Saturday, March 28, 2015

Just a taste

Curious?
Well, I have been busy...
I am presently on a 4th quilt after finishing a third quilt for a friend of my daughter.
The quilt I made was all from my stash (that in it's self is impressive).....and she had wanted me to embroider the baby's name on the quilt.
But, if you know me, part of what I look forward to is the actualy quilting. I am addicted. Especially now that I took an online class on more quilting techniques and found a new thread and needle. Yes, needles do make a difference. I liken it to driving a basic Chevy and then driving a luxury car like a Lexus. Yeah, just like that.
Anyway, I forgot to embroider the name.
And there the quilt was....done.  OOOOPs.
My daughter said it was fine, but really it wasn't.
Soooo, I got creative....and went in and quilted the name on one of the squares.
This is what a great needle and thread can do.
And this square is 4"....so that is impressive....freehanded and first time!
I know I am obsessed by seriously, if you are a quilter, and do not know Superior Threads....(this is not a paid endorsement), then please check it out. This was done with Kimono Silk thread and the needle in the green package they recommend 75/10.....The needle is titanium coated....
I also did a vine on the small border....that was really fun.....
It doesn't show that much....but that is what I wanted....less thread showing .....
Anyway...when I get the binding on I will show it off....
Meanwhile, the other daughter came over and she has been making burp cloths from diapers and scrap fabric....and washcloths...

We took cheap washcloths, the kind you find in packs from Target....cut them into quarters...and then applied fabric and with right sides together, stitched them, turn, clip and stitch them all around.
Simple and quite useful for little ones...
So, today is a catch up day...and maybe, just maybe I can work on the newest quilt, which I am going to play with all those techniques I learned from that class....especially on feathers......
Have a great one!
Nancy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Barbara - Lilian - in - France.: Spring into Springtime.

Barbara - Lilian - in - France.: Spring into Springtime.



Yes, Barbara, we have birds nesting....the bluebirds are back and finches under the eaves...

The first box you have looks like a bluebird house...which will only house bluebirds as they are so deep and little baby birds will have to climb a ladder that is inside.....

the other adorable house you have looks like a wren house....sweet

I love your daffodils! Ours were short lived this year...we are supposed to be in the 90s this weekend, starting thurs....can you believe it?? Awful....

Nancy

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Treasure Hunter Story

I'd like to tell you a story. It's a true story.
You see, I go almost once a week treasure hunting with my friend. And the last several months, we've taken the same route, as it is productive.
You see the same characters each week, those who do it professionally with their cell phones checking to see what things go for and what history they are.
We go to find great items for our homes. I am lucky since I can look for my girls too, which broadens the search a bit.
Well, Friday we went out and hit Goodwill first. This Goodwill has great managers, they keep it neat and tidy and treat it like a retail store, but the prices for the most part are really good...
Well, this particular Friday we found lots of wonderful treasures.
First off I found a lovely mirrored star...

Grand total? $9.99.
Then I found some other treasures...
I found these drapes, unused and originally from Target....$7.99 each. At Target, still available and $20 each! So, one or other daughter will get them....
I found a pillow and then I found a black iron dish drainer.....

 I found two matching lamps....perfect for an update in the bedroom.
Funny, once upon a time, about 15 years ago I found little lamps for the bedside lamps....$.99 each. Yup, under a $1 each....but that was 15+ years ago, and I wanted slightly taller and a bit more "something" than those...
Well, there they were, no shades but at $5.99 each not bad. Even better?? They were orange tags, the sale of the day...so they were half off! Yup, that made them about $2.98 each....
That meant all I needed were lamp shades. HUmmmmm, that is the hard part.
So, Hubby and I went to Home Depot. We got one of the lamps a new harp and two in-line switches which makes them easier to turn on from bed.
This morning I handed him the lamps and switches (electrical is his job) and I went off to find shades.
I hit Target first...should be easy....oops no "spider" style shades that fit....
I called him, that's when he said that the in-line switch was the wrong size. Shoot....well, I went to TJ Maxx Home store and Home Depot is next door, so off I went...
Well, the HOme Store doesn't have just shades....double shoot!
I went to Home Depot, returned the too small switches and looked to see if they had the right ones, they did in electrical, but they were white. We need brown.
Shoot.....
I went to Ace Hardware....they had a brown one...only one. They told me they had more at the the Huntington Beach store...so I went.
They only had one....in off-white.
Now, I'm getting grumpy.
So, I went to the TJ Maxx store nearby about a three blocks from the Ace....
They had a couple of shades, but not the right size. I'm getting really grumpy. So I headed home.
Hubby was pleased with the in-line switch that I did get...and went about putting it in...
I started looking online at lamp shades...
Do you realize how hard it is to find shades?? Yeah...
I was online and had actually started looking at Restoration Hardware...when I remembered. I had Restoration shades in the garage!
I ran out and there they were! Perfect! Well, I might have preferred an off white linen shade, but these are lovely! And free.......
Well, I have now ordered from Amazon another in-line switch just like the one I got at Ace...for like 20 cents less than Ace...and Hubby has installed one light next to the bed....

