January 28, 2007

bluebirds and boys

Here's my finished Bluebird's Message.
I like how it turned out and took
Deborah's advise to not fiddle with the wing.
Actually did try a little backstitching in between the two colors and it looked worse, so that's when I went with the advise, lol.
My finisher is playing around with a couple of ideas for this, I know it'll be turned into something beautiful!

And here are my Birds of a Feather "Spring" and "Summer" finished pieces that Tobie
made into pillows for me!
Aren't they adorable? I found the pom-pom fringe at Hancock Fabrics

And the fringe for this one too. She used a hot pink velour fabric on the backs of these, so perfect! Thanks Tobie!

Here's the little man, out for his walk on this cold Sunday afternoon:

Those wee legs cast a long shadow

Here he battles the big Dog, Scooby, for the HoHo Froggie (you can see a little of the pillow backing in this picture too
More chasing and tormenting of the big dog. Poor Scoob.
You might think I'd be embarrassed by all of the shredded paper on the floor (thank you puppy, love ya!), the dust, the piles of books, magazines and stitching stuff in the background, but you'd be mistaken. I am too tired to care, much less be ashamed, lol!

January 23, 2007

what it is

This will be a strawberry ornament as soon as my finisher makes it into one for me. It is the Quaker Medallion Strawberry Pinkeep ornament from the 2006 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue. Blackbird designs, naturally.

I used the recommended fabric and thread, which was 30 ct. LaCrosse linen and Gentle Arts Rhubarb thread. I enjoyed it so much that I am now thinking about stitching it a couple more times for Christmas gifts. Crazy, huh?

Anyway, below is my start on the newest Loose Feathers, Bluebird's Message. This one I am doing with the recommended threads, but am stitching it on 35 ct. French Vanilla linen instead of 30 ct. Not sure that I am that thrilled with it so far.

There is not much difference in the two shades of blue on the bird (his tail is not finished yet), so I am thinking it may need some backstitching in-between so it shows up better.

Just not that thrilled with the coverage I'm getting but think I'm too far into it to chunk what's been done so far and start over.
I mean, life is too short, right?
For some reason I am stuck on thinking this would be a nice stitcher's roll or little bag, if it's folded in half, so the top part is the front of the roll (or bag) and the bottom part is on the back. Wonder if that's do-able? Deb, what do you think? The finished size is coming out to be about 5 x 8, but folded, just 5" wide and 4" tall. Just thinkin' out loud...

Now, lest you think poor little Astro is not getting his fair share of attention, please note just who it is at my feet this morning, while I stitch and surf:

He's in "winding down" mode in these pictures. We've spent most of the morning in the kitchen (he nibbles while I clean or whatever) or front yard, doing his business and playing.

He's a really smart dog, I can't even tell you...just a dream pup! So sweet and lovable. And especially to his "Ho Ho Frog", which he loves in that special, humping way that a young male pup does, which just sends my husband into fits of laughter...he says it's just like the dog in "Meet the Fockers"...whatever...MEN! It's going to be a loooong five months until time for the snip snip (he's only 3 months now). Poor ho ho froggie.

January 20, 2007

a blackbird day

Here's my friend Sheri, on the right, with her BBD quilt top she's working on. That's Barb from Blackbird Designs on the left, holding up the quilt (and her friend that was taking pictures :))

When Barb started talking about her sampler fabric line from Moda and made reference to doing some quilts with the larger panel centered, I made sure it was OK with Sheri first (she's very quiet and not one to pipe up to show off her stuff) and then I just had to speak up and say that my friend, sitting right beside me had hers with her! So the pictures here are of that :) If you click on them, you can see a larger size of the picture.

It was hard to get a good picture since this was in a cramped classroom that is in the basement of a very old building and the lighting wasn't that great. I bet when they have actual quilting classes down there they must have a lot of Ott Lights set up so people can see.

Anyway, here's a quilt Barb made where she took some of the color out of the background fabric and was showing us the difference (she's holding a fat quarter of the same fabric, in it's original state).

It was so beautiful...I am kinda scared of doing applique quilting, but Sheri says I can do it. She helped me with my first patchwork quilt and if it wasn't for her, I'd still be afraid of a sewing machine.

I hope she makes it....long enough for us to quilt into our old age....she's got a lot to teach me.

Birds of a Feather flock together.....and

must. stay. together.

January 17, 2007

another garden

Those Blackbird Designs ladies sure keep me busy! Here's my latest finish of theirs, called Garden of Life:

I stitched it on the recommended 30 ct. Alabaster linen with Gentle Art Sampler threads. It was a pleasure to stitch and I almost hated for it to end, but then there are all of those other Loose Feathers waiting to be stitched. Have you seen their newest one, called Bluebirds Message?

(Sorry for the cruddy image, not sure why it's showing up so poorly!)
This one just about sent me over the edge, what with my love of bluebirds, combined with my love of Blackbird Designs! Picked it up at the LNS yesterday, in between two days of inclement weather, whew, just in time, lol!

Barb, one of the designers of BBD, is going to be at my local quilt shop this coming Sat. morning, I am so excited! We have met once before when she came into the stitch shop I worked at, before it closed. The owner introduced me to her as "her biggest fan" and then showed her all of the Loose Feathers I'd stitched for the shop. Barb was so nice, she's very sweet and gracious...especially to someone who was practically salivating over her presence in our little shop. I'm usually not the "groupie" type when it comes to designers, but when you stitch so many of someone's designs, you do start thinking very highly of them, lol! And after meeting her, that just cinched it all for me.

