Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Quilts

A few more quilt photos. The show I mentioned the other day is held at the Continental Inn in Lancaster Pennsylvania. It is actually across the street from another show, the Quilter's Heritage Celebration at the Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center (sorry, I couldn't find any links for the actual shows, but you can email Sue for more info on the show at the Continental.) The show will be held March 26-30, 2008.

If you have never been to Lancaster PA, I highly recommend it, especially as a family getaway. There is a large Amish population there, lots of great food, tourist attractions, quilt shops, and fabric shops with reasonable prices on cotton fabric. I've been there over a hundred times, can't wait to get back!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

I am getting ready for The Spring Quilt Blossom Show at the Continental Inn in Lancaster PA at the end of next month, so I am finishing up samples, getting patterns put together, etc, etc.....Also, my daughter will be playing Maria in The Sound of Music at her high school in less than 2 weeks, so there are lots of finishing touches to put on costumes, plus I need to sew up some habits for a couple of the nuns. Add in the regular day to day stuff that's gotta get done, and it is pretty hectic. Here are some sneak peek photos of samples for quilt patterns I am putting together.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mile High Pink Cloud Ice Cream Cake

Sounds and looks much harder than it is! I came up with this idea a few years ago when I was in an ice cream shop and saw the shocking prices they were charging for cakes. The beauty of this is that you can do any combination of flavors you can think of- vanilla cake, strawberry ice cream; lemon cake, lemon sherbet and strawberry ice cream; chocolate cake, coffee ice cream. At Christmas we use a vanilla cake and pink peppermint ice cream and frost with green tinted whipped cream.

It's not very difficult, it just requires a little planning ahead.

  • Line 2 cake pans (8 or 9" round or square) with plastic wrap, fill about 2/3 full with softened ice cream. Cover with more plastic wrap, freeze overnight. (For this cake, I used cookie dough ice cream, froze it, then put chocolate ice cream over top of that, so it looks like it has even more layers.)

  • Make your favorite cake in the same size pans (if necessary, you can pop the ice cream out of the pans once it's frozen, leaving it wrapped in the plastic, and return it to the freezer, then use the same pans for baking.) Make a recipe for a double layer cake, but divide it into 3 pans (or you can use 2 pans and split the layers once they're baked.)

  • Use a knife to level off the tops of the cakes if necessary. Place one layer of cake on a plate. Remove the ice cream from the freezer. Unwrap one ice cream layer and place on cake layer, then add another cake layer, then another ice cream layer, and one more layer of cake. (Cake-ice cream-cake-ice cream-cake).

  • Return to freezer, allow to set up for a few hours.

  • Working quickly, frost cake with whipped cream or Cool Whip. If ice cream begins to melt, you can return the cake to the freezer for a few minutes and then continue frosting. Just remember that if you do return the cake to the freezer the frosting will have frozen when you take it out again, and the section of the cake that you have already done will be difficult to re-work. If you want to decorate with sprinkles, this needs to be done before the frosting is frozen.

  • Place frosted cake in freezer for several hours. Decorate with buttercream frosting if desired. Return to freezer.

  • Once cake is completely frozen, it may be covered.

  • To serve, remove cake from freezer and remove wrapping. Leave at room temperature for about 20-30 min. Cut with a sharp knife dipped in hot water.

I made 2 of these last week. I made a square one for a friend at church, and a round one for my daughter's birthday (which she decorated). They were a hit!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Today in church we had a dedication for a family adopting 6 children under the age of about 7, including a set of twins. The kids looked so happy to be with their new family. I am in awe of how much courage these people have- I mean, adopting 6 kids at once? Wow! And then it kind of makes me feel like a slacker, like what have I done lately? I wonder what kind of adventures God has in store for me, if only I would take a leap of faith? I know there are some things He has been nudging me about, that I have been hesitant to act on. I am trying to draw courage and inspiration and faith from this incredible family.

Anyway, this video is by one of my favorite artists, Nichole Nordeman from her album Woven and Spun. It is a song about how the world tells us what a meaningful life is- big career, expensive lifestyle, fame (or nowadays, pseudofame or notoriety)- but that God has a really different idea about what a "big" life is. It makes me stop to think if what I am doing will have lasting impact. And it challenges my ideas of what lasting impact really means, because most of the time the smallest things have an impact that we can't see, that we may never see. We have to have faith that God will take it and make something beautiful, that He will create a ripple effect with it. Because that's how He works, anyway- not through people and events that are big and noisy, but in the quiet moments and "little" people that will probably never be recognized or acknowledged in this lifetime.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sweets for My Sweets (Strawberry Shortcakes)

Last night for Valentines's Day (evening) I made some yummy little Strawberry shortcakes for dessert.