Well, aside from the fact that I need to do dusting...I found lamps and they cost $10 a piece counting the in-line switches and shared cost of the one harp. Not bad.....
Not a bad day doing treasure hunting....of course there were lots of other little items I found..
Overall, the moral of the story is, double check that you don't have the part you need in the garage before you go driving all over to find nothing....
Hope you have a great day.
Nancy

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sewing week

What a busy week I've had!
In amidst all the other fun things, like St. Paddy's Day, I've done lots in the sewing department.
My other daughter requested a baby quilt for her friend that is having a little girl....well, you know me...always an excuse for a quilt!
So, we picked out fabric and away I went.
With my Accuquilt I cut out lots and lots of triangles.
 Now, we saw a darling quilt on Pinterest that used squares made from triangles to create a herringbone pattern....cool...I like to try new patterns...
So, I used one that showed how they were laid out....that does get tricky (at least for the first time). So, after a few flops, I got it to look right...
All stitched here is the main part...
Then, I added a yellow border
and embroidered baby's name....
and then I created the binding from remnants ....I think it turned out even better than I thought...

But finishing a quilt wasn't all I did...besides working in the garden.... I also had a sewing day with my girls!
My youngest knows how to sew, but never has the time, but on this day she wanted to make some burp cloths like I had made her, so I created some appliques for her to use and pulled out ribbons for fun...


I can't remember the last time the three of us sewed together!
Of course, we had a new "member" and that was my Grandson. While daughter sewed, I got to entertain him....and since it happened to be St. Paddy's Day...we had a grand grand time!
He loved the Irish music we put on.
What a great day!
Well, that was most of my week, aside from gardening here and there. My garden is blooming and growing and needed a bit of attention....
How was your week??
Nancy

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Dinner Party

With a busy week, no weeks, it was time for us to have a dinner party with friends. It was long overdue.
Now, the problem is my friend is a great cook. She has traveled all over and even gone to Italy just for cooking classes. She is really a great cook. And then there's me.
I'm an average cook. I love to cook and do every night of the week, but my cooking is not up to her par. I always feel a bit challenged when designing a menu and pulling it together, for dinner parties.
The weather did not help at all. It went to 92 degrees....how do you pull together a gourmet meal with that kind of heat??
Well, refine it a bit so at least the cooking is short time and doesn't heat the whole house up.
So, I decided on a menu that included something I haven't done before.
I haven't ever made chicken picatta...
The rest I used pre-done potatoes from Trader Joes...fast and easy...frozen green beans with slivered almonds and a salad.
For appetizers, I chose a white bean and basil hummus (also Trader Joes) with crackers and sliced peppers.
I also got a hair brained idea to make cheese puffs....from scratch.
Yes, I did. So, early before the heat, I made them....
I found the recipe and it was actually easy....




Then, I served the cheese puffs for each in escargot plates! Finally, those cute little plates had a job! 
Well, I have to say my cheese puffs turned out pretty darn good...
Now, the exciting part...cheese puffs can be frozen and reheated and still taste good (or so the recipe says)...so, its pretty good...even if I can't eat them. Yeah, they are on the do not eat list...but its nice that they turned out so well.
Know what?? My dinner turned out. The picatta turned out really well...I followed the recipe exactly (something I don't usually do I might add)...and the timing turned out well too...picatta, potatoes, and beans did well...within seconds of each other....
Dessert, well, I put together a rustic pear tart made with phyllo dough...which on a hot dry day is not a good idea....but it still worked....it was yummy....
All in all, it turned out ....
Hope you had a great day...
Nancy


Sunday, March 8, 2015

From the Garden

Now, I am sorry if this is painful for those of you who have been under snow for months....so I apologize....however, our garden is brimming already.
Day before yesterday I made a lentil soup with our own carrots, parsley, and few fava beans thrown in for good measure....

