Friday, September 28, 2012

Entering the 21st century!

They knew what my plan was for Wednesday night so they were waiting for news when I got to work Thursday morning.  I had gone to the electronics super store to buy one of those new-fangled tech-y gadgets that they all have for reading books.  And they know that I resist change and tech in my personal life.  (I still prefer a flip-style cell data web.  I deal with computers all day, which may be why I like to hand quilt at systems issues.)  So they waited and wondered how my excursion went.

I had a whole bunch of gift cards and rebate cards totalling almost half the cost of a Kindle Fire HD.  I felt like one of those folks who fill a shopping cart at the grocery store and check out by paying only $3.45.  The nice fellow at the register got a kick out of it, too.

When I got home I almost didn't want to open the sturdy box it came in.  The packaging was sleek, with a few tamper-proof type seals and a heavy duty pull tab.  The box is a dark charcoal grey/black....sleek.  For a moment I forgot about my concern for the environment, didn't I?  It's THAT impressive.  Anyway.....

Here I will admit my lack of techitude and let you laugh at me because I couldn't find how to turn it on.  The button is that well hidden.  Trying to navigate the screens made me feel so out of date, but persistence paid off and I'm getting there.  I found some Youtube videos explaining how to operate it which I will watch this weekend.  Sometimes you just have to dive in and paddle :)

When they asked why I didn't buy a cover for it, I smiled and explained that I would be making one.  That's where my old-school skills come in.  I'll be cutting into that black leather this weekend.....

I'm glad I bought it.  It was time to step into the present.

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!  I hope you get to enjoy some pretty Autumn weather!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vintage Thingie Thursday - 9/27/12

I found a very heavy old album in a pile of treasures at a second hand outlet where everything is brought out in huge bins and folks grab whatever they can.  It turns into quite a scene and sometimes I stand back and watch the commotion.  But a few months back I was able to squeeze in between two people and snagged the album, not having a clue as to what it was.

I was surprised to find that it was the remains of someone's stamp collection, obviously having been picked through over the years.  But the ones that remain are beautiful.  I adore the drawings on older stamps.....the details in each scene!  I found this one fascinating and did some research on the internet.

The last Sunday in September (this coming Sunday) is designated as Gold Star Mothers day.  It honors mothers who have lost a son or daughter in combat.  It was custom for families to hang a flag in their window with a blue star for each family member in the service.  The blue star would be completely covered by a gold star when a military family member died.  Gold was chosen (instead of black) because it signifies honor for the fallen serviceperson.

In addition to their patriot duties and determination to promote peace and goodwill to the U.S. and all nations, the Gold Star Mothers assist veterans and their families present claims to the Veterans Administration and aid all who served.  There is some interesting reading here about Mrs. Grace Darling Siebold and how the group was formed.  I was fascinated by the articles I found about the Gold Star Mothers.  You never know what you'll find when out thrifting!

I hope you enjoyed this and will check this link to Vintage Thingies Thursday, where you'll find lots more interesting posts about vintage items.  Many thanks to the Colorado Lady for hosting this group!  And please stop for a moment this coming Sunday to remember the Gold Star Mothers.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

new toy

....I think I just figured out what to do with that leather....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kitchen duty

Okay, hands up if you welcomed the change in the weather (season) with baked goods.  What is it about a chilly night and a lower sun in the sky that warrants turning on the oven and popping in a loaf of banana muffins, pumpkin bread, or a pie?

I came home from work with one thought in up enough to get through the week, and more.  And that's just what I did, getting most of my mixing bowls and cast iron skillets dirty in the process.  I cooked up some fish cakes (2 meals), samosa cakes (6 meals), chickpea crackers (snacks), kale chips (snacks), and banana bran muffins (there's my baked goods :)   Lots of this will go in the freezer for fuss-free meals (yay!) and I may hard-boil a couple eggs before the night is through.  My goal is to have no cooking this week, and no excuse to eat out.

This is the second time I've made kale chips.  I've been thinking that they must have been "discovered" by someone who dehydrated kale for preserving through the winter.  Has anyone experience with dehydrating leafy greens?  Could they be baked enough (without burning) to use like dried parsley in meatloaf, meatballs, or veggie dip?  Those bunches of kale at the market are so huge lately!  I'd like to have a bit more variety than stir fry or soup.  Any suggestions?

I've got to dash off to cook those eggs.  If I sit any longer I might change my mind.  I hope you're getting everything set for an easy week, too.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Playing in the experiment

A co-worker recently was presented with the dilemma of having to change the family menu to gluten-free.  We're all trying to help on this quest to find satisfying and tasty alternatives to our wheat-based foods.  You can fill your cart at Whole Foods and even the "regular" grocery stores now carry gluten-free mixes in the natural foods aisle, but there's a noticeable increase at the checkout counter.  Luckily, a new gluten-free bakery just opened a few towns away from work.  They'll be trying it this weekend and will report in to us at work as to how it stacks up.

