Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pot holder fun

Pot holders really aren't fun.  They are functional.  You wouldn't say " Hey, let's get the potholders out and play a game!", or "We should have a party and invite those crazy potholders next door!"  Nope.  Potholders take their work very seriously.  They keep you from burning your hands off.
 I have two oven mitts that I reach for every time I cook. The same ones, over and over again, even though I have several to choose from.  They are stained and nasty looking, but I don't want to throw them out, because, well, my hands haven't burned off.
 So I decided to make some cute ones.  Decoy potholders.  I can leave these laying around without shame, while the the real workhorses of the kitchen stay in the cupboard.  And it satisfied my need to want to crochet something, while I was in the middle of quilting something.
Wait.  Flip them over, they get cuter.  I promise.

These came about partly due to laziness.  I didn't feel like crocheting two (front and back) pieces so I cut a piece of Insul Brite, and fabric slightly smaller, and whip stitched them onto the crochet piece.  Then I added a running stitch with embroidery floss about 1/2 inch from the edge, all the way around to hold everything in place. The pattern for the crochet part can be found here.  I used hobby Lobby, I love this Cotton, and a G hook (the blue one was made with Cotton Ease).

And it was FUN!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tropical Garden Geometry

I think I'm going to make a few more wall hanging size quilts.   They're so fast and satisfying!  Especially when you're using a great pattern and a fun sewing method like in Garden Geometry.  Here's my version.

It's paper pieced on the machine, using the stitch and flip method.  If you've never tried it, don't worry, it's painless.  This is a great size (35x35) on which to practice.
 I love that I finally found a use for that floral print in the Florida/tropical colors. For some reason though, finding a border fabric was hard.  This bright pink leaf fabric really screamed for attention when it first went up on the design wall.  Every time I came back in the room it hollered at me.  I didn't know whether to plug my ears or put on sunglasses.  Finally I gave in.  All I need now are some plastic pink flamingos on the lawn.  

 It's quilted on the machine with my walking foot using a variegated cotton thread.  This year, I really want to try more quilting (I think I said that last year).  I could use the practice.

I  had ordered the very cool Parson Gray's Seven Wonders fabric Melissa used in her quilt, but since  I have absolutely no patience when I want to start something new, I decided to make a few sample blocks from my stash while waiting for it to arrive.  The sample turned out to be the whole thing.
Looks like I might be making a second one.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back from my Trip

Scrappy Trip Around the World is finally done.  I will have to say that this one and the low volume quilt are two of my favorites.  Must be the scrappy thing.
25 blocks, bound in a black and white stripe.   60x60 inches of 2.5 inch squares that I have been counting in my sleep for a couple of weeks.  Once you start making this quilt, it's hard to come up for air.
 Would you just look at that blue sky!  We have been having the best winter .  Usually it's gray and damp and foggy for weeks on end.  It was almost 60 degrees today!!  The mornings are frosty and freezing though.  I love it!

Anyway, I also finished the infinity scarf out of Berroco Vintage in Charcoal.  The lovely shell pattern can be found here.

While I'm writing this I'm having a glass of Bogle Old Vine Zin, and trying out a recipe for jalapeno poppers from Pioneer Woman.  They fit into my current low-carb diet and I'm testing them out for an appetizer to bring to an upcoming Superbowl party.
 No pictures because I ate them all (burp).  Man they were good.

I started working on a machine paper pieced wall hanging which is totally cool.  Here are four sample blocks laid out.
It's called Garden Geometry.  The quilt is from 100Bllionstars, and I have a complete quilt crush on her version with Parson Gray fabric.  So I ordered some.  I love the sharp angles contrasted with the flowery fabric.
And just because I have to satisfy the granny urge, I dragged out my Stylecraft DK, and decided to make a kid sized giant granny blanket, this one to be sent off to Project Linus charity.

It's going to be a good week.  I can feel it.  Or maybe it's the jalapenos and the wine.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Around the world with tea






At Christmas, my Mother in law gifted all of the girls some china from her collection.  These are my pieces. Aren't they pretty?

 A few antique buttons I have collected from quilt shows.

Little crocheted pouchy-pouch from here.   

I'm putting my foot to the pedal trying to finish up my scrap quilt.  There are so MANY things I want to make right now.  You people are so full of inspiration it's hard to keep up!
Have a super week!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I must be trippin'

So the morning started out with the kitten puking on my windowsill in the sewing room.  While I ran for paper towel, she ran for the carpet, then the rug in the hallway,  depositing two more piles.  Honestly we live in a house that is covered in hundreds of square feet of hardwood floor, yet all of our animals manage to throw up on the carpeting most of the time.  Just thought I would share : )

 So after cleaning up, I'm here to give my two cents about the Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt everyone is making.  As you can see by my new header pic, I have succumbed to it's charms.
Soooo many people are making this, check out here and over here. Patchwork and Play called it a "Trip Trap".  Ha! I agree.  It's really fun and addicting, and I'm about halfway done, with 12 blocks completed so far.  I can't wait to see how everyone will be quilting this baby.  The tutorial can be found on Quiltville.

I finished this Liberty fabric quilt over the New Years holiday, but couldn't take a decent picture until the sun came out and the wind stopped blowing.

