Friday, September 28, 2012

The Great Cat-sby

Daughter and guest blogger Samantha is introducing her new kitten, aka my Grand-kitten, today! Isn't he sweet? And when you get short on ideas for a blog post, photos of babies, kittens, and puppies always seem to do the trick, somehow....

As you heard last week, we have a new addition to our little family.  Gatsby has been such a sweet boy to us these past few weeks, and I have to admit I love having him around, even if he makes a few messes and unpleasant smells...

I don't really consider myself a cat person (my heart is truly for any kind of puppy), but my husband has had cats since he was a child, and when we were killing time at a pet store he made me take a look at the kittens for adoption.  And once we looked, well, we had to ask to pet one.... and then once we pet one, we had to fill out an adoption application... It's the "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" phenomenon (did you ever read that book? It was one of my very favorites when I was little).

And before we knew it, we were thinking of names, picking out toys and treats and preparing for the trip back to the adoption center to pick up our "son."  I even joked with my friends about having "a baby on the way," which they did not appreciate once they figured out what I was really talking about...

And now Gatsby has been with us for three weeks.  He has had a little bit of a digestive issue, that got so bad at one point, we wondered if we would have to take him back to the shelter, but things seem to be looking up.  He is playful and inquisitive, const]ant[uil1q finding new things to do, as evidenced by that typo, which he "helped" Mommy type.  I miss being away from him while I'm at work, but we make up for it when I get home.

I made these little bowls for him really quickly by drawing with a sharpie onto the bowls, and then baking them at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, letting the bowls heat up and cool down with the oven.  They've survived through 2 hand washings with no sign of wear yet.

What's new in your lives? Pets? Babies? Weddings? Dishes? (I think new dishes are almost as important as new babies. Right?)  Let us know what's making you smile right now...

Happy Weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

In The Studio Today...

..... I am wearing socks, for the first time in probably almost 5 months. I love the change of seasons.... it's like a fresh start 3 or 4 times a year. Just when I start to get tired of a season and the weather, it changes. There's always something to look forward to.

(I have wide feet, don't I?!? It looks like someone forced a pair of socks onto a duck. Quack.)

I got a couple of quilts back from my quilter the other day. One went right to a quilt shop for a sample before I had a chance to photo it. But here is a sneak peek of another that I got back:

I love the Honey Bee block, don't you??

If these blocks look familiar, it's probably because I started showing them to you in August 2011- yeah.... it took me that long to get it done and get it to the quilter. Sometimes it is nice to take your time on a project and just let it "evolve". Oftentimes when you are making samples for Quilt Market or for shops, you feel like you are just slapping them together to get them done because you are in such a hurry. This quilt, because I took my time on it, was very enjoyable and relaxing to make. It will probably be featured in an upcoming book. (If you want to jump into the time machine to August 2011, click here and here and here.)

I love how my quilter did this quilt- it's perfect! Take a look at the back:

If you don't know it already- "Quilting Makes The Quilt".... Daniella (aka Danny) did such a wonderful job with this one. Please do not ask me for her contact information- I don't want her to get too busy to keep taking my work (ha ha). A good quilter is worth her weight in gold (or thread..... or chocolate.... whichever happens to be more precious to you...)

I just found out that October is National Cookie Month. I have to admit- I have not been this excited in awhile! Even though there's still a week left in September, I might have to start celebrating a little early. I found a recipe in the local paper that I want to try, and today is a perfect baking day. I'll share the recipe if they turn out well.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Perfect Pumpkin Bread

Samantha's Friday guest post... fall is in the air....

Fall is here, you guys.  We have had the most beautiful weather the past week... one would almost even call it sweater weather.  My husband and I are crazy about fall.  All summer he has been trying to wear sweaters to work and church, only to remember it was 90 degrees when he left the house!
But now the air conditioner is off, the windows are open, and I am ready to start baking again.  We had a few leaders from church over last night for coffee and I made some no bake cookies, as well as this delicious "hello fall" dessert.  I adapted this recipe from here.

Here's what you'll need:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
4 tablespoon vanilla or plain yogurt (sour cream may be substituted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
15 oz pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 mashed banana
one 3.4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Nutmeg (to taste)
Ginger (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 325F, spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. To the melted butter, add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add pumpkin puree, banana, and mix. Add the dry pudding mix, desired spices, salt, cloves and stir. Add the flour, baking soda, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bread will be tough.

3. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until top is golden and set, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

And, if you have a sweet tooth, like me, feel free to drizzle the bread with your favorite type of glaze or icing and enjoy with a big steaming cup of coffee. Sigh.

Last, but not least, I wanted to share these lovely flowers I found at a local produce market for a bargain.  I scattered them around the apartment in small vases to compliment the space and give it some life.  They aren't exactly mums, but I think these flowers say "Fall is here," as well!

Happy Weekend!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

We have a big announcement of a personal nature here. As you may know, our oldest daughter Samantha got married in June. No, we are not expecting a grandchild yet, but we do have a new grand-kitten named Gatsby:

Isn't he cute??