About a year ago I stumbled on this recipe and even bought the chickpea flour, but never made the crackers.  Today I decided it was time.  I didn't have any black sesame seeds so I added poppy seeds.  And I don't have parchment paper on hand so I rolled them onto the slick side of freezer paper and scraped them off with a spatula.....messy, but it worked.

The most intriguing aroma came from my oven while these were baking!  The fifteen minutes that they took to bake were just long enough to clean up and pour a glass of water.  It was hard to wait for them to cool before a taste test.

They're surprising.  Not really like a cracker, but they're hard and crunchy and would work with cheese, hummus, or other spread.  They'd be great with a bowl of tomato soup.  For anyone who has had the baked, hard chickpeas (ceci) that are found at Italian festivals, these have that taste.  They're kinda habit forming.  I found myself going back for another....and another.  I will make them again, after I've bought parchment paper.  And I'll let my co-worker know about them.  Maybe I'll bring in a few samples ;)

Thanks to eveyone who stopped by with kind, happy comments about Friday Night Sew In!  I hope you had a wonderful Fall weekend!  ....and don't forget to take some time to play in the kitchen :)


Saturday, September 22, 2012


Even though we know what to expect it's always surprising when the evenings are cool enough that we need to close the windows, especially after a summer of consistent hot, humid weather.  Friday night was one of those nights.  Perfect for a dinner of good cheddar, crackers, and apple slices.  Followed by a few hours of hand quilting on my little baby quilt.

I decided to keep it simple.....quilting straight diagonal lines to emphasize the floating triangles.  I didn't have to mark the quilting lines because I used my old friend....masking tape.

I'm almost halfway through with the quilting and hope to have it completed by next Friday, binding and all!

I also hemmed a pair of black pants and took the lining and trim from a black leather jacket.  While up north last weekend, I found a jacket (for one dollar!) with generous pieces of leather for crafting.  I forgot to take a before photo, but it had incredible 1980's padded shoulders!

There was some bonded interfacing around the pockets and lower edge so I trimmed that off along with some other unusable spots.  There's still plenty left to work with.  I'll be fiddling with this tomorrow.  It could be a small tote bag, change purse, or slipper soles. Do you have any other suggestions?

Thanks to Heidi and Crafty Vegas Mom for hosting the Friday Night Sew In!  Click this link to see what other folks created last night!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Friday Night

It seems like just yesterday we were trying to beat the heat of an early summer, and here we are rounding the bend toward the end of September.  We're enjoying that "good sleeping weather" and miss the early rays of sunlight that used to wake us in the morning.  It's dark as can be when the alarm rings now.

September is rolling along, and Heidi has posted the sign up for this month's Friday Night Sew In.  I'll be there with my current quilt project, and maybe a surprise or two....

Handmade by Heidi
Feeling crafty?  Whether your choice is sewing, knitting, beadwork, or woodcarving, join in for a creative evening!  Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Energy the word I would use to describe my weekend.  From the dramatic weather changes to the buzzing of tourists and students, it was charged with energy.  The city was absolutely filled with people....students, now feeling settled in their new location....tourists, gathering bits and rememberances in all the shops.....locals, enjoying the weekend, running errands, gathering at coffee shops with friends.

There were new sculptures scattered around.  I'm always grateful when anyone does something creative to add beauty to the world.  I love this gentle lion!

When I snapped this photo, I didn't realize the small tree in the background was the same color and the metal!

The weather played out that wonderful fable of the rivalry between the sun and the wind, in their test to see who was stronger by making a traveller remove his coat.  The wind blew harder and harder but the man only drew his coat more tightly around him.  Then the sun came out from behind a cloud and beamed down at him.  Within a short time the man removed his coat.  Friday was in the mid-80s, a gorgeous late Summer day.  Saturday morning started out the same, but by early evening it was time to dig out mittens and winter hats!  The strong wind came across the lake, bringing clouds and a few scattered raindrops.

We had tickets to a concert on the waterfront on Friday and Saturday night.  The opening bands were a combination of local and not-so-local groups, all of which were commendable and some of which were awesome.  The Carolina Chocolate Drops got everyone on their feet in the first few moments.  They play a combination of southern music and scat-style jazz, with a bit of gaelic added in.  Everyone loved them.

The show was arranged (and highlighted by) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who gave an incredibly energetic performance.  She opened with her new song "The Lion The Beast The Beat".  That gal seemed to get more energy as the show progressed!

The Avett Brothers sang on Saturday night to a sold out crowd.  That cold wind and those occassional raindrops didn't chase anyone away....and it was worth every goosebump!

