Saturday, December 30, 2006

Phipps Favorites

Here's another favorite from Phipps Conservatory.
This is another living wreath and I can't for the life of me remember what its made of. Its the same genus of plant
that is sphagnum moss (which is the dead plant dried up).

Last of the Aprons

So I gave all my aprons for Christmas and they were well-received. My neices, though, were funny. You can't read them when they open gifts. They seemed to like them and I saw one of them running her fingers over her name on the front, tracing the letters, but I can never tell for sure. But my sister-in-law said that when they were going home, one of them said to her: "Grandma and Aunt Val and Aunt Carol must be awful tired." "Why?" she asked her. "Because they must have spent sooooo much time getting us the perfect presents." She's 6. That totally cracks me up.

Christmas Goodies

This is what I spent my Christmas Eve and Christmas doing. My husband had to work both nights, so I baked my little heart out.

First, a couple batches of cream puffs filled with a mixture of whipping cream and pastry cream and peppermint.
Then, I made a couple batches of cinnamon rolls - one for him to take to work with him and another to take to my parents (we went up on Tuesday).

Last, I made one batch of lady locks but that makes a million of the little buggers.

Then, I made myself some Orange/Pineapple/Banana Slush and had some shrimp.

That, I can share with you. You mix up a can each of frozen OJ and frozen pineapple juice and blend in 3 bananas and freeze. When you're ready to serve, you let it thaw for awhile. I scrape it with an ice cream scoop and put it into big glasses and mix it up with 7-Up Plus (the kind with only 8 calories or something). Yum yum.

As you can imagine, I've stuffed myself silly for about a week with all the baking and then the family get-togethers. I'm in detox now that I'm home and I'm warily eyeing my treadmill. I'll will have to make better friends with it soon.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Phipps Love

Another favorite from Phipps Conservatory for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Presents Are DONE!

I'm finally done with all of my Christmas presents. Now I need to make lists of everything that I need to take to Mom's, or I'll forget.

And get on the baking. My husband informed me today that I need to make sure to send in two plates of cinnamon rolls for Christmas day so both his shift and the one after can have them. Oh, and chocolate chip cookies. Pbtht. Spoiled man, he is.

I also want to make peppermint cream filled cream puffs, lady locks & cinnamon rolls for Mom's. We won't be able to go up on Christmas Day, but we'll go the day after and stay for several days.

This is my tree with the presents wrapped and waiting. I made some glitter monogram tags for them. They didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped, but they're still cute. I'll have to try it again and perfect my technique.

The last of the potholders

I've actually gotten tired of the potholders. But these are the last. Today I think I will start wrapping up the gifts so that I have pretty packages under my tree.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Phipps love

Today, my husband and I went to Phipps Conservatory for the first time. I wasn't sure how great it would be because sometimes these types of places charge an arm & a leg and it just isn't worth it. This was. I was in heaven. I need beauty and flowers like air and this was fresh air to me!

This was one of my favorite shots. This is a living wreath out of begonias, I think. I'll upload more now and then. I took over a hundred.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Black & White Potholders

Set 2 of who knows how many??

These are for Mom & Dad.

On a completely unrelated note, my husband heard from a friend that one of the houses that we made an offer on this summer is being sold again because the owner just got a new job. I don't know whether or not to be excited . . . I want to be, but we spent all year looking for a house and haven't had any luck yet. Its such a big decision but we are so ready to buy a place of our own.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Now on to Potholders!

I thought I'd use up some of the extra fabric and make some matching potholders to go with all the aprons. We'll see if I have enough time! Speaking of time, hand sewing binding on these buggers takes forever. There has to be a better way, right?

They did turn out well, though. These are Grandma's.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Even more aprons

How 'bout these ones? They are for my neices. Having no children of my own, I have no concept of what size they ought to be. I got some dimensions from online places selling children's aprons to get an idea of what size they should be. Hope I'm right! They're cute anyway!

3D Paper Snowflakes

I found this link to make 3D paper snowflakes a little bit ago and of course, I had to sit down and make a couple instead of working on the aprons that I have to finish for Christmas.

Anyway, this large one is 22" across! But it is rather fast and easy to make.

The little one is 5 1/2" across and is a bit more difficult and time consuming and how do you staple something so small anyway?

Try it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just a pretty picture . . .

2 More Aprons

So here's the next 2 aprons. They are for Mom & Dad. I was finishing them up today and I have no focus whatsoever, because I think I sewed each of the neck strap pieces on 3 times each. Once was on the wrong side, once backwards and once without the rings in the loop. Today is not my day. No more crafting for me.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pink Swirls apron

I just finished another apron. This one is for my Grandma and I really like it! I'm kinda wishing I had a pattern to do other shapes or maybe I could add a ruffle to the bottom hem or something. I'm running out of time though, so they will have to be simple shapes for now.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Apron # 2

Tonight I made apron # 2. After also making monkey bread and spending an hour downstairs in the lobby of my building in a t-shirt and flip-flops freezing after I oh-so-innocently went down to pick up my mail and got stuck down there when the fire alarm went off while I was in the elevator. Ugh. There was no fire, but there was no concierge on duty either to reset the alarm and turn the elevators back on.

