Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pay It Froward 2012

Last September (2011, I mean) I did a "Pay it Forward" thing and I procrastinated so long, I was a month late in sending the packages.  I finally decided what to make and I sent one package out on Monday, so Bernie should be getting it any day now.  Hope you like what I made for you!  

The problem is that I made two sets of things to send out and now I can't find the other person who responded to my Pay it Forward post last year.  Her blog is/was "NinePatchMama." and I haven't seen her post for a long time. If any of you follow her blog, please ask her to contact me so I can send her some things.

I decided to try the Pay it Forward thing again and here are the rules:

 Pay It Forward is simple: For the first 3 people who comment on this entry, I promise to send them something handmade within the next year. Here are the rules: 
1. I will make a little something for the first 3 people that comment on this post. It will be a surprise and may arrive at any time in the next 365 days (yes, a year).
2. To sign up to receive a gift from me you must play along too. Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade goodie to the first three people that comment on your blog post.
3. You must have a blog.
4. After commenting on my post, you have to post this (or similar) on your blog to spread the love.

I already have things made up and ready to put in the mail.  This time, the responders won't have to wait a year for me to get going!  I'm so sorry it took me so long this time.  :-(  I promise:  The first 3 people to comment on this post will get something in the mail within a week (or maybe 10 days) of posting.  Pinkie swear!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brussels Sprouts

Yep.  Brussels Sprouts.  I picked the last of them from the garden yesterday, cleaned 'em up and cooked some for lunch.  I like this vegetable but couldn't say it's one of my favorites--until yesterday.

I tried "Carmelized Brussels Sprouts" and OMG!, they were soooo good! Even Don tried one and declared it was "not bad."  (That's saying a lot for him about this veggie.)  Here's what I did in case you want to try them.  I sliced each sprout and set it cut side down in a little hot oil in a frying pan for a couple of minutes.  Then I added a little water and covered it so the sprouts would steam.  I like my sprouts softened so I steamed them about 4 or 5 minutes, but you can do more steaming or less, depending.  After they were cooked the way I like them, I took the lid off, added maybe a tsp of butter, and let the cut sides finish browning (AKA carmelizing).  Then a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, and Voila!  A delightful dish!

And now the veggie garden is finished and ready for winter--except we have to go to our neighbor's house and get a load of goat poop to spread on the beds. Oh Joy!

I finished a Christmas table runner for my Etsy store, Jolly Ruby.  I really like it so if it doesn't sell, I'll be happy to use it myself.

Today I have to bake a cranberry-pumpkin-pecan upside down cake for a Halloween pot luck at work tomorrow.  We're supposed to dress up in costume for the day, but I won't. I'm the grumpy old lady who thinks that Halloween costumes don't belong in the work place, but I guess I'm in the minority where I work. Oh well, I'm still not putting on a costume.  It's all I can do to get washed and dressed in ordinary clothes on a work day!

After cake baking, I'll be back in my sewing room, working on more Etsy projects before I go into town to man the phone banks, encouraging folks to be sure to vote next week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Calling ninepatchmama

Please contact me through my email address. I know I'm terribly late with this but I'm finally ready to "pay it Forward and need your address so I can mail you a little package.

I hope you're okay since you've not posted for quite awhile. At any rate, please contact me, okay?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Since I came home from my trip, I've been to a 3 day quilting retreat, and what a treat it was!  My guild sponsors this event every October and this is the second time I've gone.  We have capacity for 24 quilters and this year 3 of those slots were taken by guests.  Only one lives close enough to consider joining the guild but I wish all 3 did because each one would be a great addition to the group.

I haven't laughed so hard in I don't know how long!  Everyone would be industriously sewing away and suddenly, one corner of the room would burst into giggles.  After they settled down, more quiet sewing time and then another corner would erupt in laughter.. It was like this all three days! And into the night as well! One woman was working with 2.5" strips, sewing them together end to end.  She laid them out the length of the room in order to figure out where to cut them.  Someone in my corner asked her what she was making and she replied, a baby quilt.  I burst out laughing and said, must be a pretty thin baby!  She cracked back that she could add WIDE borders!  I laughed so hard during the day that I had a hard time falling asleep, thinking over all the funny things that were said and done.

I even got some things done at retreat.  I quilted this harvest table runner which is for my Etsy store, Jolly Ruby.

I also quilted this Halloween table runner. The Friendship Star blocks were part of the 60+ blocks I won in Block Lotto last fall. The others went into quilts that I took to Bulgaria but I saved these 3 for myself. I couldn't find the same fabric for the border but I did find this black with autumn leaves, etc fabric which I think works pretty well. Anyway, it's for me and I like it this way!

I also made 5 Christmas table runners but haven't finished them up yet. Out of scraps, I made this little pretty pad which is finished and is listed at Jolly Ruby.

I'm on the guild charity projects committee and we decided to make a queen sized quilt and donate it to a local music group to raffle off as a fundraiser for themselves.  We've planned out the design of the quilt and will be going to a "fabric warehouse" in the Cities on Tuesday to shop for fabric.  I've never been there but the others say there are bolts of fabric floor to ceiling! I hope I don't get a heart attack looking at it all!

Tomorrow, I have to spend outside finishing up the last of the gardening. I have a little weeding that needs to be finished before the snow flies and I have a lot of pruning of old growth off the day lilies, hostas, irises, etc. If I get it all done tomorrow, I can spend hours in my quilting room, guilt free. Yea!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I made another table runner for my Etsy store, Jolly Ruby.  This picture is rotated correctly in the file where I saved it but for some reason, it shows up here sideways. Go figure. Must be the computer gremlins I fight with every now and then. :-)  Anyway, I guess we'll have to rotate our heads to see it correctly.

