and full of energy. He is really a great young man and I can't wait to see what the world holds for him.

Hop on back to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is doing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Good Fortune

In the last few years, October has become known as Breast Cancer Awareness month. The NFL dons pink shoes and lots of people wear pink hats and pins. The bread that I buy, Healthy Life, sponsored a contest as well. On the back of the bread wrapper, there was a contest entry form for your name, address, and the name of a person who has been affected by cancer. So I filled out the form and mailed it in. Last week I got a call that I was a grand prize winner.

Yesterday I met my friend and the rep from Lewis Bakeries at my local grocery to receive our prizes. I received a 6 month supply of bread. Yum! My friend who I nominated received 12 months of bread plus a tote bag full of great stuff. She received gift cards for gasoline, bath & body products, spa treatments, a Visa gift card, a blanket and a whole slew of promotional gifts. Plus we each got a loaf of bread!! LOL!

It was such a treat to receive a prize and have my name pulled out of the drawing. But to be able to honor my friend, Joyce who has endured so much through 2 bouts of cancer was the real prize for me. She is one of those people with an indomitable spirit and incredible inner strength. We have been friends for over 30 years and this was definitely one of my favorite moments.
Our families have been doing Thanksgiving together for many years. Joyce makes hot rolls from my grandma's recipe plus she makes the gravy. Now you know why she is my best friend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

News from the Marshall Islands

Our daughter has been in the Marshall Islands for almost 5 months now. We get letters infrequently - once or twice a month. We have Skyped with her twice. The last Skype was last Friday night and lasted nearly 2 hours. What a joy! She is well and has adjusted pretty well to the conditions there - no electricity, no running water, no phone. There is a CB radio for emergencies or communication between the islands.

Before she left, she asked me to talk with our Sunday School director and see if the Sunday School would be willing to collect books for her school and use the offerings to ship the books. Our Sunday School leaders and children have embraced this mission wholeheartedly and we collected over 200 books. Most of the children cleaned off their bookshelves and found lots of easy reading material for the children of Imroj. I have mailed off two boxes already and the photo is the remainder. I have even thrown in lots of old National Geographics and Time and Newsweek magazines as the adults like to look thru them and see all the photos even if they don't read the text.

We have sufficient funds from our offerings to also purchase some bookshelves and mail those off, too. They have none to store all these wonderful books. I also continue to send her paper and pencils and markers and any other school supplies that I think she can use.

I was able to get a donation of toothbrushes from my dentist's office a couple of months ago and my daughter sent photos of the kindergarten brushing their teeth. She said they are so excited to have them and love to brush everyday.

My next care package has lots more toothpaste, bandaids, more Tylenol, and eyeglasses. She seems to be a dispensary for everyone on the island and the older people are grateful to be able to read and get some relief from aches and pains. I didn't realize when she left that we would become a part of this bigger mission to the whole island.

Our biggest concern right now is an outbreak of dengue fever in the capital which is now starting to spread to some of the outer islands. This seems like one of those diseases which I read about in school like scurvy and beri beri, that should have been eradicated, but not so. There is no vaccine or cure. The treatment is hydration and sometimes hospitalization. They have had over 300 cases in the last two months. The WHO, the CDC and the US Navy have all been brought in to help. The Navy is working on spraying to eliminate mosquitos. So far our daughter's island has been unaffected.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Turkey Fun

I whipped up two of these placemats yesterday for my little niece and nephew who are 4 to have a special Thanksgiving surprise. I will need to get them into the mail today to make sure they arrive on time. I googled Dresden plate turkey and found several ideas. The ones I found were all in browns or fall colors. I remember as a kid making turkeys with all the primary colors in construction paper and my kids did too. So that's the way I decided to make these little rascals. The eyeballs look kind of spooky, so I may need to add some black dots to make them a little friendlier.

It was a fun and colorful way to spend the day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finished in Time

I finished the quilting and the binding on the Star of David quilt for my friend. Now I am going to try to print out a label for it. I have not done this before, so it is a new learning for me. Yea! This quilt will commemorate my friend's Bat Mitzvah. The date is Nov. 26, so I need to get in the mail in the next couple of days.

