Thursday, February 22, 2018

A New Way to Embroider and to Quilt!

I joined an embroidery club at the shop where I bought my sewing machine.
I learned a new technique (at least new to me) called "in the hoop". Oh my!!
I am now addicted to this technique and it is hard to set it aside to do other things!
 This is the first piece I did...all on the hoop....
It is a mug rug...
 Made another for my daughter....
These are from the class...and they are by Pickle Pie designs...
 This is a quilt block designed by Sweet Pea designs...and the program has 12 motifs...It will be a darling quilt...when I am done it will so cute....

Pretty sweet...in the hoop designs...
It is so much fun to learn something new! And the sewing machine does most of the work and I get to use scraps! Yay!!
Ok,
so housework needs doing....
Have a great day!
Nancy

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fish Kabobs

We live near a Santa Monica Seafood....which has a restaurant and fish store and also has sauces, veggies, and cheeses available.
Hubby and I bought some fish kabobs from them to BBQ.
He planned how he was going to cook them and asked what we had to brush on them
So, I went to the fridge and in there I had some homemade apricot jam and ketchup and worcestershire sauce.
I blended them on the stove low temp to melt the apricot jam and then added a touch of salt and pepper. Then handed Hubby the pot and a basting brush. Yummmmm

 This is a red rice and wild rice mix I cooked up and served with blue cheese and asparagus.
We cooked three kabobs, but had one left over which made for a fantastic lunch the next day. Nothing better than good quality fish!

Have a great evening.....
Nancy

Homemade Pizza with Clam Sauce

The last week I made bread, but because my sourdough makes two loaves, I decided to make one. What to do with the rest of it?? I liberally sprayed a ziplock with coconut oil and dropped the dough that was left in there...and put it in the fridge.
The dough slowly grew while in there and about 5 days later I decided we should have pizza.
Now, usually I make a deep dish pizza, but this time I decided that I would divide the dough and use half for a special treat.
So, the first half, I rolled out and poked the crust with a fork so it wouldn't grow too much when heated. I have found the hard way that the crust needs pre-cooking before you add toppings....
So, Hubby fired up his smoker and put in the raw dough to bake just a bit....
When it lost its sheen and firmed up a bit, we put clam sauce on it...minus the extra juice.

For that I opened a can of Progresseo clam sauce, and used a slotted spoon to get the good stuff out....
We used only half the can...you can use more if you like....
Then, we topped it with a basque cheese we like....you can use your favorite....and topped that with a few crushed leaves of basil.
Then Hubby smoked it at 375 degrees....
Can you say "Yummmmm"??

After about 20 mins....we had a delicious dinner of sourdough pizza and a salad with a delightful smoky tasting Pinot ....that was so yummmmmmy!
So, what did I do with the leftover dough you ask??
Well, I decided to make cinnamon rolls!
Yes, you can use sourdough for that!
I rolled the dough thin, sprinkled on cinnamon sugar and melted butter and rolled it up.
Then I carefully sliced it into little messy pinwheels.
Those I placed into a baking pan and covered with more melted butter and cinnamon....
and then covered it with plastic wrap as these were going to be left to rise all night.
In the morning, I popped them into the oven and baked them at 375 for about 20 mins.
They didn't get huge, but smelled oh so divine!
When they were cool enough, I made a cream cheese frosting and smeared them with it...
They were really good! Sourdough has a bit of "chewy" in it but the flavor and all was perfect!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Our Valentine's Day Dinner

Valentine's Day for us was special. We have learned to cherish moments like this. Life is short...you can't get moments back, so make the most of them!
So, Hubby got me lovely pink roses...(I asked for pink!)....
And I decorated both the dining room and the living room....
I wanted to eat in the living room for Valentine's Day....turn on the fireplace and set the tea cart for two...with candles and romance.....
So what if the neighbors see us sitting and dining in the window?? Who cares? Romance and a change of venue are important....even if I didn't iron the linen....

