Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Using what I learned....

Not long ago, I took a class on Craftsy. It was so much fun! The class was one the site was offering at 50% off, so I figured why not?
Oh, what fun. The best part, I could sit in PJs and go through the thing at my leisure...then go back over and over.....
There were so many little things that I felt made the whole class priceless.
For starters, there were different approaches to some piecing techniques on a Dresden Plate, on piecing with jelly rolls and even machine quilting....
Today, I worked with machine quilting, using some of the techniques she mentioned in the class....and then, oh, then the machine sewing of binding....
Now, usually, one machine stitches the binding onto the front then folds it over and hand sews that on. Well, at least that is what I was taught (like a hundred years ago....). But, she showed a technique that works especially well for small quilts, baby quilts, runners, placemats etc....
For this you sew the binding onto the back at 1/4" seam, then fold it over to the front and using these clover clips, you machine sew it on.....

As soon as she showed these clips, I ordered them....a "steal" at Amazon....but totally worth getting anywhere you can....I love them!
I worked on quilting....here is my little table runner made from "Scrumptious" by Moda (jelly roll)....

 (The purple marks are made with a "disappearing" ink, and if they haven't evaporated do so with a spritz of water....which I did after the picture>>>)
 (here is the back showing all the sewing...)
Now, I am still in love with my Accuquilt...no measuring necessary...and I should have thought to use it with the strips I put together and cut them square that way. I have to admit, I am notorious at not measuring well or cutting straight. The teacher on Craftsy made it look so easy! Truth be told, she has been doing what she does for many years. I learned to cut squares (or other shapes) and stitch those together....which feels more comfortable to me. However, it is great to learn new ways and ideas.
The quilting that I did was using the bubbles or pebbles technique, just very small. Before that I used a template to make three large designs in the center....and a script style on the small border.
Oh the trouble I can get into implementing a few of the teacher's techniques! I even have added her method of rolling binding as you create it so it is under control. (I have often had just a "wad" of binding before).
I can't wait to do the Dresden Plate.....that will have to wait til another day!
Nancy

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter

Well, I hope you all had a great and wonderful Easter!
I know we did.
Our weather, here in So. Calif, was eggsceptional!
It was clear and warm and delightful, until about the time we wanted to sit outside, then there was a breeze and no one wanted to sit outside, even though all day I cleaned and plumped pillows etc....
However, I had a feeling it might be that way, it often is, so I set two tables....one outside and one inside....
And Hubby, well, he outdid himself!
He smoked a turkey!
Well, "cheater's" smoking I guess, as he didn't use his smoker.....that would have taken 12-14 hours for a little 10 lb bird. So, he found a recipe that gave tons of smoke and flavor and cooked in 2 hours.
I was very good and took pictures in the beginning....then the guests arrived and the pictures stopped....I am bad....
But, I did take pictures of the brining....well, set up anyway.

I got him a food safe container from a place called Surfas which is for restaurants and the public....
The recipe used water, kosher salt, and honey, and ice. Then, it was put in the refrigerator for 12 hours....no more (so the recipe said).
While it brined on Easter, I made a peach crisp. Now, I tried very hard to find fresh peaches....they just aren't ripe yet, so I used canned peaches (jar peaches as my daughter insisted). I drained them...but not quite well enough. It turned out a bit too juicy, but the flavor was good. I also used Coconut sugar and oatmeal in the topping and coconut oil in place of butter.....

Now, when Hubby was ready to put the turkey on after brining, he rinsed it very well, dried really, really well, and then it had to "air dry" for 30 minutes before going onto the BBQ.
Then, he stuffed it with chopped onion, lemon rind, fresh thyme, fresh sage and garlic....
And then off it went....for two hours....
Now this is where I failed you....I didn't get pictures, because I was too busy being hostess to guests that I didn't know til the last minute were coming....
I am sorry.
His turkey turned out perfect! It was classic roasted turkey color, classic smoked turkey color inside and and the flavor....oh my gosh! Everyone ate and raved....only the carcass remained (which will be turkey soup tonight)...
Amazing! In fact, we all agreed he needs to cook turkey from now on....
Afterall, there are always plenty of food to fill in the gaps, so we can put up with a smaller turkey....
What else did we have?
Ah, we had a fresh fruit salad....
Fresh steamed artichokes....
A loaf of french bread....
A baked potato bar (huge potatoes)

and of course the crisp for dessert....oh and
huge chocolate dipped strawberries and pineapple....
coffee for those who wanted it....
Yes, we had a lovely Easter...
How was yours??
Nancy

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In the Garden with birds....