Make the shortcakes (makes 4):

Mix together 1 cup Bisquick, 1/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp orange extract, 1 tsp orange zest just until combined. Drop onto baking sheet and bake 425 degrees for 10 minutes.

Slice 1 pint fresh strawberries, mix with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 T. water.

Crumble shortcakes into a bowl, spoon strawberries and juice over shortcakes, top with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

Hubby got me a very romantic gift- an electric blanket! I love it! I am always cold, oftentimes I wake up cold in the middle of the night, but last night I slept great. I tend to be a very practical person, and so, yes I love my electric blanket, as much as another woman might love a diamond necklace or expensive perfume. We didn't go out, as we still had piano lessons, even though it was Valentine's Day (also, it's just too crowded to go out on Valentine's Day- see, I told you I was a practical girl). Instead, we stayed in and watched Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey. I love that show! He has such a foul mouth (I think during one episode we stopped counting bleeps at around 50) but he is really funny and he really cares about the people he is trying to help. I call him "The Potty Mouth with a Heart of Gold." The kids will be away on a church youth retreat this weekend, so we will probably go out on Saturday. Hopefully, we will go somewhere much nicer than the places featured on Kitchen Nightmares...

He's Mad About You

I am often tempted to see Valentine's Day as one of those holidays created by the card companies to increase sales. But today I am feeling kind of warm and fuzzy, thinking about how grateful I am for my family and friends, for I have so many to love, and who love me back. I have been so blessed with love in my life, truly more than I deserve. I am aware that there are many who do not have love in their lives, who feel very alone. But no matter how alone we may feel at times, there is always Someone there Who cares for us more than our human minds can comprehend. And for this I am most grateful. For even at those times when I feel alone, I know that I am not. I remember that He is in love with me! He has done everything for me. He's mad about me- He's mad about you, too!
  • How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1John 3:1
  • God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us... There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful one not fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love- love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. 1 John 4, The Message Bible
  • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Above paintings are available on Etsy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Love Etsy!

Lately, I have been immersed in the world of Etsy. I have been spending a lot of time there (probably too much time). But I am so in awe of the incredible talent that people have. Etsy displays a mind boggling array of beautiful and creative items. This beauty and talent is also evident in the many blogs I have become accustomed to visiting.

I have mentioned before that I am really not a technical person, but lately I have become aware of how perfectly technology and artistry can mesh. If it weren't for technology, I wouldn't have any idea of how many kindred spirits, people like me, there are, all over the world. It is so inspiring and humbling. It reminds me of our Creator, the originator of everything beautiful and perfect. It says in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. This is true, for the most incredible works of art are reinterpretations and imitations of what He has already done. And yet it is so completely amazing that God has given us gifts to take ideas and raw materials and our hands and love and passion and somehow reinterpret it all into wonderful creations of our own. It makes me thankful and grateful and humble, that in some small way, I can be a creator like The Creator. It reminds me that I really am made in His image, and that when I use the gifts of creativity He has given me, He smiles, because I am doing what He intended for me to do.

I would like to thank Nyta434 (aka Norma), the first person to ever "favorite" me on Etsy! She has delightful illustrations, please visit her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Comfy Studio

This is what happens when you leave your fabric all over the floor of your studio. Even though pup has a perfectly nice bed and plenty furniture to lounge on, this morning she decided to make herself comfortable here. But who could get mad when you get photos like this?

What you can't see are the staples in her back, a result of the wart removal she underwent last week. Sort of a grisly sight. We have nicknamed her "Frankendog" for the time being, until the staples are removed and she regrows some fur.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rainy Day Fun

Today is really miserable- 39 degrees, rain, wind. But I have promised my soon-to-be 13 year old daughter a day out (she has a half day of school) with lunch, a trip to the library, maybe a visit to JoAnne Fabrics to look at scrapbooking supplies (yes, while my vices happen to be fabric and paint, my daughter covets fancy papers and stamps and stickers). In spite of the awful weather, I am looking forward to having a fun afternoon with her, discussing her upcoming birthday, and whatever else comes up.

In the meantime, I am working on a new quilt design, I really love the way the fabrics I've found in my stash work together.
Yesterday, I stopped by Needles & Pins, a local quilt shop which is owned by a woman named Marie that I met a few years ago at another shop (now closed). I was dropping off 4 quilt tops for the longarm quilter to finish up for me and I can't wait to see how they come out. They will be samples for some patterns I am putting together. Everyone in the shop was very receptive to my designs, and I will probably end up teaching a few classes there. It was nice to be among kindred spirits, there was so much energy in the shop and I can't wait to go back! Thanks to hubby for taking the picture below of one of my new designs (He's a much better photographer than me).


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