Monday, December 31, 2012

It's the last day of 2012! and Christmas Placemats!

Today is the last day of 2012.  Can you believe it?  The years fly by so fast.

Snow day
We had snow on Christmas day - another unbelievable.
It started snowing around 4pm and snowed for several hours.  It had been in the 60's the day before but Texas weather changes at the drop of a hat.

Here's my son playing in the snow.
Before Christmas I made some candy stripe placemats to match my new candy stripe table runner.  The placemats are reversible, though I only used the red and white striped side.  The red and white fabric came from the dissected table runner I mentioned in the previous post.  The other fabric is fabric from my stash.
Here is my mostly decorated table set for our Christmas meal.
 I got these cool square white plates at the Just a Dollar for $1 each.  Sweet!!

 Pics of the placemat backs.  Very festive!  Also, these could be used for several other holidays such as Valentine's Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day.  They are multiuse :)

I'm thinking about offering placemats in my etsy shop.  Maybe I'll start a whole kitchen theme since I already have aprons.

Have you been getting any crafting done during the holidays?  What have you been working on?

I hope everyone has a Happy New Years Eve and New Years Day!  Happy 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

It's been a long time since I blogged but I'm going to try to catch up on my life in the coming weeks.  I don't like to ramble on and complain about life's crummy stuff but I wanted to share what's been going on in the hopes that someone who has or is experiencing the same thing might comment or give me some insight.

I've been having health problems for about the past 4 years.  However, the last year and a half, they have increased exponentially.  They have prevented me from blogging, sewing, cleaning my house, acting like a normal person, going outside, ----- you get the picture.  It's not been pretty.

But anyhoo, I've finally been diagnosed.  Fibromyalgia and Lupus.  Actually, my official diagnosis is Fibromyalgia and an unspecified connective tissue auto immune disease such as Lupus.  But since I'm being treated for Lupus, I'm just going to call it that.
It has made me feel craptacular 24/7 for the past year and a half.  But finally having a diagnosis and being able to learn about the diseases and read forum posts about what others are going through, makes me feel less alone.  It makes me feel less like I'm going crazy.  Less like I'm just a big ol'
 lazy slug who can't do anything.  Less like a burden.

I'm trying to keep a positive attitude although it's hard.  I'm trying to leave my house at least once a week to do something - even if it's just wander through Macy's or the mall.  I joined a sewing club at a local quilt shop.  Just anything to make me feel more normal.  I'm not to the point where I can start volunteering on a regular basis at my son's school again though, which makes me sad.

If anyone who is reading this blog has these same issues and would like to share with me how you cope or how someone you know copes, please email me or leave a comment.  I'd love to hear from you.

I have been able to do some crafting lately - due to some new meds that seem to be helping.  I have lots to share starting with a Christmas Candy Cane table runner that I've made.

It started with a red and white striped table runner that my MIL and I had done for a special thingy at her church.  I helped her decorate the table last year for it.  She didn't want to keep the runner and gave it to me.  I decided to dissect it and make a runner that was more to my liking.  So, I cut it up into pieces - enough for 6 striped placemats and a pieced runner.

 I added more cool fabrics pieces to make it a pieced runner.

I sewed the pieces together and ironed them flat and whatnot.

And voila', this is what it looked like before I quilted it.
I quilted it with some in-the-ditch decorative stitches that looked like snowflakes.  I'm still a newbie at quilting and boy is it harder than I thought - and I already thought it was hard!!
On my table, a red and white candy cane Christmas.
One of the mistakes I made was in using craft batting.  I thought I was out of cotton batting, so I used craft batting which is very fluffy, like fiberfill.  Then of course, I found my cotton batting.  I think the craft batting is going to go in the Goodwill box I've started.  I realllllllllly don't like the way it looks.
That's all for now.  I'm going to try to make more posts but keep them short - because I have a LOT to say. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Embroidery Sewing Machine

I have wanted an emboidery sewing maching for awhile now. 

Of course, the good ones cost thousands of dollars and I just don't have that.  BUT, Brother makes a "beginners model" so to speak.  It's the SE-400 Embroidery and Sewing machine.  I got it off  They had the best price.  Plus, there were over a hundred reviews and almost all of them were good.  The people just went on and on about how much they loved it.  I stared at it for months before actually working up the nerve to buy it.