Anyway, that's not the big news I wanted to share. Our new son-in-law Jeff has been hired as the new Youth Pastor at our church! We are so happy and proud of Jeff and Sam. Without getting into all of the details, I will tell you that Jeff has been looking for a job for several months, and there were lots of false leads and disappointments. Just when it seemed that nothing was going to materialize, the current Youth Pastor of our church was offered a job that he felt that he had to take. This happened quite out of the blue- on my birthday (what a great birthday gift!) my husband called to tell me that he had just spoken with our Senior Pastor who told him that the Youth Pastor would be leaving very soon and they wanted to offer Jeff the job. There are lots of other details to the story, but suffice it to say that the way everything worked out, we know that God had truly orchestrated this..... We are so grateful that everything worked out, we know that Jeff and Sam are going to be excellent Youth Pastors!

Jeff was introduced to the church at yesterday's service and he gave a wonderful sermon, then we had cake ('cause if there's one thing that church people and quilters have in common- it's that we do food really really well, and with little provocation!!)

Congratulations Jeff and Sam :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Color Story: Cozy Corner

Daughter Samantha is in a decorating mood. Here is her Friday guest post:

I've been thinking about color palettes lately, much to my husband's horror.  It seems I have a lot of opportunity for decor in our new apartment, his new office, my new fall wardrobe... (hint, hint hubby) and all that opportunity just has me itching to head to Home Depot and pull out all the paint chips!  One of the color palletes I've been gravitating towards lately is this cool coastal look.  I like the blending of darks and lights, browns and blues, muted, and brights.  I am nothing if not drawn to the harmony of opposites. 

What is interesting is that I am not looking for a brighter color scheme-- I am usually the first to say "Let's paint that end table canary yellow!" (To which hubby makes this face), but right now I am leaning towards a lot more natural and soothing colors.  We'll see how long that will last....

Are there any color makeovers in your future?  What have you been loving lately?

Happy Weekend!


photo from here

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Visit Me at The Jolly Jabber!

Have you stopped by The Jolly Jabber lately? It's the blog for Fat Quarter Shop- I always find it fun and inspirational to visit The Jolly Jabber to read and learn about my favorite designers. Today I am featured in their Designer Tidbits! So exciting!

Today I am talking with them about my Fruitful Hands fabric line. They did a really nice write up about me and my fabric line. Make sure you click over and leave a comment! Thanks to everyone at Fat Quarter Shop and The Jolly Jabber :)

In other news, last night I spent the evening with the Penn Oaks Quilt Guild in Frazer, PA. What a fun group of ladies (and one gent- don't want to leave him out!) I did a talk and everyone was so interested and asked tons of questions- which is always good because then you know that people are actually awake and listening to what you have to say, ha ha!

I also did a trunk show- and being a typical girl- I totally over-packed! 'Cause you just never know what you are going to need and so it's best to bring everything, right?? Thank goodness my hubby came along to help with the heavy lifting and to help with check out so that I could be free to chat with the lovely guild members.

Thanks to everyone at the Penn Oaks Quilt Guild- you were all so friendly and welcoming!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Things I Love: Garden Edition

Daughter Samantha is bringing the outdoors in in her guest post this week. I love all the pretty things she's found for inspiration, especially the terrarium. I remember that my introduction to terrariums was making them in grade school using giant 2 gallon pickle jars (do you remember that? Ah, the 1970's!) Enjoy....

I suppose the first thing I should list on here is that I LOVE Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I got a copy of my very own for my birthday this week, and I am having so much fun with it! Thanks, Mommy :)

But besides Elements, I am loving the outdoors right now. The weather is just cooling down enough to spend more and more time outside, and that's just fine by me.  It even inspired me enough to start my own Pinterest board called Garden, even though I don't actually have a garden (the woes of renting).Therefore, this collection of items is dedicated to my need to bring the outdoors indoors.

Number one is a collection of woodsy colored pencils I'd love to have on my desk.  A little tree bark never hurt anyone, and if I can have tree bark inside, I will.

Number two is a garden stepping stone that is so pretty, I think it could be taken indoors to be used as art.  Can you imagine it hanging on the wall?  I sure can.

Number three is a set of old valve handles that I think would look great as drawer knobs/ coat hangers/ door knobs.  They are so rustic!

Number four is a terrarium from Terrain, the Anthropologie garden shop you may have heard about here. One of my homemaking goals is to have some successful terrariums of my own, so this is great inspiration.

Number five would be hard to use indoors, but is too cool not to share.  These are seed bombs that contain seeds for different kinds of wildflowers.  The idea is to throw them into your yard and watch them grow! And the packaging is just adorable. Perhaps I could use them for decoration as well...

What are some of the things you love this week?

Happy weekend!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Newsletter Is Coming....

Hey folks! The September Newsletter will be going out this week!  We have been very hard at work for this one! Here's what's in store:

 Apple Pie Cupcake Recipe

Free Stitchery Pattern

Instructions for 2 (count 'em- 2) fast and fun Back-To-School craft projects

 Celebrating the color Gold for September

The Newsletter is Free! If you are not already a subscriber, you can sign up in the upper right bar of this blog page. We would love to have to you as part of our little community....


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