Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday's Fabulous Finds...

March was a very busy month with a new grandbaby's birth which created the opportunity for a trip across the U.S.! I'm home now and I'm sure to get back to sewing and other projects very soon. In the meantime, here are some little lovelies I found on Etsy.

I spy with my Etsy eye some...

Clockwise, starting top left:

Wishing you a beautiful spring weekend!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Monday, March 04, 2019

"Deer Me!" Christmas Quilt...

I'm making a number of Christmas quilts this year to give as gifts next Christmas. Here's the second one I've finished so far...

I took these photos yesterday in a bright afternoon sun, so the colors are a little brighter than they should be, but you get the idea. These are such cute fabrics. They are from the "Rustic Winter" line by Emily Herrick Designs for Michael Miller. 

I love the colors in this fabric, the not too over the top Christmas theme, and the majestic deer. Who doesn't love deer?

I used the same deer fabric for the back...

Buying Christmas fabric is a bit of a challenge this time of year, but, at the same time, the fabrics are often marked down a little. I've found some really cute offerings, and I'm excited to make these quilts throughout the year!

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Baby Quilt and Newborn Baby...

Our newest grandchild, a girl, was born last night. She arrived safely, and mother and daughter are doing well. I feel such a profound sense of love and gratitude when a new addition comes into our family. This week, in the nick of time, I finished her baby blanket. 

This is a slightly different half-triangle pattern than I've made before, and I love it.

The fabrics are a favorite of mine too. {Stof Fabrics Denmark from their Wooly Bear line.} We have a thing for bears in our family. My mother used to make fully jointed bears out of a variety of beautiful fur fabrics. They are works of art and each of my children have at least one of her creations. When I saw this cute fabric filled with bears it reminded me of my mother, and I wanted to pass that love of bears down to this little one.

So, I made this bear quilt, and I got some bear books and other little beary cute gifts for her. I love to give gift baskets or bags that have a theme. Bears are a perfect theme for a newborn -- girl or boy!

I filled the back of the quilt with more bears and scraps from the fabrics on the front...

The quilting pattern is rounded bear paws -- very cute and appropriate!

I can't wait to fly to California in a couple of weeks to help out with the new baby and her two-year-old sister! So excited for this new addition and the love and joy she will bring to our family.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Christmas Chickadee Quilt...

At first when I finished the top of this quilt I was a little disappointed. I thought it looked waaaay too busy with all the small prints, but I have to say it is growing on me. I finished it the other night and decided I just might keep this one for myself...

When you look at all the fabrics up close, you notice that there's a lot going on, but when you give it a little distance, the inspiration fabric (gray background with berries) turns into a soft gray and melts into the background...

I used the inspiration fabric for the back of the quilt as well, and put a strip down the back of coordinating fabrics to make it big enough.

A leaf and berry pattern was used for the machine quilting. The pattern is more noticeable on the lighter fabric at the bottom of the picture below. This reflects the leaves and berries on the fabric...

It just goes to show that pretty much anything goes when you're quilting. Some quilts might be a little easier on the eyes than others, but putting colors and patterns together is part of the fun!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My "Swedish" Quilt...

When my mother would tell us stories about her grandmother, she always called her "my little Swedish grandmother." My mom's grandmother was petite and immigrated from Sweden when she was a young woman.  She passed away before I was born, so I never got to know her. Her given name was Amanda, but I'll always think of her as my mom's "little Swedish grandmother."

According to my genealogy and dna, I have a big chunk of Swedish dna in me, which explains my love for anything Swedish. Beautifully designed Swedish furniture, dala horses, and Swedish meatballs are just a few things from Sweden that I adore. So, when it came to making a quilt for myself, I naturally gravitated to some Swedish folk art fabric by Rebecca Reck...

It checked so many boxes for me as far as color {I adore blue and white} and design, so I knew this would be the inspiration fabric I'd use for the quilt I made myself. {I'd made a quilt for every member of my family in 2017 for Christmas, but I never made one for myself.} I ordered some and yesterday I finally finished it...