It certainly is alot different from my Janome.  For one thing, it takes forever to wind a bobbin.  You have to do it really carefully and follow all these steps.  But once you get it all done and threaded and it startes embroidering something, it's awesome!  I'm still learning how to use it and what it's limits are.  But I'm having fun with it for now.

Do you have a machine that does embroidery?  What kind and how do you like it?

Bonus:  Here's a pic of my giant 6 foot son on his first day of 8th grade.  You can't see his mustache very well in the picture but apparently, it was dark enough for his science teacher to tell him he had to shave.  He had already shaved the scruffy whiskers on the rest of his face.  Sigh!  He's only 13 - why does he have to shave?  Why is he growing up so fast?  Sigh.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Learning to Paper Piece

A few weeks ago, I took a class at one of our local sewing centers, Sharman's.  It was a class to learn how to machine paper piece.  To be honest, before I took the class, I wasn't too sure what that was.  I googled it before class but that didn't really help.

We had a great teacher.  She used the book "Show Me How to Paper Piece" by Carol Doak.  The first time she explained the process, I was completely lost but after a couple of minutes of following her directions, I realized that this is the best thing ever!  I love doing it.  It's so cool, not that hard and the end results look like you really spent oodles of time on it when maybe you just spent 30 minutes.  I love things that make hard things easy.  Also, you don't have to cut pieces of fabric exactly the size you need.  You can just cut pieces that are big enough and then trim them later.

Since taking this class, I watched a video online of someone paper piecing, and she was cutting each piece of fabric precisely the size she would need.  It involved  measuring and rotary cutting and was just a big obsessive compulsive deal.  It almost made me cry.  Why would anyone do it such a hard way when you can just randomly cut the fabric into shapes that are big enough and then trim?  I'm even saving pieces I've trimmed that are large enough to reuse.
 This is the heart I paper pieced.  Then I made it into a little pillow Christmas ornament by sewing a back on it and stuffing it.  You could also sew several of these together to make a real pillow or even a quilt.  The pattern can be enlarged so that if you're making a quilt, you don't have to make so many tiny hearts.
 This is the second heart that I started working on in class.   I'm since finished it but haven't stuff it yet.
This is what the pattern looks like.  You actually sew the little pieces of fabric on the paper, following the lines.  Each area is numbered (1,2,3, etc) according to where you put the next piece of fabric.  At the end, you just rip the paper off.

I have since ordered myself a big ol' pattern book that has 365 patterns in it. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taco Bake - a recipe

We don't eat alot of meat at my house.  Therefore, I don't buy alot of meat.  I buy chicken that they slice for me in the deli for sandwiches and I buy those packages of precooked bacon that I sometimes put on my sandwiches but that's about it.

However, when you have a ginourmous 13 year old growing boy who is a total carnivore, you have to start rethinking things when you go to the grocery store.  It's been very hard for me because frankly, I'm not even sure what all the cuts of beef are.

I do know how to buy ground beef though and I've been making alot of tacos.  But tacos get old after awhile.  So, I've been trying to come up with something else to make.
And while standing in the taco shell aisle at the grocery store, it came to me.  Taco Bake.  I was actually looking at this box of some kind of taco bake stuff and thinking that it looked good in the picture when I decided, "hey, I can make my own taco bake."  SO, I did.

My Taco Bake Casserole Recipe:

1 lb. of ground beef  (I use the 96% lean kind)
1 package of taco seasoning
amount of water needed as stated on the back of the taco seasoning package
1 onion
flour tortillas
cheddar cheese or the mexican cheese mixtures or a combination of the two
fresh cherry tomatoes from the plants in the backyard  (or whatever kind they have at the grocery)

I browned the ground beef and added the chopped onion until it was cooked (see through).  Then I added the taco seasoning and water and let it simmer for a bit.

I started layering the stuff in the pan.  First the meat mixture and then a layer of tortillas, then cheese - repeat until all the meat is gone.  Then I topped it off with more cheese and tomatoes.

I made some of that Rotel dip to go along because our arteries weren't being clogged enough.