I really, really did not want to cut this fabric up into little pieces, so I used 14.5 in blocks, 3.5  x 14.5 inch lattice (Kona Bone) and 3.5 in. cornerstones made up of the floral scraps. This was a fat quarter bundle purchased during a Black Friday sale, and I'm so glad I bought it when I did, because now I can't find yardage anywhere.  Just need to get a backing, so I can finish it up.

I also started crocheting another scarf.  This one is Shell Infinity Scarf, first spied on Tangled Happy, then tracked to this blog.  I'm using Berocco Vintage in a dark charcoal grey color.
 I found it on the floor yesterday, in a tangled mess, with my yarn cut (chewed).  The kitten again.  She is making a new name for herself everyday, and most of them I can't print on my blog without a profanity warning.
 Also before I forget to mention it, Helloooo! to my new followers! Thank you for joining my blog :)
 I hope you all have a super crafty week!  Watch out for psycho kitties.
Lynne xxx

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Elephants on parade

This little elephant softie belonged to my father in law.  It looks to be mostly hand stitched and at one time had some embroidery on the back end where the remnants of red threads still poke through the muslin.  It is stained and patched over in several places, all signs of a well loved toy.  They say elephants live a long time.  This one is close to 80 years old.
There are a few of these around blog land and on Pinterest, and in this hi tech world, it's nice to see there's still a need for an old fashioned cuddle toy.  I think they are cute, so I drafted a new one based on Jim's elephant.
It took a few revisions.  That trunk was a pain to stuff.

This one measures about 9 inches long by 7 inches high. And because I can't seem to make just one of anything little and stuffed, I made an even smaller one.

At 3.5 x 5.5 inches, she is just right as a pincushion.  I left the sides open on her blanket to hold a small pair of scissors.  I love her.
 I don't know which was more fun, making them or playing with them, taking their picture.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Food for thought

At the start of the New Year a lot of folks review their diet and exercise habits and vow to make a few changes.  I love to cook, bake, and eat!  I have always been interested in nutrition, especially these last few years when faced with thyroid issues, followed by the need for a hysterectomy last spring.  During this time I gained about 20 pounds.  I'm barely 5'1, so it's hard to hide the extra weight on my small frame.  I figured it was time to look at my diet.  I started reading everything I could get my hands on.  What I found startled me.

We are a country obsessed with diet and nutrition, yet we are getting fatter.
There is sugar and bad oils in almost everything we eat.
We are more interested in quantity (Big Gulps, Big Macs) than quality
We fuel our bodies where we fuel our cars (burrito at the gas station store?)
Pay $7.99 for an Iphone app, but whine about the price for organic vegetables.
My mom was admitted to the hospital on New Years Day with pneumonia.  She is probably coming home tomorrow, and is doing fine.  She is borderline diabetic and takes a pill to keep her blood sugar stable.  The doctor took her off this medication for a few days, because of her infection, and so they will treat any blood sugar problems with insulin while she is in the hospital.  I was in her room when the cafeteria staff brought her breakfast.  Because they put her on a "heart healthy/diabetic diet", she was restricted to certain foods.
This is what was on her breakfast tray:

Rice Krispies cereal (processed, high carbohydrate which turns to sugar)
Banana (again high in carbs and natural sugar)
English muffin (more processed grains, and carbs ,which you guessed it, turns into sugar)
margarine (bad processed fat)
jelly for the muffin (sugar again)
low fat milk (let's take out the fat and add bad stuff in to make it taste good. Contains carbs and sugar.)
Scrambled eggs. At least they looked like eggs.  It could have been those fake kind. 

As far as I was concerned there wasn't one thing on her tray fit to feed a healthy person, never mind a sick person (okay the banana was the only REAL piece of food)
And surprise, surprise, she needed insulin later.  They should have just brought her a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast.

Here is what I would have fed her:
Real eggs, scrambled in butter (good fat)
a side of ham or sausage
whole fat plain yogurt with some berries
coffee with cream or tea

 I could go on forever about our school cafeteria food, hospital food, restaurant food, blah, blah blah. Some of my family members are sick of my rants.
I would just urge you that if you are looking to loose weight and get healthy in 2013, then clean out your pantry and start over.  This is some of what I have learned:

Shop on the outside aisles of the supermarket only (meat, dairy, fruit, veggies) and stay away from the processed junk in the center of the store.
Visit a farmers market
Eat real, whole foods
Vote with your fork.
Look back at how your great grandparents ate and use this a a model
Educate yourself on the latest scientific research regarding nutrition

I know, some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now.   I am just as guilty of cooking hurried processed foods for my kids, stopping at McDonalds on the way home from school games, and ordering pizza and Chinese take-out.  And let's face it, eating right takes some effort and planning.  We are often busy and too burnt out to make a nutritious meal.
But when someone pointed out to me that the ingredients in a box of Cheerios contains many of the same ingredients as a bag of dried dog food, I started to pay attention.
If you are interested, here are some of the books that have changed the way I shop and eat:

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Why we get fat by Gary Taubes
Good Calories, Bad Calories By Gary Taubes
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan M.D.
 The Schwarzbein Principle by  Diana Schwarzbein M.D.

By the way, I still love to cook, but my plate looks a whole lot different now.  Thanks for listening.