If you've ever met a designer, as I have, several years ago, that was ummmm, a bit "frosty" and not very pleasant in person...it does affect how you view the designs they put out...because you know the personality that's behind those designs and it's just a complete turnoff. If it had been just a small encounter it may have been easy to just blow off and chalk up to them having a bad day, as we all have sometimes. But then when you work in the stitching business and experience it over and over and hear it from more than oh, say 10 people, well, that pretty much cinches it too.

All that to say...I will always purchase and stitch Blackbird Designs, not only because the designs are so beautiful, but because there are such nice people behind those designs and that makes stitching them all the more meaningful to me.

January 14, 2007

my secret garden

Here are some pictures of one of my recent finishes, from Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers series called "My Secret Garden". (The stitching on all of it was done by me, the mounting, painting of the boxes and the strawberry finish was all done by Tammy, and she is for hire, if you'd like her contact info, please let me know!)

The inside is painted and has a fabric lining along the bottom and sides.

The tops of two of the small boxes are decoupaged with images of the stitched sampler.

I am really loving the strawberry too, it's weighted with sand and sits very nicely :)

Pictured in the background is some of my BBD sampler fabric. I'd be embarassed to admit to you just how much of it I have stashed and I don't even sew, lol! However, (and thankfully) I am lucky enough to have friends that do sew!

Thanks for looking. Too many pictures? I am very picture happy, true!

January 11, 2007

all about cake

Out of all things I'd planned on doing/making for Christmas, making this cake is one of those things that didn't get done, that I actually was sorry about.

Until now that is.

It's the Irish Cream Cake!

and it's something that I've made for just about every holiday since finding the recipe on allrecipes.com several years ago.

You can find it here:


(sorry, I can't get the html to work for posting a link so you'll have to copy and paste).

The real trick to this recipe coming out great is beating the batter for the full 5 minutes and putting ALL of the glaze on the cake. It does take a long time to do it, you have to put it on, go do something else, come back, put some more on, etc. Use a pastry brush and keep slathering it on. It's worth the trouble, trust me.

This cake is very, very moist and delicious!

Next time I make this, I am going to use chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding mix and Kahlua. A reviewer on allrecipes said they did it that way and it turned out great. Sounds good to me, I'll let you know how it turns out ;)

How do you like my vintage cake carrier? In my favorite color, orange!

Found it on ebay a year or so ago, it's in almost mint condition and is great for hauling cakes around in, or just sittin' pretty on your counter.

With a cake in it, of course!

January 10, 2007


Here are our boys, captured as they always are....constant GO mode:

Scooby barely even lets Astro stand up. He puts the pup's whole head in his mouth and tries to lick his ears off. You'd think Astro would tire of it, but he never does!

And you'd also think that this would tire the puppy out, but OH NO!
There's always enough energy left to swing from someones pants leg.

OK, here's one quiet moment:

Alright, enough of the doggies!
On today's dinner menu, beef stew with cornbread...the house smells really good, I'm getting hungry!

January 08, 2007

what's goin' on

Because I know you all are SO interested ;) ...
here's what I'm up to at the beginning of the New Year.

Working on this:

It's my CHS Village of Hawk Run Hollow and I am only on the second block, which seems to be pretty time consuming probably because of the huge hill all filled in and then these PITA trees:

It's being stitched on 40 ct. over 2 with one strand of DMC....and can I just say....OMG, how I have NOT liked these trees!
I put it all aside earlier today to resume working on this:

because my threads that I needed for the house came in and I could get back to it.
Love the colors and the fabric, this one is called Garden of Life and is by Blackbird Designs....

Going to read these:

(I want to collect Pug books this year, this one is my first one :) If that Pug on the cover were a bit chunkier, he'd look just like my chunky monkey Scooby!)

Also, these:

Found that Country Home Holiday magazine at Barnes and Noble the other day and even though it's past the holidays, it was such a great issue, I'll keep it for next year!
It had CUTE CUPCAKES in it too, lol!

(And now is a good time to subscribe to Country Home, if you go to www.bestdealmagazines.com, you can get it for $4.69 a year! No affiliation, blah, blah, blah....just a happy customer)!

And then there's this baby:

Lotsa lovin' going on there :)

January 03, 2007

a bit cracked

That's me! Well, I would say better late than never, but maybe in this case, it's not so much better, just late. Too late (due to my lack of being able to hold it all together) for your holiday enjoyment, but as promised, my infamous Cracker Candy recipe (with pictures)!

Here's what you'll need:

1 stack saltine crackers
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 12oz package MILK chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
waxed paper

Don't ask me why the vanilla is in this shot, you don't need it.
First, preheat your oven to 350. Then, line a cookie sheet with foil (completely cover it) and then spray the bottom with a little Pam. Line all the crackers up like so:

Place both sticks of butter and the brown sugar in medium saucepan over medium high heat.

Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly:

Once it comes to a boil, set your timer for 3 minutes and let it boil, still stirring constantly, it will look about like this when it's ready:

Now pour it all over the crackers. Doesn't have to exactly cover all of them, but spread it around best as you can.

Put it in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, it'll look like this when it comes out:

Next, sprinkle the milk chocolate chips and pecans over the crackers

Cover with waxed paper and press down with a potholder. You'll want to press down pretty firmly or the nuts will fall off later,
and falling nuts are never a good thing, unless you're a squirrel ;)

Put the whole thing in the freezer until set. I usually place a dish towel and couple of pot holders on the freezer rack because the sheet is usually still pretty hot. After candy is set, pull off wax paper and foil and then break into pieces.

We think this is best when kept in the refrigerator and served cold. It will definitely keep better there. If you like it a bit softer you can serve it at room temp.
And Happy New Year!
May your days be full of love and sweetness.