Friday, January 28, 2011

Lovely Valentine's Day Projects

 Some lovely Valentine's Day projects for you:

PomPom flowers at Country Living.

Valentine garland at How About Orange.

Heart Shaped Sandwich Cookies from Family Circle.

Key to My Heart Picture Frame from The Noble Wife

Enjoy, have a creative weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Fun

A couple more weird (real!) companies, according to Inc. Magazine:
Season Shot of Bloomington, Minnesota

It's ammunition and a taste sensation in one! Why fill tonight's dinner with buckshot when you can shoot it with a biodegradable pellet packed with lemon pepper, honey mustard, and other yummy flavors?

Hotwicks Candles of Portland, Oregon

Apparently, they can make candles that smell like anything.

(In case you can't read the labels, they say Beer, Fresh Bread, and Man. Yes, there is a Man scented candle.  I do not want to know...)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Downton Abbey (file under: Stuff I Like)

Any other Downton Abbey fans out there? Airing on Sunday nights on PBS- I am hooked. Period costumes, English accents, scandal, romance.... what more could I ask for?

In the brisk opening sequence of Downton Abbey, a telegraph comes in over the wires. It’s a few minutes after dawn on the morning of April 15, 1912, and the Titanic has just sunk in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Among the ship’s doomed passengers are James and Patrick Crawley, the two male heirs to a sprawling estate in Yorkshire, England. Their horrific deaths will have seismic ramifications for the staff and family of Downton Abbey.
According to the peculiar English inheritance laws of the time, Downton Abbey can only be entailed to a male. So when Robert’s cousin, James, and his son, Patrick, die in the disaster, the future of Downton Abbey is instantly thrown into disarray: Who will inherit the estate, and what is to become of the Crawley girls?

Maggie Smith plays Dowager Countess Violet, with the usual sublime acerbity. Love her!

Cora: Things are different in America.
Violet (played by Maggie Smith): I know, they live in wigwams.

This is a wonderful series- there is only 1 more episode left to air, but it is available on DVD (and it would make a great birthday gift. Mine is in August. Hint.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Test, Write, Eat, Repeat

It is getting harder and harder to fit into my clothes... what with all of the cooking and baking going on here lately. I have been working on recipes to include in my book... I am a good cook, but I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-now-too-tight-pants cook. I have a hard time following a recipe- let alone actually writing one down. There are a lot of favorite things we like to make and eat... but none of them written down. So I am testing and writing. And eating. Test, Write, Eat, Repeat.... Hence the tight pants. Fortunately, nothing I make is very complicated, just yummy home cooking like my mom and my mother-in-law and probably your mom used to make. 
 Pictured today: ingredients for a rustic casserole. I like to cook with wine (and sometimes I even put it in the food, bwahahaha.)
So now I think I need to go take a looong walk. Oh wait, it's 23 degrees outside (and that's the high for today!) Maybe a nice cup of tea instead...Have a happy, warm Monday.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Little Color

Last week I told myself I would get a little color in the house. And then look what I found for only $3 a bunch at the local supermarket:
 It is amazing how adding some "living things" at this time of year can breathe new life into a room... a little bit of spring amongst the snow and ice and grayness of January. And normally, I can't wait to throw out the poinsettia's right after Christmas, but this is cute isn't it? I am still enjoying it.

Another cure for the January "blahs" is, of course, fabric. Preferably in lovely spring-y colors. I recently picked up these up for an upcoming project.

Below is a sneak peek of a table runner project for upcoming book:

When we were in England last summer, I picked up lots of ribbon and trims (I am, after all, a trim tramp and fabric floozy) . I got this ribbon, and want to use it in a project, but I need 2 more rolls. So, maybe another trip to England is in order, so I can get more to finish up my project. It would be a work related expense, yes??

Today is my grandmother's 85th birthday- she taught me to sew and crochet and paint ceramics. Without her legacy, I don't think I'd be doing what I do today. Daughter had off from school last Monday, so we all went out for a birthday lunch at Grandmom's favorite restaurant.  Happy Birthday, Grandmom!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Under Construction

One hundred wool flower pins started. I figure they'll be done around 2013.

And in this box, my new kitchen sink...... *squeal*.
(Fragile', must be Italian.)

We still have to order new counter tops and a new hutch, but the sink is here. Hopefully the kitchen will be done sometime this year (probably before the pins.)

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In the Studio Today....

 Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better. 
Martin Luther King Jr.

Working on book illustrations...

and sketches for fabric line...

Finishing up some embroidery...

Daughter has been busy in the kitchen (rosemary flatbread)...

Maddie has been busy, keeping track of the bird population...

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.  
Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fun Friday

According to Inc. Magazine- One of America's Weirdest Businesses:

Throx of San Francisco

Sells colorful socks in packs of three. Dryers: Do your worst.

OK, so the photo is really kind of creepy, but I happen to think this is a pretty clever idea. I have a whole drawer full of single, odd socks. I have no idea where their partners go. Is there a sock graveyard somewhere that I don't know about??

Have a Fun Friday and a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January Palette (aka Color Geek Fun)

I like love color. I love playing with it, arranging it, re-arranging it, looking at it, studying it, memorizing it, sewing with it and painting with it. I like pulling colors out of photos and creating palettes. I am a Color Geek.

