Thursday, March 5, 2015

Handy Sewing Tool Keeper

I made this for Christmas - one for myself and one for my mom and realized I forgot to share it.
Using three fat quarters, a scrap and a small piece of felt, I just started sewing pockets on the inside then put some batting underneath it, and used the third fat quarter for the cover. I then turned it inside out, closed up the seam, sewed a few seams on the outside to help it fold well, and easy!
At the end, because I had made two, I ironed some wonder-under on orange letters so my mom and I could tell ours apart, then added a bright orange button and some elastic to keep it closed.
My mom had signed up for a class at our local sewing shop so I thought this would make it easy for her to carry the tools she needs and I take mine to doctors and physical therapist appointments for my children and continue working on the barn quilts. I just finished December's. Four more months to go and then I can show you the completed set of barns. It really has been a great project and more fun to share it with my mom.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Baby Girl 8 x 8 Album

The hardest part about having your family spread out all over the continent is missing the special memories. This weekend my brother's first grandchild is being celebrated at church and with the family. My parents are there, my son is there, my brother and his family are there, but not me. So, instead I poured my heart into a small scrapbook album for the new parents to keep treasured photos and journal about their new daughter. With it being so close to Valentine's Day and also being the day she will be blessed, I wanted to have a heartfelt theme to the pages and love the newest CTMH Heartstrings paper.

I used mostly CTMH products here, even though I don't consult for them anymore. I have a friend who used to be in my club and she is now a Consultant, so I ordered from her after all she did to support my fledgling business when I first started.

I forgot to include the title page on the front of the album but here are the 14 double pages of the inside

Products Used

Patterned Paper: CTMH Heartstrings Paper Packet and Heartstrings Pocket Cards, Blank Cards from 2005 and Becky Higgins, Project Life Everyday Life Cardstock

Cardstock: CTMH Lagoon, Crystal Blue, Whisper, Cranberry, Hollyhock, Blush and White Daisy
Unknown source other white paper - gifted to me

All stamps: CTMH

Embellshments: Offray white and pink organdy ribbon, unknown heart pins,

CTMH embellishments: Cotton Candy trim, red enamel hearts, sparkles in red and diamond, glitter glue, paper flowers, sequin flowers, and chevron glitter shapes

Stampin Up:  Dimensionals and Felt Round Flowers and Scallop Punch

My Minds Eye: Buttons and Corner Punch

Cricut Cartridges: Both CTMH - Art Philosophy and Artbooking for shapes and words

Fiskars: Circle Punch and Paper Trimmer

Hermafix: Dotto Permanent Dot Adhesive

CTMH: Mini Glue Dots

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Charm Pack Valentine's Table Runner

This was a project that I was able to make in about a week, getting to it when I could, mostly in small chunks of time. It was a pattern that I bought off Etsy that measured 21 x 26 inches. However, I wanted it to be longer for my dining room table, so I took the 42 charm squares and divided them into 3 piles with 14 in a row, and it turned out just how I wanted. I had a yard of coordinating fabric that I used for both the back and the binding, and it came together without any leftovers, so I was grateful I had enough. I'm enjoying it on my table. 

My baby turned 16!!! He got together with his friends the night before for a party, and this was the cake leftover the next day, so we put 16 more candles in and sung again. He had a great day. He quite liked his presents, he was given a new office within the priesthood at church, and his far away siblings called and the rest of us at home celebrated him with a BBQ - 70 degrees in February in Colorado. It was the first time he ever remembers no snow on his birthday, so it was a very good day for our boy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Burst of Creativity

January has found me in a variety of emotions. Somehow creativity helps me through them all.
Here are some of the things I've been doing this month, and of course, I forgot to take photos of some of my favorites - the baby boy bibs I made and some cards from the beginning of the month. I do plan on making more bibs soon, for my newly born great-niece, so I'll make sure and post those.

Cards for my friend in Germany. Oh it was great fun to see her at the beginning of the month! This is made special by embossing on vellum using the Cuttlebug. Easy, add some embellishments, done.

