Happy New Year

Saturday, December 31, 2011

This was the view this morning out the back of the cabin ... it was perfection ... and it was an amazing way to start the last day of the year!

It's only natural to close a year looking at the highs and lows ... and the highs definitely won this year ... they were big, encompassing and meant so much.  A milestone birthday ... 10 years cancer free ... a new grand baby!  The two house robberies had financial implications, but no one was home and it was only 'stuff'.

We've had a fabulous day out at the cabin ... relaxing and watching a movie and making process on a few quilts (look forward to more posts this week).
Duck was in the oven
Happy New Year!
I wish all of you the happiest of times in 2012 and that the highs out weigh the lows for all of you!

All the best

and it was a busy year ...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

new job ... busy year ... and still got a little quilting done! Happy with the outcome!

Holiday Biscotti

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday office presents
A couple of holiday office presents for the team.  The mugs are courtesy of Value Village and the Biscotti is homemade by my wonderful husband.

This year's family Christmas presents center around a kitchen theme.  John's contribution was the homemade biscotti.  After 4-5 test batches (which we SO enjoyed) ... he finally landed on a recipe that has already gotten rave reviews from friends!

As we were mailing these to far away places, we needed to come up with a way to keep them from grating on each other and crumbling.  I found some little bags on Amazon, bought some red wrappia and  and picked up kitchen storage containers, with festive red lids, from the Container Store.  We also coupled it up with lovely porcelain mugs (sets of 6) that we found for a great price on Crate and Barrel's website (with their free shipping promotion).
Mugs and biscotti
You've likely seen the placemats and potholders I labored over this fall.  Also added to the package was a flower-sack tea towel in a coordinating color and a little bag of some of our favorite teas.

If you're up for trying some FABULOUS biscotti.  The recipe is as follows.

John’s Biscotti recipe
4 Tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon  anisette extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
one grated orange zest
3/4 cup silver almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Butter a baking sheet, dust with flour and then remove excess flour.
Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then add almond and anisette extract.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl the add minced orange zest.  Add flour to the batter a little at a time.
Divide dough into half and shape each into a 2-inch wide log and place on baking sheet.  Bake until the loaves are golden about 30-minutes.  Remove loaves from oven and lower temperature to 250 deg F.
When loaves are cool enough, cut each on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices using a serrated knife.
Place slices on baking sheet, return to oven for 8 minutes, then carefully turn them over for another 8 to 10 minutes until they dry out.
Will keep in an airtight container ... if you can keep them away from everyone!

The biscotti has also found its way into our neighbors hands ... and recipe requests have come in ... including one from our neighbors who came over last night to wish us a Merry Christmas (even though not everyone in the photo was willing to smile).  It's always fun to have kids in the house during the holidays!
Family of Santa's

I hope that you're having a Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

All the best

Have I mentioned that angel I am married to ???

Monday, December 19, 2011

So the cold that I blogged about here has now turned into a sinus infection ... which apparently means [gasp] I am snoring at night!  

So my dear husband left our bed last night at about 2AM having tired of trying unsuccessfully to quiet me down and get back to sleep.

He groggily went downstairs to the the guest room where he knew the bed was made ... where he encountered the current WIP.   He had the presence of mind at 2AM to figure out that the two rows at the top are only pieced (not sewn) together.

He did find another bed to sleep in ... but it was without any sheets and covered with all the extra packaging from the major Christmas present mailing we just did with packages shipped from Hawaii to Toronto to Virginia.  I found him buried in bubble wrap at 7AM this morning ;-).

Sometimes the "process" isn't just about how the quilter gets from point A to point B ... sometimes it's about how the family adapts to the "process".

I definitely married a good one ...

Hope your holidays are full of joy!

All the best

A "thank you" pillow

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Patriotic Pillow
Earlier this year ... a long-time family friend, Evelyn, sent me a copy of The Lost Heroes Art Quilt book.  This is a book that tells the story behind the Lost Heroes quilt that was made to honor our fallen soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  This quilt, which has been on tour around the country for the past year, has 50 panels to represent the 50 states, and a fallen soldier has been chosen to represent each state.  In each panel on the quilt, there is a photographic image of each of these soldiers when they were children.

The quilt has been used to honor the fallen and their families, as well as to raise money for charities that support the families of fallen soldiers.

