Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WOYWW - Small Batch Canning and Cross-Stitch Quilting

It's dark and quiet in the house, and what am I doing? Taking mini swatches of cross-stitch I've done and finding a new way to give them a future as a fun little quilt. What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday is already in progress halfway around the planet, so I'm taking pictures in the dark and joining in on a Tuesday night! This is the first step toward making my cute little cross-stitch quilt.

You can join the blog party at our hostess' blog here
Go ahead...take a peek at workdesks around the world!

Any little cross-stitch and embroidery I can find that will fit on a 4X5 piece of fabric is going in this piece. It will also have some mixed-media elements and a variety of fabrics.

I love this little Amish sewist I cross-stitched probably more than ten years ago.

My other busy workdesk was in the kitchen where I was small-batch canning. When the tomatoes start flowing out of the garden, faster than we can eat them up, I'll grab a few canning jars and in less than an hour, I've got some canned tomatoes for the cupboard! One small batch at a time.

I love how the yellow tomatoes look mixed with the red.
A few minutes out of the waterbath canner and the lids pop and seal.
When the tomatoes are fresh off the vine, I have to drop what I'm doing and fresh preserve!

Eat, Write, Dream & Stitch Happy.


Getting in Touch with Your Inner Russian Doll

Do you ever wish there were more of you? Some days at least? I know that many of my creative blogger friends feel fortunate and blessed that they possess the talent and skills that let them express their creativity every day. The problem we run into is, we want to do so many things! You build up your confidence enough, and you believe you can do this and that and get it all done...oh...today. At that point, I know it's become just like the cute picture my friend sent me of a Russian Doll that says "Sometimes You Just Feel Full of Yourself."

By the way, these are my newest Russian Dolls I bought during my trip to the lake last month. Blue girls! Oh to be able to nest myself together, or bring out the troops and attack...hmmm...what would each of me do?

I think my big girl would go for the big jobs: major housecleaning...my big yard beautification project...cooking all our meals for a week in one day...and doing all the work to start my new Etsy store. Boy, she would be tired.

My next beautiful girl would make sure that all the daily errands were done...emails, phone calls, shopping, and laundry. She would make sure everyone got a hug, and that all the cats, plants, and any other living things were attended to! She'd be happy...but tired.

My next inner Russian Doll would take care of a few personal details. She'd do my pedicure...nails...makeup...hair...massage...embroider my next pair of shorts...make sure I'm wearing moisturizer and lipgloss...and maybe shop for shoes. Oooh. She'd be a little self-centered...but feeling fine!

My next to the littlest girl is the creative one--all she thinks about is working on the novel, the play...embroidering things...scrapbooking things....coloring, gluing, stitching, and maybe baking something. It never stops with her! But she's deeply satisfied.

The littlest one...the baby...just wants to be loved and entertained. She can't help herself. She wants someone to give her a hug, tell her she's the greatest and then take her out to dinner. (her hubby's actually pretty good at that) She's not too demanding, but she likes what she likes. Maybe someday she'll grow up and be the big diva...but in the meantime, she's just a little bit diva. She's okay with that. She's never too tired to have a nice dinner out and go to a show.

I know, I'm goofy when it comes to my Russian Dolls! I even have a Russian Doll keychain. I'll show my whole collection one day. There's one big fat one that has 11 altogether! I bought her from artists visiting from..guess where...Russia! I think I named all of her once--I can't help myself!

Feed yourself...write about yourself...star in your dreams....stitch something just for you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Little Sugar 'n Cream Knit Dresses

yes to the white dress

What do you do if you don't know how to knit yourself a dress? Knit a teeny tiny one-dimensional dress! I think I could have knit on these little dresses from now until forever. These are so fun and easy to knit...simply using the garter stitch. I made the first couple of dresses, accidentally putting some holes in my increases! I fixed that with the next dress, though, and knit until I got four little dresses I liked, and then I stitched them onto knit squares. This was fun...if I could drop everything else I'm doing, I'd knit and embellish about a hundred of these squares! The more little dresses I knit, the more I realized, hey! I could knit myself a real dress, if I really tried!

I started this project at the beginning of summer...put it on the back burner a few times...but finally finished it, happy with my final four squares. I embellished my little dresses from the beads, buttons and ribbons in my stash, and stitched it all together. Yay! Another project saved from becoming a UFO! (Unfinished Object)
My daughter helped me plan the arrangement.

This is a great project for working from my stash.

dinner and dancing dress
country picnic dress
a day in the sun dress
Love, love, love my Sugar 'n Cream yarns...and I'm happy as can be in a new pair of espadrilles! What is it about a new pair of shoes? I remember feeling that way when I was seven! It never ends.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, and wear some beads on your ankle!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Threads

"She does her own sewing, and everything she wears is beautiful."
Proverbs 31:22

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Plans

 Hello weekend--I think I love you! So I made a few plans:

-Two miles on the treadmill
-Coffee on the Greenhouse
-Water plants (*sigh*)
-Morning trip to Hobby Lobby for beads and ribbon
-Clean up my worktable
-Cut out dress pattern
-Bake bread in the bread machine
-Get chicken and vegetables going in the crockpot (keep the kitchen cool)
-Wait for that magical hour when the sun is just right for a photo shoot
-Pick tomatoes in the garden
-Get out the canning stuff!
-A movie