I have a couple of holiday projects that I am starting today. With luck I will have them done in time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pieced at Last

Remember this?

And this?

And this?

I spent yesterday afternoon piecing them all together and here is the final result.

Isn't it lovely? Even though I had a picture on the pattern, I really was not sure how it was going to turn out and just how big it would be. I absolutely love it. It was all paper pieced and I managed to pick out all the paper during the Packer game.

This is gift for a friend who is having a Bat Mitzvah later in November. I can't wait to surprise her with it.

I would like to quilt it with a thin, thin batting as it will be for the table or a wall hanging. Does anybody have a suggestion? I want something heavier than interfacing and flexible like batting.
Any ideas would be appreciated.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Prairie Points

At our monthly quilting group this week, one of the members demonstrated continuous prairie points. We started with a piece of fabric that was 8" wide and 21 " long. We ironed a crease down the middle lengthways, then marked off sections and cut and folded and Voila! -- we had prairie points. It was pretty easy and fun to learn something new. I googled continuous prairie points and found a really good tutorial, if you are interested.

To make two color points, we started with two fabrics, both were 21" long and 4.5" long. We sewed them together along the long edge and used the seam as the fold line. From there the process was the same, except the points were alternating colors.

The solid color was a little easier to work with since there was no bulk at the fold like the two color one, but overall, I think it is a pretty nifty technique. The person who showed us how to make the points, also had a quilt that she was finishing that used the technique. Hers were all one fabric and came out great.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Little Quilt Finished

I hand quilted and bound this little quilt over the last couple of days. I don't hand quilt often, but I find it a nice challenge from time to time. My stitches were pretty even altho not too small. I am happy to have it completed before next week's deadline.

(Guess I should have wiped off the chalk lines before I took a close up. Oops!)

Now back to my other projects.

Tonight the quilting group from my church is meeting. One of the members is doing a demo on prairie points that are continuous. Should be interesting.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Doll Quilt

The November quilt for the Jo Morton Little Women's Club is a doll quilt. I used a collection of fabric that I purchased from Connecting Threads several years ago. The top is pieced. It is small so I was able to cut and piece it in an afternoon. I am thinking of hand quilting it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Fun Weekend

Our weekend started with a drive from Wisconsin to Illinois to visit our son on Friday. On Saturday morning we stopped by his fraternity to pick him up and found a rusty red truck in the driveway with this on the roof!

A dead squirrel. Ewwww!

We also picked up his girlfriend and we were on the road to Indiana for the Purdue- Illinois football game. It was Homecoming so there was a lot going on. The Purdue band was huge by itself, but there was also an alumni band sitting at the opposite end of the field. They combined forces for the half time show.

The game was televised on ESPN so there were about a million timeouts between the team timeouts and the commercials. The cheerleaders and bands tried to keep the crowd entertained and there were trivia questions and other tidbits on the big screen. During one of these timeouts I was watching the big screen and saw a shot of the crowd. I thought - that guy looks like my husband and he's sitting next to a lady in a green coat. HEY THAT'S ME!! I screamed to my group, but by the time they looked up, there was something else on the screen. How funny!

After the game I gave my son's girlfriend a tour of the campus and we stopped by the dorm I used to live in. It was one of the oldest and prettiest dorms on campus. It was recently remodeled and a couple of girls from our church in Wisconsin are living there now so I got to visit with one of them and she gave us a tour. It was so fun to see. We had a beautiful living room with little sitting rooms off to the side. Everything was exactly the same - even the furniture after 35+ years. I got all misty eyed telling these young people about my memories of sitting around in the dark passing the candle and singing sweet songs for pinning circles. SAY WHAT? They thought this was hilarious. They had never heard of a pinning circle or any of the other old fashioned traditions I talked about. Our tour guide told us she had to accompany my husband and son thru the dorm, which is the way it was in the old days, too. So unlike my son's dorm at Illinois where everybody runs around like free range chickens.
We spent our day at Purdue with some of my old friends including dinner and a birthday party for one of them. My son and his girlfriend were good sports about spending their day with old fogies and hearing us talk about the good old days.