And I have to say, it was simple but it was really good.  Both my husband and son liked it and we even ate the leftovers.
Tonight, I'm making some kind of steak that I've been marinating since yesterday.  Pray for me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Say Hello to Bob

Say Hello to my new friend Bob.

Bob likes to eat nuts on the ground around the tree that is outside my sewing room window.  I love watching him and he seems to like watching me too.  He hangs out on the branches staring at me and letting me take his picture.
I left some pecans for him but it took him two days to find them and the bird who lives in the tree also, had already eaten most of them.  The bird is really mean and he hates Bob.

Bob is my new boyfriend.  Isn't  he sweet?  :)

And now for crafting news.
Here are some Christmas stockings that I'm almost finished with - I'm sewing the last button on now.  I want to start listing them today.
These particular stockings are made with Moda Flurry fabric and Riley Blake Christmas Candy Rolie Polie.  I will also have available Moda's Ready Set Snow and a very limited supply of Moda's 12 Days of Christmas.
I'm going to have a very limited supply of Christmas stockings this year because they are very labor intensive to make.  There are about a million pieces to each stocking.
So, if you want to get in a custom order, or you know someone who does, get your order in early.
My next post will be about this great sewing class I took last week to learn machine paper piecing.  It was awesome!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Vacation

Well, would you look at that, July is almost over.  Where did it go?  Why does time fly by so fast when you're old and decrepit?

We went to Galveston, Texas this year for summer vacation.  We haven't been there since before Hurricane Rita.  My husband wanted to go to Disney (of course) but my son and I have decided to be Disney free for awhile. 

I've always loved Galveston and I've never understand the bad rap it's gotten.  People always say the beaches are dirty, the water is dirty, etc.  And what I want to know is, have they been to California?  Because ICK!!!!  They have dirty beaches, dirty and COLD water and the whole place is dirty.  Even the airport stinks (LAX not Orange County).  And I mean it literally stinks.  You always see pics of celebrities walking through LAX trying to look all glamorous and I just wonder, can't they smell it?  Is their nose clogged?  Because it has a nasty, moldy, old funk that just needs to be torn down and rebuilt.

Anyhoo, back to my story.  Galveston doesn't have the pristine beaches and blue water of South Padre, that's true.  But it's still a great place to vacation.  There are some really good restaurants and they manage to have that small town feel.  While we were there, during July 4th week, they had this great "hometown" parade down the sea wall and then fireworks over the gulf.  It was awesome - and free.  We ate lots of good food, hung out on the beach (until my son got a sunburn and then he didn't want to do anything), played putt putt golf, and wondered around the Strand.  Really, I could have just sat out on our balcony for the entire trip as long as someone was bringing me food and drinks.  We stayed at the San Luis which is my favorite because it's right on the beach and you really can't have a bad room.  We were on the 11th floor though which is great because you're up high enough not to have  your view obstructed but you can still hear the music from the pool.

Here are some pics:
 Husband is on the left and my giant 13 year old is on the right.

 Views from my glorious balcony.
Wish I was still there.

 More balcony views.

 The pool and water slide/grotto area.  My only complaint was that I wish they had more shade areas for those of us who didn't want to burn to death.

 Why did I think it was a good idea for him to bring his computer? 

 Here we are playing putt putt.  My son has a weird expression on his face because he chews  on the springs attached to his braces.  So it looks like he's chewing on his face or something.

My sweet husband who puts up with me.

It was a good vacation. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Pin Cushion

Well, school is out, summer has started.  My son is officially an 8th grader. 
He had a great 7th grade year. 
- he was asked to join the National Junior Honor Society
- he received 2 merit awards, one in math and one in language arts
- he was nominated by his teachers and the middle school staff to be one of 3 middle school students up for a special PTA scholarship.  The winner was randomly drawn and he didn't win but still. 
- he made Principals Honor Roll the first 5 six weeks grading periods and Honor Roll the last six weeks
- his middle school band (where he plays alto sax) won a 1 at band contest at Canton Music Festival and they got a big ol' trophy to boot.
- he stepped outside of his box and played middle school baseball
And there's more but I can't remember it all.  Anyhoo, I'm so proud of him and the young man he is turning into, although it's hard to watch my baby growing up so fast.