Anyway. I did get a movie from Netflix and made an apron and paper snowflakes and stars while I watched it. Fun times for me!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Robin's Egg & Chocolate Stripes

I got my fabric for the aprons yesterday and its all yummy. I hated to cut it. But then my sanity came back and I realized that I have no brilliant ideas for Christmas gifts that don't include cutting up this fabric, so I got busy. Well, sort of busy. I did one apron.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Freshcut now on FreeSpirit's site

If you don't already read Heather Bailey's blog, you should. Her Freshcut fabric line is now posted at FreeSpirit's website and there's a free download for her quilt pattern. Nice!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Presents

I haven't finished deciding what all to give for Christmas gifts this year. I've ordered the fabric for aprons, but I need something else.

For my brother & sister-in-law, I was thinking about ordering something from Omaha Steaks and then put in the apron and maybe some matching potholders. My mom suggested getting their 2 little girls an Easy Bake Oven to go with their aprons. I was at Target today and they were out. They did have a little utensil set to go with the oven that had cute little pink spatula, wisk, wooden spoon, etc. I may have to go back and get that cause I thought it was cute.
Oh, and Mom also suggested that I make an apron for my grandma. This is the year of the apron for me. Having never actually made any, I hope they turn out cute.

Since we're talking about aprons again, check out Kelly's apron. How adorable is that?

I don't know what to get my parents to go with their aprons. I got my Dad a set of Steak Seasonings from Penzey's Spices last year and he liked that. He bought some sets himself to give to his customers this year. So is it bad to get something similar again this year or opt for something different? I don't know.

Speaking of Penzeys, I have the Strip district on the brain now. Here's another place we love in the strip. Its Prestogeorge and they make some really great fresh roasted coffee. My husband and I are addicted to the Holiday Blend and the Highlander Kreme the rest of the year.

Anyway, to get back on the subject, I don't have any ideas for my husband either. He wants a flat screen TV, a flat panel monitor and another vintage rifle. Not that I'll be buying him any of those things. I'm in need of inspiration in that area.

My Christmas present, on the other hand, I've picked out. I'm feeling guilty about that, but I've been lusting after it for so long and its finally down low enough to tempt me to take the plunge. Its the Canon Digital Rebel XT.
I already have the film camera - the Canon Rebel Ti, but I'd like a digital so that I can take stupid pictures 100 times a day if I want to. I know it really doesn't make any sense. The lenses can be swapped back and forth though, so its not as if its totally crazy. I would like to improve my photography skills so I can actually use the thing and justify its purchase.
**I must also add, for my own sake, that I am not normally in the habit of buying myself expensive gifts and/or dropping explicit hints for them to my husband. I actually hate that. But come one, the camera. . . . I'm drooling.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stars in My Eyes

I still haven't done much Christmas decorating, except to put one of my candleholders on the mantel (its one like this) and put a red berry garland and a pearl garland around it with a few little Christmas trees and candles.

Today I was looking for something else and ran across this on . Its for a paper star. I tried it with plain printer paper and it took all of 2 seconds and I think its cute!

I'm totally seeing this with white glitter and hanging a bunch of these from the ceiling. Of course, nothing ever comes out like it is in my head, but I still think its cute.

aprons, aprons, aprons

I've got aprons on the brain.

I'm making some aprons for Christmas gifts this year, and one for myself of course! I've found some wonderful aprons online, but of course, couldn't really justify the price for me or for the gifts, but here's some links for inspiration.

This is totally my favorite apron and I'd like to duplicate it. In fact, I bought this fabric today from

Check out the other aprons at - I like them all. Also, there are some cute ones at Kitsch*n Glam as well, but they are even more expensive. And then, there's the ones at Athropologie. Aprons are in, I guess.

Oh, and if you wanted to make your own, I also found a pattern that I liked. Its Butterick 4945.

I figured that I will just trace an apron that I own and use it to make the Christmas gifts, since they are for men & women & kids and will work for unisex. I bought this fabric and this fabric for the adults and this fabric for the two girls. Now I am feeling guilty for spending so much money (I have a complex) but it comes out to approximately $10 each for 7 different aprons, including the shipping. I'll just need rings for the neck strap.

I thought maybe if I have fabric left over I will make some plan square potholders if I can find some insulated batting in time. I hate shopping too close to Christmas and here in the city it can get quite crazy.

I haven't figured out what else to give them, but I have a start, anyway. It will be cooking themed, at any rate.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

and Candles too!

Besides making quilts, I do make candles as well. Not that you'd really know it, since I don't think I've made any for the past year, at least. I really only make them for myself since when I've given them away, people burn them funny and scare me. I gave one to someone in a crock - I thought that was foolproof - and they told me later that they burned it on their dresser and fell asleep. The candle managed to catch the top part of the dresser on fire. Yeah. I don't like that.