I wanted the folk art fabric to shine, so I paired it with two neutral smaller scaled coordinates and a blue and orange border.

I chose a fluffy, swirly cloud-like design for the quilting, and it turned out so pretty...

For the back of the quilt I used fabric that was left over from the front of the quilt. I love to use this pattern because it uses almost every scrap of fabric!

This quilt reminds me of my mom's "little Swedish grandmother," which makes me think of my mom, which makes me love it all the more.

It's turned into a c-c-c-cold snowy day in Massachusetts, so there's definitely going to be some snuggling on the couch in this blanket tonight!

Monday, February 11, 2019

BAM-ana Corbread...

Last night we had some friends over for dinner, and I made enchiladas and cornbread. I've always used mashed bananas in my cornbread recipes because it not only adds a little bit of heavenly banana flavor, but it also adds moisture. {Some cornbreads are soooo dry.} I've tweaked the recipe over the years. Yesterday I used a little cake flour, and it was delish. I also use more almond milk than regular these days, so that is reflected in the recipe. I love serving this with honey butter that I make myself. Just beat 1 cup of butter and honey to your taste (around 2 - 3 tbsp.) in an electric mixer till it's light and fluffy. Yum! The cake flour gives the cornbread a wonderful texture, but if you don't have cake flour just use all-purpose.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups unflavored almond milk (or milk)
2 ripe mashed bananas

1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
7 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish.
3. Bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Come, Follow Me" for our Family...

My family and I are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Recently there have been some changes made within the different organizations of our church and in regard to our worship. Up until January 1, 2019, we had a three hour block of meetings we would attend on Sundays. That changed the first of this year, and we only meet for two hours at church -- one hour of worship service (Sacrament Meeting) and another hour for classroom instruction. However, with that extra hour we've been encouraged to deepen our conversion by learning and teaching the gospel to our family members in our homes. This teaching and learning at home isn't really anything new, but more emphasis was placed on it and a manual, "Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Family," was published to help families facilitate this study time. I love the program because what we study in our homes on Sunday and throughout the week will be the subject of our classroom instructions the following Sunday at church. This year's course of study is the New Testament.

The manual is wonderful, but it is only a guide for our learning/teaching. It is meant to aid us in our family and personal scripture study, but it is up to us to figure out how to teach those lessons in regard to our personal circumstances and our individual families. My husband and I looked forward to this challenge and the first few weeks we settled into the home study program, but I couldn't help but feel we were missing something. Then I went to visit my daughter and her family for a week, and I was able to see how she and her husband had implemented this program in their family. It was eye opening! In addition she created this chalkboard that sits in her family room to support the lessons.

My daughter, Shannon, and her husband, Seth, have four children ranging in age from 4 years to 11 years of age. Teaching a group like that is challenging, but they proved it was doable. Each week Shannon and Seth study the lesson manual and the scripture block beforehand zeroing in on a doctrine or principle they would like their family to focus on that week. Then they pick a scripture that the family can learn or memorize. As they give the lesson -- mostly stories and videos from the manual/scriptures -- the parents ask thought provoking questions to promote discussion with the children. As a result of these discussions, the children often ask questions. These questions are recorded on the chalkboard, so that the questions can be revisited and discussed later in the week (usually around the dinner table). Then the family forms a plan of action for the week. This is the way for all to learn to apply the doctrines and principles they've been discussing. You'll note that the notes on the chalkboard are age appropriate for their children.

I came home energized, because I knew this lesson plan was something that would work for any age and any family situation. So, last week my husband and I put it into action. Instead of reading through the material separately, we read through the scripture block and lesson manual together. As we read, we wrote down any questions that arose. Then we chose some of the doctrines and principles we noted in the lesson. There were many, but we zero in on a few that impressed us. After we were finished with our reading we chose a scripture, and I found a conference talk to further our study. At this point we pin-pointed a plan of action. Throughout this week at the dinner table, we've talked about our questions and listened to the conference talk. We also tried to put into action some of the things we've learned.