 Some stamping here but overall a very easy, fast card.
 Homemade bread. This is half and half. I'm gradually going to get my family back to 100% whole wheat, if my stomach will let me.
A fun muslin label I ordered personalized, then sewed onto fabric, and framed. Sweetwater Company, one of my favorite fabric lines, sells them. Their newest fabrics are out and I'm disciplining myself by not buying up more fabric when I have SOO many projects waiting to be completed already. I love this for Valentines and it was a less than a yard of fabric.
 A quick receiving blanket for said niece. I have enough leftover fabric to make some burpers too.
 This is my latest chevron quilt, in shades of red and white. Love all these fabrics. Its about 2/3 finished, then I'll quilt it and back it. Just love that Cherry fabric!
This was from the original sampler quilt I was going to make, then turned 15 of the squares into 5 table runners. I pulled this one out the other day as I was reorganizing my fabrics that were in bags and I'm thinking of turning it into a small wall hanging. What do you think? I'll have to add borders and perhaps something else in the row above and below. . .  still thinking about that.
The fabrics are cut out and I'm starting these cute little heart blocks. The plan is they will come together to be a table runner.  I hope to get finished before the 1st of Feb. I'm using a charm pack - Surrounded by Love by Deb Strain to make this. Its the same one I used for my nephew's table runner last year but this is obviously going to be a lot more challenging. . . always stretching every time I sew. Its not easy yet, but its still fun.
 Do you remember the "Frozen" wreath I had last year for the girl's party? Well, I couldn't find any pre-made wooden snowflakes to buy in January, so I added snowflake silver ornaments with a Valentine's welcome, and now its on the front door using some non-traditional Valentine colors, but it works for me.
 With my hubby being out of town for two weeks on business, I have been his substitute organist at church. Unfortunately, I'm very much a novice, so it takes me between 40-60 min. a day of practicing to be able to execute the pedals well. Praying he makes it back this Sat. so he can play this coming Sunday.
 We had an 8 inch snow storm while he was gone. Our second biggest snowfall since we moved into this house 4 years ago this week but here it is a week later almost 70 degrees, so only this little bit on the north side of the house remains. I love the animal prints on the snow. The abundance of nature is one of the best parts of living in Colorado.
 LittleBuddy is getting better. The break is healing well. Last Thursday he got to ditch the crutches and now just has to keep the boot on. He is MUCH happier, and he can do a lot more for himself again.  Either his dad or his grandpa took him every morning to school because of all the ice and snow. It was so nice of them to do this, and my parents have both really helped me with driving since Mike's been gone. I continue to be blessed by the best parents and a husband who knew the first hour of the day is always my most busy already and wanted his son safe. Tomorrow Mom and I work on our barn quilt again. I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Great Soup Recipes and a Celebration Banner

The not too fun part of Christmas Break - injuries at a trampoline place. We go to the orthopedist today after 8 days of pain and misery. At least x-rays show no broken bones.

 The creative fun last Friday was hosting a luncheon for my friends from Germany who were here for a wedding and a visit.
Its been a hard last few months for their family, as the mom is going through breast cancer. One daughter was in the Philippines on a mission and the other going to school in Utah. So, to be all reunited for the 3 of them was wonderful both for them and for us. It was casual but snowflake themed, since we had a lot of little snowstorms all break. I don't think we ever got up to 8 inches of snow total, but it was cold a LOT!
This red tablecloth I folded in thirds and used as a table runner, as it was too small for all the leafs in my table. The candles were flameless and operating and with all the bowls and plates and goblets, I wanted to keep the table simple but festive. My friend left me this beautiful infinity scarf from Germany. . . only wish she could stay longer.
Soup seemed liked the best thing to serve. Mom helped me make them. I made whole wheat rolls and guests brought salads and dessert.  Here are the soups we served. All were yummy.

Boulder Black Bean Soup
  from Simply Colorado Cookbook

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried whole thyme
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth

2 tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped onion, and 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese can be used for optional garnish

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Stir in seasonings and cook one minute longer. Add beans. Use an immersion blender to puree about half of them, leaving several still whole. Bring to a boil over medium heat then simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes.  May add more chicken broth if needed. We also doubled this for a crowd and I had enough left overs to feed my family that night.

Nordstrom Tomato Basil Soup
  from Serious Eats website

6 T. olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, sliced
1 T. dried basil
3 - 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
1 quart chicken broth
1 pint half and half ( recipe calls for heavy cream, but I opted for half and half instead)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil until shimmering in large pan. Add carrots and onion and cook about ten minutes.until beginning to soften. Then add basil and cook another five minutes more. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil,  then reduce heat and simmer between 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes. Let cool for a bit then begin to puree everything with immersion blender. Add half and half and season and mix well. Note* I use a small amount of salt and pepper for my health needs, but a couple of people added quite a bit of salt. I found out later one has severe lack of salt so she does this to everything. Nevertheless, adjust to your liking and enjoy. Everyone who had it really seemed to like it. We didn't double this, but still had plenty left overs.