I simply cut a piece of the floral fabric for the center and put a piano key border on.  Easy and cute, I think.  

 And here's a look at the quilting on the back.  It doesn't show up much on the front, but I really like how it looks on the back.

I used my Pounce for the first time. I got it over a year ago and never had an opportunity to use it until now. Boy, do I like it!  Unlike chalk, the marks stayed on the fabric.  Unlike Golden Threads, there were no papers to pick out of the stitches, and unlike FMQ, the design was more symmetrical and even.  I think I'll have to use it on more projects.  I also used my sliding thingy that I bought from Amazon awhile ago. I can't say I noticed much difference compared to just sliding the quilt around on my machine bed.  Well, I'm sure there will come an opportunity where I'll be very glad that I have it.

I have one more autumn themed runner to make today and then it's all about Christmas things for the store. I also have 2 sales coming up that I need to have items for as well. I'll be busy working on Christmas things when I leave for a 3 day quilt retreat on the 11th with my guild, the greatest group of women ever.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Recent quilts

I've been busy making quilted things for the table. I have a sale coming up in mid-November and another sale in Mid December, so I'm trying to build up a stock of runners and place mats.  I just posted a couple of new items in my Etsy store, Jolly Ruby, which you can find here:  Here are some pix of the new items:

 A golden floral table runner--I love using yellow in my quilts!

A closeup of the flying geese units. . .

And of the straight line quilting on the point.

This is a set of place mats that I made to coordinate with the Autumn Leaves table runner I made earlier.

And another close up of the quilting.  I varied the placement of the colored bars in the center of each mat and did ditch stitching along the edges of the bars and a meander in the side panels of leaf fabric.

On Thursday I'm going to a 3 day quilting retreat and will be working on a couple more autumn themed table runners and a bunch of Christmas themed runners and place mats.  I also want to make a couple of Christmas tree skirts at the retreat.

I made this really nice skirt for my tree a few years ago and I'll be darned ( PC terminology) if I can find it anywhere!  I've looked for several years now and I think I must have included it in a box of decorations I gave to Goodwill a couple of years ago.  Well, I'll make an even better one this year, and Tessa wants me to make one for her as well. She's been asking for several years now and I only remember it when we're decorating the tree and it's too late then.  And I may make one to list at Jolly Ruby as well--we'll see how bored I get. I can't wait to get on the road with all my quilting supplies packed in the car and spend time quilting with wonderful ladies from the guild!  With luck, I'll have finished things to show when I return.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm a travelin' woman

Don and I've been traveling most of September on our first trip together to Europe.  Returned on the 25th but only now have I been able to organize some of the photos.  

Don and I flew to Sophia, Bulgaria on the 10th and were met by Jo, our Peace Corps daughter, at the airport.  I didn't realize how much I'd missed her until I saw her there and then the tears came and I couldn't stop hugging  her.  Wow!  I never expected that kind of reaction from me!   We spent 6 days in Bulgaria--a very beautiful country, BTW, with lots of mountains.  We met a lot of the Bulgarian people she knows and works with, even spending 2 nights in the rural village with the host family she lived with while she was in training.  Such warm and welcoming people to open their homes to us.  

Then the 3 of us flew to Munich to begin an adventure that had been arranged for us by ToEurope.  They arranged our transportation while in Germany as well as hotels for every night of the 6 or 7 days we spent in that country.  I could write a book about the trip, but I'll spare you and refrain.  I'll let these few pix serve the purpose, okay?

This is one of several medieval villages we stayed in--very charming.  I believe our hotel in this village was built as a home in 1536.  Everything in Europe is so much older than in the Midwest of the US--amazing!

 This is a pix of the Rila Monastery outside of Sophia, Bulgaria, one of 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that we were fortunate to visit.  Amazing murals covering every inch of surface.

This fantastic building is in Wurzburg Germany.  All of that "frosting" is stucco applied by hand three to four hundred years ago. Now it's a public library.

Everywhere in both Bulgaria and Germany were beautiful flowers in the window boxes as well as the gardens.  This building is in Munich.

Had to take a pix of the vineyards along the middle Rhein River, another UNESCO site.  And one of many castles along that stretch of the river.

We developed a very good habit on our trip--a daily coffee and cake stop!  I can't tell you how delectable the cakes and pastries were.  Melt in you mouth, truly!  I usually just sampled the cakes that Don and Jo bought and it was really hard to not scarf up the entire piece!  But I held myself back.  :-)

And of course, Don and I had to sample German beer.  Soooo good.  Lots of flavor but not so much alcohol as here in the States so we could drink the entire stein and not get wasted.  The German wine, however, is a different story!  Again, very flavorful but a higher alcohol content than I'm used to, so half a glass pretty much put me under the table. Yikes!

In this pix I look like I've drank more than my share of the beer and Don looks like he's fed up with this picture taking and wants to get back to drinking!

I had a wonderful time on the trip and what made it so good, I think, was that we were with our daughter after 18 months separation.  She'll be home in another 6 months and we'll all be happy to have her back. 

The trip was especially good since we never took the wrong train and got lost, had great hotels and found wonderful restaurants, and didn't lose any of our luggage on the flights!  Pretty good for the first time, huh?   Best of all, Don (the reluctant traveler) wants to go back in a couple of years.  Yea!