They weather was beautiful and we got a sunburn in the stands. Sunday we drove home under gray skies and rain.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Off We Go

Finished with time to spare. Tonite is the next Little Women's Club meeting and and was able to finish quilting and binding this little piece two days ago. The pattern is called Redware & Harvest. I followed Jo Morton's color scheme and the name fits. It measures about 30" square. I did a cross hatch quilting with rust colored thread and bound it was a rust bias cut binding. I used LuAnn's binding tutorial ( LuAnn of Loose Threads fame) and it worked great. Thanks, LuAnn.
We are heading out tomorrow for a weekend with our son and to attend the Illinois - Purdue football game at Purdue. We have such a family rivalry going and I think Purdue might get creamed.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Little Update

I finished piecing this top on Wednesday and if I can tame the seams with my iron so it lays flat, I will get it quilted next week. We have company from out of town for the next few days, so we will be enjoying them and doing some sight seeing. Yea!

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Interrupt This Previously Scheduled Quilt ...

I started sewing away on the blue & gold hexagon quilt from my previous post and then started thinking about the next Jo Morton quilt and realized that I better get hopping on it right away as I have a busy schedule for the next week. So, I did an about face and pulled out the pieces I had already cut and went to town.
Jo Morton sure does love her HST's. I had a handful left over from previous quilts and thankfully she has designed the series of quilts for this club using the same size HST's over and over. So I plopped some of the leftovers into this quilt and saved a little time.

I thought the HST's were a little drab until I added the large cheddar triangles and Shazam!-- they really brightened up quick. I love them. This makes such neat pinwheels. Can you see the pinwheels? I sure hope so or I really messed this up big time. LOL.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Almost There

I have finally made it through paper piecing all the blocks for this quilt.

I have one of these.

I have several of these.

I have several of these.

And I have a few of these. These were the last ones I sewed -- for some reason triangles always seem to get the best of me.

This quilt is for a very special occasion in a friend's life. Can you guess what it might be?

I should be able to get this all sewn together over the weekend. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where in the World are the Marshall Islands?

This is usually the first question people ask me when I tell them our daughter is working as a teacher in the Marshall Islands. After spending lots of time on Wikipedia, I can tell you that there are over 100 islands in the country and they are located on the equator between Hawaii and Japan. During her first month, DD was training and living on the capital island of Majuro. There are large buildings and banks and resorts and schools and homes there much like most of the touristy islands we are familiar with in the Caribbean.

After her month of training, she was assigned to a remote island. It is very, very, very, very small. To get there, she had to fly from the capital island to a second island ( The plane goes once a week.) From there she took a boat that is owned by the islanders and goes whenever there is a need from the 2nd island to the island she is now living on. The boat ride lasts about an hour. There is no dock, so she was dropped off as close to the shore as possible with her bags and boxes and waded into shore.

The island she is living on has 150 residents, 50 of whom are students in grades K-8 at the 3 room schoolhouse. There is also a church. She is living with a family at one end of the island. There are no roads or vehicles.

There is no electricity or running water. No computers, no TV, no cell phone, no shower. It rains daily, so the rainwater is collected in large (900 gallon) plastic containers. This is used for everything. Drinking water is boiled. There is no store on the island, no doctor, no clinic, no dentist. The residents fish for their meals and eat lots of fruit and coconuts from the native trees. Spam is also very popular. Apparently it comes in lots of flavors. Who knew?? Pancakes and donuts are breakfast staples.
The kids like to play ball games, esp. volleyball. DD goes snorkeling and swimming a lot. There is almost no English spoken. Our daughter is the ESL teacher. So she reads a lot and has taught her host family to play some of her favorite card games, like Speed and Kings in the Corners. The sun rises and sets about 6:30 everyday and the temp is always about 83 - 85 degrees. Very hot and very humid. Lots of mosquitos, too.

Most of us think about owning our own private island or sailing off somewhere to get away from it all. After hearing about my daughter's experiences, I've decided to stay put in Wisconsin -- at least until the snow gets too deep or the freezing cold gets to me.