Chicken Vegetable Soup
  my easy recipe

Chop 2 chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Place in large pan.
Chop 4 carrots, 1 onion, and 4 stalks of celery into medium sized chunks. Add to pan.
Cover all with chicken broth plus an inch more.
Throw 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. dried parsley, 1/2 tsp. dried sage, and 1/4 tsp. dried thyme and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for half an hour in a covered pot.
Then add 2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes and let it continue to simmer, adding water as needed for another half an hour. Check your seasonings and add more if necessary. I doubled this.

I almost forgot to show you this easy banner. I made it in colors that will work with my house all year round - red, black, and burlap.  I found the burlap/polka dot background with black letters on it on Pinterest. It was a free download. I copied each letter onto some small cardstock I had in my printer, then cut them out, and put them on 4 x 6 inch ruby red triangles. I punched 1/8" holes in the tops of both sides, and added torn white strips of fabric and some black stitched ribbon and tied them together, and easy as can be, it was done!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Post Christmas Creations

We changed things up a lot this year. 
Maybe this will be a new tradition?
On Christmas Day we went on a hike.
Up to the top of Castle Rock, (a town named Castle Rock with a big rock in the center of town, that has a large star on top.)
It was about a three mile hike, and just perfect for a Christmas afternoon.

Then the day after Christmas instead of hitting all the sales, we spent a while in the basement playing our instruments together. We had: organ, piano, cello, viola, guitar, and jingle bell. It was awesome :-)

 Today between the fun and the chores I got my thank-you cards made. Always fun to squeeze in a little paper crafting over the holidays too.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Craftiness

Less than a week now! 
Just wanted to share some of the creative fun going on at our house.

MyGirl decorated these brownies and gave them to friends. She also shared them last Sunday after Sunday dinner. They were a big hit everywhere.

 While you can't tell from this photo we limited the ornaments we put on this year.
The criteria were hearts, representing me and Mike, stars, representing our children, and nativities. Plus a couple my mom made through the years which are part of our heritage. 
My goal for when the six of us are all together for Christmas are that we will enjoy the simple things, be Christ-centered, and have family-filled-fun!
 These are the cards we sent out. When I got my photos back from Costco, I realized they weren't going to fit into the cards I had already planned, had all the pieces for, and just needed to assemble. This was back in November. Sooooo, I designed this simple greeting to go on the left of the photos, and on the back I had printed our greeting. And I put them all together while watching a Christmas movie on TV one evening. Fortunately, the dimensional star fit the post office's criteria for small enough, and they were off.  I like this collage because it shows something each member of my family thinks is fun
Littlebuddy - being outside and on vacation
BigBuddy - eating the fish he caught
Cowgirl- holding onto her puppy and coming to visit
MyGirl - going to work
Mike and I  - just hanging out together.
 I bought this pattern from one of my favorite quilt companies, Sweetwater, and several of the kits to make them. So far I've given away two for gifts, and have mine to still make and another for my friend who has a winter birthday, so she's getting hers after Christmas. Its only 11 x 14, and when I gave the last one away, it came with a plate of goodies too. I love that the snowman is looking at the star above, and you must know by now that my favorite symbol of Christmas is the star.
 These sugar cookies with peppermint kisses were inspired by the photo above. I made Kulaches, Magic Cookie bars, cut out sugar cookies, caramel brownies, and these kiss cookies or frosted peppermint sugar cookies (for the leftover dough when I ran out of kisses) all in 24 hours, and delivered them too. Its fun to do one day a year, and then I'm done. Fortunately there are enough leftovers when the big kids come home to have them feel like Christmas is here.
 Another project I made for others, and am enjoying myself is bright Christmas ruffled dishtowels. Here is the one in my kitchen, with those leftover cookies to the right.
 I made each of them a little different. Mine has 4 ruffles, and is somewhat heavy. So, the rest I made have only two rows of ruffles and different colored ribbons. I also have some red towels which I got on sale at Williams Sonoma. I made these in the summer, and just had to finish the ribbon in December, so that was a fun, crafty project also. 
In whatever stage of Christmas preparations you are at, I hope it will be simple, fun, and Christ-centered for you also. I'm singing and playing the piano Sunday in our church program and am grateful for the beautiful Christmas music that helps me feel the true spirit of Christmas. 
As my son mentioned last night as we were out delivering treats, its when we give we feel the closest to the Savior, but I was reminded by a friend, that the true joy of Christmas is what we receive - the infinite and eternal love and blessings from our Savior, who was born that Holy Night. He is the Great Gift of Christmas that we can all receive!

Merry Christmas Everyone!