This sounds like a good Saturday around the house to me! I hope you have a happy, creative weekend!
 Home is where the art is.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Being the lazy baker I am sometimes...I made a cake from a cake mix. But all I had was a dark chocolate cake mix, and a white buttercream frosting. Put them together, and it was pretty good!
The next thing I knew, I was enjoying a bowl-o-cake, and cleaning out a cupboard full o bowls! I came to a realization about myself...I kinda like nesting bowls! Why is that? Is there some psychological significance to that? Or maybe...I just like how happy they look. I don't know! But I never get tired of my nesting bowls. I really do use them! I find them at retail stores, our wholesale club, catalogs and flea markets too.
I can't live without my Williams-Sonoma French tempered glass bowls. I think there are 11 here and I've had these for about 15 years. I use them to get ingredients measured and prepped and they are fine to use for melting chocolate in a double-boiler situation.
I got these at Sam's for about seventeen dollars. A few weeks later, I saw these same bowls in someone's flea market booth and they had marked them up to fifty dollars! So you have to be careful, and be a smart shopper.
My mom gave me these cute vintage metal bowls she got an auction. Whenever I use vintage bowls or dishes, I always wonder who once cooked with them and what they served.
I use these white nesting bowls a lot. I'm always mixing something in them, and they are pretty to serve in too. They make food colors pop.
I got my sweet little Chinese bowls at a discount store, of all places, for practically nothing. A few weeks later, they didn't even have them anymore, so it must have been a fluke. Always keep your eyes open!
I painted these heart-shaped bowls when my daughter was little, and we went to a local pottery painting studio that a good friend of mine owned. Those were the days! Painting pottery is so relaxing!
I like nesting cookie cutters...
...and dolls too! Hmmm. Do I have a problem here? Tee hee!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stitch Happy

Today is the last of my blog-day theme week...Monday was "Eat"...Tuesday was "Write"...Wednesday was "Dream" combined with What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday...and today is "Stitch." What a fun way to spend the week, and I hope to do it again one week next month!

Threading a needle makes me happy. I don't know how else to say it. I love fabric, floss, hand sewing, machine sewing, knitting, sewing things onto things (applique) and there's always more to learn. My Aunt Margaret taught me basic knitting and crocheting when I was ten years old. I still have those old pink metal knitting needles and the little silver crochet hook. Maybe I'll pick up crochet again someday. I think my love of knitting grew even more when my daughter picked up my old pink knitting needles, and she never put them down. Now, like me, she has dozens of knitting needles and baskets of yarns. It's so fun to share this with her.
Minnie loves it when we knit.
  I love being at home, more than anywhere else, and stitching, baking, gardening, and scrapbooking make me feel happy, peaceful, and connected to everything. Writing reflects on all this and makes the circle complete. Besides that, there are even more reasons to thread a needle. Read about ten of them right here.
I can stitch and visit with people. I can stitch and watch a good movie. I can even stitch when I'm sick in bed! I've actually done this before, and it made me feel better. Of course, I'm talking about my favorite handwork stitching such as cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, and any kind of piecing or applique I do by hand. However, I'm getting ready soon to spend some time at the sewing machine working on a few mixed-media projects and sewing myself an outfit. I'm excited! I'm sewing a dress!
Today I stitched a button onto a cardstock tag. I love sewing on paper too! I found directions on how to make your own knitting needles recently. I can't wait to try that. I have a perpetual shopping list for my favorite craft stores, and when their 40 and 50 percent off coupons come out each week, I try to go get at least one thing on my list of these wonderful new supplies and tools for sewing and crafting. New supplies keep your creativity fresh! I have a couple of big things on my list too--like a sewing machine that embroiders. However, I know several people who swear by their grandmother's old Singer sewing machine. I would love to have one of those treadle machines myself--in case the power goes off!
So I say, go ahead and get in touch with your inner stitching diva. We really are so fortunate that stitching is a leisure and a luxury, in a way. I was watching The Story of England on PBS, and they talked about the old knitting industry, where people worked all day long on these huge knitting frames to manufacture gloves and things. These people had to work long, hard days and pay extremely close attention to their machines. That's intense. Not really happy knitting in my mind. When I think of my knitting, I feel so peaceful and happy. Completely different story! Then I think too of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in the early 1900's when so many young women lost their lives. They were worked ridiculously hard at sewing machines all day long--hardly allowed to take a break or go to the restroom. That was misery and heartache, and it hurts to think about it now. So I do know that the luxury and leisure we have to enjoy this pastime on our terms is truly a blessing. I am not manufacturing. I am creating. And that's the difference. It's fun, relaxing, and rewarding. I have no rules. No boss. No deadline (except my own). This is a great time in history to stitch!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dreaming at Your Desk

Happy What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday! (That blog hop we all love where you get a peek at creative desks around the planet!) I am a couple of days ahead of schedule...I've got a busy week coming up! I have no doubt that my desk is pretty much going to stay like this for a few days though.

Visit the What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday hop here.

Today's post goes perfectly with my theme this week...Monday was "Eat"...Tuesday was "Write"...and today is "Dream." And let's face it. We do a lot of dreaming at our desks! I think this blog hop appeals to me so much because ever since I can remember...circa four years old...I've had a desk! I remember setting up my first desk...it was an old night stand. I loaded it up with crayons, coloring books, paper dolls, my china tea set, and Barbies and scooted my little wooden chair right up to it. I've never been without a desk ever since! I actually have a desk and a couple of work tables in my creative corner of the world. I've been writing and sketching in my creative journal which is also my idea book. I've also been stitching a new blog sign for myself. My white work table is a wreck!
Picking out flosses, fabrics and beads for my stitched sign--my worktable is a wreck.
 Within a couple of hours, I finished stitching my sign. I think I might frame it! This was really fun to make. While I wanted to do this first sign with my blog title, I can think of so many other cute sayings to stitch up using floss, fabric, buttons and beads like this.
I'm not going to let a busy week keep me from dreaming! I've got a lot of writing and stitching to do!
Dream happy everyone! Come back tomorrow for a little talk about stitching!