To see a couple of my "adventures" with color, you can read about my process for creating a palette from photos here and see what Color Geeks do for fun here.... if you dare....

We are covered in snow again and the sky seems a little gray, but even when things seem a little blah, there is color to be found:
 OK, it was easy to find a palette here, Mr. BlueJay was very helpful...
This one was a little more difficult:

I really wanted to get a pop of yellow in there, from the bird's beak, but the yellow in his beak is actually more of a muddy gold, and it just didn't "play well" with the other colors, though I tried and tried to make it work (I do not alter colors- it is my own little personal "rule" that I have to work with what is there). So I left out the yellow and went with warm grays and taupes found in the bird and snow:

I think this is my favorite- Mr. Woodpecker was very accommodating with his gorgeous red head and bits of blue in his wings... The snow also provided some nice light gray-blues:

If you are a fellow Color Geek, you might want to check out these sites:

Big Huge Labs
Color Hunter

 When things seem a little dreary, where do you find color?? I think if I get out of the house in the next day or 2, some fresh flowers from the supermarket might be in order to liven things up. And maybe we'll start putting out a few things for Valentine's Day, to get a little rosiness into our lives.
Have a colorful day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

From Our Hearts...

When it came time to take down all of the Christmas decorations, everyone in the family was a little sad- we love the way the house looks at Christmas- warm, home-y, festive. We have 2 trees- the big live tree in the family room, and a small artificial tree. The big tree gets all of the traditional Christmas ornaments and stuff we have been collecting over the years- like the macaroni and bread dough ornaments that the kids made in the second grade. The small tree, however, gets dressed in silver and white- my Martha Stewart, House Beautiful, HGTV kind of tree. Since it was dressed in wintery colors, I wondered if maybe we should leave it up for a while longer. Then, the kids did something wonderful....
They decided to decorate the little tree for Valentine's Day. Oldest daughter made quilted hearts and decorated them with buttons, and youngest daughter cut out about 100 little paper hearts from scrapbook paper and strung them on embroidery floss. And the little tree was dressed for Valentine's Day. We get to leave it up for another 4 or 5 weeks.
My own heart was full- I can't explain why. But the fact that my girls did this together, and so beautifully, just makes me feel warm inside.
So, from our hearts to yours... have a Happy Monday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

News Bits and Pieces

 Is everyone settling into the new year? Youngest daughter went back to school a couple of days ago, oldest daughter is home for just a few days more and then she’s back at college. And the house will be quiet- which is good and bad. I have a hard time getting work done when everyone’s home, but that’s because they are just so darned entertaining!!! We have laughed and laughed and laughed over the last few weeks, and although the studio has been less than productive, I wouldn’t trade that time for the world….

It’s time to settle into some fun projects now that the holiday hustle and bustle is done. And guess what- Sewing Room Social fat quarter bundles are now available in our online shop! Click here to find them. If you make any projects with my fabric or any of my patterns, please send me a photo- I’d love to put a “Show and Tell” page on my site! 

Also, if you live in Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, or Delaware, look for the latest issue of The Country Register, featuring artwork from the Sewing Room Social line on the cover. In case you are not familiar with The Country Register, it is a free newspaper published every other month, full of interesting articles, recipes, free patterns, and ads for great little shops you will want to visit. You can get your free copy at many quilt shops, country stores and gift shops.  (The Country Register is published in just about every U.S. state, so make sure to check it out.)  I have been working with Merle Taylor at The Country Registers of Indiana, Maryland, and NJ/Delaware for many years- such a nice man. He was kind enough to include an article about me and the Sewing Room Social line in his papers. You can read the article here (page 23) , and visit his website here (you can also read online editions for the states Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey/Delaware, Pennsylvania/West Virginia, and Virginia. 

I have been busy (OK not really busy, see the first paragraph of this post) working on my book. Time to buckle down!!! I also have to do the artwork for my next fabric line, the ideas are percolating, I’ve just gotta get them down on paper. Some of what I have been working on:
Have a great day, and do something creative to feed your soul!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Choose....

I have never kept a New Year's Resolution for more than a week (that's probably a generous estimate.) So I have given up on New Year's Resolutions, because why wait until January 1st or Monday or until I've lost 20 pounds to do the right thing...

Instead, this year, I choose to live this prayer by Max Lucado to the best of my ability. I think I will make a few copies and hang them around the house to remind myself, all day, every day......

No occasion justifies hatred;
no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love.
Today I will love God and what God loves.

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.
I will refuse the temptation to be cynical...
the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see
people as anything less than human beings,
created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as 
anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I will over look the inconveniences of the world.
Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll
invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the 
wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment
to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new 
assignments, I will face theme with joy and courage.

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.
Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to
the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I will go without a dollar
before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked 
before I will boast. I will confess before I will
 accuse. I choose goodness.

Today I will keep my promises.
My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates
will not question my word. My wife (husband) will not 
question my love. And my children will never fear
that their father (mother) will not come home.

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle.
If I raise my voice may it be only in praise.
If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.
If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I am a spiritual being....
After this body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.
I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy.
I will be impassioned only by my faith.
I will be influenced only by God.
I will be taught only by Christ.
I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
To these I commit my day.
If I succeed, I will give thanks
If I fail, I will seek His grace.
And then, when this day is done,
I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

When God Whispers Your Name

Have a blessed and peaceful New Year.


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