Big Sigh.

Okay, now for the crafty stuff. 
Two of my pincushions have eyeballs.  One is a chicken and one is a ladybug. 
I can no longer stand to put pins into them.  I know that probably means I've gone over the edge into crazy land but I wasn't very far off anyway.  I just can't stand to put pins into anything with a face anymore.

So, I pulled out this magazine

and made this pincushion.

What I didn't realize at the time - even while I was sewing it - is how big it was going to be when I was finished.  You can see it takes up almost a whole magazine page.  It's huge.  Plus I made some mistakes on it like when I started marking it with my new disappearing ink marking pin only to realize it was a red Sharpie marker.  Now it has red marker all over it.  Also, it was so big and fat that it was hard to sew the button on the top.  As a result, the bottom of the pincushion looks awful.  So, if you ever come over to my sewing room, don't look at the bottom.  HAHAHA

That's all for now.  I can't type anymore.
Have a great day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What Have I Been Doing Lately

Well, despite the appearance of my rarely posted on blog, I have been doing stuff.

I've redesigned parts of my apron pattern to make them easier to sew and hopefully, make them "flow" better.  Here is a just listed apron made from the new pattern pieces.

If I hadn't told you something was different, you probably wouldn't have noticed.  It still looks similar to the old pattern but the bib and pockets are slightly bigger.

I've been retaking pics of some of the items in my shop to brighten them up.  I've gotten a lot better at editing my pics but the older pics are definitely darker.  Here is one that I've recently changed.  You can see the details better when the pics are brighter.  I still have a few to go.

I'm also working on a skirt that I've pieced together with fabric strips and I'm working on my first quilt top.  I'm not sure if I'm doing it right but we'll see when it's done.  Hopefully, I"m not screwing it up too bad.  The top of the pic shows the quilt top fabrics and the bottom of the pic is the front of the skirt that I'm piecing.  I'll be sure to keep updating my progress on these.  I think I need to add darts to the skirt (I made a muslin skirt using the pattern to check fit) and I've never done darts before.

So, there you go.  We are getting to the end of the school year and things seem to be getting busier.  Seems like there's something everyday.  Summer will be a nice change of pace.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pictures of my naked cat

Well, time sure flies.  Sometimes, it flies quicker than other times.

I don't have any great crafting news because I've barely worked on anything lately although, I have been working on some bookmark sets for my shop.  (soon to be listed!)

Anyhoo, about 2 weeks ago, I got my cat shaved.  She has alot of cotton candy hair and it mats up really badly.  She's so mean that she won't let me brush her, so I just take her to the vet and they knock her out and shave her.
Believe it or not, it actually makes her nicer.  She's alot more loving and friendly withought all the hair. 
My son says she looks like a hairless rat.

Also, here is a pick of the Asiatic Lillies that I posted about in the previous post.  This was taken when they were in full bloom.  They were very red but the picture makes them look more orange.  Very pretty.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stuff we did during Spring Break

Spring Break was the week of March 12-16th.  My son was out of school and my husband took the week off.
We stayed home most of the week and had a staycation.  YAY!  I hate spring break trips.  You're in a hurry to leave and a  hurry to get back.  Everything's rushed.

So here's some stuff we did (not rushed :)
I had my birthday on March 10th.

 We all worked in our backyard garden.  We weeded, planted and mulched.  All of the bushes and small plants on the left side of the flower bed are new.  We planted Nadina, Stella D'Oro day lillies, Red Asiatic lillies and white verbena.
So, now we have plants on the left side and right side but the middle is empty.  It's a work in progress.

 The red Asiatic Lillies.  They look orange in this picture but they are red in person.  Very pretty.

 We went to see a production of Young Frankenstien.
 We cleaned up the front porch and replanted containers that had died.

 Got some new fabric - the picture is horrible though.
More new fabric.  I'm working on some new aprons for my shop.

Also, we went to Dallas for the day and went to the Half Price book store, which is always a treat.  We also went to the Ikea store and ate at California Pizza Kitchen - Yumm!

It was a great spring break.  We spent alot of time together and that's always the best part.