Because I'm such a visual learner I was really impressed with the blackboard Shannon made, so I decided to make something like it. I have terrible handwriting, so I didn't use a chalkboard. I looked for a magnet board, but couldn't find one in the size I wanted. Instead, I bought a framed print at Hobby Lobby at 50% off. It's about 18"x30".

It felt a little sacrilegious, but I covered up the scripture with enamel craft paint and distressed it a little...

Then I went to my computer to figure out which fonts and the layout for our board.  Once I decided upon the fonts a sweet friend of mine made vinyl lettering for the title and headings.

Each week after our lesson I will type up the bullet points, so we can be reminded of our study and plan of action for the rest of the week. The strips of paper were attached with a little washi tape.

I appreciated being able to be at my daughter and son-in-law's home at just the right time to be able to take advantage of their inspiration. I learn so much from my kids!

Have a wonderful weekend and try to stay warm!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Baked Oatmeal...

When my kids were young I always woke up before the crack of dawn to get their breakfasts and help start their day off right. Now that they are grown and gone I take my mornings at a much more leisurely pace. This morning, however, I wanted to treat my husband to a yummy breakfast, so I was up early.

The first time I tasted Baked Oatmeal was when my daughter-in-law made it for us a few years ago. Her family has a recipe that they've been using for years, and it is delicious! I love their recipe, but many of my recipes are still stored in a POD, so when this recipe came up in my Facebook feed yesterday I decided to use it. It's from the blog "Sally's Baking Addiction" --  1 Bowl Baked Oatmeal. This recipe is delicious too! It has tons of fiber, yummy berries, and only a small amount of sugar via the maple syrup. (In my opinion you could even use less sugar than is called for.) So yummy.

And... of course "everything tastes better baked in Polish Pottery." That's an old Polish proverb... or it should be if it isn't. In September we visited our son and his family in Germany.  I've always loved Polish pottery, but we took a day trip to Bolshewiek, Poland (home of Polish pottery) and I became a bit obsessed. My husband is considering an intervention. It is definitely in order. Anyway, we brought home as much as our suitcases would allow, and I've been picking up new pieces here and there ever since.

This delicious Oatmeal Bake is a wonderful way to start your day.  Wishing you a good one!

Friday, January 04, 2019

Friday's Fabulous Finds...

I don't think I've ever highlighted one Etsy shop for a Friday's Finds post. Generally, I take items from a variety of sources, but the other day I came upon this Etsy shop, and I was captivated. I'm a sucker for wood products anyway, but these are something special. Let's see if you agree.

I spy with my Etsy eye some...
gorgeous wooden treasures.

Clockwise, left to right:

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Happy New Year and a couple of quilts...

I hope you had a fun New Year's Celebration! I'm looking forward to 2019. Our home will be finished and we'll be moving into it in early summer, which will be wonderful. Till then we are in our little apartment. At this point in our lives I haven't minded being in a smaller place at all. Moving on I think I've gotten a little of my mojo back as far as quilting is concerned. Last week I was searching the internet and came upon two quilting stores I hadn't visited before. They both offered adorable Christmas fabric, so I decided to make us some Christmas quilts for next year. I guess Christmas came and went too quickly for me this year! The first collection of fabrics was found at the Etsy Store Sewcial Studio. It's from a line titled "Swedish Christmas" by Northcott Fabrics.

I love the combinations of these fabrics and those little birdies! I look forward to putting this one together.

The next combination of fabrics comes from LouLou's Fabric Shop. The fabric collection is called "Rustique Winter," by Emily Herrick Designs for Michael Miller Fabrics. I think they both have a similar woodland "feel." I think I'll keep both of these quilts and put them out at Christmastime each year!

First I'm going to finish "my" quilt. I've had that fabric since we left Colorado last June! I also have a grandbaby quilt I need to finish before I start these Christmas quilts. Priorities!