As with any vacation or getaway, it ended too soon.  On a crisp morning, after a hearty breakfast of whole wheat pancakes with apples and walnuts ( and maple syrup ;) I began my drive home.  These folks were also travelling....

That little spot at the top of the photo is a hot air balloon.  What a glorious view they must have had!

I hope your weekend was filled with all sorts of energy, with some left to start the week!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


After I finished folding laundry I decided to stack everything I would need for this weekend in VT.  With the changing seasons, sometimes it's good to do this early so that I can add to or take from the pile as I listen to weather reports.  Already I've realized that the nights are much cooler and I'll be adding a heavy sweater.  I've also made a list of a few things that will travel with me, like the homemade jam that is going to family.

This trip will be bittersweet.  For as much as I love northern New England (any time of year!), some of my most precious reasons for going are no longer there.  Earlier this year my oldest son and his family moved to a much warmer part of the country, so the old farmhouse and all who lived in it (my four grandchildren) will be missing from my future trips.  All those little helpers in the kitchen....riding bikes around the barn........  I can't imagine not waking in the early morning hours to put another log in the wood stove, and having one or more kiddies sneak downstairs to sit with me and watch the snow falling in the otherwise still night, bundled up in blankets.  But sometimes our direction is guided by forces other than our own so, for the time being, visits will be farther between.

Much of this trip will be spent with my youngest son and my sweet future daughter-in-law.  We'll be at a concert (keeping an eye on the weather!) and I have some errands to tend to.  And, I must bring back a good supply of local maple syrup for the winter for both myself and my mother :)

I may only make one more trip up this year.  I'm debating whether to go in October or wait until late January and get in some good cross-country skiing......

I hope you're having a wonderful late Summer season.  Soon the trees will change into their fine Autumn wardrobe!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Passing it on

We moved to northern New England in 1984, at which time I was primarily a stay at home mom.  I had made a little chicken scratch from sewing in previous years so I set out to sell a baby quilt at a very nice quilt shop that was located in a mill which had been converted into shops (at the time it was a tourist hot spot.)  We bought a Bernina Sport 811 for my endeavours (including the sewing and mending that three young sons accumulate) and I brought a few more quilts to the shop.  They sold fairly regularly, but the shop owner was more interested in my hand quilting.  She hired me to hand quilt on consignment and kept me as busy as I chose to be, including her own entry for the Vermont Quilt Festival.  The following year I ended up quilting their raffle quilt.

My trusty Bernina supported me in whatever I asked it to do, from patching holes on blue jeans, curtains, clothing, quilts, and one very special pirate flag.  So when my youngest grown up son and my future daughter-in-law asked for advice in getting a used machine, I could only think of one that I would trust for their workhorse.  This coming weekend I will drive it to northern VT, drop it off at a well-trusted service tech, and have him call the young folk when it's ready.  I've taken a few photos and marked them with thread direction, so when they call I can tell them to look at the photos while I answer their questions.  I also have the original booklet and box of accessories for them.

So what will I use once my machine is gone?  A Featherweight.  Someday I'll explain how it came into my possession.  I plan to use it until someday in the future when I receive my mother's Brother (circa mid-1960s.)  The solid machine that I used to sew most of my clothing, including my wedding dress.  I love these simple, strong machines and I hope to use hers for the rest of my days.

May my Bernina brings as many productive, pleasant hours to these young folks as it did for me.  I'm so happy that another generation is interested in creating things with their own hands.

Have a wonderful evening, and pleasant dreams!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beautiful day

I spent a blissfully relaxed day at my sewing machine listening to wonderful music while the cool, late summer breeze came through the windows.  The sunshine hinted at the promise of a warm and mellow Autumn.

I took the stack of 2-inch strips that were left over from the recent full size quilt top that I recently pieced and started adding them to four and a half inch squares.

The squares were sewn into strips, the strips were sewn together, and it turned into this....
I've got a bright and happy baby quilt top.  And there's still plenty of fabric bits remaining to make more treasures!
I am so taken with these cheery prints!
This is the last quilt top that I will piece on my trusty Bernina.  I'll tell you why tomorrow night....after I get home from the dentist.  It's time for a cleaning again.  Time flies!
Have a wonderful evening.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Primary colors

It was a busy weekend....

....a blue moon on Friday night....

...raisin bran muffins for the freezer...
...zucchini bread to share with neighbors...
(especially the lady who leaves beautiful tomatoes on my deck....) time, cleaning, laundry, and this....

I love the bright, happy colors!  It will be a pleasure to hand quilt this.
I have to add one more white border around the edge.....but not tonight....
....there's a cool breeze and I've got a chair waiting on the deck  :)