Anyway. I was cleaning up the bookmarks on my computer the other day and found an old one that just said candle supplies. I discovered that it was for Early American Candle Supplies here in Pittsburgh. Yeah! Now I could go get wax and not pay for shipping, which is outrageous! So today I dragged my husband over to the shop to pick up a 50 lb bag of wax. I'm so excited to make more pillars!

Quilt Washed

I got the quilt washed tonight. That really helps! The wrinkles forgive a lot on the quilting "mistakes" and can't be seen unless you study it closely. That and its so much more cuddly. Yeah!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cross Hatching the Quilt

So I decided to just try a cross-hatch. Man, that's a lot of work! It seemed like it went fast and took forever at the same time. Its hard as all get out to get the lines straight every time and I sure wouldn't want to have to mark it. I used the little quide on the machine and it worked fine, but I had a tendency to curve the beginning and ending of the new line. Anyway. I think it turned out okay and you don't see the mistakes as clearly as you might think.

Not sure I'm excited about the quilt, but I think it will help if I run it through the washing machine and make it soft and wrinkly, just the way I like it.

I actually started the quilt last weekend and I got a bunch done, but we left to go to my parent's house for Thanksgiving on Wednesday and stayed till late Friday night. I seriously debated about dragging my machine and the quilt so that I could work on it there, but I decided that would be crazy. I also wanted to take a quilt with me since I figured we'd end up sleeping on an air mattress in the living room, but I nixed the extra quilt as well, since Mom does have blankets after all. Well, I missed having one of my own quilts to sleep with and there were several times I was wishing that I could sit down and sew while I talked to my Mom, cause man, we do a lot of talking and I feel really lazy doing nothing while we do.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I read this post and I thought, that's exactly what I was thinking! We always have to say what we're thankful for around the dinner table and I sorta hate it. Its a lovely thing to do and I would even insist that it is the right thing to do, but I feel silly and we would all probably cry if we have to actually be too serious about it. After all, everything else is trite when you have your family to be thankful for. Not that we shouldn't also be thankful for the little silly things as well.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

IQF Photos

I meant to post this several days ago when I first discovered it. Mellicious has a bazillion photos of IQF in Houston and I always enjoy looking through them. There's two sets - the judged show and exhibits. Prior years are there too.

Check it out.

This is one of my favorites. And this.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

How to Quilt?

I kinda hate deciding how to quilt my quilts. I always feel like I should have some fantastic design, but I'm not that talented. I do fairly simple, usually. But it seems so boring. I played around today to see how other people might quilt something like this and didn't seem to find anything inspiring.

Spirals might be cool, but hm. Don't know about that. Seems like it might be a lot of work. I'd be tempted to hand quilt them in, but I've got a few handquilting projects in front of it that I haven't managed to get done.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tudor Rose quilt

I stipple quilted this sweet little blanket on Saturday and it turned out so sweet. I can't for the life of me seem to get good pictures to show just how sweet it is. I just ran it through the washer and dryer to soften and wrinkle it up and its lovely. I have 4 of these little quilts. I tied the first one and I have 2 more to do. I think I will do the stippling. I just love how it looks.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

At the risk of becoming a foodie blog

Here's another one:
Actually its just a link. This was my version and it was good.

Recipe Exchange

Anyone interested in participating in a recipe exchange? Just post your recipe in the comments section.

Here's one to start.

Spiced Carrot Muffins
Makes 12

2 1/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c plain low-fat yogurt
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 egg
2 1/2 c shredded carrots (about 5 medium)

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, butter & eggs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add yogurt mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold in carrots. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cemetery Angels

Something about fall makes me want to go wander around the Allegheny Cemetery and look at all the angels. It seems like such a peaceful place compared to the rest of the city and I think partly it feels more like home to me with the quiet and the trees. I have been taking some pictures of the angels. I think they would look neat blown up and framed, but I haven't done that yet. It seems wierd to want to hang that in your house. There's something about the angels and the buildings that is cool though.

Log Cabin Style Quilted Pilllow

I had a leftover block from a baby quilt I made awhile ago, so today I finally got around to making another pillow from it and listed it on Etsy.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Little Pillows

I had a couple blocks left over from that baby quilt that I made several weeks ago - apparently I was having trouble counting at the time. Anyway. I thought they would make a cute little pair of pillows, and after staring at them on the back of my couch for a few weeks, I finally sewed a back on them and stuffed them and listed them on Etsy. I hope someone wants them!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Custom work I'm slowly getting done

I have an order for several custom items that I've been working on and I managed to get some work done today and took some pictures.

These are flour sack kitchen towels monogrammed.

This is one of 3 quilts that I'm making for the same order. I've got the other 2 mostly done. Just have a bit more quilting and then I can add on the binding and they'll be finished.