These are a few of the roses...such a lovely shade of pink!
Then, for the dinner....we chose to have filet, asparagus, and red rice for dinner. Hubby perfectly BBQd them.....and while that was happening, I created a reduction sauce....using the fig, rosemary and wine jam that I had in the fridge .....



Yes, that's homemade....last year....and though it isn't what I use on toast, it is great with cream cheese and as a finishing sauce with carmelized onions and on the filets and red rice.....
 You just melt it into the carmelized onions....
 and voila! Yummy sauce.....
Here is the red rice that was blended with a wild rice mix....
It was all very yummy......

Then, there was dessert...a gluten free brownie with red raspberries (that were happier up with powdered sugar and a touch of port)....
Yes, it was delicious...and naughty from the diet scene....but it was Valentine's Day....calories don't count then, do they??
Overall, romance won.....
We also took in a movie, a matinee in the day...."Forever My Girl"....a good old fashioned love story...with no swearing, no shooting, no dramatic reverse or anything horrid....just like a Hallmark movie...just warm and fuzzy....
We had a good day.
Then....today...the day after bedding got changed..as did drapes...no more red and white...
Since before Christmas I had red and white toile bedding and pillows on the bed....and though they were lovely, it was time for a change. Our puppy isn't allowed on the bed so now I can play with bedding! What fun....my anniversary quilt that I made this summer can come out to play and be seen and used....
I also changed the drapes in the dining room...
 These are the toile drapes...I had picked them up from Savers for like $8. Two long panels....but I was ready to move on....
So, I dug through my stash...and found a soft grey set of linen drapes from Ikea that I had picked up...also from Savers...for like $20....brand new and never used....and now they are here....

They are still so pressed from being in the package...but what fun!!  Now my windows have a wardrobe! Nice to be able to easily change pillows, or bedding or drapes...
It changes the mood and feels fresh....
I will bring those toile drapes back next year...and for now...well, I think it's time for bed....
Have a great evening....
Nancy

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Sewing Room is My Happy Place

Since I reconfigured the craft room, I have been more productive...(course now its a mess and needs a little cleanup)....
I had a special commission to do a baby quilt for a second baby from a friend of my daughter. She wanted to be sure this baby boy #2 got one too! Isn't that sweet??
So, my daughter asked about colors and theme....and this is what I have been doing for a week!


I had a good time making this quilt! The airplane fabric I ordered through Amazon....It's adorable! She was using orange in her baby's room so this suits nicely!
I played with the blue squares as you can see in the second photo....I did freehand, free motion feathers there...and the rest was done with my dual feed foot to get nice diagonal lines ....which just suits it. Dual feed feet are amazing! They are something that the Destiny Baby Lock sewing machine has and honestly one of my favorite features! That and the laser light that guides you on a line...so diagonal lines will be straight! Totally amazing also!
So, after I finished hand sewing on the binding....I needed something to sew...so, I grabbed some fabric I picked up at Goodwill...and created a new pillow complete with a zipper!
 This is the front.....

And the back...
Yeah...It is a tad big....I figured the cotton ducking would shrink when washed...so I compensated for that....besides....I was just having some fun!
The pointsettas will be leaving Thurs....they've been there out front since Dec. 7! We got our money's worth from them...and soon...all too soon, we will be planting our tomatoes! Yikes! where did the time go??
Today, I will be moving some furniture around...well, just a little to set up for Valentine's Day. So we can have dinner in the living room with a fire and sit by the window...and have a romantic dinner there...no TV, no Olympics, no news...just us....at a table....
Hope you have a grand day!
Nancy

Friday, February 9, 2018

Creating A New Garden...the Hard Way

I love my puppy. I really do. Just not the things that she has gotten into.
She has discovered all the plants that are poisonous...and those have been removed...gratefully she hasn't had any real trouble...just a little diarrhea. But, that coupled with her knack for destroying plants....our garden has not been itself.
Today, I had enough. I went to the hardware store (ACE) and asked for "dog repellent". I know....right?? Sounds terrible...but a Mom has got to do, what a Mom has got to do!
I have already tried chili pepper flakes, cayenne, and lemon juice...yeah...she likes peppers! Truly! This is the puppy that ruined my pepper plants last year! Why we had to put chicken wire around my raised beds!
 Yes, she is still a puppy...she is almost 8 months old!