The soup was delicious...how could it not be?? Sweet fresh carrots.....
And then yesterday we harvested beets to roast....yummy roasted and then finished with butter and honey....

The beets are still delicious even though they are getting old....after all they grew all winter long....
However, my garden doesn't have peppers yet and everyone was begging for more Pepper Jelly....Hubby especially, who loves to put it on his quesadillas....
So, when we went to Costco I bought peppers just for making pepper jelly....using the last two little jalapenos that I had miraculously still out in the garden.....
So, I actually made two small batches this week...the last batch I went to the store and bought some jalapenos to add....It isn't a spicy jelly at all....more sweet than spicy....
As you can see I also made Bread and Butter pickles....there was a demand for that too, and since I have seedlings...I bought little cocktail cucumbers at Costco and used those...we will call them "Cocktail Bread and Butters"....
But seriously, our weather after our last big rain storm is glorious.
It was 83 yesterday and time to uncover the table and wash everything off....The whole patio was quite dirty and in need.
So, what do you do when you do that? You BBQ! We had antelope burgers and wild boar burgers...with beets and a new salad using the cucumbers that remained after canning and there was some leftover brine from the canning...we used the brine over the leftover cukes, added some thinly sliced sweet onion, cannelini beans, sliced olives and fresh parsley....and let it get happy in the bread and butter juice (brine).....You know what ? It was delicious!! It went beautifully with the beets and burgers! Gotta keep that one in mind....don't throw out that last 1/4 cup of sweet pickling brine stuff....it makes a great dressing!
And....then this morning, with the time change, I was up early and made the coffee (that is usually Hubby's job) and made a coffee cake! Unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned up from the canning that had cooled on the counter and started another lovely day....

I hope you have a lovely day!! I hope Spring has sprung where you are....
Blessings,
Nancy

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Where to begin....

I have had a busy week!
Being a part of my Grandson's life...sharing in his first food...babysitting...I am sure many of you know what that is all about...I am a beginner here.
But, then there were the projects, no matter how small, they seem to center me. Odd I know, but they do. If I can get something creative done, I feel better. If I can get the house clean on top of that I feel fantastic. If I can get something creative, do housework and do laundry...well it's a good week indeed.
Well, it was a good week, though I didn't get much laundry done...
Anyway....I wanted to share my treasures.
Last week, I found a need wood piece that was dirty and white(ish) when I found it at the Goodwill.
So, yes, I painted it and found a place for it....right above the closets....
Isn't it cool?? When you come into our bedroom, the closets kinda just pulled your eye away from other things....now this kinda draws your eye away from the ugly closets....it was $3.99 at the Goodwill....
But, this week I found a real treasure and it almost got away....
I was shopping with my friend and she was driving. Though she has a station wagon, it had lots of other stuff in it so we couldn't put it in...so, I didn't get it. I told Hubby about it, he was shocked. So, I decided that I would go back the next day and see if I could get it. If it was there, it was meant to be.

See the price, yep, $5. It is old. It is big. It is beveled. And it is wood....needing TLC....and it was still there. I found one of the workers at the Assistance League and she went and got a cart, helped me put it on the cart, then stayed with it while I paid. Since they had just opened, I was the first sale of the day.


 See it was a bit rough, but one can see it had class an style, once, and somehow had been removed from its dresser base....poor thing. The varnish was flaking off and some veneer was just beginning to come off also. So, it got to be painted. I had already decided it would like with my daughter and go with the dresser we did recently, even if it was a bit too long...it still would be awesome....
 So, I taped off the mirror and got to work....and sanded a bit (it didn't need much and that was the FIRST time I have had to sand for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint).
 Here you can see I started to paint.....It went on beautifully...I love how the features show more....
TA DA!! Three hours later it stand on the dresser in our garage, waiting for its new home. Isn't lovely?? I love the French Linen color.....
While paint dried what did I do??
Well, I made Blueberry Jam!
 These are the refrigerator jams....
These are the shelf stable blueberry jam jars......
So, see it was a good day and ended with taking care of our Grandson in the evening so his Mommy and Daddy could go out and celebrate his Daddy's Birthday with friends....
Have a great day all....
Nancy