It turns out, that Missouri is represented by Bill Hecker ... the kid brother of a friend of mine from high school.  Bill came from a military family and left behind a wife and four children ...

I've been meaning to pull something together to send Evelyn to thank her for the amazing gift of this book.  And while I am late in getting it put together ... I completed this 12 x 16" flag pillow for her today.

With our final soldiers now returning from Iraq this week ... it seemed an appropriate time to remember the 4,802 American soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice and did not get to come back to their families and friends.

All the best

Lotsa pillows!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The pillows are complete!  The two on the left go to my brother's two daughters (aged 13 and 16) and the two on the right go to my sister's 2 daughters (aged 16 & 19).  The one in the middle is my "oops" pillow and will stay right on this bed in the guest room.

I did finally get them monogrammed correctly.
Monogrammed pillow backs
And each pillow, actually is accompanied by a smaller pillow as well.
Pair of pillows
Pillows by the number:

  • 2 pillow forms -- 16" x 16" and 12" x 16"
  • Patterned fabrics from Lotta Jansdotter and Metro Living by Robert Kaufman.  The gray is Kona Coal (some of the small pillow fronts, and the back on all the pillows).
  • Fronts have very light quilting with batting.  Backs are strictly material with a zipper installed.

The final cost I figure was bout $26 per set of pillows -- broken down as follows:

  • $16 for pillow forms (with 50% off coupons @ JoAnns)
  • $4 in printed fabric (total printed material cost was $25, but I have about 1/3 of material left over, so can't assign all the cost to these pillows)
  • $2 in solids (~1/2 yard per set and a 40% off coupon @ JoAnns)
  • $4 for zippers 
  • Free -- batting, trimmed from quilts 
The weren't exactly the bargain I had initially anticipated ... the pillow forms were over 60% of the cost.  But I was really happy with how they came out and they definitely fit with this year's present theme ... home made and from the heart ;-).

Hope your holiday presents are nearing completion!

All the best.

Don't you hate it when that happens ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I really appreciated your advice a few weeks ago on this post.  I did decide to go ahead and monogram the pillows.   I sent a Facebook message off to my niece to make sure I had the correct middle initials ... and then waited ... and waited.

So I went ahead and made the pillows ... and of course.  The next day got the message back from my niece -- initials are CMN and KAN.

So what the heck ... I can put the intials on the back ... right ?!?!?  How hard can it be?  Well ... it was a little tricky ... but it actually came out pretty good and I liked the fact I had personalized them, without having to put it on the front.

Not so fast ... her initials are CMN, not KMN ... yup ... I mixed up the sisters initials.

It's not the end of the world, I had already realized that the pillows go great in my guest room ... no one will notice the initials on the back.  So I started to make another one for my niece.

I still have enough fabric left ... so I pulled it together and realized I actually like this one a little better than the last one ;-).

Until I see problem #2 ... I forgot to cut off the selvage.

Well ... nothing that a little seam ripper wont fix.  At least that one's fixable without having to remake the pillow.

Now I need to pick up a zipper tomorrow and finish it up by tomorrow night ... then I'll be right back where I started ;-).

At least this time I got to appliqué the monogram before I put the pillow together.

Thanks again for the great advice on the first round!

All the best

Holiday Hostess Gifts

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Here's a great idea for a hostess gift for all those holiday parties you're heading to over the next few weeks!

I purchased some fabric from Pink Chalk Fabrics last week and Kathy was giving away a pattern for some really cute holiday potholders as thanks for the order!
I loved her concept of the tree from the scrap bin and I've kept that element.  But I passed on binding them and instead did a self binding, which I find so much more effective for potholders and placemats (you can see my tutorial for self binding placemats here).

I made them in pairs ... using 2 coordinating base fabrics ... one on the front of one and then the back of the other and vice versa.  Then kept the quilting light ... just around the tree, which helps hold everything in place and creates a nice pattern on the back.

I've already given away 2 sets to holiday hostesses ... only 5 more parties to go ;-).

Happy Holidays!

Under the weather ...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cabin quilts
Well ... the only good part about a bad cold is ... pulling out every quilt I have at the cabin and piling 'em all on ...

Of course ... that comes with the 'not so good' as well ...

Hope to be 'back at it' tomorrow ...

All the best
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