So, I found a spray called "critter ridder" by Havahart....it is not something one sprays on a light windy day...trust me...It had me coughing! Yikes! But....so far so good!
You would do it too if you are a gardener and have a beautiful white eden rose that cannot be found easily....
Then, I went to another hardware store (Home Depot) and bought some flagstone pavers....
Those were placed in areas where she had been digging in the agapanthus. Then, Hubby and I bought 2 rosemary plants and a lavender plant, which we potted in large pots and placed between the plants and the pavers. We then sprayed the pots and dirt as well.
Why rosemary and lavender....well...they aren't poisonous and are reputed to discourage dogs....the pots are for space holders...up and in vision...but not as easily pulled out.
In case you hadn't figured it out...it is spring like outside here in Southern California...we've had little rain...which is sad...
 Even my fava beans are blooming! (See the chicken wire??)....
And my orange tree is blooming! I will have to spray my new spray on this tree as she has taken to pulling branches off.
I wasn't going to redo the garden...but slowly, we have had to do a few things to make it nice...like reseed grass where the other dog had gone pee...in the same spot for about 5 months...it turned it black! So, after he passed away, we reseeded and place lots and lots of little fencing in that area so that the grass can grow....
I will be using more rosemary in the future....it isn't toxic and has been said to repel fleas too...as well as other critters...and it is hardy.
Well...I hope your day has been grand....
Nancy



Friday, January 26, 2018

More Craft Room Organizing

Yesterday, I had a brainstorm. Yeah, I know, they don't happen often.
But, it's a good one. It's a "why didn't I think of this sooner" kind.
Here I have two sewing machines. At Christmas time, I moved the "old" one to the cutting table to use it while the other was doing embroidery. But, it was a pain to move and put away.
So, I looked at the very messy room as it was...and realized...if I cleaned up the space I wasn't using, I could put the old machine there, on a table, to use. Yeah. A "duh" moment.
I didn't take a picture of the ugly part of the room....too ugly. But, trust me, it was bad. You had to walk sideways into the room, given that the ironing board is always out.
I searched online for a table that fit the area next to the main sewing table (45") and figured I needed a minimum of 19" front to back to fit the machine and its embroidery unit.
Online, there  are dozens and dozens of sewing tables....and small desks.
In the end, I wanted to pay no more than $50 and I wanted it to be open underneath....so a small desk worked best for me....
I looked on Amazon, Target, Wayfair, and many others to see what they had to offer.
I almost ordered a small desk from Amazon...because it was cute...but the reviews let me know that for my usage of a heavy sewing machine that will be moving that table/desk wasn't right.
So, I drove to Ikea. For us, its a quick (too quick) drive. Like 5 mins tops.
I walked the whole warehouse....top to bottom.
I found in the desk area a simple little desk for under $25!
Now, let's do a quick review.
 The other side of the room went from this...to....
this....
And now look at the "other" side of the room....
Pretty sweet for $25!!
Now, I realize this table/desk may not survive lots of embroidery....but it should hold up to the amount I use this machine....and isn't it better to have a space to use??
The rolling sewing chair will just slide over to work with the old machine...so in theory both machines could be going....doing embroidery at the same time!
Now, that is a good use of space.
Hubby was thrilled...one it looked better and two....it didn't cost him a fortune!
So what if the desk only lasts a little while....and honestly....it is quite sturdy. Those are steel legs and a lightweight yet sturdy top.....
The cage thing in view? oh, that's for the puppy...she keeps me company while I sew...I put on classical music and she just sleeps....
the ironing board is as you come in to the right...(too bad plaster walls are a pain...I'd love to have a wall mounted iron....)...
Well...off to get caught up on laundry....
Nancy