For the last several weeks, I have been enjoying many Crowned Sparrows and finches and most of all our bluebirds.
I have even gotten into buying mealworms for the birds.....
This has become expensive, but short of raising my own mealworms (I don't think so) I will keep it up. The Bluebirds now come when they see me, chortling and even singing. There are several places where I have been putting the worms for all the birds, but the bluebirds got a special spot in the sideyard just for them...and they know it!
If the worms are gone, the female, now called "Ladybird" comes to the window and begs...really!
She has become quite friendly, and though she isn't on my shoulder or anything, she is close. She knows the dogs and they know her....quite fun.
There is a site online, allaboutbirds.com, that gives their info and sounds....

Ladybird has been building a nest in the bluebird box we have in the jacaranda tree.....I can't wait! In the meantime, I must buy more worms....they will expect them when babies arrive.
Enjoy your day....
Nancy

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The corner cabinet

Years and years ago, I found a corner bookcase for sale. At the time, it was a week's worth of groceries, but Hubby said to get it....
So, I did.
There isn't a picture of it that I can find, but it was a honey colored pine...and it lived for years in the corner of our bedroom holding prized knick-knacks.
Then, somewhere along the way, it was moved and painted a bright white.
It has lived in the "craft" room for many years now, all white....and too bright.
A few months ago, a little more than 6 months I think, I painted the outside portion French Linen. I didn't know what I wanted to do with it on the inside, and all my embroidery thread is stored there....
Then, yesterday, the lightbulb went off when I was painting the little planter.....
So, off I went, mid laundry and while the planter was still drying, and started to paint the inside duck Egg Blue....

This shows you the bright white and the changes....
The original plan was to do a dry brush of Old White over the Duck Egg Blue, but I just couldn't. I like the pop of color and I am really tired of the white....
So, when the Duck Egg dried, I finished off the the rest of the shelves with French Linen....
So, after a couple of hours...here is what I have....


I think my embroidery colors look brighter somehow...
The funny story was....I had just put the thread organizer back on the shelf and left. I was in the kitchen when I heard a sound....it even made the dogs bark. I went down the hall, and there all over the floor were all the spools of embroidery thread and the holder....
It had slipped off and fallen! Yikes!
I had to pick each one up and replace them...There are 60 spools on the rack. I think some are still lost deep under the bed!
Oh well, with my back being grumpy, I wasn't going to push it more, so those spools will just have to wait.....
So, what do you think?
To me it feels calmer...and I am eyeing the chair rail....really....
Nancy

Monday, April 14, 2014

Changing a Ceramic Planter

Ah, you thought I meant in the garden, right?
Nope, not this time.
You see, this was one of the planters that my neighbor gave me. I wasn't entirely fond of its color, it just didn't "send" me....so, out came the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint...and this is what I did....


Yes, you can really paint on a glazed ceramic planter......
I chose Duck Egg Blue for the base color....

Then, when it was dry (about a load of laundry's worth of time), I dry brushed over it with French Linen....
Then after that, I waxed it with clear and then some dark wax....
and then it went to live in our master bath ...
Ta Da!!! Now, Hubby can grab a washcloth easily....
Tomorrow, I will show you another project I got to doing.....
Nancy

Friday, April 11, 2014

In the Garden

I have been out of commission....my back is "out".
But, I wanted to show you my roses in the front....they are so beautiful this year.....perhaps it is just the paint behind them....or is it the new fertilizer I am using?
 This isn't the best picture for you.....It was late in the day.....
 That red rose, "In the Mood" is just beautiful this year....
 And "Sentimental" is the best ever....
Of course the other plants growing all around are "Love In a Mist" that a neighbor gave me a few years ago....they always come back....
But even my hanging ivy geranium is doing extra well....I am loving this new fertilizer...
What is the new stuff? "SeaGrow".....it is a water soluble fertilizer that is organic. It is amazing.....
Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend....
Nancy

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Kind of Tomato tower

Last year, Hubby and I bought really cool towers for our tomatoes, well, for two at least....
Here is one of them from last year. They are quite sturdy. And, we wanted more. We went to the store and they didn't have them, and actually didn't know what we were talking about!
So, we decided to create our own.....




So, here it is in place. Where is the tomato? Well, this one is for my king beans!
And yes, you did see...we made the cross pieces with rulers! Actually, yardsticks....and some stir sticks! They were cheap and accessible...so, Hubby cut them and attached them...it works.....
Also,  the neighbor give us a bunch of pots.....

Isn't that awesome?? So nice of him....
Hope you had a great day in the sun....
Nancy